October 8th, 2006

More High Ranking GOP Bullshit, This Time More Money Laundering.

The OTHER Scandal Hastert Doesn't Want Voters Talking About

There are two things Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert doesn't want voters to discuss before the election. One is how Republicans handled Mark Foley's behavior. The other is Prairie Parkway.

Prairie Parkway refers to the highway to be built along the I-88 and I-80 corridor in Plano, Illinois (Hastert's district). There was immense local opposition to the project, with citizens arguing that the proposed highway would contribute to sprawl and destroy valuable farmland.

Think Progress has an excellent timeline on the matter. In short, when members of Congress made their financial disclosures earlier this year, Speaker Hastert reported a whopping $1.5 million profit on a land deal (reports of the actual profit vary between $1.8 million to $2 million). The Sunlight Foundation started digging, and in a nutshell, here's what they found.
In 2002, Hastert was driving to a parade in Sycamore, Ill., when he saw a post-and-beam house he fell in love with, according to Dallas C. Ingemunson, a longtime friend and ally of Hastert's who made the land deals for the speaker. Hastert struck a deal with the owner on the spot, purchasing the house near Plano, Ill., and 195 acres for $2.1 million.

In February 2004, Ingemunson, treasurer of Hastert's campaign committee and chairman of the Kendall County Republican Party, established Little Rock Trust #225 [Ed. note: Hastert's name was not on the public records relating to the land trust]. A week later, through the trust, Hastert and his business partners purchased a 69-acre parcel for $340,000, providing road access to part of Hastert's farm that had been landlocked. Hastert owned a quarter of that parcel.

In May 2005, Hastert transferred the 69 acres of previously hemmed-in land from his farm to the land trust. That summer, Hastert personally intervened during House and Senate negotiations over a huge transportation and infrastructure bill to secure two separate earmarks, $152 million to help build the Prairie Parkway through Kendall County and $55 million for an interchange 5 1/2 miles from his property. President Bush signed the bill into law on Aug. 10.

Then, on Dec. 7, Little Rock Trust #225 sold the Hastert parcels to a subsidiary of the Robert Arthur Land Co. for nearly $5 million. The deal netted Hastert a $2 million profit.
The actual location of the property has been the subject of debate--some say it's about 5 miles away from the proposed Parkway, others say it's closer to 3. Either way, the fact remains that Hastert's land--or rather, Hastert himself---benefited greatly from the Prairie Parkway pork barrel appropriation.

Indeed, it was just three months after the bill was passed that Hastert sold the property. Hastert maintains, of course, that the location of his property had nothing to do with his earmark efforts.

While all of this made headlines over the summer, I bring it up again now to highlight the fact that Speaker Hastert--the longest-serving Republican Speaker in American history--has a serious leadership problem. We've seen his lack of leadership on the Foley scandal. And we see it in the Prairie Parkway scandal, where again, Speaker Hastert demonstrates his preference for non-disclosure of material facts.

Hastert has perfected the art of sacrificing facts and honesty at the altar of power. So, as scared and trembling Republicans cling to him for their political lives, they best remember that the corpus they clutch close is weighed down by the taint of scandal after scandal.

Hastert isn't a leader. He's a suit full of lead. And the more Republicans cling to him, the faster they will sink in the flood of their own making.

Hat tip to Georgia10, Steve G has more. I wonder if Abramoff was the realtor...

Pro-Lifers Need To Eat A Scabby Dick.

Reposted from riverheart:
First, go here.

Then, go here and read the follow-up.

Then, go here.

And last, go to PayPal, and send $14 to Biting Beaver at the address bitingbeaver@yahoo.com, fourteen being the number of trolls so far who have suggested she be raped, killed, kill herself, or otherwise be hurt badly. Just say NO to the trolls.
I give a shit who agrees with this or not, if you choose not to have an abortion or not to use contraception of any kind, then you ARE pro-choice. Further, if you don't have a uterus, SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT IT.

LJ Pimpin'

My dear friend [info]Christi has created a new LJ to document her pregnancy. For now, it's just a blog, but eventually we're turning it into a website. Check out [info]thinpinklines, add it if you like, pass it on to other LJ'ers or communities who might be of interest. And she welcomes comments referring her to any other sites or communities that may be similar in nature.


Rahm Emanuel Shuts Down GOP Foley Defense

DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel was scheduled to debate RCCC Chairman Thomas Reynolds on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Entangled in the Foley page scandal himself, Reynolds ducked the debate, sending Rep. Adam Putnam in his stead.

Emanuel gives a nearly perfect performance. He easily dispels Putnam's attempts to blames the Democrats for the scandal. In the end, Putnam's attacks appear desperate and hollow.

EMANUEL: George, look, I agree with Adam. And I was at my kid's soccer game. I was out swimming. They're talking about this issue, Mark Foley, and they're talking about Iraq.

