The Essence of Politics

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Latinos unhappy with Obama picks--By: Gebe Martinez


If there is one message President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team has broadcast about Cabinet picks, it is that ethnicity and gender will not be the first considerations when filling the slots.

Credentials over tokenism, after all, was a fundamental principle of Obama’s presidential campaign that highlighted his ideas and community values over his African-American background. Still, if all goes as planned, Cabinet members with hefty résumés will present a picture of diversity.

Hispanic political leaders agree. Their expectations for seats at the president’s top policy table are not about meeting quotas but about advancing the reality that within this fastest-growing ethnic group are seasoned policy experts who understand the economic, foreign and domestic policy concerns shared by everyone.

Obama promised hope and change, and Hispanics hoped for the usual two Latinos in the Cabinet. And heck, why not three or four? Now that would be a change.

But at this early stage in the appointments process, there is a trickle of disappointment running through the Latino community.

First, the most prominent Hispanic leader, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, lost the plum secretary of state assignment to New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Last spring, Richardson angered the Clintonistas by backing Obama over Clinton during the heated Democratic Primary contest, only to now see her being offered the top diplomatic post.

“There’s nobody more prepared and experienced” for the job than Richardson, said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Richardson was energy secretary and ambassador to the United Nations during the Clinton administration, and he helped free hostages in North Korea, Iraq and Cuba.

Second, grass-roots immigrant rights activists have mixed feelings about Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano being the likely nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security.

Arizona is the epicenter of the national immigration crisis, and Napolitano, the popular border state governor, has navigated through turbulent rhetoric on all sides to calm the debate.

Napolitano signed into law last year the nation’s harshest penalties against employers who hire undocumented workers. While the law is being challenged in court, Napolitano has signed revisions that include protections for businesses that show good-faith efforts to follow the rules.

Some immigration advocates think she went too far to the right because of her political need to placate Arizona’s conservative voters.

“Several of us have not forgotten that she was the first to call for the National Guard along the border and called it ‘an emergency,’ and was sending the message that she might be appealing to the more conservative element who wanted to shut down the border,” said Jose Rodriguez, the county attorney in El Paso, Texas.

At the same time, Napolitano is lauded for opposing construction of a border fence and blocking bills that would require local police to arrest illegal immigrants. In an Obama administration, she would have the credibility to negotiate an immigration bill that is tough on employers, enforces border security and includes a compassionate legalization program of those now in the country illegally.

“She’s been very effective at balancing between toughness and fairness,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “She thinks about her decisions, but then she does not leave them aside. She does not forget about them.”

Generally, Latinos would have been ecstatic if Obama had included a Hispanic in the early top-level announcements that have included African-Americans and women along with white men.

The first major Hispanic appointment finally emerged on Wednesday, when Cecilia Muñoz, senior vice president of National Council of La Raza, was picked to be the new administration’s Intergovernmental Affairs director. Muñoz is a national Hispanic leader who in recent years has been a driving force in the push for comprehensive immigration reform.

And what might have seemed like bad news is not so bad after all.

Though Richardson did not get the position at State, he is set to be nominated as commerce secretary, a post that will be vital to the growth of Latino political empowerment. The Commerce Department will oversee the 2010 Census, which will be used to draw government districts from the federal to local levels. The Census also determines the distribution of about $300 billion in federal funds each year.

At Commerce, Richardson would be at the forefront of economic issues including international trade and business development and would have a hand in immigration discussions.

Business, civil rights and immigrants rights leaders are urging the incoming Obama administration to include an overhaul of the immigration system as part of the economic recovery strategy.

An aggressive economic development program along the U.S.-Mexico border would offer a “long-term solution to migratory pressures,” according to a recent study by the U.S.-Mexico Border and Immigration Task Force made up of religious, community and law enforcement leaders in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

With several more Cabinet-level seats still to be filled, Latinos see Obama’s team seriously considering long lists of Hispanics.

At the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which will be neck deep in fixing the housing financial meltdown, numerous Hispanics are being considered, including Miami Mayor Manny Diaz; Adolfo Carrion Jr., the Bronx Borough president who also leads NALEO; and Saul N. Ramirez Jr., a former deputy housing secretary during the Clinton years and a former mayor of Laredo, Texas.

The Obama transition team also has been searching for a Hispanic to head any of three departments: Interior, Agriculture and Transportation. Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the chairman of the House National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee, has been being mentioned as candidate for Interior.

Post-election talk had mentioned a couple of Latinas to head the Labor or Education departments. Though it now seems less likely, NALEO’s Vargas encouraged their consideration. “It would be an important symbol to name a Latina to the Cabinet,” he said. There are Latinas “who are fully capable of running the Department of Education, for example.”

Besides being a growing segment of the population. Election Day exit polls showed that 67 percent of Hispanics voted for Obama and were the deciding factor for his wins in at least two battleground states.

Hispanics belong at Obama’s policy table.

Appointment to the highest levels of government “does not have to be about minority representation. It’s what you expect because of the way that [Obama] won and because of the way he wants to govern the country,” said Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza.

Gebe Martinez is a longtime journalist in Washington and a frequent lecturer and commentator on the policy and politics of Capitol Hill.

Obama turns to friends, foes for White House posts--By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer


President-elect Barack Obama plans on Monday to announce six experienced hands to fill top administration posts, moving at record speed to name the leadership team that will guide his presidency through a time of war and recession.

His selections include longtime advisers and political foes alike, most notably Democratic primary rival Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state and President Bush's defense secretary, Robert Gates, staying in his current post. The two were among six who Obama planned to announce at a news conference in Chicago, Democratic officials said.

The officials said Obama also planned to name Washington lawyer Eric Holder as attorney general and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary. He also planned to announce two senior foreign policy positions outside the Cabinet: campaign foreign policy adviser Susan Rice as U.N. ambassador and retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones as national security adviser.

The Democratic officials disclosed the plans Sunday on a condition of anonymity because they were not authorized for public release ahead of the news conference. Those names had been discussed before for those jobs, but the officials confirmed that Obama will make them official Monday in his hometown.

Obama also has settled on former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle to be his secretary of Health and Human Services and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to be Commerce secretary, but those announcements are not yet official. Last week, he named key members of his economic team, including Timothy Geithner, president of Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as Treasury secretary.

The decisions mean Obama has half of his Cabinet assembled less than a month after the election, including the most prominent positions at State, Justice, Treasury and Defense. The team so far shares deep experience and proven ability to get things done, and it shares some characteristics with President Bush's first Cabinet choices.

For secretary of state, both went with big names that campaigned against them in their primary race, with Obama choosing Clinton and Bush going with former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell. At HHS, both chose deeply experienced elected officials — Obama picking Daschle and Bush choosing Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson.

They also chose experienced Defense secretaries who had already served in the position — Gates for Obama and Donald Rumsfeld for Bush. And both put well-respected governors as their first picks as Homeland Security secretary — a position Bush created — with Obama picking Napolitano and Bush picking Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.

In some cases, Obama is choosing even more experienced hands. Jones and Richardson have more government experience than Bush's first national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and his Commerce secretary, Donald Evans.

Clinton's nomination is the latest chapter in what began as a bitter rivalry for the Democratic presidential nomination. After Obama defeated her, Clinton backed his general election campaign against Republican Sen. John McCain, and she now has agreed to give up her Senate seat to be his top diplomat.

To make it possible for his wife to become secretary of state, party officials said, former President Bill Clinton agreed to:

--Disclose the names of every contributor to his foundation since its inception in 1997 and all contributors going forward.

--Refuse donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Global Initiative, his annual charitable conference.

--Cease holding CGI meetings overseas.

--Volunteer to step away from day-to-day management of the foundation while his wife is secretary of state.

--Submit his speaking schedule to review by the State Department and White House counsel.

--Submit any new sources of income to a similar ethical review.

"It's a big step," said Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who said he plans to vote to confirm Clinton.

Lugar said there would still be "legitimate questions" raised about the former president's extensive international involvement. "I don't know how, given all of our ethics standards now, anyone quite measures up to this who has such cosmic ties, but ... hopefully, this team of rivals will work," Lugar said.

GOP Looks to Louisiana's Governor--By Michael Leahy


Jindal May Prove To be Republicans' Version of Obama

Last weekend, 18 days after Barack Obama decisively defeated their candidate for president, a mostly Republican crowd of self-described conservatives received their first introduction to someone many prominent members of the GOP think could be the party's own version of Obama.

Like the president-elect, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is young (37), accomplished (a Rhodes scholar) and, as the son of Indian immigrants, someone familiar with breaking racial and cultural barriers. He came to Iowa to deliver a pair of speeches, and his mere presence ignited talk that the 2012 presidential campaign has begun here, if coyly. Already, a fierce fight is looming between him and other Republicans -- former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who arrived in Iowa a couple of days before him, and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is said to be coming at some point -- for the hearts of social conservatives.

"The Republicans really have no choice except to look at some people more youthful if they want to have a better chance of winning," said Betty E. Johnson, an independent and the wife of a Cedar Rapids pastor, who voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 but who went for Obama over 72-year-old John McCain. "I liked Obama's energy and hope. I don't know, but maybe a younger person would give Republicans a feeling of more energy, openness."

Jindal insists he is ignoring all the speculation. In Cedar Rapids, at a breakfast event devoted to addressing this beleaguered city's efforts to rebound from its disastrous flood last summer, he avoided any reference to 2012, staying focused on explaining Louisiana's methods for coping with hurricane floods in emergencies on his watch.

Meanwhile, others around the country were talking him up. No less an aspiring kingmaker than Steve Schmidt, the chief strategist of McCain's failed presidential bid, sees Jindal as the Republican Party's destiny. "The question is not whether he'll be president, but when he'll be president, because he will be elected someday." The anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist believes, too, that Jindal is a certainty to occupy the White House, and conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh has described him as "the next Ronald Reagan."

Jindal is, above all else, a political meteor, sharing Obama's precocious skills for reaching the firmament in a hurry. It was just four years ago, after losing a gubernatorial election, that he won election to Congress, and only this year that he became Louisiana's governor, the first nonwhite to hold the office since Reconstruction. And now, 10 months into his first term, the talk of a presidential bid is getting louder among his boosters.

Youth, Norquist notes, has never been at a greater premium for Republicans in search of a new path. And the generally positive reaction to Jindal's handling of Louisiana's mass evacuation in August before Hurricane Gustav, and his response in the storm's aftermath, bolstered the image of the new governor's vigor.

"If anything, McCain's candidacy suggests that age is not always a positive -- and sometimes is a negative," Norquist says. "As Republicans, you have a real problem now with younger voters and immigrants. If you were going to central casting for a candidate to deal with all that, who do you have? Jindal. He is young, and he looks young. . . . He's a great communicator. And his record is that he's sharp and quick with policy."

