• No Sweat
  • Thursday, December 28, 2006

    Republican Corruption: From the Interior Department to Shell

    Gale Norton: Shilling for Shell

    This is how the Bush Administration works: if you spend some time helping destroy government regulations from within, you will be rewarded with a nice, cushy industry job which will allow you to help industry exploit the crony capitalism Bush engages in.

    Gale Norton was a protégé of James Watt, the Reagan Interior Secretary who said publicly that we need to use up all our resources because the second coming is at hand. She had ties with the Chlorine Chemical Council, National Coal Council, Chemical Manufacturers Association, and the National Mining Association, all of whom relied on her to help escape environmental laws. As a lawyer, she argued that many industries had a "right to pollute." Coming with this "qualification," Norton was appointed by Bush as Sec. of the Interior. In this position she not only pushed as hard as possible for all industries to have a right to pollute as much as they wanted, but she also violated treaties with Native Americans to divert water they had treaty rights to.

    Gale Norton resigned as Interior Secretary in 2006. Now, Gale Norton has been hired by Shell Oil.

    Think about this: someone who Bush appointed as caretaker of America's environment is not hired by Shell Oil. This is TYPICAL of right wing America. It isn't about doing a good job, it's about greed and corruption. It isn't about government as a responsible shepherd, but rather misusing government to help cronies and benefit the richest CEOs. It isn't even about America, it is about corporate profits and looting the American economy. This is just one more example of the kind of crony capitalism that Bush favors which uses government to subvert the market economy and benefit buddies of high placed Republicans.

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    NY State: FBI Investigates Republican Senate Leader

    I have written about corruption among the NY State Congressional Republicans. But NY State Republicans seem more and more rotten to the core. Seems that NY State Senate Republican Leader, Joe Bruno, one of the infamous "three men in a room" of NY State politics, is under investigation by the FBI. From

    The majority leader of the New York state Senate announced that the FBI is investigating him and his private consulting business.

    Joseph Bruno, who will be the state's top Republican in January, said Tuesday he was told by the FBI in late spring that he was being investigated. The 77-year-old lawmaker said he doesn't know exactly what investigators are looking for, but he has cooperated...

    Bruno, who became majority leader in 1994, said he decided to make the announcement after learning news of the investigation had been leaked to reporters.

    "I wanted to be up front and assure that I have nothing to hide and avoid speculation, unfounded rumors, and distortions," said Bruno...

    Notice that he only wanted to be up front AFTER the news got leaked to reporters. In other words, he only likes being up front when he absolutely has no option to keep it hidden. There's more:

    Bruno is listed as a consultant to Capital Business Consultants LLC, according to his legislative ethics filing. He said the company provides marketing, business strategy and business development.

    "My interests outside the Legislature have all been cleared and approved by the Legislative Ethics Committee," Bruno said. "They're going into the background over the last five or six years into the relationships of my business interest."

    Details remain sketchy, but Bruno seemed nervous at the press conference where he announced it. And it seems very likely that the investigation will have something to do with Bruno's VERY close ties with his crony, Jared E. Abbruzzese. Details from before the FBI investigation was revealed can be found here.

    Of course Democrats in NY State have their own ethical problems, as I have outlined before. Clarence Norman (in jail) and Alan Hevesi (under investigation) are both examples of Democrats under a cloud. Of course Clarence Norman was indicted and jailed by a Democratic DA and many Democrats are calling for Hevesi to resign. Will we be hearing Republicans calling for the resignation or indictment of their own corrupt members? So far they haven't! So far, across the nation, the Republican Party defends its most corrupt members. Pity Republicans are so much more tolerant of corruption even than Democrats.

    Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    Sleazy Right Wing Nut Cases: Rupert Murdoch, Bernie Kerik and Judith Regan

    I all seemed so perfect! How could it possibly go wrong? You get Bernie Kerik's lover, Judith Regan, to edit a thinly veiled tell all book by OJ Simpson and get Rupert Murdoch and Fox to market it to sleaze crazed Americans. Perfect!

    You had the tough Bernie Kerik...the sleazy Judith Regan...and of course you had Rupert Murdoch trying to create a new wave of OJ hysteria for his own profit. Clearly it is right-wing Republican family values at it's best, right?

    But somehow, this went too far for most Americans...and even for anti-Semitic, lying, splotchy old Bill O'Reilly. There was a mini rebellion at Fox that led to Murdoch backing out, leaving Regan high and dry to once again look like the sleazy one. (And for those who don't know about it, Judith Regan is the woman Bernie Kerik had a year-long affair with, kicking Ground Zero workers out of an apartment overlooking Ground Zero so they would have a place to meet).

    So what does Regan do? She takes the Mel Gibson/Saudi Arabia defense: Blame the Jews.

    Now, at the risk of fueling her paranoia, since I am Jewish, I just want to say that blaming a "Jewish Cabal" for the collapse of the Kerik-Regan-Murdoch-Simpson Sleaze Scheme and for Regan's getting fired from Harper Collins is just plain insane. At least Mel Gibson had the decency to admit he was drunk and stupid when he blamed Jews for his getting arrested. Regan is just plain nuts and yet this is the woman Kerik and Murdoch loved so much.


    In an explosive telephone argument that led to her firing, publisher Judith Regan allegedly complained of a "Jewish cabal" against her in the book industry and stated that Jews "should know about ganging up, finding common enemies and telling the big lie."

    A spokesman for Regan's former employer, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., told The Associated Press on Monday that the remarks were made during a conversation between Regan and HarperCollins attorney Mark Jackson, who took notes. At the time, the two were discussing the future of a controversial new novel about baseball star Mickey Mantle.

    The spokesman, Andrew Butcher, released the comments in response to a threatened libel suit from Regan's legal representative, Hollywood attorney Bert Fields, who had called earlier reports of anti-Semitic remarks "completely untrue" and added that the publisher "didn't have an anti-Semitic bone in her body."

    So...who's lying? Murdoch? Regan? SOMEONE is lying. And given the fact that all people involved here are lying scum, I don't see any way of telling whose BS stinks the most.

    And lest you think Regan may be feeling more reluctant about publishing sleazy books, here is what the argument that led to the whole tzimis was all about:

    Butcher said that Regan and Jackson were discussing an upcoming Regan book, Peter Golenbock's "7: The Mickey Mantle Novel," in which the author, imagining he is Mantle, confesses in detail to a life of sexual exploits, including a tryst with Marilyn Monroe.

    With Mantle's family and fans of the former Yankee enraged, Regan and Jackson of HarperCollins were discussing the timing and content of the book, according to Butcher. Regan became enraged by what she believed was HarperCollins' lack of support, and lashed out.

    She complained that Jackson, HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman, HarperCollins Executive Editor David Hirshey and longtime literary agent Esther Newberg were a "Jewish cabal," Butcher said.

    What a bunch of scum. And THESE are the people who want us to believe they represent all that is moral in America? Give me a break!

    Sunday, December 10, 2006

    Corruption Wins the Day in Louisiana

    I have railed over and over again about how disgusting Republican corruption is. And I still maintain that Republican corruption is far wider spread and far worse than Democratic corruption, and has worse consequences such as the death toll in New Orleans after Katrina because Bush appointed an incompetent crony, "good job Brownie," a failed race horse inspector, as head of FEMA. Or in the case of 3000 dead American soldiers in Iraq for a war that basically does no good to anyone except the war profiteers, Exxon/Mobil, Bechtel and Dick Cheney's favorite company, Halliburton. In fact, from what I can tell, the level of corruption we see today under Bush and the Republicans rivals that of the Harding administration, an administration KNOWN for it's corruption.

    Democrats aren't sacrificing American lives for profit the way Republicans do. But that doesn't mean we are completely innocent of corruption. Anyone who has read my pieces on Brooklyn politics knows I also fight against Democratic corruption. But Democratic Congressman William Jefferson (LA-2) is one of those very rare cases where a Democrat reaches a Republican-scale of corruption.

    And the voters in LA-2 have just re-elected him despite his being caught red handed taking bribes. He had a freezer FULL of bribe money and is very likely going to end up in jail. But the voters re-elected him.

    Jefferson won re-election with 57% of the vote.


    Although voters apparently are giving him the presumption of innocence he asked for, his victory may further cloud the perception of New Orleans as a place that tolerates political corruption. Since Katrina, the city's boosters have made changing that image a top priority as New Orleans tries to win more help in its recovery.

    City Councilman Oliver Thomas said Jefferson's victory will make the recovery from Katrina much more difficult. "People are watching this election all around the country and I can only imagine what they are thinking. It will be very difficult to go back to them and ask them to trust us with the money we need here."

    Susan Howell, a University of New Orleans political analyst, said the federal probe will hamper Jefferson and Louisiana's national image. "He's going to go back into Congress and essentially be ineffective. I think it will be terrible for this state's image, and it was already not very good."

    Bob Moffet, president of the Alliance for Good Government, a citizens group that endorsed Carter, was more direct. "This is almost like putting a stake through the heart. Who would want to come here and do anything? "You might as well pardon Edwin Edwards and let him and let him run for office."

    Corruption was a prime issue in the defeat of Republicans across the nation in 2006. Democrats need to take that lesson to heart. We cannot afford to tolerate corruption among our ranks. I for one, condemn the actions of William Jefferson even though he is a fellow Democrat. I supported his opponent (also a Democrat) Karen Carter. Sadly, corruption seems to have won the day. Why doesn't Congressman Jefferson just go all the way and switch parties. He will be far more at home among Republicans Tom DeLay (indicted), Jack Abramoff (in jail), Bob Ney (plead guilty) and Randy Cunningham (in jail).

    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    The Latest Halliburton Corruption

    This didn't even get it's own article in the NY Times but rather was buried at the bottom of an article on 4 marines dying in a helicopter crash. Really, you have to scroll down almost to the end to find it. It turns out that Halliburton has been awarding subcontracts based on bribes:

    In Rock Island, Ill., the director of operations for a Saudi company that operates dining facilities for American troops in Iraq and Kuwait was sentenced Friday in the Federal District Court for the Central District of Illinois to 51 months in prison for his involvement in a kickback scheme, according to a news release issued by a federal prosecutor’s office there.

    In the scheme, Mohammad Shabbir Khan, operations director of the Tamimi Global Company, paid kickbacks to an employee of Kellogg Brown & Root Services to secure two dining subcontracts valued at $21.8 million, the statement said.

    A United States district judge also ordered Mr. Khan to pay a fine of $10,000 and restitution to the United States government of $133,860, the amount he paid the Kellogg Brown & Root employee, the statement said.

    The judge also sentenced the former Kellogg Brown & Root employee, Stephen Lowell Seamans, to 12 months in prison for his role in the scheme, the statement said.

    Mr. Seamans was also ordered to pay restitution of $380,130 for that and another kickback scheme, according to the statement.

    Kellogg Brown & Root is a subsidiary of Halliburton. So Tamimi Global got its subcontract by BRIBING an employee of a Halliburton subsidiary.

    But this is only the tip of the iceburg. Halliburton Watch covers the corruption of Cheney's favorite company in some detail, including showing graphs of Halliburton profits compared with American soldiers killed in Iraq. Has there ever been a more disgusting example of war profiteering?