Thursday, July 17, 2008

DeMint Is Part Of DeProblem (And McBush Too)

This McClatchy story about Repug South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint (pictured) offering to hold hearings on Afghanistan with all-but-named Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is really a hoot, because, after he did so…

…DeMint then joined forces with top aides to Sen. John McCain in criticizing Obama's war plans.

DeMint's high-profile appearance with McCain's senior foreign policy aides came as McCain and Obama delivered speeches laying out sharply differing views on Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader U.S. effort to defeat fundamentalist Muslim forces.
What a partisan hack.

This SourceWatch article on DeMint tells us that he blocked the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007 shortly before it was due to come to a vote so he could engage in some grandstanding over supposed earmark reform (with the blessings of Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao, no doubt).

Also, he blocked a Democratic attempt to implement one of the 9/11 Commission recommendations that would have “require(d) that all containers on U.S.-bound vessels be screened in foreign ports for radiation, and all cargo loaded onto U.S. airliners be screened for explosives”…see, the “problem” is that the bill would have allowed the Transportation Security Agency screeners to unionize, and President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History simply could not allow that (and DeMint dutifully complied).

And I have to note something else from the story concerning a certain absentee senator from Arizona…

In his address, McCain advocated sending even more fresh troops to Afghanistan -- three brigades, or 10,500 troops -- but he and his aides stopped short of saying they should come from Iraq.

"I know how to win wars," McCain, an Arizona Republican, said in Albuquerque, N.M. "And if I'm elected president, I will turn around the war in Afghanistan, just as we have turned around the war in Iraq."
“You know how to win wars,” huh?

Really? And just how would you know that?

By accusing your Democratic opponent of supporting the policies of your party’s failed president better than you (here), even though the actual facts scream otherwise (here)?

By stubbornly ignoring what Obama has pointed out here, that "the status quo is not acceptable. Security in Afghanistan has deteriorated, and our enemies are on the offensive," he said. "From the moment the next president walks into the Oval Office, he will face critical decisions and crucial decisions about Afghanistan”…(and by the way, Senator McBush, any plans to present your strategy on Iraq in the New York Times, as Obama has done here)?

Or by conducting that laughable photo op of yours last April through that supposedly secure Baghdad market (which, arguably, got people killed as a result)?

It really speaks volumes about the moral decrepitude of the Repug party and their “movement” conservative base that McBush is the best this party has to offer for the most important job in the world.

Go back to making “Ape rape” jokes and telling us about imaginary countries again, Senator. At this point, it doesn’t matter, because we don’t take you seriously anymore anyway.

Update 7/30/08: Our boy gets a dishonorable mention from Michael Gerson (of all people) here.


I was hoping to close out with some videos, but I don't think I'll have time, so I now take my leave, for hopefully just a little while (look for me again on about the 27th or 28th). In the meantime, please check out the good stuff from my peers at the Impeach Bush Coalition and the Out Of Iraq Bloggers Caucus.


Little Ricky "Bombs" On Obama-Rama

(May be my last regular post for a little while, for what it’s worth…).

In today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, former Senator Man-On-Dog is glad to see here that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has apparently talked tough enough for him on the matter of Iran…

But how, you might ask, can the candidate of and the antiwar-forever crowd be aligned with Bush on preemptive strikes against Iran? Here's how: Last month, Obama declared, "I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon - everything."
It’s always worth a chuckle for yours truly to read Little Ricky make a snide remark about war when, in fact, all he did when “the call to service” came from this nation was to run away as fast as he could to his mansion in Virginia…

International Atomic Energy Administration director Mohamed ElBaradei said last month that if Iran expelled the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency, Iran would need six months to produce a nuclear weapon. Couple that with last week's test firing of missiles capable of delivering that weapon to Israel, and it is no wonder you have seen a rash of stories about the Israelis training for strikes against Iran.
You mean, that test firing of Iranian missiles where a fourth one was added in a photo of the launch, a true “Photoshop” special?

Yes, Iran is a threat, but to Israel, despite what John Bolton and Fox Noise tells us here. And I think it’s pretty much a safe bet that something is already in progress; I for one believe Sy Hersh when he tells us that we’re conducting operations of some type inside Iran (here).

And given the utter waste of the lives of our people, to say nothing of materiel and our overall prestige, fighting Israel’s proxy war in Iraq, I’m not inclined to do any more favors for our “ally.”

And as far as ElBaradei is concerned, he told us that Iran was “only months away from an atomic bomb” in December 2005 here, they will be conducting “mass uranium enrichment in six months” in February 2007 here, although in that same month, he told us a bomb was “ten years away” here.

This man truly needs to get his story straight.

And Obama is now like Bush on nukes, according to Little “Eye of Mordor” Ricky? Please. Obama wants to strengthen the non-proliferation treaty (NPT), while Dubya continually ignores it, as he did in his nuke deal with India.

But as noted here, the India deal is up in the air anyway; maybe it would have faced smoother sailing if India had signed off on the NPT first (not automatically blaming them, but maybe we should have had more negotiations to settle on that)…

...the legislation passed in 2006 -- the so-called Hyde Act -- that gave preliminary approval to the U.S.-India agreement, requires that Congress be in 30 days of continuous session to consider it. Congressional aides said that clock can begin to tick only once India clears two more hurdles -- completing an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and securing approval from the 45 nations that form the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which governs trade in reactors and uranium. Because of the long August recess, less than 40 days are left in the session before Congress adjourns on Sept. 26.

"At this point, both [the IAEA and NSG actions] have to take place in the next couple of weeks" for the deal to be considered by Congress, said Lynne Weil, spokeswoman for the House Foreign Affairs Committee. But the IAEA Board of Governors is not expected to take up the matter until August, whereas the NSG may take several months to reach a consensus.
And this prior post gives you an insight into the restrictive terms of the Hyde Act, which actually encourages India to deal with other “nuke” nations, including Iran.

And on an somewhat related note (as long as we’re talking about the Inquirer), I happened to come across this survey of the Top 30 Newspaper web sites from Editor and Publisher yesterday, and I wanted to see how the paper was faring seeing as how they'd been “treading water” at an average of one percent increases in site traffic over their last two surveys, which is statistically insignificant.

Well, even though 80 percent of the top 30 sites from their survey showed an increase in traffic…why, call me crazy, but I’m looking down this list for and (gulp), it looks like you guys completely fell off the survey!

C’est dommage!

Well, if I may make a suggestion or two to get back on the list, let me put forward the idea once again to offer content from actual progressive writers from time to time, such as David Sirota or Gene Lyons (many others you could choose from, but those are two names that come to mind). At least the Daily News has Will Bunch (the trolls at Attytood are truly obnoxious) and the occasional appearance of Cliff Schecter as well.

Also, maybe someone navigating to your site from elsewhere in the world doesn’t care about Larry Mendte’s firing over alleged snooping into Alycia Lane’s Emails (if you don’t know who they are, then you’re probably in the group of people I’m talking about). And it would be nice not to have to do so much navigation to obtain such a paucity of national and international news (though Signs on San Diego, for example, makes you navigate all the way to the bottom of the main site page, at least it only takes one click to get the news once you get there).

But then again, if you want to conceive a business model that ultimately leads to your extinction, that’s your choice.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday Stuff

The line about infants is too far, but otherwise The Onion does it again (I have a feeling that the line about a McCain presidency isn't satire, though)...

'No Values Voters' Looking To Support Most Evil Candidate

...and hey kids, look! Lee Stranahan tells us about Phil Gramm's new self-help seminar (what fun).

Say Bai To Credibility

(Lots going on with your humble narrator before he heads out of town; while most everybody else has gone south to Austin, I’m going north to a true liberal haven, if you will. But first…)

It’s taken me a little while to get to this, but last Sunday, the New York Times magazine carried this feature written by Matt Bai about the McCain and Obama campaigns, ostensibly communicating the theme that they’re “reformers” (warning: more of the dreaded “conventional wisdom” ahead).

And with a bit of a nod to this prior post, Bai tells us…

McCain, however, takes a personal and confrontational approach toward reform, which he sees fundamentally as a matter of overhauling the rules that govern Washington. By this thinking, a Rough-Rider-type leader should press for tough measures — publicizing earmarks, for example — that insulate legislators from moneyed interests.
I hate to break the news to Bai, but even though there is more work to be done on the matter of earmark reform (once again, as long as they’re disclosed, I personally don’t have a problem), I should communicate the following from here, in which President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History tried to seize some imaginary (for him) moral high ground on the matter…

Earmarks today are far fewer in number and out in the open for all to see. Both the number and dollar amount of earmarks reached an all-time high during the last Congress (the 109th) with Republicans firmly in control of both chambers and the White House – with 13,997 earmarks worth $27.3 billion in 2005 and 9,963 earmarks worth $29 billion in 2006. But this year, under the new 110th Congress, earmarks plummeted to only 2,658 earmarks worth $13.2 billion in 2007, and 11,043 earmarks worth $14.1 billion in omnibus appropriations and related bills for 2008 – a reduction in the amount of earmarks by half.

Just as importantly, earmarks are no longer secret. It used to be that pet spending projects were quietly inserted into massive spending bills. Not any more. The new reforms require each earmark to be clearly identified and assigned a sponsor – and posted on the Internet 48 hours before a vote. Committee reports even put this information in chart format.

The Bush administration and the 109th Congress loved the out-of-control system of earmarks, hidden from the public. But now that the 110th Congress has reined in earmark abuse and opened the books – “bridges to nowhere” earmarks are no more to be found in the new budget bills – Bush feigns that he is at the head of the pack on earmark reform.
And Bai also sneaks in the following dig…

It’s certainly possible that the campaign we have now is the one we’ll get after the conventions — a campaign about who’s patriotic and who’s out of touch, inevitably driven by the darker subtexts of age and race. Chances are better, though, that the old soldier and the young orator will ultimately drift back toward the less dogmatic political space in which they are most at home. This certainly wouldn’t please the net-roots and religious warriors whose demand for partisan government has come to shape the environment.
For Bai’s information, the “netroots” is not about a “demand for partisan government” (I mean, this guy just wrote a book on the subject, for crying out loud). This is another echo of the cry that the “netroots” are just a bunch of dirty hippies screaming about Bush, insulting our troops and fervently supporting “the homosexual agenda,” whatever on earth that is.

The reality, however, is that the “netroots” is a broad-based coalition of progressive, Democratic activists who support candidates across a wide spectrum, from pro-gun individuals to anti-choicers, if need be (common sense social conservatism fits in quite nicely with us, thank you, even if it means that we agree to disagree at times).

I don’t mean to ridicule Bai’s call for change, which is the right attitude I believe. I just would prefer that he not “dress that up” with the same tautologies that we’ve already come to detest about this campaign.

Update 7/18/08: Daily Kos person BarbinMD does a better job of explaining how "the left" (including the netroots) is actually pretty mainstream here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More McBush Wankery From "The Old Gray Lady"

So Adam Nagourney tells us here that that “straight-talking maverick” submitted the idea of participating in his beloved “town hall” forums with Barack Obama to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.


Mr. Obama initially seemed enthusiastic about the idea when it was floated by Mark McKinnon, an adviser to Mr. McCain, as it became clear in early May that Mr. Obama was going to win the Democratic nomination. “I think it’s a great idea,” Mr. Obama said at the time. And for just a moment last spring, it seemed that voters might actually in be for the different kind of political campaign that Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama have both promised but, arguably, have yet to deliver.

The idea slipped away, though, after what appeared to be a half-hearted response from the Obama campaign. Mr. McCain wanted to hold these town-hall meetings every Thursday until the Democratic convention at the end of August — about a dozen of them in all. The Obama campaign countered with an offer of five — but that included the three debates the two men were already scheduled to hold in the fall, meaning that Mr. Obama was really only agreeing to two of the sessions that Mr. McCain proposed. And the Obama camp wanted one of the two to be held on July 4, a day when Americans could be expected not to flock to their televisions.
I guess Nagourney is also on the staff of the Nielsen ratings company…

Mr. Obama’s aides insisted that he really did like the idea, but that his time was better spent directly talking to voters and preparing for his convention and the fall campaign. The town-hall meetings would eat up hours of preparation time, and the Democrats noted that Mr. McCain was able to claim his party’s nomination long before Mr. Obama could his, leaving Mr. McCain with plenty of time to do the preparation Mr. Obama is doing now.
That sounds like a reasonable position as far as I’m concerned.


Bill Burton, Mr. Obama’s press secretary, blamed the breakdown on the McCain campaign, for failing to embrace the counter-offer Mr. Obama made. “The McCain campaign didn’t respond to our last proposal, except to reject it through the media,” he said. “They were much happier to play the politics of these joint appearances. Given what we have in the weeks down the road, we’ll see what the schedule dictates.”

Mr. McCain’s aides scoffed at that, saying that what Mr. Obama — despite his initial enthusiasm — was offering was nothing like what Mr. McCain had suggested.
OK, so what we have here is basically some political gamesmanship going on. However, Nagourney follows up with this (more of the dreaded “conventional wisdom,” of course)...