Jindal supporters regularly evoke the Reagan parallel, fueled by a confidence that their hero's brand of social and fiscal conservatism, coupled with his sunny folksiness on the stump, can rekindle the Reagan flame. But all the comparisons end there. In 1981, Reagan entered the presidency at age 69, in the model of a leader the party traditionally favored then, older and seasoned. Just an elementary school kid when Reagan stepped into the Oval Office, Jindal is boyish-looking and six years younger than John F. Kennedy was when he became the nation's youngest elected president.

Jindal is his own invention, in the mold of an Obama. Born in Louisiana as Piyush Jindal to highly educated immigrants from India, he decided as a young child to nickname himself "Bobby," after his favorite character on the TV show "The Brady Bunch." Raised as a Hindu, he converted to Catholicism while in college and later wrote a lengthy, intimate story that provided a window on his religious evolution, in a manner that fairly calls to mind Obama's books about his own grappling with issues of self-identity. Success at Brown University and later at Oxford University during his Rhodes years led to high-profile attention in the power corridors of Louisiana and Washington.

The Louisiana governor at the time, Murphy J. "Mike" Foster Jr., turned to a 25-year-old Jindal to shore up Louisiana's Medicaid program, which had fallen badly into debt. By the time Jindal finished, he had shut down some state hospitals and had the program running a surplus. "He had to close a hospital in my district, but he didn't hesitate doing what he had to do," remembers former Louisiana state senator Tony Perkins, now the leader of the Family Research Council. "He always knows what he wants to get done."

The record is still evolving, like the rest of him. But social conservatives like what they have heard about the public and private Jindal: his steadfast opposition to abortion without exceptions; his disapproval of embryonic stem cell research; his and his wife Supriya's decision in 1997 to enter into a Louisiana covenant marriage that prohibits no-fault divorce in the state; and his decision in June to sign into law the Louisiana Science Education Act, a bill heartily supported by creationists that permits public school teachers to educate students about both the theory of "scientific design" and criticisms of Darwinian evolutionary concepts.

"Y'all are great to come," Jindal said to a pack of robust, gray-haired men who towered over his thin, 5-foot-8 frame. A couple of men dared to say they hoped he would be back campaigning in Iowa soon, to which he simply responded with a tight-lipped smile. Away from the rostrum, in response to a question, he declared he had only one political race on his mind. "I'm running for reelection to be governor of Louisiana in 2011," he said. "I'm not running for any other office."
You're in Iowa, someone said.

"I've spoken to the governor of Iowa and the Cedar Rapids group about what we can do with the flood victims because we've had to deal with these things, and they've been committed to helping our people when they were hurt by floods," he responded. "I want to be the best governor I can be for the people of Louisiana. Look, I think the American people are tired of campaigns and politics. We need to get behind our new president and our new Congress, support them, and stop being Democrats and Republicans. We need to work together to make sure our government is successful."

As he took the lectern for his speech, a former Iowa state representative, 72-year-old Rosemary Thomson and her husband, Jim, leaned forward and listened closely, a pair of lifelong Republicans who had delayed a trip to Illinois just to check out Jindal. They cautioned that they would not be making up their minds about him this morning, wanting a long look in the next few years at the entire Republican field. "But you read everything about him, and you know he's very smart," said Thomson, who had never heard him speak before. "It's an impressive résumé. Rhodes scholar. . . . He's done so much, and he's so young, a real up-and-comer."

Jindal's speech impressed them. While the crowd pushed away their eggs to study him, he alluded to the light dusting of snow to which Cedar Rapids had awakened. "Where I come from, we call that a blizzard," he said, eliciting chuckles from the Thomsons.

He segued quickly to the floods that had damaged their states and what he said he had learned from Louisiana's hurricanes. Government's swift reaction "matters more than red tape," he said. "Always side with the people. You can write an apology to the bureaucrats later."

This won him appreciative laughs, which grew into loud applause as he told about a rough-talking, no-nonsense Louisiana sheriff who had exhibited even less patience with bureaucrats. "You don't succeed by waiting for FEMA to tell you what to do," he declared. "You tell them what you need."

It was a speech devoted in large part to a skewering of federal bureaucracies, which was red meat for the breakfast attendees who showed their appreciation for his praise of the private sector and of faith-based organizations that he said had aided Louisiana. "If you ever get cynical, come down to Louisiana," he said, and then lauded those gathered for their "generous response" during his state's crises. "Know this: We will rebuild. Our people are strong and resilient. Thank y'all very much."

The Thomsons pressed forward to shake his hand and have their picture taken alongside him. "He's a great speaker," whispered Rosemary Thomson. "He's enthusiastic. He has a background of success . . . with those hurricanes, where others failed. But it's too early to support anyone. There's a long ways to go."
She walked back to Jindal, because something had just occurred to her. "So the campaign has begun, huh?" she affably said to him. "2012 has begun."

He smiled. "Oh, no, no, not yet," ” he replied. “No, not yet.”

Officials: Obama set to introduce Clinton Monday--By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer



A deal with Bill Clinton over his post-White House work helped clear the way for Hillary Rodham Clinton to join President-elect Barack Obama's national security team as secretary of state, reshaping a once-bitter rivalry into a high-profile strategic and diplomatic union.

Obama was to be joined by the New York senator at a Chicago news conference Monday, Democratic officials said, where he also planned to announce that Defense Secretary Robert Gates would remain in his job for a year or more and that retired Marine General James M. Jones would serve as national security adviser.

The officials requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly for the transition team.

To make it possible for his wife to become the top U.S. diplomat, the officials said, former President Clinton agreed:

--to disclose the names of every contributor to his foundation since its inception in 1997 and all contributors going forward.

--to refuse donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Global Initiative, his annual charitable conference.

--to cease holding CGI meetings overseas.

--to volunteer to step away from day-to-day management of the foundation while his wife is secretary of state.

--to submit his speaking schedule to review by the State Department and White House counsel.

--to submit any new sources of income to a similar ethical review.
Bill Clinton's business deals and global charitable endeavors had been expected to create problems for the former first lady's nomination. But in negotiations with the Obama transition team, the former president agreed to several measures designed to bring transparency to those activities.

"It's a big step," said Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who said he plans to vote to confirm Clinton.

The former president long had refused to disclose the identities of contributors to his foundation, saying many gave money on condition that they not be identified.

Lugar said there would still be "legitimate questions" raised about the former president's extensive international involvement. "I don't know how, given all of our ethics standards now, anyone quite measures up to this who has such cosmic ties, but ... hopefully, this team of rivals will work," Lugar said.

Obama's choice of Hillary Clinton was an extraordinary gesture of good will after a year in which the two rivals competed for the Democratic nomination in a long, bitter primary battle.

They clashed repeatedly on foreign affairs. Obama criticized Clinton for her vote to authorize the Iraq war. Clinton said Obama lacked the experience to be president and she chided him for saying he would meet with leaders of nations such as Iran and Cuba without conditions.

The bitterness began melting away in June after Clinton ended her campaign and endorsed Obama. She went on to campaign for him in his general election contest against Republican Sen. John McCain.

Advisers said Obama had for several months envisioned Clinton as his top diplomat, and he invited her to Chicago to discuss the job just a week after the Nov. 4 election. The two met privately Nov. 13 in Obama's transition office in downtown Chicago.

Clinton was said to be interested and then to waver, concerned about relinquishing her Senate seat and the political independence it conferred. Those concerns were largely resolved after Obama assured her she would be able to choose a staff and have direct access to him, advisers said.

Remaining in the Senate also may not have been an attractive choice for Clinton. Despite her political celebrity, she is a relatively junior senator without prospects for a leadership position or committee chairmanship anytime soon.

Some Democrats and government insiders have questioned whether Clinton is too independent and politically ambitious to serve Obama as secretary of state. But a senior Obama adviser has said the president-elect had been enthusiastic about naming Clinton to the position from the start, believing she would bring instant stature and credibility to U.S. diplomatic relations and the advantages to her serving far outweigh potential downsides.

Clinton "is known throughout the world, very smart, a little harder line than Senator Obama took during the campaign," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a close McCain friend and adviser who is on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, said the Clintons will have to tread carefully to avoid the appearance of conflicts.

"The presumption will be that both Secretary of State Clinton and former President Clinton will be very judicious in what they take on because there's a new dimension here," Reed said. "I think they've put up a good framework. This disclosure, this transparency is the right way to go."

Lugar and Reed both spoke on ABC's "This Week." Graham was on "Fox News Sunday."

Obama to name Clinton secretary of state on Monday--By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer Beth Fouhy, Associated Press Writer


President-elect Barack Obama planned to nominate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as his secretary of state on Monday, transforming a once-bitter political rivalry into a high-level strategic and diplomatic partnership.

Obama will name the New York senator to his national security team at a news conference in Chicago, Democratic officials said Saturday. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly for the transition team.

To clear the way for his wife to take the job, former President Bill Clinton agreed to disclose the names of every contributor to his foundation since its inception in 1997. He'll also refuse donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Global Initiative, his annual charitable conference, and will cease holding CGI meetings overseas.

Bill Clinton's business deals and global charitable endeavors were expected to create problems for the former first lady's nomination. But in negotiations with the Obama transition team, the former president agreed to several measures designed to bring transparency to his post-presidential work.

The former president had long refused to disclose the identities of contributors to his foundation, saying many gave money on condition that they not be identified. He's now agreed to do so, and has volunteered to step away from day-to-day management of the foundation while his wife serves as secretary of state.

Bill Clinton also agreed to submit his speaking schedule to vetting by the State Department and White House counsel, and to submit any new sources of income to similar ethical review.
Obama's choice of Hillary Clinton was an extraordinary gesture of goodwill after a year in which the two rivals competed for the Democratic nomination in a long, bitter primary battle.

The two clashed repeatedly on foreign affairs during the 50-state contest, with Obama criticizing Clinton for her vote to authorize the Iraq war and Clinton saying that Obama lacked the experience to be president. She also chided him for saying he would meet with leaders of rogue nations like Iran and Cuba without preconditions.

The bitterness began melting away in June after Clinton ended her campaign and endorsed Obama. She went on to campaign for him in his general election contest against Republican Sen. John McCain.

Advisers said Obama had for several months envisioned Clinton as his top diplomat, and he invited her to Chicago to discuss the job just a week after the Nov. 4 election. The two met privately Nov. 13 in Obama's downtown transition office.

Clinton was said to be interested and then to waver, concerned about relinquishing her Senate seat and the political independence it conferred. Those concerns were largely ameliorated after Obama assured her she would be able to choose a staff and have direct access to him, advisers said.

