Monday, September 3, 2012

Does Sen. Dianne Feinstein Pay Bribes to Sen. Boxer to Keep Quiet About Feinstein's Crimes?


DEMS, THE BANKSTER-OWNED PARTY of ILLEGALS, HAS LONG USED A DIRTY LITTLE DEAL OF SIPHONING OFF CAMPAIGN BRIBES FROM THE SPECIAL INTERESTS THEY SERVE TO FAMILY MEMBERS.
 
FEINSTEIN’S LAP-BITCH, THE UTTERLY WORTHLESS BARBARA BOXER BEGAN ELECTED OFFICE WITH NOT ONE CENT. NOW SHE HAS MILLIONS!
 
SHE TAKES HER BRIBES AND SALTS THEM AWAY AS “CONSULTANT FEES” TO HER SON, OAKLAND LAWYER, DOUG BOXER.
 
ONE OF BOXER’S BIGGEST BRIBSTERS IS FEINSTEIN’S PIMP HUSBAND’S, RICHARD C. BLUM. HE LIKES THE FACT BOXER VOTES FOR ANYTHING THAT FEINSTEIN IS PUSHING IN THE SENATE THAT WILL PUT MORE MONEY IN BLUM’S POCKETS!
 
“I’ll whore for FEINSTEIN and more campaign bribe “consultant fees”!” Senator Barbara “FEINSTEIN’S LAP-BITCH” BOXER
 
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D‑Calif.), for example, paid her son Douglas $320,409.17 in campaign donations through his company Douglas Boxer and Associates from 2001 to 2006, CREW found. Douglas Boxer is a lawyer and a 10‑year veteran of her political team, a Boxer spokesman said.
BOXER DID RUN FOR OFFICE, AND WAS REELECTED BY ILLEGALS DUE TO HER OBAMA – FEINSTEIN – PELOSI PLATFORM OF NO E-VERIFY, NO WALL, OPEN BORDERS, DREAM ACTS, AND NO ID REQUIRED OF ILLEGALS VOTING!
To no one's surprise, Boxer is running for re-election
This just in from the state Democratic Party convention: Sen. Barbara Boxer announced she's running for re-election in 2010.
Now a lot of people are probably scratching their heads and wondering if they'd missed something: Wasn't she already running for re-election?
Well, yes. As a matter of fact, the three-term senator brought then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama to San Francisco in February 2007 for a 2010 re-election fund-raiser at the St. Francis Hotel. And her campaign website has been up and running for months.
But, to quote from the senator's speech today, "I'm formally announcing, in front of this convention, that I am running again for the United States Senate."
There were plenty of yellow and black "Boxer 2010" signs in the hall and the delegates were happy enough to wave them and cheer the announcement, so no harm done. And it did give the senator a chance to plug her new line of campaign clothes, on sale at her campaign table. It includes a bib for "Babies for Boxer" and neckwear for dogs, also known as "Barkers for Boxer.''
"You should buy the new Boxer merchandise so you can be on the cutting edge of fashion,'' she told the crowd.
So far, Irvine Assemblyman Chuck DeVore is Boxer's only GOP challenger, although former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has made noises about running.
"Don't listen to anyone who says our race will be easy,'' Boxer said. "My races are never easy.''
That depends on your definition of easy.
In 2004, she ran against former Secretary of State Bill Jones, who never raised enough money to run a television ad. A couple of weeks before the election, Boxer was doing a campaign swing through rural California. An October campaign appearance before a dozen people at a home in Amador City, population 196, shows just how concerned she was about re-election.
The final total: Boxer 58 percent, Jones 38 percent, which is definitely landslide territory.
But Boxer is a fierce campaigner who takes no prisoners. She's tough on the stump and more than willing to defend any of her positions and rip apart those of her opponents.
"I hope no one runs against me,'' she told reporters after her speech to the convention. But if someone does, she warned, "You'll face a tough race and I'll win re-election. So think about it.''
*
"I see no evidence of anything improper in this body," said Senate Rules and Administration Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D‑Calif.) during the floor debate.
Senators Diverting Campaign Funds to Kin
Loophole in Ethics Rules Is One That the Senate Did Not Close Last Year
By Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 24, 2008; A04
Under long‑standing congressional ethics rules, corporations, unions and other large organizations cannot directly pay senators stipends. But their contributions to senators' election campaigns can be paid without limit to the children, spouses, in‑laws and other relatives of the lawmakers, in a practice that has aroused controversy but is fully legal.
Since 2000, at least 20 members of the Senate dipped into their campaign contributions and wrote more than half a million dollars in checks to their own relatives, typically as payment for fundraising and other campaign work, according to a new report by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D‑Calif.), for example, paid her son Douglas $320,409.17 in campaign donations through his company Douglas Boxer and Associates from 2001 to 2006, CREW found. Douglas Boxer is a lawyer and a 10‑year veteran of her political team, a Boxer spokesman said.
Sen. Mike Enzi (R‑Wyo.) paid his daughter‑in‑law Danielle Enzi $306,718.18 from his campaign accounts over the same period, according to the report. She was a fundraiser before she married into the Enzi family, an Enzi spokesman said. Sen. Jim Bunning (R‑Ky.) paid his daughter Amy Towles $138,933.37 over six years, CREW found. Bunning's office said it was for campaign accounting.
"It is an area that's ripe for abuse, for someone who wants to turn campaign funds into personal use," said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the nonprofit group Public Citizen. Although most lawmakers do not abuse the practice, he said, "those campaign funds always come from special interests, and those special interests are always looking for something in return."
Information about the practice is not easy to find, because senators are required to disclose such payments only in the minutiae of their periodic public statements of campaign finance expenditure and do not flag the recipients as relatives. CREW staff compiled the data over nine months by looking at microfiche and electronic records for the 2002, 2004 and 2006 election cycles, and by tracing names.
 
None of these arrangements appears to violate federal election law (THESE FUCKERS MAKE THE LAWS!), noted Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director. Although lawmakers are barred from hiring relatives as staffers in their legislative offices, family members may perform campaign work, as long as the pay is reasonable and the individuals are qualified.


Yet some lawmakers are seeking to restrict payments to some family members as part of a broader effort to eliminate opportunities for conflicts and improprieties ‑‑ an effort urged by watchdog groups such as CREW after ethics scandals over the past two years, including several cases involving lawmakers' family members on political payrolls who may or may not have performed much work.
The senators' family payments were relatively small, compared with the $5.1 million that 72 House members paid from campaign funds to relatives or to relatives' companies or employers during the same period, according to CREW. "We found much worse stuff in the House," Sloan said.
Yet the Senate has become a roadblock to changing the rules on family employment. The House, in contrast, approved legislation last July to ban payments from campaign or leadership funds to candidates' spouses and to require the disclosure of campaign payments to other immediate family members. The bill was sent to the Senate, where it has stalled indefinitely.
The House acted after disclosures that former lobbyist Jack Abramoff organized campaign contributions or other payments that wound up in the hands of several lawmakers' relatives. Rep. John T. Doolittle (R‑Calif.), who announced his retirement from the House last month, is under federal investigation along with his wife, Julie, in part related to employment for her provided by Abramoff and other lobbyists.
 
BOXER VOTES AGAINST STOPPING BRIBES SIPHONED THROUGH RELATIVES!
Senators took up the issue before passing the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act on Jan. 18, 2007. The law tightened rules on accepting meals, private plane rides and other perks from lobbyists. But an amendment to ban the practice of paying relatives for their campaign work was rejected 54 to 41, with Boxer voting "present."
Even senators with no relatives listed in the CREW report criticized the measure, offered by Sen. David Vitter (R‑La.), as overly harsh. "I see no evidence of anything improper in this body," said Senate Rules and Administration Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D‑Calif.) during the floor debate.
 
But Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D‑Calif.), who sponsored the House bill, said he thinks "there's some serious self‑interest involved" in the Senate's refusal to go along. Keeping a spouse on the payroll, Schiff said, "just struck me as an inherent conflict of interest. Most people are shocked that it's not a crime, and it should be outlawed." He is still seeking a senator to take up the cause in that chamber.
Some Senate family members do work for bargain prices, at least by Washington standards. Towles, who lives in Kentucky, has kept her father's campaign books since the 1990s, said Bunning spokesman Mike Reynard. He described her as "a one‑person office." Towles's Citizens for Bunning salary rose from $19,589.10 in 2001, according to CREW, to $23,180.60 in 2006. She received an additional $4,999 through the separate Political Hall of Fame PAC, the group found.
Enzi spokesman Coy Knobel said Danielle Enzi works as a contract fundraiser for the Wyoming senator and has other political and nonprofit clients. "I think it's essential to point out the work Danielle does for Senator Enzi is paid for by donors to his campaign," as opposed to public funds, Knobel said. "If the donors don't agree with something, then they don't have to give."


