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Clinton Aims to Win the "Clyburn Primary"

Regular readers know that The Fix is fascinated by the Democratic presidential candidates' courtship of Rep. Jim Clyburn, the senior Democrat in Congress from South Carolina, a key 2008 primary state. We call it -- not all that creatively -- the "Clyburn primary."

In combing through the presidential reports over the past 48 hours, we came across an interesting expenditure by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.). On Feb. 16, she cut two $2,000 checks to Clyburn's reelection committee.

Asked about the donation, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer was blunt: "We are going to help Democrats."

Clinton isn't the only 2008 candidate who has donated to Clyburn's campaign. In the 2005-2006 cycle, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner's Forward Together PAC donated $6,000 to Clyburn while Sen. Joe Biden's (D-Del.) Unite Our States PAC gave $5,000 on Sept. 28, 2006. In the 2004 cycle, former Sen. John Edwards's (N.C.) One America Committee donated $2,000 to Clyburn.

In other words, giving to Clyburn isn't all that rare. But it's interesting that out of all the candidates for the 2008 Democratic nomination, only Clinton used her presidential committee to make donations to individuals and groups in early states.

In addition to the Clyburn contributions, Clinton gave $1,500 to the New Hampshire Political Library in Concord, $1,056 to freshman New Hampshire Rep. Paul Hodes, $500 to Bobby Stephen's Fund for Education (Stephen is a former New Hampshire state senator), and a $25 donation to the New Hampshire Educators PAC.

Clyburn has been decidedly non-committal about whether and when he will endorse a presidential candidate -- wavering between a pledge to stay out of the primary and leaving the door open to wading in. Sources familiar with his thinking say he remains undecided on an endorsement and will avoid making one (if he does at all) for months so that all of the candidates continue to lavish attention on his home state.

That said, Clinton is a savvy candidate and is making sure that she covers all her bases in the event Clyburn decides he wants to exert his influence on the process. In addition to the $4,000 in donations to Clyburn, Clinton also appeared at an event earlier this spring honoring Clyburn.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 17, 2007; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Breaux's Out, Who's Next
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Comments

I would note that one of Clinton's campaign staff if Burns Strider who formerly worked on Clyburn's staff and before that worked for Pelosi.

Rob
http://bluesunbelt.com

Posted by: Rob | April 18, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

You Hillary haters can't stand to have anyone speak well of Hillary can you?

By the way, Hillary's contributions to Clyburn are not unusual at all. Hillary raised, and gave, a total of fifty million dollars to Democrats during their mid-term election campaigns last fall; and she appeared on behalf of Dems who were running, almost 50 times, all across the country. And that is not counting what Bill Clinton raised for Democrats.

Chris, keep publishing the positive things Hillary does. God knows she doesn't get nearly enough credit for all her contributions to the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Michael Zost | April 17, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

JD -- If you accept that the government currently is/has been influencing the market to the benefit of energy producers, through ridiculous tax incentives that benefit companies for acting in their own self-interest, then why shouldn't the government now be entitled to force those same companies to return a portion of those unearned profits back to consumers? Really, that's all most people are talking about.

On a personal level, I'm glad that gas prices are going up b/c the market will -- ultimately -- force us to change our consumption patterns. That's important for environmental reasons but also - even more importantly -- to protection our national security interests.

For that last reason, I actually think that more sweeping government intervention is justified to speed changes in consumers energy consumption patterns. Whether that's done through higher taxes on consumption or through offering significant tax incentives to encourage cleaner fuel use, we need to be more proactive than just market forces will allow for in the next decade.

Really, if you take the threat of terrorism seriously I have a hard time understanding anyone pushing back against a comprehensive energy indepence strategy. EVEN if that strategy does speed the changes that the market is already starting to mandate.

Posted by: Colin | April 17, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | April 17, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

hillary can do whatever she wants - but this life-long Democratic party member will NEVER, EVER, NEVER-IN-A-MILLION-YEARS trust her, let alone vote for her.

Every word hillary voices is measured for a perfect fit. There is NOTHING original or new.

And of course - she CAN'T WIN THE GENERAL ELECTION UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE BECAUSE BUSH ISN'T RUNNING

Posted by: Joel Easton | April 17, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I would hope that voters have matured beyond their youthful days of playing Simon says and Follower the Leader games and will not follow the endorsements of family, friends, neighbors or untrustworthy politicians. Voters need to cast their votes based on a thorough and thoughtful analysis of the candidates demonstrated character, abilities and position on the crucial issues.

I remember the advice of my mother when I wanted to things that my friends were doing that she viewed was morally wrong - she would always ask if I would follow them into a burning building or jump off a cliff knowing that there was no way out of the building or there was no safety net before hitting the ground. It's time for the American voters to start opening their eyes, ears and minds to what the candidates are saying and to make their own choice and not be foolishly led by an endorsement.

Posted by: andy | April 17, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Jim Clyburn's endorsement is important to pundits, and pundits alone.

If Clyburn were to endorse Hillary, it would likely lead the pundits to reitterate the 'Obama isn't black enough' BS. This absurd rationale overlooks the fact that Clyburn's reason for endorsing Hillary has everything to do with his friendship with her and nothing to do with his dislike for Barack.

On the other hand, if Clyburn were to endorse Barack, the politicos would likely assume that the states black voters (an essential bloc for Democratic primary candidates) would automatically flock to Obama. That assumption is equally as rediculous.

The African-American voters (predominantly located in the greater Orangeburg and Charleston areas) are going to make up their own minds, giving only minimal thought to which candidate the veteran Congressman chose to endorse.

Posted by: William | April 17, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

South Carolina is Obama's country. It's early, but here are the poll numbers.
Obama - 34, Clinton - 20, Edwards - 17

Here's the URL

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/campaignmatters?bid=45&pid=186257

Posted by: Andy | April 17, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Can't people get this through their heads? Hillary is a polarizer, which is the last thing this country needs. God help us if she runs. The Republicans can run virtually anyone and beat her, which is the next to the last thing this country needs: another republican in the white house.

Posted by: John Paul | April 17, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

More Chamber of Commerce pablum.

"Government exists to enforce the rights of the citizens (including defending the borders, enforcing contracts, building infrastructure, eliminating externalities, and a few other things). They do not exist to make sure all companies are doing things that benefit the nation as a whole."

Under the "promote the general welfare" concept, government does with the consent of the governed, try to make sure that all companies do not harm the nation as a whole, or parts of it.

But the people who write the talking points for our posters consider it heresy to mention that a company just might not do something which could harm the country, or anybody in it.

"eliminating externalities," - I bet that's something the Founding Fathers spent a lot of time on.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"- the world price for oil (or nat gas, or gold, or any commodity) is NOT set by XOM or any other company. It is set by a steadily increasing demand (including China and India), and supply concerns (new field discovery, tension in midEast, etc)"

I agree. However, Exxon and other oil companies have increased the price of their refined products more than the price of oil has increased. They aren't just passing on price increases to the consumer; they're tacking on additional price increases for profits. I have said this many times; you've ignored it repeatedly.

I do support a windfall profits tax on Exxon. More accurately, I want an investigation on the pricing strategies used by the oil companies. If they've been using scarcity of raw materials as an excuse to jack up their prices even higher, then that's price gouging, and they should be punished for doing so.

