Monday, March 24, 2008



I was just hiking in the hills above my house. Up where Shannon meets Carnavon one of my neighbor's home was smashed in. A car had gone out of control and smashed up the front walls of two rooms. I saw the fire engine pass by last night around 9PM. This morning they invited me in to see the damage. It was horrible but thank goodness neither of them was hurt. The driver-- who had had a McCain moment was going way too fast and lost control of the car-- is 70, even younger than John McCain, but just got very confused. An ambulance took her to a hospital; I hope she's ok.

If you've been reading DWT with any kind of regularity lately, you know how concerned we are about this latest ploy on the part of the Bush Regime and their congressional allies to dismantle the rule of law, eviscerate the Constitution, and make sure they and their cronies get off scott when accountability finally becomes a real possibility. A few weeks ago New Mexico Democratic congressional candidate, Martin Heinrich did a guest post explaining why retroactive immunity and warrantless wiretaps are important issues for all Americans. What Martin doesn't talk about is why people like John McCain, who profess to revere the constitution, are supporting warrantless wiretapping of Americans citizens and retroactive immunity for criminal actions by Bush Regime members and their cronies in the telecom industry.

Today's USAToday, though has the answer-- and this is not one of those McCain moments. It's a well thought out strategy for getting the money he needs to get the power he wants.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain has condemned the influence of "special interest lobbyists," yet dozens of lobbyists have political and financial ties to his presidential campaign-- particularly from telecommunications companies, an industry he helps oversee in the Senate.

Of the 66 current or former lobbyists working for the Arizona senator or raising money for his presidential campaign, 23 have lobbied for telecommunications companies in the past decade, Senate lobbying disclosures show.

If you think this is a coincidence, go read Ann Coulter or watch Fox News. McCain, in fact, has been kissing up to the telecoms for some time.
In the fall of 2003, telecommunication companies lobbied for a bill that would ban state and local taxes on Internet access, and they had support in high places [as well as support from the blogosphere].

Sen. John McCain, who at the time was chairman of the committee overseeing telecommunication issues, helped write the bill that would outlaw those taxes. McCain's committee sent its version of the bill to the full Senate on Sept. 29, 2003.

Four days earlier, AT&T Wireless executives gave McCain's 2004 Senate re-election campaign $10,500, according to campaign-finance records. AT&T Wireless, which offers Internet connections like other telecom companies, says in its 2003 disclosure report to the Senate that it lobbied on the bill. [The blogosphere didn't get any bribes, legal or otherwise, the way McCain did, for supporting this legislation.]

The Internet tax ban-- which became a three-year moratorium after a legislative compromise-- is one of several bills sponsored by McCain and supported by telecom firms. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee won praise from industry executives for his opposition to state and local regulation and taxes on telecommunication as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee from 1997 to 2001 and 2003 to 2005.

During that time, 23 people who now work for McCain or raise money for his campaign were lobbyists for telecommunication companies, records show. Those current and former lobbyists, their spouses, their work colleagues and the executives and political action committees of their telecom clients have donated more than $750,000 to McCain's campaigns over the past decade, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

McCain has sucked in nearly $800,000 from the telecoms and their top executives and associates for his troubles. The telecom lobbyists have bundled far more than that for him-- probably millions. He refuses to say.

McCain has repeatedly sought restrictions on lobbyists and campaign donations, saying they create the appearance of corruption. "It is no coincidence that the most influential lobbyists with the greatest access in the nation's Capitol are also the most prolific political fundraisers," McCain says on his campaign website.

Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera said McCain is taking a "'Do as I say, not as I do' approach to campaign finance, ethics and lobbying reform."

McCain can't get his story straight-- and he never has in his entire career. His entire political strategy has always been to talk a good game, hype himself as a reformer, a moderate and an independent, and then go on his super-reactionary way. Watch him debate himself.

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