Daily Archives: August 9, 2004

Bush’s Got the Bad-Boy Vote Sewed Up

Jim Sleeper in the LAT–

I am looking at a photo of the George W. Bush that you’ve probably never seen before. It’s a sports-action close-up of him at Yale, over a caption written prophetically by a fellow undergraduate more than 30 years ago: “George Bush delivers illegal, but gratifying right hook to opposing ball carrier.”

Never mind that this is a rugby game, alien to most Americans, and that the caption writer’s assessment wasn’t political. I think it explains one reason why Bush hasn’t slid in the polls since John Kerry reported for duty: He owes more than a little something to the “bad boy” vote that no pollster captures as well as this photo and caption do.

Read the rest.

Government by Cronyism

The Carson National Forest in New Mexico is home to alpine meadows, ‘200 species of birds and 60 types of mammals, including one of the state’s largest elk herds’, and is located right next door to the largest Boy Scout wilderness camp in the country. But all of that is less important to the Bush Admin than the fact that a Texas energy corporation that has given $2.3 million to Republican candidates and political action committees.

CARSON NATIONAL FOREST, N.M. — Overriding the opposition of the U.S. Forest Service and New Mexico state officials, a White House energy task force has interceded on behalf of Houston-based El Paso Corp. in its two-year effort to explore for natural gas in a remote part of a national forest next door to America’s largest Boy Scout camp.Forest Service officials discouraged efforts to drill in the Valle Vidal at least three times since the agency acquired the land in 1982, citing concerns about water pollution, wildlife and recreation if a large-scale energy project were approved.

But last week, the agency took the first step toward approving the giant energy company’s proposal to tap into 40,000 acres of alpine meadows in the Carson National Forest. The agency released a report that forecast a high probability of recovering gas from the area and laid out a scenario in which 500 wells could be drilled on the forest’s east side.

The Forest Service’s action has sparked angry opposition from many groups and officials, including New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat who was U.S. secretary of Energy during the Clinton administration. Such disputes are increasingly commonplace in Rocky Mountain states as critics of Bush administration energy policies accuse the White House of repeatedly targeting some of the most cherished wild places for development.

What, the ‘cowboy rancher’? How can that be? Hey, money talks, the environment walks.

[W]hen the Forest Service, in consultation with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, rejected El Paso Corp.’s request in 2002, the company appealed to the administration.”In this environment, we need new natural gas supplies more than ever,” wrote El Paso’s federal government affairs director to Robert W. Middleton, the director of the White House Task Force on Energy Project Streamlining. “We believe that the Valle Vidal Unit could be a vital new source of such supply. Consequently, we would very much appreciate anything you could do to help move this process forward in a timely manner.”

Copies of correspondence made available to The Times show that after El Paso representatives met with Middleton, he instructed the Forest Service to revisit the project.

According to Forest Service staffers at the agency’s Taos office, the [WH Council on Environmental Quality energy] task force began making calls almost every week, beginning in 2003, to inquire about the progress of the Valle Vidal project.”The task force came down through the channels. The change was based on ‘Let’s see what we can do for El Paso Energy,’ ” said Benjamin Romero, public affairs officer for Carson National Forest.

“The overall thought was they are forcing us into expediting it,” said another staffer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Joanna Prokup, New Mexico’s secretary of energy, minerals and natural resources, said the task force’s message to the Forest Service left little room for interpretation. “El Paso called [Washington] D.C., D.C. called the Forest Service. They’ve put it on the fast track.”

Prokup, whose agency oversees oil and gas operations in the state, opposes any drilling in the Valle Vidal, “both personally and professionally,” she said.

