Sunday, April 30, 2006

Colbert Reports - White House Correspondents' Dinner

Stephen Colbert is brilliant, but most of his audience is not laughing by the end.

His skewer of McCain is perhaps the best line of the night. Bush is such a sitting duck.

I thought the the video audition for the press secretary job was too long and boring, but it is included in this set of three clips via YouTube:

Introduction and Opening Remarks

Main Remarks - Including McCain smackdown

Press conference video - long and not that good

I hope that most of the media types and all of the president's men went home pissed off after Colbert was finished. He played the traditional role of court jester - telling the truth while acting the fool. That is the only way Bush will every hear the truth. No wonder he was so sour at the end.

John Doolittle on Ethics - Nobody Cares

If you are the financial beneficiary and political benefactor to both Jack "Skybox" Abramoff and Brent "Pimp Daddy" Wilkes you have to believe that your constituents don't give a damn how corrupt you are. John Doolittle (CA-4) has a "what me worry" attitude toward his record as one of the most ethically challenged (unindicted) members of the Republican congress of corruption.

Doolittle tells the Washington Post that his constituents have adopted a "don't ask" approach, that Doolittle has matched with a "don't tell" response.
Rep. John T. Doolittle declared that voters have little or no interest in ethics legislation.

"Do I think they care about it? No, I don't," Doolittle told a reporter. Doolittle said that during the April 7-23 recess, he did not hear "anything about Jack Abramoff," the central figure in a lobbying scandal.

Of course, Doolittle refuses to talk to the media regarding his relationship with Abramoff. Doolittle refuses to talk to the media regarding his wife's employment with Abramoff. He refuses to talk to the media about his unique commission arrangement with his wife's company, run out of his home in Virginia, that put 15% of all campaign and PAC contributions directly into his bank account. Doolittle refuses to talk to the media about his support of earmarks from a series of Brent Wilkes scams designed to defraud the government and steal tax payer's money.

There is no big media outlet in Doolittle's district. Instead the district's media is a collection of small town papers, whose publishers are dependent on the chamber of commerce types that Doolittle has been cultivating for his decades in public office. There isn't going to be much investigative reporting in the CA-4.

When he is in the district, Doolittle, like President Bush, only appears at events controlled by his campaign. His "public" appearances are closed to anyone in his district that might actually want to ask him a tough question.

The only thing that will save the 4th District from a Doolittle re-election will be his indictment.

It's Baaaak!

Yes, parents lock up your kids, the Calitics' blog roundup is back.

Is Roach Running?

50th District Republican Eric Roach has returned from his visit with the lords of the right in Washington and now California conservatives eagerly await his decision. Will he run against Brian Bilbray in the 50th District Republican primary? Certainly, it's not just conservatives who are hanging on Roach's impending announcement. Roach's entry into the primary will force Brian Bilbray to fight a two front war - one against Democrat Francine Busby in the run-off election to fill out the remainder of convicted Republican felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham and the other to fend off Roach in the Republican primary. Both battles to be fought simultaneously and decided on June 6.

Conservative blogger, Jon Fleischman was part of Roach's entourage on his trip to DC. Roach, Fleischman and the geography challenged Howard Kaloogian visited the various gurus of the right, with Fleischman breathlessly reporting on each new encounter with the great oracles of conservatism - Grover Norquist, Paul Weyrich, and a host of other right wing members of the Republican congress of corruption. No mention of any visits to Brent Wilkes "hospitality" suite.

More to the point, this trip was designed to grease the skids for what in the end will be a Republican vs Republican cage match. If Roach's primary candidacy results in a Busby victory in the 50th, in June, it will be considered as collateral damage by the conservatives. Their target is a conservative victory in November. If Roach beats Bilbray in the primary, then whether Bilbray wins or loses the run-off with Busby, his only alternative in November is to run a write-in candidacy, which almost guarantees the seat to Busby. At that point, Bilbray will be under incredible pressure from the Republican Party to go back to his home in Virginia and resume his career as a lobbyist.

This is a high stakes game for Roach and the conservatives. If Roach wins the primary and then defeats Busby in November, it is validation for the movement conservatives. If Roach loses to Bilbray in the primary or if a three way race in November results in a Busby victory, the movement conservatives will be repudiated in a district they consider as safe as any in the country, a strong signal that the far right wing driven vision of the conservative movement may well be on the decline.

Upon their return, Fleischman strongly urged Roach to run. terms of sending someone to Washington long-term in a conservative district (70% of the votes for GOP candidates in the special went to very conservative candidates in a 14-way donnybrook), we need Roach to run. Besides, I honestly believe that (now that I know how not-conservative Bilbray was in DC), Republicans will have a hard-time motivating to get to the polls without Roach on the ballot. We'll see what Eric Roach decides -- but I hope that he decides to run - both for the good of the party, and for the good of the conservative cause, which is already imperiled by too many Bilbray-clones in the House.
He's right, the conservative cause needs Eric Roach to run. What the movement conservatives can't afford is for Roach to fail.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Lest We Forget....Wilkes, Hunter and Lewis

Blinded by the approaching sex scandal, let's not forget the Southern California members of congress who were on Brent Wilkes' payroll. The FBI will soon tell us, if they were also "relaxing" in Wilkes "hospitality" suites. Let's take the wayback machine to those sexless days of November, when USA Today summarized Wilkes connection with Duncan Hunter (CA-52) and Jerry Lewis (CA-41).

Since 1994, Wilkes and ADCS gave $40,700 in campaign contributions to Rep. Duncan Hunter, a San Diego Republican who now chairs the House Armed Services Committee. Hunter has acknowledged that he joined with Cunningham in 1999 to contact Pentagon officials who reversed a decision and gave ADCS one of its first big contracts, for nearly $10 million. Hunter's spokesman, Joe Kasper, said the congressman was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Another California Republican, Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis, led panels that ordered the Pentagon to continue programs that aided ADCS when Pentagon officials wanted to cut them. Lewis got $71,253 from Wilkes and his employees in donations since 1993. Wilkes gave Lewis donations and met him at various events, Lewis spokesman Jim Specht said, but "he never talked with him about a defense project."

Before becoming the Appropriations chairman this year, Lewis led the subcommittee that oversees defense spending. In the late 1990s, that panel directed the Pentagon to continue converting paper documents to computer records, the work that ADCS does. Pentagon officials had tried to end the program's funding.

The 1999 defense budget, for example, directed $45 million be spent on document conversion. Wilkes and his employees gave Lewis $7,000 in campaign contributions the day after his subcommittee's first hearing on the bill.

Later, we'll talk more about Wilkes and John Doolittle (CA-4) or Wilkes role as Bush Pioneer and the co-chair of his reelection campaign or even Wilkes and Arnold. Wilkes had lots of Republican friends.

Wilkes, Goss, Foggo, Cunningham..........

Over at POGO, the relationship between the Wilkes, Cunningham, prostitutes and "hospitality" is reviewed in great detail. Of particular interest is Porter Goss' promotion of career mid-level bureaucrat, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, to the number three post in the CIA. How did Foggo's life long friendship with Wilkes play into his selection and who among Goss' congressional colleagues might have been pushing for Foggo?

“Remember that Goss is the one who plucked one of Wilkes’ old San Diego friends, the unusual and colorful Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, out of CIA middle-management obscurity to be his #3 at the agency. At the time of Foggo’s appointment, no one could figure out where he came from, or how Goss knew him….[how did Goss] determine he was qualified for the CIA executive director post?”