Mr. Obama’s advisers suggest that one reason he has been avoiding town-hall matchups is because they play to Mr. McCain’s strengths.
Uh, didn’t Obama present a counteroffer that McBush ignored? Doesn’t sound to me like he “avoided” him.

This column is pretty much a rehash of every “McBush/town hall forum/likes the interaction/plays to his strengths” column we have ever seen so far and probably will see far into the future.

Well, for the reality perspective, here is Rachel Maddow once more interviewing Josh Green from The Atlantic.

Update 7/16/08: Ad Nags just can't stop wanking.

More AP Fournier Follies

(I may be able to squeeze in a couple after all…I’ll try.)

So the AP’s Ron Fournier tells us here that Karl Rove should “keep up the fight,” meaning that Rove should continue to ignore congressional subpoenas and thus break the law (with Fournier noting after he was caught that he “regretted the breezy nature of the correspondence”).

Well, in a category you might call “breezy attempts at journalism,” I give you Fournier’s take on the nomination of Hangin’ Judge J.R. as Supreme Court Chief Justice here (my bad for not citing the original story, which I can’t find now as luck would have it), in which Fournier tells us that “a summer (of 2005) spent in the spotlight turned up no warts on the nominee,” even though there was ample fodder to protest the Roberts nomination here.

Also, Fournier used the pardon of “Scooter” Libby to attack the Clintons here, repeatedly asked John W. McBush if he thought Barack Obama was “an elitist” here, mischaracterized the controversy over Dubya’s warrantless spying here (just those bad Bush-hating liburuuls fightin’ the pre-see-dent whose tryin’ to keep us safe frum tha' terrists…), and claimed that a “Democratic interest group” aired an ad comparing Bush to Hitler here, through there are at least two issues with that statement: 1) Moveon is not funded by the Democratic Party and, though often sympathetic to that organization, is not an officially sanctioned outlet, and 2) the ad Fournier mentioned never aired, but was removed from the competition because (in a testimony to the good judgment of Moveon’s members) no one voted for it.

If Fournier is paid to be a propagandist, he is doing exemplary work. However, if he’s paid to be a somewhat legitimate MSM journalist, then he is stealing from his employer.

Update 7/28/08: More from Eric Boehlert (h/t Atrios).

Update 7/29/08: Curiouser and curiouser...

Update 9/2/08: And how sad is it that a news organization has to issue talking points to defend its Washington bureau chief against charges of bias?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday Stuff

"The Pap Attack" takes on the "straight-talk express" (not pretty, people)...

...and personally, I think Kagro X is being kind here to Dubya; this message is aimed at Repug Senator John Sununu of New Hampshire, but at this point, the recipient is Commander Codpiece himself (and by the way, McBush didn't even bother to show up and vote No for this)...

...Josh Green of The Atlantic comments on McBush's very awful week last week with Rachel Maddow (another guest on "Countdown" pointed out that Obama surrogates Bill Richardson and John Edwards went after Gramm a little more)...

...and dag, that Stranahan guy is good.

Monday Mashup (7/14/08)

(Took awhile to finish this - sorry...).

  • PA Governor Ed Rendell (pictured) was quoted as follows here…

    PHILADELPHIA – The United States should establish a capital budget to pay for about $1.6 trillion in national infrastructure repairs to ensure the work gets down and prevent the risk of becoming a “third-rate” economic power, (Rendell) said on Monday.

    In his first speech as 2008/09 chairman of the National Governors Association, Rendell said U.S. spending on facilities such as roads, bridges, and passenger rail is only 0.6 percent of gross domestic product, compared with 9 percent in China and 3.5 percent in the European Union.

    According to a 2005 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. has a shortfall of $1.6 trillion in infrastructure funding over a five-year period.

    Without those repairs, the U.S. risks becoming a ”third-rate” economic power in 50 years' time, Rendell warned.
    This takes you to similar warnings from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2005, and this post from early February tells us that America’s governors requested the same thing from Captain Clueless at that time as well, and I’m sure Rendell’s request today will be met with the same result.

