Sunday, February 26, 2006



People who are part of the blogosphere-- like you and me and Ken-- are painfully aware of all the corruption in D.C. these days. I don't mean all the normal corruption; I'm talking about this whole Republican Culture of Corruption that trumps anything that anyone has ever done before. I mean, let's be real, the Republicans had a point-- it was essentially wrong, but it was a point (and much of the mass media swallowed it entirely either through stupidity, laziness or partisan venality)-- that corruption is bi-partisan. The problem with this corruption pandemic sweeping Washington is all about power and with power, particularly the power of the purse, firmly in the hands of the Republicans, virtually all the systematic bribes are going to the Republican Party, it's myriad offshoots (like the K Street Project and the Ohio GOP political machine), and, of course, first and foremost, it's self-entitled greedball members, from big players like Dr. Frist, Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, Conrad Burns, Jerry Lewis, Charles Taylor, Duncan Hunter, John Doolittle, Katherine Harris, Denny Hastert, Roy Blunt, John Boehner to pathetic bottom feeders like "Duke" Cunningham, Virgil Goode, Rick Santorum, Richard Pombo, Tom Feeney, Marilyn Musgrave, etc.

But, primarily because the mass media buys into the Republicans' misleading "corruption is bi-partisan" defense, the general public barely knows anything about it. At most, some relatively astute citizens know about a "bad apple" or two like someone named Cunningham or someone named Abramoff or that DeLay fella down in Texas. But when it comes to their own representative? It's pathetic. Jerry Lewis, for example, is one of the dozen most corrupt scumbags prowling the corridors of power. He's from a relatively backward Southern California area, "the high desert," where he's got every lever of power sewn up and all the mass media in his pocket. Although he's on the verge of indictment for taking bribes from the same crooked contractors who were paying off Cunningham-- Lewis was the chairman; Cunningham was just small potatoes-- there is no primary challenge, no big-name, or even medium name, Democrat challenging him, no local media uproar... In fact there's barely a whisper of what he's been up to. The Democrat who is challenging him, Louie Contreras, is on his own, waging a brave, lonely battle with barely an acknowledgment from the DCCC that there's a race on.

And Lewis' constituents only know him as "our guy" and think he brings home the bacon. Meanwhile all the bacon's going into his own home and he's utterly sold out the district to Big Business interests. A 5 minute look at his voting record would convince virtually anyone that he is their mortal enemy, voting against everything they want from the government, particularly as relates to basics like health care.

This week's TIME Magazine has a story about Bush's very ethically-challenged Justice Department threatening that if Congress doesn't start policing itself, the Feds will step in and do it for 'em. (I'm sure they're all shaking in their boots-- not!) "A senior federal law enforcement official told TIME that the paralyzed and often lax House ethics committee has created a vacuum that prosecutors won't hesitate to fill. The House’s internal mechanism for keeping corruption in check is 'broken,' says the official."

After DeLay summarily fired Joel Hefly (R-CO), the Republican head of the non-partisan House Ethics Committee, for daring to allow the committee to criticize (mildly) his rampant Mafia-like regime, he inserted in his place "Doc" Hastings (R-WA), an extremely compromised Republican hack, with illicit connections to some of the worst of the DeLay/Abramoff scandals. Hastings promptly closed down the Ethics Committee, exactly what DeLay appointed him to do. So, for example, even after newspapers started writing about Randy "Duke" Cunningham's bribe-taking, no House investigation was launched and even after Cunningham was clearly headed for prison and it was as clear as day that he had been taking millions of dollars in bribes from Republican defense contractors he wasn't even removed from the super-sensitive Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and the Intelligence Committee, access to which he had made millions from.

