Friday, February 24, 2006

Virgil [No]Goode and John Dolittle [for his constituents, but lots for his coffers]

Don't ethically challeneged GOP House members have great names?

Mitchel Wade, who bribed ex-Rep. (current con) "Duke" Cunningham, has pled guilty to giving illegal contributions to Goode, to the tune of $46K [by having his employees and their wifes donate to Goode and then reembursing them]

According to TPM
, "Wade asked that Goode request appropriations funding for an MZM facility in Goode's district soon after he'd just delivered most of the $46K. This was at some unspecified time "in the spring" - the contributions were mostly made in March of 2005, so it can't have been long. By June 2005, 'Representative A [Goode] confirmed to Wade that the appropriations bill would include $9M for the facility and a related program.'"

Doolittle was busy taking Abramoff-paid trips (as were his staffers), as well as the other Duke briber, Brent Wilkes. Again, TPM lays it out:
Wilkes convinced Doolittle with $85,000 (from himself, his employees, his lobbyists) in contributions over three years. In return, PerfectWave won Doolittle’s support for $37M in earmarked appropriations. In a Washington Post story on this last week, Doolittle responded with a statement that "he frequently supports 'well deserving projects throughout the state.'" And "his support of PerfectWave Technology ‘was no exception and based completely on the project's merits and the written support of the military.'"

These two aren't the only ones, just ones with most scandalworthy names.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

In response to commenters Bob, Col. Takashi and la

Here is the statement that was in the Salt Lake Tribune, they have it on tape, they have witnesses to confirm that it happened.
At a recent meeting in American Fork a man identifying himself as a former Green Beret stood to share his testimony.
"If you're a Democrat, I want you to understand that I support my president," he said in comments recorded by the church for homebound members. "And if you have a problem with that, we can talk behind the church."

I don't know if this is typical, or if this guy was LDS (I assume he was, otherwise, what was he doing testifying). I was only going off an interview of the article's author (who did interview lots of people and got many replies to his article) as to the extent of the problem. My concern is about over deference to authority, not the threat of violence.

As for the comparison of what Clinton did to what Bush did: Clinton did a limited strike based on concrete information. And for all we know, this strike is what eliminated WMD's in 1999 and Saddam fudged having them until 2003. By the way, republicans wanted to see proof and talked about "Wag the Dog" when he did it. I have no way of knowing what Clinton's motivations were. I think he is a smileball for having an affair with a 23 year old intern and lying to the public about it and his staff (and wife). But I don't think it was an impeachable offense.

There is mountains of evidence that the Bush administration knew that the intelligence was not rock solid, but they ignored or whitewashed any doubts or hesitations of those officials. There is some sketchy evidence that a DoD official (Larry Franklin) shopped the fake yellow cake documents to people in Italy to get the idea that Saddam had nukes or wanted them in the for front.

I can name dozens of times Cheney, Bush, Rice, and others misled and insinated that Saddam was connected to 9/11 and had nuclear weapons or was trying to get them. All of these instances are on tape.

As to Bush as sinner. I get the redemption thing and I am sure Bush doesn't drink anymore and he believes in all the doctrines of the Southern Baptists. And hats off to him for that. But he still a liar, he still supports tabbacco companies, he still thinks he is more important than other people, and he still is jealous, vengeful, hateful, hypocritical, deceitful, arrogant, incompetent, and irresponsible. And to make him out as more religious than say Kerry is ridiculous. Kerry was an altar boy. He goes to mass...religiously, he went even though there were threats to deny him eucharist because of his position on abortion. Anyone and everyone can refer to God (in God we trust, etc.), and that is fine with me. But when they say to friend that God put them there to do, it bothers me. As Lincoln said, both sides of the war think they are doing God's will; they both can't be right.

I think the Church leaders ARE more moderate than their political leadership. Rumor has it that the Prophet (President Hinckley) is a Democrat. A very good Mormon (head of the mission in Vancover or Montreal) was liberal Democrat: fmr. US Rep. Wayne Owens. I knew Wayne; he was a great man who spent his last days working for middle-east peace and leading search parties for Elizabeth Smart.