    189 days, people…

  • Yesterday’s excellent New York Times column by Frank Rich, dealing in part with how al Qaeda and the Taliban have risen once more because of our stupendously awful war of choice in Iraq, contained this excerpt about former Attorney General John Ashcroft (pictured) from the recently published book “The Dark Side” by New Yorker writer Jane Mayer…

    In (Mayer’s) telling, a major incentive for (Dick) Cheney’s descent into the dark side was to cover up for the Bush White House’s failure to heed the Qaeda threat in 2001. Jack Cloonan, a special agent for the F.B.I.’s Osama bin Laden unit until 2002, told Ms. Mayer that Sept. 11 was “all preventable.” By March 2000, according to the C.I.A.’s inspector general, “50 or 60 individuals” in the agency knew that two Al Qaeda suspects — soon to be hijackers — were in America. But there was no urgency at the top. Thomas Pickard, the acting F.B.I. director that summer, told Ms. Mayer that when he expressed his fears about the Qaeda threat to Mr. Ashcroft, the attorney general snapped, “I don’t want to hear about that anymore!”
    I would ask that you remember that when you read about Asscroft’s opposition to the warrantless surveillance here; to say he “got religion” too late is an understatement.

    By the way, Rich’s column expounds on the following topic…

    So hot is the speculation that war-crimes trials will eventually follow in foreign or international courts that Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, has publicly advised (Doug) Feith, (David) Addington and Alberto Gonzales, among others, to “never travel outside the U.S., except perhaps to Saudi Arabia and Israel.” But while we wait for the wheels of justice to grind slowly, there are immediate fears to tend. Ms. Mayer’s book helps cement the case that America’s use of torture has betrayed not just American values but our national security, right to the present day.
    If you are registered with the New York Times, I highly recommend Rich’s column (even if you're not, I'm sure it is reproduced in some other form out there somewhere).

  • And by the way, Parade Magazine published an interview with Repug Louisiana Governor and possible vice-presidential nominee Bobby (“Don’t Call Me Piyush”) Jindal (pictured) here, including this excerpt…

    You’ve been described as “a person in a hurry.” Are you?

    Yes. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve Louisiana. The hurricane gave us the chance to completely redesign our health-care and education systems. I’m not saying the storms were good, but out of that destruction we have been given a choice. We would be doing a disservice to the people who lost their lives and property if we rebuilt failing structures.
    Well, that’s interesting, given that Jindal’s treasurer has called for denying funding to schools in Baton Rouge (here), and according to this, “When Bobby Jindal ran the Department of Health and Hospitals, he cut his budget by shutting down local clinics that many of our citizens depended on for their health care.”

    And did I mention that Jindal voted against access to the TRICARE program for Louisiana’s National Guard, and he also voted for a budget that cut veterans’ health care by $13.5 billion, as well as curtailing debt assistance for our troops (here; Jindal had company on the TRICARE vote, though, including our own former U.S. House Rep Mikey Fitzpatrick).

    But if I ever need a Catholic Republican governor of Indian ancestry in charge of a Southern state to perform an exorcism for a college roommate, then I have to tell you that Jindal is my guy (and so tolerant of other faiths too).

  • And finally, we have a choice item from Smerky in yesterday’s Inquirer (here).

    Our intrepid columnist fawns in the appropriate manner over former Patrick Meehan (pictured), who resigned recently as the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania (Meehan is a fellow Repug, of course), leading to speculation that Meehan may run for governor.

    And Smerky takes this opportunity to recall one of Meehan’s highest-profile cases…

    Meehan's tenure will be best remembered for the Oct. 7, 2003, discovery of a small electronic listening device in then-Mayor John F. Street's City Hall office. The FBI confirmed it had planted the bug but would not immediately elaborate on its purpose. Neither would Meehan.
    Basically, Smerky takes this opportunity to bemoan in “what might have been” fashion the fact that Meehan’s little gambit, though it ended up generating some incriminating headlines against former mayor John Street, identified as a “person of interest” in a Meehan corruption investigation (repeatedly in the media, of course), basically blew up in the face of Sam Katz, who was the Republican running for Street’s job (the discovery of the bug occurred a few weeks before the election – true “Rovian” timing, if you will).

    But when Smerky talked to Katz about this, who do you think they blamed?

    Katz also noted the irony that the presidential candidate running as an outsider and agent of change today has David Axelrod as his chief political strategist. The same David Axelrod guided Street in what Katz called "the now familiar-sounding playing of the race card."
    Uh, wait a minute…

    Funny, but from what I can read from here, Axelrod's influence had more to do with emphasizing experience and an "everyman" quality to Street, whatever you may think of that, as opposed to Street's "blackness" or whatever (and as far as the Obama campaign is concerned, I recall that A Certain African-American Preacher complained that Axelrod was trying to make the Illinois senator “too white”).

