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The Republican Kleptocracy
Posted by: Jon Henke on Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Kleptocracy: "a government so corrupt that no pretense of honesty remains. In a kleptocracy the mechanisms of government are [partly devoted to keeping] said rulers in power."

Fortunately, corrupt regimes that use the mechanisms of government to punish those who do not support them are the kind of thing that happens in third world countries, and not in the United States of America.
[U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson] closed [a speech] with a cautionary tale, relaying a conversation he had with a prospective advertising contractor. "He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years," Jackson said of the prospective contractor. "He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something ... he said, 'I have a problem with your president.'

"I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'I don't like President Bush.' I thought to myself, 'Brother, you have a disconnect — the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn't be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don't tell the secretary.' "He didn't get the contract," Jackson continued. "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe."
Can anybody tell me why he ought not be removed from office — and, if possible, jailed — for using his position to punish political opponents by witholding federal contracts? (and, incidentally, robbing US taxpayers of "a heck of a proposal") Think Progress points out that "political views are not on the list" of reasons a contract can be excluded.

So, it appears Jackson should be removed...and prosecuted. Unfortunately, it's perfectly apparent that the Republican House of Representatives, the Republican Senate and the Republican Executive Branch are utterly disinterested in exercising the oversight necessary to ensure tolerable government. Which helps to clarify my '06 election interests.

I may not care for the Democratic candidates in the '06 elections, but at least a Democratic Congress would take an interest in oversight. That's one thing more than the Republican majority will do. (via Washington Monthly and Carpetbagger)

UPDATE: Think Progress reports that Jackson's office is using the "he was just lying" defense. Which, as far as I'm concerned, is not much of a defense at all. Even if he was lying, he publicly stated that political opponents could see their contracts pulled merely for their political opinions. The threat was issued.
 
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The only oversight a Democrat Congress would engage in is the alternate meaning, as in, overlook.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
Jon

I would just caution you not to jump to conclusions based on some reporter’s memory of the speech. There may be a transcript available and, if he said these things, feel free to condemn them. But, certainly, you have seen many examples of quotes that have been elided or taken out of context so I think a little skepticism is in order.
 
Written By: KB
URL: http://
If the gist of Mr. Henke’s quotes is accurate, then yes, the man should be fired and prosecuted if possible.

However, Jon also wrote:

"I may not care for the Democratic candidates in the ’06 elections, but at least a Democratic Congress would take an interest in oversight. That’s one thing more than the Republican majority will do."

Which in light of past practices, or more modernly Mollohan, et al., Jon that was a silly thing to write. It’s impossible to think an honest, thinking person would believe it.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
HUD is silly to be giving 10 year contracts. The bidder is stupid for opening his mouth in the presence of a political appointee. Jackson is wrong to award (or not award) contracts based on the bidder’s political viewpoint. Jackson is stupid for saying as much.

And the fact that the applicant put forth "a heck of a proposal" puts to bed any claim that the applicant’s political views would make him unable to craft an effective advertising campaign (as good as I am, I would have a real hard time putting together a pro-Hillary ad campaign).
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
Yes, of course, if the story is substantively incorrect, then the analysis is, as well. I certainly hope Mr. Jackson will be pressed to confirm or deny the story.

But I reject the idea that the Democrats won’t be interested in oversight. That’s half the point of gridlock. Opposite parties have a vested interest in conducting oversight. It benefits them, as well as being good for thwarting the ambition of their opposition. And the Republican Party would suddenly find itself very interested in conducting oversight and blocking actions against the majority Democratic House, too.

In government as in a free market, competing self interests produce more optimal results.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Jon’s right about a Democrat Congress keeping both eyes out for Republican faults. The Republicans have missed several fantastic opportunities to self-regulate and purge the less savory parts of the party (removing the bad apples to save the barrel), so maybe it’s time to give the Dems the Oversight Whip as an ever-so-loyal opposition.

Give them the House in ’06. Preferably by having them replace the most corrupt Republicans. They can throw themselves on Republican graft until the country’s absolutely sick of them in ’08. They’ll uncover the nasty details for us, and break like waves on the beach just in time for the Presidential campaign.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Yep. Just in time for Hillary.
 
Written By: David R. Block
URL: http://
Question, which would be more desirable, a Republican President with a Democratic Congress, or a Democratic President with a Republican Congress? If I could find Dem that I’d trust with Iraq and the War on Terror, then I’d have to say the latter.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
I like the tone of this blog - civil and thoughtful. If the rest of the internet were like this, politcal discourse would be closer to politics and further from brawling. Kudos to everyone involved!

