Friday, March 31, 2006

Kaloogian and Photos

When you drop in to Howard Kaloogian's campaign website the first image of Kaloogian that you see is the photo on the left. The picture is of Kaloogian with Brigadier General John Custer.

If you venture further into Kaloogianland, on the Photo Gallery page you find this picture again. To get to it all you have to do is go to the drop down menu selection that reads "Howard in Iraq - Supporting the Troops." When you do that, you will get a thumbnail of this photo with the caption that describes General Custer as "CENTCOM #2."

Two problems with the captions. The less critical is that General Custer is not the "CENTCOM #2," which would imply second in command. General Custer was the CENTCOM J-2, chief intelligence office, at the time.

But, more critical than General Custer's rank, is the location where the photo was taken. Certainly, Kaloogian's pull down description and the fact that the general is in desert camouflage fatigues, appears to be designed to give the impression that the two men are in Iraq. But, despite the pull down that says "Howard in Iraq" this photo was taken at MacDill Airforce Base in Tampa, Florida.

Incorrect caption and false description of the photo's location. Seems par for the Kaloogian course.

There's more.

The photo above looks exactly like the photo below from the Move America Forward website. The junior office at the right has been cropped out, but at least on the MAF site, the location of the photo is correctly noted.

I have two problems with this.

First, Kaloogian continues to attempt to give the impression that he was a hands-on guy when his crew traveled to Iraq, instead of a strapped in passenger being chauffeured around from one safe location to another.

Second, doesn't this photo belong to Move America Forward and isn't Move America Forward "a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization" whose501(c)3 tax exempt status would be jeopardized if they were actively involved in a partisan political campaign? How is it that all of the Kaloogian campaign's Iraqi photo album appears to be the property of MAF, yet shows up as part of Kaloogian's campaign website?

Eric Roach - My Own Little Newspaper

CA-50 millionaire Republican candidate Eric Roach has his own little newspaper. It's kind of cute, in a sick, egotistical and misleading sort of way. North County Times (a real newspaper) columnist Richard Riehl (a real newspaperman) writes about the Roach campaign's latest attempt at deception.
Disguising his campaign mailer as a newspaper seems a strange choice for someone who calls himself an outsider, won't engage in politics as usual, and aims to "restore trust and confidence in our system of government." Although there may not be anything illegal about it, one wonders about his motivation for doing so.

Was he hoping the newspaper format would make his campaign more credible by misleading voters into thinking a nonpartisan newspaper had endorsed his candidacy? If so, it's hard to take seriously his claim to be a reform-minded political outsider.
Poor Eric. Now he knows how us bloggers feel when the "real" media criticizes us.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Duncan Hunter Throws Duke Under the Bus

According to the San Diego Union Tribune Representative Duncan Hunter (CA-52) has agreed to have his House Armed Services Committee review its records for 2004 and 2005 to determine the extent to which convicted felon and former 50th District congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham might have influenced spending toward companies that happened to be paying him off with bribes.

Hunter's was pushed to order the review by Democrat Vic Snyder (AR-2), but Hunter refused to allow the staff review to extend to activities prior to 2004 AND Hunter refused to allow any review of other members of the committee who might have joined Cunningham in his funding requests.

Hunter's restrictions will certainly protect one member of the committee, Duncan Hunter himself.

Prior to 2004, Hunter partnered with Cunningham to push through several projects that the Department of Defense had not asked for and in which they had little interest.
Although Hunter has not been cited in any of the criminal probes of Cunningham, the two San Diego County lawmakers cooperated closely on a number of projects that helped local defense firms. Hunter reportedly helped to pressure defense officials to provide funds to projects that Cunningham had favored. The two also cooperated to get funding for an experimental ship, called the Seafighter, and for a guided missile, called the affordable weapon system, both produced by San Diego-based Titan Corp.
Who would expect Hunter to allow an investigation of his support of Cunningham's criminal activities. Well, maybe the American people. The ones who paid the bills.

Is There a Pattern Here?

Howard Kaloogian's campaign seems to have an integrity leak of monumental proportions. First, came his mislabeled Baghdad photo. It could have been an honest mistake. Still, it seems pretty sketchy that a photo that Kaloogian felt demonstrated the pro-terrorist bias of main stream journalists could have been posted for months at Kaloogian's Move America Forward site and then for months more at his campaign website, without any oversight by the candidate. Whoops.

Today, we read that Kaloogian's campaign had distributed a mailer that implied that conservative State Senator Tom McClintock endorsed Kaloogian. McClintock says, no, he doesn't endorse Kaloogian. Whoops again.

In the San Diego Union Tribune, we read about another "mistake" on the Kaloogian website. Apparently, someone decided that a group called the California Pro-life Council had endorsed Kaloogian. They hadn't and Kaloogian had to have their "endorsement" removed from the site. Another whoops.

Sacramento conservative talk radio host, Eric Hogue, has some historical perspective on what appears to be Kaloogian's problem getting his photos and endorsement straight.

Howard Kaloogian's campaign is being run by Republican Strategist Sal Russo. This is the same Russo who operated GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Bill Simon's race against Gray Davis in 2000. A campaign that featured an alleged photograph of Davis receiving a campaign check from the state's CCPOA 'in the governor' office'...problem, it was proven that it was NOT the governor's office!

Simon lost that election by 5%, and many point to the 'photo-flap' as the cause.

How about that, Sal Russo, Kaloogian's partner in Move America Forward and a principal in the Republican public relations firm of Russo, Marsh + Rogers, made a false photo claim while running the Simon campaign in 2000. Maybe whoops isn't the right expression.

Hogue has another complaint about the Kaloogian campaign. This one is a lot more critical than just misleading voters who bogus endorsements or doctored photos. Apparently, Move America Forward's membership list was made available to the Kaloogian campaign. Now Kaloogian is a director of the non-profit, non-partisan organization and Sal Russo is its chief strategist. It would be unethical and possibly violate Move American Forwards tax exempt status if it were to work directly with specific political campaigns. When someone signs up for information from Move America Forward they are not signing up with the Kaloogian campaign. Or are they?

Again from Eric Hogue via California Republic:


I have been on MAF's e-mail list for a long time. When Howard announced he was running for Congress, I suddenly started receiving e-mails and updates from his campaign, even though I never signed up for them. They continue to this day. So it appears that MAF either gave or sold their e-mail list to Howard."

Nice racket...campaign donations going to MAF for non-profit, fund stunts and chairman endorsements, or...MAF "donated" the email list to Kaloogian, which means non-profits collecting cash (material) and using it to support a former founder in a congressional race.

Isn't this the race to replace "Duke" Cunningham? Hmm.

From another political campaign and contender for the 50th Congressional...

"This is typical Kaloogian sleaze. If he did not pay fair market value to MAF for the list, then they are breaking the law."

One mistake earns the benefit of the doubt. Continual mistakes and oversights, that's a pattern. A pattern of dishonesty and deception.

