Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Couldn't Resist

All packed up and ready to go to Phoenix, but I sat down for a couple of minutes of blog reading. I couldn't leave without linking to Commander Huber's lastest gem.

"If meaningless mantras were sound strategies, Bush Inc. would have zipped up the Iraq situation two years ago...

...And what's up with Mister Bush having to talk in front of a bunch of kids at a military academy? He can't get the adults to applaud on cue anymore? What's next? A fireside chat to an audience of Campfire Girls?

...Seriously, folks. This rich punk (that's right, I said "punk") who couldn't "stay the course" of his own Texas Air National Guard commitment during Vietnam has committed our "best trained, best equipped" armed forces to an endless war that it cannot win because it was never equipped or trained to win the kind of war it's currently bogged down in...

...What does it matter to him that he squandered our military power on the Mesopotamia Mistake?

Throw up your hands
Stick out your tush
Listen to Rush
Reelect Bush
You've just made the
Iraq Mistake............"

The Mesopotamia Mistake.................Bush's legacy.

Off to Phoenix

First road trip of the season. Off to Phoenix for four days of basketball. Back to the fray on Sunday.

CA-50 Challenger Information

Words Have Power has been keeping an eye on the potential Republican challengers for Duke Cunningham's seat in the CA-50. Check out the sidebar (at the right) of our posts and you can read our archive posts about such stalwarts as "Astroturf" Howard Kaloogian, "Build a Fence" Bill Morrow and "Carpetbagging" Brian Bilbray. These are the best candidates that the ringmasters at the Republican Circus of Corruption can find to run against Democrat Francine Busby in next year's special election.

Quid Pro Quo

TPM has two excellent post up regarding former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham and his currently unindicted co-conspirators.

Regarding "co-conspirator #1" - a.ka. Brent Wilkes of San Diego's ADCS Incorporate, Josh Marshall notes:

“In addition to various other bribes he gave Duke, Wilkes also rented a corporate jet which appears to have existed more or less entirely to ferry around members of Congress. Mainly Duke. But also Rep. Tom DeLay and Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt. Wilkes is also an '04 Bush Pioneer.”

Then their is previously convicted fraud artist, Thomas Kontogiannis, know in the Cunningham indictment as "co-conspirator #3."

“…As you may remember from last summer, Kongtogiannis is the already-once-convicted-of-bribery fat cat who was in the mix buying Duke homes and swapping boats and all the rest of it. Page 5, item "d" says that Duke "used his public office and took other official action in a manner that would benefit" Kontogiannis. And that he did so because of all the money he gave Duke.

Okay, so clear enough. Kontogiannis was another guy who owned a piece of Duke and Duke pulled government strings for him.

So what was Duke doing for Kontogiannis?”

Cunningham was hanging with a bad crowd and doing them all kinds of favors, for a price. Just what was he giving away to Wilkes and Kontogiannis?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Plutocratic Kleptocracy (a.k.a. Republican Congress)

Thanks to the Bull Moose for this take on Cunningham and the "congress of corruption."

"'The truth is, I broke the law, concealed my conduct and disgraced my office.'

Those may be the watchwords of ten years of Republican rule. Perhaps, the Moose is unfair - after all most of the House elephants are honorable men and women. But, they have allowed the Delayicans to corrupt their revolution that was ostensibly built on reform and smaller government. Instead, the Abramoff Congress is just a plutocratic kleptocracy up for grabs for the highest bidder. And, as we witnessed in the Medicare drug debate, ideology is no barrier to the furtherance of the payoffs to maintain power."

"Honorable men and women" fully willing to look the other way if by their silence and assent they can maintain their positions of power. That is not honor.

Simple Question

As a citizen, tax payer and voter, ask yourself a simple question: Do you want to be represented in Congress by the party of Randy Cunningham, Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Scooter Libby and Bob Ney; OR do you want to be represented by a Democrat who has the courage and convictions to propose the following?

"Ban All Outside Relationships With Government Contractors
In most business and personal relationships, conflicts of interest are avoided. However, in
Washington, those seeking government contracts can have extensive financial relationships with members of Congress.

Ban Members from Promoting Specific Businesses for Government Contracts or Regulatory Favors
Members of Congress should be in the business of serving all people, not a select few powerful campaign contributors. Unfortunately, it has become far too common in
Washington for members of Congress to use their official position to lobby for special favors for specific businesses. Government contracts and government decisions should not be decided by which business has the best connections in Washington, they should be determined by who can do the best job at the least cost to taxpayers.

Eliminate Anonymous Appropriations
When a member of Congress spends taxpayer money, taxpayers should know exactly which member of congress wrote the measure and how much it will cost. Currently members of Congress are able to make anonymous appropriation earmarks during the committee process. Every penny of government money that is spent should be accounted for and taxpayers should know exactly who is responsible for spending. This is one part of restoring honesty to the budget process and will also help stop out of control federal spending.

Ban All Privately Funded Junkets
Americans work hard and save to take vacations but for members of Congress, their vacations are all-expense-paid by powerful
Washington special interests under current rules. Members of Congress have taken over $16 million in junkets since 2000."

Francine Busby, the Democratic candidate in the 50th District in California has an ethics proposal on the table that would help to start to give Congress back to the American people and take it away from the special interests to which the Republicans have sold themselves.

You can take the pledge and ask your own elected representatives to sign on as well at Francine Busby's website.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Quick Takes on Duke's Demise

In a way, I started this blog because of former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham. I wanted to get into the blog game, but it was doing some shovel work when the first MZM/Cunningham story broke in June that pushed me over the edge. Now Duke is gone and I'm still here. Lots of other crooks, liars and traitors on which to focus.

Here is what One Pissed Off Veteran has to say about the Duke.

"It's the arrogance, really, more than anything else, that bothers me so fucking much about the Repugnican thugs that have swaggered in and taken over my country.

So it was with great, brimming, undisguised pleasure that I absorbed the news today about one of my favorite guys-you-love-to-hate, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who pleaded guilty to various charges of bribery and corruption."

Democratic Veteran had a passing aquaintance with the Duke back in their Navy days. He didn't think much of Cunningham then and doesn't think much of him now.

"Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a Navy "ace" so close to being booted out of the Navy for being a piss-poor officer, before he shot down his last MiG is finally reaping the fruits of his own stupidity. Met Duke as a passing acquaintance when he was the (no shit) senior pilot in his squadron flying Phantooms off the Coral Maru. He was a legend in his own mind. A hell of a pilot though...unfortunately for him, being a hell of a stick is not always enough to build a successful Navy career on...

I'd be in a more celebratory mood about this one, but Duke was never the sharpest tool in the shed. He wasn't even a really nice guy...he just cut a swath with all his bullshit and bravado, and hoped to coast on his rep for life, without ever accomplishing anything meaningful."

Finally, I'll turn to the one blog that did the most to keep the Cunningham story alive in the blogosphere, TPM.

"The stuff we knew about, the boats and house purchases, were really only the tip of the iceberg.

In pure dollar terms the house scams may have been the biggest. But on many occasions Duke and the defense contractors who owned him didn't even cover with the flimsy real estate covers."

What is amazing is how much of this story was uncovered by honest to God journalists like Marcus Stern of Copley (San Diego Union Tribune) and William Finn Bennett of the North County Times. Look at the list of cash and "in kind" bribes paid to Cunningham by the four coconspirators noted in the charges brought by the United States Attorney. Virtually every one of them was uncovered and documented by the print media or the blogosphere.

Well done.


Update: Resignation details from the UT.

Update: Special Election Information

At an 11:00AM (PST) news conference, Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigned his seat in Congress. Earlier in the day, Cunningham plead guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion charges.

Cunningham Admits Guilt - More Details

The San Diego Union Tribune has details from Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham's visit to federal court today.

"A somber-looking Cunningham stood with his hands clasped in front of him, answering the judge's questions with a muted "Yes, your honor," or, at times, "Yes, sir."

"Between the year 2000 and June of 2005 in our district, you conspired to accept bribes in exchange for performance of official duties. Did you do that?" Judge Burns asked Cunningham.

"Yes, your honor," Cunningham replied.

"Did you take both cash payments and payments in kind?"

"Yes, your honor," the congressman said.

"Did you follow up by trying to influence the Defense Department?"

"Yes, your honor."

Since this story broke in June, Cunningham has proclaimed his innocence and promised his constituents that he would continue to serve them. But, the facts suggest that for the last five years, Cunningham has been feathering his nest with $2.4 million in bribes, while ignoring his constituents.

Cunningham Pleads GUILTY

San Diego Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham plead guilty to "conspiracy and tax evasion charges" stemming from a federal investigation of his activities in relationship to government contractors. The AP has the first look at the story.

"Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy and tax charges, admitting taking $2.4 million in bribes in a case that grew from an investigation into the sale of his home to a wide-ranging conspiracy involving payments in cash, vacations and antiques.
Cunningham, 63, entered pleas in U.S. District Court to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud, and tax evasion for underreporting his income in 2004."

Cunningham admitted to accepting bribes from a number of contractors.

"In a statement, prosecutors said Cunningham admitted to receiving at least $2.4 million in bribes paid to him by several conspirators through a variety of methods, including checks totaling over $1 million, cash, rugs, antiques, furniture, yacht club fees and vacations."

The Republican Congress of Corruption!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Our Work Here Is Nearly Done

Looking at 650,000 years of climate history, researchers have concluded that the levels of signature greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane, have never been as high as they are today.

The LA Times has a solid take on the research which is being published in more detail in the journal, Science (subscription).

"An ice core about two miles long — the oldest frozen sample ever drilled from the underbelly of Antarctica — shows that at no time in the last 650,000 years have levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane been as high as they are today.

The research, published in today's issue of the journal Science, describes the content of the greenhouse gases within the core and shows that carbon dioxide levels today are 27% higher than they have been in the last 650,000 years and levels of methane, an even more powerful greenhouse gas, are 130% higher, said Thomas Stocker, a climate researcher at the University of Bern and senior member of the European team that wrote two papers based on the core."

This research is another piece of evidence that confirms that human industrial activity is the primary cause of the rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The role of human activity in global warming is, of course, disputed by the Bush Administration, but pretending it isn't real doesn't make it go away. Something the President Bush has yet to learn.

"The work provides more evidence that human activity since the Industrial Revolution has significantly altered the planet's climate system, scientists said. "This is saying, 'Yeah, we had it right.' We can pound on the table harder and say, 'This is real,' " said Richard Alley, a Penn State University geophysicist and expert on ice cores who was not involved with the analysis."

Thumping the table doesn't seem like much of a plan to me. Even less useful when the people sitting at the table are owned by the oil industry.

Destroying Iraq in Order to Save It

Over a Baghdad Burning, River has another excellent and painful post. Starting with the assassination of a Sunni tribal leader and three of his sons...

"...when you read it on the internet, it’s nothing like seeing scenes of it on television. They showed the corpses and the family members- an elderly woman wailing and clawing at her face and hair and screaming that soldiers from the Ministry of Interior had killed her sons. They shot them in front of their mother, wives and children… Even when they slaughter sheep, they take them away from the fold so that the other sheep aren’t terrorized by the scene."

From there she follows the treads of this assassination back to its roots in right wing political parties associated with Shiite fundamentalists. These political factions are propelling Iraq from a secular society into a fragmented war zone. Part of the strategy of the right wing parties is the destruction of Iraq's educational system and the death or exile educators and the educated.

"In the last three weeks, at least six different prominent doctors/professors have been assassinated. Some of them were Shia and some of them were Sunni- some were former Ba’athists and others weren’t. The only thing they have in common is the fact that each of them played a prominent role in Iraqi universities prior to the war: Dr. Haykal Al-Musawi, Dr. Ra'ad Al-Mawla (biologist), Dr. Sa'ad Al-Ansari, Dr. Mustafa Al-Heeti (pediatrician), Dr. Amir Al-Khazraji, and Dr.Mohammed Al-Jaza'eri (surgeon).

I don’t know the details of all the slayings. I knew Dr. Ra’ad Al-Mawla- he was a former professor and department head in the science college of Baghdad University- Shia. He was a quiet man- a gentleman one could always approach with a problem. He was gunned down in his office, off campus. What a terrible loss.

Another professor killed earlier this month was the head of the pharmacy college. He had problems with Da’awa students earlier in the year. After Ja’afari et al. won in the elections, their followers in the college wanted to have a celebration in the college. Sensing it would lead to trouble, he wouldn’t allow any festivities besides the usual banners. He told them it was a college for studying and learning and to leave politics out of it. Some students threatened him- there were minor clashes in the college. He was killed around a week ago- maybe more.

Whoever is behind the assassinations, Iraq is quickly losing its educated people. More and more doctors and professors are moving to leave the country.

