• No Sweat
  • Sunday, May 28, 2006


    Why does the conviction of Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling matter so much? Because it is a blow to the Culture of Corruption that is so much a part of the Bush Administration. Halliburton Repubclians like Tom DeLay and Roy Blunt and Randy Cunningham (now in jail) think that they and the giant corporations that back them are above the law. Enron was one of those corporations with deep connections to Bush and the Halliburton Republicans and the conviction of their top executives hits very close to home for the neo-cons in the Republican party. From

    Ken Lay was George Bush's number one financial backer. During the 2000 election campaign, Bush frequently flew on Enron corporate jets. Bush's first cabinet included a former Enron executive, Thomas White, as Army Secretary, and two former Enron advisers, Lawrence Lindsey (Bush's first chief economic adviser) and Robert Zoellick (Bush's first United States Trade Representative).

    Vice President Dick Cheney met numerous times with Ken Lay to discuss energy policy. Lay was instrumental in the hiring of his hand-picked Texas buddy Pat Wood as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Lay's influence likely led to the Bush administration's do-nothing stance on the California electricity crisis. Do we even need to mention Wendy Gramm, the wife of Texas Senator Phil Gramm (R) and chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission? Just five weeks after a ruling in which she exempted Enron from certain forms of federal regulation that could have cost the company a great deal of money, she quit and joined Enron's board.

    Let's keep the Bush administration in perspective. Some of the best friends of the Bush family are relatives of Osama bin Laden. Some of Bush's closest economic advisors are Enron execs who are guilty of corruption or are Halliburton execs who get no-bid contracts from the Federal government no matter how much they overcharge the taxpayers. Bush, Cheney and many of today's Congressional Republicans are corrupt as hell and the downfall of Enron may be the closest hit they've taken since the Abramoff-Republican scandal.

    Republicans Covering Their Corrupt Tracks

    What happened to freedom of the press? You know, that FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT, written by James Madison, intended to ensure that America had a free, independent press that can help keep government honest. It is the job of the press to expose government corruption. And yet, the United States Congress is considering a law that would imprison journalists who publish stories containing information which the Bush administration wants to hide from the public. At a House Intelligence Committee hearing, several anti-Constitution Republicans expressly urged that our country start throwing reporters in jail: (from the May 27th NY Times):

    Some Republicans on the committee advocated the criminal prosecution of The Times. Their comments partly echoed and partly amplified recent statements by
    Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales that the Justice Department had the authority to prosecute reporters for publishing classified information. . . .

    "I believe the attorney general and the president should use all of the power of existing law to bring criminal charges," said Representative Rick Renzi, Republican of Arizona.

    The Bush administration wants to hide it's corruption and cronyism under the carpet and the corrupt Republicans in Congress want to help him do it. By contrast, Democrats want to protect the First Amendment rights of journalists and prevent the Federal government from hiding things from the public that foots the bill. From the same NY Times article:

    "If anyone here wants to imprison journalists," Ms. Harman said, "I invite them to spend some time in China, Cuba or North Korea and see whether they feel safer."

    TRUE Conservatives, who I don't always agree with, fully recognize the anti-American nature of the Republican attacks on our Constitution. In the National Review Jonathan Adler wrote something that could come right from my own pages, despite the fact that we come from different political philosophies:

    The Founding Fathers understood that a free and independent press is critical to self-governance and to the constitutional order they established. The Constitution states that Congress “shall make no law” abridging the freedom of the press. This mandate is clear and unmistakable. The press should be free to publish news reports without fear that Congress will criminalize those publications.

    Liberals, True Conservatives and Congressional Democrats agree: Bush and the corrupt Republicans in Congress are dead wrong on this issue. Protect America's freedoms! The Federal government cannot and should note be able to declare anything it wants "classified" and imprison anyone who writes about it. That is dictatorship. That is the kind of thing that America USED to fight against. In fact that is the kind of thing REPUBLICANS used to fight against. But not under Bush. Under Bush, DeLay, Ney and the rest of the Halliburton Republicans, the Federal government has usurped the right to control all information, control the press, and to silence dissent.

    And THAT, my friend, is anti-American.

    Thursday, May 25, 2006

    Fighting the few corrupt Democrats while we fight the Corrupt Republicans

    I have been harping against Republican corruption for a couple of years now. The Republican culture of corruption is deep rooted, disgusting and widespread, spanning from John Seweeny in NY, to Katherine Harris in Florida, to the now imprisoned Randy Cunningham in California and is most concentrated in the states of Ohio, Missouri and Kentucky. And when one of their most corrupt members, Tom DeLay, resigns, he is replaced by an almost equally corrupt Republican. And that isn’t even counting their immoral sex scandals! The names of Cunningham, DeLay, Ney, Blunt (father and son), Taft and many others have become synonyms for blatant and immoral corruption.

    And I have written how although Democrats can be corrupt, we are different because we are more likely to fight against corruption in our own ranks. I have used my own local Brooklyn Democratic Party as an example of both the corruption and the fight against corruption within the Democratic Party.

    Along these lines I want to comment on a recent scandal—the corruption of Louisiana Democrat William Jefferson.

    First off, the man deserves a fair trial. But he got caught about as red-handed as Republican Randy Cunningham did taking bribes. Republicans defend their corruption. I do not defend corrupt Democrats. Corruption is corruption and even though I know the attack on Rep. Jefferson is partly politically motivated, and possibly even partly racially motivated, Jefferson was caught. Just as I called for the resignation or ousting of corrupt Republicans like Tom DeLay, Matt Blunt, Roy Blunt, Randy Cunningham, John Sweeney and the rest, I call for the resignation or ousting of William Jefferson. Let him stand trial and if exonerated let him return to politics. But if we are to fight the Republican culture of corruption we have to make sure we also recognize corruption in our own ranks when it occurs, and fight it with equal determination as we fight Republican corruption.

    Oust the Blunts. Oust Ney. Oust Taft. Oust Sweeny. And, yes, oust William Jefferson.