Category Archives: Grover Norquist

The Toad in the Triad: Cheney, Rove, and Norquist

Rove and Cheney

It took investigations and subpoenas and basically being hit over the head with a brick but it would seem that at long last the MSM is catching on to the way the Bush White House actually works: through Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. Between them, they’ve gamed the entire system, Rove domestically and Cheney and his Neocon Wonder Boys in foreign policy. The Libby trial pretty much outed Cheney as Bush’s Organ Grinder, and the Gonzo 8 Scandal is doing likewise, finally, for Rove. This editorial from yesterday’s NYT is typical.

Turn over a scandal in Washington these days and the chances are you’ll find Karl Rove. His tracks are everywhere: whether it’s helping to purge United States attorneys, coaching bureaucrats on how to spend taxpayers’ money to promote Republican candidates, hijacking the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for partisan politics, or helping to organize a hit on the character of one of the first people to publicly reveal the twisting of intelligence reports on Iraq.

Whatever the immediate objective, Mr. Rove seems focused on one overarching goal: creating a permanent Republican majority, even if that means politicizing every aspect of the White House and subverting the governmental functions of the executive branch. This is not the Clinton administration’s permanent campaign. The Clinton people had difficulty distinguishing between the spin cycle of a campaign and the tone of governing. That seems quaint compared with the Bush administration’s far more menacing failure to distinguish the Republican Party from the government, or the state itself.

This was, perhaps, the inevitable result of taking the chief operative of a presidential campaign, one famous for his scorched-earth style, and ensconcing him in the White House — not in a political role, but as a key player in the formation of policy. Mr. Rove never had to submit to Senate confirmation hearings. Yet, from the very start, photographs of cabinet meetings showed him in the background, keeping an enforcer’s eye on the proceedings. After his re-election in 2004, President Bush formally put Mr. Rove in charge of all domestic policy.

(emphasis added)

Which meant not just politicizing every area of govt but selling it off to the highest bidders and making sure members in good standing of the corporatocracy were running the agencies that were supposed to prevent them from ripping us off or killing us. The results have been predictably disastrous for the country but an undeniable boon for the US oligarchy.

From the very beginning, Rove’s overarching aim was to create a one-party government strikingly similar to Soviet-era Russia in which the Republicans controlled everything forever and all the goodies flowed to them and their constituency. He damn near pulled it off thanks to a frightened Democratic party beholden to pretty much the same interests and a lazy press that liked its job handed to it on a silver platter and fawned over power-brokers like Rove for the sake of its career.

Much of the deep-seated dysfunction of our national press is the result of the fact that many of our national journalistic elite simply do not believe in the real purpose of political journalism. But it is also true that even the more earnest and well-intentioned ones are enmeshed in a culture that produces dysfunctional, deeply biased and corrupt journalism, and it will just naturally be very difficult, perhaps close to impossible, for those who are such a vital part of that culture — and whose careers depend upon thriving within it — to view its operating principles as anything other than normal, proper and even honorable, even when they are anything but.

OK, we know all that. It’s been beat to death the last few months after years of being ignored. So now we know Cheney and Rove have been running an invisible govt behind a figurehead Prez whose main job until now has been to look good in photo ops, and that Cheney’s function was to implement the neocon PNAC’s plan to turn America into an empire and Rove’s function was creating a Soviet-style one-party state. Can we quit now?

No, not quite yet. You see, there’s one dot left to connect. Continue reading

The Toad’s Link to Terrorists

As we all know by now, the radcons are hopelessly single-minded when it comes to defending their own and, as the increasingly indefensible radcon defense of torture and the execrable legal attempts to justify it show, it doesn’t much matter how badly they have to beat up on logic, truth or common sense to do it. But even they, it turns out, draw the line when it comes to Grover Norquist’s support for Islamic terrorists.