The campaign political director for Sen. Michael D. Crapo (R‑Idaho), whose wife, Susan, was paid $78,514.50 over six years, said Susan Crapo "has always been the top campaign hand." Jake Ball described her duties as "organizing and carrying out big events," along with keeping Crapo's schedule and driving him to events.
"She's able to make decisions and act on things that other campaign workers would not feel as bold at doing," Ball said. "Any dollars she's paid are dollars she has earned."
Other names on the CREW list include Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D‑Del.), whose sister, Valerie Biden Owens, has managed all of his Senate campaigns, dating back to 1972. She was paid $51,286.27 in 2002, according to CREW. Her daughter Catherine Owens, also known as Casey, was paid $3,618.51 for her job as a field organizer.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D‑Mass.) has paid nephews Joseph and Matthew Kennedy, who co‑chaired his 2006 reelection campaign, a total of $50,073.87 from his Kennedy for Senate 2012 campaign fund.
Sen. Richard Burr (R‑N.C.) reached to a farther branch of his family tree, employing Mary T. Fauth as the treasurer of his leadership political action committee, the Next Century Fund. Fauth is the wife of Burr's wife's brother, according to a spokesman for the senator, and earned $32,013 over six years, the report found.
...........................
From the Los Angeles Times
Opinion
Meet the new political bosses, worse than the old political bosses.
Democrats wallow in a 'culture of corruption'
 
Jonah Goldberg

May 5, 2009

Some days you have to ask yourself, my God, what if these people were Republicans?

Democrats took back Congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008 in no small part because of their ability to bang their spoons on their high chairs about what they called the Republican "culture of corruption." Their choreographed outrage was coordinated with the precision of a North Korean missile launch pageant. And, to be fair, they had a point. The GOP did have its legitimate embarrassments. California Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham and lobbyist Jack Abramoff were fair game, and so was Rep. Mark Foley, the twisted Florida congressman who allegedly wanted male congressional pages cleaned and perfumed and brought to his tent, as it were.

Of course, it wasn't as if Democrats were without sin. Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson was indicted on fraud, bribery and corruption charges in 2007, after an investigation unearthed, among other things, $90,000 in his freezer. Then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was busted in a prostitution scandal.

But that's all yesterday's news. Let's look at the here and now. Barack Obama, who vowed he'd provide a transparent administration staffed with disinterested public servants with the self-restraint of Roman castrati, appointed an admitted tax cheat to run the Treasury Department -- and he's hardly the only one in the administration.

New York Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is under investigation for, among other things, failing to report income from his Caribbean villa. Meanwhile, Sen. Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, got sweetheart deals from subprime lender Countrywide and has yet to adequately explain his too-good-to-be-true deal on his million-dollar "cottage" in Ireland, which he may have gotten in exchange for finagling a pardon (from President Clinton) for a felon. Oh, Dodd also secretly protected those AIG bonuses that raised such a ruckus last month.

Rep. Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania, Nancy Pelosi's moral authority on military matters during the Iraq war, has been revealed as a kleptomaniac of sorts, delivering as much of the federal budget as possible to various cronies and lobbyists.

John Edwards, who had an affair even as he was scoring Oprah-points as the supportive husband during his wife's battle with breast cancer, is being investigated by the feds for the improper use of campaign funds. It looks like the silky haired champion of the little guys may have used their donations to bribe the alleged "baby mama" into silence.

And it would be a shame to let it pass that Obama's Senate seat was put up for sale by the then-Democratic governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, and Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is under investigation for trying to buy it.

But you know what? We ain't seen nothing yet. For starters, the real corruption isn't what the media are ignoring or downplaying as isolated incidents. It's what the media are hailing as bold, inspirational leadership. The White House, as a matter of policy, is rewriting legal contracts, picking winners (mostly labor unions and mortgage defaulters) and singling out losers (evil "speculators") while much of the media continue to ponder whether Obama is better than FDR.

If a Republican administration, staffed with cronies from Goldman Sachs and Citibank, was cutting special deals for its political allies, I suspect we'd be hearing fewer FDR analogies and more nouns ending with the suffix "gate."

Take Obama's "car czar," Steven Rattner. According to ABC's Jake Tapper, Rattner is accused of threatening to use the White House to smear a Chrysler creditor if it refused to back the administration's bankruptcy plan. He's also connected to a massive pension fund scandal involving the investment firm he used to run. One allegation is that conspirators used investments in the low-budget movie "Chooch" to expedite their alleged chicanery. Chooch, by the way, is Italian slang for "jackass," which just happens to be the Democrats' mascot.

More to the point, political corruption is inevitable whenever you give hacks -- of either party -- too much discretion over public funds. Businesses look to Washington for profits instead of to the market. The thing is, this has become the governing philosophy of the Democratic Party, from banking and cars to healthcare and now student loans. The federal government is taking over, and the culture of corruption inevitably trickles down. That in itself should be a scandal. Call it "Choochgate."
IF YOU HAVE ISSUES WITH BOXER’S CORRUPTION, SEND A COPY OF THIS TO HER SON, AND RECIPIENT OF HER BRIBES.
(AS LISTED IN CA STATE BAR)
DOUGLAS BOXER
300 FRANK H OGAWA PLZ, No 500
OAKLAND, CA 94612-2040
FAX 510-835 0415
 
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, AND HER LAP BITCH BARBARA BOXER, HAVE VOTED FOR ANY AND ALL WARS FOR MUSLIM DICTATORS, WHILE THEY DEMAND THAT OUR OWN BORDERS BE LEFT OPEN AND UNDEFENDED AGAINST NARCOMEX.
KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ABOUT MY WAR PROFITEERING WHORE WIFE’S MANSIONS! HERE’S A BRIBE TO DO SO!
“Since the 2000 election cycle, Blum has contributed over $75,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Committee, and thousands more to individual Democrats, including John Kerry, Robert Byrd, Joe Lieberman, Ted Kennedy, and Barbara Boxer.”
*
March 1, 2006 The Democrats' Daddy Warbucks
Feinstein family war profits, part II
Sen. Dianne Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, could well be called the Democrats' Daddy Warbucks. He's scored bundles from war contracts. He has recently purchased a $16.5 million crib in San Francisco and along with his wife has handed hundreds of thousands of dollars over to fellow Democrats. Since the 2000 election cycle, Blum has contributed over $75,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Committee, and thousands more to individual Democrats, including John Kerry, Robert Byrd, Joe Lieberman, Ted Kennedy, and Barbara Boxer. Richard Blum's history as an entrepreneur began at the ripe age of 23 when he began to work for the San Francisco brokerage firm Sutro & Company. Blum quickly climbed the ranks and became a partner by the age of 30. According the San Francisco Chronicle, "Blum proved that he had an eye for fixer-upper properties when he led a partnership that acquired the struggling Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for $8 million – then sold it to Mattel Inc. four years later for $40 million." In 1975, Blum went out on his own and formed a brokerage agency. Today, Blum's lofty firm, Blum Capital, holds positions in more than 20 companies, including real estate giants, credit bureaus, and yes, even military contractors. Blum sees himself as an altruistic capitalist, claims one of his ex-employees: "He likes to go after companies that are down and out, and bring their stock back to life. He thinks he's doing good." Blum shares a large stake in Perini, a civil construction company that is happily employed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But not all of Blum's war profits come from Perini. In 1975, his venture capital firm went after fledging construction and design company URS when the business was about to be bought out by another corporation. Since then, Blum has increased his stock in URS, capitalizing on its recent military contracts. Unlike Blum's dabbling with Barnum & Bailey, his current profits aren't so safe for child consumption. Here are the basics to date: Blum currently holds over 111,000 shares of stock in URS Corporation, which is now one of the top defense contractors in the United States. Blum is an acting director of URS, which bought EG&G, a leading provider of technical services and management to the U.S. military, from The Carlyle Group in 2002. Carlyle's trusty advisers, past and present, include former President George H.W. Bush, James Baker, and ex-SEC Commissioner Arthur Levitt, among other prominent neoconservatives and Washington power brokers. URS and Blum have since banked on the Iraq war, scoring a phat $600 million contract through EG&G. As a result, URS has seen its stock price more than triple since the war began in March 2003. Blum has cashed in over $2 million on this venture alone and another $100 million for his investment firm. "As part of EG&G's sale price," reports the San Francisco Chronicle, "Carlyle acquired a 21.74 percent stake in URS – second only to the 23.7 percent of shares controlled by Blum Capital." The Carlyle Group has long been accused of exploiting its political connections to turn a profit. And if Carlyle can come under the microscope for its government ties and war profiteering, as it did in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, than surely Blum's URS ought to be subject to the same scrutiny. Owen Blicksilver, Blum's spokesman, claims his boss and Sen. Feinstein have never talked shop at home in their gated mansion: "Mr. Blum and Sen. Feinstein have never had any discussions about outsourcing, government contracts, or URS." If this were a Republican senator's spouse scoring bundles off the spoils of war and passing it along to fellow Republicans, the liberals would be up in arms. But since Dianne Feinstein is a leading Democrat, mum's the word. Partisanship trumps ethics. The Byrne Report Hawk Tale By Peter Byrne ON JAN. 18, California senator Dianne Feinstein introduced Dr. Condoleezza Rice at a Senate nomination hearing for Secretary of State in terms so saccharine that molasses seemed to ooze out of her mouth. She was a precocious child, Feinstein purred. She has skill, judgment and poise. She loves football. Bush loves her. "The problems we face abroad are complex and sizable. If Dr. Rice's past performance is any indication, though, we can rest easy." That very same day, Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, took advantage of a spike in the price of his URS Corporation stock. He sold a third of his holdings in the defense contractor for $57 million, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. With Rice confirmed, the business of death and occupation looks rosy as hell for Feinstein, who--let's get real--benefits tremendously from sharing community property with Blum. URS' largest customer is the U.S. Army, which accounted for 17 percent ($587 million) of its cash revenue in 2004. In 2001, URS enjoyed a mere $169 million in defense contracts. Now, its war contracts total more than $2 billion. According to its annual report, the San FranciscoÐbased URS anticipates that profits will rocket up in 2005, because "operations in the Middle East are expected to generate increased work related to the development of weapons systems, the training of military pilots and the maintenance, upgrade and repair of military vehicles." Provided, of course, that our hawkish leadership remains as poised and lovable as the new Secretary of State. Feinstein, who sits on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, is an advocate of first-strike warfare, even though it flouts international law and the standards of common decency. Interestingly, her Financial Disclosure Report for 2003 was more than three times the size of her 2002 disclosure (Feinstein's 2003 disclosure numbers 133 pages, compared to Sen. Barbara Boxer's six-page report). The Feinstein-Blum portfolio is crammed with multimillion dollar investments in the military-industrial-financial complex and corporations that heavily exploit Third World peoples. The senator has a lot to lose should the neoconservative war machine falter. Hubby holds a controlling interest in another engineering firm, Perini Corporation of Framingham, Mass. Perini ranks No. 6 by dollar amount in war-related government contracts in the Middle East. According to its annual report, "Perini proudly supports the U.S. government with global rapid response capabilities for defense, reconstruction and security." Perini builds military facilities and roads in Afghanistan, electrical infrastructure in Iraq and U.S. embassies around the world. After the Senate, Feinstein included, approved Bush's war plans in 2002, Perini's defense contract awards soared from negligible to $2.52 billion. But, as with many of the sole-source, open-ended contracts awarded to politically connected firms, there are problems with accountability. Last summer, Department of Defense auditors determined that Perini could not adequately justify its costs in Iraq as fair and reasonable. That's government-speak for: They're gouging the #!$% out of us. Perini is heavily engaged in military and municipal public works projects inside the United States; at least two are also under investigation for contract fraud. For example, the city of San Francisco has sued general contractor Perini--which was in a joint venture with the Tutor-Saliba construction firm--for $100 million in cost overruns at a San Francisco International Airport project. The lawsuit alleges that the joint venture engaged in "a sophisticated pattern of fraud," including inflating costs, fabricating delays and setting up minority front companies to exploit affirmative-action preferences. The attorney general of Massachusetts is looking into alleged false claims made by a Perini joint venture in the "Big Dig" urban highway construction boondoggle in Boston. Ron Tutor, owner of Tutor-Saliba and CEO of Perini, bought into the latter company, along with Blum, as it teetered on the edge of solvency in the mid- 1990s due to a bad real estate investment. It rebounded, thanks to the firm's sudden ability to obtain lucrative U.S. military and government contracts, which, of course, had nothing to do with the fact that Blum's powerful wife has her hands on the military's purse strings. Remarkably, Perini grossed $1.37 billion in 2003, up 27 percent from the previous year, before the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Perini attributes its rocketing profits to "increased volume of work in Iraq and Afghanistan." As a risk factor, the firm notes that continued demand for its military services depends upon "the political situation in Iraq," which, logically, means that it desires the bloody war and useless occupation to continue indefinitely--a wish that hawktails with the foreign policy positions of Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld and Feinstein. I almost forgot: Perini Corp. is the nation's most active builder of Indian-fronted casinos. That explains a few things about Sen. Feinstein and the politics of gambling, soon to be revealed in greater detail in this space.

