Republicans: Hillary is smarter than you

While the 2008 presidential campaigning hasn't begun in earnest, the right's smears have. Out of the gate early, the Republican Party's mouthpieces have shown their hand: The left is too angry to lead.

So far, party leaders are painting with a broad brush, but their key target is Sen. Hillary Clinton, a possible presidential frontrunner. "Whether it's the comments about the plantation or the worst administration in history," Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman said Sunday, "Hillary Clinton seems to have a lot of anger." He added, "I don't think the American people, if you look historically, elect angry candidates."

Try as you might, I'm afraid this strategy won't work, Republicans. Why? Because you're underestimating your opponent. Let me let you guys in on a little secret: Clinton is smarter than you.

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Shut Up Shut Up Shut Up: The Republicans Control Congress

Read Chris Bowers' piece 'The Republicans Control Congress.'

I just read this awful and pathetically narrow piece of 'news' from the New York Times:  Some Democrats Are Sensing Missed Opportunities.  All of the Democratic elected leaders that are quoted look dumb:  Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, Phil Bredesen, Evan Bayh, Dick Durbin, John Kerry, Howard Dean, and Barbara Boxer come off as people looking to someone else to lead.  Here are a few rules of thumb for elected Democrats:

1) No elected Democrat should talk to Adam Nagourney on a strategy piece.

2) If you are an elected Democrat, just stop talking about what Democrats need to do to be elected.  Tell the country that Republicans are in charge and if people want a change they should vote for new leaders.

3) Any 'senior Democratic advisor' who blasts Democrats needs to be called out as not representing the party.  I didn't vote for senior Democratic advisors, and neither did you.  I don't represent the party, and neither do you.

4) My party elected Howard Dean, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi - you are our elected leaders so quit pretending like there's a mythical Democratic leader out there who speaks for us.

5) And read Digby.  NO MORE PROCESS TALK!!!!

6) If you don't know what to say use the following preface to every single one of your sentences.  "You have to keep in mind that the Republicans control Congress, which means...."

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What is the penalty for one's 'credibility being questioned'?

Republicans like to slime Democrats with the anger meme.  For instance, there's this bizarro attack on Hillary Clinton:

When Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman told ABC "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has an anger management problem, there's a reason Stephanopoulos didn't look surprised.

"Hillary Clinton seems to have a lot of anger," Mehlman insisted. "When you think of the level of anger, I'm not sure it's what Americans want" in the White House, he added.

Though almost never reported by the establishment press, Mrs. Clinton's angry outbursts are legendary among those who know her best - including Mr. Stephanopoulos, who, according to at least one White House insider, had to absorb Hillary's verbal beatings when he was a top advisor to the Clintons.

Interviewed for a PBS retrospective on the Clinton administration six years ago, former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers described an incident where the then-first lady exploded at the diminutive aide.

"Mrs. Clinton got really angry," Myers recalled. "She attacked George, which everyone knew was coming, which is why I guess nobody was willing to ride in there to the rescue . . . Everyone just sat there and let George take the beating."

... While interviewing Mr. Mehlman on Sunday, Stephanopoulos offered no comment on whether he thought Mrs. Clinton has an anger management problem.

The notion that someone has an anger management problem is just another variation of the year 2000 'Gore is crazy' psychoanalytical bullshit.  Senator Clinton has by all accounts been a competent Senator.  These weird personal attacks by someone like Mehlman are quite sad, and it's about time journalists stand up against this nonsense.  

I keep hearing the line about 'credibility is being questioned' applied to the lying right-winger of the day.  The problem is, it doesn't matter how often someone's 'credibility is being questioned' if they are continually invited on TV and to comment in major newspapers.

So here's a bit of friendly advice for political journalists.  If someone lies to you or makes personal attacks like the one on Hillary Clinton, stop quoting them. It doesn't matter if Ken Mehlman is the head of the RNC.  He's not credible.  And if you impose no penalty for someone's 'credibility being questioned', then those who have no credibility will continually be placed in charge of the political system.

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The Money Race for the White House

The race for the White House is years away; however, the money race is starting off red hot as Hillary Clinton leads the race, but that could because she had a race this fall. There are some surprising numbers in the latest campaign finance reports as many candidates for the 2008 Democratic Nomination are constructing an impressive warchest.

The Leaderboard:

  1. Hillary Clinton     : 17.1
  2. John Kerry          : 10.0
  3. Evan Bayh          :  9.5
  4. Joe Biden           :  2.5
  5. Chris Dodd         :  2.0
  6. Tom Vilsack        :  1.6
  7. Russ Feingold      :  0.794
**Cannot find numbers for Mark Warner.

I'm really shocked about Russ Feingold low fundraising with less than a million dollars and that's with the backing of the internet establishment. Maybe the numbers will go up as the Internet Bloc has shown that it can be a fundraising force--Howard Dean?

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Weekly Mulch: The Sticky Truth about Oil Spills and Tar Sands

by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger

The National Oil Spill Commission released its report on last year’s BP oil spill this week. The report laid out the blame for the spill, tagging each of the three companies working on the Deepwater Horizon at the time, Halliburton, Transocean and BP, and also offered prescriptions for avoiding similar disasters in the future.

