More (D) culture of Corruption

I didn’t realize how right Democratic leaders were about this culture of corruption thing in our congress. But what they forgot to say is that the most egregious perpetrators are in fact Democrats!

Imagine taking money from a terrorist group! An honest mistake? It’s so hard to tell since we know that Democrats believe that when they accept dirty money it actually becomes clean. You know, like turning water into wine.

WASHINGTON - Illinois congressman Danny Davis and an aide took a trip to Sri Lanka last year that was paid for by the Tamil Tigers, a group that the U.S. government has designated as a terrorist organization for its use of suicide bombers and child soldiers, law enforcement sources said. ~mercurynews.com
If there's anything more telling than the corruption and hypocrisy of Democrats it's the feigned innocence and pathetic denial of Democrats talking about a purely 'Republican' culture of corruption. But 'five-term Democratic congressman' Mr. Davis says he had no idea! Gasp!! Absolutely no idea at all that these funds could have come from the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist organization based in Sri Lanka.

Davis' seven-day trip came under new scrutiny this week following the arrests of 11 supporters of the organization on charges of participating in a broad conspiracy to support the terrorist group through money laundering, arms procurement and bribery of U.S. officials.

The five-term Democratic congressman said he was unaware that the Tigers paid for the trip and on his required congressional disclosure form he reported that the trip was paid for by a Hickory Hills, Ill.-based Tamil cultural organization, the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America. ~mercurynews.com

Who could have guessed that taking a trip to Sri Lanka funded by the Tamil Tigers 'cultural organization' could possibly mean taking money from a terrorist organization. Why, I might have made the same mistake myself if I were in 'five-term Democratic congressman' Mr. Davis's shoes. I'm not sure what I would have to ignore to be that oblivious, or how ignorant I would have to be about Sri Lanka and the terrorist group I would be taking money from, but certainly I could make the same mistake... or could I?

In this same article we also learn that the 'five-term Democratic congressman' Mr. Davis went on this trip and -- hullo? -- met with the leaders of this terrorist organization!
During the visit, Davis spent most of his time in a region controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, as the group is formally known, and visited the organization's political headquarters. He also met with a police chief for the region appointed by the Tigers.  ~mercurynews.com
Everybody makes mistakes, right?

Or perhaps this is all part of Bush's campaign of terror. Knowing that Democrats like 'five-term Democratic congressman' Mr. Davis would willingly support terrorists, Bush probably concocted the whole 9/11 attack in order to persecute the aforesaid 'five-term Democratic congressman' Mr. Davis. Who knows, anything is possible.

But didn't, "The five-term Democratic congressman," say, "he was unaware that the Tigers paid for the trip..."? But then later on in this article he's quoted as saying the following:

Davis said he always assumed that the organization had a connection with the Tamil Tigers.

"I knew that they were associated with the Tamil Tigers, yes," he said. ~mercurynews.com

Boy, I just don't know what to believe anymore.

Posted by Eric Simonson at August 26, 2006 12:45 PM
Comments
Comment #177597

That’s just the tip.
How many of our leaders are bought and paid for by interests outside our country? Gifts? Trips abroad?
How many lobbyists on the hill come from other nations?
Terrorist or not… our politicians should not be being wooed by outsiders.

Posted by: dawn at August 26, 2006 12:59 PM
Comment #177598

I agree Dawn.

It’s one thing to accept money from those who support your politics and like your policies but when the money is coming from groups in other countries who are trying to influence congress…

Posted by: eric simonson at August 26, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #177600

With the history of Republician corruption and Republicians great love of oil money, they have lost their ability to “throw stones” AT ANYONE!

Posted by: PlayNice at August 26, 2006 1:22 PM
Comment #177601

This guy Davis is about as bad as they get:

“At a 2004 congressional ‘Ambassadors for Peace’ reception where more than a dozen U.S. lawmakers were in attendance, Rev. Sun Myung Moon was crowned in what both church insiders and media commentators have called a ‘coronation ceremony.’