A year or so ago, Frank Gaffney, conservative and former Reagan defense official, wrote an article that laid out in detail Norquist’s connections to Islamic terrorists. Arch conservative David Horowitz–a right-wing-whacko who seriously believes, and has written, that liberal leaders are actually members of a Fifth Column who ‘have worked for half a century with the agents of America’s communist enemies and with totalitarian states like Cuba and the former USSR’, and a purported friend of Norquist’s–decided to print Gaffney’s article at his right-wing online mag, Front Page, even though it was highly critical of his friend and Gingrich protege. Radcon uber-blogger Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) noted its importance and wondered what was taking the left so long to pick up on it. (It may have escaped Glenn’s mind but back in December we were a little more concerned about another of Junior’s little peccadillos–fomenting a pre-emptive and unnecessary war with Iraq using lies, distortions, and faked evidence.) What had them so fired up they’d turn against one of their own? This:

[Norquist’s front, The Reagan Legacy Project, was e]nabling a political influence operation to advance the causes of radical Islamists [that] targeted most particularly…the Bush Administration. The growing influence of this operation–and the larger Islamist enterprise principally funded by Saudia Arabia–has created a strategic vulnerability for the nation, and a political liability for its President.

The core of Gaffney’s problem with The Toad was his close relationship with Abdurahman Alamoudi, a Saudi with strong ties to the Royal Family and a ‘self-described supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah’ who had links to a number of Islamic groups known to be funneling money from rich Saudi businessmen to terrorist fronts. In November, for example, Alamoudi had been arrested for trying to send $340,000 allegedly from Libya’s Moammar Qaddaffi through a bank in Syria to a number of Saudi accounts linked to radical Wahhabist groups.

But that was frosting on the cake. Norquist’s contacts in the radical Islamic community were a lot wider than one man with a Qaddaffi connection. In 1997, Grover set up something called The Islamic Institute. Its office address is the same as his ATR office (Americans for Tax Reform, the anti-tax group that is the core of Norquist’s political power)–it’s a desk in his suite. That desk is worth an estimated $250,000; that’s how much has been ‘donated’ to the Islamic Institute over the past 6 years–that we know of–through sources ranging from Alamoudi ($35,000+) to Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Sami Al-Arian ($10,000+) to the Safa Trust ($35,000) and the International Institute of Islamic Thought ($11,000). The last two groups were, along with a number of others, raided in March of 2003 on charges that they were ‘supporting terrorist financial networks’.

The Islamic Institute is little more than a front for The Toad to do what he does best–sell access to Republican power brokers. What disturbed Gaffney was that I-I’s focus was squarely on the WH. From Gaffney’s point of view, Grover was using his status as the premier Republican power-broker to mount an ‘influence operation’ designed to bring selected Islamic representatives into the Bush inner circles, and he was uneasy that those ‘representatives’ mostly seemed to be under suspicion by anti-terrorist groups for their radical Islamic affiliations.

For instance, Khaled Saffuri, the nominal Chairman of I-I, had been active in ‘Muslim support groups’ in Bosnia where he was suspected of funneling money from Afghanistan–which the Taliban still controlled at the time–to Islamic revolutionaries in Bosnia. Once in the US, he had immediately joined Alamoudi’s Muslim World League, first established in the 60’s by the Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs, and served on its board for three years. He is known to be, and has admitted, financially supporting the families of suicide bombers (traditionally the function of whichever group had planned the operation in which they died), and he denounced the US govt for ‘shutting down the Holy Land Foundation, a Saudi charity that the[y had] determined was funneling American Muslims’ donations to terrorist organizations overseas.’

In short, The Toad is playing footsie with some very heavy international gamers, providing them WH access in exchange for ‘donations’ in large amounts from their various front groups (in addition to the $35K gift to I-I, Alamoudi has also payed over $50,000 to ‘Janus-Merritt Strategies, a lobbying firm with which Norquist was associated at the time’, for services rendered; what exactly those services were remains unclear).

When The Toad found out about Gaffney’s article, he was, not to put too fine a point on it, livid.

Gaffney’s remarks enraged Norquist, who responded in an open letter to conservative activists. “There is no place in the conservative movement for racial prejudice, religious bigotry or ethnic hatred,” Norquist wrote. “We have come too far in the last 30 years in our efforts to broaden our coalition to allow anyone to smear an entire group of people. . . . The conservative movement cannot be associated with racism or bigotry.”

[Later] he refused to back away from his incendiary charges about Gaffney, on one occasion calling him a “sick little bigot.” “I’m sorry,” Norquist said. “His whole life screams of bigotry, and what he said is just part of a pattern.” Gaffney could have held higher-up administration staffers responsible for choosing who attends White House briefings, Norquist argued, but instead “decided to single out the Muslim.” He continued: “Frank Gaffney and Osama bin Laden share the same view on the relationship between the United States and Islam. I agree with the president in rejecting Osama bin Laden’s and Frank Gaffney’s worldview.”