Remaining in the Senate also may not have been an attractive choice for Clinton. Despite her political celebrity, she is a relatively junior senator without prospects for a leadership position or committee chairmanship anytime soon.

Some Democrats and government insiders have questioned whether Clinton is too independent and politically ambitious to serve Obama as secretary of state. But a senior Obama adviser has said the president-elect had been enthusiastic about naming Clinton to the position from the start, believing she would bring instant stature and credibility to U.S. diplomatic relations and the advantages to her serving far outweigh potential downsides.

Clinton, 61, a Chicago native and Yale Law School graduate, practiced law and served as the first lady of Arkansas during her husband's 12 years as governor of the state, from 1979-81 and 1983-1992.

Clinton was the nation's first lady from 1993 to 2001. The same year George W. Bush defeated Al Gore to succeed her husband in the White House, Clinton ran for the Senate as a New York Democrat. She won re-election in 2006 and was widely regarded as the favorite for her party's nomination for president in 2008.


In the Senate, Clinton served on the Armed Services Committee, the Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Obama team repackaging Clinton after campaign digs--By NANCY BENAC, Associated Press Writer Nancy Benac, Associated Press Writer


It wasn't too long ago that Barack Obama and his advisers were tripping over one another to tear down Hillary Rodham Clinton's foreign policy credentials. She was dismissed as a commander in chief wanna-be who did little more than sip tea and make small talk with foreign leaders during her days as first lady.

"What exactly is this foreign policy experience?" Obama said mockingly of the New York senator. "Was she negotiating treaties? Was she handling crises? The answer is no."

That was in March, when Clinton was Obama's sole remaining rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Now, Clinton is on track to become Obama's secretary of state.

And, unsurprisingly, the sniping at her foreign policy credentials is a thing of the past.

Obama adviser William Daley over the weekend said Clinton would be "a tremendous addition to this administration. Tremendous."

Senior adviser David Axelrod called Clinton a "demonstrably able, tough, brilliant person."

Last spring, though, Clinton was targeted with a steady stream of criticism via conference call, e-mail and campaign-trail digs from the Obama camp, all aimed at shredding her self-portrait as an experienced and confident leader on the international stage. Some of those doing the sniping will be taking up key positions — most likely along with Clinton — in the new Obama administration.

Greg Craig, selected to serve as White House counsel in the Obama administration, delivered a withering attack during the primaries on Clinton's claims that she could rightfully share in the credit for some of the foreign policy successes of her husband's presidency.

"She did not sit in on any National Security Council meetings when she was first lady," Craig insisted in one conference call. He went on to knock down Clinton's claims to influence in the Northern Ireland peace process, opening borders for refugees during the war in Kosovo, and making a dangerous visit to Bosnia.

"There is no reason to believe ... that she was a key player in foreign policy at any time during the Clinton administration," Craig wrote in a campaign memo.

Susan Rice, an Obama adviser who could land a spot in the new administration, mocked the idea that Clinton could lay claim to foreign policy credentials by marriage.

"There is no crisis to be dealt with or managed when you are first lady," Rice sniffed last March. "You don't get that kind of experience by being married to a commander in chief."

Clinton was only too happy to make light of Obama's own foreign policy credentials, suggesting his biggest selling point was a 2002 speech against going to war with Iraq. "Many people gave speeches against the war then," she said in a February debate.

Robert Gelbard, an adviser to the Obama campaign on foreign policy who worked in the Clinton administration, said in March that Clinton had more involvement in foreign policy than a lot of first ladies, but added that "her role was limited and I've been surprised at the claims that she had a much greater role."

Well, never mind about all of that now.

"That was then; this is now," said David Gergen, who has served as an adviser to both Republican and Democratic presidents. "Campaigns are ever thus."

"Generally speaking," Gergen said, "there is a recognition that campaigns bring a certain amount of hyperbole, and when it's over you try to find the most talented people you can find to work with you."

Clinton may not have been at the table when her husband made the big decisions, Gergen said, but "she's been imbibing questions on foreign policy and decision-making since 1992."

A spokesperson for the Obama transition team declined to comment on the shift in tone.

It also should be said that some of the wounds to Clinton's foreign policy credentials during the primaries were self-inflicted, most famously her inflated account of the drama associated with a visit she made to Bosnia.

"I remember landing under sniper fire," she recounted in a speech. "There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."

Soon enough, video footage surfaced of Clinton's unremarkable airport arrival ceremony, where she was welcomed by dignitaries and posed for photos with children.

Clinton brought up the Bosnia trip to counter Obama's suggestion that her experiences as first lady amounted to having tea at an ambassador's house.

"I don't remember anyone offering me tea," she said of the Bosnia visit.

Clinton, in an April debate, blamed her Bosnia gaffe on campaign fatigue. But she did not back away from her claim to broad foreign policy experience as first lady.

"I was not as accurate as I have been in the past," she said. "But I know, too, that being able to rely on my experience of having gone to Bosnia, gone to more than 80 countries, having represented the United States in so many different settings, gives me a tremendous advantage going into this campaign."

Well, maybe not in the campaign, as it turned out.


But maybe, just perhaps, as secretary of state.

Let’s Get Smart—By Mark Rudd


If you're anything like me, your inbox fills up daily with the cries and complaints of lefties. Just the mere mention of the names Hillary Clinton and Lawrence Summers alone conger up a litany of horrendous right-wingers appointed to top level positions. Betrayal is the name of the game.

But wait a second. Let's talk about a few things:

*Obama is a very strategic thinker. He knew precisely what it would take to get elected and didn't blow it. He used community organizing methods to mobilize a base consisting of many people who had never voted before or who regularly don't vote. Few other candidates in my lifetime have taken this road, which is contrary to conventional political wisdom. (Paul Wellstone was a wonderful exception to the rule). But he also knew that what he said had to basically play to the center to not be run over by the press, the Republicans, scare centrist and cross-over voters away. He made it.

So he has a narrow mandate for change, without any direction specified. What he's doing now is moving on the most popular issues--the environment, health care, and the economy. He'll be progressive on the environment because that has broad popular support; health care will be extended to children, then made universal, but the medical, pharmaceutical, and insurance corporations will stay in place, perhaps yielding some power; the economic agenda will stress stimulation from the bottom sometime and handouts to the top at other times. It will be pragmatic--Summers is talking about the growth in income disparity as a significant problem. On foreign policy and the wars and the use of the military and absolutely there will be no change at all. That's what keeping Gates at the Pentagon and Clinton at State and not prosecuting the torturers is saying. And never, never threaten the military budget. That will unite a huge majority of congress against him.

And I agree with this strategy. Anything else will court sure defeat. Move on the stuff you can to a small but significant extent, gain support and confidence. Leave the military alone because they're way too powerful. For now, until enough momentum is raised. By the second or third year of this recession, when stimulus is needed at the bottom, people may begin to discuss cutting the military budget if security is being increased through diplomacy and application of nascent international law.

*Obama plays basketball. I'm not much of an athlete, barely know the game, but one thing I do know is that you have to be able to look like you're doing one thing but do another. That's why all these conservative appointments are important: the strategy is feint to the right, move left. Any other strategy invites sure defeat. It would be stupid to do otherwise in this environment.

*Look to the second level appointments. There's a whole govt. in waiting that Podesta has at the Center for American Progress. They're mostly progressives, I'm told (except in military and foreign policy). Cheney was extremely effective at controlling policy by putting his people in at second-level positions.

*Read Obama's first book, "Dreams from My Father." The second section is the story of his three years doing community organizing in Chicago. It's some of the best writing on organizing I've ever seen. That's all it's about, the core of the book. Obama learned many lessons of strategy and patience. Then read the first section, on his family and growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia. No other president has ever had such intimate experience with class and race. The final section is about his trip to Kenya. No other president has ever had an understanding of not only race, but colonialism and neo-colonialism, even using the terms. It's the whole story he tells of his African family and especially his father, a victim of neo-colonialism. As was his step-father in Indonesia.

This is no stupid guy. I haven't read The Audacity of Hope yet, but I plan to soon. I am ashamed that it took me so long to read Obama's books. Had any of the stupid Republicans read his books, they never could have said, "We don't know who this guy is." You know every thought he's ever had.

Our job now is to organize both inside and outside the Demo party. There's already a big battle in the Demo party at every level. Here in the NM State Legislature, the progressives are challenging the conservative Dems for leadership; the same is true in Congress. If you can't stand to work in the party, work on putting mass pressure on issues such as healthcare and jobs and the war from outside.

Here's my mantra: "Let's put this country on our shoulders and get to work."

This is the Movement for a Democratic Society Mailing List.

MDS is a low volume announcements list for members and friends of the Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS), a working group of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). MDS serves the community of post graduate activists, workers and all of those who struggle in democratic solidarity. The list is open to anyone who shares our commitment to participatory democracy and direct action. Announcement topics include (but are not limited to): Radicals In The Professions (RIP), the Radical Education Project (REP), the MDS Foundation, SDS/MDS Legal Defense and community and labor organizing.

The Audacity of Obama : Centrist Appointments a Smoke Screen

The Audacity of Obama : Centrist Appointments a Smoke Screen

Barack Obama at a book signing in 2006. "The writing style of Audacity of Hope reveals how complex and perceptive Obama is."

These various initiatives, which will collectively set the nation on a path towards energy independence, ending the war and redistributing financial resources downward, are presented as unconnected pieces of legislation but actually they are interlocking components of Obama's coherent multi-layered agenda.

By Jeff Jones / The Rag Blog / November 29, 2008
Also see Obama Chooses an Unlikely Team of Hawks by Peter Beinart, Below.
I agree with Mark Rudd's perceptive article Let's Get Smart About Obama in The Rag Blog.

The writing style of Audacity of Hope reveals how complex and perceptive Obama is: he is hyper-literate, almost Ciceronian, and unlike most of his speeches, amazingly precise. He expresses what he thinks and feels without resorting to binary thinking. He does not interpret reality in black and white terms: he is the nation's first post-modern president.

All of this leads me to the same conclusion reached by Mark Rudd: this guy is really SMART. He is setting Hillary Clinton up to be the public face of his effort to end the Iraq war. He is going to sucessfully extort green concessions from Detroit. He will convince Congress to pass a major stimulus package that will lay the foundation for the development of an alternative energy manufacturing industry. He will do something to help reduce housing foreclosures. He will let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire.

These various initiatives, which will collectively set the nation on a path towards energy independence, ending the war and redistributing financial resources downward, are presented as unconnected pieces of legislation but actually they are interlocking components of Obama's coherent multi-layered agenda. His centrist appointments are a smokescreen; they co-opt the moderate center, but he's still the commander in chief. Even Lenin would be impressed!

Please see Mark Rudd : Let's Get Smart About Obama by Mark Rudd / The Rag Blog / Nov. 28, 2008

Obama Chooses an Unlikely Team of Hawks
By Peter Beinart / November 26, 2008

In liberal blogland, reports that Barack Obama will probably choose Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and retired general James Jones as National Security Adviser and retain Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense have prompted a chorus of groans. "I feel incredibly frustrated," wrote Chris Bowers on OpenLeft.com.

"Progressives are being entirely left out."

A word of advice: cheer up. It's precisely because Obama intends to pursue a genuinely progressive foreign policy that he's surrounding himself with people who can guard his right flank at home. When George W. Bush wanted to sell the Iraq war, he trotted out Colin Powell--because Powell was nobody's idea of a hawk. Now Obama may be preparing to do the reverse. To give himself cover for a withdrawal from Iraq and a diplomatic push with Iran, he's surrounding himself with people like Gates, Clinton and Jones, who can't be lampooned as doves.

To grasp the logic of this strategy, start with the fact that Obama's likely national-security picks don't actually disagree very much with the foreign policy he laid out during the campaign. Jones is on record calling the Iraq war a "debacle" and urging that the detention center at Guantánamo Bay be closed "tomorrow." Gates has also reportedly pushed for closing Gitmo and for faster withdrawals from Iraq.

He has called a military strike against Iran a "strategic calamity," urged diplomacy with Tehran's mullahs and denounced the "creeping militarization" of U.S. foreign policy. (You don't hear that from a Defense Secretary every day.) For her part, Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign embraced an Iraq-withdrawal position virtually identical to Obama's. And although they fought a sound-bite war over sitting down with the leaders of countries like Iran, the two candidates' actual Iran policies were pretty much the same. Both wanted intensive diplomacy; both wanted to start it at lower levels and work up from there.

On key policy issues, Jones, Gates and Clinton aren't significantly more hawkish than Obama. What they are is more hawkish symbolically. Gates is a Republican; Jones is a Marine general who once worked for John McCain; Clinton, as Senator from New York, has gained credibility with hawkish pro-Israel groups. In other words, what distinguishes Gates, Jones and Clinton isn't their desire to shift Obama's policies to the right; it's their ability to persuade the right to give Obama's policies a chance.

Obama knows that although Iraq has tarnished the GOP foreign policy brand, Democrats remain vulnerable. When the moderate Democratic group Third Way asked voters in September whom they trusted more on national security, Democrats trailed by 14 points. (The gap has widened substantially since late 2006.) On the question of "ensuring a strong military," they trailed by 30 points--an astonishing figure, given that it is a Republican President who has stretched the Army to its breaking point.

Politically, therefore, Obama is playing with fire. If he accelerates troop withdrawals and violence in Iraq flares up again, the GOP will pounce. If he cuts a nuclear deal with Iran, it will probably do the same, accusing him of putting his faith in an inspection agreement that Tehran will never obey. And if he pushes hard for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, right-leaning Jewish groups may cry foul. That's the beauty of his emerging national-security team. Even Republicans will find it hard to call Gates and Jones latter-day Neville Chamberlains, and even many Likudniks will think twice before claiming that Hillary Clinton is in league with Hamas. (For cover on Israel, Obama will also be able to trot out Rahm Emanuel, whose father was born in Jerusalem, and, quite possibly, long-serving Middle East envoy Dennis Ross, who is tight with the pro-Israel lobby.)

Obama understands that foreign policy is, in international- relations- speak, a two-sided game. To get your way, you not only have to convince other governments; you also have to convince the folks back home. Bill Clinton negotiated the Kyoto Protocol on global warming with well over 100 other countries but couldn't get it through the 100-member U.S. Senate. He crafted a nuclear agreement with North Korea but saw it sabotaged by a Republican Congress that wouldn't provide sufficient money to carry it out. Obama knows that while it's a tough world out there, it's tough here as well. In Gates, Jones and Clinton, he's found people who can do more than sell his foreign policy to Iranians, Iraqis and Israelis; they can sell it to Americans too.

[Beinart is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.]

Source / Time
Thanks to Thomas Cleaver / The Rag Blog

http://theragblog. blogspot. com/

Obama Chooses An Unlikely Team Of Hawks: A more optimistic view--By Peter Beinart


In liberal blogland, reports that Barack Obama will probably choose Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and retired general James Jones as National Security Adviser and retain Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense have prompted a chorus of groans. "I feel incredibly frustrated," wrote Chris Bowers on OpenLeft.com "Progressives are being entirely left out."

A word of advice: cheer up. It's precisely because Obama intends to pursue a genuinely progressive foreign policy that he's surrounding himself with people who can guard his right flank at home. When George W. Bush wanted to sell the Iraq war, he trotted out Colin Powell--because Powell was nobody's idea of a hawk. Now Obama may be preparing to do the reverse. To give himself cover for a withdrawal from Iraq and a diplomatic push with Iran, he's surrounding himself with people like Gates, Clinton and Jones, who can't be lampooned as doves.

To grasp the logic of this strategy, start with the fact that Obama's likely national-security picks don't actually disagree very much with the foreign policy he laid out during the campaign. Jones is on record calling the Iraq war a "debacle" and urging that the detention center at Guantánamo Bay be closed "tomorrow." Gates has also reportedly pushed for closing Gitmo and for faster withdrawals from Iraq. He has called a military strike against Iran a "strategic calamity," urged diplomacy with Tehran's mullahs and denounced the "creeping militarization" of U.S. foreign policy. (You don't hear that from a Defense Secretary every day.) For her part, Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign embraced an Iraq-withdrawal position virtually identical to Obama's. And although they fought a sound-bite war over sitting down with the leaders of countries like Iran, the two candidates' actual Iran policies were pretty much the same. Both wanted intensive diplomacy; both wanted to start it at lower levels and work up from there.

On key policy issues, Jones, Gates and Clinton aren't significantly more hawkish than Obama. What they are is more hawkish symbolically. Gates is a Republican; Jones is a Marine general who once worked for John McCain; Clinton, as Senator from New York, has gained credibility with hawkish pro-Israel groups. In other words, what distinguishes Gates, Jones and Clinton isn't their desire to shift Obama's policies to the right; it's their ability to persuade the right to give Obama's policies a chance.

Obama knows that although Iraq has tarnished the GOP foreign policy brand, Democrats remain vulnerable. When the moderate Democratic group Third Way asked voters in September whom they trusted more on national security, Democrats trailed by 14 points. (The gap has widened substantially since late 2006.) On the question of "ensuring a strong military," they trailed by 30 points--an astonishing figure, given that it is a Republican President who has stretched the Army to its breaking point.

Politically, therefore, Obama is playing with fire. If he accelerates troop withdrawals and violence in Iraq flares up again, the GOP will pounce. If he cuts a nuclear deal with Iran, it will probably do the same, accusing him of putting his faith in an inspection agreement that Tehran will never obey. And if he pushes hard for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, right-leaning Jewish groups may cry foul. That's the beauty of his emerging national-security team. Even Republicans will find it hard to call Gates and Jones latter-day Neville Chamberlains, and even many Likudniks will think twice before claiming that Hillary Clinton is in league with Hamas. (For cover on Israel, Obama will also be able to trot out Rahm Emanuel, whose father was born in Jerusalem, and, quite possibly, long-serving Middle East envoy Dennis Ross, who is tight with the pro-Israel lobby.)

Obama understands that foreign policy is, in international- relations- speak, a two-sided game. To get your way, you not only have to convince other governments; you also have to convince the folks back home. Bill Clinton negotiated the Kyoto Protocol on global warming with well over 100 other countries but couldn't get it through the 100-member U.S. Senate. He crafted a nuclear agreement with North Korea but saw it sabotaged by a Republican Congress that wouldn't provide sufficient money to carry it out. Obama knows that while it's a tough world out there, it's tough here as well. In Gates, Jones and Clinton, he's found people who can do more than sell his foreign policy to Iranians, Iraqis and Israelis; they can sell it to Americans too.

Beinart is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

A president named Obama changes the name game--By DEEPTI HAJELA, Associated Press Writer


Zenas Ackah has heard it all his life: What kind of name is that? You must not be from here. You must be foreign. Actually, no. Born in the United States, the 22-year-old college senior with the Greek first name and the Ghanian last name grew up in Philadelphia.

But Ackah is hopeful that change is coming, that the idea of an "American" name will expand beyond monikers like Tom and Harry and Sally and Jane and Smith and Jones. He figures he's got a strong weapon on his side — for at least the next four years, when people look to the most powerful American in the country, the "uber-American" if you will, they'll be looking at President Barack Hussein Obama.

"I think it will help people understand that people in America aren't just John, Jack, Mary," Ackah said. "They're Zenas and Barack."

Obama's name gave him his share of trouble during the campaign. He acknowledged its unfamiliarity to most Americans, and there were times when supporters of his opponent made a point of using his middle name, which was seen as an attempt to cast doubt on his background and faith.

But the next four years will ensure that his name is no longer unfamiliar.

People have already named their infants after him.

The more people hear it, the more mainstream it becomes, said Don Nilsen, a professor of English linguistics at Arizona State University and co-president of the American Name Society.

"Who is more American than the president of the United States?" he said. "There's no question it will have a ripple effect, because of the power of the position."

Names traditionally considered "American" tend to be "British-sounding stuff," said Cleveland Evans, professor of psychology at Bellevue University in Nebraska. "We are still basically an English-culture country. We really are still in many ways at our base an Anglo-Saxon culture."

He and Nilsen pointed out that immigrants have long had a history of changing their names to fit in more with the United States, or have even had others change it for them.

Obama, born in Hawaii and named after his Kenyan father, went by Barry for some years before deciding to use his full first name.

Ackah can understand. He still finds the comments about his name irritating, along with the assumptions people make upon hearing a name they're not familiar with.

"People start talking down to you because they think you're foreign," he said.

Electing someone named Barack Obama president reflects a shift in attitudes about names that's been going on in American society for the past few decades, says Laura Wattenberg, a name expert and author who runs the blog The Baby Name Wizard.

"As a group, American parents are naming much more creatively and are striving to be distinctive with the names they pick," she said, pointing out that shift started in the 1960s when Obama was born and has only accelerated in the last 25 years or so.

So while certain names may be more popular and prevalent than others, it's not by much, she said. In 2007, Jacob was the most popular name for boys. But Wattenberg pointed out that only 1 percent of boys were given that name.

In contrast, a century ago, 7.5 percent of parents chose the top name, John.