IF YOU HAVE ISSUES WITH BOXER’S CORRUPTION, SEND A COPY OF THIS TO HER SON, AND RECEPIENT OF HER BRIBES.
 
(AS LISTED IN CA STATE BAR)
DOUGLAS BOXER
300 FRANK H OGAWA PLZ, No 500
OAKLAND, CA 94612-2040
FAX 510-835 0415


510-286-2937

 

 

SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN, LONG A PAID WHORE FOR CRIMINAL UTILITY MONOPOLY PACIFIC, GAS & ELECTRIC, SAYS HELL NOT TO SOLAR POWER!


OPENSECRETS.org reports that FEINSTEIN’S biggest corporate paymasters, even bigger than BIG BANKS that FEINSTEIN works so hard for, is the CA utilities monopoly, PACIFIC GAS & ELECTRIC. PGE has long been a criminal corporate rape and pillage crime wave. The pillage PGE performed would be later used as the paradigm the BIG BANKERS’ utilized in their massive rape that brought down a global economy.

 

“The new bill is a product of talks between Feinstein, PG&E Corp. Chairman and CEO Peter Darbee and other members of the Clean Energy Group, including Calpine, Exelon, Entergy, Florida Power & Light and the Public Service Enterprise Group. The group, which supplies power to 18 percent of U.S. households, is heavily invested in natural gas, nuclear power and other low-carbon sources, and has backed efforts to curb greenhouse gases.”

 

The paradigm is simple; first buy an easily bought whore like FEINSTEIN. One that has no compunctions about selling out her state and country when the money looks good. Then have the whore work to deregulate so the monopoly can more easily roll the pillage along. FEINSTEIN has been characterized by Ralph Nader as a “closet republican” already. During the 16 years of the HILLARY, BILLARY, BUSH CORPORATE RAPE, the banks, and utilities were all DEREGULATED so the nation’s economy could be more easily be transferred to the CORPORATE CLASS. We know how hard old Bush worked for BIG BUSH SAUDI OIL, his family having started two (2) wars to protect our 9-11 invaders from SADDAM, as well as Bush’s sell out of our nation, environment, institutions, and economy to WALL ST. And right there, as always, was FEINSTEIN, voting for anything that put money in pimp BLUM’S pockets or repaid her corporate paymasters. FEINSTEIN fell in love with BUSH from day one! The smell of money was just too enticing not to!

*

After deregulation of the utilities monopoly PGE, came BUSH’S ENRON that kicked PGE’s ass across town. Things backfired on the monster utility, but that’s never a problem in this country when you have a bought whore like FEINSTEIN. The corporate losses are simply socialized. The people of CA will be subsidizing PGE’S demand for deregulation, and damages from BUSH ENRON RAPE, for years to come. But there’s always a few tricks to rape consumers more.

*

One of my fave PGE rapes was when they went to the elected whores in Sacramento and demanded $200 million for “tree trimming”. Sacramento put the money out immediately. Probably no legislator in SAC isn’t paid off by this monopoly. Then the $200 million “disappeared”. So PGE went back for more, and the whores in SAC paid out $300 million for “tree trimming”. Last I read was on this was the $300 million had also “disappeared”. There’s a half-billion of pillage that disappeared.

*

The old whore FEINSTEIN has many devices to pay back her corporate paymasters. In this instance, she sent her senior staffer SUSAN P KENNEDY over to head up the so-called PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION, which in theory is supposed to protect consumers from CA’s utility/phone monopoly. Of course, the PUC’s real job is to protect the MONOPOLIES so there is NO REGULATION and rate increases are rubber stamped “approved” instantly.

*

The day FEINSTEIN staffer KENNEDY started at the PUC, the Los Angeles Times, in a front-page article, characterized her as a “closet republican”. Kennedy made it clear whom she worked for when she admitted her vision of her job (at taxpayers’ expense) was to RUBBER STAMP PGE’s rate increases. CA pays the highest rates for utilities in the country, and it is not surprising that WHORE FEINSTEIN will work hard to assure the monopolies pillage will roll on, and on, and on!  This is the whore that fronted for the so called BANKERS’ BANKRUPTCY REFORM on behalf of her paymasters WELLS FARGO and BANK of AMERICA , to prevent victims of these banks’ mortgage devices from obtaining impartial help in the courts EVEN AFTER WELLS FARGO HAD their CA MORTGAGE LICENSE REVOKED FOR FRAUD AND CORRUPTION, and then voted over and over again for NO STRINGS BANKERS’ WELFARE . There is NO amount of corporate rape and pillage that would possibly prevent WHORE FEINSTEIN from taking money from her corporate paymasters, or working their crimes in Congress. None! Susan P Kenney then went on to work for the Austrian steroid freak, ARNO who has cut more than a few back room deals just like FEINSTEIN’S PIMP-HUSBAND, BLUM.

So, you ask…..

Why would this old whore care about a swath of desert and a few wind power projects at the time we’re at the mercy of BIG BUSH SAUDI OIL???? It’s because WHORE FEINSTEIN is doing the bidding of PACIFIC GAS & ELECTRIC! This monopoly has long be successful in preventing any competition. It’s no more difficult for PGE than buying a whore like FEINSTEIN, or running over to SAC and demanding a half-billion ransom!

 

From the Los Angeles Times

Feinstein wants desert swath off-limits to solar, wind projects HER PAYMASTERS AT PG&E TOLD HER TO!

In a move that could pit environmentalists and alternative energy industries against each other, the senator wants hundreds of thousands of acres in California designated as a national monument.

By Richard Simon

March 25, 2009

Reporting from Washington — While President Obama has made development of cleaner energy sources a priority, an effort is underway to close off a large swath of the Southern California desert to solar and wind energy projects.

In a move that could pit usual allies -- environmentalists and the solar and wind industries -- against each other, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is preparing legislation that would permanently put hundreds of thousands of acres of desert land off limits to energy projects. The territory would be designated California's newest national monument.

The move has triggered cries of NIMBY-ism on Capitol Hill.

"If there is such strong support for renewable energy, then why are they moving to block renewable energy production in their own state?" said Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington state, the top Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee.

Myron Ebell, an energy expert with the pro-market Competitive Enterprise Institute, called Feinstein's effort "just the first example of how hard it is going to be to realize President Obama's dream of a green-energy economy."

Feinstein disputed that she is engaged in a not-in-my-backyard campaign. "I'm a strong supporter of renewable energy and clean technology -- but it is critical that these projects are built on suitable lands," she said. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE HOW MUCH FEINSTEIN WILL LIE FOR A BUCK!

The area of concern to Feinstein is between the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park, off old Route 66 between Ludlow and Needles. The area includes desert tortoise habitat, wildlife corridors, cactus gardens and the Amboy Crater -- an inactive volcanic crater where portions of the 1959 movie "Journey to the Center of the Earth" were filmed.

"That section of the road is as pristine as it was when travelers came across it in the 1920s and '30s," said James Conkle, chairman of the Route 66 Alliance.

Boundaries for the proposed monument have yet to be drawn up. But David Myers, executive director the Wildlands Conservancy, said it probably would be in excess of 800,000 acres. Feinstein said in a Capitol Hill interview Tuesday that she was sending her staff to the desert -- and would probably visit the area herself next month -- to consider what areas should be made off limits to green-energy projects and where they should be permitted.


Feinstein, who regards the 1994 California Desert Protection Act as one of her proudest achievements, noted that the Wildlands Conservancy spent more than $40 million buying the former railroad land in the desert and turning it over to the government in one of the largest land purchases in California history, with the intent of protecting it. "I feel very strongly that the federal government must honor that commitment," she said.

The Bureau of Land Management is reviewing 130 applications for solar and wind energy development in the California desert, covering more than 1 million acres of public land, according to Feinstein, who recently discussed her concerns with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. At least 19 projects have been suggested in the area where the monument has been proposed, Myers said.

Salazar said in a letter to Feinstein that projects in the desert would be "carefully considered" before any decisions were made and that "every effort will be made to avoid the most environmentally sensitive and valuable areas." But he also noted that developing cleaner energy sources was a priority.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a speech last year at a Yale University climate-change conference: "If we cannot put solar power plants in the Mojave Desert, I don't know where the hell we can put it."

In November, Schwarzenegger signed an executive order that a third of the state's electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. A major boost in solar and wind power is an essential component of the state's plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions under its
landmark global warming law. About 12% now comes from renewable sources, excluding large hydropower plants.

His administration, however, has signaled that it will work with Feinstein. A number of companies pursuing solar or energy projects said they hoped to work with Feinstein to fashion legislation that would satisfy her, environmentalists and the industry. THE ONLY THING FEINSTEIN WORKS FOR IS HER BRIBES FROM PG&E… AND OF COURSE HER WAR PROFITEERING, BRIBES FROM RED CHINA FOR BEING THEIR ADVOCATE IN CONGRESS! (OPENSECRETS.ORG)


Feinstein holds a position of influence: She chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee that writes the Interior Department's budget.

*

 


 

 Power players warm to Feinstein bill


 (01-18) 04:00 PST Washington -- California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, joined by top executives from PG&E Corp. and other energy firms, introduced an aggressive plan Wednesday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by electric utilities that is backed by some powerful players in the industry.

The move came the same day news leaked that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will create a new Select Committee on Global Warming to ratchet up pressure in the Democratic-controlled House to pass climate change legislation this year.

The moves by Pelosi and Feinstein suggest that California's top lawmakers -- including Sen. Barbara Boxer, the new chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee -- plan to take the state's aggressive approach on global warming to the national level.

Feinstein's legislation is part of a blitz of new climate change bills introduced in recent weeks to capitalize on the shift in power in Congress. Her bill also reflects that lawmakers and industry leaders increasingly believe new federal limits on carbon dioxide are inevitable.

There are rumors in the capital that President Bush may announce a shift in climate change policy during his State of the Union speech scheduled next Tuesday. White House spokesman Tony Snow has been noncommittal about any new plans, but said Wednesday that strict limits on emissions are "not something we're talking about."

But Feinstein said a Democratic Congress could pass legislation later this year that would force Bush's hand.

"This administration has not been in the vanguard of action," she said. "It does not mean we should remain dormant. We have an obligation to the people we represent that when we know something is happening and we know there is a way to change it, that we produce legislation. Then the responsibility is with the president whether he wants to sign or veto it."

Feinstein's bill is a "cap-and-trade" measure similar to the law adopted by California last year, except it applies strictly to the electricity sector, which accounts for one-third of America's greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill would cap emissions at 2006 levels starting in 2011, which would represent a 6 percent reduction. In 2015, the cap would drop to 2001 levels, forcing a 16 percent reduction in emissions. Power suppliers would have to further cut emissions by 1 percent a year between 2016 and 2019.

Overall, greenhouse gases would drop 25 percent from today's levels by 2020. The bill also would give the Environmental Protection Agency the power to order further cuts.

Feinstein said it was the first of five global warming bills she will propose this year: One would create a similar cap-and-trade system for the rest of the industrial sector; another would raise fuel economy standards by 10 miles per gallon over a decade. Others would promote biodiesel and E-85 fuels, and apply California's energy efficiency standards to the nation as a whole.

"If we act now and act with purpose, the most serious consequences can be averted. Global warming can be contained to 1 to 2 degrees, and therefore it is manageable," she said Wednesday. "But if we don't act and the temperature spikes by 5 degrees or more, the world around us will change forever. It will be catastrophic, and there is no going back."

The new bill is a product of talks between Feinstein, PG&E Corp. Chairman and CEO Peter Darbee and other members of the Clean Energy Group, including Calpine, Exelon, Entergy, Florida Power & Light and the Public Service Enterprise Group. The group, which supplies power to 18 percent of U.S. households, is heavily invested in natural gas, nuclear power and other low-carbon sources, and has backed efforts to curb greenhouse gases.

Darbee, who attended Feinstein's news conference Wednesday on Capitol Hill, said his industry has a responsibility to address climate change.

"The utility sector is the single largest source of emissions in the U.S.," Darbee said. "This bill will significantly reduce emissions from this sector, and it will do so by leveraging the innovation and efficiency of the market."

Darbee acknowledged that other utilities will likely oppose the new approach. PG&E's low-carbon power cost its California customers about 8 cents per kilowatt hour, while heavy-carbon emitting coal-fired plants can provide power for about 3 to 4 cents per kilowatt hour.

Feinstein is seeking to alter that calculus by requiring utilities to buy "carbon credits" if they exceed the CO{-2} emissions allowed under law -- making it more costly to emit greenhouse gases. Utilities could also buy "offset credits" that pay for restoring wetlands and forests or setting farm land aside to cut emissions. Proceeds from auctioning the credits would fund new low-carbon technologies and help address the effects of warming.

Boxer, whose panel has jurisdiction over the legislation, plans to hold her first hearing Jan. 30 on climate change to allow senators to talk about their proposals. She hopes to move one or more climate bills to the Senate floor later this year.

"I am very pleased that my colleagues are putting forward their best ideas," Boxer said. "Progress will depend upon where my colleagues come down, which is why we are holding this unprecedented hearing to get the perspective of all senators who have bills on global warming."

*

From the Los Angeles Times

ENERGY


California solar-power subsidy program approaches its limit


A bill seeks to quadruple the amount of electricity consumers with roof panels may sell. The solar industry pushes to pass it. PG & E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric oppose

By Marc Lifsher

July 6, 2009

Reporting from Sacramento — Lis Sines of Hermosa Beach loves watching her electric meter run backward.

When that happens, she knows that the 20 solar panels on her roof are producing more power than she needs to run her 3,800-square-foot home. The excess electricity flows to the electric company's grid, and she gets its full retail value credited to her utility bill.

Sines' electric bill has plunged since she and her husband, William, installed a photovoltaic system on their roof three months ago. In June the bill totaled just $1.26, compared to about $100 a year earlier.

But the Sineses' subsidy may not be available to future solar-power users for long.

The state's $3.3-billion solar subsidy program has become so popular that the state utilities are approaching the legal limit for how much power they can buy from customers.

The limit could be reached in parts of northern and central California served by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. by the end of this year. The state's other two investor-owned utilities, Southern California Edison Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric Co., are proceeding somewhat more slowly.

Eager to keep the program growing, the solar industry is pushing for approval of legislation in Sacramento that would quadruple the amount allowed. The state's for-profit utilities oppose the higher cap in the bill AB 560 by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley).

A key Senate utilities committee vote on the measure is expected this week. Currently, utilities are limited by state law from buying from its customers more than 2.5% of a utility's maximum generating capacity. Skinner's bill would lift the cap to 10%.

All three companies oppose Skinner's bill. They do not want lawmakers to raise the limit until next year at the earliest, after the California Public Utilities Commission tallies up the program's costs and benefits.

Utilities say they strongly support solar power but want more information about whether it's fair to further increase financial incentives for solar-panel ownership.

Such incentives, they point out, would come at the expense of most of the utilities' other customers, who don't want or can't afford to invest in the costly panels.

"We want to make sure there isn't an unfair level of cost-shifting," said Jennifer Briscoe, a spokeswoman for San Diego Gas & Electric.

Fairness issues were also raised in a report on Skinner's bill by the staff of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, which will review the bill this week.

The report pointed out that California solar-panel owners already benefit from a variety of subsidies approved in recent years -- even without this "net metering" program, which allows people to sell power to the utilities.

Solar power users get a state subsidy of about 20% of the purchase and installation cost and a federal income tax credit of 30%. Adding more incentives could be going too far, the committee staff analysis suggested.

