Michelle Obama and WAL-MART

There are many reasons to oppose Obama, whose paltry legislative record disqualifies him for the Presidency.  That he would cite state legislative experience during a Presidential campaign as a qualification already reveals to this voter how underprepared he is for the Presidency. 

But the real reason I oppose him is his wife's deep connections to WAL-MART.  Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times published an article about this highly controversial connection in May.  According to Sweet, Michelle Obama is no longer connected to the company.  But this was not a decision Michelle Obama made on her own volition.  Following the lead of her husband's vague campaign, Michelle Obama quit the company that ties her deeply to WAL-MART.  According to Lynn Sweet,

Michelle Obama resigned Tuesday from the board of TreeHouse Foods Inc., a Wal-Mart vendor, eight days after husband and White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said he would not shop at the anti-union store.

I guess Obama's attempt to pander to AFL-CIO union voers in Trenton, NJ, created a conflict with one of the Obama family's sources of income. 

Michelle Obama sat on the Board of this Wal-Mart friendly company since June 27, 2005, or just a few months after Obama was elected to the US Senate.  Michelle Obama, also a VP of The University of Chicago Hospitals in charge of "community outreach," did not have experience in the private sector before serving on the Board of the WAL-MART ally.  In fact, she chose to pursue the Board position in order to gain experience in the private sector, and this experience was made available to her after her husband was elected to the US Senate.  According to

the London Telegraph,

[S]he has just been re-elected to the board of an Illinois food-processing company, a position she took up two years ago to gain experience of the private sector.

She was reelected to the lucrative post on April 19, 2007, or three months after Barack Obama began actively campaigning for the Presidency.

But how did she obtain the position?  According to Lynn Sweet, she undertook the position with the WAL-MART ally in order to gain experience in the private sector.  Here is a summary of her experience before serving on the Board of a WAL-MART ally:

A Harvard-trained lawyer, Michelle Obama began her career as an attorney at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin, and later went to work at Chicago City Hall and at the non-profit group Public Allies, a leadership program for young adults.

And she holds the sinecure of part-time VP at the University of Chicago Hospitals while working for the WAL-MART friendly vendor.  But if she had no experience in the private sector, why was she elected to the post?  Is that not a risk for the company?  Or did the company want a link to a US Senator?

Obama, according to Lynn Sweet and to other who reported on his statements before the AFL-CIO in Trenton, NJ, said the following:

On May 14, during an AFL-CIO forum in Trenton, N.J., Sen. Obama was asked about Wal-Mart. “I won’t shop there,” he said. Chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) served on the Wal-Mart board between 1986 and 1992.

He also made the these pronouncements, which are reproduced in the London Telegraph story:

As the Illinois senator prepared to join the presidential fray late last year, he threw his weight behind the union-backed campaign against Wal-Mart. He declared that there was a "moral responsibility to stand up and fight" the company and "force them to examine their own corporate values".

But how can he denounce WAL-MART's values and claim he would never shop there when his wife has over $100,000 of salary, stocks and benefits from a company that engages in very friendly practices with WAL-MART?  According to CBS2 Chicago,

The company, which supplies retail grocery chains with pickles, nondairy powdered creamer and other products, said Wal-Mart was its largest customer last year, according to an SEC filing.

In other words, TreeHouse Foods and WAL-MART are close business partners.

Now the Obamas have not provided compelling answers when asked about this egregious conflict of interest.  Here is Michelle Obama:

Barack is gonna say what needs to be said, and it's not going to, you know, necessarily matter ... what I'm doing if it's not the right thing," she said. "He's going to do what's right for ... the country. He's going to speak out. And he's going to, you know, implement his views as he sees fit. ... I see no conflict in that."

According to Michelle Obama, her affiliation with WAL-MART through the sinecure she held at TreeHouse Foods, does not "necessarily matter."  In fact, she "sees no conflict in it," as Barack will "say what needs to be said" in order to win the Presidency.

But the cynicism does not stop there.  Here is Barack Obama in the London Telegraph:

Sen Obama's campaign team and Mrs Obama's spokesman did not respond to requests by The Sunday Telegraph for comment. But the senator previously told Crain's Chicago Business magazine that, while his views on corporate reform and social justice remained the same regardless of what happens at Treehouse, "Michelle and I have to live in the world and pay taxes and pay for our kids and save for retirement".

