2/28/2005

Photographs From Iraq; February 11 - 20, 2005 :: from www.uruknet.info :: news from occupied Iraq

Very graphic pictures...

Photographs From Iraq; February 11 - 20, 2005 :: from www.uruknet.info :: news from occupied Iraq

Daily Kos :: Where's the G**d**m $9 billion Mr. President?

Invading a country.... $250 billion



Syphoning all the money to yourself... Priceless



On January 30, 2005, exactly four weeks ago today, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq released a report that concluded that the Coalition Provisional Authority, under the direction of United States Presidential of Freedom winner, L. Paul Bremer, lost $9 billion due to "inefficiences and bad management."

One day later, Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), the Ranking Member on the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, demanded a broad investigation of the $9 billion in missing reconstruction funds in Iraq, including a criminal investigation and Congressional hearings.

Exactly one week later, three weeks ago today, President Bush unveiled his $2.5 trillion budget, which proposes to eliminate dozens of domestic programs, including many that directly affect the poor, the weak and the infirmed.

Just as a point of order, kiddies, let's see just what possible programs that the Compassionate Conservative Chimp in Chief proposes to cut that could be fully funded if his Medal of Freedom winner had implemented some of those "Western style" accounting practices:
"I wouldn't trust a man who wouldn't try to steal a little." --Al Swearengen, proprietor of The Gem Saloon, Deadwood.

Some of the potential casualities of the "untidiness" that is the Folly in Iraq:
-- $1.8 billion unfunded monies for community block grants;
-- Cut $4.3 billion in 48 educational programs, including $2.2 billion for high school programs, mostly state grants for vocational education;
-- Cut $440 million in Safe and Drug-Free School grants;
-- Cut $500 million in education technology state grants;
-- Cut $225 million for the Even Start literacy program;
-- Cut $280 million for Upward Bound programs for inner-city youths;
-- Cut $150 million talent research program;
-- Cut $100 million in grants for land and water conservation;
-- Cut $94 million in grants for the Healthy Communities Access Program and phase out rural health grants;
--Cut a $143 million program for the removal of severely distressed housing;

That's a tidy sum of just over $8 billion. Leaving the Chimp a tidy $800 million to play with.

Meanwhile, hot on the trail of grifting in Deadwood, errr, Bagdad:

Exactly two weeks after the inspector general's report, the Democratic Policy Committee (DPC) held An Oversight Hearing on Waste, Fraud and Abuse in U.S. Government Contracting in Iraq (transcript here). Although all were invited, not a single Republican Senator chose to attend.

It's really too bad they didn't because, if they had, they really would have thought they'd been dropped into Deadwood. (I'm telling you, I caught some of this hearing live on CSPAN and they need a motto: "It's not TV, it's CSPAN." Crazy shit. Guys talking about playing indoor football with $100,000 bricks of Ben Franklins. Paying "ghost employees." I'm not making this up.

Here's a telling exchange between whistleblower Franklin Willis, who served in Baghdad as the Senior Aviation Official for the Coalition Provisional Authority under Freedom Medal winner L. Paul, and Senator Byran Dorgan:
Dorgan: But I wanted to start -- Mr. Willis, in your testimony that I had read, you talked about the issue of people being paid cash in bags and a substantial amount of that kind of thing going on. (snip) I think you described it as, kind of, a Wild West approach where somebody is to bring a bag and they get money in the bag, cash in the bag.

Mr. Willis: Yes, that was a rumor. I don't have personal knowledge. There had to be a lot of money there, whatever the sum was, because when we had to pay the second payment to Custer Battles of $2 million, an Air Force captain went down, got the money and brought it up. I've submitted to the committee a picture of that payment, in fact. Let me give you...

Sen. Dorgan: The captain went and got $2 million in cash?

Mr. Willis: Yes. $100 bills in plastic wrap. We played football with the plastic wrapped bricks for a little while. There is picture evidence of that particular transaction.

(Emphasis mine.)

Uh, excuse me? The captain went and got $2 million in cash? And you played football with it? I don't even think Al Swearagen has stones this big. Well maybe:
Swearengen: "Don't count on him to be loyal. And no fucking paperwork."
Nuttall: "I don't even know if he can write."

Yeah, but can he get a job for the CPA?
Here's another nice exchange. This time between Dorgan, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Willis:
Sen. Dorgan: The photograph that you reference is up here on a chart. It shows -- I believe that's the way money was transferred there.
(Note: The picture showed a pile of money on a table with three smiling Americans behind it, including the author.)
Is that correct? It sounds to me your description of passing money around to three, four different places in order to get it to somebody who that it's owed is kind of like passing an ice cube around. You know, by the time the person at the end of the line gets the ice cube, it's a radically different ice cube. Much smaller, I might suggest.

Well, let me call on my colleague Senator Reid.

Sen. Reid: What is the setting of that picture behind us?

Mr. Willis: That's the office of the advisers' group to the Ministry of Transportation. That's actually my desk right behind me. I'm the person in the middle there.

Sen. Reid: What is the --

Mr. Willis: We're in the palace ...

Sen. Reid: What are you doing with the money?

Mr. Willis: CPA headquarters. There was a payment due to Custer Battles of $2 million on July 31, 2003. And so we brought the money up, called in Mike Battles and said, "Bring a bag."

Sen. Reid: You know, I'm from Nevada and in years past there's been criticism about the cash involved in some of the old Nevada operations. I mean that's baby stuff compared to what we see even in this picture. How much money do you think we see right there in that picture?

Mr. Willis: Well I know exactly how much money that is. That's $2 million in $100,000
plastic-wrapped bricks. My right hand is holding $100,000 in that picture.

Reid had to leave early. But here was his final statement and you could feel the rage burning in his words. You could see it in his eyes:

Mr. Reid: I want to just say, Senator Dorgan, thank you very, very much for holding this hearing. I mean, the sad part about this -- we shouldn't be holding this hearing. This should be done by committees having jurisdiction to do oversight of these government operations. This is a scandal. I don't know -- you know, this is only the tip of the iceberg. This is absolutely unbelievable. I mean, I can't imagine that our government is allowing something like this to happen. We're talking about billions of dollars -- billions of dollars.

So we have a billion dollar scandal on our hands that republicans don't want to investigate, hell, they don't even want to hear about it. Meanwhile, Even Start literacy and Upward Bound, gutted!
"I'm declaring myself conductor of this meeting as I have the bribe sheet." -- Swearengen

If you're with me thus far, here's a final goodie from the DPC meeting. This time it's Rep. Henry Waxman and Willis:

Rep. Waxman: Let me ask you about a specific example. Iraqi Airways had 2,400 employees in late 2003, but hadn't been operational for some time. Isn't that right?

Mr. Willis: That's correct.

Rep. Waxman: And has the airline been fully operational, how many individuals could
reasonably have been employed?

Mr. Willis: Three hundred, 400 maximum.

Rep. Waxman: Yet the provisional authority -- here you have an airline that's not even
operating, the provisional authority wanted to make sure the employees are paid and they
paid the salaries of 2,400 people, regardless of whether these employees were actually
working. Do you know if the 2,400 employees were actually real people?

Mr. Willis: I presume that some of them are ghost employees... (snip)

People, one of the problems we have with chasing these corrupt fuckers is we almost end up with "scandal overload." Every day I think we're finally seeing THE scandal. The outrage. And you know what? Gone in the next news cycle.

I think we need to hammer the point home to voters everywhere that while their school programs and environmental protections and worker protections are being gutted in the interest of balancing the budget, the recent recipient of the Presidental Medal of Freedom and his ex-BOSS could care less where $9 billion of taxpayer dollars went! Damn, if we can't attack the rethugs in their pocketbooks, what chance to we have?

Daily Kos :: Where's the G**d**m $9 billion Mr. President?

Inept Policy Has Made Bush Powerless

The upcoming meeting in Bratislava on Thursday between President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush will perhaps be the most useless summit in the history of U.S.-Russia interactions since the collapse of the Soviet Union. One side, Russia, no longer cares what the other has to say, while the other, the United States, has lost whatever leverage it once had in Russian politics, both domestic and international.

This was the outcome of the U.S. policy orchestrated by the White House and its National Security Council, which until recently was led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. This policy, though presumed to be pragmatic, has proven to be extremely ill-conceived.

Domestically, Russia is no longer dependent on the United States' financial help. Booming oil and gas prices allowed Russia to pay off its $3.3 billion debt to the IMF earlier this month. Putin has ordered Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin to pay back a huge hunk of the nation's $46 billion debt to the Paris Club ahead of schedule. Clearly, Putin values his freedom to maneuver above all else.

Condoleezza Rice's recent sermons about the United States' desire to spread democracy around the world, which she repeated time and again during her European tour as the new secretary of state, have fallen on deaf ears in Russia. And it's no wonder why: Since Bush came to office in 2000, the White House has developed a new approach toward Russia and has dealt with whomever would deliver whatever it was after, even if they happened to be politically questionable. The Russian side ... used those years of White House lip service to castrate democratic institutions and to build its muscle.

Internationally, Russia has clearly chosen to make alliances with countries regarded as the United States' competitors at best and enemies at the very worst, a choice very much against Russian national interests.

Regardless of the much-discussed clash of civilizations and the threat that China might pose to Russia in the long run, the Kremlin is further developing its close ties with the superpower to the east, which are based on Chinese lust for Russia's energy resources. Russia longs to have an ally that would allow it to present a challenge to the United States and Europe.

The same is true in the Middle East. The recent Kremlin decision to excuse more than two thirds of Syria's debt and provide missiles to a country on the U.S. list of terrorist sponsors sent a clear signal to the United States right before the summit in Bratislava.

The move sparked an uproar in Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon publicly stated that he asked the Kremlin to refrain from such a deal, as the missiles may end up in the hands of terrorists. Yet Putin chose to disregard Sharon's appeal, making it clear that he is eager to regain the role the Soviet Union once had in the Middle East. Since the leading role in Israel and Iraq has been appropriated by the United States, Russia will play on the other side with Syria and Iran, making yet another proxy war at least theoretically plausible.

Thus, all Bush can do to bargain at the summit will be to beg Putin not to send missiles to Syria and to warn him about the danger of supplying weapons to China. But what else can Bush do? Threaten Russia's expulsion from the G8? For one, Europe, which is highly dependent on energy from Russia, won't go for such a move. And even if Putin wants to share the table with the other world leaders, his entourage back home doesn't. Block Russia's entry into the WTO? Many in Kremlin are against it anyway. Stop foreign investment? The less foreign participation in the economy, the more power goes to the siloviki.

Yet one thing is crystal clear: The White House's inept policy toward Russia has ended in disaster. And Russia suffers first from this mess. So much for pragmatism
Inept Policy Has Made Bush Powerless

GOP against SS privatization in 2002????

GOP against SS privatization in 2002????

Video!!!

Common Ground Common Sense

http://www.wwsb.com/news/video/election5.wmv

Katherine Harris says at about 2:20, 'I'm against privatizing social security'"

REVEAL!!: Bush & Putin Share Fond Stolen Election Memories

Too funny -- law!

George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin met today in Bratislava and shared their fond memories of stolen elections. Democracy activists smuggled out a transcript of the meeting at risk of death.

'Katherine Harris was so hot...and handy, too,' Bush said too Putin. 'I know you're into cancelling elections and all, Vlad, but all you need is a pathetically insecure sex kitten to do your dirty work, and it's over.'

Putin would not be outdone. 'You Americans care too much about how things look,' the former KGB agent said over a cup of tea. 'I prefer to own the entire media, rather than create cute little internet media outlets with gay hooker reporters. Seems a bit amateurish to me.'

Bush gushed. 'Soon, we'll have created more media than existed before we stole the election in the first place!'"

Salon.com Comics | This Modern World

2/27/2005

Yahoo! News - BTK Killings Suspect Hid in Plain Sight

PARK CITY, Kan. - Dennis Rader, the man police believe is the BTK serial killer, hid for more than 30 years in plain sight.

He lived in this suburb of Wichita, the city he is suspected of terrorizing, with a wife and two children. He led a Cub Scout troop and was active in his Lutheran church. As an ordinance enforcement officer for the local government, he once measured grass in a front yard with a tape measure to see if it was too long, a neighbor said.

On Saturday, police identified Rader as a suspect in the BTK killings and announced an end to their 31-year manhunt. Although no charges have been filed, a jubilant collection of law enforcers and community leaders told a cheering crowd they were confident the long-running case could now be closed.

Officials also said they connected two more deaths to BTK — a self-coined nickname that stands for "Bind, Torture, Kill" — bringing his total to at least 10.

Authorities generally declined to answer questions in detail after announcing the arrest, but Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius told The Associated Press that DNA evidence was the key to cracking the case.

Wichita television station KAKE, citing unnamed sources, reported that DNA from Rader's daughter, Kerri, was instrumental in his capture. On Sunday, KAKE anchor Larry Hatteberg told CNN that the source said Rader was already under surveillance when his daughter's DNA was obtained.

BTK stoked fears throughout the 1970s in Wichita, a manufacturing center with 350,000 residents, with his grisly crimes and letters sent to police and media.
Yahoo! News - BTK Killings Suspect Hid in Plain Sight

2/26/2005

Narco News Publishes C. A. Fitts on the Narco-Dollars Map (Part II)

So if I have a company that has a $100,000 of income and a stock trading at 20 times earnings, if I can find a way to run $100,000 of narcotics sales by a few teenagers in West Philadelphia through my financial statements, I can get my stock market value to go up from $2 million to $4 million. I can double my 'pop.' That is a quick $2 million profit from putting a few teenagers to work driving the Solari Index down in their neighborhood. Bottom line, I can make a lot of quick money on the stock going up and the Solari Index going down

Narco News Publishes C. A. Fitts on the Narco-Dollars Map (Part II)

Port Insecurity

Port Insecurity

An audit released last week by the department's inspector general uncovered hundreds of small grants awarded to projects deemed without merit by the grant program's own staff. An unnamed port that receives fewer than 20 ships a year won a grant to install security lights. Another received a grant to buy encrypted radios that were not compatible with federal and state radio systems already in place — the very problem that led to a disastrous breakdown in communication when the World Trade Center towers collapsed.

More than 95% of imports from outside North America arrive on ships. Eighty percent of that goes through just 10 ports, with half of all imports passing through the Los Angeles-Long Beach complex, the nation's largest. A dirty bomb tucked inside a cargo container would be devastating, and not just to the population and economy of the ill-fated port city that received it. Between 50% and 60% of the $200 billion in cargo that moves each year through the Los Angeles and Long Beach complex is delivered to destinations outside Southern California. That's furniture, clothing, toys and electronics — and jobs — for much of the nation.

The private sector will have to bear some of the financial burden of protecting ports from terrorist attacks. But the government must play a role as well. And with 90% of federal transportation security funds going to airports, it can't afford to squander the miserly amount it has earmarked for ports by buying biohazard suits for Fargo, N.D., while Los Angeles and New York go begging.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) have introduced legislation that would require Homeland Security to allocate grants based on a port's vulnerability, the potential consequences of an attack and the actual threat as assessed by intelligence officials.

It's beyond belief that such common-sense rules require legislation. But it is now beyond doubt that they do.
Port Insecurity

Port Insecurity

The Department of Homeland Security is supposed to protect the nation's ports against terrorist attacks. So far, it has excelled instead at securing pork.

An audit released last week by the department's inspector general uncovered hundreds of small grants awarded to projects deemed without merit by the grant program's own staff. An unnamed port that receives fewer than 20 ships a year won a grant to install security lights. Another received a grant to buy encrypted radios that were not compatible with federal and state radio systems already in place — the very problem that led to a disastrous breakdown in communication when the World Trade Center towers collapsed.

The nation's largest and busiest ports — Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland and New York — rightly received grants too. But so did St. Croix, in the Virgin Islands, and Martha's Vineyard, Mass., whose ports do not exactly make up the trade backbone of the American economy. And so did six locations in Arkansas, which last we checked was a landlocked state.

Asa Hutchinson, the department's undersecretary for transportation security and (coincidentally?) a former Arkansas congressman, defended the pork, er, port grants with this convoluted logic: "If only the strategic ports would have been funded," he told a Times reporter, "then there would have been an inspector general's study saying, 'You left a gap, and the other ports have not had their security addressed sufficiently.' " We can just picture the uproar over St. Croix going undefended. Thankfully, Hutchinson will leave office next week, which is not soon enough.

More than 95% of imports from outside North America arrive on ships. Eighty percent of that goes through just 10 ports, with half of all imports passing through the Los Angeles-Long Beach complex, the nation's largest. A dirty bomb tucked inside a cargo container would be devastating, and not just to the population and economy of the ill-fated port city that received it. Between 50% and 60% of the $200 billion in cargo that moves each year through the Los Angeles and Long Beach complex is delivered to destinations outside Southern California. That's furniture, clothing, toys and electronics — and jobs — for much of the nation.

The private sector will have to bear some of the financial burden of protecting ports from terrorist attacks. But the government must play a role as well. And with 90% of federal transportation security funds going to airports, it can't afford to squander the miserly amount it has earmarked for ports by buying biohazard suits for Fargo, N.D., while Los Angeles and New York go begging.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) have introduced legislation that would require Homeland Security to allocate grants based on a port's vulnerability, the potential consequences of an attack and the actual threat as assessed by intelligence officials.

It's beyond belief that such common-sense rules require legislation. But it is now beyond doubt that they do.

Port Insecurity

What About Bob? - Judith Miller and Matt Cooper seem to be headed for jail. Why isn't Robert Novak? By Daniel Engber

An appeals court has ordered Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time to describe to a grand jury how they learned the identity of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame. If they refuse, they'll face 18 months in jail. Neither one broke the story: Robert Novak first published the leaked information in 2003 (and Miller never even wrote about it). Scads of Slate readers have e-mailed to ask: Why isn't Novak headed up the river, too?

No one really knows. Novak's role (or non-role) in the grand jury investigation has baffled legal observers. Since he wrote the column outing Plame, he should have been the first witness on special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's list. Indeed, it's possible that he was. Since grand jury investigations are secret, it's not clear whether Novak has already testified in front of the grand jury, has refused to testify, or has not been asked to testify at all. Neither he nor Fitzgerald will comment on the case."

What About Bob? - Judith Miller and Matt Cooper seem to be headed for jail. Why isn't Robert Novak? By Daniel Engber

From the Ashes Rises The Liar, The Whore

From the Ashes Rises The Liar, The Whore


By Anthony Wade

February 24, 2005

www.OpEdNews.com


You have got to be kidding me. The completely disgraced and irrelevant Jeff/Jim Gannon/Guckert has popped back up today and seems to have added borderline personality traits to his resume because he has clearly become detached from reality while he was gone. There he was again today on jeffgannon.com playing the victim and the hero of the right, while completely ignoring what had transpired and recreating history in the process. Luckily, there is that annoying thing known as a public record we can rely on to debunk this male hooker turned faux journalist.

In his “current column”, entitled “Fear and Loathing in the Press Room” we have multiple lies and misstatements which require some analysis. I would be remiss if I did not point out that Jeff/Jim could not even be original in the title of his new column, ripping off the recently deceased Hunter Thompson, a man who would not tolerate such a parasite as Jeff/Jim.

For background, I call this man Jeff/Jim because he is a liar who used a fake name to access the White House Press Pool. His fake name was Jeff Gannon, a name he claims he used because his real name, Jim Guckert is just too dang hard to pronounce. Whatever. Jeff/Jim should have stayed away after he was exposed, in more ways than one.

Going through his “column” we see (Jeff/Jim’s words in italics, followed by my commentary):

“During my tenure I developed some good friends there who welcomed the refreshing perspective I brought to the briefings and respected my courage for asking the questions that I did.”

Courage? Courage to ask the questions that he did? Let’s take a look at the courageous questions that Jeff/Jim asked when he was pretending to be a journalist.

1) “In your denunciations of the Abu Ghraib photos, you've used words like 'sickening,' 'disgusting' and 'reprehensible.' Will you have any adjectives left to adequately describe the pictures from Saddam's rape rooms and torture chambers? And will Americans ever see those images?”