The staff report also takes issue with the amount of credit that solar users get when they sell power to the utilities.

"By compensating the solar or wind customer at the full retail rate" for energy sold to the grid, "the utility is using ratepayer funds to pay the solar or wind customer at a rate well above the value of the generated power, which is about one-third of the total cost of a typical residential customer's bill," it said.

The other two-thirds of the bill covers utilities' fixed expenses for building power plants and transmission lines, buying electricity from independent generators and meeting a variety of state mandates, including the cost of subsidizing low-income customers and solar-power system owners.

Supporters of solar-power systems say the net metering program and other subsidies are essential. And many would like to see no caps at all.

"Without net metering we're not going to see a lot more people" buy expensive solar systems, said Adam Browning, executive director of the Vote Solar Initiative, a San Francisco advocacy group. "If we hit the net metering cap, the California solar industry grinds to a halt."

Caps are an impediment to fully developing solar power's potential and its ability to provide clean energy that can be tapped in urban areas, where it is most needed, during peak demand on hot summer afternoons, Browning said. Eighteen states allow net metering without any caps, he noted.

The appeal of lower electric bills appears to be persuading more people to go solar.

Legislation, approved in 2007 and known as the Million Solar Roofs program, has spurred the production of solar-generated electricity to rise 78%. That's equivalent to the power generated by a modern power plant, the Public Utilities Commission reported last week.

Consumer demand continues to grow despite the recession. Applications for state subsidies hit a record high in May, the commission said.

The commission's first solar program assessment recommends raising the net metering cap "to prevent a stall in the solar market," and the commission endorses the Skinner bill.

One solar booster is Harry Pope, a retired Edison executive who bought a large system for his Long Beach home after the energy crisis of 2000-01. He said he needs the state's incentives to make his investment pay off.

"I probably put in $30,000 and got half back. Maybe over 15 years I might achieve total payback," he said.

Without people like him, Pope said, the state will have to build more power plants. "I'm preventing the utilities from having to build that next-generation power plant . . . the most expensive power plant you ever saw."

*

OF COURSE THE OPPOSE IT! WHY ELSE DID THEY HAVE THEIR BOUGHT WHORE DIANNE FEINSTEIN DO HER NUMBER TO FIGHT SOLAR???

ONCE A WHORE, ALWAYS A WHORE!

PG&E opposes two solar-power bills

By Tracy Seipel

Mercury News

Posted: 06/19/2009

Green Energy

After casting itself as a champion of solar power, Pacific Gas & Electric has angered green-energy advocates by opposing two state bills that would ramp up the benefits for those who go solar.

Put simply, PG&E's objection is that the two measures would make solar too popular. The utility says that would be unfair to its non-solar customers, who under existing law must subsidize rebates and credits paid to solar-power users.

But some supporters of the bills say PG&E's real worry is about its own financial burden, since it sells less electricity to solar-power users."The big picture, unfortunately — and counter to their public image — is that PG&E doesn't like the idea of an unbridled solar market," said Bernadette Del Chiaro, director of clean energy programs at Environment California, a nonprofit statewide environmental group and sponsor of Assembly Bill 920. "Unfortunately, the business model doesn't yet allow for a market in which customers generate their own electricity."

For consumers who might be considering a solar system, the bills enhance one of the most attractive financial benefits of making such a move: the opportunity to sell excess power back to their electric utility.

Assembly Bill 560 would increase the cap on "net metering," which gives solar customers credit on their electric bill for surplus power they transfer to the utility. Currently, a utility is not obligated to sign net-metering contracts once solar power equals 2.5 percent of its peak electricity demand, a level PG&E is approaching. AB 560 would quadruple that cap, to 10 percent.

The second bill, AB 920, would change the way customers with solar installations are paid for surplus power. Utilities now give them full retail rate credit on their monthly bill that can be used to offset the customer's energy consumption at other times, like nighttime. But at the end of the year, leftover credits are zeroed out. AB 920 would require utilities to pay for credits or any electricity left over at the end of the year, although at a lower rate, or allow them to be rolled over to the next year.

Dan Kammen, professor in the Energy and Resources Group at University of California-Berkeley, said the bills will help open up competitive markets that favor low-carbon and clean energy, and help the state meet the goals of its landmark climate-change legislation.

But PG&E and other opponents contend the bills would impose a financial burden on non-solar customers, who pay for the state rebates for solar installations. And because solar customers buy less electricity from the utility, PG&E said they do not contribute as much to transmission and generation costs, increasing the burden of non-solar customers. So far, about 30,000 of the utility's 6 million customers have solar systems.

Sue Kateley, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, said PG&E's opposition may result from its lead over the state's other two investor-owned utilities, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, in the number of solar adopters. PG&E's success in solar adoption has "forced us to have a discussion about raising the cap earlier than we expected," she said.

Before it agrees to any further increases, PG&E wants to review a cost-benefit analysis of net metering being prepared by the state's Public Utilities Commission and due in January. However, it would support raising the net-metering cap to about 3 percent as a buffer should it reach the 2.5 percent cap before then.

Likewise, supporters say solar adoption will be slowed unless AB 920 is passed to end an unfair subsidy to PG&E from its solar customers. But PG&E's Rubin says the price the utility would have to pay for the electricity from its solar customers is too high, further burdening the utilities non-solar customers.

"Maximizing the number of people who go solar is a paramount policy — it affects air pollution consideration, climate change considerations and the development of green jobs," said Adam Browning, executive director and co-founder of Vote Solar Initiative, a San Francisco nonprofit seeking to bring solar energy into the mainstream. "So why are we talking about stamping on the brakes when we should be talking about pushing on the accelerator?"….WHY? IT’S CALLED THE OLD BOUGHT WHORE FEINSTEIN!

*

PGE finds yet another way to extract WELFARE from people! That’s all this is.

PG&E pushes to extend unpopular ClimateSmart


Monday, July 27, 2009

(07-26) 20:32 PDT -- A Pacific Gas and Electric Co. program that asks customers to fight global warming by paying a little extra on their electricity bills has enrolled just 31,000 people and takes far more money to run than it generates.

Now PG&E wants to extend the ClimateSmart program, even as consumer watchdogs question whether it's worth the money.

"Everyone agrees that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is important - this just might not be the best way to go about it," said Diana Lee, an attorney representing the consumer protection office of the California Public Utilities Commission.

Launched with great fanfare in 2007, ClimateSmart gives PG&E customers a way to go "carbon neutral."

People who sign up for the program pay a monthly fee - usually less than $3 - to offset greenhouse gas emissions from the power plants that supply their electricity. Most of the money funds forestry projects that pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. While other, smaller companies - such as TerraPass in San Francisco - offer similar services, ClimateSmart was the first such program from a utility.

But so far, only 31,000 PG&E customers have joined. That's 0.6 percent of the utility's 5.1 million customers, far fewer than expected. The California Public Utilities Commission, which approved the creation of ClimateSmart, predicted that 3.3 percent of PG&E customers would sign up.

The commission approved ClimateSmart as a three-year experiment and gave it a $16.3 million operating budget. Those expenses are paid by all of PG&E's customers, not just the ones who volunteer for the program. The fees collected from ClimateSmart participants pay for greenhouse gas reductions rather than the program's day-to-day operations.

But in its first two years, the program collected just $2.6 million from participants. During the same two years, it cost $9.7 million to run.

"This is a bad ratio, and there's no indication that it's going to get better anytime soon," said Matt Freedman, staff director for The Utility Reform Network, a consumer advocacy group.

ClimateSmart's three-year run is supposed to end late this year. But PG&E, which is based in San Francisco, has asked the commission to extend the program through 2011.

The Obama - Feinstein WAR MACHINE - PROTECTING THE BORDERS of MUSLIM DICTATORS AND PUSHING AMERICAN BORDERS OPEN WIDER FOR HORDES MORE ILLEGALS - It's All About Keeping Wages Depressed f


 

BEFORE BUSH INVITED FEINSTEIN TO GORGE ON THE HALLIBURTON – CARLYLE – BUSH – SAUDIS WAR PROFITS, SHE MOUTHED OFF ON AWFUL WAR PROFITEERS. BUSH KNEW HE FACED IMPEACHMENT, AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN TRIED FOR WAR CRIMES FOR THE SECOND WAR WAGES AGAINST IRAQ BY THE BUSH FAMILY TO PROTECT THEIR CRONIES, THE 9-11 INVADING SAUDIS’ BORDERS. BUSH ALSO KNEW THERE WAS NO U.S. SENATOR MORE CORRUPT OR EASILY BOUGHT THAN DIANNE FEINSTEIN. WITH FEINSTEIN COULD BE BOUGHT TO VOTE DOWN ANY SENATE EFFORT TO IMPEACH BUSH (REMEMBER BUSH’S CRAP ON WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION?). WITH FEINSTEIN’S VOTE, ALSO CAME BOXER’S, WHO HAS TAKEN HUGE BRIBES FROM FEINSTEIN’S PIMP HUSBAND, RICHARD C. BLUM.

AS SOON AS FEINSTEIN’S HUSBAND RICHARD BLUM WAS RAKING IN THE WAR PROFITS, FEINSTEIN SENT LETTERS TO CONCERN CONSTITUENTS DECLARING SHE WOULD NOT PUSH FOR IMPEACHMENT. THEN SHE WENT OUR AND BOUGHT YET ANOTHER MANSION, HER $16 MILLION WAR PROFITEERING PLACE IN S.F.

