All Rise For Her Ethicalness

All Rise For Her Ethicalness
By Peter Hannaford
Published 11/22/2006 12:06:49 AM

“We are going to have the most ethical Congress in the nation’s history.” So said House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi in the afterglow of the Democrats’ Congressional election victory. As it turns out, ethics are malleable. They are in the eye of the beholder.

She pulled out all the stops last week to get the Democratic caucus to elect Rep. John Murtha as Majority Leader of the House. Stories surfaced about Murtha’s involvement in the Abscam caper of 1980. In that one, FBI agents, posing as representatives of an Arab sheik, offered bribes to some members of Congress. Several took them and went down for the count, legally and politically. Murtha was recorded on tape as saying to the fake Arabs, “I’m not interested…at this point.” He lucked out, the only lawmaker involved in Abscam who wasn’t charged with a crime.

Just before the vote for Majority Leader, the Associated Press noted Murtha’s “penchant for trading votes for pork projects.” A bill is afoot to publicize pork engineered by a member in his/her own district, leaving untouched his/her votes for the largess elsewhere. It appears that is the kind Murtha favors.

Murtha, having lost the race to Steny Hoyer, 146-89, says he will go back to his “little subcommittee.” That’s the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. It oversees the Pentagon budget, including spending on the war in Iraq. Hence, plenty of opportunities to make mischief and dispense or withhold pork.

It is said that Ms. Nancy, fresh from the defeat of ethicist Murtha, now wants to bypass the currently ranking minority member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Jane Harman, and give the chairmanship in 2007 to Alcee Hastings of Florida. Hastings, another leading ethicist, had been a federal judge, was impeached, convicted and removed from office for accepting a bribe. Nancy Pelosi voted in favor of the action. That was then; this is now.

Over on the Senate side we have Senator Hillary Clinton who redefined “frugality” in her reelection campaign. She did not have serious opposition and won by 30 points; however, to make sure of that, she spent $30 million, more than any other campaign in this year’s election cycle.

Mrs. Clinton pinched every penny to make sure her donors were getting their money’s worth (wink, wink, it’s nearly 2008). In the process she made many a florist, caterer and restaurateur happy. In Las Vegas her campaign spent $6,585 on flowers. In Glendale, Colorado it was $5,397.50 for a caterer and in Manhattan, $80,000 at the Tavern on the Green. She also spent several thousand dollars on hair styling and makeup. After all, one must look one’s best, lest the voters flee to the opponent.

There is not much Her Ethicalness in the House of Representatives can do about a free-spending senator, but at least she has the satisfaction of knowing that her coronation will take place next January. Hillary will have to wait until January 2009.

With Ms. Pelosi stumbling twice in her quest for “the most ethical Congress in the nation’s history,” what are the odds she will achieve her goal? Very good if you believe that shrimps can be taught to whistle and pigs to fly.

Nov. 7 winners: The big media, Iran, Al Qaida, Euro-weenies, and oh yes, the Democrats

‘More of the same’ expected in Gaza

‘More of the same’ expected in Gaza

The IDF will continue to carry out operations in the Gaza Strip, some on a larger scale than those conducted so far, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Wednesday after the security cabinet convened to discuss the situation in Gaza and the growing threat Kassam rockets pose to southern Israel.

Ministers participating in the meeting said the ideas raised in the meeting were “more of the same,” Israel Radio reported.

The security cabinet instructed the IDF to draw up plans for a large-scale operation in Gaza and present it for approval at a future date.

  • Analysis: Creating a new Gaza realityFollowing the meeting, Shas MK Yitzhak Cohen said that Israel must exact a price for every citizen harmed by Kassam fire.

    “If a rocket falls in a school or a residential neighborhood, we have to respond in kind,” he said.

    Fearing a further escalation in Kassam rocket fire, the defense establishment has begun putting the finishing touches on plans to launch a massive Defensive Shield-like operation into the Gaza Strip.

    Doubtful that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will succeed in convincing terror factions to accept a cease-fire, defense officials are seriously considering reoccupying the Gaza Strip in an effort to stop Kassam rocket attacks. “We are not left with many options,” a high-ranking defense official told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. “What we know can work at stopping the Kassams is a major operation and the reoccupation of the Gaza Strip.”

    The plans that have been drawn up for the major operation in the Gaza Strip include the calling up of reserve units, as well as the possibility of implementing military rule of law in the Palestinian territory.

    Before the meeting, officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said the two main issues on the agenda would be the firing of Kassam rockets from the Gaza Strip and the arms smuggling and buildup of terrorist infrastructure inside the region.

    While Olmert and Vice Premier Shimon Peres have come out in recent days against a widespread military action in Gaza, other voices in the security cabinet – foremost those of ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Avi Dichter – have called for more aggressive action.

    At Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, the ministers also heard assessments of the affect of Tuesday’s assassination in Beirut of Pierre Gemayel on Lebanon and Syria.

    Olmert, in the wake of the assassination, spoke Tuesday with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and expressed his hope that the assassination would not destabilize the region. Olmert’s office announced that he would meet Prodi in Rome on December 13.