I don't care if it's a disincentive for oil companies to seek more profit. The whole issue is that they're seeking too much profit as it is. There are some things that I value more than money, and I guess we just disagree on that.

Posted by: Blarg | April 17, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

You just can't bear the truth, can you zouk? Your little fictional world just crumbles.

Posted by: drindl | April 17, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, that message from the Lt. is obviuosly so fake as to warrant no credit. did you find that on one of your loony left blogs?

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 17, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

There isn't much point to talking to the King -- he's operating from a locked back ward where they only let you eat with plastic forks.

He's obssessed with some fictional notion of what 'liberals' are and shaking with rage, has to rant and berate the few who would listen about how his boogeymen are at fault for all his problems. Because Fox tells him so.

Posted by: sad | April 17, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Ltd. Pronin,

I thank you profoundly for your service and intelligence.

Posted by: drindl | April 17, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

To the poster calling himself the "King of Zouk," here are a few facts for you, based on my (so far) 18 months in Iraq:

Al Qaeda is a Sunni organization, at least as imagined and run by bin Laden. Whyrhen do they attack Sunnis in Saudi? well, the fact that they "assert fealty" to bin Laden doesn't mean that they are responsive to his orders. The Al Qaeda of today is not the same organization that attacked in 2001... they are much more diversified and far less centralized than they were previously. After all, they are a terrorist organization, rather than a state army. It would be far more accurate to compare them to the Mafia, than to the KGB.

Also, you are certainly correct in saying that Al Qaeda does in fact have a presence in Iraq. However, from all that I have seen, they are far from being the dominant force there. The dominant forces are, in fact, those Sunni and Shi'ite militias who are determined to establish control over the country for their own sects. Al Qaeda attempts to use this situation to its own advantage, with occaisional success. Al Sadr and the Shi'ite Mahdi Army are a far more immediate threat, and they are NOT linked to Al Qaeda.

The truth is that this IS a civil war, albeit one complicated by outside intervention from Iran, Syria, Saudi, and other area powers, as well as the U.S. presence. Personally, I believe that we have done much to contribute to the conflict - both inadvertently and on purpose - and it may now be to a point where a peaceful resolution is impossible.

It is the consensus of many here that this was not a necessary war, and that far from making us safer, it has increased anti-American sentiment around the world to levels we have not seen since the early '70's.

Your support of the military and its mission is welcome, but please, Mr. Zouk, try to have a better understanding the situation before making inflammatory comments. Also, sir, I would urge you to conduct yourself civilly when expressing disagreement with others. The right to hold a friendly and respectful dialogue is one that I and many others will never take lightly again.

Lt. Maxim Pronin

Posted by: Lt. Pronin | April 17, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, I'll try one last time. See if you can get yourself to agree with this:

- the world price for oil (or nat gas, or gold, or any commodity) is NOT set by XOM or any other company. It is set by a steadily increasing demand (including China and India), and supply concerns (new field discovery, tension in midEast, etc)

- if the US gov tried to influence it to any great degree, they would mostly screw things up, probably by creating artificial scarcities (gas lines, rationing). If they passed some artificial limit on price, say $1.50/gal when the world market was $3, that oil/gas would mostly go straight to China, Japan, etc, making scarcities even worse

- Perhaps you are suggesting that we impose a windfall profits tax on XOM. Now you've created a DISINCENTIVE for any other oil companies to enter our market, to take risks, and therefore lowering prices

Or maybe you are suggesting something else? Seriously, you are unhappy with XOM profits - what are you proposing, short of converting the US to socialism?

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Linda - how does one laugh in an email? If you get ripped off on everything you buy, you must not be a very bright consumer. the rest of us shop around, sometimes for price, sometimes for quality. If we can't get it for what we can afford, we don't buy it. this may not apply to Dems because the government tells them what to buy, how much to borrow for it and who to blame for the injustice of it all.

Actually business must please the consumer or fail. government has no such obligation. you seem to have your facts completely inverted. you are obviously a liberal. do you also believe the you can surrender your way to victory? that you can spend your way to thrift?

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 17, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

JimD, Judge, Reason, Steve, and Moderate, and anyone else who tried to stay on topic, including the folks who wondered why it was considered "wise" for a candidate to pay cash tribute to a congressman's campaign, thank you.

I accept that a small and relatively homogeneous state might still look to figures with "influence" and "networks"as JimD suggested happens in various places.

I think Steve and Moderate pointed out that Clyburn was ineffectual for Kerry against Edwards, and that confirms my suspicion that there seems little to be gained in the "Clyburn primary".

In the flurry of personal flamers and fragmented, although spirited, debates about the merits and demerits of capitalism, I thought it would be gentlemanly to acknowledge those who stuck closest to the topic. Thank you again.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | April 17, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

'I don't really expect a fair answer from all but a few on this worthless blog.'

Then why are you here every single day, all day long? jesus christ, get a life.

Posted by: Linda | April 17, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The difference between Big Government and Big Business is that government has at least some duty/responsibility to citizens, business doesn't even pretend to.

Why you worship entities whose only goal is to rip you off anytime they can is beyond me.

Do you remember the emails of the Enron guys, laughing about artificially driving up prices in california and creating a financial disaster for the state in the meantime, and laughing about 'screwing grannies'?

Posted by: Linda | April 17, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Funny, I never saw that right - to heat your home, in the bill of rights.

the response to my post is mind numbingly simplistic as usual from Libs. here is the extent of the retort:
1 No, that was cronyism and corruption and incompetence. Try to get it straight.

FEMA worked very well when it was well- managed. The republican party hates government, and actively tries to undermine it.

No links, no facts, just stale talking points to establish fictions.

2. Every single thing he says is tired, flogged to death, discredited talking points.
go ahead and discredit them if it is so easy then. One person's opinion is not discrediting them. It is called laziness and sloth, typical for a Dem "intlellectual".

I don't really expect a fair answer from all but a few on this worthless blog. Mostly just moronic one liners attempting some pitiful humor.

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 17, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

It's not new that Hillary is buying off someone today or tomorrow. She cannot get an endorsement on just herself. She has to buy hers. the others can get endorsements without buying off. But, with Hillary, everything is about money and nothing else. She has planned for years to buy the nomination rather than work for it like everyone else.
She has no personality, no scruples and no chance.

Posted by: vwcat | April 17, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, I thought you were avoiding this blog. Until you stop avoiding it, I guess I can't respond to your posts.

JD, I'm talking about defending the rights of the citizens. The products of oil companies are essential to our way of life. If people can't afford to heat their homes because of oil company profiteering, that violates their rights as citizens, and it's the government's job to do something about it.

Of course, you don't seem to believe in profiteering, or the concept that a company can charge too much for their services. So obviously you wouldn't think it's an issue. Even if Exxon doubled their prices to raise their profits, that would be okay with you. Oh, I know what you're going to say: Exxon isn't the only oil company, so people would just go to the competition. But what if the other oil companies raised their prices too, but not as much? So now Exxon's products have doubled in price, and Citgo/Shell/whoever's prices have only gone up 50%. The consumer is getting royally screwed, but the shareholders are thrilled. You're okay with that?