 

“Congress closes a gaping hole in the law against war profiteering, companies ripping off taxpayers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars may never be fully prosecuted. This is because the latest conflicts are not declared wars.”

Eight Years of Madoffs- The OBAMA WAR MACHINE - WHO BENEFITS? FEINSTEIN! MUSLIM DICTATORS! OBAMA'S FRIENDS THE 9-11 INVADING SAUDIS!

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, AND HER LAP BITCH BARBARA BOXER, HAVE VOTED FOR ANY AND ALL WARS FOR MUSLIM DICTATORS, WHILE THEY DEMAND THAT OUR OWN BORDERS BE LEFT OPEN AND UNDEFENDED AGAINST NARCOMEX.

KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ABOUT MY WAR PROFITEERING WHORE WIFE’S MANSIONS! HERE’S A BRIBE TO DO SO!

“Since the 2000 election cycle, Blum has contributed over $75,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Committee, and thousands more to individual Democrats, including John Kerry, Robert Byrd, Joe Lieberman, Ted Kennedy, and Barbara Boxer.”

March 1, 2006 The Democrats' Daddy Warbucks

Feinstein family war profits, part II

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, could well be called the Democrats' Daddy Warbucks. He's scored bundles from war contracts. He has recently purchased a $16.5 million crib in San Francisco and along with his wife has handed hundreds of thousands of dollars over to fellow Democrats. Since the 2000 election cycle, Blum has contributed over $75,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Committee, and thousands more to individual Democrats, including John Kerry, Robert Byrd, Joe Lieberman, Ted Kennedy, and Barbara Boxer. Richard Blum's history as an entrepreneur began at the ripe age of 23 when he began to work for the San Francisco brokerage firm Sutro & Company. Blum quickly climbed the ranks and became a partner by the age of 30. According the San Francisco Chronicle, "Blum proved that he had an eye for fixer-upper properties when he led a partnership that acquired the struggling Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for $8 million – then sold it to Mattel Inc. four years later for $40 million." In 1975, Blum went out on his own and formed a brokerage agency. Today, Blum's lofty firm, Blum Capital, holds positions in more than 20 companies, including real estate giants, credit bureaus, and yes, even military contractors. Blum sees himself as an altruistic capitalist, claims one of his ex-employees: "He likes to go after companies that are down and out, and bring their stock back to life. He thinks he's doing good." Blum shares a large stake in Perini, a civil construction company that is happily employed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But not all of Blum's war profits come from Perini. In 1975, his venture capital firm went after fledging construction and design company URS when the business was about to be bought out by another corporation. Since then, Blum has increased his stock in URS, capitalizing on its recent military contracts. Unlike Blum's dabbling with Barnum & Bailey, his current profits aren't so safe for child consumption. Here are the basics to date: Blum currently holds over 111,000 shares of stock in URS Corporation, which is now one of the top defense contractors in the United States. Blum is an acting director of URS, which bought EG&G, a leading provider of technical services and management to the U.S. military, from The Carlyle Group in 2002. Carlyle's trusty advisers, past and present, include former President George H.W. Bush, James Baker, and ex-SEC Commissioner Arthur Levitt, among other prominent neoconservatives and Washington power brokers. URS and Blum have since banked on the Iraq war, scoring a phat $600 million contract through EG&G. As a result, URS has seen its stock price more than triple since the war began in March 2003. Blum has cashed in over $2 million on this venture alone and another $100 million for his investment firm. "As part of EG&G's sale price," reports the San Francisco Chronicle, "Carlyle acquired a 21.74 percent stake in URS – second only to the 23.7 percent of shares controlled by Blum Capital." The Carlyle Group has long been accused of exploiting its political connections to turn a profit. And if Carlyle can come under the microscope for its government ties and war profiteering, as it did in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, than surely Blum's URS ought to be subject to the same scrutiny. Owen Blicksilver, Blum's spokesman, claims his boss and Sen. Feinstein have never talked shop at home in their gated mansion: "Mr. Blum and Sen. Feinstein have never had any discussions about outsourcing, government contracts, or URS." If this were a Republican senator's spouse scoring bundles off the spoils of war and passing it along to fellow Republicans, the liberals would be up in arms. But since Dianne Feinstein is a leading Democrat, mum's the word. Partisanship trumps ethics. The Byrne Report Hawk Tale By Peter Byrne ON JAN. 18, California senator Dianne Feinstein introduced Dr. Condoleezza Rice at a Senate nomination hearing for Secretary of State in terms so saccharine that molasses seemed to ooze out of her mouth. She was a precocious child, Feinstein purred. She has skill, judgment and poise. She loves football. Bush loves her. "The problems we face abroad are complex and sizable. If Dr. Rice's past performance is any indication, though, we can rest easy." That very same day, Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, took advantage of a spike in the price of his URS Corporation stock. He sold a third of his holdings in the defense contractor for $57 million, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. With Rice confirmed, the business of death and occupation looks rosy as hell for Feinstein, who--let's get real--benefits tremendously from sharing community property with Blum. URS' largest customer is the U.S. Army, which accounted for 17 percent ($587 million) of its cash revenue in 2004. In 2001, URS enjoyed a mere $169 million in defense contracts. Now, its war contracts total more than $2 billion. According to its annual report, the San FranciscoÐbased URS anticipates that profits will rocket up in 2005, because "operations in the Middle East are expected to generate increased work related to the development of weapons systems, the training of military pilots and the maintenance, upgrade and repair of military vehicles." Provided, of course, that our hawkish leadership remains as poised and lovable as the new Secretary of State. Feinstein, who sits on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, is an advocate of first-strike warfare, even though it flouts international law and the standards of common decency. Interestingly, her Financial Disclosure Report for 2003 was more than three times the size of her 2002 disclosure (Feinstein's 2003 disclosure numbers 133 pages, compared to Sen. Barbara Boxer's six-page report). The Feinstein-Blum portfolio is crammed with multimillion dollar investments in the military-industrial-financial complex and corporations that heavily exploit Third World peoples. The senator has a lot to lose should the neoconservative war machine falter. Hubby holds a controlling interest in another engineering firm, Perini Corporation of Framingham, Mass. Perini ranks No. 6 by dollar amount in war-related government contracts in the Middle East. According to its annual report, "Perini proudly supports the U.S. government with global rapid response capabilities for defense, reconstruction and security." Perini builds military facilities and roads in Afghanistan, electrical infrastructure in Iraq and U.S. embassies around the world. After the Senate, Feinstein included, approved Bush's war plans in 2002, Perini's defense contract awards soared from negligible to $2.52 billion. But, as with many of the sole-source, open-ended contracts awarded to politically connected firms, there are problems with accountability. Last summer, Department of Defense auditors determined that Perini could not adequately justify its costs in Iraq as fair and reasonable. That's government-speak for: They're gouging the #!$% out of us. Perini is heavily engaged in military and municipal public works projects inside the United States; at least two are also under investigation for contract fraud. For example, the city of San Francisco has sued general contractor Perini--which was in a joint venture with the Tutor-Saliba construction firm--for $100 million in cost overruns at a San Francisco International Airport project. The lawsuit alleges that the joint venture engaged in "a sophisticated pattern of fraud," including inflating costs, fabricating delays and setting up minority front companies to exploit affirmative-action preferences. The attorney general of Massachusetts is looking into alleged false claims made by a Perini joint venture in the "Big Dig" urban highway construction boondoggle in Boston. Ron Tutor, owner of Tutor-Saliba and CEO of Perini, bought into the latter company, along with Blum, as it teetered on the edge of solvency in the mid- 1990s due to a bad real estate investment. It rebounded, thanks to the firm's sudden ability to obtain lucrative U.S. military and government contracts, which, of course, had nothing to do with the fact that Blum's powerful wife has her hands on the military's purse strings. Remarkably, Perini grossed $1.37 billion in 2003, up 27 percent from the previous year, before the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Perini attributes its rocketing profits to "increased volume of work in Iraq and Afghanistan." As a risk factor, the firm notes that continued demand for its military services depends upon "the political situation in Iraq," which, logically, means that it desires the bloody war and useless occupation to continue indefinitely--a wish that hawktails with the foreign policy positions of Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld and Feinstein. I almost forgot: Perini Corp. is the nation's most active builder of Indian-fronted casinos. That explains a few things about Sen. Feinstein and the politics of gambling, soon to be revealed in greater detail in this space.

*

WAR PROFITEER DIANNE FEINSTEIN

 

Codifying Riches Above Honor

J.G. Schwam - November 2, 2003

The GOP will stop at nothing to prevent its crony capitalist partners from getting as rich as possible. As the allegations of over payments and price gouging by US government contractors operating in Iraq surfaces, there sits an entire party in the capital that took direct action to codify their desire to look the other instead of decrying potential frauds against the American taxpayer.

Today the office of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) distributed a press release that points out that, despite the repeated efforts of its member Democrats the Senate Appropriations Committee refused to allow the insertion of a provision putting the teeth of Federal prosecution against those would seek to profiteer from their Iraqi War and reconstruction contracts into the bill authorizing Bush’s $87 billon Iraq war appropriations request.

Leahy said; "We are about to spend a lot of money in Iraq, quickly and with few real controls on how it is spent," said Feinstein.