Kaloogian as Legislator - One of the "great ignored"

The evidence that Howard Kaloogian is truth impaired seems pretty conclusive, but that sort of handicap has never been much of an impediment to getting elected in the 50th congressional district.

It might be useful to ask what kind of legislator Howard Kaloogian might be if he were to be elected. The San Diego Union Tribune takes a look at Kaloogian's six years as a California state assemblyman. His capabilities as a member of the assembly don't appear to be at the same level as his capacity for prevarication. Here's a sampler of Kaloogian the legislator:
...Kaloogian became known in Sacramento as an in-your-face partisan who was unable to get many important bills passed.


By the time he left the Legislature in 2000, Kaloogian and his friend, former Assemblyman Steve Baldwin, were so isolated from their colleagues in both parties that they shunned group celebrations.

Instead, on their last night in the Assembly, they each had a glass of champagne in Baldwin's office, according to Baldwin.

“We were both thrilled to be gone,” Baldwin said in a 2000 interview.


Kaloogian's ideological approach might have limited his effectiveness. In a 1998 assessment of legislators' capabilities, the California Journal, a now-defunct magazine, designated Kaloogian as one of the “great ignored.”
The people of the 50th congressional district don't need an in your face advocate of radical right wing causes, they need someone to support and protect their interests in congress.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Kaloogian - Pattern of Deliberate Deception

CA-50 Republican congressional candidate Howard Kaloogian should start to see the mainstream media begin to kick in with stories about his website deception. Let's see who's got the story up.

Let's start with the New York Times.
The whole kerfuffle would be of no moment, except that Mr. Kaloogian posted the photo to illustrate a peaceful and prosperous Baghdad that he claims the antiwar liberals who run the so-called mainstream news media never show.
Poor Howard he had to tell a lie to expose one. He's the victim here.

The Manchester Guardian (UK) finds Howard's end amusing.
The Backbencher has been enjoying the spat over a picture, allegedly of Baghdad, that wannabe Republican congressman Howard Kaloogian posted on his website. It purported to show a peaceful street in Baghdad. "Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be," Howard wrote. "But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it". Inevitable, then, that left-liberal blogs would point out that this picture actually shows a street in Turkey. The tight female clothing and non-Arabic signs did give it away.
A dead give away, but someone all those folks who were on the "truth tour" with Howard somehow missed it. Afterall the picture told such a great story. It was the "truth" they wanted, not the TRUTH, as it might be appraised in the reality based world.

Closer to home, the Voice of San Diego gives blogs credit, but allows Howard to say something stupid.

"I made a mistake in posting the wrong picture and I accept full responsibility for
it," he said in the statement. "However, the anti-war activists who are supporting Democrat Francine Busby are trying to use this clerical mistake as justification for opposing the war. How silly."

When Kaloogian posted the photo and caption he was using either a clerical mistake or an outright lie to justify his position for supporting the war. How silly.

The San Diego Union Tribune weighs in with a story in its local news section.

“The simplest explanation is that he lied to prove that
Baghdad is this wonderful suburban safe place,” said Tamara Baker, a St. Paul,
Minn., resident who followed the story on liberal Internet blogs.

The UT story includes details of another "mistake" on Kaloogian's campaign website. In this case a claim by Kaloogian of an endorsement that he didn't have.

Last month, Matt Rexroad, a Sacramento Republican consultant who operates a blog called Cal Races, criticized Kaloogian for inaccurately listing an endorsement from the California Pro-Life Council.


Kaloogian, in an interview, admitted that the California Pro-Life Council had not endorsed him and he removed the endorsement listing.

Rexroad also points out another Kaloogian claim that turns out to be a fabrication.

Rexroad, who served in the Army in Iraq, also blasted Kaloogian, saying he announced his candidacy on the road from Baghdad to Kuwait City.

“As someone that has driven that highway many times – the last thing you need to be doing along that stretch of Iraq is announcing your candidacy for Congress. Keep your eyes open and your head on a swivel. The military personnel protecting him weren't there as security for his little mobile press conference,” Rexroad wrote.
Kaloogian has since modified his assertion. He now says he made his announcement of candidacy from a hotel suite in Kuwait City, not on the road to Baghdad.

Doesn't all of this look like a pattern of intentional deception? Kaloogian makes a claim, uses it to his advantage and then when his claim is challenged, he blames someone else and the "liberal media" and moves on.

Kaloogian Misinformation, Lies, Errors - It's A Long List

Newsweek jumps into the fray regarding Howard Kaloogian's deceptively labeled photo album. The real issues here is not that Kaloogian or someone on his staff made a mistake. The photo and its accompanying caption were posted at Kaloogian's Move America Forward website long before it was moved over to his campaign website. The purpose of the photo was deception. The photo was used not because it was an accurate portrait of what was going on in Baghdad during Kaloogian's July visit to the Iraq. The photo was used in a typical Kaloogian attack on the news media. It supported Kaloogian's fantasy that things were going well in Iraq and that the liberal news media was ignoring all the good news. It should speak volumes that the only way Kaloogian could make his point was to select a photo of a different city in a different country.

Kaloogian, a candidate to replace the vacated seat of disgraced former congressman Randall (Duke) Cunningham, traveled to Iraq on what his Web site calls the “'Voices of Soldiers' Truth Tour." The photo in question had the following caption, “We took this photo of downtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it—in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism.”
In the end, the real winner here will be the American people. Already the blogosphere is filled with stories about Kaloogian, his astroturf Move America Forward organization and the relationship of Move America Forward with Republican PR firm, Russo, Marsh + Rogers. The truth that Kaloogian so passionately wants to be told is going to start to expose Kaloogian.

Here is a quick Kaloogian sampling from post here at Words Have Power:

March 28 - Kaloogian And The Truth

March 12 -

March 11 - Kaloogian News - Or Maybe Not

March 5 - Look Who's Pimping for Kaloogian

February 16 - Kaloogian Alert - Toxic - Full Protective Gear Required

December 27 - More Lies....

August 31 - Move America Backwards

August 20 - Kaloogian's Group Attacks Cindy Sheehan

August 2 - PR for the Civil War

July 13 - Astroturf Howard

Howard Kaloogian is part of the right wing noise machine. His job is divide this country not help solve its problems. He is running for congress so he can be part of the same ruling party that tolerated Randy Cunningham and sucked up to Jack Abramoff.

He is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

CA-50 Busby Surges - Watch Out for Roach's Mud Slinging

With less than two weeks to go before the 50th congressional district special election, a new poll has Democrat Francine Busby within striking distance of a stunning victory that would make her the districts new congressional representative and preclude the need for a run-off election in June.

A SurveyUSA poll released today shows Busby favored by 45% of likely voters. There has been a change of position among her chief Republican rivals, with millionaire Eric “Gonna Buy Me an Election” Roach and “truth” impaired winger Howard Kaloogian moving past early Republican front runner, Brian “Lobbyist” Bilbray.

