Search This Blog

Thursday, December 18, 2008

corruption as a way of life

In view of the arrest of the Governor of Illinois and the ties which are showing to the incomoing Obama administration, I have to wonder if the new administration will bring back corruption as a way of life at the White House. Last time the Democrats were in charge, we were treated to scandal after scandal: Whitewater, Travelgate, selling of pardons, taking the white house furniture and, of course, Monica. All but the last of these involved money for the Clintons or their allies. They showed a clear lack of a moral compass in the Clinton administration. The Obama Administration has not yet even been sworn in, and there is already a scandal due to the repeated discussions of Rahm Emmanuel, the chief of staff, with the Illinois governor. During these conversations, the governor kept asking what he would be given in exchange for naming as senator Obama's replacement someone that Obama wanted. In other words, it was the old money money money scandal.

During the Bush administration, there were scandals. The purported Valerie Pflame scandal was the biggest -- it ended with Scooter Libby convicted and then his sentence commuted. It did not involve money at all, however. The issue was whether or not the administration violated the law by "outing" a purported CIA operative in order to discredit her husband's anti-war views. Of course, the conclusion was that she was outed by someone who clearly did so inadvertently and not to discredit her husband. Still, the key here was that no one ever claimed that self enrichment of any administration official or other republican was at issue. Another scandal was the firing of certain US Attorneys (who -- of course -- serve at the pleasure of the President and may be fired for any reason at any time.) Supposedly, these attorneys were fired for not going after certain issues the way Washington wanted. Again, this was not personal venality nor was there ever a charge that it was. So, the Bush scandals (to the extent that they had any basis in fact) were about disputes regarding policy and its implimentation. No one was even accused of acting for his own enrichment.

So now we come back to the Democrats. Charlie Rangel is under investigation for cheating on his taxes and granting tax law favors in exchange for millions of dollars. Congressman William Jefferson just lost his seat due to his receipt of funds which were alleged to be bribes in exchange for his vote. But the worst of all is the likelihood that the Obama administration is starting off with a heavy involvement in a pay for play scandal in Illinois.

Right now, the administration has authority on how to spend $700 billion in bail out money. There is no effective oversight here. Once the next Congress is in office, there will likely be even more money spent in this way. It is troubling to say the least to think of something like one trillion dollars passing through the control of the corrupt group that the Democrats will bring to power in Washington. How much will they steal? Let's hope it is not too much.

Monday, December 1, 2008

what next?

Let's see -- in the last month we have seen carnage in India met with incompetance, disaster on Wall Street met with socialism from Washington (with no advanced discussion of the merits of taking this course), election of a novice president, strengthening of the radical leadership of Congress, the rise of piracy to new heights, the near death experience of the auto industry with the anti-capitalist geniuses on Capitol Hill now put into a place of power to "reinvent" that industry (so as to be sure that it is never successful again), and a whole host of other tragedies.

One can only wonder what is next.