FEINSTEIN QUOTE:

“THE LEAST WE CAN DO IS PREVENT PRIVATE COMPANIES FROM TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT, ITS PEOPLE, AND THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO ARE RISKING THEIR LIVES EVERY DAY TO MAKE IRAQ, AND THE WORLD A BETTER, SAFER PLACE TO LIVE.”

GUESS THIS DIDN’T APPLY TO HER HUSBAND, WHITE COLLAR CORPORATE CRIMINAL, RICHARD C.  BLUM.

"The least we can do is prevent private companies from taking advantage of the American Government, its people, and the men and women who are risking their lives every day to make Iraq, and the world, a better, safer place to live. It was a mistake to strip the anti-profiteering provision from the conference report, and restoring it through this bill would send a clear signal that this kind of activity will not be tolerated."

The amendment cosponsored by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) would create new laws making it a federal crime to engage in war profiteering or overcharge taxpayers for any good or service with the specific intent to excessively profit from the war or reconstruction efforts in Iraq. The bill would also prohibit perpetrating fraud or making false statements in any form involving a contract or the provisioning of goods or services in Iraq.

WE CAN’T SAVE OUR NATION UNLESS WE REMOVE CALIFORNIA’S ELECTED WHORES.... EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM

*

IS BUSH ANYTHING BUT BUSH’S THIRD TERM ON STEROIDS?

 

Obama begins bid for second term: A president of war and social reaction

By Patrick Martin
5 April 2011

US President Barack Obama announced his candidacy for reelection in 2012 in a video statement posted on the Internet Monday and delivered via e-mail. He became the first candidate to formally declare for the 2012 presidential election, filing papers with the Federal Election Commission, a legal requirement to begin campaign fundraising.

Obama has already been dubbed the“billion-dollar candidate,” since his campaign is expected to be the first in US history to raise and spend that enormous sum. The number is appropriate and symbolic, given that the Obama presidency has served the billionaires at the expense of American working people.

The financial aristocracy—and Wall Street in particular—backed Obama heavily over Republican John McCain in 2008, as he raked in a record $779 million in contributions, more than double the previous record set by George W. Bush in 2004. Despite claims that this fundraising edge was due to a surge in small donations, the majority of both Obama’s primary campaign and general election funding came from those able to contribute $1,000 or more.

High rollers will be called upon to do even more in the 2012 campaign. At a meeting last month, campaign manager Jim Messina asked 450 top “bundlers” to raise $350,000 apiece in 2011—the year before the election—double what they were asked to raise for the whole 2008 campaign. This effort alone would give Obama a war chest of more than $150 million going into January 2012, far more than any of his potential rivals in either big business party. In accumulating such vast sums of money so quickly, the administration is seeking to preclude any possibility of a challenge to the pro-corporate policies that both political parties uphold.

In an address to a group of well-heeled supporters last week, Obama declared, “We have delivered on change that we can believe in. But we aren’t finished. We’ve got more work to do.”

In fact, all of the administration’s policies represent a continuation and deepening of the rightwing policies of the Bush administration. The Obama administration expanded the bailout of Wall Street begun under the Bush administration, devoting the full resources of the federal treasury to rescuing the banks and safeguarding the accumulated wealth of the financial elite.

Two-and-a-half years later, corporate profitability has been restored, reaching the highest level ever, $1.68 trillion, in 2010, up 36.8 percent in a single year. Profits have increased 61.5 percent from the low point in the 2008 financial crisis that triggered the ongoing economic slump.

The stock market has rebounded, with prices up 70 percent from the low point in 2008-2009, and a whopping $1 trillion added to stock values in 2010 alone. CEO pay is back to the stratospheric levels that prevailed before the crash, up 50 percent from 2009 to 2010, while pay levels for average workers have stagnated.

For the working class, there has been no recovery. Instead, the Obama administration has spearheaded a drive by corporate America to make the working class pay for the financial crisis and bailout, through the destruction of seven million jobs, the slashing of pay and benefits, and an unprecedented attack on public services and social programs.

At a campaign-style rally at a UPS facility Friday, Obama hailed the official jobless figures released that day, which showed a drop of a full percentage point in the unemployment rate over the past four months, from 9.8 percent to 8.8 percent. “The last time that happened,” Obama boasted, “was during the recovery in 1984.”

However, analysis of the Labor Department figures establishes that the decline in the official unemployment rate is due not to unemployed workers being hired, but to discouraged workers leaving the work force in despair over the lack of jobs.

Corporate economic forecasters now project—based on the optimistic assumption that the US economy will not slide back into recession under the impact of financial crisis, war and budget cutting—that the official unemployment rate in November 2012 will be 8 percent or more, the highest level on an election day since World War II.

The slump of 2008 to the present has created an entire class of long-term, more or less permanently unemployed. Six million Americans have been out of work for six months or longer, not counting the additional millions who have dropped out of the labor force, and the average duration of unemployment for a newly laid-off worker is 39 weeks.

The big business politicians of the Democratic and Republican parties are seeking to add to the social misery by cutting or eliminating the benefits that are all that stand between tens of millions of working people and complete destitution. Millions of low-paid workers will get a tax increase this year while the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy were extended for two years with Obama’s blessing.

State and local governments have slashed 400,000 jobs over the past two years, and are now engaged in the biggest attacks on jobs, social benefits and workers’ rights since the Great Depression. Wisconsin has provided the most publicized example, but Democratic governors as well as Republican are engaged in slashing wages and benefits for public employees, cutting or eliminating Medicaid benefits and other state services.

These state cuts will be dwarfed by the impact of the coming attack on federally funded social programs. The down payment will come in the cuts in current federal spending, some $30 to $60 billion, which the Obama administration and Congress are expected to finalize this week.

Today the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will unveil its proposed budget for 2012, which will set the stage for a staggering $4 trillion reduction in programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the lifeblood for tens of millions of elderly and poor working people.

In this, they are only following the trail blazed by Obama in his so-called healthcare “reform,” whose goal was not to make medical care a basic right for all Americans, but to cut the cost of providing healthcare, for both the federal government and corporate America.

These cuts are promoted with phony claims that “there is no money” for jobs, wages, education, healthcare and housing, by the very same politicians who lavish trillions on the Pentagon and on tax breaks for the corporations and the wealthy.

In the run-up to his reelection announcement, Obama has punctuated his pledges to cut federal spending and the deficit by firing hundreds of cruise missiles at Libya, while continuing the open-ended wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that have killed a million people and squandered trillions of dollars.

The White House and the Democratic Party engaged in a series of populist pretenses as part of the kickoff of the Obama reelection campaign.

Despite the huge financial advantage and ruling class support, there is an undercurrent of nervousness, even trepidation in the Obama camp. This is not because of any concern over the Republican opposition, since Obama has embraced the same policy framework.

But there are increasing signs of popular distrust of both parties and growing opposition to the entire structure of corporate-controlled politics. A Gallup poll released in February found that support for the Democratic Party has fallen in every state, and particularly in the belt of industrial states from Pennsylvania through Minnesota, where the slump has hit hardest. Support has fallen for the Republican Party as well, and for Congress, in the wake of the Republican takeover of the House last fall. In a poll taken just after the start of the war in Libya, Obama’s job rating fell to 42 percent, the lowest of his presidency.

More significant than declining poll numbers is the evidence of increasing militancy and social anger in the working class. The struggle that exploded in Wisconsin in February and March serves as a warning of much broader social conflicts that are on the agenda.

The driving force of these social conflicts—and the central fact of American life, albeit largely unacknowledged in the political system—is the unprecedented growth of social inequality. A layer of the super-rich is heaping up untold wealth, while the vast majority of the population struggle to survive from day to day. From Obama to the Tea Party, all factions of the American political establishment defend the capitalist system, which continually generates and deepens this inequality.

Economist Joseph Stiglitz writes about the impact of social inequality in a revealing commentary in the current issue of Vanity Fair magazine, headlined, “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%.”

He cites well-established facts about the economic polarization in America—the top one percent take 25 percent of national income and control 40 percent of its wealth; their incomes rose 18 percent over the past decade, while the incomes of the vast majority of the population fell.

He notes the impact of this polarization on social policy and on political life:

“The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend money on common needs. The rich don’t need to rely on government for parks or education or medical care or personal security—they can buy all these things for themselves…

“Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office. By and large, the key executive-branch policymakers on trade and economic policy also come from the top 1 percent.”

A liberal who fears the consequences of such a top-heavy society, Stiglitz is warning the ruling class not to push the population too far. He writes:

“In recent weeks we have watched people taking to the streets by the millions to protest political, economic, and social conditions in the oppressive societies they inhabit… As we gaze out at the popular fervor in the streets, one question to ask ourselves is this: When will it come to America? In important ways, our own country has become like one of these distant, troubled places.”

Such a revolutionary upheaval is increasingly inevitable in America. The critical challenge is to develop the leadership and perspective required to establish the political independence of the working class from both the Democratic and Republican parties, and build a mass movement for socialist policies.

This is the basis for the conferences on “The Fight for Socialism Today”that the Socialist Equality Party, the International Students for Social Equality and the World Socialist Web Site are holding this month, beginning this coming weekend in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

These conferences will discuss a socialist program to secure the basic social rights of the working class, oppose imperialist war, and halt the assault on democratic rights. We urge all of our readers and all those looking for a perspective to fight the attacks on working people and youth to make plans to attend.

January 11, 2009

Op-Ed Columnist

Eight Years of Madoffs - The OBAMA WAR MACHINE - WHO BENEFITS? FEINSTEIN! MUSLIM DICTATORS! OBAMA'S FRIENDS THE 9-11 INVADING SAUDIS!

