Saturday, October 14, 2006
And with our good buddy Dinesh D'Souza coming out and admitting that yes, if we're being honest, the modern American conservative movement has much in common with people who want to blow us up, I think 5 years later things are finally returning to normal. Maybe we can even start calling them the Taliban wing of the Repuublican party again.
WASHINGTON - The FBI is investigating whether Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., used his influence to secure lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter, two people familiar with the inquiry said Saturday.
The inquiry focuses on lobbying contracts worth $1 million that Weldon's daughter, Karen Weldon, obtained from foreign clients and whether they were assisted by the congressman, they said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of the criminal investigation.
Weldon, a 10-term Republican from the Philadelphia suburbs, long has denied any wrongdoing, and his top aide Saturday said no one had notified him of an investigation.
Weldon’s office reacted with outrage late Friday night, denying that an investigation is under way and claiming the report is an attempt to influence the Nov. 7 election.
"There is no investigation," said the congressman’s spokesman, John Tomaszewski. "There is no formal investigation and there is no inquiry. There’s nothing. This is nonsense, ludicrous."
Tomaszewski said neither Weldon nor anyone in his office has been contacted by the Justice Department.
The sources of the story said the FBI obtained evidence over the last few months "suggesting that the congressman may have broken the law" by assisting Karen Weldon in obtaining overseas contracts. One source, described only as a law enforcement official, said Weldon hadn’t yet been told of the inquiry.
Did McClatchy get punked? Is there no investigation? I guess we'll have to wait and see...
The one who gets my vote is the one who makes the public transit situation a priority.
BAGHDAD - Two car bombs exploded in central Baghdad, wounding two civilians, police said.
BAGHDAD - At least 25 bodies were found in different parts of Baghdad over the last 24 hours, police said. The bodies bore signs of torture and had gunshot wounds.
Friday, October 13, 2006
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department is investigating whether Republican Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania traded his political influence for lucrative lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter, according to sources with direct knowledge of the inquiry.
The FBI, which opened an investigation in recent months, has formally referred the matter to the department's Public Integrity Section for additional scrutiny. At issue are Weldon's efforts between 2002 and 2004 to aid two Russian companies and two Serbian brothers with ties to strongman Slobodan Milosevic, a federal law enforcement official said.
The Russian companies and a Serbian foundation run by the brothers' family each hired a firm co-owned by Weldon's daughter, Karen, for fees totaling nearly $1 million a year, public records show.
Karen Weldon was 28 and lacked consulting experience when she and Charles Sexton, a Weldon ally and longtime Republican leader in Delaware County, Pa., created the firm of Solutions North America Inc. in 2002. Both are registered with the Justice Department as representatives of foreign clients.
MARK HALPERIN, Political Director of ABC News and creator and lead
author of the widely read on-line ABC News daily The Note, makes his
debut as a speaker at The Monday Meeting to tell us about his just
published book, The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008
(co-authored with John F. Harris of The Washington Post).
What in the hell is wrong with these people? That's not torture? That stuff is over and above the things we've all seen with the forced masturbation, simulated fellatio, smearing feces on prisoners and forcing them to wear women's underwear while chained in stress positions to their cells or beds.
Characterizing what happened at Abu Ghraib as a "sex ring" is bizarre enough but he defends his comment the next day which means it wasn't a slip of the tongue or a badly worded phrase. He's thought about this and he believes it.
He said he looked at all those pictures and saw sex. Did you? I sure didn't. But then we libertine lefties base our belief that people should be able to do whatever they like in their private lives on the bedrock principle of individual freedom, agency and rights. It's the coercion that makes all this stuff so wrong. When somebody is coerced or forced into doing "sexual" things against their will, it can most certainly be torture. (I can't believe I even have to make that argument.)
Democracy Corps with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner has completed a survey of 1,200 likely voters in 49 Republican-held congressional districts that shows a dramatic change in the congressional race over the last two weeks. In this survey conducted October 10-12, 2006, Democrats lead Republicans 49-45 in the named congressional vote and they are also ahead by two points in the bottom tier of presumably safe Republican seats.
DES MOINES, IA - House Majority Leader John Boehner today accused Democrats of endangering House pages for political gain.
