Monday, March 12, 2007

More on Newt; Send in the GAO!

I'm still reeling from the news that Newt Gingrich had an extramarital affair with a congressional aide two decades his junior while he was overseeing the GOP impeachment crusade against Bill Clinton in the late 1990s. Actually, it's hardly news. At that time, I knew the woman's name. I had been told about the affair by a friend who worked for the Democrats in the House. She had a friend who worked with Callista Bisek, Gingrich's partner. And that friend-of-my-friend had told my friend that Bisek regularly talked with her about her secret romance with the House Speaker. What did I do with that information? I pursued the lead.

I tried to confirm the tip from my friend. I asked if her source--that friend of Bisek--would talk to me. She checked. The friend-of-Bisek said no. I was told, though, that Bisek and Gingrich often enjoyed breakfast together at the Supreme Court cafeteria (oh, romance in Washington!). That made sense because at the time, Gingrich was living in a building across from the Court. And it just so happened that my office was located in that building. So for a couple of weeks, I went to work early and checked out the cafeteria to see if I could spot the two undercover love birds. No luck. I stayed late some evenings, hoping to catch a glimpse of them together in the building. I had long ago discerned that Gingrich's wife at the time--whom I would occasionally encounter in the elevator--spent much of her time in their Georgia home. Thus, a rendezvous in the Gingrich apartment was not out of the question. But, again, no such luck. A television tabloid news show learned of my efforts and scouted the building and considered mounting electronic surveillance. Nothing came of that. No hidden cameras were set up (as far as I knew), though I believe there was a stakeout for a couple of nights. That yielded no sightings.

Gingrich got away with it--though his tryst was an open secret. In a Vanity Fair piece, Gail Sheehy even referred to those breakfast meetings at the Court--a rather explicit reference to hanky-panky. I never wrote anything because--get this!--I couldn't prove anything. Such was life before the days of widespread blogging. If there were such a rumor about a high-powered pol these days, it would eventually be outed on the Internet. Not so back then (though the Drudge Report did put the Monica business into play before Newsweek could).

I suppose it is news that Gingrich has confessed--as a prelude to a possible presidential bid. But he didn't address Wife No. 2's contention that he divorced her shortly after she had been diagnosed with a neurological condition. (In an earlier and infamous episode, Gingrich divorced Wife No. 1 while she was in the hospital being treated for cancer.) His confession, though comes as no surprise. But it does say something about the GOP.

As I've noted before, if you add up the past and present wives of John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Gingrich, you almost have enough players for a baseball team. That's a good quip (if I do say so myself). Yet it's more than a joke when you think about the Republican position on gay marriage. Given his past, can Gingrich talk about the need to shore up the institution of marriage? Well, he can--just not with any credibility. And it will be amusing to watch hungry-to-win GOPers look past Giuliani's made-for-the-soaps personal life.

By the way, I was talking to a longtime Republican strategist about the Gingrich "news," and this person told me that she/he had discussed it with another GOP operative who in 1996 had worked on vetting possible running mates for Bob Dole, the Republican presidential nominee. After weeks of reviewing the private and public records of potential veep candidates, that Republican operative (as he told my source) reached a stunning conclusion: I'm the only Republican not having an affair!

So much for the party of family values. Run, Newt, run!

DOES OVERSIGHT MATTER? Two-party government does have its advantages. See this letter that Senator Tom Harkin and 21 other Democratic Senators (plus independent Senator Bernie Sanders) sent Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a few days ago:

Dear Madam Secretary:

We are writing to express our concern about reports that the Department of State is impeding the ability of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct effective oversight of the United States Government's reconstruction efforts in Iraq. Specifically, we are told that the State Department has refused to grant GAO the access the agency needs to effectively monitor how reconstruction funding is being spent. Such access is essential to ending the misuse of taxpayer funds that have been repeatedly documented in Iraq. We ask that you give this matter your prompt attention.

As you know, since 2003 the United States Congress has appropriated billions of dollars to stabilize and rebuild Iraq. Unfortunately, there have been numerous reports that large amounts of this funding have been stolen or squandered. Special Inspector General for Iraq, Stuart Bowen, testified earlier this year that, waste, fraud, and abuse are rampant both in the Iraqi ministries and among U.S. contractors.