Analysis: In a Special Primary for the U.S. House of Representatives in California's 50th Congressional District today, 3/28/06, Democrat Francine Busby tops a crowded field of Republicans, but falls just short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff June 6th. With 2 weeks to the 4/11 Primary, Busby is at 45%, trailed by Republican Eric Roach at 14%, Republican Howard Kaloogian at 12%, and Republican Brian Bilbray at 10%. Busby is supported by 85% of Democrats, half of
Independents, and 10% of Republicans. Kaloogian and Roach are each supported by 23% of Republicans. The district is heavily Republican and whichever Republican survives the Primary would be favored in a runoff, but the Democrats have a chance to capture the seat if Busby can top 50% in the Primary. Busby gets 53% among female voters. The larger the turnout among women, the better Busby's chances to avoid a runoff.

Is this Busby surge real? Are independents and undecided moving in her direction? The opportunity is there for Busby to take this thing outright. It will come down to GOTV efforts and advertising exposure over the next 12 days.

I expect to see Roach move his attacks from Bilbray to Busby over the next few days. He is the only one of the top three Republicans that can afford to change the direction of his advertising and he now has to slow Busby down to keep her from an outright win.

Illegal Immigration Top Issue in CA-50

Amid a backdrop of escalating protests and polarization, residents in the 50th congressional district prepare for a special election on April 11. Illegal immigration is the top concern of voters in the district, edging out restoring ethics to government by a slight margin and overwhelming other critical issues included federal spending, health care and the war on terror.
On March 14, San Diego-based Competitive Edge Research & Communication released the results of a poll paid for by the Sycuan tribe and conducted with a sample of 802 likely voters in the 50th District. The poll, according to the company, had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percent. It showed that when it comes to the issue on which voters wanted to see their congressional representative work hardest, illegal immigration topped the list. The breakdown of answers was reported as follows:

- Stemming illegal immigration ---- 21.8 percent.

- Restoring ethics and integrity to government ---- 21.6 percent.

- Improving health care and prescription drugs ---- 15.6 percent.

- Holding the line on federal spending ---- 15.2 percent.

- Fighting the war on terror ---- 14.8 percent.

- Improving local transportation and roads ---- 6.7 percent.
Candidates for convicted felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham's old seat in congress are working hard to stay ahead of the daily news cycle in the North County, where thousands are taking the streets to protest what they see as attacks not just on illegal immigration, but immigrants.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Kaloogian and the Truth - Photographic Evidence

Last July, Howard Kaloogian led a group of right wing radio talk show hosts to Iraq. Kaloogian called his visit, the "Truth Tour." The purpose of the tour was to highlight the good news that the "liberal media" was hiding from the American public. The photo at the left is one of many that Kaloogian publicized through his Move America Forward website. The caption for this photo reads:

Downtown Baghdad
We took this photo of downtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism.
Kaloogian is running to replace convicted Republican felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham in the 50th congressional district and was so proud of this photo that he included it on his campaign website. [UPDATE - Wednesday AM: Kaloogian has apparently taken the photo down from his website.]

There is one slight problem with this picture of a peaceful, normal looking Iraqi street. The photo apparently wasn't taken in "Downtown Baghdad" or anywhere in Iraq for that matter. After Kaloogian's deception was noticed and publicized a crack crew of photo analysts literally took the picture apart and concluded that it was actually taken in Turkey.

Kaloogian's brand of truth is hard to distinguish from Cunningham's brand of lies. Maybe Kaloogian had to use a photo taken in another country because the reality of Baghdad was more like this:

I think it is time that Republicans stop pretending that they know the truth about Iraq and that the lying liberal media is keeping it from being told.

The truth is that people like Kaloogian have been working overtime to make sure that the Bush Administration lies about Iraq are constantly repeated over and over again.

Kaloogian can't handle the truth and doesn't think you should hear it.

UPDATE - Wednesday: TPM has more and even more on Kaloogian's elastic sense of the "truth".

UPDATE 2: More Kaloogian "Truth Tour" photos show up in campaign advertising. The General helps out. Odd, how much Baghdad looks like San Bernardino.

Bush Twins - Over There!

This has got to make Farnsworth at One Pissed Off Veteran happy. An actual member of congress , Representative William Lacy Clay (MO-1) calls for the Bush twins to cowboy up and head off to Iraq.
"I have a question for President Bush," said Clay, who voted against the resolution authorizing Bush to go to war in Iraq. "If you really believe that the war that you started in Iraq is a fight to defeat terrorism and to defend our freedoms, why haven't your girls enlisted?"
When will the girls enlist, Mr. Bush?

John Doolittle - It's All About Money and Power

Columnist Rex Bloomfield of the Auburn Journal reminds us that when a senior member of congress puts out a “Government For Sale” sign he isn’t advertising for just himself. A Republican rainmaker like John Doolittle (CA-4), who routinely raises far more money each election cycle than he spends on his own campaign, can insure that substantial dollars are distributed to loyal candidates for a variety of local offices.

Doolittle has been financing local political elections and pulling the political strings on every level of government from the county board of supervisors to local school boards. He still holds the single campaign record of giving $64,000 to one supervisorial candidate.After taking some heat for trying to buy elections with Washington, D.C. money, Doolittle has assumed a lower profile and avoids writing large checks, if possible. Nowadays Doolittle endorses candidates, holds fundraisers for his chosen ones, and puts the word out to contributors to open their wallets. Opposition candidates never match the financial prowess of Doolittle's anointed ones, who routinely expand the cost of running for office out of the reach of the average citizen.

To know where all this is going, all you have to do is follow the money. The big contributors locally are developers, who want to buy cheap ag land and have it rezoned for houses or condos. Doolittle joined forces with one of the largest developers in the Sacramento area years ago. Our congressman even attended a meeting with the planning department in an attempt to hasten the development of the Kalorama project in Applegate. Recently, the Doolittle acolytes on the board of supervisors pushed for the re-zoning for the same developer in West Placer. The developer now showers the Republican Central Committee and Doolittle candidates with campaign contributions.

For politicians like Doolittle it is all about money and power. Using Jack Abramoff or Brent Wilkes’s contributions to buy local elections so that more money flows into Republican coffers so that more elections can be bought is acceptable practice to corrupt politicians like Doolittle. Money and power, the public be damned.

Hat tip to nite swimming - as always first with the story.

Irrelevant Candidates Say Poll Is Irrelevant

Recent polling information regarding candidates in the 50th Congressional District special election has a couple of candidates fuming. Millionaire Alan Uke and state senator Bill Morrow had less than stellar performance in the Datamar poll released yesterday.

Both candidates now question the methodology used by Datamar. The ballot for the April 11 special election is crowded with 18 candidates, including 14 Republicans. Each of the top three Republicans were preferred by potential voters by margins of three and four to one over Uke and Morrow.

Uke and Morrow claim that Datamar’s failure to rotate the names of candidates read to respondents in the phone survey doomed them to show poorly.

"The poll is inaccurate," Uke said.

He said he has had his own poll conducted by a private company, and those poll results show that "right now," most voters are undecided.


