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Cunningham's house of flying daggers
Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
July 14, 2005
On Independence Day Congressman Randy Cunningham was a no show at an annual 4th of July Pancake Breakfast in Encinitas. He was the scheduled keynote speaker. The press was there, but the Duke wasn't. Coincidence? I think not.
His office issued a press release on Sunday night to cancel his appearance, saying he didn't want to be a distraction at the community event. On Friday, he had confirmed his attendance with event organizers. Constituents, eager to hear from their embattled congressman were left wondering what prevented him from eating free pancakes with the people who elected him.
Perhaps it had something to do with his home in Rancho Sante Fe being raided by the FBI along with his apartment and the Duke Stir docked at the Capital Yacht Club. It could have something to do with the investigation in to the unauthorized use of the seal of congress on the official Randy "Duke" Cunningham Fighter Ace Kalinga-Style Buck Knife. Maybe, this is just his way of dealing with being abandoned by his Christian conservative power base for his moderate positions on stem cell research and Planned Parenthood.
Maybe it was all of the above.
Whatever the reason, the Duke Stir was not free to fulfill his commitment to the organizers of the Independence Day event. His absence speaks volumes to this journalist. Unwilling to face the media, no matter how compromised, Randy made it clear he had something to hide.
Some would say Randy hid his face in shame. Who could blame him?The dude messed up. Imagine the embarrassment resulting from a decorated fighter pilot being exposed as a petty criminal and big time war profiteer. In Japan, a politician of Congressman Cunningham's disgraced stature would have resigned out of respect for the people he represented soon after his ethical failings were exposed. But that's not Randy's style. Randy rarely meets with his constituents, and does his utmost to avoid unfavorable social conditions.
Having lost honor in the eyes of a majority of his constituents, Randy continues on, business as usual, as if the MZM debacle hadn't landed a fatal blow to his political tenure. The Buck Knife has finished him off. Using a Congressional seal for personal profit is so wrong, in so many ways. The federal treasury needing all the help it can get, I'm sure the feds have a problem with not being in on the grift.
So not only does Randy "Duke" peddle influence from his Congressional seat, he offered "Top Gun" merchandising as well.
Randy "Duke" Cunningham is also intricately involved with the Neo-con global agenda. As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Randy was instrumental in rubberstamping the fraudulent intelligence given as reason for waging a war of aggression against Iraq. As a member of the House Appropriations' Defense Subcommittee, Randy was instrumental in handing out war booty to private defense contractors such as Mitchell J. Wade of MZM Inc. Wade owns the Duke Stir, a party boat "rented" by the congressman for occasional accommodations.
MZM Inc. contributed $11,000 to the Cunningham campaign fund for 2006.
Other defense contractors contributing to Team Randy include Titan Corporation of San Diego, which received a $657 million Pentagon contract supplying Arabic translators to the Army from the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. Also awarded million dollar Pentagon contracts for combat training systems and surveillance and reconnaissance avionics, Cubic Corporation of San Diego donated$10,000 to the Randy Duke Cunningham Fund. Lockheed Martin, $15,000. Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), $10,000. Qualcomm, $8,500.
The Del Mar house deal was only the tip of the political iceberg that would ultimately bring down the Duke Stir. Greed getting the better of him, no amount of press releases' will allow Congressman Cunningham to escape his political fate. For too long the "Duke" has demonstrated a rank disregard for the people he was elected to represent. As journalists turn their attention on the inner workings of Team Cunningham, dots are being connected and it is not a pretty picture.
What the electorate of the 50th congressional district is left with is a portrait of faded fighter pilot, basking in the unhealthy light of war profiteering. Randy is going down in flames. Younger, wiser Republicans will make sure he is put out to pasture in Rancho Sante Fe. If Randy stands for re-election in a republican primary he would be ripped to sheds by all challengers, in a fashion expected from the curved blades Randy Duke use to hawk on his web site.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.