Posted by: Blarg | April 17, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

One of disgusting examples of these provocatons was the story of Don Imus show aimed to ruin Obama image and accomplished by our "powerful woman"-Oprah Winfrey on behalf of her pal-Hillary Clinton. By the way, considering the past of Oprah Winfrey and the pretty obvious way she was starting her career, it is no surprise that our media imposes on the current society the pattern of Black permiscious females, as any kinds of achievers, especially in media, sport, entertainment, etc.

Posted by: aepelbaum | April 17, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Does this kingofzouk character get paid by the Republican Party? Every single thing he says is tired, flogged to death, discredited talking points.

Why should anyone listen to you when they could just turn on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh?

Posted by: Kinsey | April 17, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

'What happened in New Orleans, in Walter Reed, etc. Big government can't do much of anything right. '

No, that was cronyism and corruption and incompetence. Try to get it straight.

FEMA worked very well when it was well- managed. The republican party hates government, and actively tries to undermine it.

Posted by: Robert | April 17, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Election is becoming fully obsolete. Everything is sold, bought, and fixed. In between election campaign's empoyees create different provocations against rival candidates.

Posted by: aepelbaum | April 17, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Let's get back on topic. Milk and caviar subsidies....only under Republican administrations.

KOZ must be happy to hear that a spokesman no less insightful that Rush has stated that the odds are overwhelming that Hillary will be elected our next president.

It must be true. It was in the Drudge Report! These other polls are just moot now.

Posted by: poor richard | April 17, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Stop making sense, this is my blog. I will tolerate no substance.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"You'll pay similar (or even identical) prices for TVs, cell phones, milk, lightbulbs, or any other commodity"

TVs and Cell phones are all made oversees and are therefore controlled by tariffs. Milk is HEAVILY subsidized and regulated so that the price stays the same. So light bulbs I will give you.

Posted by: Andy R | April 17, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Price fixing was investigated twice and laughed out of court. Also remember that most on this blog thought that George Bush personally fixed oil prices just before the election and was planning on letting them go back to normal after his win. Well ... those pesky facts keep ruining the Dem talking points.

Here's another one with little in the way of truth that is daily foisted on the public:

A suspected al-Qaida in Iraq suicide bomber smashed a truck loaded with TNT and toxic chlorine gas into a police checkpoint in Ramadi on Friday, killing at least 27 people -- the ninth such attack since the group's first known use of a chemical weapon in January.

Al-Qaida in Iraq, which asserts fealty to Osama bin Laden, was believed to be hitting back at Sunni tribesmen who are banding together to expel foreign fighters from their territory.

Yup. But don't let anyone tell you that the Iraqi situation is anything but a civil war in which the U.S. has no business meddling.


Meanwhile over 100 days and counting and no new laws from the Dem congress. they can't even pass a simple budget. but they did manage to break just about every single campaign promise in that little time.

Meanwhile the Dem candidates are spending your contributions on facials, haircuts and spas. and you wonder why the Dems can't be trusted with economics or foreign policy. they are a laughing stock.

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 17, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Blarg, at least your posts are reasonably thoughtful, unlike some of those on this board.

you said "That's why we have a government: To make corporations do things that are in the interest of the country at large, not the small elite minority who owns stock in a particular company."

I disagree. Government exists to enforce the rights of the citizens (including defending the borders, enforcing contracts, building infrastructure, eliminating externalities, and a few other things). They do not exist to make sure all companies are doing things that benefit the nation as a whole.

Your point about Tyson is valid, and I think there is a definite health/human safety role there. But is there a government interest in reducing or eliminating profits for oil companies, as a means to override the free market? Not so much.

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

It is just interesting to see why Hillary failed to win this "first primary." Without the perks of the Lincoln bedroom, state dinners, pending legislation, plumb appointments, federal contracts and Air Force One flights, the Clintons seem to lack the goodies to bring in the donors. Just how much of their money was driven by these trappings of power is evident in their pedestrian first-quarter fund-raising record.

Posted by: Andy | April 17, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Blarg, that is nonsense to think that the market would not correct the bahavior of Tysons in your example. after a few got sick, the opposition, perdue, would advertise that they have clean birds. remember the tylenol incident. Government didn't require safety caps on bottles, the market did. you seem to have a zealous faith in big government. What happened in New Orleans, in Walter Reed, etc. Big government can't do much of anything right. they are screwing up your retirement, your schools, your health care, your environment and much more. Why would you advocate more of this particular commodity?

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 17, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Robert, you have again claimed price fixing. Ahem... your evidence please?

Air fares tend to stablize across routes and airlines - are they price fixing too? You'll pay similar (or even identical) prices for TVs, cell phones, milk, lightbulbs, or any other commodity. Did they all get together to fix their prices?

Or, here's a thought, does the market enforce a kind of price equilibrium? Again, I don't mean to impugn your intelligence, but I have a heard time understanding why people doubt that the market is at work here.

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

As I've already said, I didn't object to you calling people liberals. I objected to you saying that we hate the market. That's a ridiculous over-simplification of what people are saying, and I thought you were better than that.

It's true that, in the absence of any other influence, corporations are only responsible to their shareholders. That's why we have a government: To make corporations do things that are in the interest of the country at large, not the small elite minority who owns stock in a particular company.

Think about meat inspection. It costs Tyson money to inspect all of their chickens and keep their factories sanitary. If there were no laws forcing Tyson to do so, they wouldn't. (Maybe they'd make some efforts towards cleanliness, but they certainly wouldn't spend as much as they do now.) If Tyson was only responsible to their shareholders, then they wouldn't waste so much money on meat inspection.

That's why we need laws forcing Tyson and similar companies to obey sanitation and quality standards. Otherwise, they wouldn't do it, and a lot more people would get food poisoning from bad meat. It used to happen all the time before these laws were put into place. Meat inspection laws exist because, while Tyson only has a duty to its shareholders, the US government has a duty to all Americans. And the same situation applies to the oil companies.

Posted by: Blarg | April 17, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

FYI - do you know how much grief I've taken in my life because of my ignorance and stupidity? I thought by not having a name I could break this trend. Now everyone is picking on me. I'll be back later, I need to find something to cut and paste so I can have an opinion.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Are we going to see gun control turn into a big campaign issue with the Va Tech massacre?
http://political-buzz.com/?p=145

Seems to me that the Dems might get killed for actively bringing up anything about guns in the general.

Posted by: paul | April 17, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm serious... how will 'the market' [as if it were a monolithic god] punish companies who engage in price fixing of neccessities?

Posted by: Robert | April 17, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse


'As to the coward/anon poster - he/she was pressured into picking a "name" a while back. I believe he was using the moniker "Proud to be a Dem" for a little while until zouk made a joke out of it and called him Proud to be Dum. heh he'

I thought you'd already taken that name.

wow, you sure are a wit.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

'Liberals (sorry Blarg :-), you must accept this fact: the market will punish XOM for truly excessive prices.'

And how will they do that? Stop driving?

Posted by: Robert | April 17, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse


'Robert, your 10:45 post was an embarrasment to you. Calling someone 'childlike' who believes that free markets are the most efficient (and 'fair') economic system for society as a whole...well, I don't even know where to begin. Perhaps you should go to college to learn about this stuff? Surely you don't advocate socialism or communism as a superior economic system?'

And that post is an embarrassment to you. These snippy little references about how people need to 'go to college' so that they can agree with your simplistic views--please.

I don't advocate socialism or communism. However, i do say capitalism is imperfect, at best, can be easily manipulated, and needs regulation and oversight. Even Adam Smith said that.