A president named Obama could break down the perception "that there is such a thing as a 'normal' name," said Wattenberg.

"It's a powerful symbol of breaking down barriers where it wasn't that long ago where kids with a non-English name would go to school and teachers would routinely change it. The president having a non-English name is a sign that we're not squeezing everyone into that box," she said.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Can Obama's team of egos co-exist?--By: Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin


Barack Obama’s picks for cabinet and other senior posts are many things: centrists, veterans, rivals. Most of all, though, they’re big: Big names, big intellects, and big egos.
The president-elect’s national security and economic policy teams, inside the White House and out, will be led by power politics veterans, all but one of them older than the president-elect, and all accustomed to being the most important voice in the room.

While official announcements and Senate confirmations await, it appears that on national security decisions, Obama will have a team of heavyweights: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Vice President Joe Biden, retired four-star Marine general Jim Jones as his National Security Adviser, and four-star General David Petraeus as chief of U.S. Central Command.

His economic team is of similar stature: new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will find his rival for the job, Larry Summers, in the White House, while former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker will also be in the mix as head of a new economic recovery advisory board.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel seems unlikely to be shy about his views in either arena.

The choices have been widely praised, with even critics such as Karl Rove and the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board saluting Obama for surrounding himself with some of the most talented and highly regarded figures in American public life. Democrats have celebrated the sheer muscle Obama has assembled to push through his agenda.

Obama has encouraged comparisons between his governing team and Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet, which included several of his Republican rivals. But Obama’s is less a team of rivals than a team of giants—and his best and brightest will inevitably jostle up against one another, as some rise and others fall within an administration that has ambitious goals but limited resources.

Almost certainly, they’ll test the strength of a president brimming with confidence and with a self-described mandate.

“The challenge is to have strength in the center,” said Paul Begala, the former Clinton aide. “There’s always risk that these giant planets go out on their own—but if the sun is strong enough, they’ll stay in their orbits.”

Many on the new team have long known one another and the intimate world of Beltway politics for much longer than they’ve known Obama, a relative newcomer to Washington, and most remained neutral in the Democratic primary.

Biden, a 35-year senator, and Gates, a former head of the CIA and deputy national security adviser, were mastering Washington power games when Obama was a law student. Only Geithner is younger than Obama; he was born two weeks later than the president-elect.

“It’s not just that that they’re big players—he’s picking people with tremendous competency,” said former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, a Democrat. “It comes from his own sense—he’s very confident in himself. That’s an extremely valuable characteristic for a president.”
Obama had to persuade two of his picks, Clinton and Gates, to accept.

Veterans of Bill Clinton’s first term say the difference is dramatic. Then, Clinton made Mack McClarty, an Arkansas confidant, his chief of staff and appointed as his secretaries of state and defense important figures, but not people of such stature that there could be any doubt that they would take the job.

One veteran Clinton aide recalled that the president and his aides discussed the risks of bringing big names and large egos, into the White House in his second term, when internal debate focused on whether or not Richard Holbrooke should be named Ambassador to the United Nations.

“Most of the foreign policy team was against it,” the former Clinton aide recalled. “They thought he was too big an ego, too outsized a personality.”

But White House staffers—including Rahm Emanuel—argued in favor of the pick, and Holbrooke got the job.

Counterbalancing possible tensions is the depth of the relationships among the principles and key deputies. On the economic policy team, Geithner and Summers have been friendly sparring partners since the 1990s. On national security, the Democrats have been attending the same conferences and dinner parties for decades. Tom Donilon and Jim Steinberg, top deputies to Biden and Clinton, respectively, are old friends and allies.

“There is an insiders’ group of longstanding Democratic former officials who worked together in the Clinton years, who go to the same conferences, the same ideas festivals, many of whom worked together at places like the Brookings Institution, and [Obama’s] group comprises a certain number of them,” said a Democratic national security hand.

If there’s an obvious gap, it’s between the civilian officials on one hand and Gates and the military men on the other: Gates and Petraeus are key allies, and Gates and Jones are said to be close.

“Those guys don’t have the same social and intellectual and political DNA,” the Democrat said.
Any potential clashes of the titans, though, may be mitigated by the relationships among and between the groups. Clinton and Biden are old allies; but Clinton also wooed Jones during her campaign for president, before the retired general developed a relationship with Obama (To add another layer: Jones also advised John McCain during the campaign, whom he has known since he was Marine Liaison to the Senate and McCain was the Navy Liaison in the late 1970s)
Veterans of past White Houses said they anticipated clashes, and that one of Obama’s key challenges would be to manage the personalities.

“For some of the smallest offices in Washington, the West Wing has hosted some of the largest egos ever. That’s why the boss’s office is Oval—no one can get pushed into the corner,” said Mike McCurry, a former Clinton White House press secretary.

He and other veterans of past White Houses, Democrat and Republican, praised Obama’s picks.

“You want to bring the brightest minds and most capable people to the table. They’re obviously going to have very different views about how you resolve an issue. In the end, the test is really up to president,” said Leon Panetta, a former Clinton White House Chief of Staff. “The president not only has to manage those large personalities but also make the decision. And the decisions are not going to please everybody.”

Mary Matalin, who served as a top aide to Vice-President Dick Cheney in President Bush’s first term, said there was much more upside in assembling a group of outsized egos.

“I can’t think of any president that I’ve worked for or read about that had any patience for a lily-willed personality,” said Matalin, who also worked for Bush 41. “You want them to challenge you and each other.”

And Obama, she said, can limit in-fighting by doing what past presidents have done: taking elements of his advisers differing ideas to formulate his own policy.

“It’s usually not ‘a’ or ‘b,’ but a synthesis,” she said, recalling that the current president would often not uniformly take the advice of Cheney or former Secretary of State Colin Powell, but rather go “off the menu” and pick a third option.

Panetta, similarly, praised Clinton’s ability to weave together input from his sometimes-fractious team to limit bruised egos.

“He took all these different ideas, he mixed them together and came up with an approach that combined different pieces from all his advisers,” said Panetta. “They all got something.”

Yet Clinton was also known at times for voicing the view of the adviser who got to him last, right before a decision was made.

Reminded that Clinton’s desire to please had resulted in some mixed messaging and speeches that were almost cafeteria-like in their options, Panetta let out a knowing laugh.


“That’s part of the challenge of being president,” he said

Obama adviser once critical of Clinton is back--By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer


An adviser to Barack Obama's presidential campaign who was forced to resign earlier this year after calling Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton a "monster" is now working on the transition team for the agency Clinton is expected to lead.

State Department officials said Friday that Samantha Power is among a group of foreign policy experts that the president-elect's office selected to help the incoming administration prepare for Clinton's anticipated nomination as secretary of state. The Obama transition team's Web site includes Power's name as one of 14 members of the "Agency Review Team" for the State Department.

Clinton's role at State is expected to be announced after the Thanksgiving weekend. Power's apparent rehabilitation is another sign of that impending move.

Clinton's office declined to comment on Power's inclusion in the State Department transition, but an official close to the Obama transition team said Power had "made a gesture to bury the hatchet" with Clinton and that it had been well-received.

Power has been given an official State Department e-mail address and has been seen in the building, said the State officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the transition. A State Department spokesman referred questions to Obama's transition team, which later declined to comment.

Power, a Harvard professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and noted commentator on genocide, is dealing with global humanitarian issues as part of the team, according to the officials. It is not clear if she is in line for any State Department job, they said.

Power made headlines in March during the height of the fierce fight for the Democratic presidential nomination when she called Clinton "a monster" in an interview with a Scottish newspaper, setting off angry exchanges about the tenor of the campaign.

Power told the Scotsman newspaper that Clinton would stop at nothing to defeat Obama. "She is a monster, too," Power said in the interview. "She is stooping to anything." Power added that "the amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive."

A few hours after her comments were published, Power announced her resignation, saying the remarks were inexcusable and contradictory to her admiration for Clinton.

At the time, Power said that Obama had rebuked her for the comment and "made it absolutely clear that we just couldn't make comments like this in his campaign."


Clinton's campaign seized on the remark, sending an e-mail to supporters telling them about the "monster" comment and asking for contributions to "show the Obama campaign that there is a price to this kind of attack politics."

There is Nothing Wrong With Being A Radical by Akindele Akinyemi

According to Merriam-Webster the word radical means the following.

1: of, relating to, or proceeding from a root:.

2: of or relating to the origin.

3 a: marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional : extreme b: tending or disposed to make extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions

In1854 when the Republican Party was founded in Jackson, Michigan these people were not passive conservatives nor social conservatives. These Republicans were considered to be Radical Republicans. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand how our beginnings at first was about change.

Our Radical Republican forefathers demanded harsh policies toward the end of slavery and the Confederacy during the war, and toward ex-Confederates after the war, as well as support for equal rights for the Freedmen (free Blacks).

After the 1860 elections the Radical Republicans became a powerful force in Congress.

The Radical Republicans campaign for equal rights for African Americans was not a popular cause after the American Civil War. In 1868 Henry Wilson argued that the issue cost the GOP over a quarter of a million votes in 1868. In the election that year several of the radicals lost their seats including the long-term leader of the group, Benjamin Wade.

After the American Civil War a group of former soldiers from the Confederate Army founded the Ku Klux Klan. The first Grand Wizard was Nathan Forest, an outstanding general during the war. During the next two years Klansmen wearing masks, white cardboard hats and draped in white sheets, tortured and killed black Americans and sympathetic whites, Immigrants who they blamed for the election of Radical Republicans, were also targets of their hatred.

Radical Republicans in Congress urged President Ulysses S. Grant to take action against the Ku Klux Klan. After a campaign led by Oliver Morton and Benjamin Butler, Grant agreed in 1870 to instigated an investigation into the organization and the following year a Grand Jury reported that: "There has existed since 1868, in many counties of the state, an organization known as the Ku Klux Klan, or Invisible Empire of the South, which embraces in its membership a large proportion of the white population of every profession and class. The Klan has a constitution and bylaws, which provides, among other things, that each member shall furnish himself with a pistol, a Ku Klux gown and a signal instrument. The operations of the Klan are executed in the night and are invariably directed against members of the Republican Party. The Klan is inflicting summary vengeance on the colored citizens of these citizens by breaking into their houses at the dead of night, dragging them from their beds, torturing them in the most inhuman manner, and in many instances murdering."

Congress passed the Ku Klux Act and became law on 20th April, 1871. This gave the president the power to intervene in troubled states with the authority to suspend the writ of Habeas Corpus in countries where disturbances occurred. The passing of this legislation was the last substantial victory for the Radical Republicans in Congress.

