Feds accused of ‘colluding’ on ‘booze-gate’ explanations

Feds accused of ‘colluding’ on ‘booze-gate’ explanations

Members of Congress notified about legal requests for public information


Posted: July 02, 2010
11:25 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

The Pentagon has been accused of coordinating with staff officials for members of Congress on what to release to the public under federal Freedom of Information Act demands for information about a “booze-gate” scandal in which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spent $101,000 in taxpayer money for “in-flight” services, including food and alcohol.

The charge comes from Judicial Watch, a government watchdog organization that frequently utilizes the federal law to obtain information about federal agency operations.

For example, the group previously discovered taxpayers shelled out $101,000 for “in-flight services” for Pelosi over a two-year period.

Get the “Throw The Bums Out!” magnetic bumper sticker here!

Now the organization is reporting that e-mails obtained from the government reveal the Pentagon was checking with and informing members of Congress of specific documents it was proposing to release under the federal law.

“Why is the Pentagon colluding with congressional offices on FOIA requests,” wondered Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “There is absolutely no reason why politicians should have the ability to preview FOIA documents before they are released to the American people. These insider notification e-mails to Congress are inappropriate and should be stopped immediately.”

The public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption said the e-mails from the Department of Defense were to various other officials regarding congressional military travel.

“These ‘heads up’ e-mails involved FOIA requests filed by Judicial Watch, The Wall Street Journal, Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call, among other organizations, related to the use of military aircraft by a number of congressional members, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” the Judicial Watch report said yesterday.

They provided “advanced notification” to members of Congress regarding which organizations were seeking information, when the documentation would be released, and “in many cases, the e-mails included the actual documents to be released as attachments,” Judicial Watch said.

“Moreover, the e-mails, primarily sent from the DOD’s Office of General Counsel also indicate that Pentagon staff contacted congressional offices by phone,” the report said.

For example, a Nov. 17, 2009, message to Wyndee Parker, national security adviser for Pelosi, concerned a Judicial Watch request. It advised that the agency was prepared to release the information but was “happy to discuss further.”

 

 

Judicial Watch reports there were cases in which the Pentagon provided “assurances” to congressional staffers whether or not the documents held “sensitive” information.

It reported, “For example, in a December 9, 2009, e-mail to Mark Lopez, Chief of Staff for Congressman Peter Visclosky (D-IN), the DOD staffer writes: ‘CQ appears to be trolling for something to write re: your boss. I do not see much here, but I don’t know the reporter’s agenda. There will be additional releases on this request. I will give you a heads up on those too.'”

Another e-mail to the House Foreign Affairs Committee a month before had said, “I don’t find any of the documents especially newsworthy, but wanted you to have them before they go out.”

The report said other e-mails from senior staff with the House Intelligence Committee “voiced objections to the Pentagon’s refusal to redact the names of congressional staffers from documents released and requested the opportunity to review redacted material before release.”

“It looks as if, in some cases, documents on military junkets were released to individual members of Congress months before they were released to the public,” the report said.

The watchdog group got the e-mails in its overall investigation of congressional military travel.

WND previously reported when a Florida congressman suggested Pelosi give up her military jet travel privilege. WND also has reported on the tabulation by Judicial Watch of Pelosi’s apparent excesses on her flights.

The California Democrat commutes across the continent in a jet provided by the military, a policy first  authorized for the House speaker following the 9/11 terror attacks.

For example, a receipt for “in-flight services” for the House speaker included a list that looked like a dream order for a wild frat party: Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey and Corona beer.

That was only part of the more than $101,000 taxpayers paid for “in-flight services” for Pelosi’s trips on Air Force jets over a two-year period, the Judicial Watch report said.

Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., later applauding Pelosi’s new House rules-change that bans all members of Congress from flying first class on the taxpayer’s dime, suggested that Pelosi, too, fly coach class.

Posey said the move would spare taxpayers the $28,000 it costs per flight for her personal military aircraft when she travels back and forth to her home in San Francisco.

Pelosi had been added to the Judicial Watch list of Top 10 corrupt politicians because of her “sense of entitlement,” the group said.

WND also reported a year earlier Pelosi was shown to have been erratically canceling and scheduling flights, as one would with an on-call taxi service.

“We have … folks prepping the jets and crews driving in (not a short drive for some), cooking meals and preflighting the jets etc,” said one Department of Defense e-mail at the time.

Another official sent an e-mail questioning a series of Pelosi’s requests for aircraft.

“Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi’s team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?” it stated. “[T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…”

The e-mail noted that the speaker’s office had “a history of canceling many of their past requests.”