The problem with this situation is not just major brain drain- it's the fact that this diminishing educated class is also Iraq's secular class…"

River's most compelling point is one that makes it clear that Iraq's right wing religious/political movements are much like America's religious right. Education and educators must be attacked and destroyed for ignorance to flourish. In Iraq it is done by assassination squads. So far in the United States the dirty work has been left to school boards and David Horowitz.

Terrorist Watch

From the Seattle P-I. America will never be safe until people like Dick Pombo are removed from postions of power.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Words Have Power has been pretty quiet lately. The single word explanation is at the left. This is the time of year when our focus is on helping create what Coach Wooden called "competitive greatness." It takes lots of time and energy. Words Have Power will still have posts, but they will have to be worked around the equivalent of two full time jobs.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Time to Go, Duke!

Earlier this week North County Times columnist, John Van Doorn, suggested that it was time for the North County's (CA-50) representative in congress, the Honorable (what a joke) Randy "Duke" Cunningham, to resign.

Van Doorn's message was simple. Cunningham's case has been pushed out of the time limelight by a litany of other Republicans (DeLay, Libby, the list goes on) and now would be a great time for him to slip out of public office and concentrate on defending himself against a array of charges that are sure to come when the Federal grand jury hands down indictments in his case.

"Last June and then through the summer it was the biggest news going, not merely in this newspaper but in outlets across the nation. Cunningham announced that he would not run again. He hasn't said much else, apart from an unconvincing sort of half-denial of all accusations.

Amazingly, the pressure is now off. Not because charges have been dropped, or investigations pulled back, or a leavening of general attitudes into that cynical American conviction that "they all do it."

No, the Dukester is out of the spotlight because many of the president's men are apparently in deeper than he, and on matters of far greater gravity. Such as national security."

Van Doorn recognizes that Cunningham has ceased to be the representative of the 50th District and that he is simply passing his time waiting to head to court and possibly jail.

"His office insists he is "focusing" on the 50th District. But he doesn't seem to come around the district very often ---- who can forget his affable touch at countless charitable events in North County over the years of his eight terms? ---- and publicity offerings from his office have dwindled to a trickle. His name is attached to no important legislation.

The man has been out-corrupted.

This fact, however, in no way diminishes the seriousness of the crimes that Cunningham was apparently up to in his acquisitive years. Those same ethics-in-Congress groups called many times for his immediate resignation, and that call made sense then and makes sense now.

Curiously, it makes more sense now than ever for him to resign. His being shoved into the background by more grievous corruption than his own affords him a trapdoor not previously open.

Where before, in the center of the only large-scale corruption scandal involving a member of Congress, Cunningham's leave-taking would have been humiliatingly public and he'd have been perceived as hounded from office in disgrace, now it's all different.

Now he can quietly resign his office and slip away into a well-deserved obscurity and hardly anyone will notice. Maybe a few days' taut headlines and that's it.

The greater corruption that gave him some relief will pretty well cover his escape. Duke Cunningham should take the opportunity. His district deserves better than corruption, better than a fraction of a legislator, better than a man who will be tied up in court for years over his smarmy record. He should get out while the getting's good."

It's the best for which most of the Republican crooks can hope. Slip away quietly. Fight the court case somewhere in the back pages of the local paper and then head off to jail or, more likely, a highly paid position as a lobbyist or an expert position at one of the right wings "think tanks" and help corrupt a new generation of Republicans.

Cunningham may be wanted, but not by the people he was elected to serve.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Pork - Republican's White Meat

Richard Cohen has a great column in Thursday's Washington Post. Cohen writes about Alaska's legendary pork purveyor, Senator Ted Stevens.

"...the senator from Alaska had threatened -- on the floor of the Senate, no less -- to resign his seat if his colleagues passed a measure that would have eliminated some of Alaska's already approved transportation projects, including the now-famous "Bridge to Nowhere," and awarded the money to hard-pressed Louisiana. Stevens may be the first senator to equate pork with honor. A statue should be raised to him.

The statue of Stevens will note that he was the first senator in American history to take himself hostage. His threat to resign -- an action of vast indifference to all of mankind with the possible exception of the 50 people on Gravina Island -- would have deprived the Senate of a reverse Gold Rusher, someone who came down from Alaska to mine for gold in Washington. His speech, in which over and over he bemoaned the pitiful nature of his state's modest road system, made no mention of how Alaskans pay no state income tax and are awarded a piece of the state's oil revenue. The state is No. 1 in per capita federal aid, which is a tribute of sorts to Stevens's ability to game the system at the expense of us all."