All good questions, especially as Foggo is currently under investigation by the CIA Inspector General because of his relationship with Wilkes over possible CIA contracting improprieties, and any role he might have played in the Cunningham affair. (Update: Goss through a flack denies partying down with Wilkes at hotels) Friday morning the Union-Tribune and Laura Rozen added additional details about poker games and hotel suites presided over by Wilkes and attended by various past and present legislators and CIA officials (including one known only by his delightful nickname, “Nine Fingers," so named because he lost one of his digits while on assignment. Is it just us, or is this beginning to sound like a Sopranos episode?)

If Goss didn't party with Wilkes and Foggo, did Foggo's elevation stem in part from his recommendation by Randy "Duke" Cunningham? And, aside from a few nights of high priced companionship, what did Cunningham get out of that assist to his friend Wilkes? And, make no mistake; having a close personal friendship with the number three man in the CIA was going to make Wilkes very rich.

Wilkes-Cunningham Prostitution Update

Over at Kos, georgia10 is all over the latest on the Wilkes-Cunningham prostitution story. Today's front page effort is a recap of recent events with a couple of jabs at one of the Bush Administrations most convenient punching bags, the Department of Homeland Security.
So, Homeland Security does not thoroughly vet its contractors, even if they are given the highly sensitive task of driving around high-level members of our government. And it doesn't thoroughly vet its contractors before it awards them millions of dollars in contracts. This incompetence at DHS should be a scandal in and of itself.
When the Shirlington Limousine and Transportation Inc. wasn't delivering members of congress and prostitutes to Wilkes various "hospitality" suites, it was under contract to provided limousine services to senior DHS personnel. Awarded two contracts worth over $24 million, Shirlington certainly had the right connections to make sure their bids were selected. After all, we keep hearing that photos of our representatives with hookers are soon to come.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Perfect Storm - Prostitution, Bribery and Incompetence

Editor and Publisher has a good summary of the Wilkes-Cunningham prostitution scandal and an indication of the growing army of investigators and reporters who are digging for details. Nothing gets the journalistic juices flowing better than a good sex scandal and this one could, like Cunningham’s record bribes, be the mother of all congressional sex scandals.
The wider picture, involving possibly other congressmen involved with prostitutes, emerged Thursday in an appearance by Dean Calbreath of The San Diego Union-Tribune on MSNBC's Joe Scarborough show, in which he suggested that as many as six lawmakers could eventually be named. The Union-Tribune earlier this month won a Pulitzer for its coverage of the Cunningham case.
The WSJ, the UT and every other media outlet with advertising to sell is going to be riding this story

Thursday, April 27, 2006

CA-50 Evangelical Support for Roach?

The 50th Congressional District is solidly Republican, but it is also solidly evangelical Christian in its church attending constituency. The district is the home to numerous mega-churches and a large number of ultra-conservative start-up congregations, many with extreme Pentecostal leaning.

A key characteristic of evangelic congregations is their belief in the infallibility of the Bible. To these congregations, the Bible is the word of God and it is the cornerstone of their faith. This faith based constituency followed "born again" Randy "Duke" Cunningham for years. Cunningham frequently spoke at Christian schools and was very open about his evangelic, conservative Christianity. Of course, bribery and whoring don't fit directly with that faith, but Cunningham took the right positions on abortion and other hot button issues and the faithful stuck with him.

A key question in the 50th District today is whether fundamental Christians will be able to stick with Eric Roach. Roach is a devout Mormon. His only claim to public service in the district is through his church. So, will fundamental Christians, who believe that the Latter Day Saints are a devil inspired cult, be able to support Roach with the ardor that gave to the extremely flawed, but born again, Duke Cunningham? Is it easier to vote for a Republican, despite their association with an apostasy, than an honest Democrat? Or is it easier to stay at home? That is an important consideration in the faith based community.

Check out this article from the Washington Monthly. The subject is Republican Mitt Romney, but the key factor is still the capacity of fundamental Christians to support a Mormon. Here is the money quote from the article:
Evangelical Christians consider Mormonism a threat in a way that Catholicism and even Judaism are not. The LDS Church, they charge, has perverted Christian teachings to create a false religion. As John L. Smith, a Southern Baptist who runs Utah Mission�an organization that tries to convert Mormons�told Christianity Today: "Mormonism is either totally true or totally false. If it's true, every other religion in America is false." To be tolerant of Mormonism is to put evangelical Christianity at risk.
Will Roach's conservatism overcome his religion or will fundamental Christian voters stay at home?

Cunningham Prostitution Scandal Fallout Grows

TPM Muckraker suggests that the Wilkes/Wade/Cunningham prostitution scandal could be a yawning pit that sucks in a large number of legislators. At the top of the list, CIA chief, Porter Goss. The Muckrakers link to an article from by Ken Silverstein at Harpers that seems to pinpoint the CIA chief's involvement back in his congressional days.
I've learned from a well-connected source that those under intense scrutiny by the FBI are current and former lawmakers on Defense and Intelligence comittees—including one person who now holds a powerful intelligence post. I've also been able to learn the name of the limousine service that was used to ferry the guests and other attendees to the parties: Shirlington Limousine and Transportation of Arlington, Virginia. Wilkes, I've learned, even hired Shirlington as his personal limousine service.
"Current and former lawmakers on Defense and Intelligence committees." This could blow the roof off of the congress of corruption.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, Cunningham was bribed by Wilkes and Wade, but most of the other members of congress only got large campaign contributions from the pair. Not illegal and no clearly defined quid pro quo. However, if providing sex to members of congress becomes the issue - then a clear quid pro quo could be established.
Proof of the prostitution scheme, on the other hand, could provide potentially damaging evidence that Mr. Wilkes had taken illegal steps in exchange for legislative favors, people involved in the investigation said.
The Republican congress of corruption always seems to be able to sink lower.

Pimping for the Duke

According to the Wall Street Journal, Mitchell Wade and Brent Wilkes were providing prostitutes and secure location in which he could indulge their services to convicted Republican felon Randy “Duke” Cunningham as a part of their full service bribery scheme.

Federal investigators are also working to determine which additional members of congress received similar services from Wade and Wilkes. I suspect that they started with the members who got the most in contributions from Wade and Wilkes. That would include a stable of prominent California Republicans.

Just when you thought that Cunningham couldn’t sink any lower, he shows you that he has the capacity to dive deeper.

George Will and the Republicans' Roach Problem

Washington Post columnist and right wing cheerleader, George Will, weighs in on the impact of an Eric Roach challenge to Brian Bilbray in the 50th District Republican primary.

What with Roach back in Washington talking to the right wing true believers, Will must have gotten his orders from Grover Norquist to give Roach a positive write up. Will tries to be even handed, but he makes it clear that Roach is the real Republican and Bilbray is just a place holder.

And Bilbray, since losing the 49th District in 2000, has been a Washington lobbyist, with a home in Northern Virginia, where his children attended school. Because Busby is running against the Republicans' "culture of corruption," which to many people means lobbyists, Roach says "her whole premise goes away" if he, Roach, is the Republican candidate in November.

"If I don't run," he says, Bilbray "is going to for sure lose." Roach says that unless he is running June 6, disgruntled conservatives will stay home. And Democratic turnout will be higher on June 6 than it was on April 11 because of the hotly contested primary to pick the Democrats' gubernatorial nominee against Arnold Schwarzenegger.

So, the way Will frames it, a Roach run in the primary is the only way to get Bilbray elected. That is an interesting strategy. Of course, if Roach wins the primary, then Bilbray gets unelected six months later.

Will also captures a comment from Roach that pretty much sums up the paranoia that the Republican right feels come election time. Everyone is out to get them and in this delusion, Roach suggests that the Busby campaign encouraged Democrats to vote for Bilbray in the special elections so that Busby wouldn't have to face Roach. It is classic right wing victimization.