Judicial Watch said the 2,000 pages of documentation it obtained showed Pelosi’s military travel cost the U.S. Air Force $2,100,744.59 over two years – including $101,429.14 for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol.

Among the highlights revealed:

  • Pelosi used Air Force aircraft to travel back to her district at an average cost of $28,210.51 per flight. Of 103 Pelosi-led congressional delegations (CODEL), 31 trips included members of the House speaker’s family.
  • One CODEL traveling from Washington, D.C., through Tel Aviv, Israel, to Baghdad, Iraq, May 15-20, 2008, “to discuss matters of mutual concern with government leaders” included members of Congress and their spouses and cost $17,931 per hour in aircraft alone. This flight included the purchase of the long list of alcoholic drinks.
  • According to a “Memo for Record” from a March 29-April 7, 2007, CODEL that involved a stop in Israel, “CODEL could only bring kosher items into the hotel. Kosher alcohol for mixing beverages in the delegation room was purchased on the local economy i.e. bourbon, whiskey, scotch, vodka, gin, triple sec, tequila, etc.

According to the Border Patrol the public is being mislead as to WHO is coming into the US from Mexico. This IS THE TRUTH. as reported by WSBTV in Atlanta.

According to the Border Patrol the public is being mislead as to WHO is coming into the US from Mexico. This IS THE TRUTH. as reported by WSBTV in Atlanta.

If we don’t get this message out to the people, we are dead ducks…and soon!  In LA protesters want Phil Jackson of the Lakers to denounce his statement about Arizonia only enforcing what Federal Law alreadys says!  They are calling him RACIST.  They continue to lie and scream.  Don’t give in!

PLEASE send before the videos expire.

Blame game could ‘boomerang’ on Obama, strategist says

Blame game could ‘boomerang’ on Obama, strategist says

By Kristi Keck, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • President Obama frequently points out he “inherited” economic mess from Bush
  • “Playing the blame game only boomerangs on yourself,” GOP strategist says
  • Surveys suggest Obama isn’t the only one blaming Bush and Republicans
  • Democratic strategist says Obama needs to focus more on signs of economic recovery

(CNN) — When signs of a severe economic downfall emerged more than two years ago, then-candidate Barack Obama was quick to point a finger at the man he hoped to replace.

Seventeen months into his administration, the message is often the same, and Republicans say it’s time for him to drop the Bush bashing and take ownership of the problem.

“Nothing makes a president look weaker than pointing the finger at past administrations,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean. “By blaming somebody, it looks like you are playing politics and people just want jobs. They don’t care about whose fault it is. Playing the blame game only boomerangs on yourself.”

Obama repeated that message this week when talking about the still-sputtering economy, twice reminding those at a town-hall meeting in Wisconsin that he “inherited” the economic mess.

It’s a familiar message from his days on the campaign trail when criticisms of President Bush were as common as policy proposals.

“History will not judge President Bush kindly for his failure to act in a way that could have prevented or alleviated this economic crisis,” Obama said in March 2008 shortly after Bear Sterns’ collapse, slamming Bush for failing to instill confidence in the American people.

Recent surveys suggest Obama isn’t the only one holding the Bush administration and Republicans culpable.

Though the Democrats controlled Congress in the last two years of the Bush administration and have controlled both the White House and Congress for a year and a half — 41 percent of people surveyed in a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll said Republicans are responsible for the current economic problems. Twenty-eight percent blamed Democrats, and 26 percent said both parties share responsibility.

According to a Washington Post/ABC poll conducted in April, 59 percent blamed Bush for the economy, compared with 25 percent who said Obama is at fault.

Job numbers released Friday got mixed reviews. The Labor Department reported the U.S. economy lost jobs for the first time this year, as modest hiring by businesses only partly offset the end of temporary Census Bureau jobs.

The unemployment rate fell to 9.5 percent from 9.7 percent in May. Economists had forecast it would climb to 9.8 percent, but the improvement was due mostly to discouraged job seekers not bothering to look for work and no longer being counted in the labor force.

Obama on Friday vowed to do everything in his power to create jobs, but the problem, according to economist Barry Bosworth, is there’s not much more he can do.

“What can he do on the jobs other than sit around and wring his hands in agony?” he asked. “What could he do? That’s the fundamental problem that we now face because it’s a global problem.”

Coming out of the Group of 20 conference, it was clear Obama’s plans to continue stimulus spending weren’t in step with other nations’.