The Government Accountability Office is the agency charged by Congress with investigating the programs and expenditures of the federal government. The Congress relies on GAO to monitor and report on U.S. efforts in Iraq, and has called upon GAO to brief members on these critical issues and testify at multiple hearings. To help Congress better monitor the expenditure of these funds, GAO has been negotiating with the Departments of State and Defense the details of establishing a steady oversight presence in Baghdad. Specifically, GAO has requested State and DOD approval (country clearance) for three auditors to be allowed on a rotating basis to spend up to 6 months in Baghdad. We have been recently informed that the Department of Defense has approved GAO's request.

Unfortunately, we have been informed that the State Department has not yet granted this request for country clearance. Although the departments of Defense and State have facilitated several short term (2-3 week) visits for GAO teams in the past, GAO's longer-term presence in Baghdad is essential to providing Congress with direct and continuing oversight over U.S. programs and activities.

American taxpayers are currently being asked to spend approximately $3,240 every second and $280 million per day in Iraq. Accordingly, it is imperative that GAO be given the access it needs to serve as the eyes and ears of the United States Congress as we continue our efforts to train and equip Iraqi security forces, provide these forces with a more robust logistics capability, build Iraqi ministry capacity, and restore essential services such as water and electricity.

We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to your timely response.

I'm sure she appreciates the letter.

Posted by David Corn at March 12, 2007 02:59 PM


David B. Benson said...

Has everybody been rounded up by the thought police?

O'Reilly said...

So Corn stalked the story and got bupkis. It's just as well. The politics of sex are ruining this country... well right after the politics of the imperial presidency; unaccountable to citizens,unaccountable to the law of the land.

Tell me Newt got a blowjob and got sporge all over his fluzzy's blue dress. How presidential. I know, he was too worried about WW3 to remember what he forgot to remember before Tim Russert told him... as if new.

capt said...

"The United States must cultivate a mental view toward world settlement after this war which will enable us to impose our own terms, amounting perhaps to a pax-Americana.":
U.S. Department of State - Source: Minutes S-3 of the Security Subcommittee, Advisory Committee on Postwar Foreign Policy, 6 May, 1942, Notter File, Box 77, Record Group 59, Records of the Department of State, National Archives, DC.

"We could not leave them to themselves -- they were unfit for self-government -- and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain's was ... there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them." -
William McKinley - (1843-1901) 25th US President - Source: 1899, on the Filipinos, following the U.S. invasion of the Philippines in 1898. During the invasion and occupation, U.S. forces killed an estimated 200,000 Filipino civilians. Address to the Methodist Episcopal Church; cited in Olcott, The Life of William McKinley (1916), v. 2, p. 110; estimate of civilian casualties from U.S. Library of Congress, "The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War," 1998.

"This country is not pro-American. It is United States property."-
Juan Bosch - President of the Dominican Republic Source: In 1965, the U.S. nvaded the Dominican Republic to prevent the displacement of Donald Reid Cabral by Bosch's constitutionally-elected government. New York Times, 6 June 1975

"You know your country is dying when you have to make a distinction between what is moral and ethical, and what is legal." --
John De Armond

"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."- Voltaire - [Fran├žois Marie Arouet] (1694-1778)


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

The Future Has Caught Up With Us


In the United States, each member elected to the House and Senate takes an oath to uphold the US Constitution, as does the president and vice president. Yet the Bush Regime drafted and Congress passed the Military Commissions Act, a constitutional monstrosity that denies the protection of law to everyone declared, without evidence, by the executive branch to be a suspected terrorist or enemy combatant.

The Military Commissions Act became law in "the land of the free" in 2006. The Act strips detainees of protections provided by the Geneva Conventions. The Act declares that no person "subject to trial by military commission under this chapter may invoke the Geneva Conventions as a source of rights."

The Act also denies detainees the protections of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights: "No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of" a detainee. Some language in the Act refers to detainees as "aliens," but, ominously, other language does not limit the Act’s applicability to "aliens."