Roach says that when Busby's campaign and liberal bloggers concluded that she could not get more than 50 percent this month, they urged Democrats to cast some votes for Bilbray because they thought he would be easier to beat than Roach in June. Roach says Bilbray could lose to Busby on June 6 -- and if he, Roach, does not run, Bilbray will win the Republican nomination that day, a prelude to Bilbray's losing to Busby again in November.

The "Busby campaign and liberal bloggers" worked for Bilbray because they are afraid of Roach. Odd that no one in the 50th District, nor any of the liberal blogs picked up on this last minute shift in Democratic strategy.

It is easy to see why the "true believers" like Roach so much. He is clearly one of them.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Come and Get It!

Here's the good stuff from Calitics blog roundup.

Eric Roach's Pals

You've really got to wonder at the total lack of moral compass that characterizes Republican conservatives. These are people who think that it's perfectly acceptable for Representative John Doolittle (CA-4) to skim 15% of all campaign and PAC contributions off the top and put them in his bank account. These are people who this that Grover Norquist is some kind of hero despite his laundering of Jack Abramoff funds.

The Republican right talks about public morality, but they practice a perverted sort of social morality that says stealing and cheating is acceptable if you do it in the name of Ronald Reagan. What a crock of shit.

That's the world that Eric Roach has descended into back in Washington, DC. He and his homies Jon Fleischman and Howard Kaloogian are taking a guided tour of the right wing kool-aid factories. And, at the end of the day, Roach will have to decide if he should take on Brian Bilbray in the 50th District Republican primary in June.

Read Jon Fleischman's perspective on conservatism. It is chilling. These guys have no concept of morality.

Can Bilbray Do The Right Thing?

Francine Busby’s campaign is keeping the heat on lobbyist Brian Bilbray over campaign ads being run in Bilbray’s behalf by the National Republican Congressional Committee. The Busby campaign, assisted by a group of North County Republicans plan to drop by Bilbray’s office this afternoon and ask him why in 1998 he “spoke out” against the very same type of NRCC ad that is being targeted at Busby today. His answer should be interesting.

A bipartisan group of residents of San Diego will deliver a letter to Lobbyist Brian Bilbray at his campaign office today at 1 p.m. demanding that Bilbray call for the slanderous ads against Francine Busby to come off the air. For five days, Bilbray has, as the North County Times Editorial Board wrote, “bobbed and weaved like the veteran politician he is.”

Just yesterday, it was discovered that in 1998 Bilbray spoke out against an independent expenditure ad being run against his opponent and within four days it was taken down. Bilbray’s spokesman at the time claimed it was “a bunch of hooey” (pdf) that candidates couldn’t speak out against independent expenditures.

While the Busby campaign is trying to meet with Bilbray face-to-face (to face), North County Times’ columnist, John Van Doorn is asking Bilbray to do the right thing and repudiate the NRCC ads.

Whatever the reasoning, the ads are dirty. One has to accept that Bilbray, a savvy former member of Congress and a Washington lobbyist, did not have a hand in them, or approve them, or even know about them in advance, as he and the national committee insist.

It would be unseemly to doubt him or them.

But Bilbray and his guys have seen the ads now. They're on the tube. If they have a shred of decency in them ---- if they want to get on a track leading away from the Cunningham quicksand and run a campaign that North County will be proud once again to call its own ---- they ought to call headquarters and tell the committee to stop already. Out here, the air is trying to cleanse itself.

Brian Bilbray has had plenty of time to do the right thing. Maybe he just doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong, ethical and unethical, moral and immoral anymore.

Washingon's Roach Invasion

Conservative Republican Eric Roach is in Washington meeting with conservative leaders in an attempt to determine the depth of their support for him in a June primary run against the 50th District’s Republican Party candidate, lobbyist Brian Bilbray.

On Tuesday, Roach arrived in Washington for two days of meetings with national conservative groups to measure their views on his possible candidacy for the Republican nomination in the June primary, a Roach spokesman said Tuesday.

"He's getting a pulse," spokesman Stan Devereux said in a Tuesday phone interview from the nation's capital. "Eric is in the process of evaluating whether he will continue to campaign for the June primary. We believe it's very important to have input from key conservatives."

Roach lost to Bilbray in April’s special election by 1,000 votes, but the conservative vote was spilt between Roach and two other well known conservative candidates, Howard Kaloogian and Bill Morrow.

Roach has been getting substantial encouragement from Republican conservatives to run against Bilbray in the June primary. If Roach were to win that primary, he would be the Republican candidate in November and Bilbray, win or lose in June, would be out.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

John Doolittle Obsessed With Erectile Dysfunction

Apparently, when he is not avoiding the media or asking his fellow church members for support, Representative John Doolittle (CA-4) does a little blogging on the side. Of course, being a solid conservative Republican, Representative Doolittle chooses a upstanding right wing blog for his comments. Doolittle is pissed that the federal government is subsidizing the cost of erectile dysfunction drugs for convicted sex offenders.
14 states allowed 800 sex offenders to acquire ED medications. Outraged, I offered an amendment to the Labor, Education and Health and Human Services Appropriations bill last year to prohibit this practice. The amendment was accepted by the Committee and progressed through much of the legislative maze before it was struck due to procedural objections in the House-Senate Conference on the bill. Fortunately, Congress acted in a subsequent bill, HR 3971, to prohibit the subsidized distribution of ED medications to all participants, not just sex offenders, in Medicare and Medicaid.
According to Doolittle the Republic is saved. But wait, here's the good part. The conservative audience over at the big time blog where Doolittle posted don't think much of Doolittle's efforts. Some comments regarding his post:

Instead of wasting our time trying to get us all excited over ED medications, why don't you do something about the $749 Billion Medicare Part D that you voted for which is almost twice the $395 Billion that you, Bush, and Frist told us it was going to cost?

Quit posturing by trying to push our buttons and try doing something substantive for a change.


While Congress fiddle f*rts around with ED medication there are actual things that need to be done.

And even when they deal with something as critical as ED meds they screw it up. You'll note that rather than just restict it from sex offenders its now prohibited to all Medicare recipients even the ones who don't prey on little children.

Every time the Congress makes a law its a joke and every time the make a joke its a law. But you can't say they aren't doing something --- even if it is a waste of time. Didn't Marie Antoinette have something to say about this? Or maybe it was the Romans and their circuses to amuse the masses.


While It's Great to see elected officials posting here, I don't see how this adds much to the discussion.

Congressman Doolittle seems to post these random thoughts that pop into his head on any given day. What we are looking for is a demonstration of leadership and vision, and an expression of where he stands on big issues and where he wants to take the GOP and the country.

These hit-and-run posts are annoying and condescending. Just because you make a post here doesn't mean you are engaging in any meaningful dialogue.

We know how bad the Dems are, stop posting about them. As a leader of the GOP, tell us why you are any better.
Well, you get the idea. Doolittle complains that all the media wants to do is talk about his ties to corruption so he goes onto a conservative web site and instead of talking about any substantative issue, brags about cutting off unnecessary drugs to 800 people. And, instead of getting praise, he gets cut down to size and held accountable for the financial disaster that he and his fellow Republicans have loosed on our country. Must be a bunch of liberals hiding out at RedState.

Hat tip to Dump Doolittle.

Doolittle Won’t Share Ethics Committee Finding

According to TPM Muckraker, Representative John Doolittle (CA-4) has a note from the House Ethics Committee saying it is OK for him to skim off 15% of all campaign and PAC contributions and put them in his family bank account. Doolittle says he will only share the note with fellow Mormons and his big dollar campaign contributors.