As for Jackson, it will be easy enough to check his statements because after all, there was another person in the room.
 
Written By: Daniel
URL: http://danielkrause.livejournal.com
Oh? There’s no written documentation for any of this?

No written proposal? No rejection letter?

Either you’re pulling my leg or there’s a different problem here.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Chris -

A Democrat President can appoint people, like Supreme Court Justices.
A Democrat Senate can block a Republican President’s appointments.
A Republican President and Republican Senate can’t get much spending done without the support of a Democratic House (they’ll oppose each other just out of spite, even if their policy preferences are disturbingly close to one another).

I say let the Dems have the House. The Republicans can keep the Senate and Presidency to keep pushing through good SC Justices and keep prosecuting the WoT, though again there will be Democrat oversight against abuses like torture scandals.

A split Congress is still divided government. Divided enough? Well, one can only hold out so much hope.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Oh? There’s no written documentation for any of this?

No written proposal? No rejection letter?

Either you’re pulling my leg or there’s a different problem here.


This story broke within the past few hours—so who knows what documentation there is?

But, that’s nothing a nice class-action lawsuit won’t solve.
 
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
I’m no fan of Republicans. In fact, Arnold Schwarzenegger and George W. Bush are the only two I have ever voted for. I think they will lose neither the House nor the Senate, but if they do... great.

My problem with the National Democrat party is that they won’t impose any oversight, certainly not on themselves. They don’t believe that the American people rejected their ideas in 2004. Just like 2000, the 2004 elections were won through Republican lies, fraud, and dirty tricks. Now that the filthy lies of the Republicans are exposed, the Democrats will be able to sweep into governance and impose their warmed-up, leftover, reactionary policies on the American people.

The only reason I am slightly wishing for a Democrat takeover of Congress is that the Republicans do seem to learn from their defeats and perhaps would reform themselves in time for 2008. This is 1992 - 1994 all over again.
 
Written By: Indigent Blogger
URL: http://vagabondia.blogspot.com
Actually, the money quote in the article is "You wouldn’t be getting the contract unless I was sitting here."

Bear in mind that the sourse of the story as reported is Secretary Jackson, himself, not the unnamed contractor. Now, there is a way to read that quote such that it would not be self-incriminating; namely, that Secretary Jackson was, himself, the source selection deciding official and that that, insofar as some subjective judgment is always in play in a source selection decision, he meant that any other deciding offical may not have selected the proposal from that particular contractor. However, his subsequent assertion that after the conversation the contractor did not receive the award belies that possible interpretation.

So we are left with is what appears to be what lawyers call an admission against interests that the Secretary knowingly and intentionally violated applicable procurement law by selecting (or, more likely, directing the selection of) the contractor’s offer on some basis other than that offer being in the best interests of the government in the first place even if it was "a heck of a (proposal."

I won’t bore anyone here with the workings of the Competition In Contracting Act of 1984 (CICA) as it applies to acquisitions through the General Services Administration and conducted under Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 8.4, "Federal Supply Schedules"; but let’s just say (1) that I am capable of doing so and (2) that selection officials have broad discretion in making their award decisions. However, evaluation criteria must either (1) be stated in a solicitation for proposals (typically called a Request For Quotes or RFQ) and must be followed in the award determination, or (2) if a non-competitive contract award is determined to be appropriate and legally permissible, the rationale for that non-competitive award must be documented in the file by the contracting officer. In neither case could the political views of the contractor be a legally acceptable criterion. As a result, any such extrinsic factor influencing either award or cancellation of award would be prima facie unlawful.

Department secretaries almost never act as source selection officials. Typically, the contracting officer performs that function and, in any case, it is almost unheard of for a cabinet official to do so, especially for something as mundane as advertising services. This may also be legally relevant because contracting officers and other source selection officials are required by law to award contracts in the best interests of the government, not the current administration, and their superiors up to and including the department secretary are required by law to ensure that such objectivity is protected.

Now, having said that but having also lived and worked in real-world Washington for decades, anyone who believes that personal and political favoritism does not often play a factor in the award of government contracts in every administration is terminally naive. What I find astonishing about this report is not that the underlying facts as Secretary Jackson is said to have related them may be true, but that he related them in the first place. Even by Washington standards, that is a breathtaking statement to make publicly.

(Finally, in response to another comment and just as a point of clarification, because of fiscal law restraints federal contracts for routine services do not run for 10 years, though they might include options to run for that length of time. It may have been that Jackson meant to say the contractor had been trying for 10 years to get a contract.)



 
Written By: D.A. Ridgely
URL: http://
Jon tells it like it is:
I may not care for the Democratic candidates in the ’06 elections, but at least a Democratic Congress would take an interest in oversight. That’s one thing more than the Republican majority will do.
I’ve been in that place for some time now, rather to my astonishment. But I am there.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
The last 5.5 years the Republicans have become the Democrats Gingrich threw out. With Bush playing the part of Major it is ANIMAL FARM 2. If you had told me in 1999 theat the Republicans would become more liberal than the Democrats I would have asked you what you were smoking. But here it is: we have a corrupt, liberal set of Republicans running (ruining) America. With luck the crooks will be out of power in 07. Maybe then the party will plurge the liberals Bush has placed in power and once again become a conservative party.
 
Written By: JommacDougal
URL: http://
It is worth noting that the Dallas Business Journal piece linked at Think Progress reports that two attendees of Jackson’s speech appear to approvingly affirm what is reported to be Jackson’s statements:

REEC attendee Junior Glymph, a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys, said he could see Jackson’s point. "Everyone is entitled to their opinion," he said. "But in politics, you have to watch what you say."

...

Rod Bailey with The Staubach Co., who put the REEC event together, said Jackson was simply telling it like it is.

"It’s politics at its finest," he said. "If you talk to other government officials, they would have similar stories. The same thing holds true in business. If you don’t like Roger Staubach, you’re not going to work at The Staubach Co. Leaders are the roots of their organizations. If you want to be a part of them and profit from them, you have to be on the same mission."
Well, I guess the federal government is now Bush’s company, and if you dislike him, you cannot be part of the mission of providing goods and services to the United States.


 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Uh OK, I’m corrupt...I don’t see the problem. As one of my family friends once said, "Of COURSDE I help my friends, do you think I’m going to help my ENEMIES?" Do everything right and keep your mouth shut. I’m a Conservative Republican, I and my bro-in-law do work for the Teamster’s Union. Do you think he and I say things like, "Thanks for the work and rest assured, we’ll be making a contribution to the Republiocan Party with a portion of the money you just gave us?" Nope we keep our mouths shut and our politics to ourselves...it’s a life lesson to be learned.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I have a hard time working up any moral indignation over this particular example given that it’s basically business as usual for bureaucracies. This one just happened to be dumb enough to get caught saying so. Remember folks, branches and roots...
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://catallarchy.net/blog/
Thank you, Mr. Ridgely. I believe that you have said all that’s important on this matter.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Uh JommaMcD you really need to GROW UP! Helping your friends and hurting your enemies isn’t Liberal or Conservative, it’s politics! If you can’t see it you’re a hopeless naif. AND if Speaker Pelosi comes to power she’ll investigate Bush and his "liberals" whilst awarding as many contracts to her DEMOCRATIC friends as possible and terminating as many REPUBLICAN contracts as she can. So if you think that 2007 is going make a lot of difference as to how politics is played well all I can say is that you need to do a WHOLE lot of growing up.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe is right, the way the game is played is the following: A big corporation, or a big Beltway law firm, or a media firm, they all have some VP’s who are republicans and some who are democrats. Depending on who is in power they put forth their own operatives into government jobs, Then when the parties in power switch again, The former operative, rejoins his old firm.
Either way, they protect themselves from this sort of partisanship. Its all corrupt, and each party pretty much equally.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
KyleN has nailed it. Lest you think that I’m HOPELESSLY Corrupt, rather than simply being a "poor corrupt official" I will say you want to reduce corruption, reduce the scope of the Federal Government. Keep the Federal Government shrinking, as a portion of GNP, which as I understand from the New Libertarian may well be the case, currently. You’re not going to end this game of toadying to Congress or the Federal bureaucracy, but you will REDUCE its incidence. But don’t think that this is a problem of "corrupt Republican Liberals", it’s the way politics is played, whether or not the Speaker is named Hastert or Pelosi.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I may not care for the Democratic candidates in the ’06 elections, but at least a Democratic Congress would take an interest in oversight
Until a Democrat is elected President you mean to say....
"He didn’t get the contract," Jackson continued. "Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don’t get the contract. That’s the way I believe."
That seems ok to me. Why should an administration award a contract that would serve counter to their interests and be detrimental? Dems wouldn’t and don’t do it, and neither does the GOP (nor should they).