Apart from making money by selling them access, Norquist’s interest in bringing them forward has to do with precisely what you might think: he believes American Arabs are a potentially powerful Republican voting bloc. Byron York of the National Review:

Norquist has argued for years that Muslims should be a vital part of the Republican party. In a June 2001 article in The American Spectator, he wrote that Muslims are “a faith-based, naturally conservative community,” noting, for example, that majorities of Muslims oppose abortion and support school choice. Citing surveys by Muslim groups, Norquist claimed that in the 2000 presidential election George W. Bush won more than 70 percent of the Muslim vote nationwide. In Florida, Norquist said, Muslims favored Bush over Al Gore by a 20 to 1 margin: “The margin of victory for Bush over Gore in the Muslim vote was 46,200, many times greater than his statewide margin of victory. The Muslim vote won Florida for Bush.” (And, Norquist did not need to add, the presidency itself.)

Unfortunately, York continues, even if Grover genuinely believes that, he’s talking through his hat.

Norquist’s numbers are open to serious question. Pollster John Zogby says there is not a great deal of information on Muslim voting, but “my data indicates that it was tilted Democratic in 2000. It went more for Gore and Nader than for Bush.” Michael Barone, author of the authoritative Almanac of American Politics, argues that it is impossible to draw an accurate picture of Muslim voters, given the lack of exit-poll information. As for the claim that Muslims gave Bush his winning margin, Barone says simply, “Any 538 voters in Florida can claim credit for winning the presidency for Bush.”

A good point–if you leave out the SCOTUS.

So we come back, as always, to ‘show me the money’. Norquist is clearly far less concerned about the questionable contacts of his Muslim benefactors than he is about the payments that flow into his pockets through them from the Saudi government. Does The Toad know he’s being used by extremists to buy favors, perhaps even protection, from the Bush Administration? And if he knows, does he care? This is, after all, the man who is famous for saying that he makes his living from ‘the 700,000 idiots who think [I’m going to] repeal the 16th Amendment legalizing income tax.’ If he has so few qualms about using his own people to enrich himself personally, why would it bother him to use somebody else’s?

Next up in the Norquist Saga: The Toad and Money-Laundering

Grover Norquist: Reconstructing The Toad

I don’t usually call people names on this site but today I’m going to make an exeption.

Grover Norquist is a toad.

A right-wing wacko so far out on the fringes that if he takes one more step he’ll fall off the Cliffs of Sanity into the Void, Grover has been a GOP political op since his college days. He has never–NEVER–had a real job, never had to face any form of observable reality, never had to demonstrate that any of his loopy theories have even the most marginal real-world validity, and never to my knowledge said one thing that didn’t add evidence for the view that he’s clinically crazy as a bedbug.

  • “We will hunt [these liberal groups] down one by one and extinguish their funding sources.# My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
  • “I want to reduce the size of government in half as a percentage of GNP [gross national product] over the next 25 years. We want to reduce the number of people depending on government so there is more autonomy and more free citizens.”
  • “Every time you cut programs, you take away a person who has a vested interest in high taxes and you put him on the tax rolls and make him a taxpayer. A farmer on subsidies is part welfare bum, whereas a free-market farmer is a small businessman with a gun.”
  • “In the old days, George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse doorway and told children they could not come in. Today, the foes of school choice stand in the doorway and say to the grandchildren of George Wallace’s victims, ‘You cannot get out.'”

He is an extremist’s extremist, a radical conservative’s idea of radical. Continue reading

The Weekly Best-Of List

Best Name for a Security Company Supplying Mercenaries to Iraq: Custer Battles.

Best Quote of the Week on Fallujah:

[A]s another senior officer put it, “We have the potential to turn this into the Alamo if we get it wrong.”

Clearest Explanation of the Bushian World View: Grover Norquist

“Americans don’t care about the rest of the world. If they mess with us, go blow them up, and don’t bother me, y’know—don’t sit and talk about it all day. You went out and blew up the nice Taliban. Good. O.K. Next. What are you doing for me?”

Best Bonehead Political Move of the Week: Dick Cheney’s attack on Kerry’s military record. (Kerry promptly released 120 pages of glowing recommendations from his superiors and began to question–finally!–Chicken George’s non-service).

Most Orwellian Moment: The White House “Presidents” webpage. (see Seattle’s post just below)

Best Example of the Way the PATRIOT Act Is Being Used: The trial of an Islamic grad student because he maintained websites the govt didn’t care for.