How can Republicans continue to pretend that they are the party fiscal restrain, when, in fact, they are looting American so that they can remain in power - to continue their looting. All this going on while the ineffectual Democratic Party stands next to them watching in silence.

Quid Pro Quo

USA Today has an excellent article today that carefully analyzes the voting pattern of Congressmen Randy "Duke" Cunningham (CA-50) and Virgil "Please Be" Goode (VA-5). The USA Today analysis shows that the Cunningham and Goode voting pattern and the political contribution pattern of the MZM Corporation routinely intersected.

"A USA TODAY analysis of MZM-related campaign contributions shows how the company's growth and its political activities became intertwined at key moments. In more than 30 instances, donations from MZM's political action committee or company employees went to two members of the House Appropriations Committee — Cunningham and Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va. — in the days surrounding key votes or contract awards that helped MZM grow.

For example, MZM's political action committee gave Cunningham $5,000 in 2003 the day before his appointment to a congressional panel negotiating the final version of the defense budget. Ten days later, the day after the House passed the final Pentagon spending bill, Wade gave Cunningham $2,000."

In case you had forgotten the MZM connection. MZM is a former small time government contractor that found its way to the big time through the ownership of a very small, select group of key members of Congress. The most critical of the MZM team members was Cunningham.

"Larry Noble, an independent ethics expert with the Center for Responsive Politics, says the timing of the contributions creates the appearance that the company's political giving helped it get taxpayer-funded business from the Pentagon...

Political donations from military contractors are quite common, but timing those donations around contract decisions is not, said Noble, a former chief counsel for the Federal Election Commission.

In a civil lawsuit filed by the U.S. Attorney's office in San Diego on Aug. 25, federal prosecutors accused Cunningham of seeking and receiving a bribe in exchange for helping MZM get government contracts.

The alleged bribe involved Wade's purchase of Cunningham's home near San Diego. A company Wade controlled paid $1.675 million for the house, then sold it eight months later at a $700,000 loss.Prosecutors saythat Wade deliberately paid more than the house was worth and that Cunningham used the excess to trade up to a more expensive house in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif."

Not only did Duke get the big bucks via his home sale, but it appears that whenever the government rewarded MZM, MZM turned around and sent a few bucks Duke's way.

"A USA TODAY analysis of MZM's donations found that the contributions — often small — frequently followed important milestones for the company. Cunningham got thousands of dollars in campaign money from MZM, including:

• $1,000 from MZM's PAC in May 2002, two days after the General Services Administration put the company on its list of approved information technology service providers, a key step for MZM to get contracts from federal agencies.

• $5,000 from the PAC on Sept. 15, 2003, the day before Cunningham was appointed to a joint House-Senate committee that wrote a final version of the 2004 Pentagon spending bill that included provisions helping the company.

• $2,000 from Wade on Sept. 24, 2003, the day the House passed that Pentagon spending bill.

• $2,500 from the MZM PAC to Cunningham's PAC on June 22, 2004, the day the House passed the annual defense spending bill."

Kind of a pay as you go plan.

Cunningham is finishing out his last term in Congress. He continues to sit on two key committees that hand out money to defense contractors such as MZM, while awaiting indictment for his past activities with MZM and other.

It makes me proud to be represented by such a reprehensible, vile and despicable Republican criminal.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Free Speech - Not Free

Election day. We should be celebrating, but there is something amiss.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the IRS is investigating a liberal church and has treatened to revoke its "tax free status" for a pre-election sermon that was anti-Bush in tone.

"The IRS threat to revoke the tax-exempt status of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena because of an antiwar sermon there during the 2004 presidential election is part of a larger, controversial federal investigation of political activity at churches and nonprofit groups.

Over the last year, the Internal Revenue Service has looked at more than 100 tax-exempt organizations across the country for allegations of promoting — either explicitly or implicitly — candidates on both ends of the political spectrum, according to the IRS. None have lost their nonprofit status, though investigations continue into about 60 of those."

How many of these investigations relate to radical right wing churches that support George Bush and his failed policies?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Once Around - Sunday Edition

It's been a while since we ran through our links looking for the best and brightest comments and stealing them to post here. It's time to spin the dial and see what's up.

