Senator Feinstein’s Iraq conflict of interest

Senator Feinstein’s Iraq conflict of interest

Category: Anti-war, Dianne Feinstein — Bob Morris @ 12:23 am

Expose corruption

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has been forced to resign as chair of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee after news of her grotesque conflicts of interest surfaced due to the billions of dollars going in defense contracts to her husband’s companies.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has resigned from the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee. As previously and extensively reviewed in these pages, Feinstein was chairperson and ranking member of MILCON for six years, during which time she had a conflict of interest due to her husband Richard C. Blum’s ownership of two major defense contractors, who were awarded billions of dollars for military construction projects approved by Feinstein.

The story was broken by Metroactive, a group of alternative weeklys in northern California, who have complete coverage. Why is it that an alt weekly was the only one who could figure out what was happening? Earth to CNN and NY Times, you just didn’t have a clue, huh? More important, why was she even allowed on the committee and allowed to vote? Why didn’t she recuse herself from votes where she and her husband benefit financially? Why did no one in the Senate of either party object?

It gets worse.

It turns out that Blum also holds large investments in companies that were selling medical equipment and supplies and real estate leases—often without the benefit of competitive bidding—to the Department of Veterans Affairs, even as the system of medical care for veterans collapsed on his wife’s watch.

I shudder to think what would happen if those two got involved in the orphanage business.

Corruption and conflicts of interest that are rife in DC. It’s not just greed. That doesn’t explain it all. You need to think about class, as in the ruling class and the working class. Such collusion and purposeful silence on obvious conflicts of interest happen because the ruling class, regardless of their party, will always protect itself against everyone else. And if you are a senator and your husband is a billionaire, then that certainly makes you members of the ruling class. Which certainly clarifies why DiFi has never seriously opposed the Iraq war, now doesn’t it? “There’s plenty good money to be made / By supplying the army with the tools of the trade,” Country Joe said during the Vietnam War, and it still true today. The ruling class profits mightily from war, and hey, it’s not their kids coming back maimed or in body bags.

Why aren’t congressional Democrats working to end the war? Just look at Dianne Feinstein. There’s your answer. It’s because it’s not in their class interest to do so.

That’s why the people have to do it.

While right wing bloggers are going nuts over this (and many liberals seem oddly silent), it’s hardly a partisan issue or a right wing hit.

Research assistance for [the] story was provided by the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute.

Metroactive concludes

You would think that, considering all the money Feinstein’s family has pocketed by waging global warfare while ignoring the plight of wounded American soldiers, she would show a smidgeon of shame and resign from the entire Senate, not just a subcommittee. Conversely, you’d think she might stick around MILCON to try and fix the medical-care disaster she helped to engineer for the vets who were suckered into fighting her and Bush’s panoply of unjust wars.

Photo from Tribune India article, Fighting corruption. Moral values must prevail
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Expose corruption

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has been forced to resign as chair of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee after news of her grotesque conflicts of interest surfaced due to the billions of dollars going in defense contracts to her husband’s companies.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has resigned from the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee. As previously and extensively reviewed in these pages, Feinstein was chairperson and ranking member of MILCON for six years, during which time she had a conflict of interest due to her husband Richard C. Blum’s ownership of two major defense contractors, who were awarded billions of dollars for military construction projects approved by Feinstein.

The story was broken by Metroactive, a group of alternative weeklys in northern California, who have complete coverage. Why is it that an alt weekly was the only one who could figure out what was happening? Earth to CNN and NY Times, you just didn’t have a clue, huh? More important, why was she even allowed on the committee and allowed to vote? Why didn’t she recuse herself from votes where she and her husband benefit financially? Why did no one in the Senate of either party object?

It gets worse.

It turns out that Blum also holds large investments in companies that were selling medical equipment and supplies and real estate leases—often without the benefit of competitive bidding—to the Department of Veterans Affairs, even as the system of medical care for veterans collapsed on his wife’s watch.

I shudder to think what would happen if those two got involved in the orphanage business.

Corruption and conflicts of interest that are rife in DC. It’s not just greed. That doesn’t explain it all. You need to think about class, as in the ruling class and the working class. Such collusion and purposeful silence on obvious conflicts of interest happen because the ruling class, regardless of their party, will always protect itself against everyone else. And if you are a senator and your husband is a billionaire, then that certainly makes you members of the ruling class. Which certainly clarifies why DiFi has never seriously opposed the Iraq war, now doesn’t it? “There’s plenty good money to be made / By supplying the army with the tools of the trade,” Country Joe said during the Vietnam War, and it still true today. The ruling class profits mightily from war, and hey, it’s not their kids coming back maimed or in body bags.

