Fiscal Conservatives, My Ass

I am so hopping mad at the GOP right now I can barely tolerate it:

The Bush administration offered a new estimate of the cost of the Medicare drug benefit on Tuesday, saying it would cost $720 billion in the next 10 years.

That is much more than the $400 billion Congress assumed when it passed legislation creating the benefit in late 2003.

But administration officials said the numbers were not comparable. The original estimate was for the years 2004 to 2013. The new estimate covers the period from 2006, when the drug benefit becomes available, to 2015.

The higher figure, which provides the first glimpse of the true cost of the drug benefit, could touch off a political uproar in Congress, where conservative Republicans were already expressing alarm about the costs of Medicare, including the drug benefit.

Fiscal conservatives would be holding impeachment hearings right now if there were any.

Unfair Treatment

A much as it pains me to say this, I think that Kos and company are not being treated fairly regarding this Dean payment nonsense, and that the Instapundit (*** Upodate *** I misinterpreted Glennn- his point was that Kos is being treated more favorably than kos et. al would treat conservative bloggers if they were in his position, something I tend to agree with) and others are not getting it right.

Let me first state that I would be the first to bash Kos if I thought he had done something unseemly, but in this case, he is simply getting a bad rap. Let’s review:

– Armstrong Williams is secretly paid $240,000 to be an advocate for administration policies, informing no one of the payment.

– The DasvhlevThune blog is secretly paid by the Thune campaign, all the while representing itself as mere partisan supporters.

– Kos and his associate are paid to do political work for the Dean campaign, disclose their relationship repeatedly, and make sure that people know that they are working for Dean and support Dean.

How anyone can confuse this issue and think it is the same thing is simply beyond me. While the Armstrong Williams and DaschlevThune cases are clear conflicts of interest, with no disclosure, there is no such ethical issue or appearance of impropriety from the MArkos and the folks at the Daily Kos.

And, btw, I have a great deal of personal experience with Kos from the time period in question, and I remember his repeated disclosures that he was working for the Dean campaign. All through 2002, I was a regular visitor to the Daily Kos, and for the entire year, Tacitus and I were the only right wing commenters in most threads. When Kos started the Political State Report in late 2002, early 2003, I was the WV contributer. Up until about midway through 2003, when Kos’s strident anti-war rhetoric and militant leftist beliefs became apparent and unpalatable for me, Kos and I had numerous interactions, email exchanges, and healthy discussions in his comments section.

It is also during this period that Kos was laying the groundwork for the netroots revolution that he foresaw as a way to propel a Democratic candidate into the White House in 2004. Kos was an early supporter for Dean, disclosed early and often that he was traveling to coordinate with Dean and other Democrat forces, and he was completely open about his relationship. In fact, the only thing Kos did not disclose was the amount that he was paid for his services, and, quite frankly, IMHO, that is none of our damned business anyway.

Kos has done nothing wrong here, has nothing to apologize for, and shouldn’t have to put up with these false accusations, as he was open, honest, and operating under no false pretenses. You may, as I do, find his political positions abhorrent, as well as some of his anti-war anti-administration rhetoric, but to question his integrity on this account is nothing more than theatre of the absurd. Kos may be a lot of things, but he is not a paid shill who would sell himself to the highest bidder. You can question his sanity, as I often do, but I would never question his passion for his ideas.

That Zephyr Treachout and some cynical operators within the Dean campaign may believe they ‘bought’ Kos says a lot about them and their utter lack of integrity, but as far as I am concerned Kos was acting in good faith, providing services for a cause he believed in and being paid fairly for those services. If you have a problem with that, then your problem is not with ethics or conflicts of interest, but with people earning a living. Kos has done nothing wrong, and anyone who says otherwise simply doesn’t understand what he/she is talking about.

More here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

*** Update ***

Moree sheer idiocy on the subject, this time from Slate’s Chris Suellentrop:

Moulitsas is a different case. He’s never pretended to be a journalistthis past October, he told National Journal, “I am part of the media. But a journalist? No. If I had put a label on it, I would say I am an activist.”but in the year since he stopped cashing Dean’s checks, he’s gained a reputation as “the liberal Instapundit” and the most popular left-wing blogger. And while it’s true that his role as a Dean consultant was disclosed and reported in the press on multiple occasions, it came as a surprise this week to a whole lot of people, including a lot of prominent bloggers. Perhaps more important, the people who were aware of Moulitsas’ consulting work aren’t 100 percent comfortable with it. “Markos is infamous for these kinds of issues. That may be too strong a word. But it’s come up with Markos before,” Nicco Mele, the Dean campaign’s Webmaster and director of Internet operations, told me. “I can find you threads on Markos’s own site about it.”

