Patterico's Pontifications

4/13/2007

Try to Imagine . . .

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Jack Dunphy @ 4:45 pm

[Posted by Jack Dunphy]

On Mark Levin’s radio program Thursday, Levin alerted listeners to this story on the Metroactive website, the web edition of a San Jose, California-based alternative newspaper. The story, which runs to more than 4,400 words, chronicles Senator Diane Feinstein’s apparent conflict of interest in her role as chairperson of the Senate’s Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee. While serving on the subcommittee, Feinstein voted for military expenditures that benefitted, to the tune of billions of dollars, companies owned by her husband, Richard Blum. After this revelation, Feinstein resigned from her post on the subcommittee.

This seemed like a big story, so I checked out the Los Angeles Times website to see what California’s leading newspaper had to say on the matter. Perhaps it was due to a technical glitch, but entering the name “Feinstein” into the site’s search engine turned up stories on global warming, stem-cell research, the U.S. attorney imbroglio, and a host of other topics, but not a word on whether California’s senior senator may have been feathering her own nest at the taxpayers’ expense.

Try if you can to stretch your mind to a point where you can imagine the Times ignoring similar conduct by a Republican.

44 Responses to “Try to Imagine . . .”

  1. “Try if you can to stretch your mind to a point where you can imagine the Times ignoring similar conduct by a Republican.”

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    Try to imagine one voice screaming “Democratic War Profiteers’ at a Yankee Stadium full of Republican War Profiteers.

    semanticleo (2f60f4)

  2. Jack – Feinstein is a Democrat, right? Are you suggesting that a national newspaper such as the Los Angeles Times would avoid covering a potential scandal like this, particularly one that has already been exposed by another paper, merely because of her political affiliation?

    Just a rhetorical question.

    Biased bastards. Of course there’s no liberal media. It’s all a myth.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  3. Not many people cared about Hastert’s highway either.

    I agree that Feinstein should be exposed and disgraced for this conflict of interest, but as far as I’m concerned the right-wing doesn’t have much moral authority on the issue of war profiteering.

    AJB (ec28a6)

  4. AJB – don’t you think that example is a bit of a stretch?

    In any event, the named company, RALC-Plano LLC, was not competitively bidding on a federal contract before one of its (by spousal connection) owners in Congress.

    The “Hastert’s Highway” is garden variety insider trading.

    By comparison, Feinstein’s actions on the Military Appropriations Subcommittee approach direct graft.

    But fear not, libbies. Neither of the two Bay Area major papers (SJ Mercury News and SF Chronicle) are interested in this story, either.

    And yes, both papers endorsed Feinstein in her last election, and all of her previous elections as well.

    JD (044292)

  5. It’s amazing how any hint or proof of wrongdoing is simply written off as the other side did it!

    Lord Nazh (d282eb)

  6. I wrote about this about two weeks ago. There is a problem with this story in that Metroactives timeline doesn’t check out. If they have something as basic as when she left the committee wrong I have grave doubts about the accuracy of anything that requires real fact checking.

    chad (582404)

  7. But, see, it’s not news. Everyone in SF has known about Feinstein and her husband’s background for almost two decades now. Surely you don’t expect the LA Times to report that the sun rises in the East, and that the sky is blue, do you? Such things are not newsworthy.

    Allison (d8361a)

  8. Allison – That’s great. If you knew about the business interests of her hubby in defense contractors, did DiFi’s committee assignment overseeing defense appropriations present a conflict of interest in your opinion? Should she have recused herself from votes involving hubby’s firms? Should she have sought other committee assignments?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  9. I checked the NY Times back to March 1 for the Feinstein Milcon subcommittee resignation, with no results. Ditto for the Washington Post and SF Chronicle who also should have reported it. I recall one blogger contacting the public editor of the Chronicle but so far no results. I also Googled Feinstein + Milcon and no MSM outlets covered it, only Mertoactive and a number of blogs. Sad to find so many papers acting in concert on this one.

    I think the timidness of Republicans is to some degree responsible. Republican politicians seem to be afraid they might start a war with Democrats by speaking up about Ms. Feinstein’s conflict of interest, and some of the dirt will spill on them. They should wake up. The war is already going on.

    Incidently number of conservative blogs did weigh in on Hastert’s apparent conflict of interest with his highway pork. See Captain’s Quarters (6/22/06). And the MSM covered it in spades—Washington Post (6/22/06) and the NY Times (6/25/06), among many others.