Thank You, Chris Bowers

Over at MyDD, Chris Bowers takes a whole bunch of “chicken little” Democrats to task and notes that Francine Busby’s performance in the special election and most recent polls is pretty darn impressive, considering the heavily Republican make-up of the 50th District.

Maybe big time bloggers (Kos and others) need to get on board with what is required for a Democratic Party 50 state strategy. Francine Busby can win this thing in June and again in November, if she gets the support of progressive in the Democratic Party. If, the netroots leaders have already given up, Busby’s chances are diminished.

Did You Miss Me?

CA-50 New Poll....Roach Watch....Etc.

Over at MYDD, Chris Bowers takes a look at the first public poll in the CA-50 race since the April 11 special election. The polls shows Democrat Francine Busby and Republican lobbyist Brian Bilbray in a statistical dead heat, with about 8% of likely voters undecided.

It is important to note that this poll was taken before the NRCC's latest attack ad aimed at Busby and, more significantly, before the media and public backlash about the ad put Bilbray on the defensive.

Chris also thinks that conservative Republican Eric Roach will mount a primary challenge to Bilbray. This will force Bilbray to fight Busby in the run-off election, while defending himself against Roach in the Republican primary. Roach's campaign says a decision on his candidacy is likely this week.

Democrats have lots of work to do in the CA-50 and the importance of the district to the 2006 grows as the Republican Party dumps more resources into the campaign.

NRCC Ad Blowing Up In Bilbray's Face

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is helping convince 50th District voters that Republican candidate Brian Bilbray is not worthy of their votes. The NRCC has stepped into the 50th District campaign with $800,000 of hit piece advertising. Their most recent ad accused Democrat Francine Busby of praising a teacher who was suspected of having pornography on his personal computer. The ad has begun to backfire on the NRCC and Bilbray.

Over the weekend Bilbray refused to respond to questions regarding the ad, speaking only through campaign staff. On Monday, Bilbray refused to repudiate the ad and instead spoke of his disappointment with its negative tone.
Congressional candidate Brian Bilbray expressed mild disappointment yesterday with a Republican attack ad against Democratic opponent Francine Busby but rejected her call to demand that the spot be pulled from the airwaves.
That folks in Republican integrity.

The North County Times editorial staff apparently feels the same way. In an editorial today, they chastise Bilbray for his refusal to take a stand against the ad.
He bobbed and weaved like the veteran politician he is, but Brian Bilbray failed Monday to clearly repudiate the mud slung at his opponent by his friends. Until Bilbray says outright that he opposes a national Republican group's TV ad smearing Democrat Francine Busby ---- not just "hit pieces" in general, but this one in particular ---- he's a winking beneficiary of the worst sort of dirty campaigning.


if Bilbray won't stop it, who will? After all, the spokesman for the national GOP congressional committee made their position clear: "We have no plan to take the ad down. She is on the record saying what she said."

Be warned, we believe that 50th District voters will rebel against this kind of mudslinging. North County deserves a better, cleaner race. We have two worthy candidates in Brian Bilbray and Francine Busby. Both have ample public records and distinguishable positions. North County is bursting at the seams with important issues.
Brian Bilbray = Republican politics as usual. Nothing more than a slightly less corrupt version Duke Cunningham.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Doolittle Calls For Mormon Jihad

Representative John Doolittle (CA-4) has been steadfast in his refusal to explain himself to his constituents in his district. Earlier this year, in a fund raising letter directed to his major campaign contributors, Doolittle asked them for financial help in fighting against "the same Beltway powerbrokers who have targeted me in the past - the labor union bosses, radical feminists and extreme environmentalists."

Now Doolittle has turned to his fellow Mormons in the 4th District. According to the Sacramento Bee, in early April Doolittle emailed a document that tells his side of the story, but only to members of his church. If you're not member of the Latter Day Saints, you don't get to hear what Doolittle thinks.

"I take attacks on my honor very seriously, particularly because of my well-known membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," the congressman said in his letter. "I am very conscious that my actions reflect on the Church and have tried to live my public and private lives in a way that is consistent with my faith."

With the e-mail was a four-page attachment titled "Doolittle Attack Facts," in which claims pulled from newspaper stories are matched with Doolittle's perspective.

In one "attack," for example, it's been reported that Doolittle refuses to return campaign contributions from Abramoff, his associates or clients. The attachment said that's true because "John refuses to give even the slightest appearance that he may have done something wrong by returning money that was accepted legally and ethically."

Another "attack" based on the Las Vegas fundraiser makes Doolittle "look like a hypocrite considering his strong faith and opposition to gambling," the attachment said.

But "Las Vegas is one of the top destination spots in the world," said the response. "While Rep. Doolittle doesn't personally gamble and doesn't believe it is a morally permissible activity, he does enjoy Las Vegas as it has some of the finest hotels, restaurants and entertainment in the world. For these same reasons, others enjoy it as well which helps make a fundraiser there a success."

Apparently, Doolittle doesn't think his fellow Mormons would be interested in his explanation about his 15% cut of all campaign and PAC contributions.

When he needs to explain himself, Doolittle first goes to those who have money and second he plays the religion card.

This guy makes me sick.

Women's Work............

Baseball needs more spokesmen like Keith Hernandez to take the public's mind off of the sports's rampant steroid abuse. Sexism, that's the ticket, Keith. From Ed Graney in the San Diego Union Tribune.

It seems all those Gold Gloves he won as a first baseman never came with a manuscript on the importance of present-day respect. It seems ol' Keith is a few back-door sliders short of reality. He needed just minutes while commenting as part of SportsNet New York's broadcast team to remind us sexism is alive and pitiful, openly questioning the presence of a woman in San Diego's dugout.

The victim of his insensitive remarks was Kelly Calabrese, in her third season as the Padres' massage therapist and the first female to be employed full time in a major league training room. There isn't a person more respected in San Diego's clubhouse, confirmed yesterday as players and coaches charged to her defense. Players who often would not have seen the field if not for her skill.


Here is what viewers then heard from Hernandez and play-by-play announcer Gary Cohen:

Hernandez: “Who's the girl in the dugout with the long hair? What's going on here? You gotta' be kidding me.”

Cohen: “She's excited. Got a fist bump and everything.”

Hernandez: “We'll get back to her. I'm not through with her.”

A minute later, cameras again showed Calabrese.

Hernandez: “I thought she was Morganna (referring to the woman who for more than two decades became baseball's unofficial mascot by jumping onto fields and kissing unsuspecting players) for a minute, but she wasn't a blonde. . . . I won't say women belong in the kitchen, but they don't belong in the dugout.”


Calabrese was raised believing that if she studied and worked hard enough, nothing was unattainable. For those women who wrestled for equality in the workplace years ago, she regards her position as one that can continue enacting essential universal change. The kind Hernandez likely couldn't fathom.

“Hopefully, if anything, we can turn what is obviously a negative into a positive,” said Calabrese, who learned of the comments from her parents, who were watching off a Major League Baseball feed in Cleveland. “If I can be a role model for young girls who aspire to hold positions not typically held by women, I'm happy to be that person.


Chris Young is in his first year as a pitcher for the Padres. His wife was also watching the telecast.

“It was offensive to her and the other women she was watching with and I'm sure to a lot of other viewers,” said Young. “(Calabrese) handles herself in a completely professional manner and all the guys in here handle it with professionalism. She makes each and every one of us better.

“It's 2006. Wake up. We have women fighting on our front lines in Iraq. I think they can be in a baseball clubhouse. My wife is in law school. Imagine that. Women can be lawyers, too.”

