• No Sweat
  • Monday, November 20, 2006

    The Worst Republican Corruption

    Generally I highlight Republican Corruption one individual politician at a time, allowing the sheer number of individually corrupt Republican politicians send the message that the Party itself is corrupt. But there is an even more systematic corruption in the Republican Party where cronies and corporations with close links to the Bush administration get such favoritism that the nation gets sacrificed for greed. I have touched on this when I discuss the Halliburton link, and when I discussed the dire consequences of the Bush administration's cronyism when discussing the aftermath of Katrina.

    There is a Daily Kos article that goes into considerable detail regarding the systemic corruption that has infested today's Republican Party and which fully justifies my frequent use of the term "Halliburton Republican" when referring to today's Republican Party. Even as Bush is asking for a record amount of money to conduct his war based on lies and without an exit strategy, we have to remember (and publicize) the almost complete lack of accountability of the Bush Administration and it's corporate cronies.

    The key points are from the government's General Accounting Office:

    After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the President announced a Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), requiring the collective instruments of the entire federal government to counter the threat of terrorism. Ongoing military and diplomatic operations overseas, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, constitute a key part of GWOT...

    Since 2001, Congress has appropriated about $430 billion to DOD and other government agencies for military and diplomatic efforts in support of GWOT. This funding has been provided through regular appropriations as well as supplemental appropriations, which are provided outside of the normal budget process. Since September 2001, DOD has received about $386 billion for GWOT military operations. In addition, agencies including the Department of State, DOD, and the Agency for International Development have received since 2001 about $44 billion to fund reconstruction and stabilization programs in Iraq ($34.5 billion) and Afghanistan ($9 billion) and an additional $400 million to be used in both Iraq and Afghanistan..."

    This is what it is costing us in dollars. Let's also remember the blood that has been shed. And let's also remember that Bush has, in essence, declared this war the "Forever War." But where has all this money gone? Even the General Accounting Office seems usure of that:

    Since 2001, U.S. government agencies have reported significant costs associated with GWOT, but GAO has concerns with the reliability of DOD's reported cost data. Through April 2006, DOD has reported about $273 billion in incremental costs for GWOT-related operations overseas--costs that would not otherwise have been incurred...GAO's prior work found numerous problems with DOD's processes for recording and reporting GWOT costs, including long-standing deficiencies in DOD's financial management systems and business processes, the use of estimates instead of actual cost data, and the lack of adequate supporting documentation. As a result, neither DOD nor the Congress reliably know how much the war is costing and how appropriated funds are being used or have historical data useful in considering future funding needs.

    We are pouring money down this pit and losing the lives of our soldiers for what? We already know that some companies, like Halliburton, have over-charged the government for services poorly rendered.We already know that other companies involved, like Exxon/Mobil, make record profits even while consumers are over-charged and workers underpaid. And, of course, Robert Greenwald's film "Iraq for Sale" outlines the whole Repubican war profiteering scam. The basic message is we are being asked to foot the bill despite seeing no adequate accounting and no positive results. It is another example of the way Republicans have forgotten Eisenhaur's message about the dangers of a military-industrial complex and how, since at least Reagan, we have seen complete fiscal irresponsibility under Republican administrations, leading to record deficits with poor accounting.

    I call on the Democrats to demand, before a single penny more is allocated to Bush's wars, a.) accountability in and auditing of the war and the "rebuilding" of Iraq and Afghanistan; b.) restoration of veteran's benefits; c.) an increase in combat pay for our soldiers; and d.) a genuine exit strategy outlining the specifics of under what conditions Bush would agree to a withdrawal. Not one penny more should go down the maw of this insatiable beast that is Bush's military-industrial-evangelical complex. Write Congress and the media telling them what you think.

    Monday, November 13, 2006

    Republican Corruption in Ohio: GUILTY VERDICT!

    I have been focusing on Republican Corruption in Ohio more than in pretty much any other state because corruption in the Ohio Republican Party is about as bad as it gets. Well, the corrupt Ohio Republicans are finally being hit with some consequences. GOP-fundraiser Tom Noe, at the center of the "coingate" scandal, has just been found guilty on 18 counts of forgery, one count of corruption, four counts of money laundering, four counts of tampering and two counts of theft, for a total of 29 counts. First Abramoff lands his sorry ass in jail, now Noe.

    From WTOL-Toledo:

    The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation gave Noe $25 million in 1998 to invest in rare coins, followed by another $25 million in 2001. At the same time, he began his rise to prominence in state politics.

    Prosecutors accused Noe, 52, of spending money from the coin fund on his business, his home in the Florida Keys and other luxury items. They did not say whether he used the money to make campaign contributions to Republicans, including President Bush.