So for Obama it is just a bunch of words: he and Michelle can profit from WAL-MART through a company that is one of its biggest allies, for they have to take care of their own.

That Obama's opposition to WAL-MART is just a bunch of words is admitted by a spokesman the Obama campaign managed to find to defend this conflict of interest.  Chris Kofinis, Communications Director of WakeUpWalMart.org, just one of many activist groups who oppose WAL-MART, made the following excuses for Obama:

"Many companies do business with Wal-Mart," said Chris Kofinis, communications director for WakeUpWalMart.com, a project of the United Food and Commercial Workers union. "The difference is whether one stays silent on Wal-Mart's negative business practices or not. Sen. Obama has not stayed silent, and he should be applauded for that."

So for Kofinis, who ostensibly opposes WAL-MART, endorses doing business with WAL-MART.  And for him, mere words are enough.  Since the Obama campaign's opposition to WAL-MART is just words, I imagine Kofinis, who is just one of many critics, and not necessarily the most effective critic, is satisfied with these mere words.  But what about the $100,000 the Obama family now possesses as a result of their collusion with WAL-MART?

It is significant that the Obama's view opposition to WAL-MART as so many words to be uttered during a campaign.  Obama is from Chicago, and the Chicago City Council voted to force stores such as WAL-MART to pay living wages, not minimum wages, if they were to build facilities in the City of Chicago.  The vote on the Big Box Ordinance occurred in late July 2006.  Richard Daley vetoed it on September 11, 2006, when Bush was visiting Chicago.  This was Daley's first veto after serving as Mayor of Chicago in 17 years.  All this occurred while Michelle Obama sat on the Board of the WAL-MART friendly company.

Barack Obama endorsed Daley for Mayor in January 2007.  And Michelle Obama was still on the Board of Tree House Foods when this endorsement occurred.  And Obama made this endorsement despite all the reports on cronyism and corruption in City Hall.  In fact, Obama ran into trouble with Daley in 2005 after making comments about Daley's corruption. 

Why the reverse on his stance on corruption?  Did it have anything to do with WAL-MART, the Big Box Ordinance and his wife's affiliation with a WAL-MART friendly company?  And if Obama is so vocal in his opposition to WAL-MART, why endorse a Mayor who vetoed a bill that would force WAL-MART to change its corporate policies,?  Is this not what Obama says they should do when engaging with AFL-CIO voters?  Or is it all just words?  Or is it just words in the right place at the right time?  To quote Michelle Obama again:

Barack is gonna say what needs to be said, and it's not going to, you know, necessarily matter...

Indeed, it will not necessarily matter, for the Obamas have their $100,000, and WAL-MART has an ally in Chicago City Hall.

Comments

Mt personal view is

Obama is nothing if not an opportunist and a synpathizer with the corporate special interest groups that feed people like him with their donations. He shares this trait with the Clintons...he's just not quite as experienced at lying to the public....yet!
SE NC Dems

Stan Bozarth

Don't get me wrong

You've got every right to be for or against whichever candidate you want to be for or against.

But why focus on Mrs. Obama? To my knowledge, she isn't running. To me, this is the same as saying one wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton because you don't like the way Bill Clinton ran his administration.

Focus on the candidate, not his wife. She's not running. And she resigned from the post on the board of the company. I think you're blowing smoke.

The only candidate I will be

The only candidate I will be supporting for President is whoever ultimately gets our nomination, but in the interest of fairness I think it's worth noting the person who posted this anti-Obama thread had been a member of BlueNC for 4 minutes before posting it. All the more reason to take it with a grain of salt...

I don't have the ability...

I don't think, but I would be interested to see if this poster is a sock-puppet. I won't put up with sock puppets, whether they be from Richard Moore, Larry Kissell, or any other Democratic camp.

John Edwards is great!
- Sam Spencer, BlueNC, 7/3/07

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

this seems off base to me, and I'm no friend of WMart

Can the author name a company who doesn't sell to WalMart?

Go down the shelves of the grocery isle or any isle.

As much as I dispise how Walmart treats their employees and how Walmart has even driven down the minimum wage in China (now that's really bad), I can't see calling a vendor down for selling goods to Walmart.