But the uncriticial adoration and worshipful attitudes that some have adopted towards the concept of 'free markets' have turned it into some warped religion.

Posted by: Robert | April 17, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Blarg, I believe that this sentence sums up our different worldviews:

"The fact still remains that they raised their prices beyond the amount that was necessary..."

At the end of the day, XOM (or any company in the capitalist system) should charge the amount that will generate maximum long term profit for the company. To do otherwise is a breach of fiduciary responsibility of the directors (and in fact, a cause of action for a shareholder lawsuit).

Liberals (sorry Blarg :-), you must accept this fact: the market will punish XOM for truly excessive prices. It's not the government's place to do so (unless there's evidence of lawbreaking, or it's a monopoly resulting in gov regulation).

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

JD - I am a big proponenet of our capitalist system, and I applaud your defense of it.

As to the coward/anon poster - he/she was pressured into picking a "name" a while back. I believe he was using the moniker "Proud to be a Dem" for a little while until zouk made a joke out of it and called him Proud to be Dum. heh heh

No sense of humor.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 17, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

AndyR, I agree that OPEC is bad for Americans and distorts the oil market. All of the companies selling product in the US have to contend with it however, so that would seem to be a level playing field (ie, not favoring XOM or anyone else).

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

JD, my last post was typed in haste; I apologize for the mistake on the US population.

But it doesn't matter how broad-based the ownership of Exxon is. The fact still remains that they raised their prices beyond the amount that was necessary, and a lot of people suffered as a result. You're defending their behavior because it made money for Exxon's shareholders, but that's little comfort to people who can't afford heating oil. Exxon's actions hurt the poor and helped the rich.

And it also doesn't matter that Exxon has competition. The oil industry in general has been generating record profits. Other oil companies have been behaving the same as Exxon, which is why prices aren't notably different between competing gas stations. I'm talking about Exxon because it's the company that started this discussion, but everything I'm saying can be applied to the oil industry in general.

Posted by: Blarg | April 17, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

'I have elected to avoid this blog, '

BS, you're here every day.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

'You are conversing and debating with a collection of the most ruthless communists and socialists one could find in america. ''

Yes, that's what you call anyone who disagrees with your point of view, clown. Because you can't admit to yourself that your views are not mainstream.

Posted by: LOL | April 17, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Zouk gets his talking points from the Republican National Committee.

JD gets his from the Chamber of Commerce.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

JD - You delude yourself if you think that we actually have free markets.

That's why the American Enterprise Institute is not called the Free Market Institute. They recognize that fact.

Your comment last week about about how unions work against consumers, while totally disregarding the relationship role of capital/management to the consumer has to cause one to wonder if you did anything thinking to earn those degrees in economics, or just regurgitated simplistic capitlistic pap.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

JD I want add one thing
" It's not up to some king or socialist society to tell Exxon what the 'fair' price is for gas. "

That is not true. That is exactly what OPEC is. Now I disagree with you on the 'goodness' of the free market, but I understand your argument for it, but Oil is not run that way and you shouldn't use it to argue the benefits of the free market, IMO.

Posted by: Andy R | April 17, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Robert, wrt your 10:40 post:

I agree with your first para, tax breaks to incentivize behaviors are basically a bad thing. Unfortunately, politicians like the idea of having power, and use the tax code as their personal playground. I think we're in violent agreement.

Your second paragraph is patently untrue. There is competition in the marketplace, at least among oil companies. I don't think I'll be able to convince you of this in this forum, so I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

Blarg, the float of XOM is significant - 5.6 bill (across 300 million, not billion US residents) suggests that ownership is broadbased. I'm sorry that some people had to pay more for gas/oil (which is still below inflation-adjusted prices from the 70s BTW); if there were no competition for Exxon, you'd have more of an argument.

Robert, your 10:45 post was an embarrasment to you. Calling someone 'childlike' who believes that free markets are the most efficient (and 'fair') economic system for society as a whole...well, I don't even know where to begin. Perhaps you should go to college to learn about this stuff? Surely you don't advocate socialism or communism as a superior economic system?

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

JD,
You are conversing and debating with a collection of the most ruthless communists and socialists one could find in america. for some reason, this blog has self-selected and excluded all but a few brave, thinking conservatives. Just imagine the idea in a normal conversation in a bar that goes like this:
1.Exxon is evil they make profits
2. doesn't everyone make profits?
1. not that much and its taking advantage of poor people
2 last I heard, exxon makes less profit than most industries
1 that doesn't matter they're still evil and so is bush

Or even better
1. those shootings were awful, we should ban all guns
2. one guy goes nuts so you want to create a giant government regulation that effects millions of law abiding gun owners
1 guns kill people and if we didn't have them, no one would get killed
2 how are you going to get rid of them all?
1 al gore could make a movie

I have elected to avoid this blog, and I am sure there are many others, until the likes of ignorant coward and the other insult throwing loons calm down. we used to have civil debates on this site until he came along. In the meantime I would encourage that all thinking people ignore all offensive and out of touch posters. they will lose interest if they are ignored and we can have our blog back.

Until then

The infamous KOZ - the real one.

PS - you will now see many posts with my name that are not me. you will be able to tell. this is the intellect of the opposition. they have nothing to offer.

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 17, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

' Over the past six months, American troops have died in Iraq at the highest rate since the war began, an indication that the conflict is becoming increasingly dangerous for U.S. forces even after more than four years of fighting.

From October 2006 through last month, 532 American soldiers were killed, the most during any six-month period of the war. March also marked the first time that the U.S. military suffered four straight months of 80 or more fatalities. April, with 58 service members killed through Monday, is on pace to be one of the deadliest months of the conflict for American forces.'

Posted by: tragic waste | April 17, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Wealth is concentrating as never before. The rich aren't just getting richer and richer anymore -- the concentration is way beyond that. And the opportunity avenues the rest of us expect from the social contract that tolerates such wealth are not expanding. If you look around at all the supposed prosperity -- the big houses, the SUVs, the electronic toys, nice clothes, etc. -- you should also understand what is supporting it: Massive debt. Massive, massive debt on a scale never before seen. Everyone thinks they are rich now, and are doing what it takes to live that way. It is the cultural expectation now, and I think this illusion is a way of avoiding accepting the concentration that is occurring and accepting that we are working harder, but receiving less and less of the benefits. The only way for most of us to achieve that lifestyle is to refinance our houses, run up our credit cards, and elect leaders who encourage all of that while running the country the same way. Massive, massive debt. Everywhere. A bankrupt philosophy surely expressing itself one day with real-world bankruptcy.

If something is unsustainable, it won't be sustained. We are all frantically trying to find new ways to buy time. Perhaps if we can sustain things another month we will turn the corner. Perhaps we'll get a raise in time. Perhaps tax revenue will increase in time. Perhaps the stock market will go back to where it was and our pensions will be there for us. Perhaps we'll win the lottery. But what is happening is that the money is draining upwards. As we work longer hours, and more members of our families enter the job market just to cover the house payments, the insurance payments, the childcare and the increasing cable-TV and credit card bills, the banker who collects our interest payments, and the owners and executives of the insurance companies are gobbling up more and more of the world's resources to "own" for themselves. Our government is even preparing to sell off our national parks -- another transfer of "ownership" of OUR resources to the priviledged FEW.

