Archive for the ‘corruption’ Category

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“Iraq For Sale”, For Free

November 23, 2007

I just finished watching the Robert Greenwald documentary about Iraq war profiteering, Iraq For Sale, on Comcast’s On-Demand service.   It was quite an eye-opening experience, and I’d consider it recommended viewing for any American taxpayer, regardless of political persuasion.  So, if you have Comcast cable and a digital set-top box, you should be able to view the film for no extra charge.  It’s in the on-demand section under “Free Movies!” (for a limited time, I presume), and is presented in it’s original widescreen format.  I just thought I’d let everyone know.

Iraq for Sale - The War Profiteers

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That ¾Billion Dollar U.S. Embassy In Baghdad

October 10, 2007

I managed to catch a little CNN today at lunch, and I noticed that Cafferty was covering the story that the construction of the US embassy in Baghdad will be delayed indefinitely, and I thought it’d make a good thread.

Here’s the story, via ABC News: US Embassy Opening in Baghdad Delayed Indefinitely

The opening of the mammoth new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has been delayed indefinitely while its Kuwaiti contractor fixes a punch list of problems, the State Department said Tuesday.

The sprawling complex, whose cost is edging toward $750 million, was set to open last month but U.S. lawmakers say shoddy work by the contractor and poor oversight by the State Department have delayed it.

$750 million?  For an embassy?  In Baghdad?  No wonder the Iraqis are resisting the occupation so passionately.  It’s hard to believe that Saddam had anything that extravagantly large. I mean, what the hell would you think if you were an Iraqi looking at this:

iraqembassy1.jpg

I would think that it would send quite a message. It looks like we’re building our own acropolis in their capital. 

Then there’s this:

Congress originally allocated nearly $600 million to build the biggest U.S. Embassy in the world but Waxman said the project was now $144 million over that budget.

Concerns about lack of oversight are certainly valid.  The Iraq misadventure has single-handedly made the phrase “lack of oversight” cliché. But the question I want to ask is…Why did Congress think we needed a $600 billion embassy in Iraq in the first place?

‘Cause it’s now a ¾billion dollar question.

Exit question:  Re: delayed indefinitely… Should they have waited until the fighting stopped at least?

BTW- Just to put things into a little perspective (because something like this probably begs for it), I thought I’d pick an example a little closer to home. Here in Minneapolis, debate has raged for a decade over the cost, funding, location, etc. of the new home for the Minnesota Twins. They finally broke ground on the project this year:

twinsballpark.jpg

The cost?  $522 million.  What a steal.

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First Rove, Then Gonzales

August 27, 2007

Is it just a coincidence that two of the most loyal Bushies in Bushville -both of whom are involved in the supposed non-scandal scandal of the firing of US attorneys- resigned within weeks of each other?

Hhhhhmmmmm…

via Raw Story: Fired attorney: Rove, Gonzales resignations ‘absolutely linked’

During an appearance on CNN, former US Attorney David Iglesias said Gonzales‘s resignation is “absolutely linked with Karl Rove leaving two weeks ago,” and speculated the two resigned “for the same reason”: Congressional investigators closing in on their suspected roles in the attorney-firing scandal.

I’ll admit that I haven’t been following the US attorney scandal very closely. Even for a seasoned Bush-basher, it’s hard to keep up with all shows in this circus.  On the surface, however, it’s pretty hard to overlook the timing of the two.

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My July 4th Sentiment

July 4, 2007

I have a confession.  I was pretty close to celebrating the 4th of July on my blog by posting a nice video of flags waving or fireworks bursting and the national anthem blaring.  I must have searched YouTube for a half an hour looking for the perfect vid.  However, as I sat there watching these videos I couldn’t help but to think that the whole idea just didn’t seem sincere. 

Call me unpatriotic if you want, but displaying such a video while our country is being led by a dangerous administration and an equally broken Congress wasn’t going to encapsulate my attitude this day.  I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that ‘taps’ would be the tune that jumps ahead in one’s mind, actually.  So, I’ve decided to post a different video.

As I mentioned a couple of posts down, I did a lot of blogging on the FearBush.com site before starting the blog here (I’m still a regular in the forums).  I thought of it as kind of a privilege, since it was one of the few sites out there whose founders were prophetic enough to have actually predicted the Bush disaster back in early 2000.  In fact, the url was originally intended as a warning (as you might have guessed).  Since then, many others have joined on the anti-Bush bandwagon, and I suppose by now I feel a sense of vindication for having felt passionately about this for so long. 

Of all the anti-administration rants I posted over there over the last couple of years, I never posted any of the Keith Olbermann “Special Comments”, since I preferred to give my own perspective.  Today, however, I’m gonna give Keith a post on this blog, because tonight’s edition was one heck of a doozy.  On this 4th of July, we should all consider what’s being said here and what it really means to be patriotic.


(video hat tip: Suzie Q)

Enjoy the fireworks.

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His Royal Cheneyness

June 21, 2007

There’s already a consensus that Dick Cheney is the most powerful VP in our nation’s history, and it’s no secret that he has a long history of being a proponent of almost unlimited power for the executive branch, but this is getting pretty surreal: Vice President Exempts His Office from the Requirements for Protecting Classified Information

The Oversight Committee has learned that over the objections of the National Archives, Vice President Cheney exempted his office from the presidential order that establishes government-wide procedures for safeguarding classified national security information. The Vice President asserts that his office is not an “entity within the executive branch.”

