Archive for ‘corruption’

July 22, 2009

The Mother of All IG-Gate Updates

On the Internet, stuff gets scattered around so that you never see it all in one place. Today’s IG-Gate Update at the Hot Air Green Room pushes the story forward:

Behind closed doors on Capitol Hill last week, I asked a Republican source about the investigative efforts of Democratic staffers for the House Oversight Committee.
“Honestly?” the source said. “They’re useless.”
More than three weeks have passed since Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) joined the committee’s ranking Republican, California Rep. Darrell Issa, to launch an investigation into the case of former Amtrak inspector general Fred Wiederhold Jr. . . .
Despite the “grave concerns” expressed by Towns and Issa three weeks ago, however, Republican sources on Capitol Hill have complained that Democratic staffers on the Oversight Committee have not shown much zeal for the investigation. Sources say Democratic staffers have skipped meetings and conference calls to which they were invited by GOP investigators, who are attempting to work with Grassley’s staff in order to prevent unnecessary duplication of efforts. Sharing documents and scheduling interviews with witnesses, allowing Republican and Democratic investigators from both chambers an opportunity to question these witnesses, is a demanding logistical task. And GOP staffers complain that this task seems to be lacking in terms of bipartisanship. . . .

Read the whole thing, because toward the end, I make this point:

This is a huge story, involving multiple investigations, and 1,200 words here don’t even begin to summarize the 1,400 words there [at The American Spectator on Monday], to say nothing of the 400 words I did last night about the SIGTARP report.

Like I said, read the whole thing, and follow the links, because this is one big sprawling mother of a story. The best I can do in any single chunk is to bring in new facts, new quotes, new angles, and link to as much other the other stuff as possible. (That Green Room article includes more than 25 links, including the link to the Spectator article, which has more than a dozen links.)

If you’ll go to Bob Belvedere’s WWU-AM and scroll down, he’s got a huge IG-Gate link dump with my reporting, Byron York’s reporting, columns by Michelle Malkin, reports from ABC News, the Washington Post, etc. There’s a lot of stuff out there, in other words, and you need to see it all if you want to try to understand this thing.

“Try,” I say, because I don’t even claim to understand it all yet. My sources talk about things and sometimes I can tell they’re trying to drop me a hint of something they want me to write about, e.g., “Who Is Eleanor Acheson?” It’s important to ask the right questions, as one of my sources said.

On the one hand, there is the temptation to focus on one aspect of the story — the Washington Times keeps calling this “WalpinGate,” which is too narrow — but on the other hand, you’ve got to be careful not to waste time playing “connect-the-dots” with things that might not really be connected. Yes, there’s a pattern, but that doesn’t mean there’s a conspiracy.

Still, as I predicted on June 18 — right after Michelle Malkin’s first column on the Walpin case slapped me upside the head — this story isn’t going away anytime soon. June 18 was the same day IG Fred Wiederhold delivered his report to the Amtrak board and suddenly retired, and also the same day Chuck Grassley made public his letter about the International Trade Commission IG, Judith Gwynne.

So barely a week after Walpin got his June 10 quit-or-be-fired ultimatum from White House lawyer Norm Eisen, there were two other IG cases. Then we have the case of the watchdog who’s still hanging tough, SIGTARP, Neil Barofsky. The bailout watchdog showed yesterday how much trouble he can cause, and it’s therefore no mystery why Treasury’s giving Barofsky a hard time. (My money’s still on Barofsky as the IG most likely to get a Cabinet secretary sent to federal prison.)

IG-Gate is a big mother, you see. Because I’m on deadline for a print magazine article, there’s no time for me to do a complete aggregation now, but here are the major IG-Gate articles I’ve done so far:

Each of those items is chock-full of links to other items. As you can see, just six weeks into this story, there’s a lot of stuff out there — and, no doubt, a lot more to come. Just keep hitting the tip jar.

One of these days, I plan to hit the American Spectator with the mother of all expense reimbursement requests — “$800 for fireworks?” “Promotional activity. Perfectly legitimate, Al.” — but in the meantime, Daddy needs a new pair of shoes.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! Just in case you’re wondering why Professor Reynolds loves this story so much, I once again remind you to read the whole thing. The professor’s drooling at the prospect of The Mother of All Chris Dodd Updates.

Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IG-Gate Rule 3 memo, which offers more tasty watchdog morsels.

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July 16, 2009

Michelle Malkin: Best book evah!

And not just because, on Page 1, she begins by giving a well-deserved punk-smacking to David Brooks.

Culture of Corruption: Obama And His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Croniesbuy two copies and give one to a liberal friend, just to annoy him — is the most thorough, well-documented history of Democratic Party corruption since . . .

Hey, wait a minute. What’s this on Page 291?

No author is an island. Robert Stacy McCain, fellow ink-stained wretch-turned blogger and co-author of the essential Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party, provided invaluable writerly advice and counsel (every bit of which I took except . . .

Read the whole thing. I’m not authorized to give away all of Michelle’s secrets, but for a mere $35.50 $18.45 — our special Amazon discount! — you can learn the hidden truth!

Not only that, but if you’ll hit the tip jar and come back to this post later today, I’ll update with some fascinating exclusive background about Michelle and explore the Big Question: “Why does Allah hate me?”

June 20, 2009

Dude, where’s my $423,500?

NIH Funds $423,500 Study of Why
Men Don’t Like to Use Condoms

— Fox News

Look, I could have told them everything they wanted to know when I was 17.

Remember this $423,500 next time somebody tries to tell you that we should trust something — e.g., health care, energy, banking — to the the federal government.

April 22, 2009

Freddie Mac executive: Suicide?

Libertarian Republican blogger Eric Dondero says he’s getting bombarded with traffic after linking the story of the apparent suicide of Freddie Mac Chief Financial Officer David Kellermann:

David Kellermann, Acting Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Freddie Mac, was found dead this morning.
Fairfax County Police officials tell 9NEWS NOW they responded to his home around 5 a.m. after his wife alerted them to his apparent suicide.
Police say Kellermann, 41 years old, was found in the basement of the home.

UPDATE: Via Memeorandum, more news reports from Associated Press, the Washington Post and CBS News. BTW, please say a prayer for Mr. Kellerman’s family, who must not only deal with the loss of a loved one, but also will now find themselves at a center of a massive firestorm of media speculation.

Expect further updates . . .

March 7, 2009

‘Unfortunately, he’s a Democrat from Massachusetts . . .’

“. . . If killing a woman isn’t a career ender there, I doubt helping to lay down the bedrock of the financial collapse of America would be enough.”

February 22, 2009

Draft Schiff movement grows

Look at this “Draft Schiff” site, trying to recruit financial expert Peter Schiff as a Republican challenger to Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Corrupt) in 2010. Via Eric Dondero at Libertarian Republican, who’s been following the Connecticut drumbeats.

This phenomenon, I would suggest, is why some hawks in the GOP were wrong to diss the Ron Paul movement as harshly as they did. Paul was always solid on economic issues — much better than John McCain from a free-market perspective (or any other perspective, for that matter).

The Paulistas are jazzed on Schiff, and if you can knock out a Democratic kingpin like Dodd with a free-market guy like Schiff, anything else is gravy, baby. Crazy? It’s exactly crazy enough to work. Shiff was one of the first to predict the collapse of the bubble, and now he’s predicting the “stimulus” will lead to economic disaster.

Can you say, “libertarian populism“? Tea Party U.S.A.? With Congress pissing away borrowed money like there’s no tomorrow, now is the time to fire up that hard-core Spirit of ’94 message. If you want to argue foreign policy, fine — let’s do that after we return Chris Dodd to the private sector.

February 19, 2009

Earmarks? What earmarks?

BUMPED TO UPDATE: New details from Congressional Quarterly’s Jonathan Allen and Alexander Knott:

More than 100 House members secured earmarks in a major spending bill for clients of a single lobbying firm — The PMA Group — known for its close ties to John P. Murtha, the congressman in charge of Pentagon appropriations. . . .
In the spending bill managed by Murtha, the fiscal 2008 Defense appropriation, 104 House members got earmarks for projects sought by PMA clients, according to Congressional Quarterly’s analysis of a database constructed by Ashdown’s group.
Those House members, plus a handful of senators, combined to route nearly $300 million in public money to clients of PMA through that one law (PL 110-116). . . .
Indiana Rep. Peter J. Visclosky [D-Ind.], who serves on Murtha’s subcommittee and additionally is chairman of the subcommittee that allocates money for the Pentagon’s nuclear programs, earmarked $23.8 million for PMA clients in the fiscal 2008 defense spending bill.
His former chief of staff, Richard Kaelin, lobbies for PMA, as does Melissa Koloszar, a former top aide to defense appropriator James P. Moran , D-Va.
Moran sponsored $10.8 million for PMA clients, and Rep. Norm Dicks , D-Wash., another member of the subcommittee, sponsored $12.1 million.
Visclosky raked in $219,000 in campaign donations from PMA and its employees since 2001. That’s more money than he spent in three of his 13 elections.
Murtha’s political committees have collected $143,600 in contributions from PMA’s employees and its political action committee during the same period.
Moran ranks third, having taken $125,250 in PMA contributions since 2001.
Dicks is fourth at $91,600.

Yeah, so while the lede of the CQ story portrays this as a bipartisan scandal, in fact all four of the top PMA money-getters were Democrats. Sigh.

PREVIOUSLY:

There’s a potentially big story brewing on Capitol Hill. . . . Apparently 104 members of Congress of both parties — 42 Republicans and 62 Democrats — secured earmarks for a lobbying firm linked to Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) in a single bill. The earmarks were inserted in a bill Murtha controlled as the defense appropriations subcommittee chairman. The firm’s executives and clients are among Murtha’s biggest sources of campaign contributions.”

Huh. Good thing Nancy Pelosi ended that “culture of corruption,” right? Somebody should write a book.

February 19, 2009

J. Edgar Hoover, Bill Moyers and LBJ’s homophobic witch-hunt

Is the headline fair? Hey, it was fun to write:

[B]ack in 1964, [Jack] Valenti was a Houston ad executive newly installed at the White House as a top aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson. And J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI found itself quietly consumed with the vexing question of whether Valenti was gay.
Previously confidential FBI files show that Hoover’s deputies set out to determine whether Valenti . . . maintained a relationship with a male commercial photographer. . . .
Bill Moyers, a White House aide now best known as a liberal television commentator, is described in the records as seeking information on the sexual preferences of White House staff members. Moyers said by e-mail yesterday that his memory is unclear after so many years but that he may have been simply looking for details of allegations first brought to the president by Hoover. . . .

We distort. You decide.

February 18, 2009

Why we can’t talk about race

“[T]he need to confront our racial past and to understand our racial present, and to understand the history of African people in this country — that all endures. . . . Though race-related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about things racial.”
Eric Holder

Let’s start with the fact that some “talk . . . about things racial” is privileged and celebrated, whereas other “talk . . . about things racial” is streng verboten. Also, let’s talk about the fact that liberals are absolutely humorless and vindictive douchebags. Or better yet, let’s don’t talk about it at all, because I’m tired of talking about it, and would never introduce the topic except that it seems to be just about the only thing that liberals want to talk about while they hand each other million-dollar “genius” grants and congratulate themselves on how morally superior they are.

Bite me, Eric Holder, you corrupt thug.

Michelle Malkin has more.

UPDATE: “. . . aside from the occasional insinuation that McCain’s a bigot . . .” No, not me — this time.

UPDATE II: Lorie Byrd has an interesting reaction. She also has an interesting photo of Beyonce. NTTATWWT. (Wait a minute — is that Beyonce or Mariah? Eh, who cares? You’ve seen one diva, you’ve seen ’em all.)

UPDATE III: Linked by Kathy Shaidle, who informs me that her “tolerant” enemies consider her very existence a human-rights violation.

UPDATE IV: Eric Holder slanders America

UPDATE V: More courageous conversation!

February 18, 2009

California: Zimbabwe, U.S.A.

California crisis explained by Ed Morrissey:

Democrats . . . refuse to consider large-scale rollbacks of state government programs. Doing so would jeopardize their standing among key constituencies, especially public-sector unions like AFSCME and SEIU. Instead, they want to bulldoze Republicans into jacking up taxes even higher, making the state that much less competitive and forcing business relocation to increase.

“Capital flight” would be as apt as “business relocation” to describe the mass exit of investment from the West Coast Zimbabwe.