At the March 23 ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) wore white gloves and carried a pillow holding an ornate crown that was placed on Moon’s head. The Korean-born businessman and religious leader then delivered a long speech saying he was “sent to Earth … to save the world’s six billion people… . Emperors, kings and presidents … have declared to all Heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity’s Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent.”
wikipedia

Posted by: phx8 at August 26, 2006 1:25 PM
Comment #177603

Eric,

It’s as I have always said. When you point fingers…remember that there are three fingers pointing right back at you.

I would love to say that the Dems are being hypocritical, but the problem is NOT Republican or Democrat. The problem is across the board.

If the biblical proverb “For the love of money is the root of all evil” is true, then our Congress is pretty evil.

Yes, it is shocking that money or trips or whatever is paid for by terrorists organizations, but money from across the spectrum is being funneled into our elected representatives.

Yes, we have the best government that money can buy.

And whether the money comes from terrorists, foreign governments or home grown intrest groups, that money corrupts and subverts the very purpose of Congress…that being the fair and honest representation of “We the people”.

To say that the “Culture of Corruption” is a Rep or Dem problem is nothing more than partisan politics.

Dems…GUILTY!

REPS…GUILTY!

Posted by: Jim T at August 26, 2006 1:29 PM
Comment #177606

Both parties have their corrupt officials. The Dems had to give up on the culture of corruption line since so many of them were in on it. That is why we have not heard too much about that lately.

This case seems particularly egregious. As I understand it, someone like William Jefferson was just doing corruption the old fashioned way. This guy seems to have been doing things that serious harm our country’s security. The Tamil Tigers are among the world’s most bloodthirsty terrorists. All corrupt politicians should be punished, but this guy probably deserves an extra charge.

Posted by: Jack at August 26, 2006 1:44 PM
Comment #177607

Your correct Jim T but we continue to hear how the party in power is ‘more’ corrupt because they have the power.
It happens because we do not have a 3rd party that can break up this game that the 2 parties have been playing for ?how many decades??
If I were running for a party other the big 2 - that is the argument I would use to get a seat.

Posted by: dawn at August 26, 2006 1:47 PM
Comment #177611

Corruption is inherent in the design of our political system effecting both parties, yet whenever we try to get just a small part of the “root of all evil” out of the election process we are told it is a violation of the corporation and special interst groups first amendment rights.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 26, 2006 2:05 PM
Comment #177613

Jim T

You hit it right on the head, the problem is in both parties, in the system.

Eric

Can you possibly be any more disingenuous? You label Democrats as corrupt, the spend your entire post on one person. Then you go on to skew the facts. You say he says he was unaware the trip was paid for by the Tami Tigers then make it sound like he admits it was when he says that the group who did pay for it was associated with the Tigers.

Mr. Simonson, unlike other conservatives who post here(such as Jack), you have absolutley no credibility IMO.

Posted by: mark at August 26, 2006 2:10 PM
Comment #177616

So many pots calling so many kettles black!!

Plus, the U.S. calling someone a “terrorist group” is not necessarily based in reality…to many Iraqis and to Iran, I’m sure our troops overseas are considered “terrorists”!

Posted by: Lynne at August 26, 2006 2:17 PM
Comment #177618

Eric:

So here’s what you are saying: “Republicans are not so crooked; look, I found a Democrat that does the same thing.”

If you search hard enough you will find corruption anywhere. But with Republicans, there is no need to search. It has been coming to us in gushes in the last few years.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at August 26, 2006 2:38 PM
Comment #177620

Jim T
I agree both parties are corrupt. We can’t just single out one party. To bad there isn’t a third party, but then again they would probably be corrupted by the Washington DC set.

Posted by: KAP at August 26, 2006 2:42 PM
Comment #177621

Lynne

The Tamil Tigers are a terrorist group. It is because we Americans have a problem with them. In fact, it is essentially a local affair. But methods like the ones they use are an affront to all civilized people.

You are right that others may well consider us villians, but if our adversaries worked as hard to prevent civilian deaths from their activities, we would not have much in the world to call terrorism. All of those we call terrorist specifically target civilians. Consider the arch villian bin Laden. His attempts to actually fight Soviets in Afghanistan were an embarassment to him. What he is good at is killing people who not only do not fight back, but do not even know they are the targets of attack.