The progressive and responsible role of Radical Republicans in creating public school systems, charitable institutions and other social infrastructure in the South was ignored. Since the 1960s and the influence of the moral crusade of the Civil Rights era, recent historians in a school of thought have reevaluated the periods of Reconstruction and upgraded the reputation of the Radical Republicans. They argued that the Radical Republicans' advancement of civil rights and suffrage for African Americans following emancipation was more significant than the financial corruption which took place. They also pointed to the African Americans' central, active roles in reaching toward education (both individually and by creating public school systems) and their desire to acquire land as a means of self-support.

So what happened? Why did we get soft and comfortable in our position as Republicans? We simply forgot about how important it was to be a humanitarian. So now we are fighting over who is more conservative than the other. It is silly to fight over Michael Steele vs Ken Blackwell because Steele is moderate and Blackwell is more conservative. Here is a reminder. Both are Black. Both lost their races in 2006. And unless someone comes up with a plan to radically and actively recruit and EDUCATE the urban communities without being passive neither one will accomplish anything in the GOP.

If you never took the time to look up the word conservative it means this:

Tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions.

While I am a supporter of conservative principles I do not seek answers from dead people or from the graveyard like many of my colleagues in the GOP. Urban conservatism has nothing to do with staying in the same position for over a long period of time. It has something to do with keeping traditional values in the home BUT elevating as we advanced in information and technology.

The great thing about urban conservatism is the fact that its hard core belief is deeply rooted in radical principles to force change in our community. There is nothing wrong with being radical. Any person who is not interested in becoming a change agent (1) do not know the core principles of the very party they belong to (2) do not know the actual history of the party and (3) are waiting in line to die because they feel that we need to change the message to come into the urban communities.

Once again, we have to become those radical Republicans of the 1800s. History has a tendency of repeating itself. While we sit and waste time on non-issues we have to come up with a concrete strategy to combat adult illiteracy. This affects all of us whether we are Republican, Democrat, Black or White. The proof is most Republicans who I speak to do not even know that we started off as a radical group. While you had some who were "moderate" in the party in the beginning it was those who rode the backs of Frederick Douglass and many others that initiated change in our community. History makers are normally radicals who change the course of history by not fearing what is in front of them, a strong faith in God and understanding the principles of what they believe in.

Education is the most critical line item we must begin to address. Our children's freedom is on the line. With the amount of failing schools climbing in the urban areas in Michigan we have to seriously began looking at reform measures to help our children.

To make matters worse the Detroit Public Schools is considering making poor high school students pay nearly $300 for bus transportation and cutting back on textbook purchases as part of a sweeping two-year deficit elimination plan. The district also is weighing closing up to 18 schools by next school year, cutting at least 400 more administrators and non instructional staff, ending reimbursements to staff for bottled water and trimming hours for literacy coaches, counselors and other instructional specialists who assist teachers in the classroom. While no additional teachers are expected to be laid off next year, the cuts are in addition to more than 818 teachers already laid off or cut through attrition and the reduction of hundreds of other staff members in the cash-strapped district.

This is just the beginning. Of course, these types of actions could have a domino effect across State of Michigan when it comes to educational reform. If we are not in the business of education we will never get to the other problems such as civic education reform, mental health, health care, economic development or international trade and development.

This is the reason why I am running for Outreach Chair of the Michigan Republican Party. I am not running as a radical or passive Republican but my vision and execution methods are strategic. However, my platform is radical. I am not afraid to say that because radicalism brings about change. I do not kiss anyone ass period. I am about working as a group not practicing individualism. While I will work to open the doors of opportunity for both candidates and grassroots leaders I am still opening the door for new growth within the party by being personable, honest and loving towards each other. Candidates running in 2010 who are serious about working with me will have to know that I am not about YOUR agenda but OUR agenda. In fact, you will not be able to win Michigan unless we develop a urban strategy for us to actively pursue and get this, PHYSICALLY walk into the neighborhoods. Keep blowing off the inner cities and the inner cities will continue blowing off the GOP.

Our community needs us and its time that we gave back. One of my chief focuses is to reach out to those in the African Diaspora. If my colleagues would do some research you will find that out of the 880,000 African immigrants residing in the U.S., this group are a highly educated group. U.S. Census figures show that they are more likely to have a college degree (43.8% do) than Asian-Americans (42.5%) or the U.S. population as a whole (23.1%). "Our most educated immigrants come from Africa," said Camille Charles, a professor of sociology and African studies at the University of Pennsylvania whose research is the source of the statistic that 13% percent of black students at elite colleges are African immigrants.

The reason why MOST Africans even voted for Obama in the first place because of his lineage and platform. Sounds confusing? It should, however, when you are trying to please the crumbs that fall from the table you ignore potential voters. Obama did not ignore anyone.

Had leadership gone after this demographic as well as the Hispanic community a lot better we would not be in this hole we are in. This is common sense. MOST Africans I know personally have "conservative traits" but are radical in terms of action. The same with Hispanics and Asians. The GOP must become a party of inclusion and action not just doing the same thing over and over again. This party will NOT win in 2010 in Michigan unless they actually walk, campaign and reach out to the inner cities. With Obama moving at full speed in 2010 we cannot afford to fail.

One of the most radical approaches that I have developed is the Covenant for Detroit. The Covenant for Detroit are based on nine steps to improve city government.

1. Fiscal Responsibility: A balanced budget/tax limitation proposal and a legislative line-item veto to restore fiscal responsibility to an out- of-control Mayor/City Council, requiring them to live under the same budget constraints as families and businesses.

2. Reclaiming Our Streets: A REAL anti-crime package including stronger truth-in- sentencing, good faith exclusionary rule exemptions, and cuts in wasteful spending to fund prison construction and additional law enforcement to keep people secure in their neighborhoods and kids safe in their schools.

3. Encourage Personal Responsibility: Work with state lawmakers to discourage illegitimacy and teen pregnancy by prohibiting welfare to minor mothers and denying increased benefits for additional children while on welfare, cut spending for welfare programs to promote individual responsibility.

4. Real Family Preservation: Child support enforcement, tax incentives for adoption, strengthening rights of parents in their children's education, stronger child pornography laws, and an elderly dependent care tax credit to reinforce the central role of families in the City of Detroit, shared equal parenting rights which equals to children needing both parents.

5. Educational Reform: Repeal the tax credit in the Michigan Constitution to allow Universal Tax Credits for parents and children in Detroit, expansion of theme based charter schools, private scholarships for children in failing public schools, silent prayer in schools, replace multiculturalism with patriotic education, encourage private sector participation in math and science education, fighting adult illiteracy with private based programs that will create job readiness.

6. Detroit Restoration : A $500 per child tax credit and creation of Detroit Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle class tax relief.

7. Job Creation: Small business incentives, capital/state gains cut and indexation, neutral cost recovery, risk assessment/cost-benefit analysis and unfunded mandate reform to create jobs and raise worker wages.

8. Citizen Legislature: A first-ever vote on term limits to replace career politicians with citizen legislators in Detroit. Also, vote City Council by districts and place term limits on each council member. Mayor of Detroit should have term limits.

9. Senior Citizens: Provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance to let the elderly in Detroit keep more of what they have earned over the years.

A thinking person who is educated would take this same platform and use it in every inner city in Michigan. We do not need to go BACK to the party of Reagan, Goldwater or Lincoln. These people are dead and please let them rest in peace. We know what they stood for and we thank them for advancing our cause. But now is the time to actually RESEARCH, READ and ANALYZE if we want to create a better reality. As much as I like him we should even leave Newt Gingrich alone other than as a guide. He, along with critical thinking Republicans, did his thing with the Contract with America in 1994. The Covenant for Detroit (which can be used as a Statewide Covenant in urban Michigan) is OUR CONTRACT. Again, this is why I am running for Outreach Chair of the Michigan Republican Party. I am NOT bankrupt on ideas and never will because I am always studying. And if you are serious you would support me.

Change is necessary to move forward. In fact, it is more important than ever to take a scientific, evidence-based approach to policy making and avoid reliance on gut instinct or untested assumption. By building a base of knowledge among our grassroots leadership we will be able to aim to develop policy making and by making better use of our resources to widen the pool of knowledge to our policymakers. That is why it is called political science.

The definition of political science is a social science concerned chiefly with the description and analysis of political and especially governmental institutions and processes. When we become the urban conservatives we need to be based on being political scientists as well as having a more radical approach to addressing our needs we will begin to see why our forefathers were successful in changing the world starting in 1854.

313-516-5704 for more information.

When I am elected as the first Nigerian-American Republican in the United States I want you to remember that I have never intended to harm or hurt you. I just simply love you.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Perspective: THE PAST MEETS THE PRESENT TO CHANGE THE FUTURE (Remix)

THE PAST MEETS THE PRESENT TO CHANGE THE FUTURE (Remix)

A lot has occurred in the world during the last 40 years, but the more things change leads to more commonality shared between others. Currently, the older generation is discussing issues that pertain to my generation's future. My generation has to become more accountable and responsible for our actions like the older generation. My generation has been labeled the Hip-Hop Generation or Generation X. This upsets me because we are not considered to be doing as much as the Civil Rights Generation or the Baby Boomers Generation to impact this world. However, I beg to differ. We have completed our share of great and positive things to help impact this world like previous generations. Our progress probably will never be seen as impactful in the eyes of those who have come before us. Nonetheless, it is just as memorable and symbolic to us as the progress of those Generations before us have made.

The history of the Hip Hop Generation/Generation X contributions has not yet been written in the history books in its entirety. We can easily reflect upon the impact of the Civil Rights Rights/Baby Boomers Generation although history was not written either in its entirety. Therefore, both Generations have been criticized by the elders and masses of people for not doing enough. In addition, there has been added criticism that the progression the United States of America and the world was making turn out to be ruined. As a result, I am here to share the reality of the matter so that we can understand just how far we have come as a nation, people and Generation.

Many in my Generation probably did not participate or know of anyone who participated in WWI, WWII, Vietnam, or the Korean War. Nevertheless, we participated and knew of many who participated in the first Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars. My Generation does not know how it feels to have dogs attack them, water hoses blasted at them, or belly clubs connecting with their heads as you all stood in peaceful demonstration lines. My Generation does know how it feels to be pulled over for driving while black or stopped for walking while black. Furthermore, we know how it feels to be attacked by gangs wearing the wrong color in certain parts of urban cities. While my Generation does not know about having a cross burned in their yard, however we do know about bullets being sprayed into our house in drive-by shootings.