A spokesman for Morrow's campaign also protested Datamar's failure to rotate names.

"It's a real disservice when a poll holds itself out as credible when its methodology is so clearly lacking in credibility," said Morrow campaign spokesman Joe Justin.

Of course, their excuse for an equally poor showing in the Lake poll also released yesterday can’t be blamed on the lack of name rotation, as that methodology was used by Lake.

It could be that the public just doesn't find much relevance in either candidate.

Monday, March 27, 2006

CA-50 Two New Polls

Two new CA-50 congressional race polls surfaced today. Both have similar results and both have much more immediate meaning for the crowded field of Republican challengers than they do for front running Democrat, Francine Busby.

A Lake Research poll, released today by the Busby campaign, conducted among likely voters on March 18-20, found Busby leading the pack with 39% of the projected vote.

Among her top three Republican rivals, Brian Bilbray came in at 15% with conservatives Howard Kaloogian and Eric Roach tied at 7%.

The rest of the Republican pack was far behind. Big spender Alan Uke and state senator Bill Morrow at 4% and 3% respectively.

A Datamar poll, commissioned by local CBS affiliate KFMB, was conducted four days later than the Lake poll, also among likely voters. Datamar pegged Busby at 36%, but found the top three Republicans very closely clustered. According to Datamar, Bilbray and Roach were in a near dead heat, Bilbray at 11.7% and Roach at 11.2%, with Kaloogian barely trailing these two at 10.7%.

As with the Lake poll, the remainder of the predominantly Republican field is far behind the three Republican front runners. Morrow and Uke continue their lackluster performance at 4.8% and 3% respectively.

The Datamar poll leaves 3.6% undecided, where the Lake poll asks the undecided to select the candidate to which they are leaning.

At the heart of both polls is the reality that Busby is going to dominate the field in the special election and then have to go to battle with Bilbray, Roach or Kaloogian in June. Preliminary polls show that in a head-to-head contest between Busby and either Bilbray or Roach, the contest is too close to call.

On the Republican side, it is hard to determine if the ground Roach appears to have made up between the March 18-20 Lake poll and the March 22-24 Datamar poll is real or just within the two polls margin of error.

Roach Scurrying From the Light

The muck and slime throwing continues on the Republican side of the race to replace convicted Republican felon Randy “Duke” Cunningham in the 5oth Congressional District.

Over at San Diego Politics, speculation is rampant that the California Republican Assembly’s (CRA) most recent attacks on Brian Bilbray were funded by the Eric Roach campaign.

The four page mailer linked Bilbray to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and blamed him for 155 diet supplement related deaths.

The CRA assumed full responsibility for the hit piece and promised more to come. What the CRA refused to do, however, was disclose who paid the $25,000 that it cost to print and distribute the mailers to 80,000 North County households.

San Diego Politics notes that graphics designer and Internet expert, Jeff Evans, works directly for both the CRA and the Roach campaign. However, the CRA claims that Evans was kept in the dark about the Bilbray hit pieces.

The final speculation from San Diego Politics is that the Bilbray hit was retaliation from the Roach campaign.

If Roach was indeed the source of funding for the hit piece, you’d have to wonder if he wasn’t looking for revenge for the efforts of Bilbray supporters to report on the ties to pedophilia of Roach’s former business associate.
These are the front runnng Republicans in the race to replace a Republican who tooks millions in bribes and sold out his constituents in the process. These Republican candidates talk about ethics, integrity and morality. The same line that Cunningham used to hand us here in the North County. Just as with Cunningham, it’s all talk.

If you want a preview of how these guys will act in office, just look at their campaign behavior.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Where Is That Good News?

The "not a civil war" in Iraq continued to be in its "last throes" today. Is the good news that only 69 deaths were reported? Or, is the good news that only 30 of them were by decapitation? When is the AP going to get the "good news only" memo?

"Dick.....what is the Judy chick up to? Let's send her back to Iraq with that Howard Kaloogian guy. We need to get the good news out."

The Roach Coaches

Eric Roach claims that he is not a "professional politician" and this might be the most honest claim he has made lately. However, Roach has hired a team of slick, professional political handlers to run his campaign for convicted felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham's seat in the 50th District.

Yesterday, we posted about an illegal Roach campaign mailer that was going the rounds in the
North County. The document, purported to have been written by Roach's wife, bears no campaign disclaimer nor does it indicate who paid for the document and postage. Violations of campaign law that will no doubt get millionaire Roach's campaign a stiff fine sometime in 2010 or so.

It should be no surprise that Roach's campaign is sending out deceptive mailers to prospective Republican voters. After all that seems to be the specialty of the team of right wing pros he has hired to run his campaign.

For example, Roach Coach John Feliz, who is on loan from the perpetual campaign of righty John McClintock, helped our pal John Doolittle (CA-4) get elected with a mailer that gained Doolittle just enough of an edge (3%) to knock out a Republican rival, who was running as an independent. In fact, Feliz's efforts earned him a fine from the state Fair Political Practices Commission.

Shortly before the election, Doolittle campaign consultant John Feliz coordinated the production of a mass mailer sent on behalf of Doolittle's Democratic opponent, Jack Hornsby. The consulting services of Feliz and a Doolittle fundraiser, Jim Grubbs, along with 60,000 mailing labels, were contributed by the Friends of John Doolittle Committee to the Friends of Jack Hornsby Committee. The mailer was sent to Democratic households as a tactic to bring Democratic candidate Hornsby into the three-way race with Doolittle and former state Senator Ray Johnson, thus pulling votes away from Johnson to Hornsby for the benefit of Doolittle.
And, then there is Roach's internet coach, Jeff Evans. Evans has a long history working for rightwing candidates. In fact, Evans is closely associated with the California Republican Assembly, which is flooding the North County with hit piece mailers aimed at fellow Republican Brian Bilbray. Evans' most recent brush with unsavory campaign practices surround mailers he prepared for a Los Vegas city council candidate, Janet Moncrief. The mailers were sent out under false identities by Evans' consulting operation.

Copies of invoices obtained by the Review-Journal show Evans billed Moncrief twice at her Las Vegas address.

The first invoice, dated April 1, states it was for printing the "McDonald Union piece," which portrayed the councilman as anti-union. The flier was mailed to union households in Ward 1.

The second invoice, dated May 14, indicates it was for a printing a flier titled "The Moncrief Conspiracy."

Evans, who said he was paid by check, doesn't recall who contacted him about printing the fliers. He said he doesn't recall who signed the checks. But his invoices are stamped "Paid."

Eric Roach talks about restoring integrity to congress, but he can't even run a campaign with any integrity.

It's the civil war, stupid!

Damn New York Times.

Dick, what happened to that Judy person we had over at the Times?

Corrupt to the Core

Today's Washington Post revelations regarding Tom Delay's former chief of staff, Ed Buckman and their shared interest in the U.S. Family Network demonstrate how deep the corruption of the Republican congress extends.