Hernandez has apologized and I'm sure will soon be exonerated by fellow sportscaster, Rush Limbaugh.

How Low Can He Go?

The lower his polls the more dangerous he becomes. CNN pegs Bush at 32%. How long until he is in the 20's?

Is the NRCC Attack Ad Aimed at Eric Roach, too?

Isn’t the timing of the latest NRCC attack ad interesting? What nightmare wakes the folks at the NRCC up in the middle of the night? Eric Roach is the NRCC’s worst nightmare. With Roach still undecided regarding challenging Brian Bilbray in the 50th District Republican primary in June, the NRCC has to be on edge regarding the impact of Roach in the race and the implications if Republicans are split both in June and November. With that in mind, the NRCC’s current attack on Democrat Francine Busby makes perfect sense.

The new ad’s most egregious contention is that Busby praised a teacher who it was later learned was into pornography. A teacher, who unbeknownst to Busby had pornography on his personal, home computer. The ad twists words, context and time itself to create a lying distortion that borders on slander. Still, negative campaign advertising works and Republicans are masters at it.

There is another candidate out there who could be damaged by his past associations with a pedophile, and that candidate is Eric Roach. The seed money that helped make Roach a millionaire came from Thomas White, an individual deeply immerse in the exploitation of young boys on a worldwide basis. Eric Roach’s financial independence is based upon his partnership with White.

There is no evidence that Roach knew what kind of a perverse slimeball his business partner was, but evidence, facts or decency don’t stop the NRCC. The NRCC is concerned about Busby’s chances, but they are terrified about what a Roach win in the primary could do to their chance to hold onto the 50th District.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Why Won't Doolittle Respond?

First it was the Washington Post, then the Roseville Press Tribune, now its the Sacramento Bee.

John Doolittle's (CA-4) financial scam that diverts 15% of every dollar that is contributed to his reelection campaign or political actions committee continues, while Doolittle refuses to speak to the issue in public.

The Bee want's to know why Doolittle won't address this issue?

Doolittle must answer the basic question: How is his wife's taking a 15 percent cut of political contributions any different from the congressman himself taking 15 percent off the top?

John, back to you.

Ask Brian Bilbray? - April 23

Since the 50th District has a big election coming up in June, voters might want to ask Republican candidate and lobbyist, Brian Bilbray questions about his various issues and occasional allegations that come up during the course of the campaign.

Here is the direct email link to Bilbray's campaign.

If you don't get a response from Mr. Bilbray, you might want to ask him the question via the newspaper. Here are the letters to the editor addresses for the North County Times and the Union Tribune.

Here are a couple of questions you might want to ask Brian Bilbray:

1. As a lobbyist for anti-immigrant groups did you have the opportunity to work closely with the Border Guardians and the National Socialist Movement? As these are two actives anti-immigration groups, it would be interesting to know your relationship to them?

2. Brian, when you were a member of congress, you took a Jack Abramoff sponsored trip to the Marianas Island. When you came back you worked hard in congress to insure that workers in this U.S. Trust Territory were not covered by even the most basic U.S. labor laws. What happened on that trip to convince you to keep the garment workers in the Marianas in a state of virtual slavery?

Drop the Bilbray campaign a note or ask them through the newspaper. You deserve to know what makes Brian Bilbray tick.

The Decider .............. Koo Koo Kachoo.................

From Huffington Post via Crooks and Liars.

Sitting in the White house garden talking to the Lord
My thoughts would be busy busy hatching If I only had a brain

I am the egg head, I'm the Commander, I'm the Decider Koo-Koo-Kachoo
A great companion to "Dear Mr. President."

Busby Campaign Responds to Republican Lies

Here is the link to Francine Busby's campaign blog. The Busby campaign responds to the lies, distortions and deceptions to which the National Republican Congressional Committee and Brian Bilbray have resorted in the 50th CD campaign.
The NRCC and lobbyist Brian Bilbray have sunk to a new low in their latest ad. In addition to falsely attacking Francine on her record on education, they accuse her of sympathizing with a teacher accused of possessing child pornography. This claim is despicable and couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Claim 1: Francine sympathized with a teacher accused of possessing child pornography.

The Truth: Francine and the Cardiff School Board took immediate action and had the teacher removed from the classroom. He never taught again - end of story.

Claim 2: Under Francine's supervision, the school district deficit increased.

The Truth: California law requires that School Districts adopt a balanced budget. They are also required to maintain a reserve equivalent to 3% of total expenditures. In the time Francine has been on the School Board, Cardiff Schools have never allowed their reserve to dip below 5% - 2% more than is actually required.

Claim 3: Busby voted to layoff teachers.

The Truth: Initial layoff notices are required in March, with final notices in May. Districts must project enrollments and determine staffing needs long before they know their final revenues for the current year. As a result, school districts are required to give notices as a precautionary measure even though layoffs may never take place.

Three claims - Three shameless lies. Expect more of the same in the next 6 weeks from these corrupt Washington insiders who want more of the same in Washington for years to come.
For most Republicans wining is all that counts. How you do it and what you become in the process doesn't matter to them.

Doolittle - The Truth Might Mean Jail

Over at Dump Doolittle, they pick up on a new editorial from within Doolittle's 4th CD that calls on Doolittle to speak out against the allegations that keep swirling around him. Unlike last week's Washington Post editorial, which questioned Doolittle's fund raising arrangement with his wife, the Roseville Press Tribune pleads with Doolittle to put the issues on the table and tell the truth.

At the heart of the Press Tribune's plea to Doolittle is his secret hiring of a high priced Washington lawyer, David Barger, to advise him as to how to deal with questions regarding Doolittle's close association with convicted felon Jack Abramoff.
While it's not uncommon for someone involved in such rumors and innuendo to seek help in dealing with controversy, Doolittle's choice of help can be viewed as intriguing if nothing else.

Barger is the former president of the Virginia Bar Association's criminal law section and a former assistant U.S. attorney who later was an associate of special prosecutor Kenneth Starr in the Whitewater investigation during the Clinton administration.
The Press Tribune suggests that instead of hiring a lawyer, if Doolittle is as innocent as he maintains, there is an alternate course.

The goal of the media is to publish the news and the truth. And what better place to get the truth than straight from the horse's mouth? If there's nothing to hide, then why all the secrecy? Why not publicly release all information proving his innocence? Why not publicly announce the January hiring of Barger at the time?

There may be nothing worse in politics than guilt by association. It's not pretty, and it's not always fair, but unless there is irrefutable proof to the contrary, the rumors will continue to swirl not only in Washington, D.C., but in Northern California among Doolittle's supporters and detractors.

Doolittle has publicly pledged to "fight to ensure that the truth in these matters prevails." There's an old cliché that an innocent man will shout his innocence from the rooftops. What better way to do that than to talk, openly and honestly? Which brings to mind another cliché:

"The truth shall set you free."

The problem that John Doolittle faces may be a bit more complex. For Doolittle, telling the truth may in the words of the 5th Amendment, force Doolittle "to be a witness against himself."

In Doolittle's case, the truth just might put him in jail.

Bilbray Likes Ad Attacking Busby

Republicans rallied around their newest slander against Democrat Francine Busby in the 50th District congressional race. According to the AP, Busby's opponent, lobbyist Brian Bilbray thinks the ad is just fine.
A spokesman for Bilbray, Steve Danon, told the North County Times that he had not seen the commercial Friday but, "if the facts are true, then the facts speak for themselves."
The National Republican Congressional Committee, stand by the ad. They apparently take pride in being a bunch of sorry, lying hypocrites.

From Washington, D.C., NRCC spokesman Carl Forti defended the commercial, saying it uses Busby's own words.