    Also, this post noted that one of Axelrod’s tasks was to emphasize Street’s connection to former Philadelphia mayor (and current PA governor) Ed Rendell – bringing this post “full circle” a bit (sorry that the nested link to reporter Thomas Fitzgerald’s story has expired…good one, Inky).

    We don’t know what will happen this November, of course, but it looks like Smerky is “greasing the skids” a bit on behalf of his boy Pat Meehan in the hope that he’ll end up in the Harrisburg governor’s mansion after another future election. That’s OK. And congratulations to Meehan for racking up such an impressive political “body count.”

    Because as all good Repugs know, only Democrats commit acts of political malfeasance.
  • Today's Obama-Rama Dustup

    Above (h/t HuffPo) are some previous New Yorker Magazine cover illustrations by Barry Blitt; as you can see, he’s hardly an ideologue. I would only ask that you keep that in mind when you look at this week’s cover depicting the Obamas in a highly unflattering manner (here).

    Yes, it’s tasteless. Yes, it’s based on some fundamental misconceptions that reinforce right-wing stereotypes. Blitt could have depicted Obama in a negative light over his FISA vote or cowering with other Dems, and that would have been deserved; a recent Tony Auth cartoon features Bush as a cowboy rounding up the Dem donkeys into the FISA pen, or something like that, and the cartoon made the point.

    Or, the illustration could have shown Limbaugh, Hannity, Bill Orally and Smerky hiding in a cupboard or something with an expression on their faces as if they were saying, “YA’ SEE? YA’ SEE? WE WERE RIGHT!” and that would have been fine; the spirit of the satire wouldn’t have been lost.

    But it’s a magazine cover. And it’s advertising a feature story by Ryan Lizza that I’ll read at my earliest opportunity.

    The attempt at humor went splat. That’s what happens with comedy sometimes.

    Now, I’ll breathlessly wait for our corporate media cousins to publicize Blitt’s other covers, some of which I’ve highlighted above, seeing as how we’re going to see the Obama/New Yorker cover now about two million times at least in the guise of “editorial commentary and political analysis.”

    On second thought, I won’t hold my breath waiting for that. I’m sure I’d suffocate.

    Snow Falls

    I promised I wasn’t going to say anything about the demise of Tony Snow, but I feel that I have to because “it’s getting a little thick,” if you know what I mean.

    And yes, I know, if you don’t have anything good to say about someone, you shouldn’t say anything. That is why I will merely link back to prior posts and try as hard as I can to stow the disparaging remarks.

    I should say at the outset, though, that 53 is entirely too young an age for anyone to leave us. And I can’t imagine the guts it took for him to live his life with his family history of colon cancer (there is no good type of cancer, but that’s particularly debilitating) and knowing that the chances were good that he would acquire it also.

    However, his legacy as a conservative media hit man will live on in these less-than-shining moments, as well as many others…

  • Snow equates the pardon of Scooter Libby with the pardons of Bill Clinton (here).

  • Snow informs us that there was no attempt by the White House to link Saddam Hussein with 9/11 (here).

  • Snow is granted a forum for selling a whole bunch of GOP talking points unchallenged on CNN and Fox (here).

  • Snow tells a White House reporter, in response to an AP story, that troops getting ready to be shipped out due to the "surge" will get their advanced battlefield training for Iraq not at the Army's premier training range in California...but in Iraq.
  • I cut Tim Russert some slack when he left us because he occasionally practiced his craft with skill and impartiality as far as I was concerned.

    However, Tony Snow leaves no such legacy, even a spotty one, only that of a shameless media ideologue. And how sad to waste one’s talents for such an unworthy cause.

    Update 1: And Snow perfected his act (if that's the right verb) through many appearances on "Dr. McLaughlin's Gong Show."

    Update 2: I should have extended my condolences to Snow's family and friends at the outset; sorry about that.

    McBush as T.R.? Bull!

    (And I don't mean Moose.)

    Yesterday in the New York Times, Adam Nagourney and Michael Cooper published more McBush fluffery positing the ridiculous noting that, somehow, John W. McBush’s presidential role model is Theodore Roosevelt here (I mean, that may be true, but McBush’s public life is a marked departure from the actions of our twenty-sixth president)…

    “I count myself as a conservative Republican, yet I view it to a large degree in the Theodore Roosevelt mold,” Mr. McCain said, referring to Roosevelt’s reputation for reform, environmentalism and tough foreign policy.
    There are so many directions I could go with this one, but I’ll stick to “reform” and “environmentalism.”

