Judicial Watch Announces List of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” for 2007

UPDATE: It’s come to TheZoo’s attention that Judicial Watch is funded by Richard Mellon Scaife, a billionaire who funded the anti-Bill Clinton witch hunt. Just thought y’all might want to consider the source. Zooey

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released its 2007 list of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians.”

The list, in alphabetical order, includes:

1. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY): In addition to her long and sordid ethics record, Senator Hillary Clinton took a lot of heat in 2007 – and rightly so – for blocking the release her official White House records. Many suspect these records contain a treasure trove of information related to her role in a number of serious Clinton-era scandals. Moreover, in March 2007, Judicial Watch filed an ethics complaint against Senator Clinton for filing false financial disclosure forms with the U.S. Senate (again). And Hillary’s top campaign contributor, Norman Hsu, was exposed as a felon and a fugitive from justice in 2007. Hsu pleaded guilt to one count of grand theft for defrauding investors as part of a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.

2. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI): Conyers reportedly repeatedly violated the law and House ethics rules, forcing his staff to serve as his personal servants, babysitters, valets and campaign workers while on the government payroll. While the House Ethics Committee investigated these allegations in 2006, and substantiated a number of the accusations against Conyers, the committee blamed the staff and required additional administrative record-keeping and employee training. Judicial Watch obtained documentation in 2007 from a former Conyers staffer that sheds new light on the activities and conduct on the part of the Michigan congressman, which appear to be at a minimum inappropriate and likely unlawful. Judicial Watch called on the Attorney General in 2007 to investigate the matter.

3. Senator Larry Craig (R-ID): In one of the most shocking scandals of 2007, Senator Craig was caught by police attempting to solicit sex in a Minneapolis International Airport men’s bathroom during the summer. Senator Craig reportedly “sent signals” to a police officer in an adjacent stall that he wanted to engage in sexual activity. When the police officer showed Craig his police identification under the bathroom stall divider and pointed toward the exit, the senator reportedly exclaimed ‘No!’” When asked to produce identification, Craig presented police his U.S. Senate business card and said, “What do you think of that?” The power play didn’t work. Craig was arrested, charged and entered a guilty plea. Despite enormous pressure from his Republican colleagues to resign from the Senate, Craig refused.

4. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA): As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on military construction, Feinstein reviewed military construction government contracts, some of which were ultimately awarded to URS Corporation and Perini, companies then owned by Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum. While the Pentagon ultimately awards military contracts, there is a reason for the review process. The Senate’s subcommittee on Military Construction’s approval carries weight. Sen. Feinstein, therefore, likely had influence over the decision making process. Senator Feinstein also attempted to undermine ethics reform in 2007, arguing in favor of a perk that allows members of Congress to book multiple airline flights and then cancel them without financial penalty. Judicial Watch’s investigation into this matter is ongoing.

5. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY): Giuliani came under fire in late 2007 after it was discovered the former New York mayor’s office “billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons…” ABC News also reported that Giuliani provided Nathan with a police vehicle and a city driver at taxpayer expense. All of this news came on the heels of the federal indictment on corruption charges of Giuliani’s former Police Chief and business partner Bernard Kerik, who pleaded guilty in 2006 to accepting a $165,000 bribe in the form of renovations to his Bronx apartment from a construction company attempting to land city contracts.

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In October e-mail, Bhutto said she would hold Musharraf ‘responsible’ for her death

via: Raw Story

In an e-mail sent to a confidant in the US two months ago, assassinated Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto said she would hold the country’s current leader Pervez Musharraf “responsible” because his government did not do enough to provide for her security.

“I wld [sic] hold Musharraf responsible,” Bhutto wrote to her US spokesman, Mark Siegel, in the October e-mail, which was reported Thursday afternoon by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “I have been made to feel insecure by his minions, and there is no way what is happening in terms of stopping me from taking private cars or using tinted windows or giving jammers or four police mobiles to cover all sides cld [sic] happen without him.”

Continue reading article…

This story has upset me terribly.

If Republicans fear this man more than Hillary…

… they just have to find him another Dick Cheney as VP.

via Bloomberg:

Wealthy Republicans have a new political nightmare that may be scarier than Hillary Clinton: Mike Huckabee.

The Club for Growth, a Washington-based group that advocates tax and spending cuts, has mounted a campaign against Huckabee in Iowa and South Carolina, which holds its Republican primary on Jan. 19. The group said Dec. 14 it is doubling advertising purchases and urged taxpayers to call Huckabee and challenge him on his tax policy.

Progressives should forget the middle ground

Paul Krugman, Slate:

Democrats (Progressives, liberals) must stop trying to play nice, or continue to take the “high road.”  It will only lead to our continued defeat.  This country is ready for a huge change in our political direction — let’s not squander it.

So, here’s my worry: Democrats, with the encouragement of people in the news media who seek bipartisanship for its own sake, may fall into the trap of trying to be anti-Bushes—of trying to transcend partisanship, seeking some middle ground between the parties.

That middle ground doesn’t exist—and if Democrats try to find it, they’ll squander a huge opportunity. Right now, the stars are aligned for a major change in America’s direction. If the Democrats play nice, that opportunity may soon be gone.

Read the whole thing here.

Nuclear Power Pakistan in Crisis! – Analysis

Christmas is over, definitely. Benazir Bhutto’s assassination has rudely awakened us to the fact that the Middle East is still burning and there is no improvement in sight. Pakistan is ruled by the military and that is not likely to change soon, if the military has it’s will. But this in in fact an important if not the main contributing factor to the current crisis in Pakistan.