My enemies don’t do business with me....would Jon do business with MK if the end result would be to enable MK to launch more attacks against Jon?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Its laughable to think that the Democrats are any cleaner or any better as the vanguards of integrity. There just won’t be the incessent drumbeat of ’corruption’ from hollywood and a majority of the exempt media.

Its a correct thing to expose corruption when it occurs.
There’s also nothing wrong with criticism of the President in general. (Doesn’t mean its right or I have to agree with it.)
But this article openned with a tone I’d expect from someone afflicted with so-called ’BDS’. It undermined the credibility of the rest of the article. The following might be some food for thought:

http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/006948.php
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Actually, it’s not unreasonable to question the judgement of someone who would make such an abjectly stupid statement at that point....also, note the "your" President line.

It’s a good life lesson for this guy...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
The sheer mendancity and outright self-sabotaging stupidity of some people here (shark, for one) really gets me going.

Here’s why it isn’t okay, you monumental retards: the government contract is to provide goods and services to perform specific functions - competently.

Competency - meritocracy - principles republicans claim to believe in - is either the basis for recieving the contract, or it is not.

If a lack of ’allegiance’ to our president disqualifies you, than sucking up to president bush qualifies you. Except, of course, that a willingness to suck up to our president makes you neither an individual of sound character, nor someone capable of executing the contract competently.

So, to lay it on the line a little more clearly, if this contractor who didn’t like Bush was the best guy at making body armor, your petty-minded political bulls*** has just cost the lives of some soldiers in Iraq.

So the next time you get on the liberals for losing the war, look in the mirror.

If the statement is true, fire the guy and prosecute him. I’m sure it’s routine. So is the robbing of gas stations at gunpoint. But if you get caught, you fry.
That keeps the system working at whatever minimal degree of competence it can sustain.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Here’s why it isn’t okay, you monumental retards: the government contract is to provide goods and services to perform specific functions - competently.
If there were more than one business which could perform the specific function at the same price, then there would have to be some additional criteria for selecting one over another. Affirmative Action guidelines would be an example, but you can still get ties after applying those.

This may or may not be the case here. At the very least (since it is a federal government contract), there should be a documentation trail behind the decision to select Company A over Company B. All other things being equal, why would you give the contract to a company which tells you to your face that it (a) has a political position and (b) it isn’t yours?



 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
By way of update, Jackson’s spokeswoman is now claiming that, while he did make the remarks reported, the story is false.

"The secretary’s story was anecdotal. He is not part of the contracting process," said HUD spokeswoman Dustee Tucker. "He was trying to explain to this group how politics works in D.C."....Tucker said Jackson does not plan to resign. She acknowledged that Jackson did not tell the audience the story was made up. But, she said, Jackson used the "hypothetical" story to describe the ruthless politics of Washington. She said the secretary was trying to convey that Washington is a place where political opponents, rather than stabbing you in the back, "will stab you in the chest." She added, "The story that he was offering was hypothetical. It didn’t actually take place."


Wonderful. Translation: "I’m not a graft spreading political hack, I’m a lying political hack." Not, of course, that the two are mutually exclusive.
 
Written By: D.A. Ridgely
URL: http://
Here’s the bottom line for me...

While on it’s face that kind of decision making seems wrong, if you think it through in terms other than "criticize Bush = bad = no contract" maybe it will make more sense to you.

Put yourself in Jackson’s position. As an impartial agent of the government looking to award a contract, I wouldn’t care what the political leaning of the bidders is. Yet this one, when alerted that he has a heck of a proposal, finds it necessary to point out, "I have a problem with your president". Now, I don’t care, but apparently this bidder DOES. The government sets policy and the agents of the government enact that policy. Clearly there is more than a hint that this particular bidder may have a problem implementing whatever marketing of whatever policy he may not like.

Awarding that contract would not seem to be entirely in the best interests of the government. JAckson may not have expressed it as clearly, but the logic still works. You don’t like Bush ? Vote against him and for Democrats, but don’t bring your politics to the table of a contract negotiation. What did the fool think ? - that Jackson would thoughtfully listen to his complaints and then bring them to Bush ? Or just agree with him, or what ? The bidder’s politics have no place in this conversation, and by bringing them up, he made his company’s prospects less appealing for business efficacy reasons.
 
