September 30, 2005

Right-Wing Week In Review

As I was pondering my topic for this week’s article, I kept my eyes and ears open around the news as I usually do, and came to the conclusion that I could simply do a week-in-review and highlight the corruption & incompetence of the Bush Administration, the Republicans in Congress, and the right-wing religious ideologues. So here’s my roundup of this week’s events.

Bill Frist Pulls A Martha Stewart

Dr. Frist gets my vote as most corrupt politician for the week. Of course selling stock just before it tanks because you have inside information is nothing new. Sure, it’s illegal (just ask Martha Stewart), but I have no doubt that it’s done all the time.

But this particular scandal is different. Regardless of whether or not Bill Frist was privy to inside information (think about it – his father and brother formed the corporation), there’s a special twist to this story. The investments were being held in what is called a ‘Blind Trust’. For the uninitiated, a ‘Blind Trust’ is a special kind of investment portfolio specifically for politicians who might otherwise be in position to legislate to the betterment of the industry and/or companies with which they hold investments. The whole intention is to control the appearance/perception of a conflict of interest. Not only was Frist apparently privy to inside information, but the so-called ‘Blind Trust’ wasn’t exactly blind as he was both receiving updates and directing the trustees to make specific trades.

Ladies & gentlemen - this is the epitome of corruption. It’s all about wielding power for profit. The Republicans do that well. And to think, this guy is thinking of running for president in ’08. Then again, insider trading doesn’t disqualify you from being president. Just ask George W. Bush about his sale of Harken Energy stock just before that stock tanked. Of course Dubya wasn’t held accountable on that scandal. Why? Because daddy was president!

Tom Delay Indicted

It’s about time this scumbag came to justice. One of the most corrupt politicians still in office, Tom Delay has come to symbolize the reason I loathe Republicans. He squeezed hundreds of thousands of dollars from outside corporate interests to finance his re-districting scheme in Texas which took house seats away from Democrats and handed them to Republicans.

This isn’t the first time Mr. Delay has been in trouble in Congress. He’s been admonished three times by the House Ethics Committee for slimy kickbacks from lobbyists for lavish vacations. He tried to change the rules in Congress to keep his position as House Leader even after being indicted, but that scheme kicked back as the rest of the House didn’t want to be associated with his corruption. Now Tom Delay has stepped aside from his House Majority Leader role and will fight his case. He’ll probably win his case since the Republicans control Congress & the Supreme Court, but as long as he keeps Republican corruption in the news, I’m okay with that. Maybe it’ll make a difference in 2006.

The War on Porn

I guess the FBI has too much time on their hands. And since idle hands are the devil’s tools, George (and I’m sure his religious, right-wingnuts) had to give them something constructive to do. We don’t need them to investigate scandals, keep our country safe, or bring dangerous criminals to justice. We need them to police the country for pornography!

Yes, I’ll rest comfortably knowing the country is safe from nudie pictures.

Lyndie England Convicted

This week we’re once again reminded how those in the Bush Administration step on people as they grab power. The atrocities at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq are a symbol of Bush’s arrogance and one of many catalysts for the rest of the world to hate us (if they didn’t hate us enough already).

Lyndie England was one peon, amongst many, who participated in the mistreatment of the prisoners in this particular prison. Her face came to symbolize the prisoner abuse scandal as she posed for pictures in the act. However, the abuse of prisoners was not an isolated incident that only happened at Abu Ghraib. It was a systemic strategy of mistreating & torturing prisoners in Bush’s war on Muslims…. er… s’cuse me… War on Terror. It had to have originated right from the top because we saw the same patterns of abuse at other prisons.

The person who wrote the book on forgoing the Geneva Convention and opening the door to prisoner abuse was Alberto Gonzalez. Was HE punished for an illegal & immoral strategy of abusing prisoners and inciting worldwide hatred? Noooooo…. He was promoted, of course.

Hurricane Katrina Hearings

This natural disaster reminded us of several facets of corruption in the Bush Administration. Not only is our country far from being protected in the event of an emergency (with billions of dollars spent on homeland security and not much to show for it), and not only has Bush filled critical roles in government with loyalists instead of qualified people, but once again we saw a Bush crony not accepting responsibility for his own incompetence as Michael Brown went before the senate committee and blamed everyone except himself for the poor preparation and response in the early days of the catastrophe.

By the way, we also saw how the Republicans refused to have an independent investigation on the Katrina disaster. Instead, they would rather investigate themselves. Sure, that’ll work.

Geena For President

This week saw the premiere of a new show on ABC (Tuesday nights @ 9:00pm EST) called “Commander In Chief”. There was no secret about the premise of the plot – a woman (played by Geena Davis), who was Vice President, becomes President of the United States after the president dies. Conservatives cried foul because they think it’s a liberal conspiracy to pave the way for Hillary in ’08. And what if it is?

I’ve long since thought that our country would do well with a woman in the Oval Office. First of all, no one could screw things up any worse then George W. Bush already has. But I think a woman as the leader of our country might bring real compassion to the office; as opposed to the ‘compassionate conservative’ lie that Bush used as empty rhetoric.

We should have a leader who ISN’T hell-bent on wielding power and making his/her cronies wealthier. We should have a leader who DOESN’T speak out of testosterone and think with his penis. We should have a leader who is brilliant, intellectual, curious, compassionate, forward-thinking, sensitive, and overall decides what’s best for the country and the people, instead of what’s best for big business and religious, evangelical zealots.

What I didn’t know about this show until I finally watched the first episode is that she’s also an Independent. I immediately thought – “What a great idea!” Not only is the new President a woman, but she’s also NOT a partisan crony. In fact, she’s a Washington outsider. How better to bring the country together!

I wouldn’t be surprised if the balance of the series is all about her battling stereotypical bigotries, but for right now I’m simply tickled with the creativity of the concept. I just hope the show has her governing with sensibility, heart, and passion, instead of back scratching, paybacks, and cronyism. We have enough of that in our real government.


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