Hmm, nothing courageous here Jeff/Jim. You see what this is, is an example of a fluff question. It is barely a real question because it is rhetorical in nature designed only to set up Scott McClellan to talk about Saddam, when the questions were about Abu Ghraib. There is nothing courageous Jeff/Jim about deflecting difficult questions from an administration that may have condoned torture as a policy. An example of a courageous question here may have been asking about the legalese language used by Alberto Gonzales to possibly justify torture that may have actually led to Abu Ghraib. Courage, is in asking for the truth Jeff/Jim, not shilling for someone like a whore.


From the Ashes Rises The Liar, The Whore

Is Fabulous President George W. Bush a Fabulous Homosexual? Baptists Are Saving Homosexuals asks what conservative Christians demand to know

AlterNet: The GOP Media Machine Churns On

Rather than face up to any responsibility for the deaths of more than 1,400 U.S. soldiers and the killing of tens of thousands of Iraqis, the propaganda game has just moved on.

Indeed, listening to the continued angry rhetoric on Fox News or right-wing talk radio, a listener would get the impression that these very well-paid, mostly white men were part of some persecuted minority, not a group of privileged individuals wielding extraordinary power.

By now, the huge investment of money in this conservative media machine may mean that even if conservative 'journalists' did reach an honest conclusion that their behavior was damaging the United States, they would be hard pressed to change course.

AlterNet: The GOP Media Machine Churns On

Right wingers on planting questions

NOW they love it.

3 months ago they hated it...

Rumsfeld gets pranked -- The Washington Times

Take the latest example. At a "town meeting" with American troops in Kuwait, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was confronted by a soldier asking why he and his buddies had to dig through landfills....

within hours, it was revealed Mr. Rumsfeld had been pranked by -- surprise -- a reporter. The soldier was actually serving as a ventriloquist's dummy for Edward Lee Pitts, a reporter with the Chattanooga Times Free Press, who filed his "story" without telling his readers about his own role in manipulating this "gotcha" gag on Mr. Rumsfeld....

Let's be clear: The reporter has a right to throw Mr. Rumsfeld an honest hardball in a press conference. The soldier, too, has the right to ask the question if invited to do so. But this reporter whispered that question into the soldier's ear.
Once the soldier asked the question, it was no longer the issue of vehicle armor that was news. It was the controversy, the revolt of the rank and file confronting the commander, that drove the story. Except it was all staged by the press. And then covered up.
Armed with this new evidence exposing the staged news event, CBS chose not to update its viewers about it, while the others downplayed it. On ABC, Peter Jennings relayed it and dismissed it: "It was certainly clear from the other soldiers' reaction to the question, that better protection is a big issue." On NBC, reporter Jim Miklaszewski didn't even want to verify that Mr. Pitts fed the question: "Whoever came up with the question, it's put the debate over the safety of American troops front and center."
That's bad spin. The point was not to put troop safety front and center. The point was to shoot at Mr. Rumsfeld. As one trend-watcher put it, Mr. Rumsfeld may be the left's new John Ashcroft, the primary Cabinet punching bag.
No one should buy that the Pitts gambit was not a setup, a sleight of microphone, because the soldier embraced the question, or because the grunts applauded. Let's grant it as obvious the troops are interested in questions and answers about their safety. But take the Pitts stunt and put it somewhere else.
Imagine the October presidential debate in St. Louis where the citizen questioners pressed the candidates. Imagine if the moderator stealthily had encouraged a citizen to ask a real brushback question to John Kerry, and then it came out later, after a dramatic exchange topped the news, that the moderator was responsible. The question and answer might be important, but the news story would be denounced as manipulated media fakery.
By all means, let's unite as Americans behind better equipment for our troops. But let's also agree we need much more honesty from some media outlets covering them.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/functions/print.php?StoryID=20041217-084901-4940r

Rumsfeld gets pranked -- The Washington Times

:: Libertythink :: Encouraging Cognitive Liberty in an Age of Statist Propaganda ::

Do they really think that our government would sacrifice the lives of thousands of civilians in order to raise public support for military action? That is a scary proposition, and one I'm confident the vast majority of normal Americans would not consider.

Do normal Americans pay male prostitutes to work in the White House?

:: Libertythink :: Encouraging Cognitive Liberty in an Age of Statist Propaganda ::

Yahoo! News Message Boards World News

"BEFORE GANNON (_._) AFTER (__O__)"

Yahoo! News - Gannon/Guckert Met Kerry at WH Reporters' Bash, Hopes to Go Again

Yahoo! News - Gannon/Guckert Met Kerry at WH Reporters' Bash, Hopes to Go Again

"Guckert, who contends he still has a future in journalism, also added that entering the paid-speaker circuit is another goal. 'It is likely that I will start making some appearances and speaking,' he said, declining to name specific efforts he has taken in that regard. 'There are people who are definitely interested in some of my behind-the-scenes work in the press room.' That is certainly an understatement."

Moon of Alabama

Moon of Alabama
Great Blog!

apostropher: Calling all desperate Christian singles...

TBogg and ThinkProgress have been trawling around the dating service at Sean Hannity's website. "No," you say, "such an easy target for derision surely does not exist in the wild. That can only be an invention of snarky, smug left-wing bloggers, right?" No, it's real and oh so worth your time. Just for starters:

Chris in Alabama is looking for a Christian woman who will appriciate his assperations to Christ.

Krista in Michigan would trade her tiara to have "the kind of love that Nancy and Ronald Reagan had," so if you're totally confused and incontinent, drop her an email.

Dave in Oregon's sole hope from placing his personal is "to kill deer with Ann Coulter someday." From the comments at ThinkProgress: "Well, you'd have to swing her over your head real fast, but I bet you could get up enough speed to bring a deer down with her."

Jay in New York believes "there is nothing that can be said that Billy Joel hasn't put in a song" and says "I enjoy getting off at a random subway stop." I love that Billy Joel song about masturbating in the subway.

apostropher: Calling all desperate Christian singles...

2/25/2005

Propagannon: Exposing Government Propaganda

Propagannon: Exposing Government Propaganda

Propagannon: Exposing Government Propaganda

Propagannon: Exposing Government Propaganda

Yahoo! News - Both Houses of Congress Get Involved in Guckert/Gannon Case

Both Houses of Congress Get Involved in Guckert/Gannon Case


NEW YORK Two leaders of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee (news - web sites) want the federal prosecutor investigating the Valeria Plame case to subpoena a personal journal of controversial White House reporter James Guckert, following Editor & Publisher's disclosure yesterday that Guckert claims he kept the journal for the past two years.



'It is clear that a primary obstacle to the investigation is uncovering a precise chronology of when, and to whom, classified information was leaked,' Rep. John Conyers (news, bio, voting record) (D-Mich.), one of those seeking the subpoena, told E&P. 'The revelation by Editor & Publisher that Mr. Guckert kept contemporaneous records of his 'reporting' activities could well be a major step forward in developing such a chronology.'

In addition, E&P has confirmed an online report that Sen. Richard Durbin (news, bio, voting record) (D-Ill.) is circulating a letter among his colleagues that asks President Bush (news - web sites) to launch an investigation into how Guckert, who writes under the byline Jeff Gannon, gained access to White House press briefings over two years despite having no journalism background and using a false name.

Both letters are just the latest in a string of inquiries by congressional leaders, which have included a previous request by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (news, bio, voting record) (D-N.J.) for documents related to Guckert's continued White House access.

In the latest effort, Conyers and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) sent a joint letter today to Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor investigating who leaked the identity of Plame, a CIA (news - web sites) agent, to several reporters. Guckert, who worked for GOPUSA.com and Talon News before resigning two weeks ago, interviewed Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, last year.

Guckert has been interviewed by FBI (news - web sites) agents on the Plame case and given conflicting signals, over many months, concerning whether he saw a secret document or merely knew about it from other sources.

Conyers and Slaughter indicated in their letter that Guckert's journal might contain information of value to the Plame investigation if, in fact, Guckert had been given some sort of access to documents related to the Plame leaks.

'A person in the White House briefing room who had access to a memo revealing the operatives name also kept a journal of his days covering the White House,' the letter to Fitzgerald stated. 'We bring this to your attention because we believe your office may need to subpoena the journal to further the work of the grand jury.'

'It now appears that Mr. Guckert memorialized his experiences at the White House,' the letter added, noting Guckert's comments to E&P that he might turn the journal into a book. 'It would be unfortunate if Mr. Guckert published information that would be useful to your investigation, such as the identity of the person who gave him the memo, without your office having the benefit of its contents.'"

Yahoo! News - Both Houses of Congress Get Involved in Guckert/Gannon Case

Daily Kos :: Open Thread / Gannon comments

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/25/21613/9906

Daily Kos :: Open Thread

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER (on the Russian News Media fawning over Vladimir Putin): "Well...the russian press also sung the praises of the government in the old days. In fact, it was chilling that the members of the press sang the praises of the president."
(Tell us why Charles.)
"It was not what you'd want in a democracy."

by LeftHandedMan on Fri Feb 25th, 2005 at 22:35:33 CDT

Ari Fleischer and Gingrich at Nixon Library (none / 0)

FYI for those interested -- A notice I saw in my weekly Pennysaver.

Ari Fleischer will be at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda (northeast Orange County, CA) on March 17 at 10:30 am to give a talk and promote his book. Gingrich will do the same on March 24 at 2:30 pm.

It looks like you have to reserve tickets (can do it online) at www.nixonlibrary.org

I can't make it, but wanted to post it in case someone was interested in going and asking certain questions.

by celdd on Fri Feb 25th, 2005 at 22:52:44 CDT

substantive story from Editor & Publisher, "Both houses of Congress get involved in Gannon/Guckert case," with nice discussions of various elected folks who are asking questions, such as Mr. Lautenberg and friends.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ep/20050223/en_bpiep/bothhousesofcongressgetinvolvedinguckertgannoncase
by Mnemosyne on Fri Feb 25th, 2005 at 22:55:11 CDT

Christian right mum on Gannon Affair

WorkingForChange

Why have the 'traditional family values' folks erected a wall of silence around the Gannon scandal?