Written By: Sherard
URL: http://
Except, Sherard, (and again assuming the story is true notwithstanding HUD’s subsequent denial) it is a small step from saying "I will disfavor contractors who make a point of their political opposition" to "I will disfavor contractors whose political opposition is otherwise known to me." Moreover, there is scant evidence that the [irony] notoriously high moral standards in the advertising business [/irony] would lead a successful contractor to such scruples.
 
Written By: D.A. Ridgely
URL: http://
Jon wrote:

"But I reject the idea that the Democrats won’t be interested in oversight."

And I feel like I’m explaining this to a child. The Democrats aren’t interested in actual oversight because they benefit from the same system and attitude towards corruption. In fact, they benefit from it more the more power they have.

They are interested in scandal mongering, not actual oversight.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
They are interested in scandal mongering, not actual oversight.
Call it what you like. Oversight involves "mongering" scandals. The Democrats have a vested interest in holding their opponents accountable, and zinging them for every misstep.

Will they engage in some partisan nonsense, too? Of course they will. (see: Republicans, 1990s) Fortunately, the Republicans will have a vested interest in fighting back.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
If you’re too dumb to keep your political thoughts to yourself in a situation like that, you deserve to lose the contract. Why should some moonbat who hates the president get the taxpayer’s money?
 
Written By: Leonidas
URL: http://scrutator.net
"Fortunately, the Republicans will have a vested interest in fighting back."

And the Democrats have a vested and historically well demonstrated interest in maintaining the system that is the problem. Thinking divided governemnt will change that THIS time is remarkably optimistic.

At best.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Why should some moonbat who hates the president get the taxpayer’s money?
Liking the President neither is, nor should be, a qualification for getting a federal contract. Disliking the President so is hardly evidence of "moonbattery". In fact, since about 2/3rds of the country dislikes him, it’s actually quite normal. The people who like the President are in the minority.

In any event, the law is the law and political persuasions are not legal grounds for disqualifying somebody from a contract. Nor should it be. This is taxpayer money they’re spending, not administration money.

Finally, there’s the consequentalist argument. Do you really condone an explicit patronage system in place?
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Jon Henke wrote:

"Liking the President neither is, nor should be, a qualification for getting a federal contract."

Agreed, all other things being equal, it should be a coin toss.

"Finally, there’s the consequentalist argument. Do you really condone an explicit patronage system in place?"

However, Jon Henke is proposing that the "benefits" he is sure enough that he’ll see to suit him are benefits that will happen, that he wants to reward the Democratic Party system of class and race patronage that he wants them to have another big bite at the apple.

Go figure.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Actually, Mr. Perkins, (and, btw, nice to hear from you now that the old L2R loyal opposition has scattered), as the two parties become increasingly polarized, there is better reason to believe divided government will provide a greater check on the abuses of both parties than they have in the past.

Being one of those who think bipartisanship is, with a few exceptions, a bad thing, I’m all for Republicans and Democrats ruthlessly exposing each other’s frauds, follies, etc. I regret that the focus has all to often been on politicians’ personal ethics because of an implicit historical conspiracy between the parties to look the other way over this sort of cronyism with the same rationale incumbents of both parties embrace 1st Amendment infringments in the name of campaign finance reform.

But let’s face reality, the current Republicans are no more interested in reducing the size of government than the Democrats and every bit as willing to spread the loot around to their buddies. If we can’t have a smaller government, at least we can have a government less efficient in this sort of behavior by having, say, the House controlled by the Dems.

 
Written By: D.A. Ridgely
URL: http://
Here’s why it isn’t okay, you monumental retards: the government contract is to provide goods and services to perform specific functions - competently
That’s fine, as I noted I question the COMPENTANCY of someone who would make a monumentally stupid comment such as that, I also question the motives of someone who uses "your President".

There’s a certain way to act. If you want a job you wear a suit at the interview, not a tattered Sex Pistols T-shirt. You may be competant and qualified, but you’re not going to get the job.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
The problem with the idea that any degree of "division" in government between the parties will improve the corruption Henke is talking about is that each party feeds from the same trough in the same way.