Posted by: Jack at August 26, 2006 2:43 PM
Comment #177623

SO let me understand this, Davis is corrupt because he is publicly supporting the minority group in Sri Lanka that wants political freedom from the majority in that country. The problem is due to the fact that the United States has determined that the Tamil tigers are not freedom fighters but instead they are terrorists because they use certain tatics associated with other terrorist groups. Were not the freedom fighters running Isreal today considered terrorist at one time?
This Davis has not taken any bribes to our knowledge, nor has he tried to hide the fact that he supports the minority in this conflict.

Why is this poltical corruption and not just questionable/bad judgement on the part of a political office holder? If the costs paid by this group was legal under todays laws and the only difference is who gave him the trip then it seems to be business as usual on the hill. Perhaps we should look at the rules our esteemed leaders in both parties live by.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 26, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #177626

I have an idea: Let’s make it illegal for any group or person to pay for trips or buy gifts for our politicians.

I shot a commercial for Va Tech the other week, and while taking a break for lunch, we stopped by Wendy’s and I started to pay for lunch… including the 2 ACC student athletes and their handler. (It’s just SOP for the Producer to buy lunch.) It was strictly forbiden, in fact I felt like I had attempted to break some law.

If it’s against the rules to buy a couple of college students a $6 lunch, how the hell can we accept groups or people with obvious agendas to pay for $6k trips for our elected officials.

Posted by: tony at August 26, 2006 3:21 PM
Comment #177627

“Knowing that Democrats like ‘five-term Democratic congressman’ Mr. Davis would willingly support terrorists.”

Can you please prove this?

Posted by: tony at August 26, 2006 3:22 PM
Comment #177631

True “freedom fighters” do not murder and torture their own people.

Terrorists (like the Tamil Tigers, Al Queda, Hamas, etc.) do.

Anyone who supports such groups in any manner is worthy only of our scorn.

Posted by: ulysses at August 26, 2006 3:46 PM
Comment #177635

Tony, such a simple concept, having our leaders pay for their own trips and such. Unfortunately it violates the 1st amendment rights of the corporations/ special interset groups. Cause you see, our founding fathers wanted our political leaders to be bribed and cajoled into making decisions favorable to only a selcet group of the people. Those with the most money. Other than that its a damn fine idea.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 26, 2006 3:57 PM
Comment #177638

Eric - I do not get it, where is the corruption? Did he take a bribe? did he introduce legislation in their favor? did he change a vote? Did he launder money into a PAC? Did he brake any laws?

It seems that you have an ethical problem with a so-called terorrist group that most of us never heard of trying to make their case to the American people. They want to educate a congressman to their cause. So What?

Frankly I do not see a problem with it. I would love to see more open minded understanding of these groups. Instead of labeling them as terrorists - which then means cutting off all communication and just simplistically labelling them bad guys to be destroyed.

Our legistators need to get out and hear and learn about the other side instead of using ideology and show no intellectual couriosity when it comes to foriegn policy.

Posted by: Jerseyguy at August 26, 2006 4:33 PM
Comment #177639

Just one more reason to BAN Lobbying.

Posted by: Aileen at August 26, 2006 4:53 PM
Comment #177641

Jerseyguy

What exactly does one have to do to be labeled a terrorist in your world?

Why not apply such naive thinking to every form of evil. Rapists don’t rape because they’re evil, they are just misunderstood. Cold-blooded killers don’t kill because they’re evil, they’re just misunderstood.

Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Jeffrey Dalmer, they were not bad people, just misunderstood.

I guess we can fire all the cops and hire more analysts. That’ll solve the world’s problems.

Posted by: ulysses at August 26, 2006 5:03 PM
Comment #177642

There are good and bad in both parties. Hey bush wined and dined the Taliban in Texass, so I guess he is as bad(worse) as Davis.

Congress and the President do not represent the best interest of the United States, but their own pockets.

Eisenhower was right in his farwell address about watching out for the military-industrial state.