Through the U.S Family Network, Buckman laundered millions of dollars for Delay and other Republican leaders, such as Representative Roy Blount. Buckman used the money pouring into the U.S. Family Network to take care of not only Delay and Blount staff members, but Delay's wife, Christine, who pulled down a monthly salary of $3,200.

Buckman closed down the U.S. Family Network in 2001 as a Federal Election Commission investigation was discovering ties between the U.S. Family Network and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). The head of the NRCC at the time, Roy Blount's future wife, Abigail Perlman.

At the fringes of all of this, learning the ropes from the pros were John and Julie Doolittle. Julie Doolittle would go to work for Buckman at his flagship lobbying firm, the Alexander Strategy group, where she would help Jack Abramoff with his phony charity, the Capital Athletic Foundation and Buckman with another of his front organizations, the Korea U.S. Exchange Council.

If Julie Doolittle is a smart as her husband says she it, do you think that she might have picked up on the fact that Buckman was helping key Republican congressman skim millions of dollars through deception, lies and a variety of scams?

Considering the Doolittle's own 15% off the top financial scam, maybe Julie Doolittle learned a lot from Ed Buckman, Tom Delay and Roy Blount.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Dick Pombo - Lies, Lies, Damned Lies

The AP put out an interesting story about Representative Dick Pombo today. The story is a pitiful fluff piece that goes out of its way to be kind to Pombo. In fact, the story goes out of its way to insure that one of Pombo's most obvious lies goes unchallenged.

According to the AP story, little Dicky Pombo decided to go after the endangered species act because of the economic impact of the law on local development in Northern California.

In the early 1980s, he was upset when the presence of the endangered San Joaquin kit fox contributed to stopping development of a proposed town outside Tracy. After serving on the Tracy City Council from 1990 to 1992, Pombo won a congressional seat by pledging to revise the legislation.

Opponents "were able to use an endangered species that no one had ever seen or heard of in order to stop that project from going forward," said Pombo, co-author of the 1996 book, "This Land is Our Land: How to End the War on Private Property."

Unfortunately, this story is much different than the story Pombo told a congressional committee in 1994. According to the Los Angeles Times:

In 1994 he told a Senate subcommittee that he ran for Congress after the ranch was declared critical habitat for the endangered San Joaquin kit fox, stripping his land of its value and forcing his family to run the ranch "with an unwanted, unneeded, un-silent partner — the federal government."

But, as the Times notes, Pombo's 1994 story wasn't actually true.

The tale turns out to have been embroidered. Pombo's ranch is a corridor for the kit fox, the smallest fox in North America. But it is not critical habitat, which the government has never designated anywhere for the tiny fox. Pombo paid $5,137 into a regional habitat conservation plan to compensate for houses he and relatives were building on the ranch. But that was years after his congressional testimony.

Today, Pombo concedes his characterization was "mistaken" and says having kit fox habitat on his land "didn't prevent me from doing anything."

I'm sure that the AP did all sorts of fact checking before it decided to promote one of Dick Pombo's more egregious lies.

Is This The Bottom?

When the Minot (ND) Daily News questions how Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives refers to convicted felon, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, you know that Duke's elevator has reached the bottom.
The official House Web site notes a vacancy in the position of representative from the 50th Congressional District of California by noting that it had been held by "the Honorable Randy "Duke" Cunningham ..."

Cunningham isn't in Congress anymore because he is serving a prison term after being caught abusing the public trust by taking bribes from defense contractors.


Cunningham's former constituents - and those serving in the military - may have another opinion concerning how he should be described.

The only media source that hasn't weighed in on Cunningham appears to be TV Guide.

URGENT - Julie Call Dr. Phil

Julie Doolittle has an understanding friend over at Dump Doolittle. Maybe its time for a little intervention over at the Doolittle household.
Julie, your silence makes me wonder; are you ignorant/compliant or are you a team player in the Culture of Corruption?
Tough question.

Are Jerry Lewis' Days Numbered?

Down With Tyranny seems to think that Southern California's most powerful congressman, Jerry Lewis (CA-41), is facing a federal indictment for his role in the Randy "Duke" Cunningham earmarking saga. Certainly, Lewis was the man in charge of the committee that allowed Cunningham to give taxpayer money away to his friends Brent Wilkes and Mitchell Wade.

Lewis has some pretty shady friends of his own as we have noted frequenty at WHP. For example, there is Lewis' revolving door staffer, Jefferey Shockley. For another, there is Lewis' cozy relationship with lobbyist, Bill Lowery.

Of course, Lewis picked up a pile of cash from soon to be indicted Cunningham briber, Brent Wilkes.

When the Wilkes case breaks you will see Lewis go down and along with him will be John Doolittle (CA-4) and Duncan Hunter (CA-52).

CA-50 Eric Roach Keeps Cheating

The Swing State Project picks up on an illegal campaign mailer in the CA-50 special election race. Seems that millionaire Eric Roach has put together a two page letter, ostensible written by his wife, touting his candidacy. Problem is the Roach campaign fails to note anywhere on the document that they are responsible for it, a clear violation of the law.

In other words, if you send out a mailer, you've got to put one of those little disclaimers on it, saying who authorized and paid for the mailer. The Roach campaign sent out a two-page letter - purporting to be from his wife, Meg - but didn't include any disclaimers at all. Not on page one, not on page two, not on the front of the envelope, not on the back of the envelope.

The letter, which looks more like a 14 year olds diary entry, suggest among other rather foolish things that the Roach campaign is "more of a 'grassroots' effort." How spending a million dollars out of your own pocket can be classified as "grassroots" seems to be beyond Meg Roach's grasp.

This isn't the first time that the Roach campaign has attempted to ignore the requirements of campaign law. Back in February, Roach's self-funding triggered the "millionaires' amendment" that opened the door for his opponents to increase their fund raising limits. Rumor has it that Roach did not intend to inform the Federal Election Commission that his campaign had exceeded the self-funding limits and that the Roach crew only made its disclosure after a reporter threatened to expose Roach in print.

This is a candidate whose wife suggests has "been thoroughly dismayed at the way Congress has been acting lately." Yet, he seems to have already caught on to some of the finer points of rule breaking that so characterize the Republican congress of corruption.

Hat tip to the tireless crew at Calitic's .

Rovian Viral Propaganda

No one that I read does a better job dissecting the process by which the Bush Administration manufactures and distributes its lies than Jeff Huber. He does it daily at the Pen and Sword and in this extended piece at e Pluribus Media.

This week, Mister Bush took to the road to sell his war in Iraq on its third anniversary before televised Town Hall style encounters with "real folks" asking "spontaneous" questions. These events, covered by the very media the Bush administration scapegoats, were no more genuine than a zirconium engagement ring, but I didn't hear a single commentator question if maybe it wasn't all just another staged propaganda event.

The truth is not something that miraculous stands out from the false, but flashy "zirconium" lies that surround it. Truth can not be separated from reality. Yet, it is important to remember the Bush Administration claimed years ago that it had the power to create its own reality, with no regard for the truth or those who serve it.