As described in a letter from Chairman Waxman to the Vice President, the National Archives protested the Vice President’s position in letters written in June 2006 and August 2006. When these letters were ignored, the National Archives wrote to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in January 2007 to seek a resolution of the impasse. The Vice President’s staff responded by seeking to abolish the agency within the Archives that is responsible for implementing the President’s executive order.

For documentation purposes:   Fact Sheet on the Vice President’s Efforts to Avoid Oversight and Accountability (pdf)

In my quest to figure out what that really means, I spotted a great post from Scholars:

Having the Vice President, and a Republican at that, responsible for egregious breaches in national security sets a very poor example. After all, if the Vice President’s office can be exempt from secrecy requirements, then other offices could be as well. How long will it be before the entire Justice Department uses the identical argument (its duties are split between the executive and judicial branches, after all) to exempt itself from annual ISOO oversight?And what are the sanctions for breaking this particular EO?

Is “What the hell is he hiding?” a fair question?  Does it have anything to do with what happened to Scooter Libby?  

If you’re not part of the legislative, judicial, or executive, I suppose that leaves some sort of position of royalty.  How should we address thee?

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Karl’s In Charge

April 24, 2007

Please forgive my semi-lame play on the title of an old ’80’s sitcom, but I’ll try my best to have it make sense.  I wanted today’s entry to be all about everyone’s favorite Bush administration figure, Karl Rove, as he seems to have a hard time staying out of the news lately:  Rove warns of threat of terrorism

In a question-and-answer period after his speech, Rove was asked whose idea it was to start a pre-emptive war.”

“I think it was Osama bin Laden’s,” Rove replied.

Someone on the Think Progress thread pretty much stated the response to this as I would have:

Actually Rove is right. Getting the US bogged down in a nasty guerrilla war in the heart of the Middle East is exactly what Bin Laden was after when he launched the 9/11 attack.

So the question becomes, why were Rove and the rest of the Bushies so eager to give Bin Laden what he wanted?

Comment by A Hermit — April 19, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

Now, it’s pretty easy to pick on Rove for silly comments like that, as it is just another example of the ridiculous spin that has come from this administration over the last 6 years.  If you’re really interested on why I agree with A. Hermit’s post, check out this thread in the fearbush forums. My real reason for this post has to do with Rove’s involvement with this A.G. Gonzales fiasco (called by some as a non-scandal scandal). First, a few pertinent links:

All this presents quite a few question marks, and an immediate impression that the administration may be covering something up here.  Although that might be true, I’m not convinced that it means that they are covering up anything improper or illegal, per se.  It has been noted by many that Bush is well within his right to fire attorneys at any time.  So…. why?

As you might expect, I have a theory…

What Rove’s conveniently missing emails and Gonzales’s abysmal memory are hiding has less to do with the firing of U.S. attorneys, and more to do with Rove’s power in general.   They’re covering up the uncomfortable revelation that Rove has been wielding more power and asserting more influence over our branches of government than his title of Deputy White House Chief of Staff would seem to imply.  In other words, it could very well be that when it comes to who’s really running things in the White House, Karl’s in charge. Unfortunately, considering the Bush administration’s terrible luck with finding documents (along with their secretive nature in general), we may never know for sure.

Update:  The L.A. Times is reporting that there will be investigations into Rove’s scheming: Low-key office launches high-profile inquiry (for the digg link, click here). 

The new investigation, which will examine the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, missing White House e-mails, and White House efforts to keep presidential appointees attuned to Republican political priorities, could create a substantial new problem for the Bush White House.

First, the inquiry comes from inside the administration, not from Democrats in Congress. Second, unlike the splintered inquiries being pressed on Capitol Hill, it is expected to be a unified investigation covering many facets of the political operation in which Rove played a leading part.

Hopefully they won’t run into too many missing documents or administration officials with preemptive alzheimer’s, but this is definitely something worth following up on. 

Others blogging the L.A. Times story:

The Blotter, Shakesville, TPMmuckraker, The Carpetbagger Report, Discourse.net, CANNONFIRE, NION, PoliBlog (TM), DownWithTyranny!, On Politics, CorrenteWire, Think Progress, Balloon Juice, AMERICAblog, TIME: Swampland, Tennessee Guerilla Women, The Heretik, The Agonist, Macsmind, Little Thom’s Blog, Prairie Weather, On Deadline and Liberal Values

 

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One Hand Washes the Other…

February 19, 2007

… and Gosh Darn it, we have done SO much for the Terrorists! 

Accused Terrorist Is Big GOP Donor

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) won’t say what it plans to do with thousands of dollars in campaign donations it received from an accused terror financier.   Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari gave $15,250 to the NRCC since 2002, according to FEC records published on the Web site opensecrets.org. 

On Friday, Alishtari pled not guilty to funding terrorism and other crimes, including financial fraud.

The NRCC is the main political group dedicated to helping the Republican party win seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Reached Monday morning for comment, an NRCC spokeswoman declined to discuss the matter on the record.

The indictment against Alishtari unsealed in Manhattan federal court Friday charges him with providing material support to terrorists by transferring $152,000 between banks to allegedly be used to purchase night-vision goggles and other equipment needed for a terrorist training camp.

Alishtari, aka Michael Mixon, was paid for his efforts to collect and transfer the funds, which included $25,000 sent from a bank in New York to a bank in Montreal, Canada, the indictment alleges.

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