    There is a difference on how the MSM covers political scandals.

    Corky Boyd (a8cc75)

  10. Far be it from me to support DiFi, but the Congressional Record for Nov 13, 2006 shows the Senator speaking in support of the “MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND VETERANS AFFAIRS AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007″ as ranking (minority) member of the Subcommittee.

    Since the party majorities changed sides in January, that she would not be on that subcommittee in 2007 might easily be a result of the power switch.

    Doesn’t mean the rest of the suggested problems are not accurately reported, but suggesting After this revelation, Feinstein resigned from her post on the subcommittee. seems not to be strongly supported by information available.

    Looks to me that chad’s skepticism is, for the moment, appropriate.

    JohnS (e28e82)

  11. She’s still listed as a member of the subcommittee on the Senate website, but who knows how often it is updated.

    The resignation is only a small part of the story. Do JohnS and Chad and Allison have any views on DiFi’s apparent conflicts from her years of serving on the subcommittee or do they prefer to ignore them?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  12. Doesn’t mean the rest of the suggested problems are not accurately reported, but suggesting After this revelation, Feinstein resigned from her post on the subcommittee. seems not to be strongly supported by information available.

    In fact, isn’t the story that Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, divested himself of those military contractors at the end of 2005, so her resignation of that subcommittee post may just be because her husband no longer benefited from her service?

    Regardless of when and why she resigned from the subcommittee, it appears to be a pretty serious conflict of interest.

    JVW (bcc29b)

  13. To Paraphrase a famous Louisiana Governor, Feinstein could be caught in bed with a live girl or a dead boy and the Media particularly the LAT would embargo it.

    Heck if it had not been for Drudge the Monica Lewinsky scandal would never have been covered.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  14. Comment by Jim Rockford

    I loved that show…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  15. I’m sure the LA Times and SF Chronicle haven’t published on it because of very good reasons. The NY Times always claimed space limitations when called to task for not covering dem corruption. They always seemed to make room for Republican scandals, somehow.

    Funny, that.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  16. I say, if Feinstein or anyone else is guilty of war profiteering, the following should occur;

    All their personal assets should be disgorged into a trust account for Iraq vets and dependents for education or rehab. Next the perps must flip burgers or clean crappers at minimum wage for from 7 to 20 years, using public transportation only from their section 8 housing. Take from them that which they love the most, wealth and position.

    semanticleo (2f60f4)

  17. We agree in general principle on that one, semanticleo

    I would need to see who is going to decide who was profiteering before I signed though. I would have problems with the editorial staff of the NYT or LAT.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  18. I’m going to play devil’s advocate and post a powerful response for lefties: YEAH BUT… AT LEAST SHE DIDN’T LIE US INTO A WAR… There – see – gotcha!

    😉

    Clark Baker (6a377d)

  19. Define “anyone else”. Because those who build the tools of war are those who make it possible for us to have capable, dominant armed forces. Profit is what allows them to function.

    Now, if we’re limiting the objection to those who appropriate and expend public funds for them, and do so for personal gratification instead of the best interest of the military and the taxpayers, then yes, let’s make them pay dearly.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  20. i don’t agree with her all the time, but feinstein isn’t as bad as some. just think, if arianna huffington hadn’t hired an illegal servant, california would now have america’s first uncloseted gay senator!
    blum has always seemed like a shadowy figure of great wealth, so by all means, shine a light on this cockroach so we can see how big it is.

    assistant devil's advocate (20dad6)

  21. “Because those who build the tools of war”

    Yes, I understand we must keep the Military Industrial Complex healthy by continuous revenue feeding with no penalties for missed deadlines, or
    exceeding budgets. I know full well they could never suffer financially because of outrage over the billions in taxes wasted. That would never do.

    Yes, I am speaking of the Cunningham Class destroyers who have run aground. I am speaking of the vendors as well. You know, Blackwater and Halliburton?

    semanticleo (2f60f4)

  22. Yes, I understand we must keep the Military Industrial Complex healthy by continuous revenue feeding with no penalties for missed deadlines, or
    exceeding budgets.

    Uh, yeah. That’s exactly what I said. If you’re incapable of comprehension and/or repetition. Otherwise, there are people who work for (gasp!) corporations who build the things that our troops use to do their jobs. You know, like that body armor you’re always claiming we never have enough of. People actually profit on the manufacture of that stuff!