Boehner, speaking at a campaign event for 3rd District Republican candidate Jeff Lamberti, said Democratic operatives have known about inappropriate e-mails sent by former Rep. Mark Foley, a Florida Republican, to young male pages for some time. He said Democrats had been shopping the information around Washington as a political ploy.
"Someone who had this information allowed those 16-year-old pages to be at risk while they were playing their political games," said Boehner, R-Ohio. "I do not believe thus far that Republicans knew about these sexually explicit instant messages."
When PNAC Democrats like Peter Beinart, Ivo Daalder, Michele Flournoy, Will Marshall, Michael O'Hanlon, and James Steinberg do something like sign PNAC's letter on the need for more American ground forces they serve to further cement the notion that people like Frank Gaffney, Bill Kristol, Cliff May, Daniel McKivegan, Danielle Pletka, and Gary Schmitt should be taken seriously as authorities on national security policy. Well, they shouldn't be taken seriously. And nobody serious about improving America's national security should be publicly collaborating with them.
I won't presume to speak for his list of PNAC Democrats individually, but I think we must acknowledge that many of such people have in fact for years considered the neoconservatives to be credible people "who should be taken seriously as authorities on national security policy." Certainly more seriously than, say, dirty hippies like myself who had the temerity to oppose the stupidest fucking foreign policy decision in the history of the universe. It's naive to assume that the Iraq war was somehow their come to Jesus moment and that they've now rethought their worldview entirely. They sign letters with people like May and Pletka because they quite frequently agree with them.
As Lind reminded us, Daalder once wrote, "the real debate [in America] is not whether to have an empire, but what kind." The foreign policy establishment in Washington is deeply misguided and deeply rotten. It's very bad.
WASHINGTON — Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, is to enter a guilty plea today to two felonies that could send him to prison for up to 10 years.
Ney is the first congressman to fall in the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling case, a controversy that has reached the Bush White House and Capitol Hill.
The six-term congressman signed papers a month ago admitting to charges of conspiracy and making false statements. He admitted taking tens of thousands of dollars worth of trips, sports tickets, campaign contributions, meals and casino chips in exchange for legislation and public statements supporting Abramoff's clients and a foreign businessman.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Here's what Joe had to say last November:
Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do.
If Joe was a serious leader like the bullshit moose thinks he wouldn't have been telling us all to clap louder for Bush's plan to fuck things up.
do be do be do.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
I am, you know, amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they’re willing to — you know, that there’s a level of violence that they tolerate.
One expert points out that this current debate could even be harmful to national security. The North Koreans, he says, are watching this, looking for seams inside America's political system to see how much maneuvering they can get.
There you go.
"Failure" =1994-2002 -- Era of Clinton 'Agreed Framework': No plutonium production. All existing plutonium under international inspection. No bomb.
"Success" = 2002-2006 -- Bush Policy Era: Active plutonium production. No international inspections of plutonium stocks. Nuclear warhead detonated.
Face it. They ditched an imperfect but working policy. They replaced it with nothing. Now North Korea is a nuclear state.
Facts hurt. So do nukes.
According to Booby:
George W. pulled Bandar aside.
"Bandar, I guess you're the best asshole who knows about the world. Explain to me one thing."
"Governor, what is it?"
"Why should I care about North Korea?"
Bandar said he didn't really know. It was one of the few countries that he did not work on for King Fahd.
"I get these briefings on all parts of the world," Bush said, "and everybody is talking to me about North Korea."
"I'll tell you what, Governor," Bandar said. "One reason should make you care about North Korea."
"All right, smart alek," Bush said, "tell me."
"The 38,000 American troops right on the border." ..."If nothing else counts, this counts. One shot across the border and you lose half these people immediately. You lose 15,000 Americans in a chemical or biological or even regular attack. The United State of America is at war instantly."
"Hmmm," Bush said. "I wish those assholes would put things just point-blank to me. I get half a book telling me about the history of North Korea."
"Now I tell you another answer to that. You don't want to care about North Korea anymore?" Bandar asked. The Saudis wanted America to focus on the Middle East and not get drawn into a conflict in East Asia.
"I didn't say that," Bush replied.
"But if you don't, you withdrawl those troops back. Then it becomes a local conflict. Then you have the whole time to decide, 'Should I get involved? Not involved?' Etc."
At that moment, Colin Powell approached.
"Colin," Bush said, "come here. Bandar and I were shooting the bull, just two fighter pilots shooting the bull." He didn't mention the topic.