Its a matter of survival at sometimes.

If you are going to attack people for serving on BOD's of anything, than I believe you should investigate all candidates and the companies or businesses or entities that they have any ties to.

Now if someone serves on the BOD of Walmart, thats another story.

But thats not what you were criticizing here.

Michelle Obama's Deep Ties to WAL-MART

I do not take issue so much with her ties to WAL-MART, although they need to be discussed, especially in relation to her election to that position after the election of her husband to the US Senate; I take issue with Daley's veto of the Big Box Ordinance and Obama's decision to endorse Daley given that veto and given Obama's opposition to WAL-MART. If he is so opposed to WAL-MART, why did he endorse Daley and why is his wife earning money from that company?

What is This?

I take issue with Daley's veto of the Big Box Ordinance and Obama's decision to endorse Daley given that veto

Is it so easy to veto an ordinance then?

Daley - as in Chicago mayor? (Christ - I would have thought he'd be old by now - tis kin, isn't it?)

No Obama bashing from me but I haven't bought the hype.
I see form over substance. Prove me wrong. Go ahead. Anyone.

I believe it's the son

of the famous Mayor Daley you're thinking of, but I could be wrong. (Definitely not the same one, but maybe some other relationship.)

Truthteller2007 seems intimately acquainted with Chicago politics, wonder where he or she is from? I, too, noticed the person joined and immediately posted this item. 4 minutes is not a long time to write such a long piece, wonder how many other blogs they cut & pasted it to?

Just

check the IP address. I am in Charlotte. I did crosspost to other sites, and I am not that familiar with Chicago politics. The news reports to which I link explains it all. Chicago politics is pretty sleazy, no? It seems to touch everyone from that town.

Answering my own question

There's Uppity Wisconsin:

Submitted by truthteller2007 on Wed, 07/04/2007 - 6:22pm.

There are many reasons to oppose Obama, whose paltry legislative record disqualifies him for the Presidency.  That he would cite state legislative experience during a Presidential campaign as a qualification already reveals to this voter how underprepared he is for the Presidency. 

That's the only one I turned up in a quick google search. FWIW, BlueNC didn't turn up, either, so it's not unreasonable to assume there are others.

Howdy Truthteller -

Yeah - Chicago politics in particular has its own reputation.

As a former Michigander I was in a position to hear a lot of 'overflow' back in the day.

I hope NC politics doesn't have the same kind of sticky mess Chi has been prone to having. Doesn't appear to have but I haven't been here that long either ...

Mayor Daley In Chicago

I moved to NC from the Chicago land area in 2004, and Chicago politics definately have there own twist to them. My parents and many other people from the area are almost proud of the reputation of the political spectrum there. As my mom said she is happy to know that my great grandma is still voting democrat even though she has past. It is a joke on one hand but on the other people are mostly happy with Mayor Daley. There have been issues, although overall the people like him. Richard M. Daley is the son of Richard K. Daley who many of you are probably more familiar with. I have included a link to wikipedia, which contains some information about the current mayor. Just a few snippets from the wikipedia entry

He was elected mayor in 1989 and reelected in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007. His 2007 re-election set him to become the longest running Mayor in Chicago (a record currently held by his father Richard J. Daley), should he remain in office past December 25, 2010.

Additonally he is very well received in Chicago it self as shown in this statement:

He remains widely popular with city residents, taking over 70% of the mayoral vote in 1999, 2003, and 2007.

Based on Mayor Daley's popularity within Chicago and even in the surrounding area, I don't see how Obama could have not endorsed Mayor Daley, as that seems like it would not be a very shrewd political move in Illinois.

He Must Be Doing Something Right -

Chicago voters are a fairly savvy lot. It would be hard to fool them that many times.

Of course ... dare I say it? Corruption is a long standing fact of life in Chi -

Though I will say I've never heard of this Daley having the same rep as his father. And since Chi - is not, nor has it ever been, my home of record, I will defer to those who have more intimate knowledge ...

to my knowledge ... heh. ;)

lots of bad press on daley though

regarding a truck scandal and tons of cronyism in the hiring of employees. the feds were investigating him. just google daley feds investigation. and one of the links i provide discuss obama coming out against daley in 2005, but daley put him back into line. that was also the year michelle obama took the job with the wal-mart ally, and then daley vetoes the big box ordinance. so there are some interesting connections in all this. and the candidates against daley were week. two congressmen were to run, but after demos took the majority of the US House, they declined. but if they did, daley would have lost.