In the end, a very basic question will need to be addressed. Who is our economy FOR, anyway? This is a very dangerous question, and just asking it leads to places that many of us have not gone in our thinking, and many of us certainly don't want the rest of us to go. And, of course, the corollary question: Who is our GOVERNMENT for? Is it US, after all, or not?

Posted by: Terrence | April 17, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

'I can't believe I'm the only one on this board who thinks the market is basically a good thing...'

They are neither good nor bad. Like all human creations, they are flawed and require oversight or they become corrupt. The whole romance some have with them, the whole idea that all you need is 'free markets' and that solves all of society's problems is quite childlike.

Posted by: Robert | April 17, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

JD, it looks like my post was mangled. Probably because I used angle brackets, which look like HTML tags. What I originally posted was that "No offense to liberals, but (Republican talking point designed to offend liberals)" is obnoxious. I don't take offense at being called a liberal. But the slur about hating the free market is designed to be offensive.

Okay, so Exxon has 5.6 billion shares. So what? The US has 300 billion people, the vast majority of whom were affected by the price increase in petroleum products. The resulting increase in Exxon's profits went to a tiny fraction of the people affected. So don't say that it's okay for Exxon to gouge everyone just because a few people get part of their money back.

I really don't understand how you can defend this behavior. Oil and gas are necessary commodities. Because of how Exxon raised their prices, a lot of people had a hard time paying their heating bills or buying gas so they could drive to work. And in return for inconveniencing or even bankrupting the nation's poor, Exxon was able to distribute extra dividends, primarily to those who were already very wealthy. How is that fair?

Posted by: Blarg | April 17, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

'So, and I can't stress this point enough, my defense isn't of Exxon per se - it's of the market-based economy as a whole.
meddling, it gets less efficient, and society suffers to varying degrees.'

But that's the whole point. Government IS meddling. This administration is completely WARPING the market by allowing price fixing and giving tax 'incentives' to oil companies to DO EXACTLY WHAT THEY'D DO ANYWAY.

There is no such thing as 'free markets' without regulation and oversight, because they will always devolve to all power being concentrated in the hands of the wealthiest, who can control prices. Their is no 'efficency' in the oil market -- because there is no competition, only merging. and we are suffering -- every time we go to the pump.

Posted by: Robert | April 17, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe I'm the only one on this board who thinks the market is basically a good thing...

AndyR, if you think your mutual fund company or investment bank (goldman sachs, etc) is screwing you out of dividends, why are you investing with them? There's lots (and I mean TONS) of choices out there.

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

That's a very good point, Moderate.

In races that don't get a lot of media coverage, endorsements may matter. Even then, newspaper endorsements are more important, but I'm sure some people pick a candidate based on who their favorite political/union leader supports.

But this is a presidential primary. Not that many people vote in the primaries, and those who do tend to be more well-informed than the populace at large. So most primary voters know enough about the major candidates to know who they prefer. And the uninformed voters probably don't know who Clyburn is, or care what he has to say. So it's no wonder that his endorsement doesn't really make a difference.

Posted by: Blarg | April 17, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Really, CC -- who cares about this? I want to hear more about the big donors Mitt and Rudy are hitting up. They're raking it in, from where? Can we get a list of their biggest fish?

Posted by: Judy | April 17, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Robert, your logic seems to be something on the order of "since we don't know what was discussed at those meetings, it MUST be proof that there was price fixing". Sorry, I can't make that assumption of law-breaking (with a sitting VP present) so cavalierly. (And BTW, I haven't been called 'son' for many many years....) The interest of the US is that oil/gas be sold to them at market prices. It's not up to some king or socialist society to tell Exxon what the 'fair' price is for gas. It's what the market will bear, since there is adequate competition. If you don't like it, don't pay it: bike or walk to work, drive a golf cart like Ed Begley, etc.

So, and I can't stress this point enough, my defense isn't of Exxon per se - it's of the market-based economy as a whole. When the government starts meddling, it gets less efficient, and society suffers to varying degrees.

Blarg, as for making "a few stockholders rich"; their float is 5.6 BILLION shares, with only a little over half (56%) owned by institutions, pension funds, unions, and mutual funds. And sorry about using the word 'liberal'- didn't realize that was pejorative (like 'repug' or 'rethug'?)

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Chris:

I really thought you were better than this. Let's take a look at recent "Clyburn Primary" history. In 2004 he endorsed Gephardt, who didn't even make it to the SC primary and then he endorsed Kerry who lost the SC primary to Edwards. Wow, it's really important who he endorses. Why do you continue to write this stuff?

Posted by: Modearte | April 17, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Bob Schieffer of CBS: "Does this administration have a credibility problem?" Vice President Cheney: "I don't think so, Bob.

Posted by: LOL | April 17, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Oh and by the way JD I agree that both sides are to blame for this and that is the reason why you are seeing so many 'populists' appearing on the national political scene.

Posted by: Andy R | April 17, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

'Its not like they were talkiing about national security.'

No, Andy, I think they were talking about financial security -- their own.

Posted by: Jane | April 17, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

'/ndyR, I think the problem you have is with the tax code, not Exxon, which is only doing what it's supposed to do (ie maximize shareholder wealth by taking advantage of tax code opportunities).'

This made me laugh too. 'maximize shareholder wealth by taking advantage of tax code opportunities' -- could you speak English, please? Did you go to BS -- I mean business school? Cause you talk like it. what you mean is -- 'get rich by being a deadbeat and forcing the rest of us to shoulder the tax burden for you'.

Posted by: Robert | April 17, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

JD,
When Exxon stock in a mutual fund makes the fund 10 million dollars in a quarter do you honestly think the folks at Fidelity pass it directly on to you. No way, they take a substantial cut and then pass it on to the investors. Now when companies like Enron go under and those same mutual funds lose money the loss gets dumped on to you as a "market risk". Why do you think Goldman Sachs makes so much money.
Also the Cheney meetings with the CEO's of the oil companies isn't a conspiracy theory it is a FACT. What happened in that meeting? Why did gas go up 200% 6 months after that meeting? Why are the minutes from that meeting privledged? Its not like they were talkiing about national security.

Posted by: Andy R | April 17, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

'As for Cheney's meeting with Big Oil CEOs being evidence of price fixing: you've made a leap of logic there, a little too conspiracy-theory for me. Maybe all they told him was to introduce the tax incentives. Maybe they wanted to open up ANWR and Fla coast to drilling. Do we even know who was in the meeting, exactly? (And yes, I'm looking for proof, not musings from Media Matters, CBP or other lefty forums)'

I don't usually post, but this is damn silly. Do we know who was in the meeting? Not really, because Cheney won't tell. We know who some of them are, through the vigilance of a few reporters, Ken Lay for instance, and representatives of Exxon. Maybe all they told him was they wanted tax 'incentives'? No, son. They presented him with laws that they had written, which were then passed by the compliant R congress. And of course, those did include huge tax breaks.

I really don't understand folks like you. Why do you want the interests of multinational corporations to trump US citizens? Why? And your continual flogging of 'dems did it too' is really remininscent of a child wailing 'but he hit me first.'

Posted by: Robert | April 17, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Could this guy possibly be a bigger panderer?

'April 16,2007 | LAREDO, Texas -- Sen. John McCain says the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech does not change his view that the Constitution guarantees everyone the right to carry a weapon.