"Mr. Governor," Bandar said, "General Powell is almost a fighter pilot. He can shoot the bull almost as good as us."
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
The bodies of 60 men were found in and around Baghdad over a 24-hour period, and Iraqi officials said Tuesday the men appeared to have died at the hands of sectarian death squads.
The bodies, all riddled with bullets and all showing signs of torture — their hands and feet had been bound — were dumped in several neighbourhoods around the capital.
And on Monday evening, a bomb in a parked car exploded in an outdoor market northeast of Baghdad, killing 13 people and wounding 46 others.
For the lizard brains, in New York City in 2005 there were a total of 545 murders.
Some readers and viewers think we journalists are exaggerating about the situation in Iraq. I can almost understand that because who would want to believe that things are this bad? Particularly when so many people here started out with such good intentions.
I'm more puzzled by comments that the violence isn't any worse than any American city. Really? In which American city do 60 bullet-riddled bodies turn up on a given day? In which city do the headless bodies of ordinary citizens turn up every single day? In which city would it not be news if neighborhood school children were blown up? In which neighborhood would you look the other way if gunmen came into restaurants and shot dead the customers?
Day-to-day life here for Iraqis is so far removed from the comfortable existence we live in the United States that it is almost literally unimaginable.
It's almost impossible to describe what it feels like being stalled in traffic, your heart pounding, wondering if the vehicle in front of you is one of the three or four car bombs that will go off that day. Or seeing your husband show up at the door covered in blood after he was kidnapped and beaten.
I don't know a single family here that hasn't had a relative, neighbor or friend die violently. In places where there's been all-out fighting going on, I've interviewed parents who buried their dead child in the yard because it was too dangerous to go to the morgue.
Imagine the worst day you've ever had in your life, add a regular dose of terror and you'll begin to get an idea of what it's like every day for a lot of people here.
Carney also has the advantage of being in a cheap media market, which means your dollars can go a long way. Every little bit helps.
...Carney's coming to the neighborhood. Local people can go see Carney, Murphy, and Howard Dean on Thursday in Doylestown.
Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Stock options that Senator George Allen described as worthless were worth as much as $1.1 million at one point, according to a review of Senate disclosure forms and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
The records appear to contradict remarks he made to the Associated Press. ``I got paid in stock options which were worthless,'' AP quoted him as saying.
In 2001, Allen's first year in the U.S. Senate, the company's share price recovered to $5.46 on May 25, which would have valued 110,000 options at $71,500 before commissions and other brokerage fees. Some of the options exceeded their strike price as recently as July 2004.
Allen wrote a letter to the U.S. Army on Xybernaut's behalf in December 2001, AP reported, citing John Reid, Allen's spokesman, who told AP he wouldn't disclose the contents of the letter. In September 2003 the U.S. Defense Department announced $2.13 million in contracts to buy the company's wearable computers.
Of all the people who read this site a relatively small fraction donate money and I'm reasonably sure an even smaller faction go out into meatspace and actively volunteer. That's fine. Not everybody has the time or money or feels comfortable doing such things. Still, hopefully with a little nudge a few more of us will choose to do something.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Mr. Bush clearly faces constraints as he seeks to address the public concerns about Iraq that have shrouded this midterm election: 83 percent of respondents thought that Mr. Bush was either hiding something or mostly lying when he discussed how the war in Iraq was going.
83% is dipping into lizard brain territory.
Whether it's your cause or our candidate or whatever, as someone once said, you have the power.
No one's blog can be a nonstop public service announcement for ever worthy candidate or cause under the sun. That would be a very boring blog indeed. Instead of telling others what to do, take the goddamn initiative yourselves. The tools are there, go for it.
Tomorrow night, Bill Scher of Liberal Oasis will be stopping by Drinking Liberally to chat with people about his new book or anything else. 6-? PM, Tangier, 18th and Lombard.
Tomorrow night at 7:30PM, Dan Savage will be at the Trocadero supporting Philadelphians Against Santorum.
Bill Clinton will be supporting Patrick Murphy in Bristol on Wednesday. Gates open at 10:30 AM.
Bill Clinton will be supporting Lois Murphy at Bryn Mawr College on Wednesday at 1:30.
Portastatic and Jennifer O'Connor will be playing at the North Star Bar at 8pm.
