Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Saturday, August 26, 2006


It is their "go-to" move. Stressing a seamless connection between 9/11, terrorism, and Iraq has been effectively used by the GOP to scare people into staying put.

Toledo Blade (Ohio)
By: Marilou Johanek

The favorite party fallback that changing America's leadership when the world is a frightfully dangerous place would put America in even more jeopardy than it is today. It's a winning strategy.

***By allowing the GOP to be the majority in Washington, we have made the world a frightfully dangerous place! They are the ones that support everything Bush does, including his illegal war in Iraq. That's what has turned the world against us!

Using terrorism as a wedge won in 2004 so Republicans retooled their old tactics in 2006. It was clear from the onset of the midterm campaigns that terror would be the GOP's main (only ?) key to success. When the controling party can't claim victory in war with failing policies in Iraq, Afghanastan and Lebanon, or boast of any great achievements at home, talking terrorism is a compelling way to change the subject.

When the administration has a history of doing tax breaks to the most profitable energy companies while the personal budgets of Americans are strained by high gasoline costs, Republicans would rather bypass the subject altogether. They also don't want to dwell of the sluggish economy or rising unemployment in critical battleground states like Ohio. And they're hard-pressed to show progress in controlling health-care costs, reforming Social Security, or making college affordable.

When "Leave No Child Behind" leaves millions behind without adequate K-12 resources and public schools across the country to struggle just to get by, the GOP would just as soon focus on terrorism. Who wouldn't?

When deficit hawks on Capitol Hill are twitching over budgets padded with pork and gutted with trillion-dollar tax cuts, Republicans running for re-election switch the dialogue to terrorism. When federal and state prosecutors are pursuing former and current party kingpins in widespread corruption investigations, GOP candidates sidestep the muck with slogans about being strong on defense.

In Ohio, Republican Mike DeWine predictably employed the go-to move about being strong of defense in terrorist times from the start of his Senate re-election campaign. The whole posturing point in the GOP playbook is to imply that the opposition is weak on defense and not reliable against ruthless enemies. The not-so-subliminal message to voters is that national security in the wrong hands could spell doom for everyone.

The fear factor is formidable. After the terrorist attack of Spet. 11, political strategists quickly learned how formidable it was in promoting otherwise unthinkable policy and positioning one party as the foremost defender of national security. If alram in the country over potential terrorist attacks appears to abate, there always seems to be a coincidental development in alleged terrorist plots exposed or an official declaration of dread that necessitates raising color-coded alerts along with public apprehension.

The exploitation of the collective fearlessness that 9/11 created in America has been shamelessly embraced by calculating politicians from the White House down. At a press conference Monday President Bush brazenly dismissed a question about pre-invasion Iraq with references to 9/11.

After saying he disagreed with the "theory that everything was just fine until we arrived," the President couldn't resist using the preferred go-to move of his party. "The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we statrted the freedom agenda in the Middle East," he said.

***Everybody seems to forget that we were attacked on Bush's watch. A Republican president! Nobody really had time to think about it then, but there is time to think about it now! And yes, by the way, everything was fine until they arrived!

The implication, of course, was that the terrorist attacks and Iraq were inextricable. When Bush was asked what Iraq had to do with 9/11 he replied, "Nothing." But incredibly, even as he denied anyone in his administration had ever suggested a link between the two---when that was ALL they did in the months leading up to war---Mr. Bush added, "Iraq was a ...the lesson of Sept, 11 is, take threats before they fully materialize."

Because polls suggest the war in Iraq and the war against terrorism will be potent forces in the congressional races, the President and his party will be melding the two as one political issue to stay on point and campaign as the endorsed protector of national security. Whether the questionable national security priorities of the Republican-controlled government, which have left facilities and port operations in the nation vulnerable five years after 9/11, mitigate the GOP's strategy of being strong on defense is unknown. But what is clear is the gradual realization in America that the country is fighting the wrong war and the more than $300B in resources diverted to Iraq could have been spent on fighting the war on terrorism and hunting down Osama bin Laden.

If voters conclude that starting an unnecessary war in Iraq has, as one critic put it, "created a rallying cry for international terrorists," and made the U.S. not more secure from terrorist attacks like 9/11 but less so, Republicans can't hold a commanding lead over Democrats on national security issues for long.



A former U.S. Army Reserve officer admitted Friday that he steered millions of dollars in Iraq-reconstruction contracts in exchange for jewelry, computers, cigars and sexual favors.