"We have to look at what happened here, but it doesn't change my views on the Second Amendment, except to make sure that these kinds of weapons don't fall into the hands of bad people," McCain said Monday in response to a question.'

'Bad' people? Are we a nation of 5 year olds? I find it insulting to be talkded down to in this manner. And how do we 'make sure' that weapons don't 'fall' into their hands? Becaise obviously whatever we are doing now is NOT working, or this wouldn't keep happening over and over again.

Posted by: Jane | April 17, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Anonymous guy, if you want to actually take part in the discussion, sign your posts. Just come up with a name. It's not hard. Others in this conversation use nonsense syllables or their names/initials; just pick something.

JD, I know that oil prices went up for legitimate reasons. But the price increases went beyond that required by the raw materials. If Exxon had just passed on the increased prices of raw materials, they wouldn't have made record profits. Instead they tacked on extra price increases to make more money. And considering that everyone in America is affected by the price increase, I don't care if it makes a few stockholders rich. (The increase in 401K value is miniscule compared to the gains by major shareholders of Exxon.)

And on a side note, your common construction of "No offense to liberals, but " is extremely obnoxious. If you don't want to be offensive, then don't say things that you know are offensive and untrue.

Posted by: Blarg | April 17, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Anon poster, FYI don't bother responding to me, I'm pulling a lylepink and ignoring your comments until you sign them.

AndyR, I think the problem you have is with the tax code, not Exxon, which is only doing what it's supposed to do (ie maximize shareholder wealth by taking advantage of tax code opportunities). I agree that we should eliminate those kinds of loopholes, which no doubt were inserted by lobbyists. And I'd guess that as many Democrats voted for them as Republicans.

As for stock dividends going to 401k managers only, and not stockholders...huh? I'll chalk that comment up to not having your coffee yet this morning :-)

As for Cheney's meeting with Big Oil CEOs being evidence of price fixing: you've made a leap of logic there, a little too conspiracy-theory for me. Maybe all they told him was to introduce the tax incentives. Maybe they wanted to open up ANWR and Fla coast to drilling. Do we even know who was in the meeting, exactly? (And yes, I'm looking for proof, not musings from Media Matters, CBP or other lefty forums)

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

This made me want to cry.

'BAGHDAD, April 16 -- By now the soldiers know the ceremony by heart, but Monday afternoon, on day 62 of the Iraq war's escalation strategy, they rehearsed it yet again, starting with the display that people would want to look at and to touch.

Photograph on the bottom. Then the boots. Next, the rifle. Then the dog tags. Finally, on top, the helmet. Five days after his death, it was all that remained here of 29-year-old Army Sgt. Raymond S. Sevaaetasi.

Can a soldier get used to death? That's what the soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, out of Fort Hood, Tex., are finding out here in an area of eastern Baghdad teeming with snipers and roadside bombs. They are also learning hard lessons about the consequences of President Bush's troop escalation that other battalions have so far been spared.

Since U.S. and Iraqi forces began implementing their new Baghdad security plan Feb. 14, nine soldiers from the battalion have been killed. '

Posted by: Virginia | April 17, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

'I'm happy American companies are making a profit. Then they pay lots of taxes, hire lots of people, and pay dividends to shareholders'

Let me repeat it to you again, slowly. They are NOT American companies. They are multinationals. By and large, because of tax shelters and lax laws, they do not pay taxes. Please, grow up -- are you a child? Sure they hire lots of people, but not here. They pay dividends, which is from the enormous profits they generate at your expense.

Do they fix prices? Have you ever noticed that you can go to several stations and the prices are all about the same? Now, why do you suppose that is? Because they set them.

'Of course the price of oil has gone up, mostly thanks to the troubles in Iraq and the nutjob running Iran. '

The 'troubles' in Iraq? You mean the freaking meltdown of a country which your clubfooted president instigated? Oh yes, do blame Iran, because now that Saddam is dead, you have to find a new boogeyman. Notice how there's always a convenient boogeyman for you righties to hate and blame everything on?

The price of oil has doubled for one simple reason that most reasonable people predicted in 1999: a president and vice president who are lifers in the oil business.

The market? What a simple child you are.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

JD said "I'm happy American companies are making a profit. Then they pay lots of taxes, hire lots of people, and pay dividends to shareholders (including a hell of a lot of teachers, cops, and blue-collar types who have pensions/401ks with Exxon stock)."

The problem is they don't pay lots of taxes cause they have "incentives" from the federal government to avoid taxes if they put 10 million towards "new energy sources" (ie more drilling). Also they don't hire people here they hire shipping comapnies from lebanon, and Malaysia, as well as set up there head offices in Bermuda or Dubai to avoid tax liability. Now do they pay alot of dividends, yes. But that money goes to the fund managers of those 401Ks and Pensions you speak of. Also no price fixing are you high? The CEOs of the four major oil companies had a PRIVATE meeting with Dick Cheney to write the Bush Energy plan. You ask for proof that is simple tell Dick Cheney to surrender the documents from that meeting (its what congress did and the White house said no) That was after they said the meeting never happened, and got caugth in that lie.

Oh but you know the largest corporation in the world wouldn't do any wrong. No.

And I didn't even get into the total BS that surrounds the totally undervalued "drilling fees" that Exxon/Shell/texaco pays in the Gulf and on the northern slope of Alaska.

Posted by: Andy R | April 17, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I have an idea of how to cope with these "no name", "False name", " Pure BS", and the other "nonsense that is here", is just ignore as much as possible. These child like appearing posts are aimed at us that likes to discuss important things, but these folks are doing their best to shut up people that have an honest opinion about what is going on in the world. The ignorance of this cannot be taken by them as anything except what it is, namely nothing.

Posted by: lylepink | April 17, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

'The storm dumped up to 9 inches of rain on parts of New Jersey on Monday, and more than 8 inches fell on New York City's Central Park, quadrupling the 101-year-old record for the date.'

that's when you know you're in trouble -- when weather records are not just broken, but smashed by levels of magniture.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

"The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed."

That is one of the cruelest and morally bankrupt statements that has ever been made. What an empty platitude, as though would-be madmen planning rampages would suddenly be cowed by Bush's friendly reminder of the illegality of mass slaughter.

Willfully impotent in the face of tragedy. Now that's an American President.

Posted by: jaa3 | April 17, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

"Clinton is a savvy candidate and is making sure that she covers all her bases "

What is Savvy about this, or anything that Hillary Clinton has done during this cycle for that matter? I am serious, what has she done that makes her a 'savvy' politician? She got outraised by Obama in the first quarter, she is down in the early states of Iowa, South Carolina to Edwards, and in some polls in NH too. She spent more money then anyone else on polling and still can't get her message right. The albatross around her campaign's neck is her vote for the war and more importatntly her refusal to really address it and she can't shake it. What in all of that is Savvy?

Posted by: Andy R | April 17, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse


Iraq refugee crisis hits "epic proportions"

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Blarg, I defend the market at work. Believe it or not, there's still competition in the gas business, at least where I live in Va outside DC. If Exxon or Chevron or Citgo or Lukoil whoever raised prices an order of magnitude above the competition, they would lose business and lose money.

No offense to liberals, but why do you hate the market so much? Unless you think there is price fixing going on (and if so, let's see some proof please), I don't have a problem paying the market rate.