    And here are the consequences slapping Noe in the face:

    Noe, a politically connected coin dealer, was accused of stealing at least $2 million from the unorthodox $50 million investment. Noe also was found guilty of corrupt activity, money laundering, forgery and tampering with evidence. He was acquitted of some money laundering and tampering counts that were among the 40 he faced.

    The corrupt activity charge, the most serious one, carries a mandatory 10-year sentence because he was convicted on some of the other charges.

    The trial put a spotlight on the embarrassing scandal for Republicans in the weeks leading up to the election last week. Voters fed up with government corruption scandals broke the GOP's 12-year lock on state government, electing Democrats to the governor's office, a U.S. Senate seat and three of four other key statewide offices.

    Among those tied to Noe are Republican Gov. of Ohio, Taft, who has been charged with four criminal misdemeanors for failure to disclose golf outings paid for by lobbyists, as well as some undisclosed gifts including some from Noe. Taft and other state Republicans also tried to cover up for Noe once certain "losses" of coins leaked out. Also implicated in Noe's "coingate" scandal are Republican lobbyist Brian Hicks, and his assistant, Cherie Carroll, who were convicted of ethics violations in connection with the Coingate scandal.

    Fighting Corruption: A Chance to Show the Republicans How it's Done

    Some time back I discussed a relatively rare case of blatant corruption withing the Democratic Party. Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana was basically caught red-handed taking a bribe. You can read more about Jefferson's Republican-level corruption here.

    But one key contrast I draw between Republican Corruption and Democratic corruption, other than the fact that Republican Corruption is much more widespread, is that Democrats actually fight against their own corrupt members while Republicans just cover it up like the did for six years after finding out that Republican Congressman Foley was a sexual predator. To emphasize this difference, I want to highlight the DEMOCRATIC led effort to oust Congressman Jefferson.

    Democrat Karen Carter is running against corrupt Democrat William Jefferson and their battle has gone to a run-off. Here is our chance to show Republicans how to handle corruption. Rather than re-elect corrupt politicians the way Missouri Republicans did with Congressman Blunt and New York Republicans did with Congressman Fossella, we need to vote corrupt Congressman Jefferson out of office.

    I urge you to donate to Karen Carter's honorable efforts to defeat the corrupt William Jefferson. Because it is the right thing to do!

    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    Republican Corruption: Wife Beating Republican in New York

    Awhile back I wrote about a Pennsylvania Republican Congressman, Don Sherwood, who tried to strangle his mistress when the mistress escaped, locked herself in Sherwood's bathroom and called 911 for help. This very public example of assault and battery on Sherwood's part did not prevent Bush from eagerly campaiging on Sherwood's behalf, thus showing that Republican morality apparently includes beating women.

    To further bolster this proof that Republicans consider beating women moral, police reports are now leaking out that New York Republican Congressman and public drunkard John Sweeny, not only beat his first wife, but now beats his second wife. This is from Michael Bouldin of Daily Gotham:

    The Albany Times-Union reported late yesterday that a newly obtained police report shows that police responded to a 9/11 call issuing from the residence of republican Congressman John Sweeney (read the report here). The call was made by Sweeney's present wife while in a state of intoxication; the reason given was that he was 'knocking her around'. This is the Congressman's second marriage; the first ended amid allegations of similar incidents.

    Of course, as we noted some time ago, wife beating isn't the only pathology Sweeney seems intent to make a subject of dinner table conversation: there's also the drinking and the extremism and his ranking among the twenty most corrupt Members of Congress.

    Notably, the Times-Union has been trying to get this report since the violence happened in December; however, the state police refused to release them, referring all inquiries 'to headquarters'. The state police reports to republican governor George Pataki. You do the math.

    THIS is Republican values at work right here. Corruption and beating women. Sweeney and Sherwood are both well loved by Bush and the Republican Congressional leadership and very few Republican politicians have even criticized either of them for beating women. One exception is that the Republican candidate for Congress in the NY-21 district has endorsed Sweeney's Democratic opponent, Kirsten Gillibrand, showing that at least some Republicans still have values. By contrast, NY Governor Pataki seems to have helped COVER UP the police reports, thus putting him in the same category as Hastert and Reynolds who covered up for the sexual predator, Republican Congressman Foley, for six years. Not only do Republicans tolerate sexual predators and wife beaters, but they actively cover up for them!

    You can fight Republican abuse of women by supporting Chris Carney (Lieutenant Commander in the United States Naval Reserve, served multiple tours overseas and was activated for operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle and he has served as Senior Terrorism and Intelligence Advisor at the Pentagon) against Sherwood and supporting Kirsten Gillibrand (Special Counsel to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during Clinton's Presidency) against Sweeney. Both races are, despite the abusiveness of the Republican candidates.