AmericaBlog links to Time for a story about the White House without Rove. Personally, I think that it is naive to think that Bush will dump Rove. Rove might end up without his Deputy Chief of Staff title, or even end up outside the West Wing, but Rove will remain a key advisor to Bush until Bush heads back to the ranch.

"The expected departures are among a host of new signs suggesting that Bush's sixth year in office--the last one before midterm elections and a turn in attention toward the 2008 race to succeed him--will be very different from his first five. The sunny optimist who loved to think big is now facing polls in which for the first time a majority of Americans say they do not trust him. "It's like it's twilight in America," says one frustrated conservative."

More like, it's America coming out of the dark night of the Bush Presidency.

From Baghdad Burning, here is how the Iranian take over of Iraq is perceived from the ground.

"Congratulations Americans- not only are the hardliner Iranian clerics running the show in Iran- they are also running the show in Iraq. This shift of power should have been obvious to the world when My-Loyalty-to-the-Highest-Bidder-Chalabi sold his allegiance to Iran last year. American and British sons and daughters and husbands and wives are dying so that this coming December, Iraqis can go out and vote for Iran influenced clerics to knock us back a good four hundred years.

What happened to the dream of a democratic Iraq?"

Amerian's sons and daughters, husbands and wives - dying to give half of Iraq to the Iranian Ayatollahs. The brilliance of Bush and crew.

The Carpetbagger has a great summary of Ohio's corrupt Congressman Bob Ney, followed by a quick roll call of some of the current members of the circus of corruption that is the Republican party in Congress.

"Ney's denials not withstanding, the Ohio Republican appears to have a serious problem on his hands. There's already evidence that Ney pressured a casino owner to sell a fleet of ships to benefit one of Abramoff's clients, received one of those luxurious Scottish golf trips that Abramoff is famous for, promised to use his role on the House Administration Committee to help reopen a casino for an Abramoff client, and placed comments in the Congressional Record favorable to Abramoff's purchase of a Florida gambling company. Ney claims Abramoff duped him. We'll see how that defense works out.

I'd also like to take a note that if there's ever been a less ethical group of lawmakers from the same party serving at the same time, I wouldn't want to see them. The GOP House majority really is quite a caucus. Ney's problems are getting worse, but let's not forget DeLay, Cunningham, Pombo, Feeney, and Blunt, among others, all of whom are dealing with ethical and/or criminal questions of their own — and this is just the House caucus."

Ney to abandon the Republican "rope a dope" for the more traditional, "I'm a dope" defense. Stick with what you know, Bobby.

At Democratic Veteran, Jo Fish links us to a Seattle PI story that makes you wonder if any Pentagon policy makers have the balls to stick an "I support the troops" sticker on their own cars. The PI story describes a Pentagon decision to renege on promises to Washington National Guards soldiers to pay them reenlistment bonuses after the soldiers actually signed their reenlistment papers.

"A Department of Defense decision to renege on war-time promises to pay bonuses to more than a dozen re-enlisting Washington National Guardsmen has sparked outrage from prominent elected officials and state National Guard officers working to rectify the situation.

According to a state Guard spokesman, Maj. Phil Osterli, at least 15 Washington National Guardsmen and women signed re-enlistment forms promising them a tax-free $15,000 bonus in return. Many of them were stationed in Iraq at the time, he said.

But Pentagon officials have said in published reports that the bonuses were canceled because they duplicated other programs and were prohibited."

The beauty of the Bush Administration is that they will lie to anyone about anything. You have to give them credit. It is an audacious strategy.

At the Pen and Sword, Commander Huber, takes "Big" Dick Cheney to task. It would certainly seem that the Vice President has a close and financially beneficial relationship with his old company Halliburton. The Commander's key link is to a Raw Story post that concludes:

Big Dick: “Since I left Halliburton to become George Bush's vice president, I've severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest," the Vice President said. "I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had, now, for over three years.” Meet The Press 2003

Raw Story: "Cheney continues to hold 433,333 Halliburton stock options. The company has been criticized by auditors for its handling of a no-bid contact in Iraq. Auditors found the firm marked up meal prices for troops and inflated gas prices in a deal with a Kuwaiti supplier. The company built the American prison at Guantanamo Bay.

"Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) asserts that Cheney's options -- worth $241,498 a year ago -- are now valued at more than $8 million.

Cheney continues to received a deferred salary from the company. According to financial disclosure forms, he was paid $205,298 in 2001; $162,392 in 2002; $178,437 in 2003; and $194,852 in 2004."

