Friday, April 30, 2004

Republican pol targeted in corruption investigation
Suffolk County, New York, district attorney's investigators have descended on businesses owned by county Republican political leader Thomas M. Neppell, Jr. They're looking for documentary evidence to back up accusations that Neppell forced building inspectors to harass gym owners whose gyms competed for business against those Neppell owned in the county. Neppell's as clean as the driven slush, having already had to resign office in September when the allegations surfaced. Read about it here.
Administration wants to count farm-raised salmon
In its never-ending efforts to destroy the environment, the Bush Administration decided this week that it will include hatchery-raised salmon along with wild, free-range (please, indulge me) salmon in its annual counts of the fish. This will allow farmers and industry to siphon off Northwestern river water that might otherwise be required to protect wild salmon habitat. And, of course, Native American tribes that depend on the fish will get the shaft, as will sport fishermen. Read about this fishy scam here and here.
Lautenberg names chickenhawk names
Talk about the feel-good moment of this election year, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg brought home the bacon on the floor of the U.S. Senate this week by naming Unca Dick as the chief chickenhawk trying to molest John Kerry's war record. Now, Lautenberg shouldn't have had to do this, but given the Kerry campaign's bumbling nature, it's good some Democrat had the balls to stick it in the Vice-President and break it off. Brokered convention in Boston? Works for me if Kerry can't come to the realization that he's going to have to work his ass off to win this election. In the meantime, thank you, Senator Lautenberg, for coming to the candidate's rescue. Read more here and here. P.S. -- The Democratic establishment continues to be out to lunch on what it's going to take to beat Prances on Aircraft Carriers. Case in point is this week's Eric Alterman column pumping Dick Gephardt as the best choice for Kerry's running mate.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Pennsylvania Rethug AG primary is a bruiser
Most of the U.S. is waiting to see whether the repulsive Arlen Specter gets to run in the general election this fall to retain his U.S. Senate seat. But real Pennsylvania political enthusiasts are tuning into the commonwealth's Republican primary for attorney general. You'll remember that Bruce Castor raised major hell earlier in this race when the state's Rethug machine sided with Castor's opponent. Castor has not muted his criticism of the mobbed-up manner in which the Pennsylvania Republican Party conducts its business. He is, however, spreading his message far and wide thanks to the largess of Drew Lewis, a former White House cabinet secretary who has two DUI convictions and $600,000 that he's pumped into Castor's campaign. Castor is still flaying the hell out of Pennsylvania Republican godfather Bob Asher, whom he describes as "a convicted felon who went to prison for perjury, bribery, and conspiracy." Damn, this is going to be a good one, folks. Read more about this fistfight here, here and here.
Dirty D.A. pleads guilty in Wisconsin
District Attorney Joseph Paulus wasted no time in pleading guilty to charges of taking bribes and filing a false tax return. Arrested on April 13th, the Winnebago County Republican pled guilty as part of a plea bargain. He had originally been accused of soliciting and accepting bribes for at least two years while serving as Winnebago's D.A. Paulus reportedly collected more than $48,000 in 22 cases that he fixed for a local attorney. Read more about it here and here.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Money can buy a lot of influential friends
New York Senator Guy Velella of the Bronx is having to shell out $292,000 in campaign funding to a law firm defending him against charges of public corruption. But the campaign funding in question isn't all his own. It's coming from the campaign coffers of twenty fellow Republicans in the New York legislature. Where's Al D'Amato when you need him? Read all about Velella, his legal problems and his well-heeled friends here and here and here.
Old wingnuts never fade away
Jeff Stabins of Hernando County, Florida, just keeps coming back and coming back -- even when his fellow Republicans wish he wouldn't. The three-term state legislator is running for public office once again, this time for a seat on the county commission. Stabins stays on bad terms with other Thuggie leaders. He also has an interesting past, one that includes an arrest for drunk driving (later pled down to reckless driving), a charge of using legislative assistants as campaign workers (dodged that one, too) and a bizarre 1989 incident where police found an intoxicated Stabins wandering around a Tampa neighborhood. See here for more on Brother Stabins.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Rethug "science" favors species extinction
One of the biggest scandals of the Bush Administration involves the total surrender of federal science and technology policy to far-right religious nuts and various industries that need to kick Mother Nature in the ass in order to turn a buck in the market place. Chris Mooney has an outstanding article in Legal Affairs about how Prances on Aircraft Carriers and his fellow conspirators are twisting science to justify allowing endangered species to be driven extinct. Read all about it here.
