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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Lilith: "Foxes in the Henhouse"

Find the Republican Scumbag

A BIG thanks to Lilith of A Rational Animal for this great post - THANKS LILITH!

[Note: Hi, All – I’ll be giving Jen and Steve a hand with some regular posts while Steve undergoes surgery and then recuperates, and Jen copes with everything that goes with having a loved one be gravely ill. I’ll try my best to be faithful to their blog philosophy, but any errors in my posts are mine alone, and if you hate something I say, please dump on me, not them. Thanks.]

>Via, WaPo, The A.P. is reporting tonight that the confirmation hearing of Sam Fox, Bush’s nominee to become ambassador to Belgium, “turned bitterly divisive” when John Kerry “grilled” him about his $50,000 donation to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Unfounded and Libelous Attacks.

Well, boo fucking hoo.

Leave it to the MSM to wring its hands and clutch its pearls over a little “grilling” – a grilling, mind you, of someone who gave five figures to help smear a real war hero so that an AWOL electoral thief and war criminal could maintain his illegal squat in the Oval Office.

Now, never mind that Kerry’s a hell of a lot more than a day late and dollar short with this. [If you’ve read ARA (currently, or at its pre-hiatus home of three years ago, you know that I never liked him. You also know that my take is that he surrendered any right to run again when he chose his precious fucking “dignity” over hitting back when the Swift Boat Assholes went after him in the first place.] If Kerry’s finally getting around to a little STFU, fine; I’ll take it.

So what did Fox, who is one of Bush’s Pioneers [by raising a minimum of $100K for his campaign], have to say for himself:

Fox, one of the nation's most generous contributors to Republican candidates and causes, said he shared Kerry's concerns that politics "has become mean and destructive."

Fox said he didn't recall who asked him to give to the group and blamed partisans on both sides for contributing to so-called 527 groups that are not subject to conventional campaign finance rules.

"So is that your judgment that you would bring to the ambassadorship, that two wrongs make a right?" Kerry asked.

"I did it because politically it's necessary if the other side's doing it," Fox said.

Fox said he played no part in crafting the Swift Boat message and called on Congress to ban or more carefully regulate 527s.

Oh. Well, that just excuses him all to hell, then.

But what I find really interesting is this:

The back-and-forth overshadowed the early part of the hearing, in which a bipartisan group of lawmakers offered glowing reviews of Fox.

So who, exactly, constituted this “bipartisan group of lawmakers [who] offered glowing reviews of Fox?”

I’ve been on the road and stuck in meetings all day, so I didn’t get a chance to catch the hearings on C-SPAN.  But a quick review of the membership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee makes me wonder, since Biden chairs it and Bill Nelson is a member; they seem like the most likely sellouts.  One the GOP side, we’ve got a lovely parade of prostitutes that includes Norm Coleman, Johnny Isakson, and David Vitter, so I’m sure Fox found a gratifying level of support.  [For the record, Barack Obama reportedly called Fox’s answers “unsatisfying.”  No report on whether Jim Webb decided to draw and quarter the nominee.]

But what’s really interesting is what doesn’t appear in the article. It notes in the final graf that “Fox, 77, is founder and chairman of the Clayton, Mo.-based Harbour Group.” It doesn’t note, however, exactly what the Harbour Group is, much less what it does.

For example, the A.P. report doesn’t tell readers that, in 2002, the U.S. government awarded the Harbour Group $3.3 million in federal contracts.  Nor does it tell readers that a scant 20 days ago, former Harbour Group executive Vince Warrick was named acting chief acquisitions officer for the General Services Administration – the federal entity responsible for overseeing and administering government acquisitions and related contracts. [Scroll to the bottom of the page at the link.]

Also omitted from the report is any real reporting on the extent of Fox’s financial contributions to the GOP.  In addition to qualifying as a pioneer during Bush’s 2000 campaign, he also qualified as a Ranger in ’04.  But far more interesting than his personal contributions to W are his status as a “Republican Regent” (<i>i.e.</i>, someone who donated at least a quarter of a million dollars to the GOP in 2000), his relationship with Tom DeLay, and his inclusion in the exclusive group of 22 fabulously wealthy elites who Bush personally invited to lunch at the White House in 2001 ‘to discuss his tax cut for the rich.”

Okay, okay, I know that none of these items, taken alone, means a thing. But if I can turn up this sort of info with a quick and dirty Google search, it’d be nice to see the MSM do the same – especially since they get paid to do it and I don’t. It’d also be nice of they’d spend a little less time waving their hankies over “divisive” “grilling,” and a little more time telling readers just how deeply inside the henhouse the foxes have gotten.

- posted by Lilith