Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Intoxication of Power, Smell of Corruption

When the GOP began it's "Contract with America" and Newt Gingrich brought the Republican Party into control of congress, there was great hope for conservative believers. Gingrich eventually stepped away from power because of improprieties.
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Unfortunately the smell of success and power was too much for many lawmakers and they began acting like Liberals, as if that would help keep them in power. Almost twelve years later the "Contract with America" looks more like paper used to start a fire and we smell the pork burning.
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Republican power, in the name of conservative movements is not situated only in the beltway of Washington D.C. It resides in many places and smells like the old political machines of Richard J. Daley and Chicago Democrats. Patronage is the common term used in the districts of the Windy City. Buy a raffle ticket, get your sidewalk cleaned of snow. Want better services, please donate to the "cause."
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Corrupt politicians have reached Governor mansions in Illinois twice consecutively and the Buckeye state currently. One Democrat, one Republican. Former Governor George Ryan (R-IL) was indicted in late 2003, on federal charges of taking payoffs in return for government contracts and leases while Illinois secretary of state. He was the 66th person indicted in this investigation so far -- but, according to the prosecutors, he won't be the last.
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Federal investigators interviewed current governor Blagojevich (IL), who ran as a reformer, late last year after his father-in-law, Chicago alderman Richard F. Mell, alleged that the governor's office was swapping political appointments for campaign donations. Mell recanted the allegation, but federal authorities are still looking into it and other matters. These are only allegations but the flip-flop is curious.
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This brings us to Ohio, where Republicans, in complete control of the state legislature since 1994, have more than spent their political capital along with taxpayer funds.
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Toledo coin dealer and Republican fundraiser Tom Noe has provided us with the "coingate" scandal. Mr. Noe obtained several contracts totaling some $50 million to pursue investment opportunities for the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation. This is using taxpayer funds for investment speculation. Mr. Noe allegedly began laundering campaign contributions to state and federal candidates. In February Mr. Noe was indicted on 53 felony counts and faces a mandatory 10-year prison term if convicted of corruption. At this point $10 million to $12 million remains unaccounted for.
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Former Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder, has political fundraisers and consultants currently under criminal investigation for various charges involving possible campaign and fundraising irregularities. A memo charging Mr. Householder and his top political aids with bribery, kickbacks and tax and mail fraud was sent to the U.S. Attorney's Office by Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.
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Ohio Gov. Bob Taft (R) pleaded no contest to charges that he violated state ethics laws, becoming the first governor in the state's history convicted of a crime on four misdemeanor counts for failing to report 52 golf outings, dinners and other entertainment gifts. He was fined $4,000, the maximum. Taft publicly apologized but his ego would not allow him to resign.
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When politicians get into bed with the Jack Abramoff's of the world to gain power, the public loses and loses big. Opportunity has knocked over and over for Republicans. When they opened the door corruption entered. Indictments and allegations are certainly not affirmations of guilt. However, when you swim with the sharks, you may be eaten alive.
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It's to bad the intoxication of power results in allowing the conservative base to swim with the fish also! Political capital, provided by the voters, has been misspent, along with our money. Corruption is not an option and allowing Democrats a free pass to election success is a disgrace.

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