President Bush announced today that he will lift the presidential moratorium on offshore oil drilling established in 1990 by his father, George H.W. Bush. In response, Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said that Bush is pushing “another WMD: wells of mass deception“:
Today President Bush is invoking the specter of another WMD: wells of mass deception. The president’s own press spokeswoman said earlier today that today’s announcement by the president will change nothing, since all of the legislative moratoria on offshore drilling remain in place. The Bush oil policy is an attempt at mass deception by a White House that has, for the last seven and a half years, pursued Big Oil’s agenda of drill, drill, drill.
According to CNN, longtime associate of President Bush, Stephen Payne, is now admitting that his selling of access to Bush administration officials could be “perceived to be bribery.” Payne still insists, however, that there was no “quid pro quo” for the donations which he solicited. Instead, he said, the Sunday Times is “engaging in ‘gotcha journalism.’” Watch it:
The administration could clear up any “perceptions” of impropriety by allowing the public to view the White House visitor logs. Earlier today, however, the White House refused to release them, citing “lawsuits and things.”
On NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday, spokeswoman for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) Carly Fiorina said McCain would continue to support the “imperfect” legislation of No Child Left Behind, though she added, “We need to learn the lessons, fix the problems, fully fund it.” However, McCain has repeatedly voted against fully funding the law, according to the National Education Association:
Since 2003, McCain voted repeatedly against fully funding No Child Left Behind, resulting in an unfunded mandate that has continued to further tap local communities and states during an economic downturn.
In June, McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin declared McCain was “fully supportive of the notion that we ought to fully fund” NCLB. However, on the same day, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that another adviser, Lisa Graham Keegan, “said McCain believes NCLB is adequately funded.”
For second time John McCain forgets that Czechoslovakia doesn’t exist anymore. I would suggest that he look up the “Velvet Divorce” on Wikipedia but of course he doesn’t know how. Might be the sort of thing people will want to refer to in case the endless political crisis in Belgium results in a separation.
This afternoon, Nancy Pfotenhauer, senior energy adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and a lobbyist for Koch Industries, lied to MSNBC’s David Schuster, claiming, “We withstood Hurricanes Rita and Katrina and didn’t spill a drop.” She said:
When Senator McCain opposed lifting the ban in the past, it was because there were concerns about environmental capability. Like, could we do this and still maintain a pristine environmental um uh climate and and area around the drilling? And basically, what we’ve seen is the technology has progressed to the point where we could do that. We withstood Hurricanes Rita and Katrina and didn’t spill a drop.
In the spring of 2004, then-CIA Inspector General John Helgerson issued a classified report warning “that interrogation procedures approved by the C.I.A. after the Sept. 11 attacks might violate some provisions of the international Convention Against Torture.” Helgerson’s report “also raised concern about whether the use of the techniques could expose agency officers to legal liability.”
In an interview today, Harper’s Scott Horton asks investigative journalist Jane Mayer about the revelation in her new book that “Helgerson was summoned repeatedly to meet privately with Vice President Cheney” before his investigation was “stopped in its tracks.” Mayer said that Cheney’s interaction with Helgerson was “highly unusual“:
MAYER:Asked for comment, Helgerson through the CIA spokesman denied he felt pressured in any way by Cheney. But others I interviewed have described the IG’s office to me as extremely politicized. They have also suggested it was very unusual that the Vice President interjected himself into the work of the IG. Fred Hitz, who had the same post in previous administrations, told me that no vice president had ever met with him. He thought it highly unusual.
According to Mayer, Helgerson’s report is said to be “very disturbing, the size of two Manhattan phone books, and full of terrible descriptions of mistreatment.” Mayer added that Cheney’s interest in Helgerson proves that as early as 2004 “the Vice President’s office was fully aware that there were allegations of serious wrongdoing in The Program.”
In October 2007, CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden “ordered an unusual internal inquiry” into Helgerson’s office, focusing on complaints that Helgerson was on “a crusade against those who have participated in controversial detention programs.”
In May, national finance co-chair Tom Loeffler stepped down after the press revealed that he had beenlobbying on behalf of foreign interests, including collecting nearly $15 million from Saudi Arabia since 2002. Today, Vanity Fair reports that another finance co-chair, former New Jersey congressman Jim Courter, is also resigning:
McCain finance co-chair and former New Jersey congressman Jim Courter, chief executive of telecom corporation IDT, is resigning from the campaign after the FCC slapped IDT with a $1.3 million fine last week for failing to disclose information about its contracts in Haiti. IDT is being investigated by several federal agencies after a former employee filed a lawsuit alleging that the company engaged in corrupt practices in order to obtain favorable contracts in the country.
Early on Saturday morning, former White House press secretary Tony Snow passed away from colon cancer at the age of 53. In an essay on Newsweek.com, Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Elizabeth Edwards writes about how she was diagnosed with a recurrence of her own cancer within days of Snow’s diagnosis last year. Edwards reveals how Snow’s death serves as a poignant reminder of her own mortality and of the things that really matter in life:
Tony Snow has died. And lots of people who valued the same things Tony did — a family well-loved and work well-done — have died and will die of colon cancer, those who have preceded Tony and those who will follow him. Can’t we start with something easy on which we can agree? That no one should die of a disease we can find and stop?
In February, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) took the “read my lips” pledge, promising publicly not to raise taxes under any circumstances. “No new taxes,” McCain declared. “Under no circumstances would you increase taxes?” asked ABC’s George Stephanopoulous. “No,” responded McCain. Watch it:
Similarly, top McCain surrogate Carly Fiorina has repeatedly expressed an aversion to raising taxes. “We [should] not raise taxes on the American people,” she said just yesterday on Meet the Press. But in an interview with Bloomberg’s Al Hunt published this weekend, Fiorina said that a McCain administration may be willing to raise taxes on the wealthy, echoing the plan set forth by Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL):
In an interview, Carly Fiorina, a top adviser, explains that any tax increases on “middle- and working-class” Americans are off limits. She says if a bipartisan coalition is “creative enough” to fashion tax increases on wealthier Americans, that may prove palatable.
We are glad to see McCain acknowledging the possibility of doing what most progressives think is now an unfortunate necessity in order to meet the nation’s needs. But Fiorina’s statement is the latest example of the McCain campaign’s inability to nail down where McCain stands on raising taxes. For example, in March, just weeks after making the “read my lips” promise, McCain backtracked:
I’m not making a “read my lips” statement in that I will not raise taxes.
But later that month, McCain reverted back to the no new taxes pledge:
I will wait forever to increase Americans’ taxes because I don’t think that’s beneficial to our economy.