“The whole world is going to turn toward fiscal restraint now, and he can either join it or he’ll be an outlier,” said Bosworth, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former adviser to President Carter.

After the numbers came out, Obama said the country is headed in the right direction but added, “The recession dug us a hole of about 8 million jobs deep.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, echoed the positive indicators, noting that they followed “nearly a decade of failed Republican policies.”

But Bosworth said it’s not fair to put all of the blame on the past administration.

“They didn’t cause that crisis. Lots of people contributed to it. I really do not think that you can blame administrative authorities for what happened. You can blame a lot of economists because we didn’t see it coming in the exact way it did, but there were many dimensions,” he said, pointing out that in retrospect it’s easy to recognize there was an unbalanced economy.

Bosworth said Obama now needs to move away from blaming Bush because the worst of what happened wasn’t Bush’s fault.

“I don’t see that we are looking at a crisis that was caused by the Bush administration, and I don’t think we are looking at a crisis where the Obama administration has a fundamentally different response to the crisis,” Bosworth added, noting that the Troubled Assets Relief Program was passed under the Bush administration.

Economic recovery has been slow, but there are signs of improvement. The stock market, while wobbly, has risen since the lows reached shortly after Obama took office, and the economy is growing again.

Democratic strategist Julian Epstein said Obama needs to make the argument that the economy is on the climb and the stimulus has worked.

“The message has got to be optimistic and positive. It can’t simply be, ‘I inherited a mess and I’m doing the best I can.’ It’s got to be, ‘I inherited a mess, but we’ve turned the corner and things are getting a lot better,’ ” he said.

The White House needs to go on a confidence campaign and perhaps take a page from President Reagan’s playbook, Epstein said.

“He really needs to spell out how we are coming back and it’s morning in America again,” he said.

GOP prepares as calls for Steele’s resignation grows

EXCLUSIVE: GOP prepares as calls for Steele’s resignation grows

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele speaks at the Rhode Island Republican Party Convention on Wednesday, June 30, 2010 in Cranston, R.I. (AP Photo/Joe Giblin)Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele speaks at the Rhode Island Republican Party Convention on Wednesday, June 30, 2010 in Cranston, R.I. (AP Photo/Joe Giblin)

By Ralph Z. Hallow

Updated: 12:55 p.m. on Saturday, July 3, 2010

     

With Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele facing a barrage of calls to resign, North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth, a social conservative, told The Washington Times on Friday he is quitting his post to prepare a possible challenge of Mr. Steele after November’s midterm elections.

Also on Friday, prominent neoconservatives led by William Kristol and Liz Cheney began a growing chorus demands that Mr. Steele step down now, before the Nov. 2 midterm congressional and gubernatorial elections and before he can decide whether to seek reelection to a second two-year term in January.

Mr. Emineth said what moved him to consider a bid for national chairman is what he called Mr. Steele’s dismal failure with big donors who are giving to other, more trusted GOP campaign organizations as polls continue to show Republicans, if adequately financed, stand a good chance of regaining control of Congress.

“I was shocked at the last RNC meeting to learn how little money we got from our major donors,” Mr. Emineth told The Times.

Mr. Emineth said he is resigning as state chairman to devote more time to his expanding burrito-manufacturing business. Resigning now has the added advantage of freeing him to campaign for national party chairman after Nov. 2.

Like other RNC members, Mr. Emineth has refrained from criticizing Mr. Steele until now, and until now no prominent Republican has called for Mr. Steele’s head.

What suddenly triggered resignation demands from the influential neoconservatives wing of the GOP — its foreign-policy hawks — was Mr. Steele’s saying in Connecticut on Thursday that Afghanistan is President Obama’s war and one that should not have been fought in the first place. (Click here to see the video.)

The social and neoconservative wings of the party, with their shared concern for the safety of Israel and focus on “Islamo-fascism,” have decided that Mr. Steele — the author of numerous gaffes in the past — has crossed the line this time.

On Friday, Mr. Kristol, editor of the neoconservative Weekly Standard, said in an open letter to Mr. Steele: “Your comment is more than an embarrassment. It’s an affront — both to the honor of the Republican Party and to the commitment of the soldiers fighting.”

Ms. Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, told Politico that the “chairman of the Republican party must be unwavering in his support for American victory in the war on terror — a victory that cannot be accomplished if we do not prevail in Afghanistan. I endorse fully Bill Kristol’s letter to Chairman Steele. It is time for Chairman Steele to step down.”

In his missive, Mr. Kristol pointed out that the “war in Afghanistan was not ‘a war of Obama’s choosing.’ … It has been prosecuted by the United States under Presidents Bush and Obama. Republicans have consistently supported the effort.”