Why aren’t congressional Democrats working to end the war? Just look at Dianne Feinstein. There’s your answer. It’s because it’s not in their class interest to do so.

That’s why the people have to do it.

While right wing bloggers are going nuts over this (and many liberals seem oddly silent), it’s hardly a partisan issue or a right wing hit.

Research assistance for [the] story was provided by the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute.

Metroactive concludes

You would think that, considering all the money Feinstein’s family has pocketed by waging global warfare while ignoring the plight of wounded American soldiers, she would show a smidgeon of shame and resign from the entire Senate, not just a subcommittee. Conversely, you’d think she might stick around MILCON to try and fix the medical-care disaster she helped to engineer for the vets who were suckered into fighting her and Bush’s panoply of unjust wars.

Photo from Tribune India article, Fighting corruption. Moral values must prevail

Pelosi’s Culture of Corruption: Dianne Feinstein and the DNC

March 30, 2007

Pelosi’s Culture of Corruption: Dianne Feinstein and the DNC

Nancy Pelosi ( yeah, I know, AGAIN! ), lambasted the Republicans for being nothing but crooks.  Her silence on the Democrat Culture of Corruption has been deafening.  This weeks’s scandal?  Dianne Feinstein.

Dianne Feinstein had been on the Military Construction Appropriations committee for six years.  During four of those years, Perini Corporation and URS Corp were MAJOR recipients of the largess that is the Military Construction Appropriations committee.  The good folks of California were often critical, and surprised, at Feinstein’s support of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  They never bothered to ask why very much tho.  Feinstein’s husband’s company, Perini, received $500 million in Iraq and Afghanistan contracts.  Now, we can assume Nancy Pelosi knows Dianne Feinstein pretty well.  We can also assume Pelosi knew what Feinstein’s husband did as well.  What we can also assume is Nancy said NOTHING during the entire time Feinstein was lining her pockets with BILLIONS in federal money.  Feinstein was profiting off the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts very overtly while Nancy Pelosi and the DNC constantly harassed Dick Cheney for once being an employee of Haliburton.  And why do you suppose Nancy kept her mouth shut during all this corruption?

Date Amount Recipient

Because Howard Dean, who was screaming the loudest about Republican corruption, was taking money from the Feinsteins as fast as he could stick his hands out.

Yes folks, the entire Democrat Party was profiting from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars while Koz and all the other sheep harped on the Republicans profiting in ways they could never prove.  There it is folks, in black and white.  It’s overt.  It’s obvious.  It’s undeniable.  What it also is, is cmpletely ignored by CBS, The New York Times, LA Times, etc. etc. etc..  You name a major media outlet, they’ll be on the ignoring this issue list as well.  So, people like me have to rely on Rush Limbaugh and Michele MalkinSome blogs are taking a little credit because Feinstein resigned from MILCON this week.  She really didn’t have any reason to stay on MILCON any longer tho, her husband sold out of Perini and URS two years ago.  Now, a lot of people will dismiss the credibility of this story because I cite Rush and Michele.  I’m sure that couldn’t make Nancy, Howard, and Dianne any happier.

It just amazes me how people like Dan Rather could look the country in the face and blame it all on Dick Cheney, knowing the entire damn time it was Feinstein and the Dems making all the money off the deaths of our soldiers.  And ya wanna know something else?  It was that same MILCON committee shelling out billions to Feinstein at Feinstein’s direction that failed to provide adequate body armor to our troops in Iraq.  And, it was that same MILCON committee handing out billions to Feinstein at the direction of Feinstein that failed to provide adequate health services to our troops that the media is whining about now.

Can we assume my “investigative” abilities are that much superior to CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, Fox, the LA Times, the NY Times, or even the BBC?  Or, can we assume that because Dianne Feinstein is an uber-liberal Democrat woman from California they all chose to look the other way while she profited off the deaths of our soldiers?

Regardless, there’s a LOT of explaining that needs to be done by Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, and Howard Dean.  However, I doubt CBS, ABC, NBC, or CNN will time to squeeze this topic in while they continue to dedicate every waking second to Gonzales firing a bunch of lawyers.

Feinstein quits committee under war-profiteer cloud

Fred Thompson Is for Real

Fred Thompson Is for Real
By Robert D. Novak
CNSNews.com Commentary
April 02, 2007

In just three weeks, Fred Thompson has improbably transformed the contest for the Republican presidential nomination. It is not merely that he has come from nowhere to double digits in national polls. He is the talk of GOP political circles because he is filling the conservative void in the Republican field of candidates.

Republican activists have complained for months that none of the “big three” contenders — Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney — fits the model of a conservative leader for a conservative party. The party faithful have been waiting for another Ronald Reagan. But in conversations with them the past year, nobody mentioned Thompson as the messiah until he appeared March 11 on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.”

