June 13, 2006

Good Riddance, Tom Delay

"Tom Delay's name is synonymous with corruption in the Republican Congress."

As most of you are probably aware, Friday (June 9, 2006) was Tom Delay's last day in Congress.

Why was this Tom Delay's last day in Congress?

Because he resigned.

Why did Tom Delay resign?

Because he needs to use his campaign war-chest for his legal defense.

Why does Tom Delay need a legal defense?

Well, that's a good question. It's a long, long story, but I'll try to summarize so as not to bore the crap out of you...

Tom Delay's name is synonymous with corruption in the Republican Congress. His long and illustrious career of kickbacks, money-laundering, redistricting, and a multitude of unethical actions have finally caught up with him. Now he must face the music, and if we're just a little bit lucky, he'll end up with Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff, Scooter Libby, and many other inherently corrupt politicians & lobbyists - in prison. So, let’s take a brief look at why Tom Delay is one of the most corrupt politicians of the last two decades…

1) Illegal Redistricting. Tom Delay was instrumental in altering the boundaries of Congressional districts in Texas to the advantage of the Republican Party. He used his influence (you know, they call him “The Hammer”) to shove his redistricting schemes through the Texas legislature, even in an off-census year. By ‘gerrymandering’ large numbers of Republican voters from districts considered ‘strongholds’ to districts with weaker representation, he was able to turn more districts into Republican majorities, and hence send more Republicans to Congress and control The House of Representatives. This redistricting practice is equivilent to stuffing ballot boxes.

2) Money-Laundering. There is a law in the Texas state legislature that forbids campaign contributions from outside corporations. However, it permits financing from the Republican National Committee (RNC). So, Tom saw an opportunity to subvert the legal system and kill two birds with one stone. He arranged for out-of-state corporate campaign donations to go straight to the RNC, and then arranged for the RNC to donate that same amount to the Texas state political races.

3) Bribes, Kickbacks, & Paid-for Politics. Even if our system of government & democracy and all its checks-and-balances, were working ideally to evenly distribute the power and provide sufficient oversight, we’d still have the situation where our lawmakers are essentially governing themselves. That’s right, our legislature, which makes the laws we all must abide to, makes their own laws as well. That’s why they can vote themselves pay raises, and that’s why they can choose to accept campaign contributions from special interests.

And they have.

Time after time, over and over, they have chosen NOT to (truly) reform the campaign finance laws. Instead, they've chosen to accept gifts from lobbyists and perpetuate the cycle of corruption. Tom Delay’s association with Jack Abramoff is well documented. His lobbyist-paid-for vacations are well documented. And his resultant legislative initiatives are also well documented. It’s corruption, pure and simple, and don’t let them complicate the issue. He accepted gifts & money, and he returned political favors.

4) Hypocrisy. Of course, hypocrisy itself is not a crime. Politicians are constantly telling the public (and I suppose you could say parents have been telling their children) to “Do as I say, not as I do”. The scandal involving Saipan, the capital of the U.S. Territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, could easily have been added to my “Bribes, Kickbacks…” section, but I’ve chosen to include it under “Hypocrisy” because of what it represents. Sure, Tom accepted free vacations involving lavish accommodations & golfing in return for favorable legislation, but that’s only part of the story. It’s the nature of that ‘favorable legislation’ that will make you hurl.

Classified as a ‘U.S. territory’, clothing and products manufactured in the Mariana Islands are entitled to carry the “Made In U.S.A” label, as well as avoid import tarrifs & duties. However, US labor laws do not apply, and the labor practices that go on there are utterly stomach-wrenching. The terms 'sweat shops' and 'labor camps' don't even begin to describe the conditions, as accounts of forced abortions & sex slavery have emerged. While Tom Delay & Co. would profess religious fervor against American women's abortions, apparently they have no problem with Saipan women's abortions. That my friends is hypocrisy, and unfortunately, it's not even the worst part of this story... When certain Congressmen stepped in to extend the US labor laws and protections to the Mariana Islands to stop the human trafficking, sweat-shop conditions, & involuntary servitude, Tom Delay openly obstructed it.

There are so many, many more instances of back-door, back-room, back-stabbing, strong-armed, under-handed, sleazy, slimy, scummy, shadowy, dealings involving Tom Delay. If you want to learn more, and I certainly suggest that you do, simply Google “Tom Delay scandal” (finding results with ALL THREE WORDS) and you’ll get over 4.4m hits. Just imagine… you could start reading about Tom Delay’s scandals and never ever finish.

Good riddance Tom, and here's my advice for the next phase of your career... don't bend over in the shower.


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