Thursday, February 21, 2008

McScandal '08...

I've just read "For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk," the New York Times' piece on Senator John McCain's relationship with Alcalde & Fay lobbyist Vicki Iseman, and I found it neither overtly louche nor motivated by desires to backhandedly endear the Arizona congressman to far-right paleocons.

The crux of the authors' argument may be found in the following passages:

1) "But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity."

2) "... the concerns about Mr. McCain’s relationship with Ms. Iseman underscored an enduring paradox of his post-Keating career. Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest."

3) "In interviews, the two former associates said they joined in a series of confrontations with Mr. McCain, warning him that he was risking his campaign and career. Both said Mr. McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Ms. Iseman. The two associates, who said they had become disillusioned with the senator, spoke independently of each other and provided details that were corroborated by others."

4) "In late 1999, Ms. Iseman asked Mr. McCain’s staff to send a letter to the commission to help Paxson, now Ion Media Networks, on another matter. Mr. Paxson was impatient for F.C.C. approval of a television deal, and Ms. Iseman acknowledged in an e-mail message to The Times that she had sent to Mr. McCain’s staff information for drafting a letter urging a swift decision. Mr. McCain complied. He sent two letters to the commission, drawing a rare rebuke for interference from its chairman. In an embarrassing turn for the campaign, news reports invoked the Keating scandal, once again raising questions about intervening for a patron."

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The article, attributed to Times reporters Jim Rutenberg, Marilyn W. Thompson, David D. Kirkpatrick, and Stephen Labaton, makes no claim of a romantic entanglement between Ms. Iseman and Senator McCain, nor can there be found any reference to "disgruntled" employees, nor is its timeline restricted to events occurring before the year 2000.

It's not "merely an eight-year old story," nor did the Times appear to "sit" on the article to maximize its toxicity, nor has the Times appeared to use the piece - and here the metaphors become particularly insipid - as some sort of unregistered Glock in an instance of "drive-by journalism."

Bloviators invited on the sets of the various MSNBC programs viewed by your faithless scribe from 7:45 PM last evening, the time the story ostensibly broke, until just a few hours ago, have nonetheless ridden those memes to death's hallowed perch.

The piece isn't about the exhumation of a trove of incriminating porn involving Iseman and a rolled-up copy of the Keating Five verdict.

No, it's about serial conflicts of interest, potential violations of ethics laws, and that old DC standby affliction, hubris.

Read it for yourself.

For an analysis of the Times' motives in publishing what some consider to be an underdone slice o' drive-by, read Gabriel Sherman's piece in the New Republic.

The Washington Post's take on the McCain-Iseman relationship initially focuses on the actions taken on behalf of the senator by John Weaver, who was characterized by authors Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Michael D. Shear as McCain's "closest adviser." Weaver left McCain's presidential campaign in 2007.

From the Post story:

"John Weaver... said he met with Vicki Iseman at the Center Cafe at Union Station and urged her to stay away from McCain. Association with a lobbyist would undermine his image as an opponent of special interests, aides had concluded. Members of the senator's small circle of advisers also confronted McCain directly, according to sources, warning him that his continued ties to a lobbyist who had business before the powerful commerce committee he chaired threatened to derail his presidential ambitions."

Chris Cilliza's piece in The Fix, the WaPo's political blog, concisely recounts the events of the last 24-odd hours...

And yes, this has everything to do with TLASILA, our music, the aesthetic impulses therein, etc. If you've listened to Noon, or the sound samples of The Cortege we've posted on MySpace, or paid attention to our Noise Against Fascism set, as flawed as it was, or found resonances within Les Tricoteuses, Horóscopo, or The Wigmaker, then you're already aware...

STOP PRESS:

Like I said, but better, and from a much different perspective:

How to Defeat John McCain

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TS

She Went Platinum at 16... And Us? A Toy Tractor Slathered in Lead Paint, and Two Copper Kettles...

TLASILA - The Lady Tigra vs. Heitor Villa-Lobos

Ahhhh, Tigra... She recorded and performed with the nascent, pre-männercreme To Live and Shave in L.A. from 1991 to 1993. A total pro and trooper...

In concert, she whispered improvised vocals over our dissonant, cassette-shriek blare; she appears on several of 30-mm's tracks, including "Amp," "Hitchhike to Oregon," and "Slot-Tod."

I'm very pleased that she's re-emerged, lovelier than ever, with a new album, Please Mr. Boombox. It's on my mp3 player, and I dig. Snap it up if you've a taste for heady effervescence.

Now, on to desecration!



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(Two tracks, 6.06 MB, ripped @ 320.)


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Best,

TS

Reaching Out to Cut It to the Quick...

TLASILA - Ministry & Co-Conspirators vs. Xiu Xiu

"According to the above example, a property possessed was observed for buckling wooden shutters..."



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(Two tracks, 8.54 MB, ripped @ 320; adapted from our too-frequent Splayed Monastery Rest series.)

Here.

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Graphic glissandi refused to consider,

TS

Stiff Winds Dangling from Her Wrists...

TLASILA - Six Teens vs. Tokio Hotel

I saw blood in loose ends...



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(Two tracks, 7.21 MB, ripped @ 320; another in our open-ended She Shed Blankets series.)

Here.

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That, plus third person,

TS