Posted by: KT at August 26, 2006 5:22 PM
Comment #177645

Eric….a republican first….an American second

Posted by: Tom L at August 26, 2006 5:35 PM
Comment #177646

Eric,

I quit letting my kid get away with the “all the other kids are doing it” excuse when he was eight years old. How lame can you possibly get?

Posted by: ElliottBay at August 26, 2006 5:40 PM
Comment #177647

Eric-
I wouldn’t be sad to see him go. I’m sure many Democrats, upon hearing this, wouldn’t be sad to see him go either.

When we heard about Jefferson, most people on my side said “throw him under the bus”. When Traficant went under, we were waving goodbye to him, too. We are well aware of what it means to decry corruption and yet have corrupt folks among us. In its way, it’s unavoidable. People are free to choose good or evil. But, unlike the Republicans, we don’t see much virtue in defending people who betray the good name of our party. We see the futility of making excuses about it, of attacking the media’s credibility in a vain effort to refute factual charges.

So if you’re going to talk about a culture of corruption among Democrats, you have to do better than point to isolated examples.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 26, 2006 5:43 PM
Comment #177649

Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?

Captain Renault: I’m shocked — shocked! — to find that gambling is going on in here!

[A croupier hands Renault a pile of money]

Croupier: Your winnings, sir.

Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

Captain Renault: [aloud] Everybody out at once!

Posted by: Trent at August 26, 2006 6:08 PM
Comment #177650
All of those we call terrorist specifically target civilians.

So what would you call all the people in U.S. uniforms who dropped bombs on civilians? What do you call the Israelis who dropped bombs (including cluster bombs, U.S. made)on civilians…at some point you can no longer just say “oops…collateral damage”! How about all the stuff the Zionist Jews did to the British and Palestinians so they could get “their” country around 1948??

War is no longer fought in people in bright red uniforms with feather stuck in their hats standing in straight rows facing each other…

Posted by: Lynne at August 26, 2006 6:12 PM
Comment #177651

Both parties are corrupt.
Most (if not all) politicians are corrupt.
Why shouldn’t they be?
We keep re-electing them.

Borrowing David R. Remer’s list …

Politicians’ Order of Priorities:

  • (1) get theirs, fill their own pockets (bribes, graft, gifts, book deals, $90K to put in the freezer, undisclosed contributions, create more tax loop holes, vote themselves a raise and some cu$hy perks, etc., etc., etc.), reduce transparency and accountability everywhere possible to create more opportunities for self-gain and abuse, and fuel the partisan warfare to ensure a majority of voters is unlikely to ever form to remove them from their cu$hy, coveted seats a abused power.

  • (2) don’t alienate the party’s contributors or leadership

  • (3) don’t alienate the wealthy donors

  • (4) do not forget the pork-barrel

  • (5) packaging their candidacy

  • (6) gerrymandering

  • (7) the nation

  • (8) the individual voter

So, why shouldn’t politicians be that way, since voters keep re-electing them?

But, don’t worry. The badly-needed motivation for reform is on the way. It is called pain and misery. It is a good teacher, and we are on the right path to guarantee that lesson is inevitable.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 26, 2006 6:12 PM
Comment #177655

Here is a novel approach. Notice I said novel. A person trying to get elected to public office should not be able to spend more than the salary connected to that position, in his quest for that office. And if he is in a public trust position he must resign from that position to run for another office. He must gather the signatures on those petitions all by himself. Absolutely no other assistance. This theme should be explained more thoroughly, but this is part of the main pattern.

Posted by: tomh at August 26, 2006 6:22 PM
Comment #177661

Election Reform is needed, but politicians will never do it. Voters will have to force it to happen. That’s probably a way off, since we are not where close to the voters’ threshold for pain and misery. Only then, maybe, voters will enough voters care enough to try to change it. But, they’d better be careful, because if they wait too long, it may be impossible to repair.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 26, 2006 6:51 PM
Comment #177669

Whatever do you mean?

Effective Congressional ethics reform hit the headlines and was forefront in media attention for at LEAST ten minutes.