The end of the duopoly is the only plausible means to substantially improve that situation, and the ideological center of gravity of the Democratic Party is farther from the mean center of gravity of the American electorate than is the Republican center of gravity. Attacking the duopoly where it is weakest dictates the Democratic Party must be destroyed, scattered, made to be abandoned by its current adherents. Introducing a little temporary improvement in the earmarking of the Republicans by giving the Democrats more access to earmarking is not productive in the long run, and I fail to see much evidence it would be productive in the short run. The scandal mongering will sell more MSM ad time—and I don’t know why that’s a good thing.

Grind the Democrats to dust, make them a political irrelevancy—utterly. Then the Repubs can be made to fracture with an ease that will surprise you.

Then some real improvement can happen. Should take about 20 to 40 years.

But first things first. I could approve of 3rd party congressional challenges to either Dem or Rep members—if this is likely to result in either Rep or 3rd party candidates elected. I find no improvement in the election of Democrats.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
shark writes:
That’s fine, as I noted I question the COMPENTANCY of someone who would make a monumentally stupid comment such as that, I also question the motives of someone who uses "your President".
Codswollop. First, that isn’t what Jackson said, that the issue was "competency"; Jackson said, my emphasis:
"He didn’t get the contract," Jackson continued. "Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don’t get the contract. That’s the way I believe."
That Jackson doesn’t want to enrich someone who might then be able to make campaign contributions against the President is outrageous, and acting on such a position likely illegal. Moreover, small talk occurs in all kinds of business transactions and contract negotiaions, and we have no idea what sort of, say, lunch conversation might have made it entirely natural for this bidder to offer his remarks. It hardly need have been some silly, gratuitous announcement.

Anyway, Mr. Ridgely reports that Jackson now claims his statement was actually a lie, a "hypothetical" of some sort. And Jon sums up the salient points best:
In any event, the law is the law and political persuasions are not legal grounds for disqualifying somebody from a contract. Nor should it be. This is taxpayer money they’re spending, not administration money.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
This...
However, Jon Henke is proposing that the "benefits" he is sure enough that he’ll see to suit him are benefits that will happen, that he wants to reward the Democratic Party system of class and race patronage that he wants them to have another big bite at the apple.
...doesn’t make sense. You’ll have to rephrase.
The problem with the idea that any degree of "division" in government between the parties will improve the corruption Henke is talking about is that each party feeds from the same trough in the same way.
I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but it doesn’t appear to be responsive to what I’ve written. I don’t think divided government will end corruption. I just think it will provide for more checks and balances against the corruption that is bound to occur.

Meanwhile, Tom’s solution...
Grind the Democrats to dust, make them a political irrelevancy—utterly. Then the Repubs can be made to fracture with an ease that will surprise you.
...is just ridiculous. First, there’s just no chance that the Democratic Party will be ground "to dust". Losing a few elections does not appear to have split them in the slightest, beyond the usual intra-party squabbles. The disintegration of the Republican Party is far more likely, as the inimicability of the small government and social conservative interests become more apparent.

In any event, if you think that total Republican domination of the government will result in less corruption, you’re working off a playbook that none of the rest of us shares. Empirical evidence has been precisely the opposite.



 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
"Can anybody tell me why he ought not be removed from office — and, if possible, jailed — for using his position to punish political opponents by witholding federal contracts?"

Because that’s no good for politicians.
 
Written By: John T. Kennedy
URL: no-treason.com
That’s fine, as I noted I question the COMPENTANCY of someone who would make a monumentally stupid comment such as that, I also question the motives of someone who uses "your President".

Yes, compentancy is the key here — if this guy would say something that dumb, what makes you think he can run a contracting agency?
 
Written By: Leonidas
URL: http://scrutator.net
Tom Perkins persists in unreality:
Grind the Democrats to dust, make them a political irrelevancy—utterly. Then the Repubs can be made to fracture with an ease that will surprise you.

Then some real improvement can happen. Should take about 20 to 40 years.

But first things first. I could approve of 3rd party congressional challenges to either Dem or Rep members...
No. We have a de facto two party system, and the only meaningful way to reduce corruption and misfeasance in govt is to deny hegemony over all branches to one party. The Founders envisioned the branches constituting a check on the others, which is far less likely to happen when partisan loyalties erode institutional loyalties, as has been happening.