Congressman, this is a non-shooting flight
Two and a half years after 9-11 and there are still idiots trying to haul weapons aboard passenger jets in the United States. The latest idiot in question is Republican Congressman John Hostettler of Indiana. TSA officers relieved Hostettler of a pistol he had secreted in his carry-on luggage at Louisville International Airport Tuesday. Hostettler claimed he forgot the pistol was in his bag. I'm sure he'll win some award from the NRA for being a Second Amendment Martyr. Read more about this well-armed knothead here, here and here. The congressman faces a May 4 court date on charges of carrying a concealed weapon.
Rethugs raise taxes on Missouri newspapers
A few days after they were labeled "the House of Hypocrites" in a newspaper editorial, Republicans who control Missouri's House of Representatives voted to raise taxes on the state's two largest newspapers. Democratic members of the House are pointing to the vote as retaliation. It's hard to feel sorry for newspapers when they bring this on themselves by not aggressively covering Republican atrocities. On the other hand, exempting newspapers from sales taxes for rack sales is a time-honored custom in nearly every state in the Union, a recognition of the importance of the First Amendment. Read more about this here and here.
Rethug Party leader has vigilante past
Former Bannock County, Idaho, Republican Party Chair Bob Davis is your go-to guy for mob violence if you ever need it. In this profile in the Pocatello State Journal, Davis waxes nostalgic about his attempts to form a lynch mob in 1980 to mete out frontier justice to a man suspected of beating a friend of Davis'. Luckily for the concept of justice, Davis' attempts to rouse the rabble foundered in a sea of sobriety and common sense on the part of that self-same rabble.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Run, Randy, run
Alaska Republican Party Chair Randy Ruedrich has been hit with a 16-page list of ethics violations by the state. Among other lapses, Ruedrich is accused of slipping confidential state documents to an energy lobbyist and freeping an online poll of the Mat-Su Frontiersman. Let the Frontiersman tell you all about it here. Crony corruption seems to be a basic of Republican politics in Alaska. Check out more on that here. For more on Ruedrich, read here, here and here.
They're welcome to have her
The Widder Cobain, Courtney Love, has proudly announced her conversion to the Republican Party. Love made her announcement during an appearance on Jay Leno's show last week. She plans to run for California Attorney General, which makes sense given her legal problems for drug possession. Love said she made her decision after Governor Schwarzenegger declined to intervene in her most recent arrests. Love is apparently unaware that Der Oktoputz is a Republican himself, but don't anyone tell her. Never get between a fool and her own making is my motto. Read more about it here. And, yes, feel free to use the comment section of this entry to guess what substance Courtney was abusing when she made this announcement.
Of mad men and death threats
When it became apparent that the 911 Commission's questioning of Bush Administration staffers was turning into a major embarrassment for the Rethugs, they fired back by attacking one of the Democratic members of the commission. Now, this is questionable in and of itself, but it got the kind of grassroots response these evil-doers were no doubt hoping for. Commissioner Jamie Gorelick has ben receiving death threats since the Rethugs went on the attack against her. They're hoping to pin the blame for 911 on Gorelick, who served as an assistant attorney general for a couple of years in the middle of Bill Clinton's term in office. Current Attorney General John "King Crisco" Ashcroft has led the charge against Gorelick since testimony revealed that he was completely indifferent to the threat of terrorist attacks in the U.S. prior to 911. King Crisco is back to the heyday of the Patriot Act when he threatened members of Congress if they dared voice criticism of him. And if Gorelick has been put in personal danger at the hands of hate-filled, fanatical Republicans? Too bad, so sad, I guess. Good thing Gorelick has a spine and is refusing to step down from the commission. Read about it here. The Usual Suspects in the right-wing media are furiously sweating this one in order to destroy Gorelick and discredit the commission.

Monday, April 12, 2004

More on the tangled web of 911 lies
The Center for American Progress is doing what I consider heroic work by exposing the yawning gulf between what Prances on Aircraft Carriers says and what is the truth. Read about Fearless Leader's verbal machiavellinations here.