And you guys came to power in 1994. You said you were going to change Washington. Washington changed you. You promised a balanced budget. You've added $3 trillion to the nation's debt. You promised to make America more secure. We've got ourselves in a quagmire in Iraq.

You promised to clean up this swamp, and you've created a deeper set of swamps around here. At every point that you promised to do something in 1994 with your Contract with America, you're in a breach of contract. And the fact is that this election, the American people know full well, Adam, that they do not want to stay on the course that you've set for this country. They want a new direction. They want a change.

And that's what this election is about: a change from the endless occupation in Iraq to a change from this wageless recovery, and most importantly, they also want…

PUTNAM: Let's talk about what that change would mean.

EMANUEL: … they want a different Congress using a different tone.

PUTNAM: Let's talk about what this change in (inaudible)…


PUTNAM: Let's talk about what that change would mean. That change would mean a Speaker Pelosi, whose idea about values is to after the Boy Scouts and prevent them from camping on federal lands. The idea of change would be a Chairman Rangel, who said he would strangle off funds to fight the war for our troops. The change would be a Chairman Barney Frank in charge of the Banking Committee who's had his own scandals in the past, for which he is still a serving member.

EMANUEL: A change…

PUTNAM: A change would mean that the chairman of the Judiciary Committee whose first act, as he has said, would be an impeachment resolution against the president of the United States. All of those things are what change in this country would mean.

EMANUEL: Six years…

PUTNAM: Elections are about choices, and choices have consequences. And those are the consequences of this election.

EMANUEL: It's amazing. Six years of a Republican majority in the White House, the House and the Senate, and all you've got is fear.
Go to C&L for the full transcript & video downloads.

Time.com: Is the Republican revolution over?

End of the Revolution
Sex, lies and power games are just the latest symptoms of a Republican party adrift from its ideals


Posted Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006
Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when clinging to power is the only idea left. The epitaph for the movement that started when Newt Gingrich and his forces rose from the back bench of the House chamber in 1994 may well have been written last week in the same medium that incubated it: talk radio. On conservative commentator Laura Ingraham's show, the longest-serving Republican House Speaker in history explained why he would not resign despite a sex scandal that has produced a hail of questions about his leadership and the failure to stop one of his members from cyberstalking teenage congressional pages. "If I fold up my tent and leave," Dennis Hastert told her, "then where does that leave us? If the Democrats sweep, then we'd have no ability to fight back and get our message out."

That quiet admission may have been the most damning one yet in the unfolding scandal surrounding Florida Congressman Mark Foley: holding on to power has become not just the means but also the end for the onetime reformers who in 1994 unseated a calcified and corrupted Democratic majority. Washington scandals, it seems, have been following a Moore's law of their own, coming at a faster clip every time there is a shift in control. It took 40 years for the House Democrats to exhaust their goodwill. It may take only 12 years for the Republicans to get there.


8 Years

8 years ago yesterday Matthew Shepard was beaten almost to the point of death and hung up on that fence in Laramie, Wyoming - bloody, broken, terrified, and alone. He clung to life for almost a week before he finally died. This is a repost of what I said on the subject in 2004:
Can't Cry Hard Enough

I was planning on writing a rather lengthy post today, but I have no energy to start one, let alone complete it. Today has hit me hard. It's been difficult trying to keep my emotions in check with everything that is going on, and on the top of it it is officially 6 years ago that Matthew Shepard died in that hospital room. The truth is he died on that fence six years and one week ago. I still cannot get my mind around these things and as a result I have frequently been in tears off and on all day.

I look at Calpernia's blog and think about our emails back and forth to one another and how far she's come in such a short time, and I'm in awe of her resilience, despite such tragedy. I emailed Gabi Clayton earlier today about her remarkable son Bill, I hope to hear from her soon.

Matthew, Barry Winchell, Brandon Teena, Gwen Araujo, Bill Clayton, Danny Overstreet, Billy Jack Gaither, JR Warren, Tyra Hunter, the list goes on and on and on.

Each one of these people is gone for senseless reasons.
Each one of these people could have been one of my friends or family members.
As far as I'm concerned, each one of them was.

  • It was Matthew's funeral that began the funeral pickets and indeed the entire God Hates Fags movement, and consequently in response The Laramie Project.

    The sum total of all of this is what drove me to write the post linked to below - if you haven't read it yet, please do so now. It's gotten several hundred comments and has been linked to countless times by people all over the world, which is all I ever hope to do with these kinds of posts - raise awareness and spark dialogue for change. When you go to work or school tomorrow, pick at least one person to discuss what happened 8 years ago. Find out what they think and tell them what you think. Get angry, mourn the loss, and if necessary think on these things if you live in the closet and consider coming out. National Coming Out Day is Wednesday, and there's never been a better time or better reasons than to make it your goal.

    Just think about it - then DO SOMETHING.

    God Hates Stupid Homophobes!
    Another rant from your neighborhood jesus_h_biscuit
    click here