CARLSON: It goes deeper than that though. The deep truth is that the elites in the Republican Party have pure contempt for the evangelicals who put their party in power. Everybody in...
MATTHEWS: How do you know that? How do you know that?
CARLSON: Because I know them. Because I grew up with them. Because I live with them. They live on my street. Because I live in Washington, and I know that everybody in our world has contempt for the evangelicals. And the evangelicals know that, and they're beginning to learn that their own leaders sort of look askance at them and don't share their values.
MATTHEWS: So this gay marriage issue and other issues related to the gay lifestyle are simply tools to get elected?
CARLSON: That's exactly right. It's pandering to the base in the most cynical way, and the base is beginning to figure it out
n overwhelming majority of Americans think House Republican leaders put their own political interests ahead of the safety of congressional pages in their handling of the Mark Foley scandal, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll.
Seventy-nine percent of those polled — including 61 percent of Republicans — say GOP leaders were more concerned with politics than the well-being of the teenage pages.
Sixty-two percent think the Republican leadership was aware of the sexually explicit e-mails sent by former Rep. Foley before the public learned about them in late September — a charge many top Republicans deny. Two-thirds of Americans say GOP leaders did not take the matter seriously enough when they first learned about it.
Democrats continue to hold a sizeable lead in the generic vote for Congress, with 49 percent of registered voters saying they'd support a Democratic candidate versus 35 percent who would support a Republican. Those numbers show little change from last month.
A separate CBS News/New York Times poll finds Mr. Bush's overall job approval is down to 34 percent, a drop of three points from last month.
Fareed Zakaria's through with the Iraq War and says it's time to pack up and start heading home. Andrew Sullivan comments "I'm not there yet and willing to give the military one last try, if Rumsfeld is fired and a serious new plan for regaining control is unveiled." Personally, I'm willing to buy a $2 million townhouse if someone gives me $2 million to buy a house with. What does this mean? It's an escapist fantasy, not a position on the issues.
Rumsfeld isn't going to be fired and Bush has made his Iraq policy clear -- leaving is losing, so we'll just stay and people will keep dying. One can support that policy or one can cast one's lot with the opposition, but the leopard isn't going to change its spots and devise a magical new plan for victory.
WASHINGTON — Four weeks before congressional elections, a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows Democrats hold a 23-point lead over GOP candidates. That's double the lead Republicans had a month before they seized control of Congress in 1994.
President Bush's approval rating was 37%, down from 44% in a Sept. 15-17 poll. The approval rating for Congress was 24%, down 5 points from last month.
(tip from pony boy)
Now today comes word fom Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, that two other Senate Republicans have told him they'll break with the White House Iraq strategy.
But here's the hook -- they won't do so until after the November elections.
"Two leading Republican Senators have come to me," Biden recalled, and said that after the election "the need to protect the president will be nonexistent" and Republicans will be freer to break with the White House and call for change in Iraq.
The military on Sunday announced the deaths of five more American troops. Three Marines died on Friday “from enemy action” in Anbar province in western Iraq. Two soldiers were killed on Saturday, one in Mosul by a roadside bomb and the other in Baghdad by small arms fire.
On Sunday, the police found 35 bodies across Baghdad, many of the bearing signs of torture and shot at close range, an Interior Ministry official said.
Now, however, friends, aides and close political allies tell the Daily News Bush is furious with his own side for helping create a political downdraft that has blunted his momentum and endangered GOP prospects for keeping control of Congress next month.
Some of his anger is directed at former aides who helped Watergate journalist Bob Woodward paint a lurid portrait of a dysfunctional, chaotic administration in his new book, "State of Denial."
In the obsessively private Bush clan, talking out of school is the ultimate act of disloyalty, and Bush feels betrayed from within.
"He's ticked off big-time," said a well-informed source, "even if what they said was the truth."
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Good for him, but none of these things are going to happen. Wishes aren't ponies when it comes to Iraq - whether it's hoping Bush's policies in Iraq create a pony gusher or hoping that gentle suggestions by elite pundits will cause those policies to change.
The only way to get any meaningful change in Bush's Iraq policies will be for the opposition party to get truly radical with respect to accountability and oversight hearings (assuming they take any control). But I don't expect the Wise Old Men to approve of that, either. Bad form, they'll probably say. It's all very depressing.
No evidence at all that he hasn't done this.
Quite shocking, really.