Yahoo! News
August 25, 2006

Bruce D. Hopfengardner, 46, of Frederick, Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud.

Hopfengardner served as a special adviser to the U.S.-led occupation forces, recommending funding for projects on law enforcement facilities in Iraq.

He admitted conspiring with Philip H. Bloom, a U.S. citizen with businesses in Romania, Robert J. Stein, a former Defense Department contract official, and others to create a corrupt bidding process that included the theft of $2M in reconstruction money.

Hopfengardner is the first military officer to plead guilty in the conspiracy. Bloom and Stein have already pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the scheme.

Hopfengardner's role was to recommend that the Coalition Provisional Authority fund projects to demolish the Ba'ath Party headquarters, rebuild a police academy and construct various other facilities.

Bloom, who controlled the companies in Iraq and Romania, bid on projects using dummy corporations and Stein ensured that one of the firms was awarded the contract, according to court documents.

The businessman allegedly showered Hopfengardner and Stein with cash, cars, premium airline seats, jewelry, alcohol and even sexual favors from women in his Baghdad villa.

"A Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army today admits to a distrubing abuse of his position, in scheming with others to defraud the government for their own personal and financial gain," Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher said in a prepared statement.

Court papers said Hopfengardner demanded that Bloom pay for a white 2004 GMC Yukon Denali with a sandstone interior. At Hopfengardner's request, Bloom also allegedly paid the air fare for Hopfengardner and his wife to travel from San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., while he was on leave in January 2004.

E-mails that prosecutors made public in April showed that Bloom told his employees to spare no expense in satisfying the officials who controlled contracts in the CPA's regional office in Hillah, about 50 miles south of Baghdad.

As part of the plea agreement, Hopfengardner surrendered a car, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, camera equipment, a Breitling watch valued at $5,700 and a computer. He also agreed to forfeit $144,500, prosecutors said.


On 8/25/2006, I posted an article about J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL). It was called "Illinois Politics: UNINSURED CALL ON HASTERT." I had made some comments about how the "Speaker of the House," receives his campaign funds.

According to Brad Hahn, spokesman for Rep. Hastert, he said: "...the congressman has been a leading voice for expanding access to quality health care." And, ....."they should check their facts before they start printing T-shirts.." And, the best one yet..."Hastert has been instrumental in forming the prescription drug benefit now available throug Medicare......"

I commented with something like..."Hastert's campaign supporters are pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies....."

Last night, I came across another article that kinda' backs my comments up, so here goes:


With News Breaking That Big Drug Companies Paid for the Chamber of Commerce's Ad Campaign, American Families are Getting a Civics Lesson From the Special Interests.

* $77 Million Donations From Drug Companies to GOP since GOP gained Control of Congress

* $10 Million Cost of Drug Industry-Funded Chamber Ad Campaign

* $2,251 - $5,100 Range of Costs Left Uncovered by Medicare Part D

(Washington, D.C.)---The Associated Press reports today, that the pharmaceutical industry quietly paid for the recent ad campaign run by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That ad campaign---a $10 million effort---was filled with inaccurate and misleading statements. The Chamber was forced to take down four ads from stations inWashington State, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio during their nationwide campaign because of factual inaccuracies. This is just the latest evidence that the big drug companies have a vested interest in the flawed 2003 Medicare bill, in which the Republican Congress refused to add the power to negotiate for lower drug prices. The bill, as so many seniors now know, is confusing, expensive and clearly benefits the pharmaceutical companies and HMOs.

"There's a civics lesson here from the drug companies. They write checks to protect their GOP friends, and then write the laws to benefit themselves, all the while doctors are writing prescriptions middle class Americans can't afford," said Bill Burton, communications director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "This ad campaign, riddled with embarrassing missteps, is more of the same from the special interests who will go to any length to protect their best friends in Congress."

A History of Drug Companies Protecting the GOP to Protect Their Profits

Even though the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims to be responsible for the recent slew of TV ads, recent news reports show that the pharmaceutical industry paid the bill. According to the AP, "The officials who described PhRMA's involvement said they did not know whether the industry had given the Chamber money to cover the entire cost of the ads and other elements of an election-year voter mobilization effort, or merely a portion." The PhRMA-funded ad campaign by the Chamber of Commerce was full of inaccuracies and four ads in the 10 states where they aired were pulled from television stattions due to false claims. [AP, 8/25/06]