While my Generation did not experience the March on Washington or the Selma March, we did experience the Million Man & Family March in DC and the Jena 6 March. My Generation did not experience the poll tax at voting booths. We still fight for our rights at the voting booth just like previous Generations did in the past because the right to vote is not granted to all. We did not experience the speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. entitled "I Have a Dream." On the other hand, we did experience the speech by Barack Obama entitled "Yes We Can." While my Generation did not have the opportunity to hear the likes of Malcolm X in person, we did have the opportunity to hear the likes of Tupac Shakur.

The Baby Boomers/Civil Rights Generation experienced the deaths of JFK and his brother Bobby while my Generation dealt with the deaths of Princess Diana and JFK Jr. The Civil Rights Generation lost their greatest north and south leaders Malcolm X and MLK, we the Hip-Hop Generation lost our great west and east ambassadors in Tupac and Biggie. Moments like these in life and death help to define the strength of our Generations to show that a movement can be defined by symbolic figures. The true meaning is bigger than the known figure heads of the different Generations. It is even larger than the stature of any human being born out of our perspective Generations.

Their Generation fought to end separate but equal and Jim Crow laws. My Generation is fighting to keep Brown vs. Board and Affirmative Action functioning for future generations past this century and beyond. My Generation may not have experienced racism outright like your Generation, but we are experiencing undercover racism which may be a little bit harder to fight than what you all experienced. While your Generation saw and heard about the beginning of Apartheid in South Africa, my Generation was able to experience with your generation the ending of Apartheid in South Africa. This culminated with the countries election of its first black president Nelson Mandela in 1994.

Our Generations have experienced so much together as well as separately. We can agree about things being given to my Generation, but we cannot deny the progress my Generation has contributed to in this society. Like the Generations before us, my Generation has helped to create movements like the "Stop the Genocide in Sudan" that was launched by college students. Contrarily, our Generations have shared in so many different experiences that there is a continual debate about who has participated and not participated in the completion of the experience at hand. While my Generation has not accomplished as much as the Generations before us I hope that time will allow for more accomplishments to happen.

It is a proven fact that my Generation might have more resources at our disposal than past Generations. This mean we have more responsibility and a better opportunity to make sure we portray our message to as many people as we can at a faster rate than past Generations. The technology resources that my generation possesses signify we have to use it to connect with people miles away. For example, technology resources will allow them to be aware of events taking place in towns like Jena, Louisiana. The situations my generation deal with on a daily basis may be slightly different than previous generations, but do know that my generation do have as much pressure if not more to not let history repeat itself.

My Generation has felt the impact of single parent homes (mothers wanting to be young like their daughters, absentee fathers), drugs being sold in schools, gang violence, gun violence, a failing world economy, high unemployment rates, and infectious and chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, obesity, etc. Each of these various issues are increasing at fast rates. My Generation faces a higher poverty and famine rate than any other Generation before us even with all the technology at our disposal.

However despite all of that, our Generations have found ways to make history together. For example, we made history together on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 by electing the first African American President in America's history. It was a culmination of the speeches "I Have a Dream" and "Yes We Can." This created an opportunity for our future to have a "Yes We Have a Dream" speech. Our Generations have stood together time and time again to face adversity while creating opportunity.

The Hip-Hop Generation/Generation X is just meeting the tasks that previous Generations like the Civil Rights Generation and Baby Boomers Generation had to meet. All Generations have faced challenges and overcame obstacles on the way to the mountaintop. The obstacles and challenges that my generation has faced or will face in the future will not define what is written in history about us. On the other hand, how my generation overcame adversity to succeed in changing the course of history will define us in history books by future historians.

This is the moment when the past meets the present to change the future forever! In this moment the Hip-Hop Generation and Generation X will finally get acceptance from the Civil Rights Generation and Baby Boomers Generation. The moment that all generations have been waiting for, but never believed would happen in their lifetime was defined on a January night in Iowa when the torch of leadership from the Civil Rights Generation was beginning to get passed to the Hip-Hop Generation. That moment "A Dream" was starting to become fruition.
In this moment the past meets the present to make the future a whole lot better for upcoming generations. My generation can not get caught up in the past mistakes of previous generations by holding on to leadership too long that ultimately it damages the progress of future generation's movements. This moment is not about self gratification, but how as cohesive units "I Have a Dream" and "Yes We Can" speeches became more than just words but a reality!

Finally, our Generations came together like never before in history to fight the issues that plague us, divide us, and haunt our present and future. The merging of two big powerhouses into one helped to create perhaps the greatest political, social activism, and policy making machine known to humankind. In my opinion, this combination is greater than the Roman and Greek Empires because the unification of the Hip-Hip Generation and Generation X with the Civil Rights and Baby Boomers Generations is something that many in our society have feared for years.
For instance, other people would rather see us divided and fighting each other over frivolous issues such as baggy/sagging pants than to actually unite and show respect to one another. In addition, the Civil Rights and Baby Boom Generations training those in the Hip Hop Generation and Generation X how to become effective leaders would shock people. This is the beginning of a brighter future for upcoming generations.

When we support each other, challenge each other intellectually, and respect each other physically, socially, mentally, economically and spiritually we not only define our own history, but how our Generation will be viewed. In addition, we re-define each other's Generation and how history will view Generations for years to come. The past meets the present for the first time to re-define and change the future of not only America but the world too. We can do that by continuously working together and creating new seats at the tables of leadership for each other's Generations.

The Hip-Hop Generation and Generation X need to make room at our tables for the Civil Rights Generation and Baby Boomers Generation so that we can teach them as well as learn from them. The Civil Rights Generation and Baby Boomers Generation need to make room at their tables for the Hip-Hop Generation and Generation X so they can learn how to adjust to the changes being implemented in society like technology. The Civil Rights Generation and Baby Boomers Generation need to welcome my generation with open arms and provide dialogue to continue positive inclusive social activism. However, the Hip-Hop Generation and Generation X need humbly and respectfully accept the advice of the previous generations. In addition, my generation should not attempt to force the past generations out of leadership roles, but rather incorporate them into different advisory tasks so that they still feel a part of the movement.

The past meeting the present may not be an easy transition, but if both generations come to the table with open minds set than the possibilities of creating opportunities and a better future for upcoming Generations to follow are endless. This is OUR MOMENT, TIME, and DREAM that we have discussed throughout the years. This is the MOMENT we have wanted and waited so long to TRIUMPH OVER! We are CHANGE! We are the FUTURE! We hold the POWER to INFINITE OPPORTUNTIIES!

This is the GREATEST MERGER ever because the PAST meets the PRESENT to REVOLUNTIZE the FUTURE!

Jay-Z - History



(Jay-Z - History)Jay-Z - History with Lyrics

LYRICS : [Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
(Lighter)
And the battle's finally won
(Gimme a lighter)
Victory (Lighters up) is finally ours
(Lighters up)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 1: Jay-Z]
In search of victory, she keeps eluding me
If only we could be together momentarily
We can make love and make history
Why won't you visit me? until she visit me
I'll be stuck with her sister, her name is defeat
She gives me agony, so much agony
She brings me so much pain, so much misery
Like missing your last shot and falling to your knees
As the crowd screams for the other team
I practice so hard for this moment, victory don't leave
I know what this means, I'm stuck in this routine
Whole new different day, same old thing
All I got is dreams, nobody else can see
Nobody else believes, nobody else but me
Where are you victory? I need you desperately
Not just for the moment, to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
(Lighters)
And the battle's finally won
(Lighters)
Victory is finally ours
(Yeah)
History (yeah), so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 2: Jay-Z]
So now I'm flirting with death, hustling like a G
While victory wasn't watching took chances repeatedly
As a teenage boy before acne, before I got proactiv I couldn't face she
I just threw on my hoodie and headed to the street
That's where I met success, we'd live together shortly
Now success is like lust, she's good to the touch
She's good for the moment but she's never enough
Everybody's had her, she's nothing like V
But success is all I got unfortunately
But I'm burning down the block hoppin' in and out of V
But something tells me that there's much more to see
Before I get killed because I can't get robbed
So before me success and death ménage
I gotta get lost, I gotta find V
We gotta be together to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
(Lighters. Up.)
And the battle's finally won
(Lighter. Up.)
Victory is finally ours
(Lighters. Up.)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 3: Jay-Z]
Now victory is mine, it tastes so sweet
She's my trophy wife, you're coming with me
We'll have a baby who stutters repeatedly
We'll name him history, he'll repeat after me
He's my legacy, son of my hard work
Future of my past, he'll explain who I be
Rank me amongst the greats, either 1, 2, or 3
If I ain't number one then I failed you victory
Ain't in it for the fame that dies within weeks
Ain't in it for the money, can't take it when you leave
I wanna be remembered long after you grieve
Long after I'm gone, long after I breathe
I leave all I am in the hands of history
That's my last will and testimony
This is much more than a song, it's a baby shower
I've been waiting for this hour, history you ours


[Chorus: Cee-lo (2x)]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History, so long, so long
So long, so long



Man in the Mirror--By Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

I'm gonna make a change,
for once im my life
It's gonna feel real good,
gonna make a diference
Gonna make it right...

As I, turn up the collar on
my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets,
with not enought to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard,a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It's time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they're not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody's broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see
'Cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways - ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that..
(Take a look at yourself and then make that..)
CHANGE!

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror - Oh yeah!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you wanna make the world a better place)


Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cook






It's been a long time coming but a change is surely going to come in America and the World! I am the Future of America and the World and that is the message that each of us must carry with us each and every day that we wake up on Earth! I am the Future! You are the Future! We are the Future of America and the World! That is way every election is important--primaries, special elections and general! So vote every year and hold our politicians accountable. Hold our political officials accountable by writing them, calling them and making sure they attend meetings that we the people have. "The Time for Change is not Now but Right Now!"

"EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary" should be our anthem and should be our creed as we make the positive differences in America and the world that so many people beg for and hungry for year after year! A Change is Gonna Come, A Change is Gonna Come, that's what we must say as we say "God grants us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, Courge to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference" each morning before we go about the task of making a positive change in America and the world a reality.



Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen


“When will people realize that we are Americans first and foremost, not Democrats or Liberals, not Republicans or Conservatives, not Independents or moderates. We are Americans. Stop putting a political party above America and stop putting any politican above America. America succeeds because of us the people holding our government responsible no matter the political party because the main two political parties are to blame for the condition America is in."—Hodari P.T. Brown

America with its flaws and all is a country I am proud to have been born in. America is not perfect but my love for it is perfect. That’s why all Americans must realize that we are all Americans. In fact we are Americans first and foremost. We are not Democrats or Republicans. We are Americans.

We are not Muslims, Christians or Jews. We are Americans. Too many times we recognize our differences with others rather than appreciating our similarities which are, we are Americans. We are Americans first and foremost, no matter if we were born here or moved here legally. We are all Americans, here in this country to make not only our lives better but the lives of other Americans better so future Americans can enjoy the rights and freedoms that make us all Americans.

