Blunt’s Ethics: New Boss Same as the Old Boss

CREW news release:

[New GOP House Majority Leader Roy] Blunt’s ethics issues stem from his abuse of his position for the benefit of his family, including providing legislative assistance to his wife and son and using his clout to solicit contributions for another son’s campaign. Details of Rep. Blunt’s egregious activities can be found at

“Rep. Blunt’s appointment is a case of ‘new boss, same as the old boss.’ While Rep. Blunt may be new to the job, he has long followed Rep. DeLay’s pattern of ignoring campaign finance laws and ethics rules,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today. “Rep. Blunt’s favors for Phillip Morris and United Parcel Service, at a time when both companies were clients of his family members, and his funneling of campaign contributions to his son Matt’s campaign for Governor begs the question ‘with such an ethically-challenged record, is Rep. Blunt an appropriate choice for House Majority Leader’?”

Rep. Blunt also contributed the largest individual donation, $20,000, to Rep. DeLay’s Legal Defense Fund.


SEC Upgrades Frist Investigation


The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has given subpoena power to investigators looking into the stock sales by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, said sources familiar with the matter on Wednesday.

Moving to protect the Frist inquiry from any future criticism for not being thorough, the SEC changed its status to formal from informal and gave investigators subpoena power to force individuals to talk or to produce documents or e-mails.

Gropinator Vetoes California Gay Marriage Bill

Not a Kennedy: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – a serial philanderer and adulterer – has quashed the first-ever gay marriage bill passed by a state legislature:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today delivered on his promise to veto legislation that would have given same-sex partners the right to marry, but said he would not support any rollback of the state’s current domestic partner benefits.

The governor passed up a historic opportunity:

The legislature’s passage of AB 849 marked the first time that a legislative body in the United States has approved a bill that legalizes gay marriage.

Ironically, Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has said the ultimate decision about gay marriage in California will be left up to the courts.

Funny how judicial activism is just fine with Republicans when it suits there ends. (Bush Vs. Gore comes to mind.)

Pentagon Spying Slush Fund Exposed in Florida

The Pentagon’s brazen diverting of tax dollars and hiding it from Congress is getting scrutiny. Florida Senator Bill Nelson, pitted against GOP orphan Katherine Harris in 2006, is exposing the slush fund and demanding an investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which he is a member. St. Petersburg Times:

In her e-mail, Kingston coached colleagues on how to account for the additional money and avoid attracting attention to it in congressional briefings.

In a letter to Sen. John Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and ranking member Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, Nelson seemed incredulous…

“The fundamental issue appears that the Defense Department believes it is not only legal but accepted practice to operate using slush funds that deceive the Congress,” Nelson wrote. “Indications from the IG report are that the practice is widespread, condoned and even encouraged up and down the levels of management within the DOD.”

The Pentagon’s Special Operations Command, or SOCom, is run from Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base, and is in charge of all the really good spy stuff, according to its web site. The site also offers products, from calendars to SOCom watches, for sale. Doesn’t say where the proceeds go, but that’s along the lines of what Bill Nelson wants to know.

As usual, they’re trying to blame all wrongdoing on the flunkies:


Rumors: Brownie Was Enquirer Source – and President Cokehead?

Here’s a fun one – rumors are aswirl that Michael Brown was the source of the National Enquirer story that President Bush has started drinking again. He certainly has the motive but now we know he’s still on the payroll so it seems unlikely.

“Falling on your face all the time is simply not normal.”
– Digby

Also, I missed it last week but apparently President Bush turned up with another scrape on his face. As Digby said, “Falling on your face all the time is simply not normal. ”

At the end of Digby’s post, this caught my eye:

On the other hand, he’s flexing his jaw like crazy in a strange repetitive way. Too much coffee this morning, perhaps.

Coincidentally, we recently heard rumblings from inside D.C. journalism circles that President Bush is doing cocaine again.

Certainly begs the question: If the President wanted to score some blow, where would he get it? Does he call somebody discreet but connected? Or does he just have an eightball sent over from the DEA evidence lockers?

We did some digging around, and found this examination of the theory at Sadly, No!


Bush Message According to Borowitz: “I Look Like I Care”

If you missed this Borowitz Report, read it now:

In a televised speech to the nation last night, President George W. Bush praised the Federal government for responding swiftly to Hurricane Rita with well-crafted, high-quality photo opportunities showing him looking concerned, but said that the government needs to create the impression of concern even faster in the future.

Mr. Bush said the fact that the government provided the first images of him looking grave and engaged in the crisis even before Hurricane Rita slammed into the Texas and Louisiana coastline showed that it had learned the lessons of Hurricane Katrina.

“After Hurricane Katrina, it was hours before the American people saw the first photos of me furrowing my brow and looking serious,” Mr. Bush said. “But with Rita, we had high-quality images of me looking worried right from the get-go.”

While praising the swiftness of the government’s photo-op response to Rita, the president said that “much work still needs to be done” to ensure that the government will produce high-quality post-disaster photo-ops even faster in the future.

To that end, he said he was creating a new government bureaucracy, the Federal Emergency Image Management Agency, which would provide the president with lighting, cameras, and dramatic backdrops within minutes of any national emergency.

“In times of crisis, the president needs to send the American people the following message,” the president concluded. “Message: I look like I care.”

Karen Hughes Hears Criticism on ‘Listening Tour’

Off with their heads: Something went terribly wrong during Bush-woman Karen Hughes’ “listening tour” of Islamic countries. Horror of horrors – she actually heard something.

Apparently, the U.S. Embassy in Turkey failed to vet for proper idealogical purity the women it assembled for an audience with Herself:

A group of Turkish female activists confronted Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes yesterday with heated complaints about the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, turning a session designed to highlight the empowerment of women into a raw display of anger at U.S. policy in the region.

“This war is really, really bringing your positive efforts to the level of zero,” said Hidayet Sefkatli Tuksal, an activist with the Capital City Women’s Forum. She said it was difficult to talk about cooperation between women in the United States and Turkey as long as Iraq was under occupation.

At previous meetings, Hughes’ handlers had made sure that the audiences included women from the wealthy and elite of society – or of women who belonged to organizations funded by the United States. At this meeting, somehow (mischief by a career diplomat, perhaps?) some LIBERALS got in: