Friday, January 9, 2009

20 Forgotten Bush Scandals

The below re-posted from [here]

In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, George H.W. Bush congratulated his son on running a “clean operation." Bush apparently wasn’t paying very close attention. Everyone remembers weapons of mass destruction, the US attorney firings. But historians will note that those are only the beginning of the Bush administration scandals…

The Bush administration will leave the annals of presidential disrepute several times thicker than it found them. There’s Iraq, the hospital visit to John Ashcroft, the US attorney firings. But historians will note that those are only the beginning of the Bush administration scandals. Does the name Jeff Gannon ring a bell? Boxgate? What about the anti-prostitution AIDS tsar who purchased the services of—wait for it—the D.C. Madam? The Daily Beast has put together 20 of Bush’s greatest forgotten scandals.

Interior Department officials "frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives."

Sex and Shoplifting

1) In March 2006, Claude Allen, Bush's top domestic policy aide, was arrested when he tried to return items he had shoplifted from Target for cash refunds. Allen, who made $161,000 a year, blamed stress from Hurricane Katrina.

2) In 2005, bloggers pricked up their ears when a reporter named Jeff Gannon asked a softball question at a Bush press conference. Some sleuthing turned up nude photos of Gannon—real name: James Guckert—on male escort websites.

3) Randall Tobias, Bush’s AIDS tsar, mandated that organizations must oppose prostitution in order to receive American aid. It later emerged that Tobias purchased services through the notorious D.C. Madam, though Tobias maintained he only bought “massages.”

4) The Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service would not seem to be the sexiest government agency. But a departmental investigation last year found that officials had “frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives.”

Where’d the Money Go?

5) When testifying before Congress in 2007, L. Paul Bremer, the former head of reconstruction in Iraq, was unable to account for as much as $12 billion—about half of his budget—as the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority between May 2003 and June 2004. According to a report by Rep. Henry Waxman, contractors brought bags to meetings in order to collect shrink-wrapped bundles of money.

6) In 2004, Pentagon auditors found that Halliburton had not adequately accounted for $1.8 billion of the bill it sent to the United States government for its work in Iraq and Kuwait.

7) Also that year, Bunnatine Greenhouse, the Army Corps of Engineers' chief contracting officer, charged that KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, unfairly received billions of dollars worth of no-bid contracts in Iraq. Greenhouse was demoted in 2005.

Disappearances

8) In 2002, Canadian citizen Maher Arar was detained at an airport in New York and spirited away to Syria, where he was tortured and held for 10 months by his captors before being returned home. Canadian officials investigated Arar's case, declared he was innocent, and paid him $9 million in compensation. American officials refused to admit the mistake and instead kept Arar on a terrorist watch list.

9) Army Captain James Yee, a Muslim chaplain in Guantanamo Bay, was hooded, shackled, and detained in solitary confinement for 76 days on charges of espionage. Within a year the case against Yee had collapsed and the Army tried to save face by charging him with hoarding pornography.

All the President’s Wordsmiths

10) In an email to friends, Danielle Crittenden, the wife of White House speechwriter David Frum, bragged that her husband had written Bush’s famous “Axis of Evil” line. The e-mail leaked to Slate, causing a minor scandal.

11) Part of the self-created mythology of White House speechwriter Michael Gerson was that he composed his speeches in longhand. But as fellow scribe Matthew Scully later noted: “At the precise moment when the State of the Union address was being drafted at the White House by John [McConnell] and me, Mike was off pretending to craft the State of the Union in longhand for the benefit of a reporter.”


No Administration Friend Left Behind

12) First there was Columnist Gate: In 2005, USA Today reported that conservative commentator Armstrong Williams received a $240,000 contract from the Department of Education to promote No Child Left Behind on his television show and to sell other African-American journalists on the legislation. Later, The Washington Post uncovered a similar deal with columnist Maggie Gallagher to promote a marriage initiative for the Department of Health.

13) A Defense Department report in 2006 urged the military to end its practice of paying Iraqi journalists to publish pro-American stories in their newspapers, arguing the tactic would "undermine the concept of a free press."

14) According to The New York Times, Karl Rove scored lobbyist Ralph Reed a lucrative contract with Enron in 1997 to gain his support in the 2000 presidential race.

15) David Safavian, the former chief of staff of the General Services Administration, was convicted of helping Jack Abramoff on a shady land deal as well as concealing a "lavish weeklong golf trip" paid for by Abramoff.

16) As head of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz was forced to resign in disgrace after he helped his "female companion," Shaha Riza, score a $60,000 pay raise and promotion—and then tried to cover it up.

Down the Memory Hole

17) Bush fundraiser Lurita Doan's gig as chair of the General Services Administration went down in flames when she was accused of asking agency staff to help Republican candidates win elections. Doan denied any wrongdoing. When witnesses said she asked her staff at a meeting, "How can we use GSA to help our candidates in the next election?" Doan claimed she had no memory of the presentation.