    Nice cartoon though. Are you Ted Rall, semanticleo?

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  23. (gasp!) corporations

    Yeah. There are a few who act responsibly.

    semanticleo (2f60f4)

  24. Never heard of Ted Rall, so googled.

    Not much of a compliment to link him to me.

    But I’m sure your heart in in the right place.

    semanticleo (2f60f4)

  25. You know, Blackwater and Halliburton?

    You are aware why Halliburton got those contracts, right? I mean, you know what they do, correct?

    They are the largest company (possessing ALL the material and personell needed) for upgrading oil drilling and transportation equipment. You’d rather someone who didn’t know what they were doing get the contract?

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  26. Mr. Dunphy: Where have you been for the past fifty years? Oh, I forgot, you were part of the MSM….stretch my imagination? Why? This is as real life as it gets…I don’t have to stretch anything…this is business as usual in the tinfoil hatted leftist loon world.

    Sue (2a1631)

  27. She’s still listed as a member of the subcommittee on the Senate website, but who knows how often it is updated.

    The resignation is only a small part of the story. Do JohnS and Chad and Allison have any views on DiFi’s apparent conflicts from her years of serving on the subcommittee or do they prefer to ignore them?

    The assignments are updated at the beginning of every new Congress – look on the Senate web site for Harry Reid’s doc.

    I certainly agree the charges of conflict of interest should be investigated, but I’d prefer it be done more calmly.

    Probably more than she deserves, but that’s just me.

    JohnS (e28e82)

  28. I certainly agree the charges of conflict of interest should be investigated, but I’d prefer it be done more calmly.

    If the investigation were any calmer, it would be dead. In fact, I can’t find a pulse.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  29. I was trying to imagine it, but since I do not use recreational pharmaceuticals, could not stretch my imagination quite that far.

    Dana (fc7c50)

  30. #28

    So that’s why they are all yelling “clear” and backing the hell away from it…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  31. Feinstein’s behavior is disgraceful. She has no business being on that committee.

    It always amuses me to no end to see conservatives complaining about this sort of conflict of interest when they place full support behind the issuing of billions of dollars in no-bid accounts to Halliburton and its subsidiaries.

    Dick Cheney insists that his personal fortune, essentially all of which was earned through his tenure with Halliburton, has nothing whatsoever to do with his employment in the government.

    Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney leaves office and goes to work at Halliburton, then returns years later as Vice President of the United States, prosecuting a war whose privatization sends billions in Halliburton’s direction.

    I’m perfectly happy to condemn Feinstein for getting her hands dirty here. Any conservatives care to condemn the Cheney/Halliburton relationship?

    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  32. ffs… I just SAID this…

    Halliburton is the only company in the world that has the equipment and manpower (including technical knowledge) to complete such a massive task as overhauling and updating the Iraqi oil infrastructure. Would you rather it go to a corp that didn’t know what the hell it was doing?

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  33. And even ignoring that fact, the “cheney/hlliburton conspiricy” has been done to death. Covered everywhere from Newsweek to Time to eveny major paper…

    So how about DiFi get some fucking national coverage, huh? What happened to the ethics and morals your people were goinbg to instill?

    Oh, wait, I forgot… these ARE your morals and ethics…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  34. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney leaves office and goes to work at Halliburton, then returns years later as Vice President of the United States, prosecuting a war whose privatization sends billions in Halliburton’s direction.

    Clearly, this was all planned by the INJEWCON, a parent entity of Halliburton.

    I’m perfectly happy to condemn Feinstein for getting her hands dirty here. Any conservatives care to condemn the Cheney/Halliburton relationship?

    Not unless they want to find themselves on the bad side of a giant shape shifting lizard. giant shape shifting lizard.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  35. Halliburton is the only company in the world that has the equipment and manpower (including technical knowledge) to complete such a massive task as overhauling and updating the Iraqi oil infrastructure.

    That’s a crock of shit.

    Are they the only company qualified to provide food services to the troops in Iraq? Are they the only company qualified to maintain and drive fuel trucks?

    Are they the only company qualified to build a new prison at Guantanamo?

    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  36. That we know so much about Cheney/Halliburton, Hastert and other Republicans and so little about Blum/Feinstein kind of proves Jack’s point, doesn’t it? Have we heard anything about some guy named Jefferson from Louisiana who likes to keep cash in the freezer, lately BTW?

    nk (a3cd81)

  37. I don’t understand why Jefferson hasn’t been forced to resign.

    What an asshole he is.