    Olmert told Prodi that “there is progress in contacts” with Abbas, and that European initiatives – such as the one that Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Spain, France and Italy would sponsor – only made things more difficult.

    Regarding the contacts with Abbas, Olmert’s chief of staff Yoram Turbowicz and his foreign policy adviser Shalom Turgeman was scheduled to meet Wednesday with Abbas confidants Sa’eb Erekat and Rafik Husseini.

    The meeting comes three days after Peretz infuriated Olmert and set off a political maelstrom by independently talking with Abbas about a cease-fire. Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said Wednesday’s talks between the Israeli and Palestinian officials would likely focus on trying to set up a meeting between Olmert and Abbas.

    While Olmert has said he was interested in meeting Abbas at the earliest opportunity, his office said Abbas was conditioning such a meeting on the release of Palestinian prisoners, something Olmert has made clear would not be done until kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Shalit was released. While a possible cease-fire was also likely to be discussed, there is a great deal of skepticism in the security establishment about whether Abbas can impose a cease-fire.

    Turbowicz and Turgeman have met Husseini and Erekat a number of times in the past, and Olmert and Abbas’s offices continue to maintain regular contact.

  • What American journalists should be thankful for

    Obama (Democratic ‘Rock Star’) Calls for Cut and Run…

    YouTube, MySpace and jihad

    YouTube, MySpace and jihad

    Via our frequent contributor Noel Sheppard writing on Newsbusters, we learn that YouTube and MySpace are being used to recruit and train jihadis.

    First Coast News in Jacksonville, Florida, did a fabulous piece Tuesday on how terrorists are using websites like YouTube and MySpace to recruit, train, and send messages to their cadre (hat tip to our friend Joe Myers). Some of the transcript was posted at, and the absolutely must-see video is here:

    It’s a video showing a room full of children sharing their dreams. They are not excited about being doctors, lawyers or teachers. Instead, the children shout, “We are the nation of Hezbollah. I shall sacrifice my life for Allah.”

    A group of children in training to be a mujahideen, or holy warrior.

    Online there are videos of those warriors. One suicide bomber announces he is readying himself to blow up a group of American soldiers.

    The parent companies News Corp. and Google must now be aware of this. We await news of their response.

    Thomas Lifson  11 22 06

    Pelosi’s Slap at Security

    Pelosi’s Slap at Security
    By Josh Manchester
    New York Post | November 22, 2006

    House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi intends to install Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) as chairman of the House Intelligence Com mittee. But Hastings poses an incredible security risk. He was removed from office as a federal judge in 1989 for taking a $150,000 bribe to render light sentences and other perks to two mobsters. And his latest disclosure forms list $2 million to $7 million in liabilities (mostly for legal fees).

    Were Hastings a regular Joe applying for a security clearance of the lowest kind for a job at the CIA or FBI, he’d be rapidly and roundly denied. His history of public corruption, coupled with his precarious financial situation, makes him ripe to be targeted for espionage.

    Most complaints about Hastings’ possible installation hinge on the Democrats’ hypocrisy – after all, they just won Congress by complaining about the GOP’s “culture of corruption.” Others note that Rep. Jane Harman, now the committee’s top Democrat, is more qualified.

    Yet the national-security issues are far more important. Those who know Hastings may protest, and loudly. But people with patterns of financial irresponsibility or corruption such as Hastings have proven to be security risks since time immemorial.

    Consider the kind of information that would become immediately available to a Chairman Hastings – the most secret of top-secret information. Intelligence Committee members have access to what’s called “top-secret special compartmentalized information” (TS-SCI). This stuff is so sensitive that its aspects are divided into four “compartments” so that anyone privy to one compartment will not have access to the other three. The subject matter includes cryptography, satellite intelligence, data on our intel agencies and details of our nuclear arsenal. Even if Hastings has access to only one of these areas, it would be incredibly risky.

    It’s hard to believe that such sensitive info could be so easily accessed by a man who once sold his office to two mobsters for $150,000. It’s harder to believe that a responsible leader of either party would gladly want Hastings to take the reins of the intel committee.

    This is also a slap in the face to everyone who works in our intelligence bureaucracies – earning a pittance compared to a member of Congress, and often waiting months or even years for the necessary background checks to do their jobs. It will be incredibly demoralizing to see a convicted bribe-taker get the chairmanship. One source who has waited over a year for a background check told me that it would be “hypocrisy” for Hastings to be the chair. Indeed, it’s insult enough that he already sits on the committee.

    There may even be a few who, for whatever reason, have been approached for information, and who now, seeing a corrupt official at the helm in Congress, will think, “Why not?”

    Why not get someone else to lead the Intelligence Committee instead?

    Rep. Pelosi claims to care to about these issues. She called the Plame scandal – involving the Bush administration’s leak of Valerie Plame’s status as a covert CIA operative – “an unprecedented and shameful event in American history” that had “damaged U.S. national security, specifically the effectiveness of U.S. intelligence-gathering.” Her drive to put Hastings in charge of the Intelligence Committee suggests just the opposite: She’s only interested in America’s security when it suits her partisan agenda.

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