Of course the price of oil has gone up, mostly thanks to the troubles in Iraq and the nutjob running Iran. This makes West Texas, offshore Calif and New Orleans oil more valuable/profitable. And of course we haven't built a new refinery in 20 yrs, because of the green/eco efforts in the country. And of course there's more people driving, both in the US and throughout the world (esp India and China). Did you think with all these market factors at work, the price would go down?

I'm happy American companies are making a profit. Then they pay lots of taxes, hire lots of people, and pay dividends to shareholders (including a hell of a lot of teachers, cops, and blue-collar types who have pensions/401ks with Exxon stock).

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

A member of Tony Blair 's Cabinet on Monday brought out into the open a quiet shift away from the U.S. view on combatting extremist groups, acknowledging that British officials have stopped using the expression "war on terror " favored by President Bush .

He said the phrase strengthens terrorists by making them feel part of a bigger struggle, when in fact they are merely common criminals.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Grievance is something right-wingers do, no matter how much power they have. They are shocked, shocked, that they don't have all the power, shocked and victimized and angry. You could tell it in Bush's response to today's shooting. First he said he was shocked and saddened. Then he said everyone has the right to bear arms. He wouldn't want to let any of those NRA-types imagine for a second that any amount of senseless killing could possibly shake his commitment to a fully-armed populace.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

From http://www.solidpolitics.com

Freak show.... Hillary Clinton spent last week ripping Don Imus, but she didn't think twice about taking campaign contributions from other media circus clowns like Jerry Springer, Rosie O'Donnell and Hugh Hefner....

Posted by: William | April 17, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I don't think that the Clyburn endorsement means as much as insiders think it does. After all, Kerry (who won Clyburn's endorsement in 2004) lost badly to Edwards despite touting the endorsement every chance he got. The only thing that endorsements really do, especially for officeholders rather than organizations, is create a little bit of press and a little bit of fundraising.

Posted by: Steve | April 17, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse


What a strange development:

'In what could prove an embarrassing new setback for embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the eve of his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a group of influential conservatives and longtime Bush supporters has written a letter to the White House to call for his resignation.


The Letter: "An Unsuitable Steward of the Law"
The two-page letter, written on stationery of the American Freedom Agenda, a recently formed body designed to promote conservative legal principles, is blunt. Addressed to both Bush and Gonzales, it goes well beyond the U.S. attorneys controversy and details other alleged failings by Gonzales. "Mr. Gonzales has presided over an unprecedented crippling of the Constitution's time-honored checks and balances," it declares. "He has brought rule of law into disrepute, and debased honesty as the coin of the realm." Alluding to ongoing scandal, it notes: "He has engendered the suspicion that partisan politics trumps evenhanded law enforcement in the Department of Justice."

The letter concludes by saying, "Attorney General Gonzales has proven an unsuitable steward of the law and should resign for the good of the country... The President should accept the resignation, and set a standard to which the wise and honest might repair in nominating a successor..." It is the first public demand by a group of conservatives for Gonzales' firing. Signatories to the letter include Bruce Fein, a former senior official in the Reagan Justice Department, who has worked frequently with current Administration and the Republican National Committee to promote Bush's court nominees; David Keene, chairman of the influential American Conservative Union, one of the nation's oldest and largest grassroots conservative groups; Richard Viguerie, a well-known G.O.P. direct mail expert and fundraiser; and Bob Barr, the former Republican Congressman from Georgia and free speech advocate, as well as John Whitehead, head of the Rutherford Institute, a conservative non-profit active in fighting for what it calls religious freedoms.'

Posted by: hmmm... | April 17, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

C'mon, Chris -- who's Mitty buying? And Rudy? Why can't you talk about them, just for a damn change? Why all this focus on Hillary's perceived corruption, hmm, boy? Because you know Rudy has got his finger in more government pies than anyone. Why don't you talk about Rudy's conflicts of interest?

Because you have a man crush on him and you want him to win?

Posted by: Francine | April 17, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Given that spokesperson Dana Perino couldn't even wait for the bodies to cool to rush up and plant a big wet tongue-kiss on the NRA ("The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed."), we're thinking that the Number One Thing we can absolutely count on tomorrow from Teh Preznint is:

1. An assertion that if everyone in the building had been armed, this never would have happened.

2. He will gather students from the ROTC to use as props. Failing that, he will scare up some veterans, a arrangement of Marines, or a lovely bouquet of family members of soldiers killed in action.

3. There will be at least one comparison of what happened today in Virginia to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

4. He will take at least one breathtakingly nasty dig at Democrats for "not funding the troops".

5. Within the same breath as his dig at Democrats, he will urge the nation to "come together" and eschew "partisanship", accusing "some" of attempting to "politicize this tragedy".

6. He will use the phrase "in a time of war" at least twice.

7. He will take no questions.

He'll spend most of his time doing staged shots at the scenes of the shootings, which his goons will make possible by disrupting the lives of everybody who had their lives so hideously disrupted today.

Naturally, he will invoke 9/11...most likely to compare the way "Murkins came together when confronted with terrible evil."

He will use the words "evil" or "evildoer" repeatedly, and he will smirk when he says them.

Everybody involved will hate him for his ham-handed self-promotion and his security apparatus, but the media will only show the staged footage.

And finally from Eureka Springs:

God has a plan for all of us.

We are grieving over here so we don't have to think about grieving over there.

He will also speak with his mouth full.

Will ignore his wife.

Will double his dose of valium.

Will nudge someone out of the best camera angle.

Will leave as soon as humanly possible.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Clyburn cannot be that influential. If he makes an endorsement, isn't it likely to be Edwards? Just b/c that's his birth state and he won it in 04'?

I'm certain that Romney has bought off several statewide influential leaders hoping it leads to ground organizations. Any more foot soldiers he can get, other than the entire Mormom church which he's already got, would move along nicely. Raising almost $3 million in Utah...wow. Who would have thought it?

Posted by: reason | April 17, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Gonzales had an op-ed Sunday in The Post that included this positively breathtaking claim: The attorney general of the United States writes that "to my knowledge, I did not make decisions about who should or should not be asked to resign."

To his knowledge? What on earth does that mean? Is Gonzales in the habit of making decisions without his own knowledge? Does he have multiple-personality issues?

Rove, Wolfowitz and Gonzales are making the last-ditch argument of a cheating husband caught in flagrante: Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes? (

Posted by: the Wapo enablers | April 17, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

JD, the issue with Exxon and other oil companies is that their prices went up tremendously in recent years. And as prices went up, so did profits. So that's proof that the oil companies didn't raise gas prices solely because raw materials became more expensive; the increased prices gave them huge profits. And those profits came at the expense of pretty much everyone in the US. Sure, it benefits the shareholders, but it screws the rest of us. Why do you defend that?

Posted by: Blarg | April 17, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

'And anon poster/coward: do you hate all companies, or just American ones?'

Exxon is not American; nor does it have American interests at heart. It is a multinational. It writes your laws for you my friend, but it is beyond the law. The law cannot touch it, for it is more powerful than the law and more powerful than any government.