Administration missed the boat entirely on 911
You can always tell how defensive Prances on Aircraft Carriers is on any given topic by measuring how often he smirks. The stupid little fucker had that unnatural rictus glued to his face yesterday when facing a squad of journalists armed with questions about the Presidential Daily Briefing from August, 2001, that was declassified over the weekend. He's got plenty to smirk about. The memo totally contradicted Condi Rice's sworn testimony to the 911 Commission last week. David Corn has a great piece in this week's edition of The Nation that sums up the shit that's raining on Smirky's head as a result of the PDB. Slate also has a decent column about Rice's rocky relationship with the truth. Next in the hot seat are Judge Louis Freeh, former director of the FBI, and Attorney General John "King Crisco" Ashcroft. Freeh will have to explain why he was spending so much time and resources investigating Bill Clinton's penis at a time when Al Qaeda was putting its terror attack plan into motion on U.S. soil. King Crisco will face the same scrutiny and maybe can explain why he stopped flying commercial airlines about a month before 911. Read about it here. Read the infamous memo here. By the way, it's good to see King Crisco back in action after his recent surgery. We here at the Elephant hope his recovery proceeds well.
Illinois GOP to township Rethugs: screw you
Republicans in Bremen Township, Illinois, have been pestering their party to ditch their township committee chairman since last year, when they discovered that Michael Feeley had no intention of giving up his party office, despite the fact that he was facing criminal charges. Feeley is accused of conspiring to siphon public works funds from Oak Forest's public works department. The county and state GOP have declined to get involved in the simple act of booting out a thief from their ranks. So the Bremen Township Republicans committed institutional hara-kiri by voting to disband. This op-ed piece by Bremen Township Thuggie Fran Eaton, managing editor of the Illinois Leader, lays out the feelings of anger and betrayal Eaton and other Bremen Township Republicans feel. The Leader, by the way, bills itself as a "conservative" (we all know that really means "radical right-wing") publication.

Friday, April 09, 2004

GOP Presidential candidate jailed for threatening to kick ass
You have to love the swarm of nuts who inevitably seek the Republican nomination for U.S. President each electoral cycle. They're inevitably portrayed as kooks by the corporate-dominated media, but in reality, they're simply right-wing Republicans who say things that other right-wing Republicans are careful not to say themselves, although they're in agreement with the candidates' sentiments. Robert Edwards Haines, age 57, of Manchester, New Hampshire, is finding that the campaign trail can be a cold, lonely place for a highly-charged Republican Presidential candidate. Haines was arrested in Fredericksburg, Virginia, this week for threatening to kill a police officer and his canine partner: "kick his ass and cut off his dog's head." Now, maybe a tune-up from Officer Scraps could have taken the edge off Haines' attitude, but the cop who had opposable thumbs took the high road by simply arresting Haines and tossing his ass in jail. Find out more about Richard Edwards Haines and his bid to bring true Republican values to the White House here.
DeLay's troops fined for breaking campaign finance rules
House Republicans will be coughing up $280,000 in fines after being caught funneling campaign money from the National Republican Congressional Committee to another group, one outside the group's purview, to finance campaign ads in 2000. No wonder the Rethugs so bitterly opposed campaign finance reform. They've had to learn how to game an entirely new system. Read more here.
Fat Tony don't wanna be tape-recorded
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin "Fat Tony" Scalia has a long record of banning video or audio taping of speeches and appearances he makes when he's not busy sitting on the bench and whining about not getting his own way on everything. In a truly Republican -- and, thus, deeply disturbing -- maneuver, Scalia had a U.S. Marshal force two reporters to erase audio tapes they were making of a Scalia speech in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Now, the marshal should be censured for intimidating members of the general public. Like it or not, the U.S. Marshals Service works for the people of the United States. What the hell does Scalia say in his stump speech on the Constitution that he's afraid of the general public hearing? Read more about this outrage here and here.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Interior investigator blows whistle on Indian fund
Alan Balaran spent three years trying to untangle the complex transactions of a multi-million dollar fund that is supposed to channel money from natural resources on public lands to Native American tribes. Fed up with obstruction by officials within the Interior Department, which manages the fund, Balaran resigned his position this week to draw attention to the findings in his investigation -- namely that Interior was giving away natural resource extraction rights for practically nothing in return. It's time for a Congressional inquiry into the Department of the Interior, which seems to have become a mega-mart for Big Oil and its mineral cousins. Read about it here.
