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The Huffington Post has reported that Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign has sent out a fundraising letter attacking Democratic mega-donor George Soros even though the Reform Institute, a non-profit group founded by McCain, has taken money from Soros in the past. (See also this story from TPM.)The bigger story here–upon which I report in the May issue of the magazine–is that the supposedly independent Reform Institute, the stated goal of which is to promote accountability and transparency in government, is effectively an extension of McCain’s political machine.
The Reform Institute gets much of its money from major donors to McCain’s political campaigns. There has also been a steady revolving door between the Institute and the senator’s campaign staff, through which have passed, notably, lobbyist Rick Davis, who now runs McCain’s campaign and who over the years received $395,000 in salary and consulting fees from the Reform Institute, as well as Donald Murphy, a Senior Advisor to the Institute and a long-time political ally of McCain’s who serves as the senator’s Maryland campaign coordinator. Murphy also heads a lobbying and political consulting firm with clients including Diebold and the American Association of Nude Recreation. (Further details, of course, can be found in the article.)
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”