They were livid over SpongeBob Square Pants' participation in a video advocating tolerance, and fuming about Buster the Bunny's visit to a lesbian household. So where's the outrage from the Christian right over the Jeff Gannon Affair? Despite a chunk of time having passed since the Gannon Affair was first uncovered, Christian right organizations are still cloaked in silence. As of February 24, there wasn't any news about the Gannon Affair available on the Web sites of Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, or the Traditional Values Coalition. As best as I could determine, no special alerts about the Gannon Affair have been issued; and no campaigns have been launched to get to the bottom of the matter.

Curious about this wall of silence, I phoned several Christian right groups on Tuesday, February 22, hoping to find someone who could comment on the Gannon Affair. This is what I found:

# Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family: I filled out an interview form and waited to hear back. Several hours later, a FotF administrative assistant called me to say that no one there could answer my questions about Gannon. She said a lot of folks were out sick and no one was available. 'Would someone be available tomorrow or Thursday,' I asked. She pointed out that no one would be available the following day or the day after to talk about this issue. 'Next week?' 'No.'

# The Family Research Council: I spoke with Amber Hildebrand, FRC's Media Director. She said 'We haven't made any public comments about this. There have been other pressing issues that have taken precedent, although this came as a shock to FRC.' Hildebrand said she would see if FRC's Vice President of Government Affairs Connie Mackey, would talk with me. At press time (Thursday evening) Mackey has not called.

# The Traditional Values Coalition: I filled out an interview form and waited for a call back. As of 2.22, TVC Action Alerts are focused on the persecution and subsequent dismissal of charges against the 'Philadelphia 5,' a group of fundamentalists that disrupted a pro-gay activity in Philadelphia in order to preach 'the Gospel to homosexuals,' and on Columbia House for developing 'a new subsidiary called Hush to market pornographic materials in association with Playboy and other pornography companies.' At press time no one had returned my call. After making a second call, a TVC spokesperson told me that 'no one is available to speak on that topic right now.'

# The Free Congress Foundation: Over at Paul Weyrich's Washington, DC-based organization, Jill Farrell, the Director of Communications told me that she hadn't 'heard anyone say anything at all' about the Gannon Affair.

The editors at Town Hall, the Heritage Foundation's one stop shopping center for conservative ideas, and the Rev. Donald Wildmon's American Family Association, currently involved in trashing HBO's Bill Maher over recent remarks he made about religion, didn't return my calls. Charisma News Service and the Christian Response Network didn't respond to my email questions about their lack of coverage of the Gannon Affair."

The story seems to be about more whores than we realized

A better question: What is journalism?
by Joe in DC - 2/25/2005 11:14:00 AM

The LA Times story about Gannon says a lot about the state of the mainstream media (MSM).

Somehow, Ms. Neuman has managed to make the Gannon story about them...and it is, but not the way she thinks.

She said, the MSM is being forced to ask: What is a journalist? Here's a better question for the MSM: what is journalism?

Neuman's piece is a classic example of present day journalism. It's an example of how far the MSM has gone to avoid covering the real issues in Gannongate. When describing the research done on Gannon by bloggers, she uses terms 'left wing bloggers' 'gay activists' and 'bloglust.' Her words imply a lack of credibility.

When she writes of Jeff, there are no similar 'descriptors' applied to him, GOPUSA or Talon News.

Reporters are trying so hard to be fair, and not piss off the right wing, that they are becoming part of the Right Wing Noise Machine. It's actually frightening....


The story seems to be about more whores than we realized


AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth

Daily Kos :: Top 25 recommended diaries - Feb 24, 2005

I made the top 10!

Weeeeeee!


Diaries: posted 272; recommended 227; highly recommended 17.
The 25 most recommended represent 9.2 percent of those posted.
nrec Diary Author time
255 This is my body lorraine 09:47 PST
200 The Four-Year Reich Devilstower 16:13 PST
183 An Update from SusanG and NYBri NYBri 20:39 PST
178 You Liberals are Clueless Palladiate 09:33 PST
161 SWIFT BOAT AUTHOR'S NEW SMEAR: Accuses Democrats of giving Iran the bomb Goldfish 13:17 PST
136 I Think They Want Me Dead... allentownboy 16:36 PST
131 This Is Not Fucking High School jsmdlawyer 09:03 PST
126 Dollar Dump - Even Friedman Gets it! - the end is nigh Jerome a Paris 09:05 PST
112 Ann Coulter was born in Rwanda or Why Gannon matters lawnorder 19:33 PST
93 My husband speakes on the AARP ad RickyMonet 02:56 PST"

Daily Kos :: Top 25 recommended diaries - Feb 24, 2005: "

Daily Kos :: U.S. declares control over Canadian airspace

Mad Con Disease ?

All this ingesting of recycled Cold War and McCarthyism ideas is turning their brains into sponge!

Canadians should have arrested Bush while they had the chance...

Humor: Canadian authorities arrest US president George W. Bush

Humor - If Only It Were True News - Humor

-------------------------

U.S. declares control over Canadian airspace
by Timmy the G
[Subscribe]

Fri Feb 25th, 2005 at 12:37:55 CDT

Canadians woke up this morning to find that they had given up control over their airspace by not signing on to the U.S. missile defence corporate welfare program.

U.S. ambassador to Canada Paul Celucci informed us that the Americans will shoot down anything they want over Canadian airspace, and that we had "given up [our] sovereignty" by refusing to sign on to missile defence.

Here's the coverage from The Globe and Mail:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050225.wxmissile0225/BNStory/Front/

Here's my post on this issue at my blog: http://borealblog.blogspot.com/2005/02/us-to-canada-your-airspace-is-ours.html

Republicans have proven themselves to be thugs once again. After the window dressing of asking us to sign onto the missile boondoggle, they promptly declare that our permission doesn't matter and they will do what they want anyway.

My question is simple: why does the Canadian right wing continue to support the actions of an administration so clearly contemptuous of Canada? Don't they have any self-respect whatsoever?



Daily Kos :: U.S. declares control over Canadian airspace

When Democracy Failed - 2005: The Warnings of History

This weekend - February 27th - is the 72nd anniversary, but the corporate media most likely won't cover it. The generation that experienced this history firsthand is now largely dead, and only a few of us dare hear their ghosts.

It started when the government, in the midst of an economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few famous buildings, but the media largely ignored his relatively small efforts. The intelligence services knew, however, that the odds were he would eventually succeed. (Historians are still arguing whether or not rogue elements in the intelligence service helped the terrorist. Some, like Sefton Delmer - a London Daily Express reporter on the scene - say they certainly did not, while others, like William Shirer, suggest they did.)

But the warnings of investigators were ignored at the highest levels, in part because the government was distracted; the man who claimed to be the nation's leader had not been elected by a majority vote and the majority of citizens claimed he had no right to the powers he coveted.

He was a simpleton, some said, a cartoon character of a man who saw things in black-and-white terms and didn't have the intellect to understand the subtleties of running a nation in a complex and internationalist world.

When Democracy Failed - 2005: The Warnings of History

Weeeeeeeeee!

Recommended diaries at 9 am, Friday, Feb 25, 2005 :
An Update from SusanG and NYBri
by NYBri

I Think They Want Me Dead...
by allentownboy

This is my body
by lorraine

The Four-Year Reich
by Devilstower

Ann Coulter was born in Rwanda or Why Gannon matters
by lawnorder


Rep. Hinchey really gave it to Hannity on TANG Forgeries being Rove
by RegenerationMan

SWIFT BOAT LIAR'S NEW SMEAR: Democrats giving Iran the bomb
by Goldfish

You Liberals are Clueless
by Palladiate"

Daily Kos :: Open Thread: "

2/24/2005

Daily Kos :: Dollar Dump - Even Friedman Gets it! - the end is nigh

Daily Kos :: Dollar Dump - Even Friedman Gets it! - the end is nigh: "Dollar Dump - Even Friedman Gets it! - the end is nigh
by Jerome a Paris
[Subscribe]

Thu Feb 24th, 2005 at 12:05:17 CDT

Is is a case of 'a broken clock is right twice a day' or is it that reality is seeping into the minds of even the most obtuse?

Actually, this is a topic where he has been saying the right things, as this recent diary testifies: Friedman Gets It Right on Energy Independence.

In his column today (I'll spare you the silly title here), he makes some good points:


When a country lives on borrowed time, borrowed money and borrowed energy, it is just begging the markets to discipline it in their own way at their own time. As I said, usually the markets do it in an orderly way - except when they don't.
"

Daily Kos :: The Four-Year Reich

Daily Kos :: The Four-Year Reich

Thu Feb 24th, 2005 at 19:13:30 CDT

The Four-Year Reich: or how blind aggression, unparallel hubris, and sheer idiocy wrecked America in record time.

How long did American hegemony last? Less time than it takes you to learn how to pronounce it. Bush is touring Europe and the U.S. press is celebrating it as something of a victory lap. The truth is, this trip is more akin to an 8-Track distributor at the Consumer Electronic Show. Look at that clunky, dusty old thing. Can you believe they used to be important?

You think I'm exaggerating, or making 'what if' predictions? We don't look defeated. It doesn't feel like we're near destruction. But you can't tell the difference between a solid block and an hollow box until you try and pick it up, and these days the United States is feeling very, very light.

Diaries :: Devilstower's diary ::

America is on top. We're the world's largest economy. We have the strongest military. And when it comes to diplomacy, when America talks, people listen. Being a superpower, like making a working footstool, requires at least three legs. For a superpower, those legs are: military might, diplomatic respect, and economic muscle.

But what if your stool has only two legs? What about one?

What about none?

First off, we have to drop the idea that the United State is the 'only superpower.' Right now there are at least three entries on the 'massively powerful, capable of shoving almost everyone else around' list: the United States, China, and the European Union. Let's compare these three and see how they stack up.

Economy
The United States has a huge and growing economy. Based on the entry in the CIA World Fact Book, in 2003 the United States had a Gross Domestic Product of just under $11 trillion dollars and a growth rate just above 3%. The first number is huge, the second respectable. Investment in new assets (factories, equipment, housing, inventory, etc.) ran at 15%.