Deep Do Do For Doolittle

The Sacramento Bee takes Representative John Doolittle (CA-4) to task in an editorial this morning. The Bee's editorial staff has finally decided that it might be time to question Doolittle's extraordinary financial arrangement with his wife. An arrangement that efficiently moves 15% of all campaign and political action committee contributions directly into the Doolittle family bank account.

With this scheme the Doolittles have hopelessly blurred the distinction between campaign money and personal money. This arrangement raises obvious questions that Doolittle must answer for his constituents. How is his wife's taking a 15 percent cut of political contributions any different from the congressman himself saying he will take a 15 percent cut? How is this different from donors, instead of writing out a $1,000 check to the campaign, writing out two checks - an $850 check to the campaign and a $150 check to the Doolittles?

The Bee notes that the Doolittle's contribution skimming scam was working so well for his political action committee that last year they expanded it to cover contributions to his personal campaign accounts.

The congressman expanded the deal last summer. Beginning in June 2005, Julie Doolittle's Sierra company began to receive a 15 percent commission for contributions to her husband's re-election committee, the John T. Doolittle for Congress Committee. That is potentially a lot more money for the Doolittle household. The re-election committee has always received more contributions than the leadership PAC. In the 2004 election cycle, for example, that committee brought in more than $900,000 in contributions. A 15 percent commission would be $135,000.

If this isn't an invitation to bribery, I don't know what else to call it. It provides contributors a direct link to a quid pro quo arrangement with Doolittle. The money moves effortlessly into Doolittle's bank account. The appropriate letter gets written. The appropriate earmark is attached to the appropriate bill.

Hat tip to nightswimming for reading the Bee with the morning coffee.

Latest CA-50 Polling

The most recent publicly available poll regarding the special election to replace convicted felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham in the 50th District continues to be bad news from most of the candidates in the crowded field.

A SurveyUSA poll conducted the weekend of March 18-19, finds just four candidates with 20% or higher "favorable" public perception:

Francine Busby (D) 38%
Brian Bilbray (R) 23%
Howard Kaloogian (R) 20%
Eric Roach (R) 20%

As far as familiarity goes, Democrat Busby is far ahead of all candidates. The poll found that most of the vast number of Republican candidates are simply unknown in the district. Only former congressman Brian Bilbray comes close to Busby in name recognition.

When asked about the candidates, district residents had the following degree of unfamiliarity with the top tier candidates.

Francine Busby (D) 20% (unfamiliar)
Brian Bilbray (R) 29% (unfamiliar)
Eric Roach (R) 32% (unfamiliar)
Howard Kaloogian (R) 40% (unfamiliar)

Perhaps the most disappointing revelations of the poll relate to State Senator Bill Morrow, who has achieved a rare political double-double. Despite his years in public service, Morrow is unfamiliar to 35% of the voters in predominantly Republican district and his unfavorable rating is higher than his favorable rating. Morrow's recent mud slinging support from the California Republican Assembly isn't likely to do much to improve his already shaky image.

Mitchell Wade and Iran

Convicted felon and Cunningham briber, Mitchell Wade had his fingers in lots of Washington pies. What was his interest in Iran? Wade saw the Bush Administration crony give-away in Iraq and his company, MZM, profited greatly from the "war on terror." So it is likely that Wade was just ahead of the curve with his Iranian Democratization Foundation. Or, did Duke Cunningham share some insider information with Wade?

Wade and the two partners, who have been large contributors to Republican political campaigns, formed the Iranian Democratization Foundation in April 2004, according to incorporation papers filed in Washington.

The timing coincides with a push by opponents of the theocratic regime in Tehran to appropriate more money for democracy programs.

In November 2004, Congress approved spending $3 million to promote democracy in Iran. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last month asked Congress for a large boost in funding, to $75 million.

Absent an assist from Cunningham, you have to assume that Wade was canny enough to know where to look to find a new source of crony earmark funds.

UPDATE: We'll more like backdated. TPM has more on Wade's plans for Iran.

Is Economic Freefall Next?

What the Bush Administration has proven beyond any shadow of doubt is that it lacks the ability to focus on more than on issue at a time. By investing all of its political capital and focus on not even its own war on terror, but instead on its war of choice in Iraq, the Bush Administration has placed ever other aspect of governing the United States on the back burner.

The United States government is being run by political hacks like Michael Brown, Julie Myers, the list is endless, who are in so far over their heads that it will take years to undo the damage done to the infrastructure of government agencies.

While this army of the incompetent bungles its way from disaster to disaster, President Bush rides on, oblivious to the disaster his presidency has become. Not just the major international disaster that is Iraq, or the incredible national disaster that Katrina has become, but through the daily litany of micro-disasters and the accumulated destruction by incompetence or inattention of virtually every agency of the federal government.

James Walcott comments on the real "clear and present danger" that faces America. It is a threat that could lead to the destruction of this country and the impoverishment or enslavement of our children's children. It is a threat that the Bush Administration has helped build through its inattention to the consequence of its tax and trade policies. Quoting economist Stephen Roach, Walcott points us in the true direction of danger:

"From Beijing to Dubai, there is a growing undercurrent of economic anti-Americanism. The irony of it all is truly extraordinary: The US has the greatest external deficit in the history of the world, and is now sending increasingly negative signals to two of its most generous providers of foreign capital -- China and the Middle East. The United States has been extraordinarily lucky to finance its massive current account deficit on extremely attractive terms. If its lenders now start to push back, those terms could change quickly -- with adverse consequences for the dollar, real long-term US interest rates, and overly indebted American consumers. The slope is getting slipperier, and Washington could care less."

While Bush allows his cronies to loot the treasury and runs up the national debt to numbers that are beyond comprehension, the rest of the world is waiting for us to fall.

Ideological Purity

Yesterday, we posted regarding the California Republican Assembly's (CRA) attacks on fellow Republican Brian Bilbray. The CRA took full credit for the hit pieces in today's San Diego Union Tribune.

Mike Spence, the president of the conservative Republican group, was unapologetic.

“All the people who talk about polls say Bilbray is No. 1,” Spence said, “In order for a conservative to win, for our candidate to win, we had to hit.”

The group has endorsed state Sen. Bill Morrow, saying they believe Bilbray, though a Republican, is too liberal to lead the district. Morrow disavowed knowledge of the mailer.

Los Angeles Times columnist, Patt Morrison, called the CRA "the bemuscled bouncer of California GOP politics." And, the CRA is playing its role as protector of GOP virtue in the 50th District congressional race.

The cornerstones of the CRA's ideological purity are a total aversion to taxes and immigrants. Now that might sound like a bunch of Libertarians to you and me, but the CRA has a two decade old endorsement from Republican saint, Ronald Reagan, on which it hangs it ideological hat.