By FRANK RICH

THREE days after the world learned that $50 billion may have disappeared in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, The Times led its front page of Dec. 14 with the revelation of another $50 billion rip-off. This time the vanished loot belonged to American taxpayers. That was our collective contribution to the $117 billion spent (as of mid-2008) on Iraq reconstruction — a sinkhole of corruption, cronyism, incompetence and outright theft that epitomized Bush management at home and abroad.

The source for this news was a near-final draft of an as-yet-unpublished 513-page federal history of this nation-building fiasco. The document was assembled by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction — led by a Bush appointee, no less. It pinpoints, among other transgressions, a governmental Ponzi scheme concocted to bamboozle Americans into believing they were accruing steady dividends on their investment in a “new” Iraq.

The report quotes no less an authority than Colin Powell on how the scam worked. Back in 2003, Powell said, the Defense Department just “kept inventing numbers of Iraqi security forces —the number would jump 20,000 a week! ‘We now have 80,000, we now have 100,000, we now have 120,000.’ ” Those of us who questioned these astonishing numbers were dismissed as fools, much like those who begged in vain to get the Securities and Exchange Commission to challenge Madoff’s math.

What’s most remarkable about the Times article, however, is how little stir it caused. When, in 1971, The Times got its hands on the Pentagon Papers, the internal federal history of the Vietnam disaster, the revelations caused a national uproar. But after eight years of battering by Bush, the nation has been rendered half-catatonic. The Iraq Pentagon Papers sank with barely a trace.

After all, next to big-ticket administration horrors like Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo and the politicized hiring and firing at Alberto Gonzales’s Justice Department, the wreckage of Iraq reconstruction is what Ralph Kramden of “The Honeymooners” would dismiss as “a mere bag of shells.” The $50 billion also pales next to other sums that remain unaccounted for in the Bush era, from the $345 billion in lost tax revenue due to unpoliced offshore corporate tax havens to the far-from-transparentdisposition of some $350 billion in Wall Street bailout money. In the old Pat Moynihan phrase, the Bush years have “defined deviancy down” in terms of how low a standard of ethical behavior we now tolerate as the norm from public officials.

Not even a good old-fashioned sex scandal could get our outrage going again. Indeed, a juicy one erupted last year in the Interior Department, where the inspector general found that officials “had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives.” Two officials tasked with marketing oil on behalf of American taxpayers got so blotto at a daytime golf event sponsored by Shell that they became too incapacitated to drive and had to be put up by the oil company.

Back in the day, an oil-fueled scandal in that one department alone could mesmerize a nation and earn Warren Harding a permanent ranking among our all-time worst presidents. But while the scandals at Bush’s Interior resemble Teapot Dome — and also encompass millions of dollars in lost federal oil and gas royalties — they barely registered beyond the Beltway. Even late-night comics yawned when The Washington Post administered a coup de grâce last week, reporting that Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne spent $235,000 from taxpayers to redo his office bathroom (monogrammed towels included).

It took 110 pages for the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan research organization, to compile the CliffsNotes inventory of the Bush wreckage last month. It found “125 systematic failures across the breadth of the federal government.” That accounting is conservative. There are still too many unanswered questions.

Just a short list is staggering. Who put that bogus “uranium from Africa”into the crucial prewar State of the Union address after the C.I.A. removed it from previous Bush speeches? How high up were the authorities who ordered and condoned torture and then let the “rotten apples” at the bottom of the military heap take the fall? Who orchestrated the Pentagon’s elaborate P.R. efforts to cover up Pat Tillman’s death by “friendly fire” in Afghanistan?

And, for extra credit, whatever did happen to Bush’s records from the Texas Air National Guard?

The biggest question hovering over all this history, however, concerns the future more than the past. If we get bogged down in adjudicating every Bush White House wrong, how will we have the energy, time or focus to deal with the all-hands-on-deck crises that this administration’s malfeasance and ineptitude have bequeathed us? The president-elect himself struck this note last spring. “If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated,” Barack Obama said. “I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we’ve got too many problems we’ve got to solve.”

WHILE WAXMAN HAS PRETENDED TO GO AFTER HALLIBURTON, THE BIGGEST GLOBAL CRIME WAVE EVER, HE’S NEVER OBTAINED EVEN ONE INDICTMENT AND HAS KEPT HIS BIG MOUTH SHUT ABOUT DIANNE FEINSTEIN’S LONG HISTORY OF CORRUPTION, WAR PROFITEERING, AND SELL OUT FOR RED CHINA BUCKS.

Henry Waxman, the California congressman who has been our most tireless inquisitor into Bush scandals, essentially agreed when I spoke to him last week. Though he remains outraged about both the chicanery used to sell the Iraq war and the administration’s overall abuse of power, he adds: “I don’t see Congress pursuing it. We’ve got to move on to other issues.” He would rather see any prosecutions augmented by an independent investigation that fills in the historical record. “We need to depoliticize it,” he says. “If a Democratic Congress or administration pursues it, it will be seen as partisan.”

We could certainly do worse than another 9/11 Commission. Among those Americans still enraged about the Bush years, there are also calls for truth and reconciliation commissions, war crimes trialsand, in a petition movement on Obama’s transition Web site, a special prosecutor in the Patrick Fitzgerald mode. One of the sharpest appointments yet made by the incoming president may support decisive action: Dawn Johnsen, a law professor and former Clinton administration official who last week was chosen to run the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice.

This is the same office where the Bush apparatchik John Yoo produced his infamous memos justifying torture. Johnsen is a fierce critic of such constitutional abuses. In articles for Slate last year, she wondered “where is the outrage, the public outcry” over a government that has acted lawlessly and that “does not respect the legal and moral bounds of human decency.” She asked, “How do we save our country’s honor, and our own?”

The last is not a rhetorical question. While our new president indeed must move on and address the urgent crises that cannot wait, Bush administration malfeasance can’t be merely forgotten or finessed. A new Justice Department must enforce the law; Congress must press outstanding subpoenas to smoke out potential criminal activity; every legal effort must be made to stop what seems like a wholesale effort by the outgoing White House to withhold, hide and possibly destroy huge chunks of its electronic and paper trail. As Johnsen wrote last March, we must also “resist Bush administration efforts to hide evidence of its wrongdoing through demands for retroactive immunity, assertions of state privilege, and implausible claims that openness will empower terrorists.”

As if to anticipate the current debate, she added that “we must avoid any temptation simply to move on,”because the national honor cannot be restored “without full disclosure.” She was talking about America regaining its international reputation in the aftermath of our government’s descent into the dark side of torture and“extraordinary rendition.” But I would add that we need full disclosure of the more prosaic governmental corruption of the Bush years, too, for pragmatic domestic reasons. To make the policy decisions ahead of us in the economic meltdown, we must know what went wrong along the way in the executive and legislative branches alike.

As the financial historian Ron Chernow wrote in the Times last week, we could desperately use a Ferdinand Pecora, the investigator who illuminated the history of the 1929 meltdown in Senate hearings on the eve of the New Deal. The terrain to be mined would include not just the usual Wall Street suspects and their Congressional and regulatory enablers but also the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a strangely neglected ground zero in the foreclosure meltdown. The department’s secretary, Alphonso Jackson, resigned in March amid still-unresolved investigationsover whether he enriched himself and friends with government contracts.

The tentative and amorphous $800 billion stimulus proposed by Obama last week sounds like a lot, but it’s a drop in the bucket when set against the damage it must help counteract: more than $10 trillion in new debt and new obligations piled up by the Bush administration in eight years, as calculated by the economists Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz in the current Harper’s Magazine.

If Bernie Madoff, at least, can still revive what remains of our deadened capacity for outrage, so can those who pulled off Washington’s Ponzi schemes. The more we learn about where all the bodies and billions were buried on our path to ruin, the easier it may be for our new president to make the case for a bold, whatever-it-takes New Deal.

*

July 3, 2008

Editorial

The Imprecise Meaning of War

 

Unless Congress closes a gaping hole in the law against war profiteering, companies ripping off taxpayers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars may never be fully prosecuted. This is because the latest conflicts are not declared wars.

The anti-fraud law dating to World War II allows prosecution of contractors up to three years after a war ends. But this statute of limitations was omitted from the resolutions authorizing military force in Iraq and Afghanistan, which carried no formal war declaration.

Investigators say that current war fraud runs into untold billions, including faulty ammunition and vehicles and not-so-bullet-proof vests. Investigative officials and the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction have testified that they’re hampered by the ongoing conflicts and need more time to catch contract thieves after they end.

The solution is a bipartisan bill clarifying that “war”absolutely includes Congressional authorizations of military force. The repair also wisely allows prosecution for five years after a war. The Senate Judiciary Committee just approved this crucial measure and the rest of Congress should quickly enact it. Or else the loophole will continue to invite war contracting as “a free-for-all with no criminal accountability,” in the words of Senator Charles Grassley, the bill’s Republican sponsor.

The Justice Department, meanwhile, is reportedly sitting on a backlog of more than 900 cases in which whistle-blowers have accused government contractors of billions in fraud, in both military and domestic spending. Long delays bog down the information in secrecy as the department, understaffed and overloaded, weighs whether the allegations have merit, according to The Washington Post.

On both the war front and the home front, the government must do a far more convincing job of going after profiteers who are gouging the taxpayers.