"It's a quote. She said what she said. I'm not sure she can deny it," he said, adding that the group plans to continue airing the ad.

The fact that Busby's words are carefully edited and used out of context apparently isn't considered dishonest or a lie to the leaders of the Republican congress of corruption.

Sadly for Bilbray and his Republican pals, their words and actions do not have to be twisted out of context to demonstrate why they can not be allowed to continue to run this country into the ground.

North County Republicans must be very proud of what their party is doing. What a fine example they set for the American people.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Lawsuit Links Doolittle to Another Brent Wilkes Scam

The North County Times brings us news of a new lawsuit in San Diego contends that Brent Wilkes conspired with convicted Republican felon, Randy "Duke" Cunningham to illegally "steer contracts away from San Diego-based American Technology Corp. to a company Wilkes controlled."

American Technology developed acoustical technology that was of interest to the military. The company's systems could be used to transmit voice and sound warnings over long distances.
In the aftermath of the October 2000 terrorist attack in Yemen on the USS Cole which killed 17 U.S. sailors, the Navy established a 500-yard protection zone around U.S. vessels.

The decision to create a "protection" zone raised the need for a long-range acoustic device to hail and warn vessels away from the ships. In response, according to court records, American Technology sped up development of technology that allowed for long-distance verbal and sound warnings to any approaching vessels.

In May 2003, the company delivered its first prototypes of the system to the Navy. In February 2004, the company was awarded its first contract for the system by the U.S. Marine Corps. Other contracts soon followed. And, according to the company, it "had a reasonable expectation of a continued economic relationship with the U.S. Navy."
Brent Wilkes apparently saw an opportunity in the exploitation of this technology and in 2004, Wilkes became the the controlling partner in Acoustical Communications Systems, a company created to utilize the same acoustical technology as American Technology Corp. Wilkes created Acoustical Communications System out of a small San Diego company, Horizon Sports Technology. Horizon Sports officials became minority partners to Wilkes in Acoustical Communications. Wilkes played his congressional connections to help bring the Horizon Sports team on board.
According to the lawsuit, in the lead-up to forming that partnership, Wilkes told his prospective partners that an unnamed Congressman had obtained authorization from Congress for a $25 million for such a warning system project and that his company had a track record of successfully lobbying U.S. government officials for projects.

The lawsuit said that even before creating the new company, another company owned by Wilkes, Group W Advisors, signed a consultancy agreement with Horizon calling for it to pay $1.5 million in upfront money "for lobbyists and various expenses," to secure the $25 million deal.

Between January and November 2004, the lawsuit states, Wilkes and other officials with his companies, including the newly formed partnership, "traveled to various locations to meet various United States Senators, Representatives, government employees and trade associations related to obtaining the contract ... these included trips to Washington D.C., Florida, Las Vegas, Nevada, and various locations in California and Hawaii."
We have the typical Brent Wilkes business and the typical Brent Wilkes approach. The technology doesn't matter, what matters is making sure that the political wheels are greased with cash. So how does Representative John Doolittle (CA-4) fit into this whole deal? Let's follow the money that Wilkes new business partners began to throw around.
Federal Elections Commission campaign finance records show that in 2004, two key Horizon executives donated $5,000 each to the conservative Superior California Federal Leadership Fund, which donates hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to congressional campaigns.
Which member of congress rusn the Superior California Federal Leadership Fund PAC?

Yes, it is none other that John Doolittle.

And, just by coincidence, which member of congress directly pocketed $1,500 out of the $10,000 donated by the Horizon executives?

Yes, that too would be John Doolittle, whose wife Julie gets a 15% commission on funds raised for Doolittle's PAC.

Brent Wilkes owned Randy Cunningham and if you look at the money that Wilkes donated directely or steered to John Doolittle, it is apparent that if he didn't own Doolittle, he was renting him on a pretty regular basis.

NRCC Swift Boaters Continue to Lie

The San Diego Union Tribune asks some questions of Republican leaders regarding their most recent attack ad aimed at Democrat Francine Busby. Apparently, this ad, which contains nothing but distortions and outright factual errors was never seen by anyone in a leadership position at the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The ad contains the legally required written and verbal disclaimers saying, “The National Republican Congressional Committee is responsible for the content of this advertisement.”

But committee press secretary Jonathan Collegio said he didn't know anything about it and couldn't reach anyone who did.

“I haven't been able to get anyone on the phone,” Collegio said last night by e-mail. “Not having seen the ad, I won't be able to comment. I wish I could be of more help.”

Claims of ignorance extend to Busby's Republican opponent Brian Bilbray. Bilbray, the beneficiary of $800,000 being spent by the NRCC for ads attacking Busby says he hasn't seen the ad.
Asked if he approved of the tenor of the ad, Bilbray said he couldn't comment because he hadn't seen it. But he said he opposes all campaign spending by parties other than the candidates themselves.
Does that mean that Bilbray is going to ask his friends over at the NRCC to stop running attack ads in his behalf?

Stay tuned.

Friday, April 21, 2006

NRCC Swift Boating of Francine Busby

The National Republican Congressional Committee released a television ad in San Diego today that is filled with outright lies and a blatant disregard for the truth that is breathtaking even for the Republican Party.

The ad represents a new low for a party that had pretty much plumbed the depths of sleazy political dirty tricks. Unlike 2004's Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry, this ad comes directly from the Republican Party. This ad couldn't have hit the air in San Diego without the approval of county Republican leader, Ron Nehring.

This ad is filled with such massive lies and slanderous statements that any honest Republican should disavow it on sight. Here are the lies and some of the direct repudiations from the Busby campaign.

The ad contends that while Busby was a member of the Cardiff School Board district deficits "skyrocketed by over 250%."

The reality:

By law, California School Districts are required to adopt a balance budget. They are also required to maintain a reserve equivalent to 3% of total expenditures and other outgo in a reserve. In the time Francine has been on the School Board, Cardiff Schools have never allowed their reserve to dip below 5% - two full percentage points higher than the state mandates.

The ad contends that "Busby voted to layoff teachers but gave raises to administrative bureaucrats."

The reality:

Busby Voted For A Pay Raise For Employees Who Had Not Seen A Salary Increase For Years. Francine never voted for a pay raise for herself. She voted for a pay raise for “certificated management employees” because they had not received a pay raise for years prior. The vote for the 3% salary increase was a unanimous decision by the school board.

This was a pay increase for school workers who hadn't seen a raise in years. This was a raise for clerical workers and janitors, people working with students and parents every day. Hardly bureaucrats.

Like most school districts in the state in 2003, the Cardiff district faced the prospect of massive budget cuts. By law the district had to inform teachers of the possibility that teaching positions would be reduced. It was the same requirement that school districts all over California had to deal with.

In Spring of 2003, the state was proposing “devastating” budget cuts that were translating into massive layoff notices being given across the state. Statewide, “more than 10,000” teachers were “given notice that they may be layed off in the fall.” The Contra Costa Times wrote, “Years of work to boost education spending and recruit credentialed teachers could be wiped out as school districts across the East Bay and state brace for devastating cuts amid continued uncertainty as to how deep state budget reductions will be.”

The most egregious charge made by the slimeballs at the NRCC is the implication that Busby is soft on porn because at one point in time she said something positive about a teacher who was later "reported to have child porn.".

The reality:

Francine Busby and the Cardiff School Board took immediate action to get the teacher in question out of the classroom and away from Children.

How desperate must the Republicans be regarding this race? This new attack ad is nauseating in its reliance on plain and simple lies.