With these guys on you side, Bill Morrow, you will loose. You can take it to the bank.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Morrow's Desperation

Six months ago, California State Senator Bill Morrow had to see himself as the candidate to beat in the race to replace Randy "Duke" Cunningham in the 50th District. Morrow has represented parts of the district for years. He has conservative credentials. Yet, as the campaign has played out Morrow has become the odd man out among his right wing soul mates: Howard Kaloogian and Eric Roach. Not only is Morrow the 3rd Stooge on the Republican right, but carpetbagger lobbyist, Brian Bilbray, a Republican moderate (oxymoron), is the favorite to pull in the most votes in the crowded Republican field.

Morrow's campaign has hardly been stellar and Morrow himself is pretty boring. Now with his back to the wall, he has to do two things in the two weeks before the April 11 Special Election. First, he has to differentiate himself from Kaloogian and Roach. Second, he has to slow Bilbray down.

Morrow has the backing of the right wing California Republican Assembly (CRA) and it appears that the CRA is helping do the dirty work of attacking Bilbray leaving Morrow to find a way to stand out from the nut job backdrop where he blends into Kaloogian and Roach.

The CRA has put up a website that accuses Bilbray of two horrific sins. It calls him a liberal - no evidence for that. And, it calls him a lobbyist - which he is. It's a nice piece of work that manages to juxtapose a photo of Bilbray with Jack Abramoff and give the impression that the two are shaking hands while transferring a wad of cash. Good stuff.

More germane to the actual race, the CRA has sent out a mailer to the registered Republicans in the district that not only paints Bilbray as a close associate of Abramoff, but which also calls Bilbray to accounts for his support of Metabolife and his efforts to keep the FDA from restricting the use of ephedrine as a diet supplement. The CRA accuses Bilbray of causing 155 deaths through his efforts to protect Metabolife's main diet source of income. Bilbray's motivation, according to the CRA, was the $22,000 in campaign contributions he received from Metabolife executives and employees.

Morrow is under pressure to abandon the race and give either Kaloogian or Roach a shot at Bilbray. It looks like Morrow isn't going down without taking a few shots of his own. The problem for Republicans is that his shots are generating hits on their most viable candidate.

Hat tip to the always excellent San Diego Politics.

Hu's On First - George Bush Version

I can actually see this conversation happening.

George Bush: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?
Condoliza Rice: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.
George: Great. Lay it on me.
Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.
George: That's what I want to know.
Condi: That's what I'm telling you.
George: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?
Condi: Yes.
George: I mean the fellow's name.
Condi: Hu.
George: The guy in China.
Condi: Hu.
George: The new leader of China.
Condi: Hu.
George: The Chinaman!
Condi: Hu is leading China.
George: Now what are you asking me for?
Condi: I'm telling you Hu is leading China.
George: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?
Condi: That's the man's name.
George: That's who's name?
Condi: Yes.

George: Will you or will you not tell me the name of the new leader of China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he was dead.
Condi: That's correct.
George: Then who is in China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir is in China?
Condi: No, sir.
George: Then who is?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir?
Condi: No, sir.
George: Look, Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.
Condi: Kofi?
George: No, thanks.
Condi: You want Kofi?
George: No.
Condi: You don't want Kofi.
George: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk. And get me the U.N.
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.
Condi: Kofi?
George: Milk! Will you please make the call?
Condi: And call who?
George: Who is the guy at the U.N?
Condi: Hu is the guy in China.
George: Will you stay out of China?!
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N.
Condi: Kofi.
George: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone.(Condi picks up the phone.)
Condi: Rice, here.
George: Rice? Good idea. And a couple of egg rolls, too. Maybe we should send some to the guy in China. And the Middle East. Can you get Chinese food in the Middle East?

I was always a sucker for Abbott and Costello.

Hat tip to Clifford.

Duncan Hunter's Fingerprints on Brent Wilkes

Laura Rozen of War and Piece dusts some of the remaining pieces of the once grand and powerful Brent Wilkes' empire and finds some interesting fingerprints.

Certainly, Duke Cunningham’s prints are all over the place, but Laura also discovers evidence of the deep involvement of another San Diego County Republican, Representative Duncan Hunter (CA-52).

Hunter’s helping hand is apparent as far back as 1994, when he started the electronic document conversion bandwagon rolling in congress. It is important to understand, that the process that Hunter started was designed to directly benefit a small group of San Diego entrepreneurs, whose expertise and technology was never requested nor required by anyone in the Department of Defense or the United States government for that matter.

The result of Hunter’s involvement was the non-development of any actual technology and the creation of a number of companies designed specifically to take advantage of the potential payday that Hunter’s efforts were creating.

This was the environment from which Brent Wilkes would emerge. Wilkes would work with Steve Caira to not develop document conversion technology that they would then sell to the government at inflated prices.

Read Rozen and then read this Complaint and Jury Demand that puts Wilkes, Caira, Cunningham and Hunter together in an alleged conspiracy to defraud American taxpayers.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Queen Barbara - Unreal

Is Barbara Bush really this stupid and, let's face it, could anyone be this big a bitch? Apparently, the answers are yes and yes.

Former first lady Barbara Bush gave relief money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund on the condition that it be spent to buy educational software from her son Neil's company.

I gave tens of thousands of dollars to charity last year. I earmarked the funds to pay for food for my family, gas for our cars and of course college tuition. I'm sure the IRS will allow me to write off the cost of my home, which I used to shelter several people who would otherwise have been homeless.

Barbara Bush may be the most disgusting person on the face of the earth.

More Earmarks Hunting

According to the Washington Post, the Pentagon is looking into the process by which Randy "Duke" Cunningham's earmarks for MZM ended up delivering consultants to the then new Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA).

In documents filed in Cunningham's case, prosecutors said that in fiscal 2003 legislation, the congressman, who was a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, set aside, or earmarked, $6.3 million for work to be done "to benefit" the Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), created in 2002. Federal prosecutors have been looking into whether Pentagon personnel committed crimes in awarding CIFA contracts to MZM.

The war on terror is just a Bush Administration scam to insure that American's tax dollars are spent to make Republicans rich (in and out of government).

John Doolittle - "Bribe Me Here"

It may be a sign that the end is near for Representative John Doolittle (CA-4). Conservative talk radio and blogs are now joining the chorus that is roundly condemning Doolittle’s 15% commission arrangement with his wife that insures that a nice chunk of every political contribution to Doolittle’s PAC goes directly into the family bank account.

According to Dump Doolittle, conservative Sacramento radio talk host, Eric Hogue, is seriously questioning Doolittle’s ethics.

I'm a defender of raising as much campaign cash (free speech) as a candidate can collect, but it is somewhat unethical in my eyes - the voters too - to have a novice spouse performing as the professional consultant, just so you can gather 15% commission of off thousands of donated dollars. It may not be illegal, but it doesn't pass the 'smell test' in my opinion.

When a guy broadcasting in the same town where Rush Limbaugh’s got his start begins to question the ethics of a senior congressional Republican, you know that there is blood in the water.

Not only is Doolittle hearing about his ethical issues from righty radio, but the right side of the blogosphere is finding fault with Doolittle’s family plan regarding his campaign contributions. The conservative Captains Quarters went after Doolittle earlier this week.