    For starters (on the matter of “reform”), this post from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) tells us…

    For McCain, there is no better example of how the image of reform has obscured the intersection of corporate donations and DC lobbyists than the Reform Institute. A nonprofit with an Orwellian name, the institute was founded by McCain and his allies a year after his failed 2000 (presidential) campaign. Billed as "a non-partisan election reform organization whose Honorary Chair is Senator John McCain," the institute wasn't really nonpartisan, and McCain was far more than an honorary chair. "It was predicated on McCain's political connections," says Robert Crane of the JEHT Foundation, a social justice organization in New York and one of the Reform Institute's past funders. "It wasn't an independent entity." To be sure, the institute did some good work at the state level in support of clean elections, but it always remained a John McCain protection agency.

    The Reform Institute paid for McCain to give speeches and host town hall meetings, touted him in press releases and cultivated his donor list. The group was housed in the same offices as McCain's PAC, his re-election committee and Rick Davis's lobbying firm, Davis Manafort, which represented telecommunications and gambling interests along with foreign governments like Nigeria and Ukraine. The staff included McCain's campaign manager, Davis, as president; his chief fundraiser, Carla Eudy; and his Internet consultant, Rebecca Donatelli. It was incorporated by McCain counsel Trevor Potter, with seed money from former Merrill Lynch CEO Herb Allison, McCain's finance chairman in 2000. McCain was chairman of the board from 2001 until 2005. Meanwhile, Davis earned $395,000 for three years of work, Eudy took in $294,000 as a consultant and treasurer, and McCain policy guru John Raidt made $145,000 in 2006, to give one example of how the Reform Institute padded the coffers of McCain's political brain trust.
    And concerning a cause he once championed…

    As McCain's commitment to campaign-finance reform waned, so did that of the Reform Institute. Congressional scandals involving Tom DeLay and lobbyist Jack Abramoff presented the best opportunity since Watergate for disinfecting Washington. Yet after investigating Abramoff's links to Indian tribes, McCain, then chair of the Indian Affairs Committee, was nowhere to be found. "I remember being very frustrated trying to get him on board lobbying reform," says Craig Holman of Public Citizen. "He remained aloof until too late, then offered a very weak bill." The Reform Institute, at best, was also a bit player. "We haven't worked with them for over a year," Holman says. "They're very defensive about any criticism of McCain." Neither McCain nor the institute has supported legislation to modernize the presidential public-finance system (the Feingold-Collins bill) or to publicly finance Congressional campaigns (Durbin-Specter); Barack Obama co-sponsored both bills. When asked in 2006 whether he still supported public financing, as he did in 2002, McCain responded, "No."
    And as far as cozy lobbyist connections, there is senior McBush strategist Charlie Black, who has worked for individuals such as Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire and Jonas Savimbi in Angola here; it is hard to imagine Roosevelt cutting deals with despots and dictators.

    Also, I don’t know how this fits in exactly, but as I was checking into this, I came across this post that notes how McCain allegedly abused a family member of a Vietnam POW in 1996; the incident was never investigated (and is it really necessary to point out that T.R. never would have done such a thing?).

    Meanwhile, this Wikipedia article on Roosevelt tells us the following (Roosevelt sought to regulate the “trusts” of his day, businesses composed of individuals more likely to reside on “K” Street now and comprised of people likely on McBush’s “speed dial” list)…

    On leaving the Army, Roosevelt was elected governor of New York in 1898 as a Republican. He made such a concerted effort to root out corruption and "machine politics" that Republican boss Thomas Collier Platt forced him on (William) McKinley as a running mate in the 1900 election, against the wishes of McKinley's manager, Senator Mark Hanna.

    His biggest success was passage of the Hepburn Act of 1906, the provisions of which were to be regulated by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). The most important provision of the Act gave the ICC the power to replace existing rates with "just-and-reasonable" maximum rates, with the ICC to define what was just and reasonable. Anti-rebate provisions were toughened, free passes were outlawed, and the penalties for violation were increased. Finally, the ICC gained the power to prescribe a uniform system of accounting, require standardized reports, and inspect railroad accounts. The Act made ICC orders binding; that is, the railroads had to either obey or contest the ICC orders in federal court. To speed the process, appeals from the district courts would go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    In response to public clamor (and due to the uproar cause by Upton Sinclair's book The Jungle), Roosevelt pushed Congress to pass the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, as well as the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. These laws provided for labeling of foods and drugs, inspection of livestock and mandated sanitary conditions at meatpacking plants. Congress replaced Roosevelt's proposals with a version supported by the major meatpackers who worried about the overseas markets, and did not want small unsanitary plants undercutting their domestic market.[43]
    And concerning the environment…