His statement to Wallace that he was “giving some thought” to a presidential run generated a reaction that surprised Thompson. In the first Gallup poll that listed Thompson (March 23-25), he scored 12 percent — amazing for someone out of public life for more than four years who has not campaigned.

More important than the polling data is his backing within the political community. Buyer’s remorse is expressed by several House members who had endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Romney.

Thompson’s popularity reflects weakness among announced Republican candidates, as reflected in the Gallup survey. Sen. McCain, no longer an insurgent but still not accepted by conservatives, is stuck in the 20-25 percent range. Former New York City Mayor Giuliani has dropped precipitously from 44 percent to 31 percent amid attacks on his ideology and personal life. Most startling, despite a well-financed, well-organized campaign, Romney has fallen to 3 percent.

Sophisticated social conservative activists tell me they cannot vote for Giuliani under any conditions and have no rapport with McCain or Romney. They do not view Sen. Sam Brownback, representing the social right, as a viable candidate. They are coming to see Thompson as the only conservative who can be nominated.

Their appreciation of him stems not from his eight years as a U.S. senator from Tennessee, but his actor’s role as district attorney of Manhattan on “Law and Order.” That part was molded to Thompson’s specifications as a tough prosecutor, lending him political star power.

Thompson’s political origin as a protege of Sen. Howard Baker, leader of the Tennessee GOP’s more liberal wing, prompted hard-line Senate conservatives to consider him a little too liberal. Actually, his lifetime Senate voting record as measured by the American Conservative Union was 86 percent.

It would have been close to 100 percent except for his repeated votes supporting McCain’s campaign finance reform. None of the “big three” Republicans has been as consistently conservative as Thompson on tax policy, national security and abortion.

The principal complaint about Thompson concerns not his ideology but his work ethic. The rap is that he does not burn the midnight oil — the identical criticism of Reagan before and during his presidency. That carping may betray resentment that Thompson has emerged as a full-blown candidate without backbreaking campaign travel and tedious fund-raising.

Thompson’s critics assert that, bored with his lucrative career as an actor, he has enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame created by a chance TV interview and will not really run. But he privately assures friends that this is for real. His performance on “Fox News Sunday” was no accident. He went on the program for the purpose of unveiling his possible candidacy.

Thompson did not leave public policy when he left the Senate. He has served on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He hardly knew Scooter Libby but felt he was getting a raw deal, appeared in his courtroom and helped raise money for his defense fund.

Friends bet Thompson will run. He clearly wants to try, and his wife, Jeri, is all for it. Seeking the best timing, he wants to avoid the pitfalls encountered by Democrat Barack Obama, who may have damaged himself by starting his campaign too quickly.

I met Fred Thompson in 1974 as Howard Baker’s 31-year-old minority counsel on the Watergate investigation. I considered him cool, careful and conservative. He still is, and that is how he would run for president, which appears in the offing.

(To find out more about Robert D. Novak and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate web page.)

DiFi Scandal Goes Unreported

Pelosi’s Syria Trip Undermines US Policy, Says Expert

Pelosi’s Syria Trip Undermines US Policy, Says Expert
By Monisha Bansal
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
April 03, 2007

(CNSNews.com) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned visit to Syria later this week will undermine American foreign policy, a conservative analyst said Monday, citing the Baathist regime’s links to regional terrorism.

Shrugging off White House disapproval, the California Democrat plans to hold talks with President Bashar Assad in Damascus, as part of a Mideast visit that has also taken in Israel and Lebanon.

“Pelosi’s visit is likely to undermine the Bush administration’s foreign policy and help the Syrians go back to business as usual – much to the dismay of our Lebanese, Iraqi, and Israeli friends, all of whom want the United States to take a tougher stand against Syria,” Jim Phillips, a research fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Heritage Foundation, told Cybercast News Service .

He said the “ill-timed trip to Syria is likely to encourage Syria’s dictatorship to think it can get away with murder – literally-in Lebanon.”

“The Syrians continue to block a U.N. sponsored investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister [Rafik] Hariri, which has Syria’s fingerprints all over it, and have been isolated by their attempts to meddle in Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestinian areas,” Phillips added.

Critics of engagement with Syria also frequently cite its longstanding support for terrorism – violent Palestinian terrorist groups have been hosted in Damascus – hostility towards Israel, support for groups that have carried out terrorist attacks against Americans – especially Hizballah – pursuit of non-conventional weapons capability, and suspicions of a hand behind the assassination of senior Lebanese politicians critical of Syrian involvement in Lebanon, including Hariri.

On the other hand, the Iraq Study Group (ISG), co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former U.S. Congressman Lee Hamilton, recommended last December that the U.S. engage both Syria and Iran.

Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), a member of Pelosi’s delegation, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “We are going with the clear intention of making our position crystal clear to the Syrian leadership, basically indicating that it is in their interest to return to a position where they can be part of the positive forces in this region and not be in tight alliance with [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad’s Iran.”
‘Broad consensus’

Dana Perino, acting White House press secretary, called Pelosi’s trip a “really bad idea.”

“We discourage members of Congress to make such visits to Syria,” she said during a daily press briefing. “This is a country that is a state sponsor of terror, one that is trying to disrupt the [Fouad] Siniora government in Lebanon, and one that is allowing foreign fighters to flow into Iraq from its borders.”

“We think that someone should take a step back and think about the message that it sends, and the message that it sends to our allies,” Perino added.

“It’s interesting because three of our colleagues, who are all Republicans, were in Syria yesterday and I didn’t hear the White House speaking out about that,” retorted Pelosi, according to AP reports.

GOP Reps. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, Frank Wolf of Virginia and Robert Aderholt of Alabama held talks with Assad at the weekend.

(Democratic Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Bill Nelson of Florida and Chris Dodd of Connecticut, as well as Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, have also visited Damascus in recent months.)

Daniel Serwer, vice president of the Center for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations at the U.S. Institute for Peace, said Monday Pelosi’s trip “clearly signals an openness in Congress to talking with the Syrians.”

“There is a broad consensus in Congress – that is bipartisan – in favor of talking with Damascus and Tehran about Iraq,” he told Cybercast News Service.

Serwer conceded, however, that it was unlikely any result would come out of the visit.

“She can’t negotiate on behalf of the U.S. or anything like that,” he said. “It’s the administration that determines American policy.”

Syria has been on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terror since 1979 and remains on the list for providing what the department calls “political and material support to both Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups.”

Though Syria has not been implicated directly in an act of terrorism since 1986, early findings of a United Nations investigation into Hariri’s assassination in February 2005 indicate “a strong likelihood of official Syrian involvement,” the department says.

The U.S. government has also accused Syria of providing financial support and weapons to Iraqi insurgents.

Replay: Bill Maher Writer Lays Bare The Ugly Truth Of The Modern Liberal Mind

Original Post date 03-27-07

I’d like to suggest that everyone get this to as many high school and college students as possible.

Sample: “There is no journalistic standard, none, zero, zilch, by which the misdeeds of a handful of night guards at an obscure prison for terrorists – misdeeds in which nobody was killed, nobody was seriously hurt – there is no journalistic standard by which this is a front page story in the New York Times. Much less for two days in a row. Five days in a row. Ten days in a row. Twenty days in…forty four straight days this non-story was a front page story in the New York Times. Why? Because while it met no journalistic standard, it met the one and only modern liberal standard. It said, “Do you think America’s good? We found something that’s gonna make you not believe that any longer.”

Evan Sayet – Writer, Lecturer and Pundit

Hattip: Andrew Breitbart

europe’s drug habit feeds the taliban

europe’s drug habit feeds the taliban

Narco-trafficking is fueling the Taliban, and fat profits from poppies and opium are partially responsible for the militants’ resurgence. Indeed, Afghanistan is supplying about 90 percent of the world’s opium and nearly all of the heroin that ends up in Europe. A recent study by the UN Office for Drugs and Crime forecasts a record crop of poppies this year, on top of last year’s bumper harvest.

To undercut the ability of the Taliban to purchase arms, pay soldiers, and buy the support of villagers, the United States and NATO need to break the back of the drug trade in and out of Afghanistan. However, reliance on eradication — the current weapon of choice — is foolish and wasteful. Uprooting crops and spraying have both had limited local effect. What is needed is a radically new, incentive-based method to provide better incomes to farmers from substitute crops.

Personal comment: So, basically, Europe is financing the Taliban, if the above mentioned numbers are correct. A few months ago, I read some criticism about these statistics, but I don’t think it matters much if 90% or “just” 60% of Afghanistan’s opium end up in Europe. It is a disgrace that our drug addicts finance criminals, insurgents, terrorists etc.

The “war on drugs” is not very effective, but is doing a lot of harm. A recent example: “Austrian sniper rifles that were exported to Iran have been discovered in the hands of Iraqi terrorists, The Daily Telegraph has learned. More than 100 of the.50 calibre weapons, capable of penetrating body armour, have been discovered by American troops during raids. The guns were part of a shipment of 800 rifles that the Austrian company, Steyr-Mannlicher, exported legally to Iran last year.”

Iran has a big drug problem as well. Iranian drug addicts finance the Taliban and others involved in narco-trafficking as well.

The Queen Bee Goes to Syria

Some honest coverage of Iraq