"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Rove Is Back In Action And (In Case You Have Forgotten) McCain A Keating 5 Crook It took an incredible spin job for McCain to have survived the scandal. (Plus CQ and The Nation Minneapolis Update)

This morning in St. Paul, Minnesota, an estimated 50,000 antiwar protestors gathered for a big rally outside the state Capitol building originally planned to coincide with the start of the now-delayed Republican National Convention. In the face of this peaceful, permitted protest, as Ari Berman reports, were a phalanx of cops seemingly ready for the apocalypse, turning downtown St. Paul into a surreal scene featuring tear gas and dozens of arrests. Berman also got exclusive video of the aftermath of the violence.

Among the arrested, reports John Nichols, is radio host Amy Goodman, who was detained with two members of her staff.

Check TheNation.com all week for continuing coverage of the RNC, the protests and McCain's choice for veep.

McCain vetter defends Palin review
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Sarah Palin voluntarily told John McCain's campaign about her pregnant teenage daughter and her husband's 2-decade-old DUI arrest during questioning as part of the Republican's vice presidential search, the lawyer who conducted the background review said.

The Alaska governor also greatly detailed the dismissal of the state's public safety commissioner that has touched off a legislative investigation, Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr. told The Associated Press in an interview Monday.

VideoNation: Impressions from Denver. Cutting through the spin and the stagecraft, Nation correspondents on the scene in Denver report on their experiences at the Democratic convention. Watch this video by Brett Story now.

Finally, please visit The Nation online to read new Nation blogs, to view newsfeed links updated each day, to see when Nation writers are appearing on TV and radio, to get info on nationwide activist campaigns, and to read exclusive online reports and special weekly selections from The Nation magazine!


Republicans quickly closed ranks around the Palin family, praising the teenager, Bristol Palin, for deciding to have the child and marry the father. At the same time, the revelation focused attention on the GOP's call, in the party platform adopted yesterday, for unwed teenagers to abstain from sex.

Political strategist Karl Rove, freed of his White House role, is encouraging major Republican donors to give their money to organizations that operate independently of the Republican Party and are poised to spend upwards of $100 million trying to elect conservatives this fall.

Mr. Rove, the architect of President Bush's election victories, has been telling Republican benefactors across the country that giving to official Republican Party fundraising committees will not be enough this year, according to people familiar with his pitch over the past few months.

They said Mr. Rove has regularly expressed concern that Democrat-leaning organizations such as MoveOn.org and labor unions could swamp the Republican Party's money machine and overwhelm the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

Political strategist and former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has been encouraging wealthy Republican donors to fund outside attack groups such as Freedom's Watch.

To counter that wave, Mr. Rove has been asking elite Republican fundraisers to pour their millions of dollars into nonparty groups like Freedom's Watch, which is gearing up to spend tens of millions of dollars to help elect conservatives - primarily Republicans - to Congress and the White House.

Freedom's Watch has purchased advertisements that help Republican candidates by emphasizing issues rather than the candidates and do so without coordinating with the Republican Party.

Independent groups such as Freedom's Watch on the right and MoveOn.org Political Action on the left will fuel much of the on-air and on-the-ground skirmishing this fall between Democratic and Republican candidates. Well-heeled donors often prefer using these organizations as conduits for their contributions because they often can remain anonymous and because the groups' expenditures are not disclosed until after they are made, if at all.

Mr. Rove declined to comment about his discussions with Republican fundraisers.

But his spokesman, Mark Corallo, acknowledged that Mr. Rove, when asked, has encouraged people to fill the coffers of groups that in effect act as adjuncts to the Republican Party.

The message, Mr. Corallo said, was: "Conservatives, when interested, ought to contribute generously to groups that advocate their goals."

Mr. Rove has pushed Freedom's Watch in particular, said several people who have heard him make the case. He has told donors that he trusts the two longtime Republican operatives running the organization.

One is Executive Vice President Carl Forti, who is the former political director of the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney and the former communications director of the National Republican Congressional Committee. The other is Executive Vice President Tony Feather, who was political director for Mr. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign and is a founding partner in FLS-DCI, a consulting firm for corporations and political candidates.

Mr. Rove is not paid by Freedom's Watch, but nonetheless has spoken highly of its efforts when asked by Republican moneymen where they should put their contributions this fall, said people close to the former White House strategist.

The result has been an uptick in contributions to Freedom's Watch.

"It has raised our profile, and his confidence in the operation has helped legitimize it in the minds of potential donors," a Freedom's Watch official said.

The group spent $17 million last year, according to its latest public disclosure, and has spent about $20 million in total, a spokesman said.

Freedom's Watch has begun to concern some Democrats, with its large bankroll and plan to play in multiple markets with hard-hitting attacks.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the House Democrats' fundraising committee, accused Republicans of having "essentially contracted out to Freedom's Watch" to do their fundraising and attack ads.