I sure hope that Bush has been dropping in Utah. I don't understand what there is to like about his administration, what he has accomplished. And don't say 9/11: any president would have done that. And Iraq, well I am glad Saddam is gone, but the country is definately less stable and less secure becuase of our presence (see the bombing of a Shite holy site today in Iraq). I wouldn't consider that an accomplishment. No Child Left Behind, Medicare part D, and other domestic legislation has been a disaster. The tax cuts haven't helpped anyone but the rich. I gave all of my $50 2001 tax cut to the Red Cross after 9/11, then wished I could have given it to a better organization. THe Bush presidency has been a failure and a sad example of how far partisanship will ruin our constitution and our country.

a pattern emerges

When did they bother to tell the president? That has become the question of the last couple of weeks and might as well be the question of the Bush presidency.

When Cheney shot a man accidently in the face, Bush didn't hear about it for several hours, and he had to beg Cheney to go on Fox News. When Katrina hit New Orleans, it was several days until someone explained to the vacationer in chief that the levees had failed. When we were attacked on 9/11, Bush's detail waited 9 minutes until they bothered to tell George to stop reading "my pet goat" to Florida school children. When a plane accidentally entered restricted airspace and officials evacuated the White House and Capitol, no one interupted Bush's bike ride in nearby Maryland. When DHS has outsourced our port security in key cities to a company controlled by a royal family that met with Bin Laden in 1999, no one tells the president until the information is leaked to the public and a fury erupts from everywhere.

Cheney sees himself as the co-president I guess, getting the right to call the shots from the situation room with Lynne on 9/11 while Bush is on Air Force One running away, and declassifying matters of national security for political purposes. Meanwhile, White House officials don't seem to think informing the president is that crucial in terms of decision making on major policy issues.

Is it because he doesn't like to hear bad news? His input is unnecessary if Cheney has given his? They don't want to scare/confuse him? Or Bush isn't really in charge? If the last one is true, then who is? Cheney? Some senior WH official? A cabinet level guy like Rumsfeld? Who elected these people?

Because when Bush is asleep at the wheel, bad stuff happens politically. And when he is on the ball, bad stuff happens administratively, and eventually politically.

Monday, February 20, 2006

America's spoiled brats in Torino

I know a million bloggers must have said this already, but I am tired of hearing about seeing or thinking about Bode Miller. All talk and hype (on the cover of TIME and Newsweek and probabbly sports illustrated) and nothing. The most impressive thing I saw from Miller was after he hit a gate and was already disqualified how he stayed on his feet with only one ski on the course (the other he was trying to get back in front of him). He doesn't seem to care about being there or winning or anything. He just wants to try some crazy way down the hill instead of finishing.

Even worse is Shani Davis, the speedskater. I know I am supposed to be all jazzed that he is the first black man and the first individual African-American winter olympian to win anything, let alone gold, but he is a jerk. And it isn't just that he decided last minute not to do the team race. That was his call and really all those speedskaters do their own thing. But it was another to be annoyed to talk to the NBC people after he won. The lady asked softballs, tried to get him to say something memorable, something positive. His answers were "yeah," "uh huh" and so on. Then he claimed "I am at a loss for words" when his tone was completely flat and there was zero smile on his face. The facial expression of his interviewer after tossing it back to the booth was priceless. To me it said, "I gave it my all guys, but he just is too cool to talk to, what the heck is his deal?" He was the moodiest gold medalist I have ever seen.

Shani could have turned his gold into more gold for him and his mother. He could have been nice and happy and flashed a smile and said something funny or memorable and gotten a nike endorsement. He could have even played the race card and been discussed. Now he just comes off as a bratty only child. His mama smeared the US speed skating organization, but didn't elaborate on how they "operate by intimindation, and I am not going to be intimidated." He trains with some guy in Canada most of the time, why doesn't he just join the Canadian team since he doesn't seem to care for the American one. And he isn't a poor black kid from the bad part of town in Chicago, they live in Evanston, one of the wealthiest areas of Chicagoland.

Meanwhile, the guy that got a silver in Shani's race, Joey Cheek, gave the bonus money he won from his medal (and the gold bonus money from the 500m race he won too) to a non-profit that allows kids in war-torn areas play sports. He asked the NBC people to talk about the non-profit and especially Darfur. They didn't even really interview Joey, too busy focusing on the bitch off between Shani and an ex-inline skater on the American team. Why aren't we celebrating Joey Cheek, NBC? He seems like an average guy who is humble, nice, good looking, and "All-American." Seems like perfect sponsorship material.

Watching this year reminds me of how cool it was to have the games in Salt Lake, and how magical it was to fly out from college and be able to see some events and go to the German house etc. There is talk about bringing the games back to SLC in 2014 or so. Hoepfully the city by then will normally feel like the city did during those 2 magical weeks in 2002.