We are all Americans. We are one party united under God. We are Americans and this is the only political party that matters. We are Americans and this is our country so let’s make sure that we make America better than how we found it so future Americans can live prosperous and joyous lives. We are Americans and must not ever forget that.

America will prosper as long we make sure we are doing our part to make it prosper and that means we can’t put any political party or politician above America. Long live America forever and long live America’s service to the world. Together, America and the world will prosper for future generations to enjoy America and the world we live in.


Lift Every Voice and Sing


This video of the ' Negro National Anthem' was originally screened at the historic African-American Church Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC on January 18th, 2009. Many of the esteemed individuals featured in this video in attendance and we presented with the ' Keepers of the Flame' award for the monumental contributions to social justice.

This version of the song was performed by the Grace Baptist Church Cathedral Choir, conducted by Derrick James. The video was produced and donated by Ascender Communications, LLC (www.ascender-c.com) at the request of The Balm In Gilead, Inc.

If I Was President--Wyclef Jean




If I was President that is the people's anthem. We all have ideas of what we can do as President and through this website, we will fulfill our deam as a people!

Somethings Gotta Give--Big Boi ft Mary J Blige



Somethings Gotta Give people and it begins today for all us to make sure that something is us. We the people are sick and tired of suffering. Where is our piece of the Dream that so many people dead for so that we all could see today. This is our time people to change America and the world so that the Next Generation has a better future than the past we inherited.

This is our call to service. This isn't about one political candidate or one political figure. This is about us as people coming together to finally leave up to our potential and achieving the great feats that those before us have achieved. This is our moment to lead our nation and our world to greater heights.

Somethings gotta give people and it starts with us the people making it happen. We have to improve our education system in America. We have to rid the world of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We have to go to the streets and lift a hand to another in order to decrease poverty in this world. We have to take a stand today and make sure that the future of America and the world is brighter than it has ever been.

Somethings Gotta Give and that is why we must "Remember Each One, Reach One and Teach One so America's future and the World's future continues to prosper."

John Legend - "If You're Out There"


If you're out there than you need to get started in helping to change America and the world. The world and America won't change until you get involved in making the changes you want to see in this world. If you're out there, than you must know that tomorrow started now and today started yesterday so you are behind in helping to the change. If you are tired of hatred, racism, poverty, war, and violence than the time to change it is now. If you want universal health care, world peace, democracy for every nation, equal rights, and happiness for all than you must get involved now to help the save world.

You must believe in the change that you want to see and you must act on making that change a reality. If you're out there than say it aloud and show the rest of America and the world that you're out here to make a real positive change in the communities we stay in. If you're out there than get involved now. I'm calling every women and men to join me as we take back our country right here, right now. If you're out there than the future started yersterday and we are already late so we have lots of work to do but I know we can do it together as one.

YES WE CAN



Yes We Can accomplish anything that we set out to do! We don't need charismatic or inspirational leaders to believe in ourselves and to take responsiblity for our own faith, we just need each other. Yes We Can build a new America and a new world if each of us would take action now to make the changes that we want to see in the world. Yes We Can control government by holding our political officials accountable for their actions by calling them out when they don't pass legislation that supports the common good of all man and by voting in every election to ensure that we have people representing the people locally, state wide, nationally and in the world.

Yes We Can be great! Yes We Can be what we want to be! Yes We Can be glorious in not only America but the world! Yes We can put action behind our worlds and change the world starting right here, right now! Yes We Can as Republicans, Democrats and Independents become one as we freely think about our fellow men and women and make decisions that will be in the best interest of all people and not one single group.

Yes We Can be the change that we want to see in the world! Yes We Can show the world that the youth are ready to lead! Yes We Can put our egos, our social economic statuses, our religions, our educational statuses and our skin color to the side for the better good of the world! Yes We Can be Greater than we have ever been and help others be Greater than they have ever be!

YES WE CAN and YES WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS IN ALL THAT WE DO! YES WE CAN, no matter what others may say, we will be glorious! YES WE WILL and YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!

YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN is what will be sung from every mountaintop, every riverbank, every household, every school yard, every factory, every sporting event, every college campus and even every place you can imagine in the world is where YES WE CAN, will be said and heard!

YES WE CAN!

Keep On Pushing - Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions


Wake Up People! No matter who is elected to any public office, we have to “Keep On Pushing” as a people to make sure they don’t leave us in a worst state than what they inherited. We as a people have to “Keep On Pushing” to make a difference in the lives of others. We have to have an “EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary” attitude as we continue to push our agenda that we the people deserve and want better. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change in a positive way that will benefit all Americans no matter their age, their religion or skin color. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will improve our education system, improve our military, improve our national security, improve our healthcare system and improve our economy. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will leave America’s future in a better than how we found it and that will leave the world’s future in a better state than we imagined we could live it. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to make life better for our neighborhoods, our families and even our quote on quote enemies. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to inspire, to uplift and to guide those who need help spiritually, physically and mentally. We have to “Keep On Pushing ” so that our lives, our future generation’s lives and the lives of those who came before us does not die in vein.

“Keep on Pushing”

A War For Your Soul

A War For Your Soul-regular version from Erisai Films on Vimeo.


The moment has come for us as a nation of people to finally wake up and realize that our destiny and fate in society has rests on our shoulders. We cannot allow the forces of evil and darkness to drain us out. We have to continue to overcome all odds in order to make the future of our nation better and the future of future generations of Americans better. We have to continue to pray to our Lord and we have to continue to uplift each other in prayer as well as take action against those things that are trying to destroy us. We have to stand up once and for all and be the future that we want to be. Now is our time and we shall do together by any means necessary.

This video was created to inspire young African-Americans not to fall prey to some of the problems they face in society. The use of the voice "Master of Darkness" represents evil, which is where the blame of all problems should be placed, and not on any one group of people. This video should not to be used to divide people (Black & White), there are images of heroes that are white in this video, and there are images of Black & White coming together with the words of Dr. King in the background. Some of the images from the past can be unsettling, but they are used to show all Americans how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. This film is being strategically placed in school systems, churches and youth orgs around the country, in hope of helping a lost generation of kids that we as Americans have forgotten. As fellow Americans we must continue to love each other, and take that love and spread it to the rest of the world. **THIS VIDEO IS NOT FOR SALE & I AM NOT ACCEPTING DONATIONS FOR THE FILM, I ONLY WANT THE MESSAGE TO REACH AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT ANY HIDDEN POLITICAL OR FINANCIAL AGENDA.
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Sitting On the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding



"The time for sitting is over! The time for action is now! The time for hope without action is hopeless! The time for change without a positive attitude is a change that we can't believe in! We need change that is positive of helping all people! Our time for action is now, our time for hope is now, our time for change is now and our time to believe that we can do whatever we set our minds to is not now but right now!"

STAR SPANGLED BANNER


The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming;
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?


On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
'Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight and the gloom of the grave;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!


O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land,
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just.
And this be our motto— "In God is our trust; "
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Black President



Our Time is not now but Right Now! Our Time has finally come to change the world not now but Right Now! If you don't believe that we can change the world than watch as we do it by changing your mind into believing in us and what we can do! This is OUR TIME RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!

FIGHT THE POWER



We got to FIGHT THE POWER! We can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch injustices take place. We can no longer sit by and allow our right to vote to become unexercised. We must FIGHT THE POWER for our past, present and future! We can no longer allow our rights to be oppressed and our voice to become drained by the powers at be. We must FIGHT THE POWER and show that we have a lot to say that needs to be heard by the mainstream media. We must FIGHT THE POWER and live up to our potential as dynamic, unbelievable and phenomenal people.


We must not believe the hype but we must become the hype. We are not Harriett Tubman, Marcus Garvey, MLK, Malcolm X, Booker T. Washington, Carter G. Woodson, W.E.B. DuBois, the Black Panther Party, SNCC, or any other activists but we are the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunties, and relatives of those who came before us to pave the way for us to FIGHT THE POWER! We are not next Generation of leaders who will not be honored and praised until they die but that’s the fight we accept. We are not fighting the power for glory or fame but we are fighting the power for just causes that most men and women will not understand until years or decades later.


We are fighting for our sisters and brothers in Darfur, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, China and Mexico. We are speaking for those who are poor and have no food or water. We are fighting for those who are sick and dying. We are fighting for universal healthcare across the world and human rights for all people. We are fighting for rich and poor! We must FIGHT THE POWER no matter how hard and tough the road may be. We must FIGHT THE POWER for a better today and an even greater tomorrow!


FIGHT THE POWER!

PEOPLE GET READY


“People Get Ready” our time is coming! We have come too far to turn back now. Our train is coming and it is coming in waves. “People Get Ready”, we don’t need a ticket but we need faith and the Lord will help guide us as we take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” our moment is now and we are ready to see the change we want in America and the world. All we got to do is have faith, hope and prosperity. “People Get Ready” to face your fears. “People Get Ready” to face your demons and the challenges of yesterday because today and tomorrow we will conquer & be victorious. “People Get Ready” a change is coming and our actions will make sure that change is a real positive change that lasts forever.


“People Get Ready” because we have had enough of just talking but now is our time to show action. “People Get Ready” to take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” to take back our communities and to make our streets safer and schools better. “People Get Ready” to make all our dreams come true. “People Get Ready” to see a better present for everyone and a better future for future generations. “People Get Ready” to live up to your potential and to help others live up to their own potential. “People Get Ready” to move past hatred, bigotry, racism and sexism. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the dreams of those who came before us and those who will come after us.


“People Get Ready” as we make our actions speak louder than our words. “People Get Ready” to make words mean something again as we put action to back up our rhetoric. “People Get Ready” as we embark on a new journey that will re-write America’s history as well as the world’s history. “People Get Ready” as we make the lives of others better and the lives of future generations better. “People Get Ready” because all we need is faith, hope and action to make this world a better place. “People Get Ready” to make a difference. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the American dream. “People Get Ready" to live out the American Dream as our founding fathers wanted us to live it. “People Get Ready” because our time is now, our moment is now and our moment in time to change America & the world is not now but right now. “People Get Ready” because a change is coming!


Alicia]
(Let me tell you now)
People get ready, there's a train comin'
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin'
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord

[Lyfe]
People get ready, for a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There's hope for all among those loved the most

[Alicia]
There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner
Who would hurt all man kind just to save his own (believe me now)
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there's no hiding place against the kingdoms throne

[Alicia & Lyfe]
So people get ready there's a train coming
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels humming,
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord


“PEOPLE GET READY!”

God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood


Lee Greenwood-god bless the U.S.A