China's economy is a bit hard to compare, because some of the numbers are not available and the Chinese government puts restrictions on currency exchange. The CIA tags it at $6.5 trillion in 2003. That sets China at around 60% of US levels in 2003. Another massive economy. And China is growing fast. In 2003, the growth rate was 3x that of the United States (9.1%). By comparison, Japan, which was long regarded as the United State's chief competitor for economic dominance, has been lodged at $3.5 trillion, with a growth rate slower than that of the United States.

It doesn't take a genius to see that, with the large difference in growth rate, the U.S. and China will soon converge. In fact, if current trends continue, China will have a larger GDP than the United States well before 2015 (kind of makes those predictions about Social Security in 2042 look far away, huh?). Don't think that China can hold up this level of growth? Check out this level of investment: 43.4% of GDP. Chinese factories are already a generation ahead of their U.S. counterparts, and they're making the investments to be sure it stays that way. And China has the labor pool to fuel their enormous growth. Not only does their available workforce outnumber ours 6 to 1, 50% of China's workers are still out in the fields. China has the demand, the people, and (as we'll soon detail) the money to keep the fires burning hot. In 2004, the growth rate increased to 9.5%.

Europe is a little hard to figure. In the minds of most people, and most atlas makers, this is still 26 separate nations. But on an economic front, they have ties that are much closer than those of the United States and its neighbors under NAFTA. When you stack the GDP of those nations together, you get: $11 trillion dollars. The GDP of the European Union is already as large as that of the United States. The consolation is that the growth rate in the EU is behind that of the US. They're held back by a lagging Germany, which has been in recession almost since reunification. That flat growth is also holding investment in some Western European states down to the 15% level of the US. On the other hand, inflation is lower in the EU than it is on this side of the 'pond.'"

New Amendment Used In Defense Against Domestic Violence Charges

Some attorneys are attempting to use Ohio's new gay marriage amendment to defend unmarried clients against domestic violence charges.

The constitutional amendment took effect on December first. It denies legal status to unmarried couples.

In at least two cases last week, the Cuyahoga County public defender's office has asked a judge to dismiss domestic-violence charges against unmarried defendants. The attorneys in the two cases argue that the charges violate the amendment by affording marriage-like legal status to unmarried victims who live with the people accused of attacking them.

Advocates for victims of domestic violence have worried about the effect of the amendment since it passed in November. They fear defense attorneys around the state will copy the tactic used in Cuyahoga County.

New Amendment Used In Defense Against Domestic Violence Charges
"

Alternative Radio : Lester Brown : Plan B: A Blueprint for People & the Planet

Lester Brown
Plan B: A Blueprint for People & the Planet
Lester Brown
Date recorded: 9 Jul 2004

The global demand for food and fresh water continues to rise. But world grain production is down. And we're depleting groundwater at an unsustainable pace. Global temperatures are rising rapidly due to emissions from cars, factories and power plants. "Plan A"—maintaining the status quo thru over consumption of resources—is not working. In a science fiction movie, "Plan B" might mean moving to another planet. But in the real world, it means telling the ecological truth in economic and policy decisions. It means faster movement to current sustainable technologies—solutions that are not science fiction but exist right now.

Lester Brown
Lester Brown offers a way forward in his book "Plan B: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble". He is founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC. He's been described as "the guru of the environmental movement" and "one of the world's most influential thinkers".

Alternative Radio : Lester Brown : Plan B: A Blueprint for People & the Planet

Bush II: The torture administration

Negroponte, Gonzales, Rumsfeld...

To what levels the American ideals sunk!



Daily Kos :: The torture administration

Daily Kos :: Break-in at SAIC

Sat Feb 12th, 2005 at 14:08:44 CDT

Today's Washington Post reports a break-in at Science Applications International Corp (SAIC) on January 25, 2005.

Some of the nation's most influential former military and intelligence officials have been informed in recent days that they are at risk of identity theft after a break-in at a major government contractor netted computers containing the Social Security numbers and other personal information about tens of thousands of past and present company employees.


Diaries :: TracieLynn's diary ::

Apparently, the thieves got into the building by breaking windows. Doesn't that make you feel better that this group will be handling some of this country's most sensitive information?

A spokesman for SAIC, Ben Haddid, reassures us all, though.

"We're taking this extremely seriously," Haddad said. "It's certainly not something that would reflect well on any company, let alone a company that's involved in information security. But what can I say? We're doing everything we can to get to the bottom of it."

Gary Hassen of the San Diego Police Department said there were "no leads."

Haddad said surveillance cameras are in the building where the theft took place, but he did not know whether they caught the perpetrators on tape. He also did not know whether the information that was on the pilfered computers had been encrypted.

Umm, maybe it's time to review those tapes. It's been over two weeks since the break-in. You guys might talk to the folks that run the local convenience store here in Middletown, Ohio. I hear they review their tapes pretty much right away when they've had a robbery and generally catch the person pretty quickly. Granted, maybe we're missing out on some big-city knowledge and just not doing it right.

David Kay (of WMDs search fame) says he has spent at least a dozen hours so far closing accounts and other measures to protect his personal finances. He's luckier than a lot of them, though. It sounds as though many will find out with this article.

Haddad said the company has been trying through letters and e-mails to get in touch with everyone who has held company stock within the past decade, though he acknowledged that hasn't been easy since many have since left the company.

This employee-owned company has also been in the news lately for its faulty software program for the FBI and is being accused by the Air Force of submitting "defective cost or pricing data in support of its pricing proposals."

The company's alumni list reads like a roll call of the nation'

Daily Kos :: Break-in at SAIC

2/23/2005

Neil Bush & Scientology take on ADHD - Sept. 25, 2002

"We can't sit still for this -- The House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, chaired by Indiana Republican Dan Burton, is taking a look at Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. Neil Bush, the president's brother, will join three people associated with the Church of Scientology's Citizens Commission on Human Rights when they testify before the committee later this week. ADHD is recognized as a medical disorder by the nation's leading medical authorities, including the American Medical Association, American Association of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association and the Surgeon General and affects up to 7 percent of school aged children. The condition is so prolific that last month the Center for Disease Control set up a national clearing house of information that will be funded by a $750,000 federal grant.

So why would the Church of Scientology take such a strong stand to say that ADHD is a myth and go so far as to testify before Congress on the matter? Because Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard said so, that's why -- at least according to one source who follows the issue. Mental health professionals have long been critical of the so-called self-help techniques practiced by Scientologists, who have responded by undermining psychiatry at every turn. While it is unclear why Neil Bush would align himself with the Church of Scientology, it is very clear that their agenda has little to do with helping millions who experience an ongoing illness get the help they need."

United Press International: UPI's Capital Comment for Sept. 25, 2002

Bush violated the Oil for Food embargo in 2003

Yep, he and Cheney had their hands all over it, with Halliburton and even under his 1st term

washingtonpost.com: Treasury's Role in Illicit Iraq Oil Sales Cited: "Treasury's Role in Illicit Iraq Oil Sales Cited
Senator Releases E-Mail From Parties Involved in Shipments Banned by U.N.

By Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 17, 2005; Page A14

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 16 -- The Treasury Department provided assurances that the United States would not obstruct two companies' plans to import millions of barrels of oil from Iraq in March 2003 in violation of U.N. sanctions, according to an e-mail from one of the companies.

Diplomats and oil brokers have recently said that the United States had long turned a blind eye to illicit shipments of Iraqi oil by its allies Jordan and Turkey. The United States acknowledged this week that it had acquiesced in the trade to ensure that crucial allies would not suffer economic hardships.

But the e-mail, along with others released this week by Sen. Carl M. Levin (Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Governmental Affairs panel's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, provides evidence that the Bush administration directly abetted Jordan's efforts to build up its strategic reserves with smuggled Iraqi oil in the weeks before the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003.

The illicit oil exports took place outside the Iraq oil-for-food program, which the United Nations administered from 1996 to 2003. While allegations of corruption and mismanagement in that program are under investigation by five congressional committees, the Justice Department and a U.N.-appointed panel, the illicit oil exports outside the program have received less scrutiny. According to investigators, Iraq received more revenue from those exports than from the alleged oil-for-food kickbacks.

'The bulk of [Saddam Hussein's] illicit oil sale revenues actually came from the money he received from unregulated sales of Iraqi oil, entirely outside of the oil-for-food program, primarily to Turkey, Jordan and Syria,' Levin said at a hearing Tuesday on the U.N. management of Iraqi oil revenue. 'We and the rest of the world looked the other way from those sales even though they were prohibited by the U.N. sanctions regime.'

Levin disclosed Tuesday an e-mail describing how a Jordanian company, Millennium for the Trade of Raw Materials & Mineral Oils, sought approval from a U.S.-led international naval fleet to ship oil from an unauthorized Persian Gulf terminal at Khor al-Amaya. But the latest document reveals that Odin Marine Inc., a Stamford, Conn.-based shipping broker hired by Millennium to charter oil tankers, obtained a green light from officials at the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Representatives of the Treasury Department and the Pentagon declined to comment on the trade. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the administration is reviewing the e-mails, which Levin provided on Tuesday, and will prepare a response. Efforts to reach officials at the Jordanian mission to the United Nations were unsuccessful.

The United Nations imposed trade sanctions on Iraq in 1990 after its invasion of Kuwait. The U.N. Security Council established the oil-for-food program in December 1996 to enable Iraq to sell oil and buy food, medicine and humanitarian goods."

Anthrax a veiled threat to Dems ?

Don't forget the Anthrax (4.00 / 8)

Daschle was the Majority Leader back when got his anthrax letter, as he was trying to amend the Patriot Act to protect civil liberties. Sen. Pat Leahy was the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee when he got his anthrax letter, as he was managing the debate on the legality of the Patriot Act. The anthrax came from a strain grown by the CIA. Hardball? Have a nice day! : )

http://www.freefromterror.net/other_articles/gov_anthrax.html

Note the names of all the recipients:
http://www.southcoasttoday.com/daily/11-01/11-13-01/a02wn009.htm

Daily Kos :: Comments Gannongate: The Scandal Grows

2/22/2005

Internet Trolls

Know someone like it ?

