• No Sweat
  • Thursday, December 29, 2005

    Corruption: Democrats and Republicans

    I have been hearing an increasing claim on the part of the Republicans that their own corruption is okay because Democrats do it too. Well, first of all, that is so cynical and amoral it is disgusting. I condemn Democratic corruption as well as Republican. The Republicans SHOULD be trying to weed out the corrupt Republicans, but instead they stand behind them NO MATTER WHAT! There is also a claim that the Abramhoff scandal in particular taints both parties. Well, that is not really true! This is from Truthout:

    US President George W. Bush calls indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff "an equal money dispenser" who helped politicians of both parties. Campaign donation records show Republicans were a lot more equal than Democrats. Between 2001 and 2004, Abramoff gave more than $127,000 to Republican candidates and committees and nothing to Democrats, federal records show. At the same time, his Indian clients were the only ones among the top 10 tribal donors in the US to donate more money to Republicans than Democrats...

    Scanlon, Abramoff's former partner, has pleaded guilty to attempted fraud and corruption of public officials and is cooperating with the Justice Department's investigation. His plea agreement refers to efforts to corrupt US lawmakers, including a "Representative No. 1," identified by lawyers in the case as Ohio Republican Robert Ney.

    The other names most frequently mentioned in connection with Abramoff are both Republicans: DeLay, a one-time friend who has cut off contact with the lobbyist, and Senator Conrad Burns of Montana. Burns, who is facing criticism in his home state for being the top recipient of Abramoff-related donations, said on Dec. 16 he planned to give back to the tribes about $150,000 in contributions from Abramoff, his associates and tribal clients.

    So the Abramhoff scandal is SOLIDLY a REPUBLICAN scandal. Any claims to the contrary are quite simply wrong.

    But Democrats CAN be corrupt. As I have written on this blog, my local Brooklyn Democratic Party machine is a prime example of corruption. But there is a difference, and I am not just making excuses. The Republicans seem to wallow in their corruption and cirlce the wagons around even their most corrupt members (e.g. DeLay, Ney, the Blunts...). In Brooklyn, the former corrupt head of the corrupt county committee was actually brought down by the DA (a fellow Democrat) and a judge (also a fellow Democrat). DEMOCRATS brought down the corrupt head of the DEMOCRATIC party in Brooklyn. Repubolicans don't do that! There is also a reform movement from within the party fighting the corrupt party bosses. I haven't seen that happening in the Republican party to the same degree. They seem much softer on corruption than Democrats. The simple fact of the matter is that BOTH parties can breed corruption, but Democrats are far less tolerant of corruption within their own party while Republicans actually DEFEND their most corrupt members as if they are PROUD of them. Republicans are more tolerant of corruption than Democrats are. That is the bottom line. So when Republicans claim that both parties are corrupt, make sure you point out how weak of a defense that is. That in NO WAY excuses Republican corruption, nor is it really true. Republican corruption is currently the norm, with the military complex and the Republican party engaged in a disgusting dance of corruption that is raping our nation as well as other nations. Democratic corruption is something that the Democratic party actively fights against. I only wish that Republicans were as anti-corruption as my fellow Democrats are.

    Saturday, December 10, 2005

    Sex for Jobs in Spokane Washington: a Conservative Mayor's Downfall

    I have not yet seen this in the American news, though that may partly be that I mostly don't watch/read American news. But there is a new scandal to hit the Republicans and this time it was the voters, angered by newspaper reporting on the scandal, who ousted the corrupt Conservative.

    The mayor of Spokane, Washington, was accused by the Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper of soliciting sex in exchange for offers of city jobs. He did this online using his city-owned computer. So he was not only doing something illegal, he was doing it stupidly as well.

    Excerpted from BBC:

    A mayor in the US state of Washington has been ousted after allegations that he wooed gay men over the internet by offering them city jobs.