    Roosevelt was the first American president to consider the long-term needs for efficient conservation of national resources, winning the support of fellow hunters and fishermen to bolster his political base. He was the last trained observer to ever see a passenger pigeon, and on March 14, 1903, Roosevelt created the first National Bird Preserve, (the beginning of the Wildlife Refuge system) on Pelican Island, Florida. He recognized the imminent extinction of the American Bison and co-founded the American Bison Society (with William Temple Hornaday) in 1905. Roosevelt worked with the major figures of the conservation movement, especially his chief adviser on the matter, Gifford Pinchot. Roosevelt urged Congress to establish the United States Forest Service (1905), to manage government forest lands, and he appointed Gifford Pinchot to head the service. Roosevelt set aside more land for national parks and nature preserves than all of his predecessors combined, 194 million acres (785,000 km²). In all, by 1909, the Roosevelt administration had created an unprecedented 42 million acres (170,000 km²) of national forests, 53 national wildlife refuges and 18 areas of "special interest", including the Grand Canyon. The Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the Badlands commemorates his conservationist philosophy.

    In 1903, Roosevelt toured the Yosemite Valley with John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, but Roosevelt believed in the more efficient use of natural resources by corporations like lumber companies unlike Muir. In 1907, with Congress about to block him, Roosevelt hurried to designate 16 million acres (65,000 km²) of new national forests. In May 1908, he sponsored the Conference of Governors held in the White House, with a focus on the most efficient planning, analysis and use of water, forests and other natural resources. Roosevelt explained, "There is an intimate relation between our streams and the development and conservation of all the other great permanent sources of wealth." During his presidency, Roosevelt promoted the nascent conservation movement in essays for Outdoor Life magazine. To Roosevelt, conservation meant more and better usage and less waste, and a long-term perspective.[citation needed]

    Roosevelt's conservationist leanings also impelled him to preserve national sites of scientific, particularly archaeological, interest. The 1906 passage of the Antiquities Act gave him a tool for creating national monuments by presidential proclamation, without requiring Congressional approval for each monument on an item-by-item basis. The language of the Antiquities Act specifically called for the preservation of "historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest," and was primarily construed by its creator, Congressman James F. Lacey (assisted by the prominent archaeologist Edgar Lee Hewett), as targeting the prehistoric ruins of the American Southwest. Roosevelt, however, applied a typically broad interpretation to the Act, and the first national monument he proclaimed, Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, was preserved for reasons tied more to geology than archaeology.[citation needed]
    And how's this for a commendable sense of environmentalism (would anyone dare to call T.R. a "tree hugger" today?).

    Roosevelt's conservationism caused him to forbid having a Christmas tree in the White House. He was reportedly upset when he found a small tree his son had been hiding. After learning about the commercial farming of Christmas trees, where no virgin forests were cut down to supply the demand during the Christmas holiday, he relented and allowed his family to have a tree each season.[citation needed]
    Meanwhile, as noted here…

    U.S. Sen. John McCain, frontrunner for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, received a zero score from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) for his congressional voting record on environmental issues in 2007.

    It wasn’t that McCain voted against environmental protections in the 15 key votes that the LCV used to compile its annual congressional scorecard; he just didn’t bother to show up at all.
    Of all the shamelessness of our corporate media stenography on behalf of McBush, the fact that his absolutely abysmal attendance record has been so thoroughly ignored may be the worst, though there’s a lot to choose from when it comes to his negligence in public life.

    Anyone with even a passing familiarity with this country’s political history knows why Theodore Roosevelt has been so revered and likely will be far into the future. And that is because, as a proud progressive (though imperfect like all of us), he advocated for and adopted policies to regulate business, ensured a respectable quality of life for U.S. citizens, and practiced care for and respect of our natural resources to the extent that it is no accident that he is one of the presidents enshrined on Mount Rushmore.

    John W. McBush, however, devolved politically into a shameless mouthpiece on behalf of everything and everyone Roosevelt detested and battled throughout his government service. To ignore that is an insult to our history and the good common sense and intelligence of every American citizen.

    Update 7/15/08: My God...