18) Though Army microbiologist Bruce Ivins, who committed suicide in 2008, was suspected of being the anthrax mailer, that didn't keep Bush and Cheney from openly speculating that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks and even going so far as to pressure FBI officials to come up with a bin Laden connection, according to the New York Daily News.

Mission Accomplished

19) In 2003, Bush went to a warehouse in St. Louis to give a speech titled “Strengthening America’s Economy.” But the boxes laid out before the presidential podium bore the label "Made in China." The labels were then obscured with white paper. The White House blamed an "overzealous advance volunteer.”

The Last Word

20) The administration ethos was nicely summarized during the investigation in the firing of US attorneys, in a testy exchange between former White House Political Director Sara Taylor and Sen. Patrick Leahy. Taylor: "I took an oath to the president…And I believe that taking that oath means that I need to respect, and do respect, my service to the president." Leahy: "No, the oath says that you take an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. That is your paramount duty. I know that the president refers to the government being his government—it's not."

Read More Farewell Chronicles:
Part II: Son of Nixon
Part III: I Survived the Bush Presidency
Part IV: How Much is a Bush Speech Worth?

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January 6, 2009 | 6:12am
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showing 1-20 of 33
cajola

I'm sure there are many more we don't know about as well...but as far as I'm concerned it is "Mission Accomplished" as we now have a Democrat and a smart one at that for our next President.

11:44 am, Jan 5, 2009
FredafromScotland

Do any of you remember a senior FBI agent called John P O'Neill who tried very hard to forewarn President Bush and his other FBI colleagues that Osama bin Laden would attempt to strike the Twin Towers again. Mr O'Neill was also aware that certain individuals were being taught how to fly commercial aeroplanes. No one would listen, no one helped him to put together all the facts - in fact no one was interested in helping him save lives.If this man had been taken seriously then perhaps we would not have lost the 3,000 lives on the 11th September 2001. This is fact I am sorry to say, please go to the web and bring up John P O'Neill and you will be horrified to read all the information contained therein.John O'Neill left the FBI in total frustration and got a new job as senior Safety Officer at guess where, the Twin Towers.He died trying to save lives. I believe if the press or other organisations investigated this scandal you would perhaps realise that President Bush and others did not want to hear about the threat to the Twin Towers - it was not part of their game plan.It is up to you Americans to find out why he would not listen. Perhaps it partly explains why President Bush sat for 7 minutes after being told about the hit on the first tower without taking any action.That is not normal behaviour. So if this is not included in this article then it should be and it should be at the top of the list.For the sake of those who died do something about it.

9:20 am, Jan 6, 2009
monkeyman

What's most disturbing about this article is the number of scandalous endeavors by this fascist regime that aren't even mentioned.

9:36 am, Jan 6, 2009
Konchster

Some of those are just Bush's stupid people doing stupid things . Some of them are indictable offenses and should be followed up on. I am fairly certain that the Obama administration will not pursue these sorts of things looking forward and all that, but I am not to sure that it sends the right message. I think every politician found to violate the law should be taken down. It is time that we cast the fear of the law into the hearts of our public servants

9:52 am, Jan 6, 2009
jaguarxjs

It is simply amazing the breadth and the scope of malfeasance within this administration.

10:06 am, Jan 6, 2009
MajorDude

I can't believe what we are doing to ourselves as a country. These types of antics filter down - from the White House to the outhouse - to Wall Street, "Main Street" and personal encounters on side streets. We have been parasitical for 30 years going on 40. Barack Obama may be different but you have to ask: "Are the people he's circling himself with any different?" Let's hope his influence reaches beyond what has become standard operating procedure.

10:10 am, Jan 6, 2009
pwb1230

Thanks for mentioning the $12 billion cash that Bremer "misplaced." I've never forgotten that, and in fact it's near the top of my litany. That's almost 2% of the $700 billion bailout, and it seems largely forgotten.

11:03 am, Jan 6, 2009
Rdschenkel

You think this is bad, remember William Jefferson Clinton. I only wish Bush could have been impeached just as his predecessor was.

11:47 am, Jan 6, 2009
JohnHedtke

I do remember William Jefferson Clinton. And I'm remembering a lot of other things, such as how I still had a 401(k) when he left office instead of the 101(k) I've got now, or how we actually had an economy, or how there was a balanced budget, or how we weren't bogged down in a pointless war in the Middle East, or how we didn't have Christian fanatics running government policy, or how the US had respect, or we had more hope of an environmental policy, or.... No, no, when I think that the Bush years were bad, I think of the Clinton years, and then I think of how bad the Bush years ~really~ were. Clinton got blown. Bush screwed everyone. I'll take the former, thanks a bunch. I really don't care if the current administration gets to experience the enhanced interrogation techniques they say are so harmless just to get them to talk about what they've really been doing. (Will that be on Pay-per-View, maybe?)