GOP Aides Admit Prescription Drug Strategy Helps PhRMA, Not Seniors

In 2002, the Washington Post Reported, "A Senior House GOP leadership aide said yesterday that Republicans are working hard behind the scenes on behalf of PhRMA to make sure that the party's prescription drug plan for the elderly suits drug companies." [Washington Post, 6/19/02]

Not the First Time: PhRMA has a History of Funding Ad Campaigns

2002: PhRMA Financed $4.6 Million USA Ad Campaign Touting GOP Prescription Drug Plan. In May 2002, the United States Association (USA) launched a television ad campaign touting the House GOP prescription drug plan. The Pharmaceutical and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a trade group representing major drug companies that has opposed past efforts to enact a Medicare prescription drug benefit, paid for the campaign. To date, USA has spent $4.6 million on the ads, which are running in 18 competitive Congressional districts nationwide. [Wall Street Journal, 6/18/02; AP, 5/9/02; New York Times, 1/24/99]

* USA Is A Conservative Advocacy Group Aimed at Privatizing Medicare, Social Security. USA wants to "redesign and improve Social Security for the next generation with Personal Retirement Accounts" and "reform and keep Medicare solvent by creating a flexible new system of private health care coverage." [United States Association]

* USA President Lied About PhRMA Link to Ads. Charles Jarvis president of USA denied that PhRMA funded their ad campaign. "This is not a PhRMA buy. It's a national grass-roots buy," Jarvis claimed. However, Jackie Cottrell, a spokeswoman for PhRMA, admitted they had recently given USA an "unrestricted educational grant" of undisclosed size. According to the AP, "Several Republican officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they understood that the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) had provided the funds for the commercials." [AP, 5/9/02]

* 2002: PhRMA-Funded Ads Launched Shortly After Polling Memo Reveals GOP Prescription Drug Plan By Election Year Politics. USA announced its ad campaign one week after the GOP unveiled the outline of its prescription drug proposal and just two weeks after a Republican polling memo outlined their election year strategy on prescription drugs. The memo read:

* "Right now, voters perceive the parties as headed towards a match-up of Republicans on taxes and terrorism versus Democrats on economy, education, and the elderly. We need more than just taxes/terrorism to win.

* The Republican positioning on the prescription drug issue is a break-even proposition...Which is all we need to neutralize a Democrat advantage if we instead do nothing on this issue.

* Republicans passing a prescription drug benefit would go long way to leaving Democrats with very little on the table to try to use against us." [AP, 5/8/02; Public Opinion Strategies (R), Hill Briefing, 4/25/02]

Questionable Motives, Repeated Incompetence Stains 2006 Ad Campaigns

2006: Trail of Incompetence as Chamber of Commerce Forced to Change Large Portions of the False Ads. The U.S. Camber of Commerce mistakenly ran ads praising Republican incumbents Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Mike Sodrel (R-IN) for supporting Medicare legislation that was passed before they were elected. The Chamber also ran an ad praising Steve Chabot (R-OH) who voted against Medicare Part D. The Chamber was forced to change the language in the ad because these members of Congress did not vote on this issue. The ad falsely claims: "Reichert supported the Medicare Part D Law..." and "thanks to Dave Reichert, 713,000 Washington seniors now benefit from drug coverage..." Reichert, along with Fitzpatrick, and Sodrel were not in Congress at the time.

2006: More Mistakes Throughout Ad Campaign. Rep. Sodrel said in 2004 that he would not have voted for the Medicare program even though the Chamber ads claim he was responsible for its passage. Rep. Chabot voted against the Medicare bill and the chamber gave him credit as well. The Medicare program has turned out to be confusing, expensive and is already causing some seniors to lose their prescription drug coverage. [Congress Daily, 8/1/06; AP, 8/1/06]

2006: Four Chamber of Commerce Ads Pulled, Citing False Facts. In the last week, four of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's television ads were taken off the air due to factual inaccuracies. In praising Republican incumbents for supporting the Medicare prescription drug program passed in 2003, the Chamber included three members of Congress who were not elected until November of 2004. They are Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Mike Sodrel (R-IN). Sodrel said later that he would have voted against the Medicare legislation, further calling into question the credibility of this ad campaign. The fourth ad proved problematic for the Chamber because Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) actually voted against the 2003 legislation. These inaccuracies undermine the competence and credibility of the Chamber of Commerce after they dumped $10 million into these television ads. [Congress Daily, 8/1/06; AP, 8/1/06]

***The Republicans are trying to fool us again. Hopefully, this time it won't work! Vote them out this November!

DCCC Press
August 25, 2006