Prosecutors Say GOP Rep Duke Cunningham ‘Demanded and Received’ Bribe

San Diego Union-Tribune:

Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham “demanded and received” a bribe from a Pentagon contractor who paid far above market value for the congressman’s Del Mar-area home in 2003, according to court documents filed yesterday by federal prosecutors.

Without citing details, prosecutors said in the documents that Cunningham sold the house in return for his influence in Congress, where he serves on the House subcommittee that oversees Pentagon spending,

The allegation is the most specific and damaging that has been made public since a federal investigation was launched into the powerful Rancho Santa Fe Republican’s dealings with defense contractors.

Poll: Bush Has Plummeted 12% in Gallup Since March

The biggest drop is among independents, among whom only 32 percent still support Mr. Bush.

The Gallup poll has historically tilted in favor of President Bush, giving him slightly higher numbers than most other surveys, with the shining exception of the Fox poll – natch!

But in the latest Gallup results out today, the president has dropped to a record 40 percent approval rating. His previous low in the Gallup was 44 percent last month – and his approval has dropped 12 percentage points since March.

Regular readers of the PR know that we feel strongly that any number above about 30 percent is too high. (The 30 percent represents the recalcitrant Right who are deluded beyond logic and reason. This same group gave Nixon a 25 percent approval at the time of his disgrace.)

The new poll shows a slight erosion even among the president’s base. It’s down from the 90’s to 82 percent. The biggest drop, however, is among independents, among whom only 32 percent still support Mr. Bush.

On the general question of how things are going in the country, only 34 percent of Americans are satisfied, with 62 percent dissatisfied.

How Does It Honor the Dead to Sacrifice More Young Lives for an Unworthy Cause?

“One … phrase that has become higher profile with Mr. Bush, the repetition about the dead, that we will honor their sacrifice by completing their mission, was the exact terminology today. Is there a point at which one of the protesters, even if it was only a dozen protesters, or a Democrat, or both, comes out and says, Hey, wait a minute, that phrase basically says, We‘re going to honor their sacrifice by sacrificing more of them?”

Keith Olbermann

MoDo: War Flounders on While Bush Is Stymied by Arbitrary Infexibility

“W. says he can’t set a deadline to bring the troops home. But he started the war on an artificial deadline; he declared a ‘Mission Accomplished’ end to major hostilities on an artificial deadline; he was inflexible on deadlines for handing over Iraqi sovereignty and holding elections. And he tried to force the Iraqis to produce a constitution on his deadline when the squabbling politicians of the ethnic and religious factions hadn’t even reached consensus on little things like ‘Do we want one country?’

Maureen Dowd

California Attorney General Charges Drug Companies with Fraud

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) has charged the top brands in Big Pharma with bilking the state out hundreds of millions of dollars over the past decade by overcharging the state’s taxpayer-funded medical service.

In the charge, Lockyer accuses the pharamceutical companies of systematically defrauding the state’s taxpayers by billing the Medi-Cal system up to 10 times the price they charge private pharmacies and hospitals.

Medi-Cal serves California’s elderly and other citizens who are unable to afford private insurance. Its $34 billion annual budget is derived from both state and federal taxes. Drug costs make up about $4 billion of Medi-Cal’s annual budget.

Lockyer’s filing included charges against Abbott Laboratories, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Amgen, Baxter Healthcare, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Mylan Laboratories, Novartis, Schering-Plough and about 30 other companies.

How Many Bush Officials Does It Take to Screw in a Light Bulb?

Answer: Twelve.

  • One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed, despite utter darkness in the room;
  • One to hire a male prostitute to pretend to be a journalist and write an article supporting the administration’s opposition to changing the light bulb;
  • One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed;
  • One to create a faith-based initiative to curse the darkness, rather than screwing in a new light bulb;
  • One to finally admit that the light bulb needs to be changed, while claiming that the adminstration had favored changing the light bulb all along;
  • One to blame the discrepancy in the record that clearly shows the adminstration had opposed changing the light bulb on the Librul Media’s distortion of their position;
  • One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb;
  • One to take millions of dollars in contributions from lobbyists for light bulb manufacturers;
  • One to write legislation that sends light bulb manufacturing jobs overseass, putting thousands of Americans out of jobs and raising the price of light bulbs 10,000 percent – that passes through the GOP Congress on a party line vote;
  • One to blame the loss of light bulb jobs on gay marriage, thereby gaining the votes for the GOP of thousands of out-of-work light bulb workers;
  • One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Halliburton for screwing in the new light bulb;
  • And finally one to write a speech that President Bush reads from a teleprompter in which he confuses Americans about the difference between screwing in a light bulb and screwing up the country.

Source: Emails making the rounds, with a bit of our own special flavor

Daily Show Examines Bush’s Exit Strategy – for Getting Out of Answering Tough Questions

If President Bush spent as much time preparing for governing the nation as he does memorizing weasely tricks to help him avoid answering reporters’ questions, he might one day become a third rate president. Instead, he is a master of media manipulation – and the worst president in the history of the United States.

Via Journalists Against Bush’s Bullshit, here’s a brilliant analysis of how the president avoids governance and accountability by using carefully practiced verbal perambulations, by the leading provider of insight into modern politics, Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” (August 25, 2005) :

STEWART: (Bush) has developed a sophisticated exit strategy … for getting out of questions about the war. It’s a strategy known as repetition, or “repetition.” It’s one he’d used with great success many times before.

“But Jon,” you ask, “how does it work?” … The first step is to let people know you’re aware of their questions. Then the president can reduce these nuanced concerns into a simplistic misguided concern that he can easily refute.