As Mother Jones‘ Kate Sheppard notes, it’s unlikely the recommendations will impact policy going forward.

“I think the recommendations are pretty tepid given the severity of the crisis,” Jackie Savitz, director of pollution campaigns at the advocacy group Oceana, told Sheppard. “Even the small things they’re suggesting, I think it’s going to be hard to convince Congress to make those changes.”

No transparency for you!

Last summer, after the spill, the Obama administration tried hard to look like it was pushing back against the oil industry, even though just weeks before the spill, the president had promised to open new areas of the East Coast to offshore drilling.

This week brought new evidence that, despite some posturing to the contrary, the administration is not exactly unfriendly to the energy industry. One of the key decisions the administration faces about the country’s energy future is whether to support the Keystone XL, a pipeline that would pump oil from tar sands in Canada down to Texas refineries.  And one of the key lobbyists for TransCanada, the company intending to build the pipeline, is a former staffer for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Friends of the Earth, an environmental group, filed a Freedom of Information requesting correspondence between the lobbyist, Paul Elliott, and his former boss, but the State Department denied the request.

“We do not believe that the State Department has legitimate legal grounds to deny our FOIA request, and assert that the agency is ignoring its own written guidance regarding FOIA requests and the release of public information,” said Marcie Keever, the group’s legal director, The Michigan Messenger’s Ed Brayton reports. “This is the type of delay tactic we would have expected from the Bush administration, not the Obama administration, which has touted its efforts to usher in a new era of transparency in government, including elevated standards in dealing with lobbyists.”

Tar sands’ black mark

What are the consequences if the government approves the pipeline? As Care2’s Beth Buczynski writes, “Communities along the Keystone XL pipeline’s proposed path would face increased risk of spills, and, at the pipeline’s end, the health of those living near Texas refineries would suffer, as tar sands oil spews higher levels of dangerous pollutants into the air when processed.”

What’s more, the tar sands extraction process has already brought environmental devastation to the areas like Alberta, Canada, where tar sands mining occurs. Earth Island Journal’s Jason Mark recently visited the Oil Sands Discovery Centre in Ft. McMurray, Alberta, which he calls “impressively forthright” in its discussion of the environmental issues brought on by oil sands. (The museum is run by Alberta’s provincial government.) Mark reports:

The section on habitat fragmentation was especially good. As one panel put it, “Increasingly, Alberta’s remaining forested areas resemble islands of trees in a larger network of cut lines, well sites, mine, pipeline corridors, plant sites, and human settlements. … Forest disturbances can also encourage increased predation and put some plants and animals at risk.”

Not renewable, just new

The museum that Mark visited also made clear that extracting and refining oil from tar sands is a labor-intensive practice. He writes:

Mining, we learn, is just the start. Then the tar has to be “upgraded” into synthetic petroleum via a process that involves “conditioning,” “separation” into a bitumen froth, then “deaeration” to take out gases, and finally injection into a dual-system centrifuge that removes the last of the solids. Next comes distillation, thermal conversion, catalytic conversion, and hydrotreating. At that point the recombined petroleum is ready to be refined into gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. It all felt like a flashback to high school chemistry.

Why bother with this at all? In short, because with easily accessible sources of oil largely tapped out, techniques like tar sands mining and deepwater drilling are the only fonts of oil available. This problem is going to get worse, as The Nation is explaining over the next few weeks in its video series on peak oil.

Energy and the economy

Traditional ideas about energy dictate that even as the world uses up limited resources like oil, technology will create access to new sources, find ways to use limited resources more efficiently, or find ways to consume new sources of energy. These advances will head off any problems with consumption rates. The peak oil theory, on the contrary, argues that it is possible to use up a resource like oil, that there’s a peak in supply.

Once the peak has been passed, the consequences, particularly the economic consequences, become dire, as Richard Heinberg, senior fellow with the Post Carbon Institute explains. “If the amount of energy we can use is declining, we may be seeing the end of economic growth as we define it right now,” he told The Nation. Watch more below:

Light green

Part of the problem is that the energy resources that could replace fossil fuels like oil—wind and solar energy, for instance—likely won’t be in place before the oil wells run dry. And as Monica Potts reports at The American Prospect, our new green economy is getting off to a slow start.

Although the administration has talked incessantly about supporting green jobs, Potts writes that the federal government hasn’t even finalized what count as a “green job” yet. The working definition, which is currently under review, asserts that green jobs are in industries that “benefit the environment or conserve national resources” or entails work to green a company’s “production process.” But what does that actually mean?

“That definition was rightly criticized as overly broad,” Potts writes. She continues:

While nearly everyone would include installing solar panels as a green job, what about an architect who designs a green house? (Under the proposed definition, both would count.) … Another problem comes in weighing green purposes against green execution: We could count, for example, public-transit train operators as green workers. But how do we break down transportation as an industry more broadly? Most would probably agree that truckers who drive tractor-trailers running on diesel fuel wouldn’t count as green workers even if they’re transporting wind-turbine parts. And many of the jobs we would count as green already exist.

It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that the country is moving swiftly toward a bright green future.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.




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