And you are a toadie, a tool, a sap, a fool and a sucker, ponying up your $3 a gallon -- and it will go higher, little pal. But you're so programmed that you're more worried about the financial comforts of billionaires than your own self-interest. Pity about that.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is at 53% approval in the WaPo/ABC poll. That's even a decent number for a president. But the Speakership is an inherently partisan position -- a post far easier to villify than to mobilize around. By way of contrast, Newt Gingrich maxed out at 41% approval and spent most of his time in the thirties.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

"That said, Clinton is a savvy candidate and is making sure that she covers all her bases..."

But as you point out Clyburn is equally savvy and will, in typical politician style, wait to see which way the wind is blowing. It's darn early and there are too many uncertainties. Will Clinton start to falter in the polls as McCain is doing? Will substantial Clinton support transfer to Obama during the next quarter? I'm sure Clyburn, along with everyone else, will wait for answers to those questions.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | April 17, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Can you please stop obssessing about Hillary Clinton, for godsakes, CC? I know you're dying to see her be the nominee, so that Dems will lose, but I don't need to know who she's buying today. Can I find out instead who Mitty is buying? You really have neglected to talk about the major fixing that Rudy and Mitt are doing, the big dudes they're paying off -- why is that, CC?

Oh and by the way, where does Mitty get his hair done? It's so very pretty.

Posted by: Virginia | April 17, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Some influential politicians have organizations which can produce for candidates. They have networks of donors and rank and file supporters who will contribute money, time for all the mundane day to day campaign work and, especially, mount a strong get out the vote effort.

Posted by: JimD in FL | April 17, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Are any of you from SC or otherwise familiar with Clyburn?

I am thinking that here in Texas no statewide public figure can change a material number of votes by endorsement, although there are local leaders [usually not elected officials] who can affect hundreds of votes in specific elections.

In Texas, statewide public figures are useful for raising money, not votes.

How different could it be in SC? Perhaps Clyburn has indirect sway - for example, if a number of ministers look to him for guidance and preach his endorsement he might be very effective.

Anybody here understand the Clyburn phenomenon?

Posted by: Mark in Austin | April 17, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know where che is from? Does he/she even live in the WaPo area?

How annoying is this. Somebody needs to tell him/her that his OT and rambling postings only HURT his cause/position, not help it.

And anon poster/coward: do you hate all companies, or just American ones? Here we have an American company making lots of money (for shareholders - you have a 401k by any chance?) and you speak as if you'd rather they lost money.

Or were you just posting something silly for effect? In that case, fine, way to go, and better get back to your TV, you'll miss Jimmy Neutron, you 10 yr old.

Posted by: JD | April 17, 2007 8:04 AM | Report abuse

'In its lead story, the NYT mentions Virginia's lax gun laws make it relatively easy for anyone to purchase a handgun. Inside, the LAT notes that those who advocate for stricter gun controls said yesterday's events show the need for tougher regulations. Those who oppose tougher gun laws have, for the most part, remained silent.'

Unless they're freaks like William.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 8:00 AM | Report abuse

.' Exxon Mobil
The oil giant racked up $39.5 billion in earnings last year, the largest-ever profit in U.S. history. That figure topped the previous record of $36.1 billion, also set by Exxon Mobil, in 2005. Profits were up 9.3% from the previous year, while sales rose 2.2%.'

Most profitable company in the world last year. Kudos to everyone who died in Iraq to help make it so! Keep driving up that pump and payng them through the nose -- it's only going to keep going up and up, because they write the laws and they run this country, baby.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please go to:

otherside123.blogspot.com
www.wsws.org
www.takingaimradio.info
www.onlinejournal.com

Bush administration seeking to expand spying powers

By Joe Kay

The Bush administration has requested Congress to pass amendments to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that will expand the powers of the government to spy on the population in and outside the United States.

The proposals are part of an effort to roll back provisions in the 1978 act that the Bush administration considers too restrictive. FISA was established after revelations of massive politically-motivated domestic spying. It places restrictions on spying against US citizens and other residents, requiring that the government seek warrants through the FISA court. Since 2001, the government has routinely violated these restrictions, in particular through a program of massive warrantless domestic wiretapping overseen by the National Security Agency.

The new Director of National Intelligence, John McConnell, who replaced John Negroponte in February, set the tone for the proposed changes in FISA in an April 4 speech. "The laws that we had coming out of Vietnam, Watergate, Church-Pike hearings of the '70s served us well," he said. "But it also set up barriers and cultures and processes that did not make us well suited to combat a new 'ism,' in this case terrorism."

In other words, these minimal barriers to spying must be torn down, using the "war on terror" as a pretext.

For the rest of this article please go to:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/apr2007/fisa-a16.shtml

Posted by: che | April 17, 2007 6:08 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please go to:

otherside123.blogspot.com
www.wsws.org
www.takingaimradio.info
www.onlinejournal.com

http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_1972.shtml

Bush administration pushes for expansion and deepening of police state

By Larry Chin

The George W. Bush administration seized the White House in 2000 by way of an openly stolen election, then cemented its criminal power into place with the unprecedented 9/11 mass murder, and its two resulting abominations: the fabricated "war on terrorism" (the pretext for endless global war), and the USAPATRIOT Act (the full-scale destruction of the Constitution, and the militarization of the US homeland).

The deepening of the war and security state continues unabated and relatively unopposed, in spite of meager posturing of (largely complicit) congressional Democrats. Nothing has been done to stop, reverse or undo the Bush administration's boundless criminality, its wide open corruption, or the absolute and systematic rape of law itself. Few if any of Bush's criminals have been brought to justice.

Three new examples leave no doubt:

* In yet another attack on the separation of powers, the Bush administration is pushing for a "war czar", giving the White House even more centralized war power, over and above the power it already wields through the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA. Through the concocted war and intelligence "czars," the White House inner circle -- Bush, Cheney, Rove, etc. -- wields total dictatorial power, and the power to bypass and silence any hint of opposition from the rest of the government.

Mike McConnell, the National Intelligence Director (intelligence "czar" himself) is pushing for greatly expanded power to spy on US citizens and potential "terrorists." McConnell is requesting more warrantless wiretapping and surveillance of US citizens, and more spying without Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court approval or other court orders.

McConnell is also demanding that telecommunications companies receive immunity from civil liability for "cooperating" with the Bush administration. Two companies, AT&T and Verizon, now face lawsuits for handing phone records to the NSA. AT&T's "secret rooms" provided the Bush administration direct access to the lives of US citizens.

See: "Bush administration caught red-handed spying on US citizens"

The Bush administration wants not only the full legal authority, but the permission, to violate and destroy the lives of anyone it targets.

* It is a fact, detailed in a new investigation by Jeremy Scahill, that Blackwater, the private mercenary firm, manages and runs many aspects of the Bush administration's criminal wars all over the world, as well as domestic "security" operations (such as police operations in the post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans). Blackwater, one of the many poison-fanged corporate military faces of Bush-Cheney's neocon political apparatus, headed by hardwired Bush-connected neocon military-intelligence figures, is above the law -- not controlled by either the US military or the US Congress. Blackwater, which is thriving, and building new facilities all over the world, including the United States, is the face of the new international and homeland security state -- a criminal state.

As written by Mike Ruppert in Crossing the Rubicon, "American fascism is something different now. It's not just private, elite control over the legal system, nor private evasion of the rule of law. It's a crisis-induced transition from a society with a deeply compromised legal system to a society where force and surveillance completely supplant the system."
Consider the system supplanted.

Posted by: che | April 17, 2007 6:06 AM | Report abuse

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