And the House and Senate actually PASSED ethics reform—- reform that will fix all the biggest problems they’re now facing—- all the temptations of $50+ lunches are now behind them. So they can all rest easy in their pre-paid business-class trips to Ireland for golfing/business-spec trips: their ethical standing is now fully protected, enforced, and intact. With ample oversight. And America can breathe easy and sleep well.

I mean… right?

Posted by: Mr. Ed at August 26, 2006 9:04 PM
Comment #177672

Mr. Ed
I know what you mean our poor elected officials had a tough go with that last ethics legislation. Im just so proud of them for stepping up to the plate and taking care of the problem.
When one party owns the house the senate and the executive branch we truely get what we deserve.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 26, 2006 9:40 PM
Comment #177688

Corruption is bad no matter which side of the aisle it’s on.

I think Washington is awash in money buying influence. That is why I keep saying we need to look at a more democratic form of representation, using the internet to do more polling on significant issues, bring more light into an intentionally overcomplex process,to limit the power of the congress.

I don’t think the Democratic “Culture of Corruption” idea is so much about corruption (it’s always been there) as it is about the absolute arrogance demonstrated by Eric’s rant absolving his dear Republican whores by exposing a Democratic one. Newsflash: Were tired of both parties defending whores. Thanks, Eric, for defending them. Good Show, old Chap.

Posted by: gergle at August 27, 2006 12:34 AM
Comment #177691

Ulysses wrote to Jersey Guy;

“What exactly does one have to do to be labeled a terrorist in your world?”

Well, I dont know about Jersey Guys world, but in my world they have to:

1) Invade another country without provocation.

2) Occupy that country without end.

3) Continue to provide a military presents,
even when asked not to.

4) Deplete the economy.

5) Fail to rebuild the infrastructure.

6) Disban that countrys military.

7) And, start a civil war.

Yep…That ought to do it!

Posted by: PlayNice at August 27, 2006 1:52 AM
Comment #177695

We need to watch them all and throw out and/or prosecute all guilty of breaking the law.

We mustn’t say that because the crook is on our team that “he’s our crook” and so he’s ok. No. We must do our best to clean up both parties.

I heard years ago of a Democrat who accepted shady money. It looked like they were going to be punished, but the Democrats found a Republican guilty of the same thing, so neither of them were punished. That is so the WRONG ANSWER!!!! They both should have been thrown out.

Posted by: Steve S at August 27, 2006 2:30 AM
Comment #177696

Eric,

Thanks for pointing this out with another dem example of corruption. Corruption knows no party boundaries and it will be an affirmation of common sense when Democrats & Liberals finally admit this obvious fact. Until then, supporting terrorists and money in freezers will all be a “vast right wing conspiracy”.

Posted by: Ken Strong at August 27, 2006 2:43 AM
Comment #177699

All politicians should fully disclose where their money is coming from. No real reform is possible while the pols are policing themselves (McCain-Feingold). I agree that Reps and Dems end up covering each others butts sometimes.
Whatever happened to Abrimoff?

Posted by: JoeRWC at August 27, 2006 3:06 AM
Comment #177701

I’m with Stephen:

“When we heard about Jefferson, most people on my side said “throw him under the bus”. When Traficant went under, we were waving goodbye to him, too. We are well aware of what it means to decry corruption and yet have corrupt folks among us.”

Exactly.

“unlike the Republicans, we don’t see much virtue in defending people who betray the good name of our party. We see the futility of making excuses about it, of attacking the media’s credibility in a vain effort to refute factual charges.”

Yes indeed. Dems have no trouble acknowledging and denouncing these things when they happen, while the GOP and their followers have proven completely unable to face any of their own rampant political corruption head on.
The worst of them feel no shame in pointing the finger, as Eric has with this article, but will often become incensed or make excuses whenever we raise identical issues with their own members of Congress.