He has "severed", "gotten rid of" and has "no financial interests". Yet, owns $8 million in stock options and receives an average of close to $200,000 a year in deferred salary from Halliburton.

Obviously, Dick Cheney is incapable of speaking without lying. Or, he simply is to morally challenged to recognize the truth.

Sore Loser - WTF

The other day, Farnsworth over at OPOV, posted this link to a story about the 2004 presidential election.

"Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, has told acquaintances over the past year that he suspects that the election was stolen, but that he didn’t challenge the official results because he lacked hard proof and anticipated a firestorm of criticism if he pressed the point."

The story goes on to detail conversations between Kerry and Fooled Again author. Mark Crispin Miller.

“He told me he now thinks the election was stolen,” Miller said. “He said he doesn’t believe that he is the person who can go out front on the issue because of the sour grapes … question. But he said he believes it was stolen. He says he argues about this with his Democratic colleagues on the Hill. He had just had a big fight with Christopher Dodd.”

Miller and Winer said Kerry suspected possible tampering with electronic voting machines, but that he was persuaded by his campaign’s top advisers, including veteran consultant Bob Shrum that contesting the results only would lead to accusations that Kerry was a sore loser."

OK... Bush's credibility is approaching ZERO on virtually every issue. Much of what Kerry said during the campaign has either been proven as true or is in the process of being confirmed. The public is ready to support a Bush impeachment when the proof of his administration lies on Iraq is presented. And, the man Democrats selected to lead their party just over a year ago, is afraid that someone will call his names if he speaks up.

It is hard to figure out how Democrats can be some stupid. The point here isn't that Kerry got Swiftboated and lost the election. The point here is that the Bush Machine stole their second presidential election in a row and the man who had the election stolen from him is afraid to stand up and talk about it in public. How Democrats could be so fooled by Kerry. He is not a man of courage or integrity. The Republicans were right, he is a coward.

Cunningham Praying for More Scandals

Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham continues to plug along in the Republican controlled congress. With retirement planned at the end of this term, Cunningham has abandoned any pretense of representing his constituents in the 50th District of California. The Republican circus of corruption has crowded Duke out of the headlines, piling up bigger and bigger rotting fish for the media, leaving Duke free to ignore the folks at home and just hang on for one more year.

Cunningham persists (like an obnoxious skin disease) on two of the most powerful committees in Congress. Earmarking funds and doing the bidding of his financial masters. With a federal indictment coming down the road and an estimated $1.5 million in legal costs to cover, Duke needs his rich friends more than ever. Let's face it, Duke never counted on twenty dollar donations. He went straight for the big corporate money and he provided effective representation to those big buck contributors. Now he needs their help one last time.

The North County Times suggests that Cunningham's day of reckoning in the courts or at least his indictment is close at hand.

"There are rumblings in Washington that the investigation could be coming to a head. A source close to the investigation contends that prosecutors are "ready to go."

The source, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, has been involved in the case since it began, predicted indictments could be coming soon.

"The amount of money involved will be astounding," the source said of what he anticipates the government's case to allege."

Cunningham has $650,000 available in his campaign funds. Funds that he is allowed to utilize for his defense. In October, Cunningham also received permission to establish a legal defense trust fund. According to Cunningham's financial bagman,
Kenneth Batson, "contributions are being received on an almost daily basis." Considering the kind of money Cunningham's pals have at their disposal, it will be interesting to see how much money the Duke is being paid for his prior services.

It will also be interesting and illustrative to see what kind of individuals and companies think so much of Duke to give him money in his hour of need.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I'm A Lying Sack of Shit, But I Have Good Lawyers

Scooter Libby pleads "not guilty" and flanks himself with the best white collar lawyers money can buy. Who is paying for Libby's defense? Libby? His rich friends? Dick Cheney's rich friends?

The sad story here is that Libby will get off with a slap on the wrist and become a major player at some conservative think tank. The right wing will still own the political discourse and the Democrats will still be trying to figure out some sort of strategy. Of course, Joe Lieberman will dissent.

How can an African American lawyer defend Libby? The week of Rosa Parks memorial, we see an African American lawyer step up to save a piece of shit like Scooter Libby. It is the old Lenin line about the capitalist selling the rope for their own hanging.

I guess money talks louder than principal, hey Theo?