Larceny and avarice are in the blood of many men and it's up to the voters to be a little discerning about who they entrust with the spending of their tax dollars. Are the Democrats automatically less corrupt than the Republicans? Not a chance. Rahm Emanuel, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, operates like a mirror image of Tom DeLay in terms of being a self-serving, ruthless and hysterically authoritarian. He hired one of his cronies, a corrupt corporate lobbyist to run the DCCC's finances. But he doesn't have the power to be nearly as bad as DeLay-- yet. Mark Taibbi, in a brilliant ROLLING STONE essay about the endemic corruption of the Republicans in Congress, end with a serious warning: "The Democrats, whose innocence in the crimes of the last five years to date corresponds exactly to their lack of opportunities for corruption, may now get a chance at the helm. But it won't take much exposure to cheap stunts like a beaming Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi signing a 'Declaration of Honest Leadership' before people begin to remember how much the other guys can suck, too. Bush haters are celebrating this week as old villains descend to the death chamber, but they should be careful what they wish for. Trusting Washington to fix itself is a whole new kind of torture."

Can we expect Washington do anything about corruption? Well, obviously not with leaders like DeLay, Blunt, Hastert and Boehner, all creatures whose very essence in based on power and corruption. And I would expect no less from Emanuel on the Democratic side of the aisle. Are there men and women of good will in Congress who actually do want to change the system enough to take away the corruption? I absolutely know there are. Take a look at this little QuickTime video of Ned Lamont where he talks about the #1 biggest problem in Congress. I don't think there is any legislation that will solve the problem of personal greed, avarice and lust, but public financing of campaigns will go a long way towards taking the constant frenzied money hunt out of day-to-day politics. That would be a step towards Washington "fixing" itself, a big one.

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At 5:08 AM, Blogger spazeboy said...

Do you suppose it's OK to link to those PoliticsTV videos on the Ned Lamont Resource?

At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all have heard of Organized Crime, but Mr Cunningham took that to a whole new level during his stint as BribeMeister of the Congress.

He actually had a Menu which showed ala carte prices for different kinds of bribes!

You gotta love such effrontery.

Combined, of course, with such incredible stupidity. Do these people really think that they are entitled to go to Washington to pillage and plunder? That they are above the law?

Brian Ross of ABC News reported on February 27, 2006:

“The sentencing memorandum includes the California Republican's "bribery menu" on one of his congressional note cards, "starkly framed" under the seal of the United States Congress. The card shows an escalating scale for bribes, starting at $140,000 and a luxury yacht for a $16 million Defense Department contract. Each additional $1 million in contract value required a $50,000 bribe. The rate dropped to $25,000 per additional million once the contract went above $20 million.”

Can’t wait for more Entitled Politicians to get their dues!

At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am becoming increasingly concerned about the biggest ever threat to our Republic, that from Islamo-Fascists. They cannot win militarily, yet are beating America politically with the one weakness which may mean an end to our freedoms: MONEY.
There is increasing evidence that bribes are being paid to politicians and journalists in the form of campaign contributions, cash payoffs, overseas bank accounts, etc. totaling in the 100's of $Millions. In exchange, recipients are doing everything possible to MAKE AMERICA LOSE in Iraq.
Consider the following:
1. Democrats were elected 2006 on a moderate platform including Minimum Wage, Ethical Integrity, etc.
2. Not one piece of legislation has been enacted by this worst ever "Do Nothing" Congress, notably not one honoring their campaign promises.
3. Instead, the vast majority of time of this Congress is taken up by useless debate to end the War.
4. The Democrats are Cowards, by their own admission: Carl Levin admitted they will not have a vote or even debate on directly cutting funding, because they are AFRAID it will give the President a victory. Democrats' biggest fear is that AMERICA WILL WIN (what 59% of Americans want) It will mean an end to their control of Congress and the White House for decades.
5. Every morning, Democrats receive talking points and marching orders from the Fascist contributors: MoveOn, Daily Kos etc. who brag about having "Bought and paid for" the Democrats in the last election. The best way to hide Treason (see Constitution, Article 3, Section 3) is out in the open, under the guise of Free Speech.

This is not government of the People. It is government of the Fascists, by the Bribes, for the Money. For the first time in history, a country, America, is financing both sides of a war, through the redirected cash paid for oil.
Daily I hear the identical talking points (isn't any neo-Fascist smart enough to write her own speech?), propaganda and misinformation from several Democrats to wave the white flag, retreat, surrender, and make America lose.


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