Wednesday, June 29, 2005



I want to update my report from June 14th on Republicrook Congressman "Duke" Cunningham's bribery case. This is finally making it into the mainstream media and things have suddenly taken a turn for the worse for the powerful extreme right-wing congressman from the San Diego suburbs. Just to recap, briefly, ole "Duke," who sits on the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, sold his house to a Republican scam-artist pal of his, Mitchell Wade, who immediately turned around and sold it for a huge loss. Smells like a bribe to me, especially when you consider that Wade just happens to own a shady DC-based company called MZM Inc. which does the kind of classified work for the military that is overseen by ole "Duke's" committtees. And coincidences never seem to stop in this case. Just before Wade paid Cunningham off, MZM was floundering and just after the pay-off, he won some huge military contracts and he quadrupled the size of his staff-- and started raking in the dough, in fact, tripling his annual revenue. (Even in DeLay-world this kind of bribery is illegal.) Anyway, Associated Press is reporting today that a federal grand jury has subpoenaed documents from ole "Duke" related to the sale of his house to Wade. I forgot to mention that when Wade paid "Duke" $1,700,000 for his house and then turned it around for $1,000,000 a year later, the San Diego area was experiencing a 25% RISE in average home prices. And when ole "Duke," pointed out that the house's value had been determined by an "independent" appraiser, well, surprise, surprise, it turns out the appraiser is another Republicrook contributor to ole "Duke's" campaigns.

Meanwhile, the Defense Department has halted orders this month on MZM's $153 million contract after the department's inspector general was forced to admit that the awarding of the contract violated the Pentagon's own rules on competitive bidding. The Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, another notorious crook and a long-time croney of "Duke's," Congressman Jerry Lewis, a right wing clown from the Big Bear/high desert area of Southern California, said Tuesday that programs approved under his leadership "passed the smell test." Neither Lewis nor Cunningham passes any smell tests-- unless you're looking for skunks. When we have young men and women dying in ill-conceived, badly executed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many complaining of shoddy or non-existent materials they need for effective fighting, it is more than criminal to be bilking the defense budgets. It's called "war profiteering"-- a standard and traditional means of amassing wealth in the Bush family. War-profiteering is treason.

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