What clenches all these fingers into a fist is hostility to the army. Military analyst Hasan-Askari Rizvi said this was new: “The militants define Musharraf the same way they define [Afghan president Hamid] Karzai: as an agent of America. What’s different is that they see the army the same way. Previously there was a kind of understanding. The militants were given some autonomy for not attacking Pakistan. But now they are taking on the army within Pakistan.”

Neither Ms Bhutto, nor Nawaz Sharif, if he survives his campaigning, enjoyed or still enjoy the support of the US, however, and Pervez Musharraf is not likely to stay President for long, either.

The aim of US diplomacy is to replace him in the short or medium term. Not with either of the two main opposition leaders, Nawaz Sharif or Benazir Bhutto, who would serve at best to give a democratic gloss, but with another strong man, perhaps General Ashfaq Kyani – someone the US has on a tight rein.

But will this add stability to the situation? Hardly. So who was behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto? Militant Islamists will be surely the first to be blamed, but the military and the Secret Service ISI have a lot to lose, too and not only when it comes to political power. The military is one of Pakistan’s main economical players.

A stroll through towns and cities shows the visibility of the army. Besides the huge monuments of ballistic missiles in the urban centres, there are local markets full of products made by factories controlled by the military; as well as tanks, aircraft and guns, they manufacture cereals, bleach, mineral water, cement, fertiliser and knitwear. There is even a bank. The military operates in agriculture, service and manufacturing industries. Military capital engages in the formal, informal and illegal economies, directly and indirectly. The army attracts a far larger share of national resources than any other state institution.

The outlook for Pakistan’s future is bleak at best. Shortly after the news of the assassination broke, shots were heard in Karachi Ms Bhutto’s home town. There are widespread fears that Pakistan will now drift into a civil war. There are doubts whether the upcoming elections will take place now.

Pakistan is not only an ally in the ill-fated and poorly executed exercise, labeled “War on Terror”, Pakistan is, of course, a nuclear power. The United States military has made plans to secure the Pakistani nuclear arsenal in case of increased unrest there, but:

…U.S. officials worry their limited knowledge about the location of the arsenal could pose a problem, it said, a week after Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency.

‘We can’t say with absolute certainty that we know where they all are,’ the newspaper quoted an unnamed former U.S. official as saying.

As for any U.S. effort to seize and secure Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, the official said: ‘It could be very messy.’

Welcome back to everyday life.

However bad the news, “Europeanview” wishes you all a safe and healthy day. Take care!

Top Ten Myths about Iraq in 2007

by Juan Cole
Informed Comment

Here is #10:

10. Myth: The US public no longer sees Iraq as a central issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.

In a recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll, Iraq and the economy were virtually tied among voters nationally, with nearly a quarter of voters in each case saying it was their number one issue. The economy had become more important to them than in previous months (in November only 14% said it was their most pressing concern), but Iraq still rivals it as an issue!

Go here to read # 1 – 9!

The Torture Tape Cover-up: How High Does It Go?

by Marjorie Cohn

When the hideous photographs of torture and abuse emerged from Abu Ghraib in the fall of 2004, they created a public relations disaster for the Bush administration. The White House had painstakingly worked to capitalize on the 9/11 attacks by creating a “war on terror.” Never mind the absurdity of declaring war on a tactic. Central to Bush’s new “war” was the portrayal of us as the good guys and al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein as the bad guys.

But the Abu Ghraib photos of naked Iraqis piled on top of one another, forced to masturbate, led around on leashes like dogs shined the light on U.S. hypocrisy.

After the Abu Ghraib revelations, the Bush administration could not tolerate more bad publicity. So in 2005, the CIA destroyed several hundred hours of videotapes depicting torturous interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, probably including water boarding. The former U.S. official involved in discussions about the tapes reported widespread concern that “something as explosive as this would probably get out,” according to the Los Angeles Times. This destruction of evidence may violate several laws. And it remains to be seen how high up the chain of command the criminality goes.

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Bush and the Neocons

via: Truthout

This is a very interesting video interview conducted by Jason Leopold of Truthout with author Craig Unger, an investigative reporter who wrote “House of Bush, House of Saud“, and his latest, “The Fall of the House of Bush“.

There is also a book review of Unger’s latest book by Chris Pepus of The Chicago Reader called Bush and the Neocons.

Craig Unger, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, garnered national attention with his previous book, House of Bush, House of Saud. Michael Moore cited it as a key source for Fahrenheit 9/11, and the film popularized the author’s reports on Saudi investments in Bush family enterprises. In The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America’s Future, Unger turns his attention to neoconservative officials and theorists. At times he focuses so closely on neocon tactics that he misses other forces driving Bush-Cheney policies. Even so, the book offers a vivid account of the use of disinformation to promote extremism.

In the interview, Unger makes the point that he doesn’t believe we got into the Iraq War because of intelligence failures, but due to intelligence successes – meaning black-op propaganda operations and  disinformation that worked swimmingly.

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

The AP wire this morning is reporting that Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assasinated in a bomb blast. She was attending a political rally in Rawalpindi when the explosion occurred. At least 20 others were killed.

This will undoubtedly destabilize an already fragile political climate in that country.

Bush Tops ‘Most Admired’ Poll?

USAToday reveals the results of a new Gallup poll indicating that George W. Bush is the most admired man on planet Earth. Tempering these impressive results is the fact that the pollsters questioned only 1011 people, of which only 10% chose Bush. It is implicit, but not stated, that Gallup polled only Bush family and cronies, and members of the House of Saud.

Interestingly, the USAToday headline is factually wrong. The article indicates that Bush was actually third on the list overall, beaten by Hillary Clinton (18%) and Oprah Winfrey (16%). Perhaps the editors of USAToday are trying to puff up George Bush for political reasons, or perhaps they are presenting an intentionally provocative headline in order to sell “news”, or perhaps they consider women to be of a secondary class. Who knows?