An Internet "troll" is a person who delights in sowing discord on the Internet. He (and it is usually he) tries to start arguments and upset people.

Trolls see Internet communications services as convenient venues for their bizarre game. For some reason, they don't "get" that they are hurting real people. To them, other Internet users are not quite human but are a kind of digital abstraction. As a result, they feel no sorrow whatsoever for the pain they inflict. Indeed, the greater the suffering they cause, the greater their 'achievement' (as they see it). At the moment, the relative anonymity of the net allows trolls to flourish.

Trolls are utterly impervious to criticism (constructive or otherwise). You cannot negotiate with them; you cannot cause them to feel shame or compassion; you cannot reason with them. They cannot be made to feel remorse. For some reason, trolls do not feel they are bound by the rules of courtesy or social responsibility.

Perhaps this sounds inconceivable. You may think, "Surely there is something I can write that will change them." But a true troll can not be changed by mere words.

Internet Trolls

Bitch. Ph.D.: About that 80 hours a week career

We women-with-kids, we who are so busy 'choosing' not to live this way, we are the goddamn canaries in the fucking coal mine, people. Women make up more than half the population. Most women do, sooner or later, have children. And so do most men. Any system that is set up so that more than half the population is presumptively disqualified from being part of it is not a reasonable system.

Bitch. Ph.D.: More on Summers

2/21/2005

Daily Kos :: Recommended diaries at 9 pm, Saturday, Feb 19, 2005 :

Recommended diaries at 9 pm, Saturday, Feb 19, 2005 :
'Clear Skies', clear lies, and intimidation
by Plutonium Page

The PRO-LIFE voted for the wrong guy and here's why
by lawnorder


Veterans denied permit to Pray for Peace at Riverside Ca., VA cemetary
by trbell

'Ex-Gay' and in denial: exploitation of those in pain
by pamindurham

Plame & PropaG: Gannon was GOPUSA Officer/Director
by SusanG

In search of a reporter named Stakelbeck
by Anderson Republican

Worst. Day. Ever. (WYFP?)
by pastordan

Gannon: Miami Herald's Leonard Pitts, Jr. questions media coverage
by JJG Miami Shores

Daily Kos :: Open Thread

2/19/2005

NRDC: The Bush Environmental Record

This administration, in catering to industries that put America's health and natural heritage at risk, threatens to do more damage to our environmental protections than any other in U.S. history. Here is NRDC's account of what the Bush administration has done and is doing on environmental matters. [ Last Update: 2.18.2005 ]

NRDC: The Bush Record

Yahoo! News - Hurt Troops Often Denied Pay, Benefits

Hurt Troops Often Denied Pay, Benefits

Fri Feb 18, 7:55 AM ET

Add to My Yahoo! Top Stories - Los Angeles Times

By John Hendren Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of Army Reserve and National Guard troops returning home after being wounded in Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web sites) have gone months without pay or medical benefits they were entitled to receive, military officials and government auditors said Thursday


Yahoo! News - Hurt Troops Often Denied Pay, Benefits

kakistocracy: Definition

kakistocracy
Dictionary
kak·is·toc·ra·cy (kăk'ĭ-stŏk'rə-sē, kä'kĭ-) pronunciation
n., pl. -cies.

Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.

kakistocracy: Definition and Much More From Answers.com

Mykeru.com: Democrats can't tell the difference between burying a scandal in the other party and digging their own graves

if the Democrats shy away from a fight where what is at stake is the integrity of a press that can't afford to lose any more integrity without becoming a net too torn to ever catch the truth, along with the added specter of an administration engaging in the treasonous compromise of a CIA operative for the sake of political revenge, simply because the media whore in question turns out to have been quite literally a whore, then exactly what good are they?

Mykeru.com February 6 to 12, 2005

Mykeru.com

Mykeru.com: "Think of it this way: Tamales shouldn't be an issue, and Gannon selling tamales shouldn't be an issue either. However, if the current administration made tamales an issue, even winning the election by a squeaker based on getting out the vote of the anti-tamale crowd, you better bet it should be an issue if we catch Scott McClellan, just as a randomly selected example, of course, with his lips wrapped around a hot one. Tamale, that is. Is 'gay' an issue? Yes, and it might, just might, have something to do with the Bush White House running on a tacit promise to petty little Born Again shits to really smite those Godless sodomites. Normally someone being Jewish shouldn't be an issue, but if Simon Wiesenthal turned out to have been secretly working for the Schutzstaffel, you bet it would be an issue. In this case, Godwin's Law can go get bent, because the analogy to a bunch of closeted gays working for 'family values' (read: 'get the faggots') is particularly apt."

2/18/2005

Phish Fan in Jeezus Land

Phish Fan in Jeezus Land

Great Blog!

GOP likes porn when it pays

Alternet

ABC News last night "outed" a number of conservative Republicans for continuing to take campaign contributions (when are we going to give them a more honest name...like "down payments"?) from companies that provide porn.

And we're not just talking cheezy softcore with the semi-exotic music here. The kind of porn broadcast by Adelphia, for example, is triple-x, the most hardcore porn legally available in the US. You don't want a description.

The supplier of that smut, Adelphia has, according to ABC News "given $166,000 to Republican committees, $17,000 to conservative Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., and $12,000 to Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., one of the most conservative members of the Senate.

AlterNet: MediaCulture: GOP likes porn when it pays

They Shoot Journalists, Don’t They?

In recent weeks, the “blogsphere,” as it likes to call itself, has been abuzz with vitriol over remarks Jordan made in a panel discussion at the Davos Economic Forum, in which he seemed to suggest that U.S. troops in Iraq shoot at journalists. Importantly, the controversy has obscured the more intriguing question of why international news executives (Richard Sambrook, news chief of the BBC, was also present) were addressing a conference of the global political and economic elite they report on; but such cozy interaction between news executives and the world’s movers and shakers is not uncommon.

According to Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, who was also on the Jan. 27 panel with Jordan and recounted the event for the Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post, Jordan said “he knew of 12 journalists who were killed by coalition forces in Iraq.” According to the Post and The New York Times accounts, Jordan’s exact wording remains unclear. A videotape is said to have been made by the forum organizers, but has not been released on the grounds that the discussion was to be “off the record.” Did Jordan say U.S. troops targeted journalists, or didn’t he? It is agreed that he later attempted to clarify that he didn’t know if any journalists in Iraq were deliberately targeted. In an unprecedented message to blogger and media scholar Jay Rosen, Sambrook (one of the most important global journalists, given the reach, credibility, and agenda-setting power of the BBC) confirmed Barney Frank’s account and added that he shares Jordan’s concern about journalists: safety. Since the U.S. invasion, 60 journalists (more or less, depending on which account one consults) have died violently in Iraq while attempting to do their work.

An editorial board member of The Wall Street Journal, who, intriguingly, was also present in Davos, also confirmed the remarks and attempted retraction, and went on to call for Jordan’s resignation — not for lying about the issue, but because Jordan “can't be trusted to sit on a panel and field softball questions.” It is rather like the Journal, from its position as flagship of the “credible” conservative American media, is reminding CNN that some things shall not be spoken of. (But, of course, it is TV, not print, reporters who have been dying.) This, more than the blog-feeding frenzy which “real” journalists purport to ignore, may have inspired Jordan to step down (or inspired some high-up at Time Warner to request he do so).

I referred at the outset to unflattering facts about the U.S. military; but, like CBS’ truthful, though bungled, expose of the president’s unflattering war record, the facts of the story are all but lost when the conservative flak machine attacks the messenger. Government has no need to defend itself from criticism when popular media like Fox, and its countless devotees in the blogsphere, do so for them. Credible reports of the killing, torture, and harassment of journalists by “coalition” forces in Iraq have existed since the start of the U.S. invasion, and have been well documented by respected press freedom organizations like the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters sans frontières, and the International Federation of Journalists. The historical record suggests a pattern of these activities, but the question of deliberation cannot be answered unless each and every incident is fully, and independently, investigated — and to date, that hasn’t happened.

News executives like Jordan, News executives like Jordan, Sambrook, and senior figures from Reuters have spoken about their concerns for some time, and leading British journalists, like Robert Fisk of The Independent and Janine di Giovanni of The Times, have written of the pattern of violence against journalists which they’ve witnessed. While news executives may know of incidents which are not part of the public record, they also tend to cautiously cite only those which are well documented by the press freedom groups, and this may ignore other incidents which those groups have avoided discussing.

For example, the killing of two journalists by a U.S. tank crew as they took pictures from their Baghdad hotel in 2003 was thoroughly described by veteran journalists — dozens of whom were present — and was the subject of a public battle waged by Reuters to hold the military to account. As with every other incident involving journalists, the U.S. military exonerated itself. But the presence of the world’s media in the hotel was well known to military commanders, leading to the suspicion that the killing wasn’t accidental.

It remains to be seen if the media organizations with the most at stake — CNN, NBC, the BBC, AP, Reuters, and others — will weigh in forcefully on behalf of the news workers in jeopardy, or fall in line with the Right’s presumption that soldiers, in the heat of combat, never do things they shouldn’t. The major press freedom groups have been shouting as loudly as they can, but as with the ignored advanced warning about Abu Ghraib from the Red Cross and Amnesty International, their shouts will be in vain until policy makers and major media accept the need for comprehensive, independent, investigation in the spirit of creating a safer working environment for journalists. A military with nothing to hide should welcome an independent inquiry.

Jordan might have thought that raising the issue with the world’s top decision-makers would put it so fully into the public eye that news media, and U.S. lawmakers, could no longer ignore it. In that, he may have been right; and he may even have expected to take the fall to accomplish that goal.


They Shoot Journalists, Don’t They?

Daily Kos :: Gannon knew about "shock and awe" hours before it happened

Gannon knew about "shock and awe" hours before
by kos
Fri Feb 18th, 2005 at 11:59:32 CDT

Another shocker:
A news producer for a major network just told me that Gannon told the producer the US was going to attack Iraq four hours before President Bush announced it to the nation.

According to the producer, Gannon specifically told them that in four hours the president was going to be making a speech to the nation announcing that the US was bombing Iraq. The producer told me they were surprised that Gannon, working with such a small news outfit, could have access to such information, but "what did you know, he was right," the producer said today. The producer went on to say that Gannon often had correct scoops on major stories, including information about Mary Mapes and the Dan Rather BUSH/AWOL scandal that this news outlet got from Gannon before any had the information publicly.
John has that story and more. Very, very curious.

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune makes a good point:
So the question becomes, just how did this character get White House press credentials, despite supposed post-Sept. 11 security requirements? Bruce Bartlett, a conservative columnist who worked in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, says that "if Gannon was using an alias, the White House staff had to be involved in maintaining his cover." In other words, the White House wanted him at those briefings and wanted him to ask his softball questions, most likely to divert attention when legitimate reporters were getting too pushy.


Daily Kos :: Gannon knew about "shock and awe" hours before

2/17/2005

Salon.com News | The scandal sheet

The scandal sheet
Print it out, send it to Harry Reid, or just read it and weep. Here are 34 scandals from the first four years of George W. Bush's presidency -- every one of them worse than Whitewater

1. Memogate: The Senate Computer Theft

The scandal: From 2001 to 2003, Republican staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee illicitly accessed nearly 5,000 computer files containing confidential Democratic strategy memos about President Bush's judicial nominees. The GOP used the memos to shape their own plans and leaked some to the media.

The problem: The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act states it is illegal to obtain confidential information from a government computer.

The outcome: Unresolved. The Justice Department has assigned a prosecutor to the case. The staff member at the heart of the matter, Manuel Miranda, has attempted to brazen it out, filing suit in September 2004 against the DOJ to end the investigation. "A grand jury will indict a ham sandwich," Miranda complained. Some jokes just write themselves.

2. Doctor Detroit: The DOJ's Bungled Terrorism Case

The scandal: The Department of Justice completely botched the nation's first post-9/11 terrorism trial, as seen when the convictions of three Detroit men allegedly linked to al-Qaida were overturned in September 2004. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft had claimed their June 2003 sentencing sent "a clear message" that the government would "detect, disrupt and dismantle the activities of terrorist cells."

The problem: The DOJ's lead prosecutor in the case, Richard Convertino, withheld key information from the defense and distorted supposed pieces of evidence -- like a Las Vegas vacation video purported to be a surveillance tape. But that's not the half of it. Convertino says he was unfairly scapegoated because he testified before the Senate, against DOJ wishes, about terrorist financing. Justice's reconsideration of the case began soon thereafter. Convertino has since sued the DOJ, which has also placed him under investigation.

The outcome: Let's see: Overturned convictions, lawsuits and feuding about a Kafkaesque case. Nobody looks good here.

3. Dark Matter: The Energy Task Force

The scandal: A lawsuit has claimed it is illegal for Dick Cheney to keep the composition of his 2001 energy-policy task force secret. What's the big deal? The New Yorker's Jane Mayer has suggested an explosive aspect of the story, citing a National Security Council memo from February 2001, which "directed the N.S.C. staff to cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered the 'melding' of ... 'operational policies towards rogue states,' such as Iraq, and 'actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.'" In short, the task force's activities could shed light on the administration's pre-9/11 Iraq aims.

The problem: The Federal Advisory Committee Act says the government must disclose the work of groups that include non-federal employees; the suit claims energy industry executives were effectively task force members. Oh, and the Bush administration has portrayed the Iraq war as a response to 9/11, not something it was already considering.

The outcome: Unresolved. In June 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the case back to an appellate court.

4. The Indian Gaming Scandal

The scandal: Potential influence peddling to the tune of $82 million, for starters. Jack Abramoff, a GOP lobbyist and major Bush fundraiser, and Michael Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), received that amount from several Indian tribes, while offering access to lawmakers. For instance, Texas' Tigua tribe, which wanted its closed El Paso casino reopened, gave millions to the pair and $33,000 to Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio) in hopes of favorable legislation (Ney came up empty). And get this: The Tiguas were unaware that Abramoff, Scanlon and conservative activist Ralph Reed had earned millions lobbying to have the same casino shut in 2002.

The problem: Federal officials want to know if Abramoff and Scanlon provided real services for the $82 million, and if they broke laws while backing candidates in numerous Indian tribe elections.

The outcome: Everybody into the cesspool! The Senate Indian Affairs Committee and five federal agencies, including the FBI, IRS, and Justice Department, are investigating.

5. Halliburton's No-Bid Bonanza

The scandal: In February 2003, Halliburton received a five-year, $7 billion no-bid contract for services in Iraq.

The problem: The Army Corps of Engineers' top contracting officer, Bunnatine Greenhouse, objected to the deal, saying the contract should be the standard one-year length, and that a Halliburton official should not have been present during the discussions.

The outcome: The FBI is investigating. The $7 billion contract was halved and Halliburton won one of the parts in a public bid. For her troubles, Greenhouse has been forced into whistle-blower protection.

6. Halliburton: Pumping Up Prices

The scandal: In 2003, Halliburton overcharged the army for fuel in Iraq. Specifically, Halliburton's subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root hired a Kuwaiti company, Altanmia, to supply fuel at about twice the going rate, then added a markup, for an overcharge of at least $61 million, according to a December 2003 Pentagon audit.

The problem: That's not the government's $61 million, it's our $61 million.

The outcome: The FBI is investigating.

7. Halliburton's Vanishing Iraq Money

The scandal: In mid-2004, Pentagon auditors determined that $1.8 billion of Halliburton's charges to the government, about 40 percent of the total, had not been adequately documented.

The problem: That's not the government's $1.8 billion, it's our $1.8 billion.

The outcome: The Defense Contract Audit Agency has "strongly" asked the Army to withhold about $60 million a month from its Halliburton payments until the documentation is provided.

8. The Halliburton Bribe-apalooza

The scandal: This may not surprise you, but an international consortium of companies, including Halliburton, is alleged to have paid more than $100 million in bribes to Nigerian officials, from 1995 to 2002, to facilitate a natural-gas-plant deal. (Cheney was Halliburton's CEO from 1995 to 2000.)

The problem: The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibits U.S. companies from bribing foreign officials.

The outcome: A veritable coalition of the willing is investigating the deal, including the Justice Department, the SEC, the Nigerian government and a French magistrate. In June, Halliburton fired two implicated executives.

9. Halliburton: One Fine Company

The scandal: In 1998 and 1999, Halliburton counted money recovered from project overruns as revenue, before settling the charges with clients.

The problem: Doing so made the company's income appear larger, but Halliburton did not explain this to investors. The SEC ruled this accounting practice was "materially misleading."

The outcome: In August 2004, Halliburton agreed to pay a $7.5 million fine to settle SEC charges. One Halliburton executive has paid a fine and another is settling civil charges. Now imagine the right-wing rhetoric if, say, Al Gore had once headed a firm fined for fudging income statements.

10. Halliburton's Iran End Run

The scandal: Halliburton may have been doing business with Iran while Cheney was CEO.

The problem: Federal sanctions have banned U.S. companies from dealing directly with Iran. To operate in Iran legally, U.S. companies have been required to set up independent subsidiaries registered abroad. Halliburton thus set up a new entity, Halliburton Products and Services Ltd., to do business in Iran, but while the subsidiary was registered in the Cayman Islands, it may not have had operations totally independent of the parent company.

The outcome: Unresolved. The Treasury Department has referred the case to the U.S. attorney in Houston, who convened a grand jury in July 2004.

11. Money Order: Afghanistan's Missing $700 Million Turns Up in Iraq

The scandal: According to Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack," the Bush administration diverted $700 million in funds from the war in Afghanistan, among other places, to prepare for the Iraq invasion.

The problem: Article I, Section 8, Clause 12 of the U.S. Constitution specifically gives Congress the power "to raise and support armies." And the emergency spending bill passed after Sept. 11, 2001, requires the administration to notify Congress before changing war spending plans. That did not happen.

The outcome: Congress declined to investigate. The administration's main justification for its decision has been to claim the funds were still used for, one might say, Middle East anti-tyrant-related program activities.

12. Iraq: More Loose Change

The scandal: The inspector general of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq released a series of reports in July 2004 finding that a significant portion of CPA assets had gone missing -- 34 percent of the materiel controlled by Kellogg, Brown & Root -- and that the CPA's method of disbursing $600 million in Iraq reconstruction funds "did not establish effective controls and left accountability open to fraud, waste and abuse."

The problem: As much as $50 million of that money was disbursed without proper receipts.

The outcome: The CPA has disbanded, but individual government investigations into the handling of Iraq's reconstruction continue.

13. The Pentagon-Israel Spy Case

The scandal: A Pentagon official, Larry Franklin, may have passed classified United States documents about Iran to Israel, possibly via the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a Washington lobbying group.

The problem: To do so could be espionage or could constitute the mishandling of classified documents.

The outcome: A grand jury is investigating. In December 2004, the FBI searched AIPAC's offices. A Senate committee has also been investigating the apparently unauthorized activities of the Near East and South Asia Affairs group in the Pentagon, where Franklin works.

14. Gone to Taiwan

The scandal: Missed this one? A high-ranking State Department official, Donald Keyser, was arrested and charged in September with making a secret trip to Taiwan and was observed by the FBI passing documents to Taiwanese intelligence agents in Washington-area meetings.

The problem: Such unauthorized trips are illegal. And we don't have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

The outcome: The case is in the courts.

15. Wiretapping the United Nations

The scandal: Before the United Nations' vote on the Iraq war, the United States and Great Britain developed an eavesdropping operation targeting diplomats from several countries.

The problem: U.N. officials say the practice is illegal and undermines honest diplomacy, although some observers claim it is business as usual on East 42nd Street.

The outcome: Little fuss here, but a major British scandal erupted after U.K. intelligence translator Katherine Gun leaked a U.S. National Security Agency memo requesting British help in the spying scheme, in early 2003. Initially charged under Britain's Official Secrets Act for leaking classified information, Gun was cleared in 2004 -- seemingly to avoid hearings questioning the legality of Britain's war participation.

16. The Boeing Boondoggle

The scandal: In 2003, the Air Force contracted with Boeing to lease a fleet of refueling tanker planes at an inflated price: $23 billion.

The problem: The deal was put together by a government procurement official, Darleen Druyun, who promptly joined Boeing. Beats using a headhunter.

The outcome: In November 2003, Boeing fired both Druyun and CFO Michael Sears. In April 2004, Druyun pled guilty to a conspiracy charge in the case. In November 2004, Sears copped to a conflict-of-interest charge, and company CEO Phil Condit resigned. The government is reviewing its need for the tankers.

17. The Medicare Bribe Scandal

The scandal: According to former Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.), on Nov. 21, 2003, with the vote on the administration's Medicare bill hanging in the balance, someone offered to contribute $100,000 to his son's forthcoming congressional campaign, if Smith would support the bill.

The problem: Federal law prohibits the bribery of elected officials.

The outcome: In September 2004, the House Ethics Committee concluded an inquiry by fingering House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), saying he deserved "public admonishment" for offering to endorse Smith's son in return for Smith's vote. DeLay has claimed Smith initiated talks about a quid pro quo. The matter of the $100,000 is unresolved; soon after his original allegations, Smith suddenly claimed he had not been offered any money. Smith's son Brad lost his GOP primary in August 2004.

18. Tom DeLay's PAC Problems

The scandal: One of DeLay's political action committees, Texans for a Republican Majority, apparently reaped illegal corporate contributions for the campaigns of Republicans running for the Texas Legislature in 2002. Given a Republican majority, the Legislature then re-drew Texas' U.S. congressional districts to help the GOP.

The problem: Texas law bans the use of corporate money for political purposes.

The outcome: Unresolved. Three DeLay aides and associates -- Jim Ellis, John Colyandro and Warren RoBold -- were charged in September 2004 with crimes including money laundering and unlawful acceptance of corporate contributions.

19. Tom DeLay's FAA: Following Americans Anywhere

The scandal: In May 2003, DeLay's office persuaded the Federal Aviation Administration to find the plane carrying a Texas Democratic legislator, who was leaving the state in an attempt to thwart the GOP's nearly unprecedented congressional redistricting plan.

The problem: According to the House Ethics Committee, the "invocation of federal executive branch resources in a partisan dispute before a state legislative body" is wrong.

The outcome: In October 2004, the committee rebuked DeLay for his actions.

20. In the Rough: Tom DeLay's Golf Fundraiser

The scandal: DeLay appeared at a golf fundraiser that Westar Energy held for one of his political action committees, Americans for a Republican Majority, while energy legislation was pending in the House.

The problem: It's one of these "appearance of impropriety" situations.

The outcome: The House Ethics Committee tossed the matter into its Oct. 6 rebuke. "Take a lap, Tom."

21. Busy, Busy, Busy in New Hampshire

The scandal: In 2002, with a tight Senate race in New Hampshire, Republican Party officials paid a Virginia-based firm, GOP Marketplace, to enact an Election Day scheme meant to depress Democratic turnout by "jamming" the Democratic Party phone bank with continuous calls for 90 minutes.

The problem: Federal law prohibits the use of telephones to "annoy or harass" anyone.

The outcome: Chuck McGee, the former executive director of the New Hampshire GOP, pleaded guilty in July 2004 to a felony charge, while Allen Raymond, former head of GOP Marketplace, pleaded guilty to a similar charge in June. In December, James Tobin, former New England campaign chairman of Bush-Cheney '04, was indicted for conspiracy in the case.

22. The Medicare Money Scandal

The scandal: Thomas Scully, Medicare's former administrator, supposedly threatened to fire chief Medicare actuary Richard Foster to prevent him from disclosing the true cost of the 2003 Medicare bill.

The problem: Congress voted on the bill believing it would cost $400 billion over 10 years. The program is more likely to cost $550 billion.

The outcome: Scully denies threatening to fire Foster, as Foster has charged, but admits telling Foster to withhold the higher estimate from Congress. In September 2004, the Government Accountability Office recommended Scully return half his salary from 2003. Inevitably, Scully is now a lobbyist for drug companies helped by the bill.

23. The Bogus Medicare "Video News Release"

The scandal: To promote its Medicare bill, the Bush administration produced imitation news-report videos touting the legislation. About 40 television stations aired the videos. More recently, similar videos promoting the administration's education policy have come to light.

The problem: The administration broke two laws: One forbidding the use of federal money for propaganda, and another forbidding the unauthorized use of federal funds.

The outcome: In May 2004, the GAO concluded the administration acted illegally, but the agency lacks enforcement power.

24. Pundits on the Payroll: The Armstrong Williams Case

The scandal: The Department of Education paid conservative commentator Armstrong Williams $240,000 to promote its educational law, No Child Left Behind.

The problem: Williams did not disclose that his support was government funded until the deal was exposed in January 2005.

The outcome: The House and FCC are considering inquiries, while Williams' syndicated newspaper column has been terminated.

25. Ground Zero's Unsafe Air

The scandal: Government officials publicly minimized the health risks stemming from the World Trade Center attack. In September 2001, for example, Environmental Protection Agency head Christine Todd Whitman said New York's "air is safe to breathe and [the] water is safe to drink."

The problem: Research showed serious dangers or was incomplete. The EPA used outdated techniques that failed to detect tiny asbestos particles. EPA data also showed high levels of lead and benzene, which causes cancer. A Sierra Club report claims the government ignored alarming data. A GAO report says no adequate study of 9/11's health effects has been organized.

The outcome: The long-term health effects of the disaster will likely not be apparent for years or decades and may never be definitively known. Already, hundreds of 9/11 rescue workers have quit their jobs because of acute illnesses.

26. John Ashcroft's Illegal Campaign Contributions

The scandal: Ashcroft's exploratory committee for his short-lived 2000 presidential bid transferred $110,000 to his unsuccessful 2000 reelection campaign for the Senate.

The problem: The maximum for such a transfer is $10,000.

The outcome: The Federal Election Commission fined Ashcroft's campaign treasurer, Garrett Lott, $37,000 for the transgression.

27. Intel Inside ... The White House

The scandal: In early 2001, chief White House political strategist Karl Rove held meetings with numerous companies while maintaining six-figure holdings of their stock -- including Intel, whose executives were seeking government approval of a merger. "Washington hadn't seen a clearer example of a conflict of interest in years," wrote Paul Glastris in the Washington Monthly.

The problem: The Code of Federal Regulations says government employees should not participate in matters in which they have a personal financial interest.

The outcome: Then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, spurning precedent, did not refer the case to the Justice Department.

28. Duck! Antonin Scalia's Legal Conflicts

The scandal: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia refused to recuse himself from the Cheney energy task force case, despite taking a duck-hunting trip with the vice president after the court agreed to weigh the matter.

The problem: Federal law requires a justice to "disqualify himself from any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned."

The outcome: Scalia stayed on, arguing no conflict existed because Cheney was party to the case in a professional, not personal, capacity. Nothing new for Scalia, who in 2002 was part of a Mississippi redistricting ruling favorable to GOP Rep. Chip Pickering -- son of Judge Charles Pickering, a Scalia turkey-hunting pal. In 2001, Scalia went pheasant hunting with Kansas Gov. Bill Graves when that state had cases pending before the Supreme Court.

29. AWOL

The scandal: George W. Bush, self-described "war president," did not fulfill his National Guard duty, and Bush and his aides have made misleading statements about it. Salon's Eric Boehlert wrote the best recent summary of the issue.

The problem: Military absenteeism is a punishable offense, although Bush received an honorable discharge.

The outcome: No longer a campaign issue. But what was Bush doing in 1972?

30. Iraq: The Case for War

The scandal: Bush and many officials in his administration made false statements about Iraq's military capabilities, in the months before the United States' March 2003 invasion of the country.

The problem: For one thing, it is a crime to lie to Congress, although Bush backers claim the president did not knowingly make false assertions.

The outcome: A war spun out of control with unknowable long-term consequences. The Iraq Survey Group has stopped looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

31. Niger Forgeries: Whodunit?

The scandal: In his January 2003 State of the Union address, Bush said, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

The problem: The statement was untrue. By March 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency showed the claim, that Iraq sought materials from Niger, was based on easily discernible forgeries.

The outcome: The identity of the forger(s) remains under wraps. Journalist Josh Marshall has implied the FBI is oddly uninterested in interviewing Rocco Martino, the former Italian intelligence agent who apparently first shopped the documents in intelligence and journalistic circles and would presumably be able to shed light on their origin.

32. In Plame Sight

The scandal: In July 2003, administration officials disclosed the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative working on counterterrorism efforts, to multiple journalists, and columnist Robert Novak made Plame's identity public. Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had just written a New York Times opinion piece stating he had investigated the Niger uranium-production allegations, at the CIA's behest, and reported them to be untrue, before Bush's 2003 State of the Union address.

The problem: Under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act it is illegal to disclose, knowingly, the name of an undercover agent.

The outcome: Unresolved. The Justice Department appointed special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to the case in December 2003. While this might seem a simple matter, Fitzgerald could be unable to prove the leakers knew Plame was a covert agent.

33. Abu Ghraib

The scandal: American soldiers physically tortured prisoners in Iraq and kept undocumented "ghost detainees" in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The problem: The United States is party to the Geneva Conventions, which state that "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever."

The outcome: Unresolved. A Pentagon internal inquiry found a lack of oversight at Abu Ghraib, while independent inquiries have linked the events to the administration's desire to use aggressive interrogation methods globally. Notoriously, Gonzales has advocated an approach which "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." More recently, Gonzales issued qualified support for the Geneva Conventions in January 2005 Senate testimony after being nominated for attorney general. Army reservist Charles Graner was convicted in January 2005 for abusing prisoners, while a few other soldiers await trial.

34. Guantánamo Bay Torture?

The scandal: The U.S. military is also alleged to have abused prisoners at the U.S. Navy's base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. FBI agents witnessing interrogations there have reported use of growling dogs to frighten prisoners and the chaining of prisoners in the fetal position while depriving them of food or water for extended periods.

The problem: More potential violations of the Geneva Conventions.

The outcome: An internal military investigation was launched in January 2005.

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About the writer
Peter Dizikes is a journalist living in Boston.

Salon.com News | The scandal sheet