So lemme get this right- Kos does everything right, completely disclosing his involvement with the Dean campaign. But- some unamed ‘prominent’ blogger don’t know this, and are ‘surprised’ when they find out 18 months later. Worse still- not everyone was ‘100% comfortable’ with his behavior.

You have to be fucking kidding me. What kind of idiotic standards are these? Dick Cheney and the Cabinet are bound by less stringent standards. You can get a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court without the Senate being ‘100% comfortable.’ This is absurd.

Kos did nothing wrong.

The Death of Christmas

I have to say I am with Matt on this whole ‘death of Christmas’ nonsense. Why all these ‘free market’ conservatives can not understand that a department store may have employees say “Happy Holidays” instead of ‘Merry Christmas’ is beyond me. They do so to be inclusive of all religions, thereby not offfending anyone, and thus maximizing the bottom line.

You see, it is not that they hate the baby jesus, you poor oppressed Christians. They just love the bottom line more.

And if the meaning of Christmas is cheapened for you because everyone you greet during a select 6 week period does not return a heart ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS,’ I might sugest you are missing the point of the holy day.

BTW- If this sort of thing does offend your delicate Christian sensibilities, let me issue a firm warning. Do not look into the pagan rituals you are eagerly engaging in, like cutting down a tree and decorating it, hanging a shrub in your hallway to kiss underneath, hanging other shrubs over your fireplace and above doors, placing wreaths on your door, the star worship, etc. And for the love of everything holy, you better not google Saturnis.

In short, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa and the others are all about faith- yours, and I, for one, was unaware that you needed unanimous consensus in order to have faith. Now stfu and have a Happy Holidays.


Via BuzzMachine:

According to a new FCC estimate obtained by Mediaweek, nearly all indecency complaints in 200399.8 percentwere filed by the Parents Television Council, an activist group.

This year, the trend has continued, and perhaps intensified.

That means that, in reality, the following two people with a fax machine and some cheap office space may be dictating to the nation what all of us can watch:



Really- what else do you call this sort of behavior other than proto-fascism? And after years of dealing with the bullying of the liberal media, Bozell has no excuse. Unless his real agenda is becoming clear.

It Hurts Because He Is Right

Tom Friedman is angry this Thanksgiving, and if you ask me, he has every damned right to be. You should be pissed, too, especially if you are a Republican:

In my next life, I want to be Tom DeLay, the House majority leader.

Yes, I want to get almost the entire Republican side of the House of Representatives to bend its ethics rules just for me. I want to be able to twist the arms of House Republicans to repeal a rule that automatically requires party leaders to step down if they are indicted on a felony charge – something a Texas prosecutor is considering doing to DeLay because of corruption allegations.

But most of all, I want to have the gall to sully American democracy at a time when young American soldiers are fighting in Iraq so we can enjoy a law-based society here and, maybe, extend it to others. Yes, I want to be Tom DeLay. I want to wear a little American flag on my lapel in solidarity with the troops, while I besmirch every value they are dying for.

If I can’t be Tom DeLay, then I want to be one of the gutless Republican House members who voted to twist the rules for DeLay out of fear that “the Hammer,” as they call him, might retaliate by taking away a coveted committee position or maybe a parking place.

Yes, I want to be a Republican House member. At a time when 180 of the 211 members of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Iraq who have been wounded in combat have insisted on returning to duty, I want to look my constituents and my kids in the eye and tell them that I voted to empty the House ethics rules because I was afraid of Tom DeLay.

Simply inexcusable. I understand that Ronnie Earle is a partisan hack who has a history of political prosecution, but after all of DeLay’s shenanigans with redistricting and who knows what else, it was kinda hard not to see this coming. Now, for no reason whatsoever other than arrogance, DeLay and is minions (morons??) have given the Democrats the ability to tar all Republicans as hypocrites. And you know what? They may be on to something, even though the Democrats have no such rule themselves.