Tough luck, Joanna. The fix is in: a Bush Buddy and major contributor wants the US govt to give him 40,000 acres worth of national forest to turn into ‘an industrial landscape of roads, power lines, pipelines, wells, generators, compressors and waste-water ponds’? Well, he’s going to get it and that’s that. $$$2.3Mil$$$ gets you some consideration, you know. I guess that’s the going price for national forests in the Bush Admin. The country’s for sale to the corporations, didn’t you know that? Especially Texas corporations, most especially Texas energy corporations, and mostest especially of all, Texas energy corporations that contribute over $2Mil to Junior and the GOP. What’s 40,000 acres of pristine wilderness and a little ol’ Boy Scout camp compared to that? Get real.

Oil and gas are important, BIG BUCKS, get it? So the elk and the Boy Scouts can damn well go someplace else (until we decide there’s oil or gas there as well, in which case a few more measly $$Millions$$ will change hands and then they’ll have to move out of there, too). You people just can’t get your priorities straight, can you? It’s simple. All you gotta remember is this:

PROFITS FIRST! Everything else comes last…if at all. You better explain that to the Boy Scouts, because all that hooey they’re feeding them over there in Philmont–

Berger, the former Philmont Ranch staffer, described the Valle Vidal as a vivid outdoor classroom. He said that at a certain point on each backpacking trip, group leaders teach campers the Wilderness Pledge.”We tell them, ‘With a right comes a responsibility.’ With the right to use the land comes a responsibility to protect it.

–is giving them the total wrong idea about values in Bush America, completely bass-ackwards. The only responsibility anybody has to America is to make money, and it don’t much matter who pays the price as long as it’s not the corporations. ‘Get rich however you can or get the hell out of the way of the people who are’, that’s what you should be teaching them. That’s the American Way, and it’s about time they learned that.

‘Responsibility.’ Ptui!

And Another One Bites the Dust

Our old buddy Ahmad Chalabi is about to be arrested by the Iraqi ‘govt’ for–wait for it!–counterfeiting. Is there no end to this man’s talent? Embezzler, swindler, con-artist, double agent, and trouble-maker extraordinaire, Chalabi, the NWB Pin-Up Boy, just can’t seem to keep his hand out of the till or his ass out of a sling. He may have fooled the Neocon Wonder Boys (‘fooled’ them? he wrapped duct tape around his little finger and sold it to them as ‘gray gold’) but the Iraqis know him for what he is and they’re not having any.

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s interim government announced arrest warrants Sunday for special tribunal head Salem Chalabi, on murder charges, and former Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi, on counterfeiting charges.Ahmad Chalabi, a longtime opposition leader, was a Pentagon favorite in the years leading up to the Iraq war but fell out of favor in the spring over allegations that his political faction gave flawed intelligence to U.S. agents and leaked American secrets to Iran.

Um, guys? We’re waaaay past the ‘allegations’ phase at this point. If conning gullible idiots like Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz was a crime, Ahmad would be in Leavenworth right now.

Ahmad Chalabi and interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi also have frequently clashed over issues such as Allawi’s move to partially reverse the U.S.-sponsored “de-Baathification” process.Salem Chalabi, Ahmad’s nephew, has been in charge of the effort to try ousted President Saddam Hussein on war crimes charges. “They should be arrested and then questioned, and then we will evaluate the evidence, and then if there is enough evidence, they will be sent to trial,” Zuhair Maliky, Iraq’s chief investigating judge, said Sunday.

Spokesmen for the White House and the State Department said the charges were up to the Iraqis to deal with.

Supporters like Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz were not available for comment.

Really? Well, they wouldn’t be, would they? They’re all in the basement of Cheney’s new bunker with the doors locked and the blankets pulled up over their heads and ear plugs so they can’t hear the questions, chanting ‘Ahmad is a hero, Ahmad is a national treasure, Ahmad is King’ in unison while they whap each other blindly with rolled-up copies of the 9/11CR. Chalabi, of course, says it’s all a frame.

“I’m going to go back to confront those lies,” Ahmad Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress party, told CNN, speaking from Tehran. “There is no case here. I will go back to meet those charges head-on…. This judge should recuse himself because he went on many times in the American press attacking me personally on political grounds.”Ahmad Chalabi also accused Maliky of trying to derail Hussein’s trial. “He attacked the court, he attacked the trial of Saddam Hussein in the press,” Chalabi said.