George Bush has announced a theory of Executive power that "permits" him to ignore any law passed by Congress which, in his view, touches on national security, whether a torture ban or a warrant requirement. Republicans have quashed all serious investigation of this truly alarming state of affairs; if our nation is operating black prisons where terrorist suspects are being tortured (and the govt’s track record as to who actually is a terrorist, held without any due process rights, has been remarkably poor), Republicans are incentivized to make sure that never comes to light. Democrats, by contrast, are incentivized to make sure it does.

The same dynamic would hold if the situation were reversed, and Democrats held hegemony over the federal govt.

Gridlock and partisan incentives to hold other branches accountable are, in the main, healthy for the body politic. I’m not inclined to wait 20-40 years for health to be restored, and I’m certainly not inclined to put my hope in the success of some unlikely 3rd party. We have, right now, a GOP run amok, and its corruption and lawlessness urgently need to be checked.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
"Awarding that contract would not seem to be entirely in the best interests of the government"

What about the best interests of the people?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
That Jackson doesn’t want to enrich someone who might then be able to make campaign contributions against the President is outrageous
Sounds to me like Jackson is afraid the guy may use the funds awarded to the contractor to go against the president, to possibly sabotage the project. Again, given the BDS we’ve seen, given the "Your President" line, given the abject stupidity of the man to actually make such a comment, Jackson has a valid point.

If you can’t trust him, you can’t give him the contract. Period.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I live in HUD housing and can’t stand the president. Should I move???? Where does this end? So the low income families once again lose. What happened to overlooking personal(political) differences, to benefit the people your job was created for???? His job is to benefit the people who would use HUD. Not benefit his political party.
 
Written By: Mary
URL: http://
Evidently some here do not mind seeing the US turn into some third world paradise where those in charge give all the tax money to their friends who send it to Swiss banks so that they will not lose it to the opposition when it occupies the oval office and takes its turn rewarding its partisans. Is this part of our new multicultural future, the result of all that illegal third-world illegal immigration? The reconquista seems to be working, although I personally would like more Mexican food and music and less of their governmental policies.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
George Bush has announced a theory of Executive power that "permits" him to ignore any law passed by Congress which, in his view, touches on national security, whether a torture ban or a warrant requirement.
Sorry but this isn’t unusual in the slightest. Every president has held most of these views. For instance Bush’s stance on the War Powers Resolution is par for the course. Every President since it passed in 1973, Republican or Democrat, has held that it is an unconstitutional imposition by the Congress on presidential authority as commander in chief of the armed forces. Similarly, Bush didn’t invent the signing statement, he has just used a lot of them because he doesn’t have the guts to veto anything.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
[i]What happened to overlooking personal(political) differences, to benefit the people your job was created for???? [/i]

I agree! That contractor obviously cared so much about his political differences he was willing to see you scr*wed over, it was more important he give throat to his complaint about someone else’s president. You should give him a good stern talking to. Again, the liberals trample all over the poor they claim to represent...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Jeff the Baptist writes:
Sorry but this isn’t unusual in the slightest. Every president has held most of these views.
What I’m talking about is entirely unusual. I don’t mean signing statements, or issues with the War Powers Resolution. George Bush has decided that on any matter that can remotely be said to touch on national security, he is above the law, any law, all laws; he is the law. Whether those laws require warrants, whether they prohibit torture, whether habeas corpus doctrine that says a citizen is entitled to be either charged with a crime or released, Bush claims he is free to do as he wishes.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Well of course, Mona, when God is on your side, how can you do wrong?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Mona, please address the actual point Jeff the Baptist made when he wrote:

"Sorry but this isn’t unusual in the slightest. Every president has held most of these views."

I believe that both by Supreme Court decisions and be precedent (unchallenged precedent, except recent, usually by moonbats), the President can surveil the communications of the enemy in time of war without warrants.

Please prove otherwise.

The President has NEVER said he is above the law, and he has a much more reasonable explanation of what the law intends than you do.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Meanwhile, in further tales of cutting-edge federal procurement practices, AP reports that the CIA’s third ranking official, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo’s home and office have been searched as part of an investigation to determine whether Foggo improperly intervened in the award of contracts to a San Diego businessman and personal friend, Brent Wilkes. CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise Dyck confirmed the searches of Foggo’s home and office on Friday morning.

Well, at least Foggo knew better than to blab all over town about it.

P.S. — "Kyle Foggo"? "Jennifer Millerwise Dyke"? How funny does your name have to be to work for the CIA?
 
Written By: D.A. Ridgely
URL: http://

 
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