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Trickle Down Corruption As Far As the Eye Can See

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Rob's Note: With John on travel, I decided to complete a piece that I've been working on for a bit. Long reading for a holiday Friday, but should give you something to chew on this Veterans Day weekend. Nothing better than utter government corruption to remind everyone why our Veterans fought and died.

You know, oftentimes one can be tempted to use hyperbole to challenge one's opponents. Take this sentence for example:

The corrupt cronyism of the Republican Party is utter and complete, encompassing the Executive Branch and both branches of Congress.
Now, you might read that and think, oh, that's just a bit excessive, I'm sure that there are good people in the Republican party. Even if I disagree with their methodology, they are trying their best.

This time it's different. This time it's far worse than anything we've seen in quite a while. You judge people in life on the company they keep -- who people choose to associate with tells you a lot about them. In politics, judge people on the leaders that they choose to follow -- the example set by political leadership sets a tone and an agenda.

So let's summarize where we are today. In the Executive branch, Karl Rove is STILL in charge. In any other White House (other than Nixon), Karl Rove would have been long fired for his ties to the Plame investigation where he sacrificed national security at a time of war because his petulant side needed to be fed. This is the man that the President wants his administration follow? What Bush tells the rest of the administration and the public as a whole by keeping Rove in charge is really simple: the rules don't apply to me.

As that attitude trickles down throughout the administration, we find that something like lying to investigators becomes de rigueur. From an old, but good article from Bloomberg:
The widening investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff is moving beyond the confines of tawdry influence-peddling to threaten leading figures in the Republican hierarchy that dominates Washington.

This week's arrest of David Safavian, the former head of procurement at the Office of Management and Budget, in connection with a land deal involving Abramoff brings the probe to the White House for the first time.

Safavian once worked with Abramoff at one lobbying firm and was a partner of Grover Norquist, a national Republican strategist with close ties to the White House, at another. Safavian traveled to Scotland in 2002 with Abramoff, Representative Robert Ney of Ohio and another top Republican organizer, Ralph Reed, southeast regional head of President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign.
You lie to an investigator when telling the truth would be so much worse and you're terrified of what will happen if you do speak the truth. Well, the lead gives you a good sense of what might happen next - "threaten leading figures in the Republican hierarchy that dominates Washington". That's right, it's the entire Party. Mind you, this article is from Bloomberg, a BUSINESS wire service. When the business community is walking away from you, you know the stench is getting bad.

Down the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, we have the Republican Congress. In the House, the exterminator, Majority Leader Tom Delay, has led quite an infestation of corruption. A reminder from the Washington Post:
A grand jury in Texas indicted yesterday a state political action committee organized by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) for accepting $120,000 in allegedly illegal corporate campaign contributions shortly before and after the 2002 elections that helped Republicans cement their control of the House of Representatives.
As the culture of corruption trickles down in the House, we find Bob Ney (self-proclaimed 11th most powerful Congressman), doing things like this:
Ney, 51, in 2002 agreed to insert language in federal legislation to allow an Abramoff client, the Tigua Indians of El Paso, Texas, to reopen a casino closed by state authorities. The provision didn't make it into the final measure.

In 2000, Ney placed two statements in the Congressional Record in support of Abramoff's purchase of SunCruz Casino Ltd., a casino ship company. Abramoff was indicted by a federal grand jury in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in August on wire fraud charges in connection with the purchase.
What is a Congressman from Ohio doing using the Congressional Record to support some casino deal in Florida?
Abramoff also has a relationship with Ney, the Ohio congressman. Ney's former chief of staff, Neil Volz, worked with Abramoff at the Miami-based law firm of Greenberg Traurig LLP.
Ah yes, there's the money shot - pun intended. (Both quotes from the Bloomberg article.) Actions like this lead us to the inevitable subpoena, of course. From Gannett:
Rep. Bob Ney said Friday that he has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Justice Department to hand over documents related to the government's investigation of indicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
I'm smelling some serious rot over on the House side of Capitol Hill. Let's check out the Senate, maybe the air will be cleaner? From The Hill:
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Justice Department are both investigating Frist's June 13 instruction to Scobey to sell off all HCA holdings in his qualified blind trusts, including the GST-exempt trust. Two weeks after the sale was completed, HCA released a negative earnings report that sank its share price.
Ah yes, the very top of the heap in the Senate under investigation for a not-so-blind trust.

What does this trickle down corruption mean to you and me? Well, first off it shows you that Republicans go to Washington not to make America a better place, but to enrich themselves and their cronies. That attitude leads to things like the war in Iraq, the gross incompetence of FEMA, and a budget deficit that you and I will be paying for the rest of our lives. Unlike these Republicans and their extra-curricular income earning potential, we'll be paying the bill.

More importantly, what it means is that our country is being run right now by a group of people who, literally, don't care about you and me. They don't believe in any particular philosophy - tax cuts and the like are really only about making themselves and their friends richer. It's got nothing to do with you and me. The biggest proponent of tax cuts is Grover Norquist, who we can see from above is really only about getting richer himself.

So they don't believe in anything other than self-enrichment. As a result, sending people off to war to die doesn't mean anything to them. Drowning poor grandmothers and children in New Orleans doesn't mean anything to them. If it doesn't put money in their pocket, it doesn't mean anything to them.

You and I, the American public, don't mean anything to them at all.

They don't care about us. They didn't care about those poor dying people in New Orleans. They don't care about the bodies coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. THEY JUST DON'T CARE.

The only time we mean anything to them is when we vote in elections. Shame on the American public if they don't see this foolishness and wake up after the 2006 elections with a new direction for our country.

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