The warrant against Ahmad Chalabi reportedly accuses him of counterfeiting old Iraqi dinars. But Chalabi told CNN that the former Governing Council’s Finance Committee, which he had headed, had been trying to stop the circulation of fake currency and had been in possession of counterfeit bills.

“All this was done under the auspices of the Finance Committee to stop the forgeries and to put a stop to the theft,” he said. “Without a doubt, I’m being set up…. They think they can hurt me by doing this, politically.”

Now that’s vintage Ahmad. He was trying to stop counterfeiting when he was circulating all those counterfeit bills. He’s really just a poor govt clerk who was simply doing his job and now he’s caught up in the middle of a ‘political’ fracas. Pity poor innocent him. They call that gall where I come from; in the next neighborhood over they call it chutzpah.

The charges against Salem are much more serious.

Word of the investigation against Salem Chalabi in connection with the May slaying of Haitham Fadhil, a Finance Ministry official who was delving into the Chalabi family’s real estate holdings, was first reported by The Times last week. Iraq’s top criminal court has been looking into allegations that Salem Chalabi threatened Fadhil days before he was killed.Fadhil, who was shot on May 28, had been preparing a report on reclaiming government-owned real estate. According to the source who spoke earlier with The Times, the document stated that members of the Chalabi family and the Iraqi National Congress had illegally seized hundreds of properties after the U.S.-led invasion last year. The property, the source said, included government offices, mansions and agricultural land.

Salem Chalabi, 41, denied involvement in the slaying and said the allegations were aimed at removing him as executive director of the Iraqi Special Tribunal, which will try top officials of Hussein’s government for crimes against humanity.

Well, he’s got his uncle’s way with an excuse, anyway. It’s all a plot to keep him from trying Saddam. Right.

I have been waiting almost a decade to see Chalabi’s inevitable fall from grace. I thought he was going to be outed, finally, five or six years ago when the CIA exposed the INC as a fraud and their ‘intelligence’ as either useless or a pack of lies. But then Newt Gingrich, Laurie Mylroie’s Champion Defender of the Faith and a man who has less experience with intelligence than your Aunt Millie’s cat, began using the American Enterprise Institute as a platform to attack the CIA as a bunch of incompetent hacks who wouldn’t know good intel if they fell in it. In early 2000, he made a speech at AEI in which he proposed the stovepiping of raw data that acolyte Doug Feith would later set up C-TEG to handle, zipping unconfirmed reports that fit the NWB’s preconceptions straight to the Veep’s office without the annoyance of checking to see if anything in them was accurate.

Junior’s ‘election’ and selection of the NWB All-Stars as his Defense Team saved Ahmad’s butt that time. Suddenly he was rehabilitated. Suddenly his lies weren’t lies any more, his unverified Fairy Tales became Holy Writ, not to be challenged, and Ahmad had conned the US Govt into invading Iraq (which wasn’t hard since that’s what they wanted to do anyway) with the idea that he and his intrepid band of expatriate liars–um, Freedom Fighters–would become the new Iraqi govt and hand control of the oilfields over to Chevron (Condi deserved a perk, I guess). It was all going to be so easy, so simple, a walk in a flower-strewn park.

It didn’t work out that way because fantasies never do when you try to make them real. Ahmad, the old chiseler, knew that. The overgrown boys in charge of the US Govt, who’d been shielded from harsh realities all their lives, didn’t have a clue. They were so pampered, so used to getting everything they wanted, that it never dawned on them that what they dreamed about was just that–a dream. But even if it had, in their privileged world Dreams Come True, so why not in Iraq?

Well, now we know. And may it be a lesson to us: Never expect Boys to think like Grown-ups. And for gawd’s-sake don’t give them the keys to the house when you’re gone, to the car on Saturday night, or to the govt anytime. They’re not mature enough to handle them responsibly.