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Political Corruption On Steroids

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Message Stephen Crockett


Corruption and dirty politics is nothing new in America. However, the level and scope of dirty politics within the Republican Party at this point in American history seems to be unprecedented! It increasingly looks like the Republican leadership has become a kind of mafia-style criminal gang pretending to be a political party.


Both elections that put the Bush-Cheney ticket in the White House in 2000 and 2004 were questionable at best. Millions of votes were not counted. Millions of Americans were denied their voting rights. The Bush vs. Gore ruling by partisan Republican judges on the Supreme Court was blatantly unjust and stopped a legal statewide recount in Florida ordered by the Florida Supreme Court.


Republican statewide election officials misused their offices to tilt election outcomes to favor the Republican ticket. Republican judges provided legal cover. Corporate controlled media (therefore Republican controlled media since corrupt corporations are the dominant force behind Bush Republicanism) feed the public a much distorted view of the process by hiding the extent of the corrupted electoral process.


The Bush-Cheney White House was born in a corrupt process and remains to this day completely corrupted. The Republican Party was already deeply corrupt before 2000. The “get Clinton” movement that forced thru the trumped-up impeachment of President Bill Clinton clearly demonstrated the unethical and often illegal behavior of the national Republican leadership. The Republicans never accepted the reforms needed to purge political corruption after the Nixon scandals of Watergate.


It is unfortunate that President Ford pardoned Nixon. If Nixon had gone to jail, reformers would likely have won control of the Republican Party and the current situation been prevented. America needed to see Nixon tried and convicted. He was not the only source of Republican corruption. Americans often forget that some super wealthy citizens and corporations helped finance Nixon’s illegal political activities.


Many current Republican leaders cut their political teeth as part of the Nixon machine. It was no accident that some of the top players in the Iran-Contra scandal were part of the Nixon machine. Others from the Iran-Contra scandal are now players in the Bush-Cheney machine.


Iran-Contra was much more serious than the public generally realized. The White House knowingly and intentionally ignored the law to impose their illegal policies. The Reagan White House claimed nonexistent Presidential powers. The current White House routinely does the same. The main lesson that the Bush-Cheney seems to have learned from both Watergate and Iran-Contra is that the US Department of Justice and the federal courts must be politicized and corrupted for Republican politicians to get away with ignoring the rule of law.


The various corruption scandals involving powerful Republican members of Congress from Tom Delay to Duke Cunningham to all the Abramoff characters can be closely connected to the Republican culture of corruption resulting from this mindset. Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and George W Bush have criminalized the political mindset of the national Republican leadership. They all seem to believe that they are more powerful than the rule of law. They are routinely hiding illegal and shameful behavior under the veil of secrecy, claiming powers that would make them virtual dictators.


The political prosecution of Governor Siegelman in Alabama on trumped-up charges seems to be connected to the Abramoff scandal, Karl Rove and possible election fraud concerning the questionable defeat of Siegelman by now Republican Governor Riley. Many observers believe that massive, politically-motivated illegal activity was involved in pushing for the prosecution of the Democratic candidate, Siegelman.


The Alabama prosecution looks to be a blatant and successful attempt to destroy the career of a popular Democratic figure in Alabama. It reminds this writer of the Clinton impeachment effort. It also shows the importance of investigating the US Attorneys firing scandal. It is vital to our democracy to investigate and prosecute the politicization and corruption of law enforcement. I hope Congress investigates the Siegelman prosecution aggressively. The next Democratic President should pardon Siegelman.


Legal corruption and lying on political issues is bad enough. The recent vote and statements by Republican Senators on the Employee Free Choice Act were definitely unethical but not really illegal. Republican Senators blatantly lied that workers were being denied their voting rights by adopting card check unionization by a majority of workers. The card check system is just another kind of voting but not one easily subject to employer intimidation and manipulation. The current system is rigged against workers but Republicans simply lied about that fact with the notable exception of Senator Specter.


This kind of corruption demonstrated by all the other Republican Senators can just be dealt with at the polls. The kinds of corruption demonstrated, in the current White House abuses of office, calls for more aggressive tactics and punishment.


All aspects of corruption and abuse of office connected to the Bush-Cheney White House needs to be investigated including the Cheney Energy Task Force, White House involvement in the California electric price-gouging scandal, lying about WMD’s in Iraq, torture, secret prisons, wiretapping of American citizens without court orders, election manipulation, gutting civil rights enforcement, no-bid contracting and more. If needed, we should impeach federal judges whose rulings condone illegal behaviors or grant un-Constitutional powers to officeholders. America cannot tolerate corruption on steroids by any public officials!

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Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio and author of the Democratic Voices opinion column.
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