Saying on Fox News’ Special Report that Mr. Steele “has to go,” another prominent neoconservative intellectual, Charles Krauthammer, called Mr. Steele’s apostasy on Afghanistan “a capital offense.”

Skepticism about the war is shared by many traditional conservatives such as commentator George F. Will.

“There are, of course, those who think we should pull out of Afghanistan, and they’re certainly entitled to make their case. But one of them shouldn’t be the chairman of the Republican party,” Mr. Kristol said.

Hinting that Mr. Steele’s stand might undermine the war effort, the Democratic National Committee jumped on RNC chairman’s remarks, circulated on a video of his appearance at a small GOP fundraiser in Connecticut.

Among members of Mr. Steele’s own committee, however, the disappointment with him has grown in proportion to the disappointment with his fundraising efforts.

“I have raised more money per capita for my party in my tiny state than New York or any other big state has raised for its party, but North Dakota gets no financial support from the RNC,” Mr. Emineth said,

“The real contribution from a chairman is the ability to raise money from major donors,” said Mr. Emineth. “We raised $400,000 in a single night in Fargo, North Dakota. Chairman Steele has managed to raise only $2 million from major donors all told.”

“At times his hands-off approach to managing the national committee and his miscues have hurt the party,” Mr. Emineth said. “He has been disappointing to many members.”

In later posting the following words on the RNC’s website, Mr. Steele appeared to eat his earlier words on Afghanistan — and stand by them at the same time.

“As we enter the Fourth of July weekend, I proudly remember standing with Maryland National Guardsmen on their way to the Middle East and later stood with the mothers of soldiers lost at war. There is no question that America must win the war on terror.

“During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Barack Obama made clear his belief that we should not fight in Iraq, but instead concentrate on Afghanistan. Now, as President, he has indeed shifted his focus to this region. That means this is his strategy. And, for the sake of the security of the free world, our country must give our troops the support necessary to win this war.

“As we have learned throughout history, winning a war in Afghanistan is a difficult task. We must also remember that after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, it is also a necessary one. That is why I supported the decision to increase our troop force and, like the entire United States Senate, I support General Petraeus’ confirmation. The stakes are too high for us to accept anything but success in Afghanistan.”

 

 

Obama and Immigration: Rewriting History?

Obama and Immigration: Rewriting History?

Posted By Pam Meister On July 2, 2010 @ 12:00 am In Column 2, Culture, History, Homeland Security, Immigration, US News | 55 Comments

This week, while shilling for “comprehensive immigration reform” (aka amnesty for illegal aliens), President Obama cited the famous poem “The New Colossus” ( “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”) written by Emma Lazarus in 1883. For one whose intellectual powers are constantly being touted by his followers, it’s interesting to note how little he seems to know about the Statue of Liberty’s history — or, perhaps, how little he cares about twisting that history in order to push his radical progressive agenda.

Obama said in his speech on Thursday [1] that Emma Lazarus wrote the poem and donated it for an auction in order to “help pay for the construction of a new statue.” He went on to say that the funding for the statue was garnered by small donations from people all across America. Unfortunately, he gets it wrong.

The Statue of Liberty [2], commissioned in 1876 and designed by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, was a gift to America from France in honor of this nation’s centennial. The only cost to Americans was that of the pedestal upon which the statue would be placed, and fundraising for that effort began several years before the statue arrived, in pieces, to be reassembled upon arrival in 1885. In fact, the poem written by Lazarus was forgotten soon after it was donated to the fundraising effort and it wasn’t until 1903, 16 years after her death, that the poem was engraved on a bronze plaque [3] and placed inside the pedestal as a memorial.

Perhaps pointing out the discrepancy about the wording of his speech (“the construction of a new statue” rather than “the construction of the new statue’s pedestal”) seems like nitpicking. But had a Republican president made such an error, innocent or otherwise, he’d have been pilloried in the “mainstream” press as an ill-educated boor. It reminds us of how the MSM ignored [4] Obama’s infamous “57 states” gaffe while on the campaign trail in 2008. Besides, it’s a lot more glamorous to talk about fundraising efforts for the statue itself, not the statue’s base.

It’s also somewhat galling to hear Obama speak of Lazarus’ Jewish heritage, considering his attitude toward Israel [5] — a nation created in the traditional Jewish homeland as a refuge for Jews once again escaping from Europe “to the sounds of gunfire” and seeking refuge to create new lives for themselves.