The Busby campaign has challenged (pdf) Brian Bilbray to repudiate the slanders being promoted in support of his campaign. How he responds will tell us a lot about the true nature of Brian Bilbray.

"Dear Mr. President"

Katherine Harris and Global Domination

Florida Representative Katherine Harris (FL-13) is perhaps the most inept candidate in the history of American politics. Harris remains in hot water over a dinner she had with convicted felon Mitchell Wade. Wade who earned his jail time for his bribery of convicted Republican felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham, provided Harris with a $2,800 dollar dinner last year.

U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris took responsibility Friday for her campaign not reimbursing her share of a meal with a disgraced defense contractor at an exclusive Washington restaurant that reportedly cost $2,800.
In a statement, Harris said that she gave a charity $100, "which will more than adequately compensate for the cost of my beverage and appetizers" from the meal with Mitchell Wade. He has pleaded guilty to bribing former U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., who was sent to prison earlier this month for bribery.


Harris said that Wade "purchased several expensive bottles of wine which he took home with him uncorked - this is apparently the reason the bill was so high." She didn't confirm the total amount of the bill for the meal early last year.
So...Harris gives $100 to a "charity" (more about that below) and claims that Wade took "several expensive bottles of wine" home. Apparently, Costco was closed and Wade had to do his shopping at a restaurant. We all know how much restaurants discount their wine lists.

Harris' story on this meal keeps changing, which could explain why most of her experienced campaign staff has bailed out over the last several weeks. Politicians spin the facts and sometimes play fast and loose with the truth, but most understand when they have gone to far. Not Harris.

Now to Harris' $100 donation to Global Dominion Impact Ministries.... This is an interesting "charity" to say the least. It looks like a mom and pop organizations supported by a small group of friends. What is most curious about the venture is the fact that despite what appear to be routine prayer meetings and musical ministry, this organization has no published meeting place.

Check out their web site. You get a P.O. Box and a phone number. That's it. It looks like a web page that was thrown together one afternoon and not updated since. Check out the organizations calendar. A raft of weekly events are listed, with no location. A closer look at the events shows that the calendar is populated with a series of reoccurring events that may or may not even be taking place.

The same calendar shows only two Sunday events for this evangelic organization. Neither has a location listed.

How much in tune with the way Harris does business.

Doolittle Smells Fine ..... To Republicans

Representative John Doolittle (CA-4) continues to blame the media for his relationship with convicted felons such as Jack Abramoff and soon to be indicted co-conspirators such as Brent Wilkes. According to Doolittle the media is to blame for his sweetheart deal with his wife that moves 15% of all campaign and PAC contributions directly into his bank account.

Doolittle met with a group of Orange County Republicans this week and according to conservative blogger, Jon Fleischman, he wowed the crowd. Fleischman says that Doolittle claims to be under a….

…relentless barrage by the media (he equated it out to an equivalent of over a million dollars being spent against his re-election). He said that he enjoys debates over issues and ideas (he wishes someone would take him on for being against illegal immigration) -- but these are attacks on baseless ethical charges.

Of course Doolittle would rather talk about immigration than Abramoff or his wife’s cut of his campaign contributions. What is sad is that Republican conservatives would rather join corrupt politicians like Doolittle in blaming others than do something to clean house in their own party. According to Fleischman the Orange County Republicans all had the same thoughts after their meet and greet with Doolittle.

I think that everyone at the event had the same feeling that I did - gee, I wish this could be my Congressman -- he's great! (Well, my Congressman - John Campbell - is great, too). Ken Campbell, Aaron Park and all of my other Placer County friends are lucky to have John Doolittle as their U.S. Representative.

At the other end of the spectrum, there is the Washington Post. Today in an editorial, the Post suggests that Doolittle’s 15% cut of all campaign funds is just plan wrong.

IMAGINE THAT every time members of Congress received a $1,000 campaign contribution, they could skim $150 off the top and put it straight into their personal bank accounts. Sound shady? That is, in effect, how Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.) and his wife, Julie, operate. According to our review of campaign finance records, Mrs. Doolittle has received at least $215,000 from Mr. Doolittle's various campaign committees since 2001. This doesn't include $6,800 in payments to another of Mrs. Doolittle's companies, Events Plus, before she started doing his fundraising work. She's taken in nearly $100,000 during the 2006 campaign alone.

The Post has a single line comment that sums up how most normal people respond to a deal like Doolittle’s.

The arrangement couldn't smell more.

Apparently, to conservative Republicans Doolittle smells just fine. I guess after 5+ years of the Bush Administration Republican noses aren't very sensitive anymore.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

No, Never..... Did I Say Not Ever

Remember when Representative John Doolittle (CA-4) defended his wife's 15% off the top commission for her fund raising work for John Doolittle? He said that that sort of commission was "customary." That's news to the folks who actually do fundraising. They say the Doolittle's family commission arrangement violates their code of conduct.
The 27,000-member Association of Fundraising Professionals told the Roseville Republican in a letter this week that its ethics code "explicitly prohibits percentage-based compensation" and it urged his campaign to cease paying Julie Doolittle's company, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions, that way.
Apparently, Doolittle asked his pals Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay what they thought of his arrangement with his wife. Jack and Tom were all for it.

Lobbyist Bilbray's New Necktie

In the 50th District, the inevitable Democratic assault on Brian Bilbray’s lobbyist career and connection to Jack Abramoff began in earnest today. Francine Busby held a news conference flanked by “Republican supporters” of her candidacy. She called upon Bilbray to return money donated to his campaign by convicted Republican felon Randy “Duke” Cunningham; by soon to be indicted Cunningham briber, Brent Wilkes; and by Virginia’s Representative Virgil Goode, who received big bucks from convicted Cunningham briber, Mitchell Wade.

The theme here is easy to discern. Busby is hanging Duke Cunningham around Bilbray’s neck and Bilbray is going to have to try and distance himself from what to voters may be tainted money.

The San Diego Reader didn’t do Bilbray any favors with a summary some of last minute contributors to his campaign immediately prior to the April 11 special election. The list of contributors looks like the Jack Abramoff Lobbying All-Stars

The identities of last-minute contributors to political campaigns often turn out to be of more than passing interest -- sometimes because they have something to hide. And plenty of late money arrived in the coffers of Brian Bilbray, the ex- Imperial Beach mayor and former congressman...

Much of the money has a familiar theme. On April 8 the Chickasaw Nation, an Oklahoma Indian tribe with casino interests, kicked in $5000. On March 31, the Rely on Your Beliefs Fund, run by Republican whip Roy Blunt, gave $5000.

Then there was the Promoting Republicans You Can Elect Project, operated by Ohio Republican congresswoman Deborah Pryce, which gave Bilbray $5000, also on March 31. Campaign disclosure records show that Pryce's fund received a total of $8000 in contributions in 2002 and 2004 from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, both of which were clients of fallen GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff.


Yet another beneficiary of Abramoff money, Alaska GOP congressman Don Young's Midnight Sun Political Action Committee, gave Bilbray $2500 on March 30. This January, the Anchorage Daily News reported that since 1999, tribes linked to Abramoff have given Young $20,000, most of it channeled into the Midnight Sun PAC. Young also used Abramoff's luxury skybox at Washington's MCI Center for fund-raisers, the paper said.

I know that politicians are reluctant to turn down contributions, but don't you think that Bilbray might be a little more sensitive to receiving big financial windfalls from a group of legislators who are roundly perceived to be in the pocket of big time lobbying interests?

Cunningham Briber Under Investigation in 2000

Brent Wilkes’ company, (ADCS Inc.) was under government scrutiny at about the same time that Wilkes began providing convicted Republican felon Randy “Duke” Cunningham bribes in return for contracts. Two Department of Defense probes into the company resulted in at least on referral of information to the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Diego. As there was no major newspaper coverage at the time, the U.S. Attorney's office didn't pursue ADCS, which was obviously the favorite of many local members of congress.

In one case, the Defense Department Inspector General was looking into over billing by ADCS. According to the North County Times:

The 2000 report discussed alleged overbillings by ADCS Inc., a defense firm that in 2005 became a focal point of the Cunningham bribery scandal, Gary Comerford, a spokesman for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, said Wednesday.

Defense Department investigators looked at equipment purchases that ADCS had made as part of a government contract, as well as a series of questionable billings, Comerford said.

In the other case, the Defense Department Inspector General was looking into the suspicious circumstances that led to a large ADCS’ contract for conversion of Panama Canal documents, a project that was not requested nor required by the Department of Defense.

In May 2000, the Department of Defense released the results of a 1999 audit of the company showing that two unnamed members of Congress had pressured Defense Department officials into awarding a multimillion-dollar contract.

The NC Times is being coy regarding naming the “unnamed.” The two congressmen were Randy Cunningham (in jail) and Duncan Hunter (CA-52).

In a related note, ADCS continues to be in arrears regarding property tax payments. The company owes the county $304, 000 in back taxes and penalties. Just two years ago, Brent Wilkes was paying Randy Cunningham hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. Times change.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

No Respect

Down With Tyranny asks if The Worst President ever has become the Rodney Dangerfield of American Politics?

Dangerfield made a few pretty bad movies, but none of his bombs were had the megaton rating of Bush's bunker busters.

The new SUSA polls on presidential approval came out today. Oy! Other than brain-washed Mormons-- I mean, really now, should Utah be a state?? with 2 senators and some representatives? and with a part in electing presidents? be real-- the only states where Bush has a greater approval rating than his disapproval rating are Idaho (home of the Aryan Nation), Wyoming (home of Dick Cheney) and Nebraska. It's tied in Oklahoma. Other than that every single state-- including even the entire Confederacy-- pegs Bush's disapproval rating at 50% or worse.

The problem with Bush is simply that he doesn' t care if all 50 states write him off. As long as he is president and as long as God is speaking directly to him, he doesn't need our approval.

Roundup the Usual Suspects

Calitics daily blog roundup.

Tell Us Something We Don't Already Know

Not quite the judgment of history, but a pretty damning indictment.

Worst president ever!

Duncan Hunter Fails to Do His Duty

Representative Duncan Hunter (CA-52) heads the powerful Armed Services Committee. As the leader of that committee, Hunter should place the best interests of service members and the country before partisan politics. He should, but in another display of Republican partisanship, Hunter has dismissed criticism of Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and instead joined the White House orchestrated white wash of Rumsfeld’s dismal record.

American servicemen and women are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan because Donald Rumsfeld failed to do his job. Their deaths are the direct result of his decisions. Yet, instead of looking into the allegations made by six senior military leaders, Hunter simply stands hand in hand with Rumsfeld and pronounces:

"In my estimation, Secretary Rumsfeld has done a good job," Hunter said.

Another Republican puts partisanship ahead of duty and country.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Calitics Blog Roundup - Let Others Do the Work

Doolittle - So Much Money....Need More Fundraisers

For a guy who hasn't had to spend more than a couple of bucks on all of his campaigns combined for the last decade or more, Representative John Doolittle (CA-4) sure needs a lot of help fundraising. According to TPM Muckraker, Doolittle has a couple (literally) of former staffers who do "fundraising consulting." Of course, Doolittle's wife is in charge of all of his campaign and PAC fundraising.

Here's the backstory on Lopez: he began working for Doolittle in 1985, when Doolittle was a California state senator. When Doolittle won his Congressional seat in 1991, Lopez came with him as his chief of staff. Lopez announced his resignation in February 2005; but even after Lopez left the Hill, Doolittle didn't stop writing him checks. Since May 2005, Doolittle's campaign has paid David Lopez about $4600 a month for "fundraising consulting." His wife Kathy had worked with the campaign before he stepped down; in total, the campaign has paid her nearly $9,000 in fees and $17,445 in reimbursements since January 2005.
Fundraising for Doolittle must be a tough job.

New Roach Ad - Is He Running?

Over at San Diego Politics, a new Eric Roach radio ad becomes Exhibit A for the case that Roach will mount a serious primary challenge to Brian Bilbray. It is rather unusual for a candidate to run a new ad when the election is over, unless he is looking forward to the next election. In Roach’s case, that next election is the Republican primary in June. Conservative commentator, Jon Fleischman also notes Roach’s new ad and then builds the case for a Roach candidacy.
We'll see what happens in the coming days and weeks, but while there is no doubt that Bilbray would be a better Congressman than ultra-liberal Francine Busby (and therefore deserves your 'aye' vote in the special run-off to fill out Duke's term), my conversations with people who served with Bilbray in Congress, or who worked with his staff, have convinced me that this is not a movement conservative - not even close. At best, Bilbray will become a "yes man" for the current House Leadership, who will not bring to the floor the kind of meaningful spending reduction votes to expose the RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) or in a worst-case scenario, Bilbray ends up being a part of this group of rebel moderate GOPers who actively thwart our Party's chance to reduce government redistribution of funds, and instead put it back into the pockets of taxpayers.
If Roach runs it will be based, in part, on the impact of these conservative arguments and, to some extent, on Roach’s willingness to continue to self-finance his campaign.

Stay tuned.

Bush Twins Caught in White House Shake-up

This news is really going to piss Farnsworth off, as if One Pissed Off Veteran wasn’t pissed off enough. The White House shake up has hit the Bush Twins. How many heads have to roll over there before the damn liberals are satisfied?

Conservatives Encourage Roach to Run

Right now it is hard to tell how the saga of Republican congressional candidate, Eric Roach, will play out. According to the North County Times, Roach is still considering his options regarding a run at the Republican primary against Brian Bilbray.

Conservative Roach has an aggressive faction of the Republican Party that is actively encouraging him to take on the much more moderate Bilbray. Representative of that conservative base is Howard Kaloogian, the man who came in third among the Republicans in the 50th CD special election.
On Monday, second place GOP candidate Roach could not be reached for comment, but a campaign spokesman said the millionaire businessman has not yet made up his mind whether to run in the primary. And third-place finisher and former state Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian said in a phone interview that if Roach decides to run in the primary, he would support him and not Bilbray.
Either Roach or Kaloogian would have achieved enough votes to move forward to the run-off election had the other not been in the race. By splitting the conservative vote, Roach and Kaloogian insured Bilbray’s victory and, in the strongly Republican 50th, potentially insured that Bilbray would have a secure seat in congress for as long as he wants.

Now San Diego area conservatives find themselves between the devil and the deep blue sea. If Roach decides to concede the primary to Bilbray, conservatives will have given a solid Republican seat to a moderate who has in the past actually supported environmental legislation, voted for gun control and doesn’t demonize gays on principle.
Meanwhile, local and state Republican Party officials said Monday they would not be endorsing any Republican candidate for the primary election. However, both officials expressed concerns that if any Republican candidate decides to compete against Bilbray for the GOP nomination, any negative campaigning between the two in the coming weeks could hurt the party.

If Roach decides to go after Bilbray and wins the primary, while Bilbray is winning the run-off, all bets are off. At that point, the incumbent Republican congressman would either be forced from office or would have to run a write-in campaign against Democrat Francine Busby and Republican primary winner, Roach. The November election result could end up with Busby winning a full term and sitting in convicted Republican felon Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s old seat in congress.