I don't really care whether a politician has a D or an R after their name when this kind of nonsense occurs; all I know is that this stinks to high heaven. Perhaps the law and the ethics rules of Congress allow this kind of arrangement, but if they do, they need changing -- and damned fast. There should be no way for a politician to put money in his own pocket from contributions made to his/her PAC or political campaign, and setting up a questionable consultancy firm (Julie Doolittle went into this business two months after her husband got named to Appropriations) to channel commissions from donations to one's wife or children is nothing more than a cheap dodge. It's one thing to pay them a salary for work done, but to actually pay "commissions" on contributions is nothing more than putting up a sign that says, "Bribe Me Here".


I'm a conservative and I support the GOP, but I'm an American first -- and I don't cotton to politicians who stuff money in their pockets by giving away millions of our hard-earned money to crooks with a willingness to pay for the privilege. It's too damned expensive and it makes it harder for honest politicians to serve the public, regardless of which political party is involved.

In January, Doolittle went on the offensive. He took aim at the “liberal media” and highlighted the plot between radicals and their lap dog media. Doolittle’s problem now is that it isn’t just the liberal media or lefty bloggers holding him accountable any more. It is his former allies on the right who are raising tough questions regarding his ethics and apparent willingness to sell his services to the highest bidder.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Marching Band of Useful Idiots

Back in July, James Walcott, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, called Howard Kaloogian and his fellow pro-war shills "the marching band of useful idiots."

Walcott was referring to Kaloogian's "Truth Tour" of
Iraq. A public relations ploy dreamed up by Kaloogian's astroturf organizations, Move America Forward, and the Pentagon's Office of Media Outreach, the propaganda arm of the Department of Defense. For more on the Truth Tour and Kaloogian's propaganda partners read this.

Kaloogian is still beating the drum for the war in
Iraq. Apparently, he doesn't care how many Americans come home in body bags or how many Iraq children are maimed. Kaloogian continues to blindly follow George Bush. His only complaint regarding the president's handling of things in Iraq is that not enough of the good news is being promoted by the White House. The San Francisco Chronicle gets the word from Howard.

"He's doing excellent on the prosecution of the war,'' Kaloogian said of Bush, "but he gets a D-minus on promotion of what we're doing there.''

Kaloogian, sitting in a local restaurant in Rancho Bernardo while he met with supporters, said his views on Iraq come in part from his fact-finding trip there last July with talk-show hosts and political activists.

To call Kaloogian's trip to
Iraq "fact finding" is a bit of a stretch. Prior to their departure Kaloogian and crew had already announced that they were going to Iraq to publicize all the good things going on in that country. They weren't looking for facts, just going to highlight whatever Potemkin events to which their Pentagon handlers delivered them.

The talk show hosts to which Kaloogian refers were a hand picked lot of second string right wingers whose shows dot the landscape of predominantly "red state" markets. And the political activitist were culled from the same rabid right wing lemmings that the White House routinely chooses as audiences for President Bush's forays out among the "'Merican people".

What is interesting about the Chronicle article that quotes Kaloogian is the fact that the majority of the story is about the feeling of betrayal and disillusionment felt by many long time Republicans and individuals who had been staunch supporters of the President at the start of his Iraqi adventure.

Real people like
Oceanside barber, Dennis Dalbey:

"Enough is enough,'' he said of the war while showing Lance Cpl. Aaron Kernell, 19, from Tennessee, to a red Naugahyde chair for a cut. "If they haven't got this thing settled by year's end, it's time to bring the boys home.''

Real people like Oceanside businessman, Robert Anderson:

"We've done what we needed to do,'' he said. "We could spend 10 years there and get the same thing. ... It doesn't matter, it won't change. These guys have been fighting each other for generations, and they're going to hate us no matter what.''

Real people like retired Navy veteran, Herb Ranquist:

"If we're going to war, we ought to do it right. If we let the generals and admirals do the job, we'd do OK."

"I voted for him [Bush] two times, and I wish I hadn't,'' Ranquist said of the president. "It was probably one of the worst mistakes I ever made.''

Ranquist recalls how on May 1, 2003, Bush stood on an aircraft carrier off the coast near San Diego -- backed by a sign that said "Mission Accomplished'' -- and proclaimed that "major combat operations in Iraq are over.''

"I remember that,'' he said softly. "We all remember it.''

Howard Kaloogian continues beat the war drum. Maybe he should stop the music for a minute and begin to listen to the people of the district he says he wants to represent.

The problem is that Kaloogian enjoys his position at the head of the loud and obnoxious band of useful idiots too much to stop and listen to quiet reason.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Republican Business - Steal Everything You Can Get Your Hand On

The Washington Post details the business practices of Mitchell Wade, convicted felon. What he couldn't buy outright he rented or stole.

A review of the rise and fall of Wade and his company, based on interviews and MZM and government documents, shows that bribing Cunningham was only one part of Wade's formula for success. His firm, which had no prime federal contracts in fiscal 2002, collected more than $170 million over the next three years, thanks not just to Cunningham, but also to Wade's ability to take practices common among government contractors and push them to the limit.


He freely distributed title and rank, appointing more than 100 vice presidents, executive vice presidents and "senior executive vice presidents" in a company of about 400 people. He aggressively used the "revolving door" between the government's defense and intelligence bureaucracy and the private industry, attracting top talent and often sending new hires back to work on contracts at their former agencies and to try to cultivate new business.

MZM was able as the sole bidder to win a "blanket purchase agreement" for up to $225 million over five years in Pentagon technology work, though procurement regulations require at least three competitive bids.

Kenneth L. Wainstein, U.S. attorney for the District, said after Wade's guilty plea that the agreement amounted to "a $225 million blank check drawn on taxpayer funds."


According to several sources inside and outside the company, including some former employees, Wade attracted staff by offering tens of thousands of dollars more than the going salary. The sources agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. As his company grew, he hired people like retired Army Lt. Gen. James King, who held several high positions at Pentagon intelligence agencies and now runs Athena Innovative Solutions Inc., MZM's successor company. Wade also hired David Holmes, a former CIA lawyer; John Quattrocki, a high-ranking FBI officer; and Kay Coles James, the former head of the Bush administration's Office of Personnel Management.


The global war on terror was good for business. There was lots of work at the National Ground Intelligence Center and the Counterintelligence Field Activity. The Pentagon called on MZM to help seek counters to roadside bombs in Iraq. The Special Operations Command in Tampa needed help too. And thanks to an earmark from Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. (R-Va.), MZM was picked to run a Foreign Supplier Assessment Center in Martinsville, Va., to check out foreign-based contractors.

Last July, a month after the San Diego Union-Tribune triggered the investigation by disclosing the home sale, the Pentagon was still telling Cunningham's office that money was in the pipeline for his latest MZM earmarks.

This is what putting Republicans in power means for the American people. Thieves like Mitchell Wade are allowed to steal our money with the aid of their powerful allies, the people we elect to serve us in Congress.