"There are these shadowy groups out there who can spend an unlimited amount of unaccountable money," Mr. Van Hollen said Thursday in an interview with The Washington Times. "That is what 'Freedom's Watch' is geared up to do."

Mr. Rove also has recommended that donors with strong pro-life positions on abortion give money to the National Right to Life Committee. The committee declined to comment.

Republicans have been at a disadvantage on the money front through much of this election cycle. Democratic candidates for president, the House and the Senate have outraised their Republican counterparts.

The Democratic re-election committee in the House has raised $109 million, $29 million more than the Republican committee. In the Senate, the Democratic committee has collected $93 million compared with $59 million by its Republican counterpart.

Only at the national committee level do Republicans top Democrats. The Republican National Committee has raised $457 million compared with $417 million by the Democratic National Committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is so confident that the trend will continue and that he will bring in large amounts of money that he has declined to take public funding for his general election bid. Mr. McCain, on the other hand, will accept and stick to the $84 million that the federal government is offering.

Mr. Obama's supporters expect that he will raise and spend much more than $84 million this fall. His own funds will be supplemented by several efforts that will total hundreds of millions of dollars.

For example, the AFL-CIO has approved a political budget of $53 million and its affiliated unions are expected to spend an additional $200 million on political activities. The National Education Association probably will spend more than $40 million and the Service Employees International Union has designated $100 million.

MoveOn.org also will spend substantial sums, conservatively estimated at more than $30 million. Last week its political arm launched a $2.5 million fundraising effort to bankroll a drive to register 500,000 voters.

Major corporations also will spend tens of millions of dollars to counter labor unions, especially over the question of secret ballots in union certification elections. Companies are worried that if secret ballots are eliminated, their workers will be unionized with greater ease.

Independent groups often do not advocate the election of specific candidates, but buy commercials or send out fliers that support policy positions. The effect of the effort is often the same because candidates are named in the advertisements and are closely associated with the issues mentioned.

McCain The Crook: In case you missed it In case you have forgotten this!

What is the Keating Five?

28/08/08 --- "McCain Keating Five"

For anyone not aware of the Keating Five, here’s a very simple summary:

Charles Keating owned a savings and loan in California. He was illegally using the money of his bank’s customers to give loans to himself and friends that they didn’t have to repay, and to speculate on risky real estate investments, which was strictly forbidden by U.S. law (the latter was one cause of the Great Depression).

When the feds found out what was going on and launched an investigation into Keating and his company, Keating called five U.S. Senators whom he had wined, dined, and lavished with hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations and personal gifts for years.

Keating asked the five Senators to tell the feds to bug off, and the five Senators, later known as the Keating Five, obliged, meeting with federal investigators twice and pressuring them to stop investigating Keating’s crimes. They bought Keating some time, but the feds didn’t give up and eventually Keating was nailed. The reason the feds were so persistent was because Keating wasn’t playing with mere chump change. Keating blew $3.4 billion through illegal personal loans and bad investments, and the FDIC eventually had to reimburse Keating’s customers who had been ripped off. (The FDIC is a part of the federal government funded by taxpayers dollars, so when Keating stole from his customers you and I were the ones who paid for it.)

(Background Info - Keating wasn’t the only Savings and Loan owner who was committing fraud, 20% of the S&L’s that failed during that three year period were found to have been caused by fraud and/or insider trading. The failure of the Lincoln Savings and Loan and other S&L’s pushed the country into a recession, costing the U.S. government $126 billion dollars in FDIC insurance payouts to investors. All of this came to a crescendo during the first year of the presidency of George H.W. Bush, who pushed through the S&L bailout plan to keep the economy afloat.)

When the involvement of the Keating Five was made public, a scandal erupted and the Senate Ethics Committee launched their own investigation into whether the Keating Five had violated Senate ethics rules. It was a giant mess (see the Keating Five Videos section). The other four Senators left office either immediately or within one term. John McCain was formally rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee for exercising “poor judgment” for intervening with the federal regulators on behalf of Keating.

John McCain then went back to the drawing board and re-invented himself as “the Straight-Talk Express” and the media gobbled it up. “Tax-Evading-Criminal” doesn’t sound as catchy as “Straight-Shooting-War-Hero”.

Ever since the scandal, when McCain lies today, it’s never questioned, because he’s a “straight talker”. The man has more skeletons in his closet than any politician in history. The Keating Five is just one bone.

There are two fantastic articles about the Keating Five we highly recommend reading.

One is from 1989, written by the Phoenix New Times, called McCain: The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five. That article does a good job of capturing the anger at the time at John McCain and the other corrupt Senators. It took an incredible spin job for McCain to have survived the scandal.

The other article is from Slate.com, written in 2000 and titled, Is John McCain A Crook?

Copyright 2008. McCain Keating Five. All rights reserved http://mccainkeatingfive.com/