    Conservative Mayor James West was recalled from his post in Spokane, the state's second-largest city, by voters in a special election...

    Spokane's daily newspaper, the Spokesman-Review, reported in May that Mr West had spent a great deal of time on gay websites using his city-owned computer.

    It quoted three young men who said they had been offered jobs by him during conversations in internet chat rooms.

    The newspaper hired a computer consultant to pose as an 18-year-old school boy. He reportedly discussed with Mr West a position on a city board and meeting up for sex.

    Mr West, who had been mayor for two years, admitted he had led a double life but denied he had done anything illegal.

    He adamantly denied offering anything in exchange for sex, and insisted he had "never done anything to harm our city"...

    Spokane recognized the corruption of their mayor and ousted him. I am assured that Spokane didn't just oust him because they dislike gays but rather because the found his corruption disgusting. Would that Conservatives across the nation held DeLay and Frist and Cheney as accountable as Spokane has held Mayor West. Personally I don't care if he had gay sex. But I do care if he is a conservative hypocrite, opposing gay rights even as he is gay himself. And I care if he is influence peddling, a crime that I do not consider acceptable even if the majority of the Republican party all the way up to the Bush and Dick running the nation thrive on it. Hypocricy and influence peddling are why I am glad this man was ousted. I don't think he should be ashamed of having gay sex but rather because he compromised his integrity by, allegedly, offering city favors in return. Yet he somehow refuses to pull a Cunningham and admit his mistake and face the music. Instead he plays a DeLay and whines about how he did nothing wrong even when caught red handed.

    Mayor West has consistently put forth a strongly anti-gay facade. From the Spokane Spokesman-Review:

    Spokane Mayor Jim West's votes on gay-rights and human-rights issues:

    # On Christmas Eve 1985, Gov. Booth Gardner signed an executive order banning discrimination in state hiring based on sexual orientation. West and 14 other Republicans responded by introducing a bill in January 1986 that would have barred gay men and lesbians from working in schools, day-care centers and some state agencies. The bill called for screening prospective employees for sexual orientation and firing state workers whose sexual identities became known. The bill failed.

    # Also in 1986, West voted to bar the state from distributing pamphlets telling people how to protect themselves from AIDS during sex.

    # West opposed gay rights bills introduced in 1985 and 1987...

    # In 1990, as part of a bill on AIDS education, West proposed that teen sex be criminalized. The bill, written by the abstinence group Teen Aid, would have made sexual contact a misdemeanor for unmarried teenagers under 18. Sexual contact was defined as "any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person" for sexual gratification.

    # West voted in 1998 for the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Gov. Gary Locke vetoed the bill, but the Legislature overrode his veto.

    # As Senate majority leader, West and other Republicans in 2003 bottled up the gay-rights bill in committee and it died.

    # As Spokane's incoming mayor in November 2003, West said he's opposed to extending City Hall benefits to domestic partners, citing the cost. In April 2005, the City Council approved domestic partner benefits in a 5-2 vote, enough to withstand a mayoral veto.

    How can this guy face himself. He is condemning and marginalizing the very practices he goes online to solicit. Hypocricy is a disgusting thing and is one of the main reasons why I consider the modern Republican party so much worse than the traditional Republican Party. The traditional Republicans I merely disagreed with. The modern, radical, hypocritical Republicans are absolutely disgusting. Mayor West is certainly guilty of hypocricy and misrepresenting himself to the public. It remains to be seen if he also broke the law, though it sure sounds like he did.

    I respect the fact that the media and people of Spokane are holding their mayor accountable. Similarly I respect the conservative San Diego media for taking down Cunningham. If only the corruption of the entire Republican party got a similar response from the media and voters nationally.

    Write your Congressional Representatives and Senators and hold up Spokane as an example of what voters should do to corrupt politicians. Demand that Congress begin an investigation into Congressional corruption and that they come out OPPOSED to the cronyism and corruption that is eating up the Republican Party.