Isn't that What I Said?

scandal and tons of cronyism = corruption

I mean ... that's what I remember best about Chicago politics.

Of course, it isn't like Detroit didn't have Coleman Young.

(whew - google that)

Welcome to NC - let's not let that **** happen here ... are ya with me?

Chicago Corruption

I agree that the corruption of Chicago is something we don't want to have happen here in NC. As there are times where Chicago reminds me of the machine politics I read about in history class, although not to the same degree anymore. The other interesting thing about living in NC is for the first time I am considering registering as D rather than independent.

I hope you do -

and welcome aboard.

Thanks for joining the People's Think Tank at BlueNC.

Thanks

for answering my question about where you're from, truthteller. The fact that you are sticking around to answer questions gains my respect, if not necessarily my agreement with your positions. Welcome aboard.

I am with you

And I plan to make sure Elizabeth Dole and all her allies fall down as if they were so many dominos. That is a ring of corruption and incompetence that must end immediately.

We're all evil crooks

If you play Six Degrees of Separation with people and companies. I'm an Obama supporter, and this is just as offensive as when the Obama camp tried to hang Hillary recently on some investments in a blind trust. Just keeping it real, you know.

Your attempt to smear Barack through MIchelle's business ties to a company that's a Wal-Mart vendor is naive at best.

I'm curious---who's getting your support---or are you just out there to nail Obama?

War is over if you want it.

War is over if you want it.

I don't like it either.

You are known by the friends you keep, but not by who their friends might be unbeknownst to you.

John Edwards is great!
- Sam Spencer, BlueNC, 7/3/07

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Michelle Obama's deep ties to WAL-MART

are established in multiple news accounts, and the relation to the Daley veto is real. I notice a lot of people use this six degrees of separation nonsense in their attempts to rationalize the complicity. But why did she resign if there was no conflict with his statements in New Jersey? And if Obama is such an activist on the community level against exploitative merchants such as WAL-MART, why did not he not organize on behalf of the Big Box Ordinance Daley vetoed? And then why did Obama endorse Daley if he feels that strongly about WAL-MART? And why did Michelle Obama go on national television to discuss this if her position was not a potential conflict of interest, which it was, as WAL-MART was that companies biggest customer?

What do you make of the Big Box Ordinance Veto and Obama's silence, only to then use his "opposition" to WAL-MART to pander to union workers in New Jersey? And Michelle was working and earning money at Tree House when all this occurred.

There is a lot here to be discussed, and I am surprised you would try to dismiss it with insults and talking points.

I guess you've convinced me. . .

So, let's make a list:

Is Edwards evil because he worked for hedge funds who offshore?
Is Clinton evil because of Bill's scandals?
Is Richardson evil because of sitting on the board of fossil fuel company Valero?
Is Kucinich evil for being a vegan?

I can't debate with you any more, because I'm waiting on my next set of talking points. . .

This is lame shit, and you know it. At least I hope you do. There are not serious issues here to discuss. And since you accuse me of using the same "six degrees of separation" argument you're getting elsewhere, that probably means you're peddling this turd of a post as many places as you can.

Again, who are you working for? I'll bet you won't answer.

War is over if you want it.

War is over if you want it.

I am not sure your tone is appropriate.

And frankly, it ignores the real issues I highlight in regards to the Chicago political system and Obama's silence during the Daley veto. Those are real political events, and they cast her role in a company very cozy with WAL-MART in an unfavorable light. I understand he is your candidate, and I understand it is difficult to understand one's candidate as a typical machine politician who will say anything to get elected, but these are the facts.

I do not know if I can debate with you, for you resort to insults and ad hominem arguments. And believe it or not, many who have seen this posted online agree.

Thank you for being so civil. I think you need to calm down and perhaps reread the diary.

I'll ask you a third time. . .

Who's getting your support in 08?

War is over if you want it.

War is over if you want it.

You wouldn't mind

sharing some of those sites, would you?

And believe it or not, many who have seen this posted online agree.

Linky?

Left in the West

recommended it, as did Texas Kaos.

You really did

spread this one diary around, didn't you? OK, I see it is recommended on Texas Kaos, but with no comments; there is one comment on Left in the West, and I did not see any comments on Uppity Wisconsin when I looked there earlier.

I'm wondering why it is you feel so passionate about this that you posted the same diary on so many different blogs in different parts of the country.

I'm also wondering, what are you going to do in November '08 if Obama becomes the Democratic nominee? Vote for a Republican? A third party candidate? Stay home? Just curious.

My own point of view is that every single one of the Democratic candidates is so much better than anything the Republicans have to offer, I intend to stand behind the Democratic candidate, whichever one that may be. If I criticize candidates, I want to do it on the issues, not on something their families do. I was not happy with Biden's support of the Bankruptcy bill, for example. I think Hillary Clinton tends to try too hard to speak to everybody and ends up not really standing for progressive causes as much as she could. But if either one of them wins the nomination, they will have my support.

I do not know if I will

support Edwards or Kucinich.

And let me put all this in terms maybe everyone can understand:

1. Michelle Obama works for a comany that profits from distributing product to WAL-MART. WAL-MART is the biggest customer.

2. Distribution can be higher, but there are no WAL-MARTs in Chicago, as Chicago has blocked WAL-MART development. This reduces potential product sales.

3. Chicago City Council motions to even make it more difficult for WAL-MART to build in Chicago.

4. Daley vetoes their bill, thereby making it easier for WAL-MART to build in Chicago. If they build facilities, this increases WAL-MART sales and distribution from Tree House, as WAL-MART is the biggest customer of TreeHouse.

5. Obama says nothing, even though he fashions himself as a community organizer and WAL-MART opponent. His wife, meanwhile, sits on a board of a company that stands to profit big if WAL-MART can sell products in Chicago.

6. Obama uses WAL-MART as rhetorical device with unions, and Michelle and probably her company see a huge conflict. She resigns.

That is the problem here. Her company profits from the Daley veto. That is why Obama was silent, and that is why she resigned in May, for they did not want anyone to notice. And that is why Daley and Obama endorsed one another within a period of two weeks.

Wow,

It's all so simple and easy for you. Good luck with Edwards or Kucinich, both men I admire greatly, as much as Barack.

War is over if you want it.

War is over if you want it.

it is compelling

and one just has to commit some thought to the scenario for all of it to be cast is a perspicuous and palpable relief. although your tone is dismissive, i take it also as an acknowledgment of the presence of some real problems in this convenient set up they had in chicago.

You Know -

You're jumping on truthteller w/o just cause unless you know that person.

You don't know me either, nor I you, but I'll tell you this much.

Neither Hillary nor Barack have impressed me much.

So let's hear all the skinny, shall we?

Yeah. It's just like that today.

So, you must love Hil

then. Who either was or is still on the WalMart board.

Not Even -

I know that one can't be for me.

Hava Happy Friday, ya'll. Roadtrip.

See ya's when it's done.

you lost me at

"There are many reasons to oppose Obama, whose paltry legislative record disqualifies him for the Presidency."

what legislative experience is required for the executive branch? Does it work both ways, should those running for congress have some executive or judicial experience.
Obama is over 35 and was born here in the States so from my understanding of the Constitution he is qualified for the Presidency.

Where Did You See That?

whose paltry legislative record disqualifies him for the Presidency."

I don't feel that way. I think the man has a lot of strengths. He's wicked smart. And yes, articulate. He has a unique perspective because of his parents and where he went to school and how he was raised.

For me personally - I don't know enough about him to trust him.
Some people earn my trust easily and others have to work for it.
That's just the way it is.

That's why my ticket is Edwards/Obama. Because then we can all take his measure and have 8 more years of 'good stuff' if we like what we see in him.

Savvy?

ETA: weird doings in the old HTML. I think I'll quit with it while I'm ahead. sheesh.

It's the first sentence

in the post that started this thread. I haven't noticed truthteller2007 around any more, and I still have my concerns about his/her motivation in making that post. I sincerely hope it's not a sockpuppet from one of the other campaigns.

Whatever, char -

Benefit of the doubt and all that.

Just. What. Ever.

People in the People's Think Tank make up their own minds so it doesn't matter to me what kind of heartburn a person carries...

So maybe truth lost her truthiness. Or something.