On you it looks good
What's the world coming to when a God-fearin', family values Republican politician can't dress himself up in women's clothing without causing tongues to wag? If you have the answer to that question, please send it to Sam Walls of Ft. Worth. The 64 year-old Walls seemed like a shoe-in for a seat in the Texas House until a competing candidate released photos of Walls dressed in women's clothing last week. Walls says the photos won't force him out of the race, although Rethug leaders are calling for exactly that. Read about it here.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Arrested ex-aide invokes boss' name repeatedly to cops
Marion County, Indiana, Prosecutor Carl Brizzi would probably like to get his hands around the throat of a former aide who, while being arrested for battery and disorderly conduct at a local nightclub, repeatedly threatened arresting officers and others with the wrath of Carl Brizzi. Law and order Republican Matthew S. Trefethen, age 24, was busted at the Ugly Monkey night club (perfect name for a place where Republicans might congregate to get shit-faced and authoritarian) for refusing to leave when ordered to do so by the club's manager. Trefethen, who is currently deputy director of voter information for the Indiana Republican Party, swore to the manager that Brizzi would sue the bar. Trefethen issued a rather hung-over apology once he sobered up and bonded out of jail. Read about it here.
Emerging evidence backs Clarke's accusations
Richard Clarke, who has been called everything but a Christian by the GOP over the past couple of weeks, is likely going to enjoy the last laugh at his un-Christian tormentors' expense. The smear campaign against Clarke is being overwhelmed by evidence that backs his accusations that the Bush White House ignored clear signs that Al-Qaeda planned and was capable of carrying out a major terror attack in this country. Even Bush suck-up Bob Woodward has provided backing for Clarke's story courtesy of the ass-kissing books he undoubtedly now regrets writing about Bush and his administration. Read more about it here, here and here. This is some damning stuff.
Bush's Saudi friends pumped $27 million to suspicious entities
The Bush family has long enjoyed terrific relations with the ruling House of Saud in Saudi Arabia. As the oil wealth of Saudi Arabia was developed over the past century, the bond between the two families has only grown stronger. This may well explain why Saudi Arabia is not currently on the list of terrorist-sponsoring nations, despite the fact that almost all of the 911 hijackers were Saudis. Now, a federal investigation is closing in on Prince Bandar bin Sultan. The investigation centers on $27 million which Sultan personally funneled through the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C., to Muslim clerics, charities and students who may have connections to Islamist terrorism. Sultan and the Saudis, naturally, aren't falling all over themselves to cooperate. Check it out here.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Unca Dick's energy boodlers lose one in court
This is an important story, so important that the Washington Post buries it on Page A23. And the corporate-dominated media wonders why the rest of us see them as Bush enablers and Rethug-loving traitors. Anyhoo, remember Unca Dick Cheney's energy task force, the one whose deliberations Unca Dick has fought tooth-and-nail to keep uner wraps? Unca Dick took one on the chin this week when U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman ruled that the Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy can't claim executive privilege to keep employees who worked for the task force from being interviewed by investigators looking into the task force's actions. Friedman's order means that both agencies must make both the relevant employees and the documents they produced available to the investigators. Justice hasn't decided whether to appeal Friedman's order. Read about it here. By the way, some letters of outrage to the Post for NOT placing this story on A1 would probably help the paper's ombudsman write a decent Sunday column.
Congressional Rethugs block Medicare testimony
Remember the guy from DHHS who was threatened with the loss of his job if he dared to tell anyone that the Medicare Deform Act would cost far more money than the Rethugs said it would? Well, you might want to take some time to fix that particular pecadillo in your mind, because it won't be refreshed by, say, testimony from the man in question before a Congressional committee. Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee voted en masse not to allow the DHHS staffers and Bush flunkies involved to testify to them. The Republicans accused Democrats of "continuing an election-year assault on the Medicare prescription drug law." No shit, Sherlock. Their job is to get bad Republican legislation repealed. Read about it here.
White House won't share Clinton documents with 911 Commission
The normal definition of "cooperation" centers around the concept of two or more entities working together to accomplish a goal. In Rethugland, however, cooperation equals stonewalling. The Bushies had to be bludgeoned by public opinion into putting Condi Rice on the witness stand under oath to testify to the 911 Commission. Given Rice's glaring incompetence, I can't say I blame them (Giving Rice four years of kissy-poo coverage is one of the more egregious crimes committed by the suck-up Washington press corps. The woman is very visibly out of her league). Unca Dick and Prances on Aircraft Carriers get to testify together behind closed doors, presumably so Unca Dick can keep the half-wit under positive control and not create the camera-op from hell. Now, the Bushies are refusing to release pertinent documents from the Clinton Administration to the 911 Commission. You can bet your ass that if there was anything that incriminated Clinton or, vice versus, made Bush and his co-horts look good, it would have been leaked to Bob Novak within the last couple of weeks. Read about this typical Bush bullshit here

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