*****end of clip*****

The piece speaks about the thought police. Very timely.


capt said...

Forming Carbon Nanotubes

A team of scientists, including researchers at Cambridge University, have successfully produced live video footage that shows how carbon nanotubes, more than 10,000 times smaller in diameter than a human hair, form. The video sequences show nanofibres and nanotubes nucleating around miniscule particles of nickel and are already offering greater insight into how these microscopic structures self-assemble.

These two videos show how the nickel reacts a process called catalytic chemical vapour deposition. This is one of several methods of producing nanotubes, and involves the application of a gas containing carbon (in this case acetylene) to minute crystalline droplets referred to as "catalyst islands" (the nickel).

In conditions appropriate to creating nano-fibres, the catalyst was squeezed upwards gradually as carbon formed around it. When the application of gas was reduced to create single-walled nanotubes, the carbon instead lifted off the catalyst to form a tubular structure.


*****end of clip*****

Video at the link. Very interesting.


capt said...

Updated: AIPAC's Antisemite, John Hagee

These ultra-conservative Jews are a decidedly Manichaean bunch, seeing the world in terms of those who are "pro-Israel" and those who are "anti-Israel." The definitions of these terms can also be called "blind support for Israeli dominance" and "everything else."

There is no room for sensible, rational or loving criticism.

It's like an alcoholic with a close friend who says that there are those who ply the drunk with booze and everyone else.

AIPAC hosted Hagee, a man who blamed the Holocaust on the Jews. Their credibility is shot. Pass it on...

Hagee, from his 2006 "Jerusalem Countdown":

"It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God's chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day....

How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God for His chosen people to credit idols with bringing blessings He had showered upon the chosen people. Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come.... it rises from the judgment of God upon his rebellious chosen people." ("Jerusalem Countdown: A Prelude To War", paperback edition, pages 92 and 93)


*****end of clip*****

"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."

~ H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)


Saladin said...

The sex affair gossip is boring. It's certainly nothing new that extra-marital affairs happen in DC, the cesspool of every kind of unfaithfulness, it's right up there with Hollywood in that regard. Integrity died long ago.

Saladin said...

"Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through."

- Jonathan Swift

Free Market News

Saladin said...

Dems Capitulate On Iran War Authorization
by Hornito
Mon Mar 12, 2007 at 04:51:16 PM PDT
Daily Kos

This just in from AP (link and snips below the fold), the Dem leadership has decided NOT to include language that would have prevented Bush from attacking Iran without Congressional authorization.


I smell AIPAC and pro-Israel lawmakers all over this one, and indeed, some are quoted for the article.

More below:

* Hornito's diary :: ::

Top House Democrats retreated Monday from an attempt to limit President Bush's authority for taking military action against Iran as the leadership concentrated on a looming confrontation with the White House over the Iraq war.

Officials said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) and other members of the leadership had decided to strip from a major military spending bill a requirement for Bush to gain approval from Congress before moving against Iran.

Conservative Democrats as well as lawmakers concerned about the possible impact on Israel had argued for the change in strategy.

The developments occurred as Democrats pointed toward an initial test vote in the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday on the overall bill, which would require the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by Sept. 1, 2008, if not earlier. The measure provides nearly $100 billion to pay for fighting in two wars, and includes more money than the president requested for operations in Afghanistan and what Democrats called training and equipment shortages.

The White House has issued a veto threat against the bill, and Vice President Dick Cheney attacked its supporters in a speech, declaring they "are telling the enemy simply to watch the clock and wait us out."

Link here for much more. Please be sure to read it all:

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am sick of Israel's and AIPAC's influence on our government. It is OUR soldiers who are dying. It is OUR treasury and tax dollars that are paying for wars that these fucking neocons want. I am sick to death to it.

Coming soon, more on how AIPAC has been pushing war with Iran since 1999. I'll be posting tomorrow.

Are you tired of Israel/AIPAC influence on our government?
96% 324 votes
3% 9 votes
Not Sure
1% 3 votes

| 336 votes
I will answer my own question. NO, they are NOT going to stop this insanity, Israel won't let them. When are the people going to learn?

capt said...

New Thread