Sunday, May 08, 2005

NYT: Abramoff, More money to be spent on security systems, Filibuster and what the Times still won't print

Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist at the center of a federal corruption investigation, led a Congressional delegation to Pakistan in 1997 but failed to tell the group's sponsor or the lawmakers that he was a registered lobbyist for the Pakistani government, according to the sponsor and the two House members on the trip.
"I wish I'd known that he had a bias that way," said Representative Michael R. McNulty, Democrat of New York, who was on the trip. Gregg Hilton, whose nonprofit organization, the National Security Caucus Foundation, sponsored the trip for Mr. McNulty and Representative Howard Coble, said he felt "deceived" by Mr. Abramoff.
The trip to Pakistan and Mr. Abramoff's role in it came to light with the release of documents this week showing that he had also used his personal credit card to pay more than $350,000 in travel expenses for other Congressional trips, some of them sponsored by the National Security Caucus Foundation, which is now defunct.

That's from Philip Shenon and Anne E. Kornblut's "Lobbyist Paid by Pakistan Led U.S. Delegation There" which is in this morning's New York Times.

We'll also note Eric Lipton's "U.S. to Spend Billions More to Alter Security Systems:"

After spending more than $4.5 billion on screening devices to monitor the nation's ports, borders, airports, mail and air, the federal government is moving to replace or alter much of the antiterrorism equipment, concluding that it is ineffective, unreliable or too expensive to operate.
Many of the monitoring tools - intended to detect guns, explosives, and nuclear and biological weapons - were bought during the blitz in security spending after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
In its effort to create a virtual shield around America, the Department of Homeland Security now plans to spend billions of dollars more. Although some changes are being made because of technology that has emerged in the last couple of years, many of them are planned because devices currently in use have done little to improve the nation's security, according to a review of agency documents and interviews with federal officials and outside experts.

We'll note Carl Hulse's "Filibuster Fight Nears Showdown:"

With the Senate clock ticking toward a momentous procedural clash over judicial nominees, lawmakers and advocates on each side are readying a final push to win over the few uncommitted lawmakers and frame the fight to their best political advantage.
Beginning Monday, when both Republicans and Democrats will mark the four-year anniversary of President Bush's initial round of nominations, the parties and their allies will follow a day-by-day schedule of demonstrations, legislative maneuvers and other public events in anticipation of an imminent floor showdown.
With the climax nearing, the tone of the debate is escalating. A radio address taped by three Christian conservative leaders for broadcast Monday called the judiciary "the last playground of the liberal left." In the address, James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, described the fight as the tipping point of the Bush presidency. "Nothing good took place last November, only the potential for something good," Dr. Dobson said.

The last playground (of the "liberal left" or otherwise)? Focus on the Fool Dobson wants to come along and take a dump in it. He probably never knew how to play well with others.

We'd like to recommend Douglas Jehl's "Tug of War: Intelligence vs. Politics" as worth reading. We can't. While it's true that it has some strong analysis, we've considered the first sentence and what's not in the article. Here's the first sentence:

For more than two years, critics who accused the Bush administration of improperly using political influence to shape intelligence assessments have, for the most part, failed to make the charge stick.

Doesn't that sentence beg the reader to believe that the story The Times of London broke last week will be included in the "analysis" of this article. (The Times has labeled this "analysis." We're not mocking Jehl.)

We'll refer you to BuzzFlash's "Impeachment Time: 'Facts Were Fixed'" by Greg Palast:

Here it is. The smoking gun. The memo that has "IMPEACH HIM" written all over it.
The top-level government memo marked "SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL," dated eight months before Bush sent us into Iraq, following a closed meeting with the President, reads, "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
Read that again: "The intelligence and facts were being fixed...."
For years, after each damning report on BBC TV, viewers inevitably ask me, "Isn't this grounds for impeachment?" -- vote rigging, a blind eye to terror and the bin Ladens before 9-11, and so on. Evil, stupidity and self-dealing are shameful but not impeachable. What's needed is a " high crime or misdemeanor."
And if this ain't it, nothing is.

The Times (the Times refers to the New York Times) hasn't mentioned The Times of London's reporting and still manages to overlook it this morning. Do you think that they're unaware of it? Don't kid yourself. As with Naomi Klein's story about James Baker (which ran in The Guardian and The Nation), the Times is choosing to ignore what's what.

That is their choice. But the next time Bill Keller wants to hop on his high horse about what a great job the Times does and how mean bloggers pick on it for no reason, he might want to consider the fact that whether the Times puts it in print or not, people are aware of what's being covered and what's not being mentioned.

We're going to make that it for this morning's New York Times. We is Ava and myself. The e-mail address for this site is and, possibly, later today I'll be able to get into that account. But for the last six hours as I've been assisting The Third Estate Sunday Review, I've had no luck getting in on any breaks. (And yes, we are on a break right now. Most of The Third Estate Sunday Review's edition is up but there are still three more entries to go.)

So if you've e-mailed this morning about a story you found of interest in the Times, please don't think you're being intentionally ignored. An error message comes up when I attempt to log into the e-mail that says basically "try again later." My apologies to anyone who's sent something in that didn't get highlighted.