12:09 pm, Jan 6, 2009
karinabird

Regarding the FBI and the Anthrax investigation:

The real scandal is yet to come as the FBI has nothing but a HUNCH that Bruce was the mastermind.

It took Stephen Hatfill years, a great deal of money and a fighting spirit to clear himself. Bruce is not here to defend himself, having been drained of money and hounded into giving up on life.

The FBI had a lot of pressure to solve this before the end of the Bush administration. I imagine high fives went around FBI headquarters when Bruce committed suicide. So easy to blame a dead man.

12:17 pm, Jan 6, 2009
bigwurzz

I think that here is where Bush is a genious. Clinton had one scandal and people still can't get over it 10 years later. But, if you have 100 people just can't keep up. At this point we have just become numb to scandals and corruption and Bush is going to escape any punishment.
Also, I think Bush counted on the fact that the Democrats wouldn't have the spine to impeach two presidents in a row.

12:33 pm, Jan 6, 2009
mikefromArlington

Regarding the Canadian citizen being whisked away to Syria...

I watched a film a few months back, similar situation. In the film, a U.S. citizen was mistaken to have done transactions with a terrorist and was taken away to Egypt and tortured. His wife kept at it. Eventually, he was let go by an American observing the interrogations.

My wife asked me if stuff like this really happened. I said probably not.

I feel sick to my stomach now.

1:09 pm, Jan 6, 2009
CAPT09

So often, when it comes to politics, the American public is accused of having amnesia but after the last eight years I'm not certain if these things are truly forgotten or if they represent a soft focused nightmare that most people would like to pretend never happened. We've just lived through a period that casts a pall on the very definition of public service. Let's try to get beyond the shield of cynicism and have some hope for a brighter future.

2:19 pm, Jan 6, 2009
Stromko

Bigwurzz: I suspect that's exactly the strategy of this administration. Either that, or the slightly more "innocent" story that they've simply lost touch with what is ethical and what isn't ethical.

It's strange how those who claim to be saved, can still act as though they have no moral compass at all. But this isn't an indictment of religion, so much as it's an indictment of those with power, and what happens when those with power aren't held accountable.

3:09 pm, Jan 6, 2009
Steve241

The latest, Bush senior wants the other bush Jeb, to run for President before he "moves on".

The thought alone burns a hole in my skull.

3:54 pm, Jan 6, 2009
BarneyPilot

This administration - all of them - should be publically marched out of the White House in handcuffs.

5:29 pm, Jan 6, 2009
atsegga



The Borgen Project has informative statistics on addressing global poverty.

$30 billion ends world hunger
$550 billion is the US Defense budget

This organization has the ability, resources, and policy-makers to suppress the threat of global poverty by enacting legislation here in the US, which is tied to the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals. Please support organizations such as The Borgen Project so that we may rid the world of poverty.

6:08 pm, Jan 6, 2009
Airborne855

@FredafromScotland
Yes, I do recall. I also recall that not only did Condoleeza Rice have a report in her hand warning of possible hijacked planes to be used as weapons, but that the military had actually conducted a drill based on that very scenario. In any event, how was it possible that all the billions of dollars spent on defense such as the NORAD system utterly failed. Does anyone remember the rash of hijackings in the 1960's? Well, absolutely nothing useful was done for nearly 40 years. Finally, Bush the Tush brags about keeping America safe AFTER September 11, 2001 (except for rescue workers at ground zero who were lied to about the risks). Admiral Husband E. Kimmel kept Pearl Harbor safe AFTER December 7, 1941. I guess the actual attacks don't count.

6:35 pm, Jan 6, 2009
maxpower1013

And these are just the ones we know about...

6:48 pm, Jan 6, 2009
mrcreosote

@astegga

you think that's bad

from http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-playing-field/200812/greed-and-ga mes

"Well, the New York Yankees signed three players last week for a cost of $423,000,000. That's 423 plus million for those of you afraid to count zeroes.

Which, as it turns out, is the about same amount of money Germany has pledged to rebuild Afghanistan.

423.5 is also the cost of all the anti-malarial nets currently needed to stop the spread of that disease worldwide, with about a 100 million left over for medicine for those whose nets didn't arrive in time.

Or, if you go by Doctors Without Borders calculations, the salary of those three players is also enough to feed two good meals to 242 million of the 350 million folks who go hungry each day.

And, if environmental issues seem more pressing, well that's enough to help the Save-an-Acre organization purchase and protect 847,000 acres of rainforest, which would go a long way to slowing global warming and stopping a crisis unprecedented in human history."

6:56 pm, Jan 6, 2009


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