Republicans in desperate need of $ for the Bush Presidential Library.
By the time you read this, the covers may have been peeled off of more of Stephen Payne's web of influence. TPM Muckraker, for one, has a link to the Times of London Jul 13 article which has video of Payne soliciting a bribe...but there is so much more slime on this guy and Lindsay Bayerstein did the digging to find it. You will need a large sheet of paper to graph all the dotted lines of little-disclosed influence and conflict of interest.
If you read Lindsay's post, you will get a sense of the depth and breadth to which influence peddling permeates the Bush administration...so much so that Republicans are inured to it and can't understand what the fuss is all about. The lesson here, as far as I am concerned is not for the Republicans, who are highly resistant to lessons and will be paying for their ethics in government with a long retirement. It is for Obama: he must take an ax and a chainsaw to the list of contractors and the organizational structure of DHS when he takes office. The extent of the connections and of free loading free enterprise advocates that has encrusted our government in the last 8 years will take colossal effort and require those who can temper their outrage enough to effectively deal with the red tape and lawyers that have been wrapped around vital government functions like the windings on a mummy. DHS in particular has become a massive waste of money. I always thought it was a waste of money. How obvious must it be, how much outrageous and scandalous crap do you have to hear of about that department's doings before you have voter's revolt? The last thing that bunch of grafters has done is actually make anyone safer. Ask the survivors of Katrina....if you can locate them. Does DHS actually stand for Department of Habitual Scamming?
How do the Republicans manage to still wield so much unethical influence two years after they lost congress and saw half a dozen of their heaviest hitters indicted or even convicted? For the Republicans there appears to be a corollary of their "less government oversight, less government period" mantra and it might be phrased "more tax money for private and unaccountable corporations and institutions to collect under the guise of providing the services shorn from federal and state mandates". In a word, graft. The mechanism that they seem to use as well as the public offices they took over is a network of shadow government bureaucracies and think tanks: the PNAC did what the State Department should have been doing, Shirlington Limo supplied the babes, Black Water did what no one should do. Oops, those weren't the government services we cut! Sorry America! Vote for McCain, who continues the Republican blindness to where the line should be between private and public interest and maybe some Republican will finally get it right. Whadda ya think? Don't you suppose exactly repeating the ethical tone of the last 8 years could some how improve our nation's prospects?
The remnants of Republican powerful will have all retreated into the woodwork, buried in civilian contracting organizations and lobbying outfits and it will be difficult to touch them in those hideouts because we do have freedom of speech, at least, rich conservatives do. The only salvation will be to ruthlessly cut government use of private contractors, severing the connections by which Republican's shadow government calls many of the shots.
Note the theme: Payne is a long time friend of George Bush the second and Wilkes and Foggo were chums since their high school days in San Diego. One thing to be watchful of then is the use, officially or unofficially of long standing social connections to form parallel connections via which money can flow from tax payers pockets.
Also requiring great intestinal fortitude:
And what, would that bribe sought by Mr. Payne have paid for? Why, its the glorious new Dubya Presidnetial Library!
I hereby open the comments for any suggestions of appropriate materials to place in that library. One way to keep down the costs [and I suspect only a few oil patch buddies are likely to chip in so cost is an issue] would be to limit the books to volumes written by historians in praise of the president's guidance of our nation and books George Bush has actually read.
Of course photos of high points of Bush's illustrious service will be a big part of the collection. I am fond of the image you all may have seen of Dufus in chief yanking on a wall panel in China which he took to be a door. But my current favorite is this touching recent image of Bush finally finding someone who can't say no to him and with whom he can safely do what Fox News considered a terrorist code gesture: