Sen. Max Baucus’ office Monday denounced a widely viewed Internet video that suggested Baucus was drunk on the Senate floor last week, calling it an “untrue, personal smear” designed to attack Democrats’ health-care reform legislation.
“This is beyond the pale, and this type of gutter politics has no place in the public sphere,” said Baucus spokesman Ty Matsdorf.
How can unedited CSPAN footage of Senate proceedings posted on YouTube comprise a “smear?” Any reasonable person viewing the clip would conclude that Baucus was drunk or had something else wrong with him. Baucus’ office did not assert that he was experiencing some other problem, like fatigue or a medical condition.
The Billings Gazette, along with the Great Falls Tribune, both reported that the YouTube video was posted anonymously, as if Baucus was somehow the target of an unfair attack. I guess they … Read More ➡
We have already complained about the media double standard in the coverage of Senator Max Baucus’ (D-MT) recent ethical problems. Now comes the clearest evidence yet in the form of this video. It already has 176,000 views on YouTube but it has so far been ignored by the major TV networks and newspapers. Let’s remember that Baucus is the architect of the Senate-passed health care plan.
Let’s also review what else has the media has virtually ignored. Baucus recommended Melodee Hanes, his live-in ‘girlfriend,’ to the White House for nomination for Montana’s U.S. Attorney’s post. He claimed that he pulled the recommendation only as things heated up, a fact that was contradicted by Jodi Rave, who was at the time a reporter for a Montana newspaper. Rave says that Baucus only pulled it after she informed Baucus’ office that she was going to report on Baucus’ relationship with Hanes.
Without sixty votes in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would not be able to invoke cloture, or cut off debate. Anything short of sixty would allow a filibuster and doom Obama’s health care plan. The present 60-vote majority is artificial, the result of undemocratic means. Consider how three of these votes came to be:
Roland Burris– Appointed by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich just prior to his removal, Democratic leaders including Harry Reid pledged that he would never be seated. Barack Obama, along with other Democratic officials in Illinois, called for a special election to fill the seat. When it became apparent that a Republican could win, Obama and the others backed off from their request. Obama, Reid and the rest of the Democratic establishment eventually acquiesced to Burris’ appointment. The media was strangely uncritical of the sleaziest political deal of the decade.
We have criticized the American Cancer Society (ACS) for wading into the political fight over health care through its “advocacy affiliate,” the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACSCAN). In the clearest evidence yet that politics has replaced ACS’s core mission of fighting cancer, ACSCAN took part in a press conference this week to support “upcoming cloture votes on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” In other words, ACSCAN wants the Reid bill backed by Barack Obama.
Section 6301 of the Reid bill creates new comparative effectiveness research (CER) programs. CER panels have been used as rationing commissions in other countries such as the U.K., where 15,000 cancer patients die prematurely every year according to the National Cancer Intelligence
Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) claimed last week that he pulled his recommendation of girlfriend Melodee Hanes for a U.S. Attorney post because the “relationship intensified,” as the New York Times put it. But now Jodi Rave, a former reporter for Lee Newspapers, writes on her blog:
As a reporter who covered the story here in Montana…I have a different perspective about why Hanes and Baucus jointly agreed to withdraw her name. I talked to Hanes and to Baucus spokesman about the relationship…I called the senator’s spokesman and told him we were going to finally print the story…Within what seemed like minutes, K Barrett Kaiser sent an email to the newsroom and said that Hanes “was NOT” a candidate.
So, it seems safe to say that her name was not withdrawn because the relationship had intensified; it was arguably withdrawn because the relationship was not a big secret here in Montana.
Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), under fire for recommending his “girlfriend” for a U.S. Attorney post, was accused in 1999 by his former chief of staff Christine Niedermeier of making repeated sexual advances. She claimed that Baucus implored her to take weekend trips with him to destinations like Disney World.
Baucus was married to his second wife at the time so he would not have been able to invoke his current “shacking up” defense of his relationship with former staffer Melodee Hanes. Both Baucus and Hanes were still married at the time Baucus claims the relationship started, but separated from their spouses. Baucus statement last week twice said that the two were living together, as if it such a fact was exculpatory of the impropriety of a U.S. Senator having a romantic relationship with a staff member, and recommending her for high appointive office.
NLPC has filed a shareholder proposal asking Goldman Sachs to report on the science behind its embrace of global warming in the wake of the ‘Climategate’ scandal.
Goldman’s ‘climate policy’ is more than corporate public relations. In 2007, Goldman participated in the buyout of energy firm TXU. The transaction resulted in the cancelation of 8 of 11 planned coal-fired power plants after pressure from environmental activists.
It might make wealthy financiers in New York City feel good about themselves to scotch electric generation in the name of environmentalism, but it has negative consequences for ordinary people. Electricity is a basic need, like food and medical care. Cancelling plants while parts of the country face regular power shortages, and raising the cost of electricity for consumers, is positively immoral.
The supporting statement for the resolution reads:
In 2005, Goldman Sachs established its “Environmental Policy Framework,” which stated:
In the wake of reports that he recommended his girlfriend Melodee Hanes, who served on his Senate staff, to be a United States Attorney, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) issued this statement today:
Mel and I have a wonderful relationship. We are living together and enjoying spending time with each other and our families. I’m as happy as I’ve ever been.
Mel and I were both separated from our former spouses when we got together. It wasn’t an “affair.” As we grew closer and things progressed, we knew it was time to begin the process of Mel transitioning out of my Senate office.
Baucus is absolutely right. Whenever an elected official has a personal relationship with a staff member, it is important to begin the process of finding them something else. After all, they might get caught. Or it might get into the press. Or they might even be accused of … Read More ➡
Political analyst Charlie Cook says that the scandals enveloping Reps. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and John Murtha (D-PA) threaten to increase losses for their party in next year’s election. He writes:
As House Democrats try to avert political disaster by limiting their 2010 losses to about 16 seats, the norm for post-World War II presidents’ first midterm elections, dealing with their members’ ethics problems may be one of their toughest tasks.
The task is tough because of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reluctance to move against either one, notwithstanding her promise to “drain the swamp” of Congressional corruption and to “create the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history.”
Rangel’s leadership role is a Democratic headache that’s apparently not going away, given the outrage that members of the influential Congressional Black Caucus expressed over early efforts to strip one of their own, William Jefferson, of