    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  38. Dude he’s not just keeping his seat, he’s getting a chairmanship of a freaking committee…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  39. Are they the only company qualified to provide food services to the troops in Iraq? Are they the only company qualified to maintain and drive fuel trucks?

    Are they the only company qualified to build a new prison at Guantanamo?

    Are those no bid contracts, LA? Watch your fire around that strawman you’re holding up.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  40. #34

    Pablo:

    You clearly are an anti-semite! Providing links to the moonbat hate website is beyond the pale. If you cannot argue from the facts I presume you believe it is best to accuse the Jews.

    There is a special place in hell for people like you.

    Not a Yank (caceef)

  41. Sacramento Beelink has picked up the story.

    Ethics challenge to Feinstein
    She chaired subcommittee on military spending; husband had defense firm investments.
    By Michael Doyle – Bee Washington Bureau

    Published 12:00 am PDT Saturday, April 14, 2007
    Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A4

    Still nothing on sfgate.com as of now.

    JohnS (e28e82)

  42. A Feinstein spokesperson has responded to allegations – published here (at the bottom). In part:

    Called for comment on the allegations, Feinstein spokesperson Scott Gerber today released the following statement to Fog City Journal:

    “It is nonsense to suggest that Senator Feinstein resigned from the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee. That’s just not true

    JohnS (e28e82)

  43. My local fishwrap; from the McClatchy Group, the Miami Herald, plays the a narrative about the Byrne Metroactive piece, by Mike Doyle (the star reporter for the Modesto Bee; in the Petersen and Condit cases)The story, appears on page 16-A, in the Sunday edition. Titled “Key senator accused of conflict of interest” The gist of the story
    is that the internet has propelled these unsavory allegations forward, despite the fact that the
    reporter, Peter Byrne, who received a grant from
    the Nation investigative magazine fund, refused
    to publish his work! (Paragraphs 13 & 14)It does state that Feinstein’s husband Blum has had holdings in URS and Perini, and they received 200 millions. But is it couched with so many caveats;
    to ignore the findings and question the source.
    Considering that Northern California is the
    headquarters for McClatchy, this should be a bigger story.

    What does make the front page;a piece detailing the upcoming Padilla trial. The tagline inside is classic; “Publicity is a challenge for Padilla jury selection” First, they do not refer to him by the name he chose: Abdullah Muhajir. The context on his confinement is rendered illegitimate. The ‘dirty bomb’ allegations
    that involved his contact with Abu Zubeydah and
    his at large accomplice, Adnan El Shukrijumah; are only mentioned in passing It is not till paragraph 16; that they begin to detail the
    evidence of Padilla’s possible guilt; An earlier
    piece from the Gitom reporter,Carol Rosenburg, supposedly expelled from the base after the 3
    suicides, takes “Hambali” (The Indonesian
    Al Queda commander) as well as that of Ammar
    al Baluchi, the KSM relative who routed cash to
    the 9/11 hijackers from the UAE; denials before
    the military commissions of their Al Queda status
    at face value. Of course, on this slow news day;
    there’s yet another grab bag of allegations by
    Talev and Taylor; the authors of the evil
    “Republican Lawyer’s Association “Democrats look for Rove link” There the insinuations are fact; the caveats are removed; and the general opinion re; Att. Gen. Gonzalez; is hangings too good for
    him.

    narciso (273e95)

  44. @daleyrocks –

    Sorry I took so long to reply to this, but I am in Las Vegas for a seminar and just got access set up. In response to your question I feel the same way about Diane Feinstein’s conflict of interest as I do anyone else. If it can be proven that there is one then hammer her into the ground. I don’t believe in the “appearance of a conflict” that is just a canard for smearing someone. I feel the same way about Dick Cheney – prove he did something improper in the awarding of the Haliburton contracts and I will support whatever the legal penalty is. (I don’t know I assume it is jail time and a fine).

    @Liberal Avenger – The items that you discuss in item 35 are all jobs that previously would have been performed by Active Duty members, but in the 90’s we (America) decided it would be more cost efficient to outsource those jobs to contractors on an as needed basis. Unfortunately in war you don’t really have time to go thru the 6 month federal bidding process while your troops are sitting in the field eating Meals Rejected by Everyone. A lot of people, including myself, said at the time that the cuts were way to deep but no one was interested in listening.

    chad (acb96f)


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