But here’s the icing on the cake: Obama made the claim [6] that “being an American is not a matter of blood or birth, it’s a matter of faith” and said that “we can’t forget that this process of immigration and eventual inclusion has often been painful. Each new wave of immigrants has generated fear and resentment towards newcomers, particularly in times of economic upheaval.” In other words, those of us who are against illegal aliens breaking our laws by sneaking in through our borders and other ports of entry are a bunch of racists who are looking to deprive these people of their livelihoods.

Ed Morrissey brings up another salient point [7]:

We know what Obama meant in this passage — a similarity to those who have expressed the notion that they were Americans before ever setting foot in the US, thanks to their love of liberty.  However, the people expressing that concept came to the US through legal immigration, and didn’t presume to break our laws in order to express their desire to live in freedom.  They understood that the aspirational concept of being American and the legal status of American citizenship (or even residency) are two completely different things.

Besides, if being an American is a matter of faith, then the religion in question is devotion to the rule of law.  We have created the laws by which we live through representative democracy within a framework set by our Constitution.  Breaking the law to get into the country isn’t an expression of faith; using Obama’s construct, it’s actually heresy.

But as I said recently [8], it’s not about enforcing current law to protect actual Americans — you know, those of us who do not base our citizenship on “faith” alone. It’s about courting a large group of people who, if given amnesty, would constitute a juicy voting bloc just waiting to be snapped up.

Clinton-Obama Rift Begins

Clinton-Obama Rift Begins

A little bit of daylight has begun to emerge between the Clintons and President Obama. As the president’s ratings drop — recently, particularly among liberals — the first signs are beginning to show of distance between the former rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.
 
As always with the Clintons, the signs are made evident by a carefully choreographed two-step in which they fill their separate roles, one as an outsider and the other as a loyal insider to the Obama administration. But never doubt that everything these two do is coordinated and orchestrated.
 
On Bill’s end, there emerge faint signs of disagreement with the president. Commenting on the Gulf oil spill, the former president warned against ratcheting up the rhetoric against BP noting that it is that firm’s expertise upon which the administration must rely to end the spill and terminate the slide in his ratings that it has triggered.
 
More confrontationally, Bill has endorsed Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff for the Democratic Senate nomination in Colorado even as the Obama White House is strongly backing Michael Bennet, the Democratic senator appointed to fill the seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
 
For Bill Clinton to challenge Obama so overtly to a proxy battle in the Colorado Senate primary is, indeed, remarkable considering his wife’s role in the administration.
 
Hillary, as befits her position — but not necessarily her personality — is more demure. While she takes no shots at her boss and does not cross him in any way, she is gradually expanding her purview beyond the foreign affairs mandate of her job.
 
It was Secretary of State Clinton who first released to the media the fact that Obama’s Justice Department would be suing the state of Arizona over their new anti-illegal immigration law. And it was also the secretary of state who noted that she felt that rich people were not paying their “fair share” of taxes in the U.S., while carefully explaining that she was only expressing her personal views.

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Calls for Steele’s resignation grow louder

Calls for Steele’s resignation grow louder

Rick Moran

The RNC chairman’s comments about Afghanistan were pretty clueless, but I think the growing chorus from GOP heavyweights for Michael Steele to step down is a cumulative effect of his verbal gaffes rather than this particular instance of idiocy.

Bill Kristol:

You are, I know, a patriot. So I ask you to consider, over this July 4 weekend, doing an act of service for the country you love: Resign as chairman of the Republican party.Your tenure has of course been marked by gaffes and embarrassments, but I for one have never paid much attention to them, and have never thought they would matter much to the success of the causes and principles we share. But now you have said, about the war in Afghanistan, speaking as RNC chairman at an RNC event, “Keep in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of Obama’s choosing. This was not something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.” And, “if [Obama] is such a student of history, has he not understood that you know that’s the one thing you don’t do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan?”

Needless to say, the war in Afghanistan was not “a war of Obama’s choosing.” It has been prosecuted by the United States under Presidents Bush and Obama. Republicans have consistently supported the effort. Indeed, as the DNC Communications Director (of all people) has said, your statement “puts [you] at odds with about 100 percent of the Republican Party.”

I think he should have resigned after the fund raising scandals last spring, but GOP insiders thought differently. Now he has not only undercut his own party, but has shown himself to be out of touch with candidates for office who support our mission in Afghanistan.

Steele will likely force the GOP to fire him, knowing how bad it would look for the party to fire one of the few visible blacks in a leadership position. He has banked on this before, but it might not save him this time.