What is happening to California is very much like what Democrats and their union-goon constituency have done to many major cities, as chronicled in Chapter 8 of Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party. Entitled “Scene of the Crime: Creating the Urban Nightmare,” that chapter explains how Democratic politicians and public-employee unions conspired against taxpayers, as in this passage about New York City:

Meanwhile, the cost of government was further increased by public employee unions. The very existence of such unions turns the logic of the labor movement on its head. The purpose of unions is to represent the interests of workers against the interests of the owners of businesses. But government workers are ultimately employees of the taxpayers, so that government worker unions are fundamentally opposed to the public interest — in the words of one New York liberal activist, “not extracting a share of the profits but rather a share of the taxes.”
This inexorable logic has had a devastating impact on America’s cities. Under Democratic Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr., New York became the first U.S. city to grant collective bargaining rights to city employees. The public employee unions relentlessly negotiated for higher wages, shorter hours,and more benefits, including health insurance that did not require co-payments from the workers (a policy unheard of in the private sector). Contract negotiations were a farce, since unions used membership dues to fund political campaigns to elect pro-union candidates. “During labor negotiations, the unions would be on both sides of the table.” This translated into forcing governments (which is to say, taxpayers) to pay above-market labor rates. By 2005, journalist Steve Malanga observed, “Wages average a hefty 37 percent higher in the public sector, but the differences in benefits are even more dramatic. Local governments pay 128 percent more, on average, than private employers to finance workers’ health-care benefits, and 162 percent more on retirement benefits.”
Fewer private-sector jobs, more welfare recipients, more public employees, higher government costs, higher taxes — by the mid-1960s, Democratic policies had sent the nation’s biggest cities into a downward spiral that could only end in bankruptcy. For Detroit, already devastated by deadly riots, the worst days were ahead.

Well, if you want to read the sad story of what liberal Democrats did to Detroit, you can buy the book (or buy two, and give one to a liberal friend, just to annoy them). It’s a crying shame, I’ll tell you that much. The research for Chapter 8 relied heavily on Fred Siegel’s excellent book, The Future Once Happened Here, as well as Tamar Jacoby’s Someone Else’s House.

The devastation that Democrats and their union-goon cronies wrought in America’s cities is now being visited upon the erstwhile Golden State of California. The thievish, parasitical mentality of liberals, who view taxpayers only a source of plunder, eventually runs head-on into economic reality. Capital is portable, and predatory governments will eventually cause disinvestment, as investors seek opportunites elsewhere. As investment flees, private-sector employment stagnates and declines, and smart young people leave to find someplace where they have a chance to get ahead.

First the cities were destroyed by Democrats, now a once-prosperous state succumbs to Democratic policies. What next? Well, in the 2008 election cycle, labor unions gave $63 million to Democrats, including $2.3 million from AFSCME, $2 million from NEA, $2.4 million from SEIU, and you can read more here. Barack Obama’s campaign collected $450,000 from labor unions, Nancy Pelosi got $320,000 from unions, Steny Hoyer got $290,000, and in fact, all 20 of the top recipients of Big Labor largesse were Democrats.

What the Democrats did to Detroit, what they’re now doing to California, they will eventually do to the entire United States, if they can hold power long enough. Welcome to Zimbabwe, U.S.A.

UPDATE: Latest headlines from the former Golden State:

UPDATE II: See also: Stephen Green and Ed Driscoll.

UPDATE III: Just imagine how much revenue California could have reaped, and how many jobs could have been created, if not for the offshore drilling ban.

UPDATE IV: Commenter Zaine:

Wait, when Gray Davis was in charge, it was the Dems’ fault. Now that Arnold is in charge and losing the state, it’s still the Dems’ fault? Who’s in charge, or has Arnold’s terms of office been a complete waste?

You can research this, and I have, and if you follow the links, you’ll see that the California state employee unions — particularly CTA — have done everything they could to hinder or defeat Schwarzenegger. The unions have raised vast sums to run advertisements attacking any policy that would reduce the cost of government. And the unions’ Democratic allies corrupt puppets in the state legislature do their bidding without question. So trying to blame Arnold for the situation is like blaming the captain of a hijacked jet.

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