Btw, maybe some of you aren’t aware, but there is legislation pending regarding the issues being discussed in this thread. Here is a link to the press release with a fact sheet:
Feingold Introduces Lobbying and Ethics Reform Bill
Legislation Improves Lobby Disclosure Requirements and Targets Privately Funded Trips and Lobbyist Gifts to Members and Staff

July 14, 2005 Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Russ Feingold today introduced lobbying and ethics reform legislation aimed at strengthening lobbying disclosure requirements, slowing the revolving door between Congress and the lobbying industry, and curbing the excesses in privately funded trips and gifts for Members of Congress and their staffs. Similar legislation was introduced in the House earlier this year by Representatives Marty Meehan (D-MA) and Rahm Emanuel (D-IL). A fact sheet outlining the provisions in the Feingold legislation is attached.

“For too long, lobbyists and special interests have had too much power in Washington, and much of that power is hidden from public view,” Feingold said. “Recent campaign finance reforms are helping, but with reports of members of Congress taking corporate jets with lobbyists on board to fly to fundraisers and going on lobbyist-funded golf junkets, it is clear that more work needs to be done. Our laws should reflect the will of the American people, not the desires of the highest bidder.”

The lobbying industry is growing at a startling rate and current laws have proven inadequate to keep up with this evolving industry and to give the public the information it needs to understand the influence that is brought to bear on executive branch policy and legislation. Recent stories detailing the cozy relationships between lobbyists and certain Members of Congress are only the tip of the iceberg — they are merely symptoms of deeper problems with lobbying regulation and oversight.

This legislation that Feingold drafted (and once again McCain has joined with him on it), has not yet come to a vote. I have no idea what is holding it up.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 27, 2006 4:11 AM
Comment #177703

While I personally think that all corruption desperately needs to be ferreted out of our halls of leadership, it really does seem to me that the Republicans have a significant lead on the Democrats in the sliminess race thus far. At least it seems that the Democrats punish those who are caught.

As soon as you can show me where the Democrats have rewarded an already indicted member of their party with a coveted spot on an appropriations committee, not to mention a spot on the subcommitte overseeing the Justice Department (which is, of course, investigating the Abramoff scandal), then I will concede that the two parties are equal in this regard.

Of course at this point it’s only a race to the bottom, with the ‘in-party’ being absolutely corrupted by virtue of its power. But I guess the lesser of two evils is, well, less evil.

How is this acceptable? Anyone?

Posted by: Liberal Demon at August 27, 2006 7:38 AM
Comment #177704

Liberal Demon

It is, of course, not acceptable, which is why I always encourage everyone to get involved with a political party, any party. The only way the political system will be cleaned up is from the bottom up. Sitting around and complaining whether it be on a computer or over your neighbor’s fence is not going to accomplish much. Join a party, go to their meetings, run for local office, recruit honest candidates, contribute to honest candidates who will work to change the system instead of becoming entrenched in it.

Posted by: mark at August 27, 2006 9:12 AM
Comment #177706

Unfortunatley, anytime you try to talk about the corruption of the left or terrorists, the dishonest politicaly correct radicals from the left are going to come out and support their terrorist buddies and support the corruption on the left.

You can’t discuss the issue with them because they start with an intellectually dishonest stance. They are going to deny the truth no matter what.

Yes, democrats are corrupt. Yes, there are terrorist organizations in the world…they are NOT freedom fighters.

Yes, our congress is corrupt and the rules need to be changed massively.

No, a progressive will not face up to the truth. To a progressive their far left RELIGION is more important to them than truth.

Posted by: Stephen at August 27, 2006 9:37 AM
Comment #177711
No, a progressive will not face up to the truth. To a progressive their far left RELIGION is more important to them than truth.

Stephen,

You can’t HANDLE the truth, I’m afraid…talking points are not TRUTH…

You can’t discuss the issue with them [left & terrorists] because they start with an intellectually dishonest stance. They are going to deny the truth no matter what.

Neat juxtaposition of “left” and “terrorists”, Stephen…kind of like 3.5 years of juxtaposing “Iraq” and “9/11” by the Bush regime…but, but, but….that’s not facing the truth by the “right”!!!

Posted by: Lynne at August 27, 2006 10:01 AM
Comment #177716

Stephen, Perhaps you could try to discuss the issue with “them” instead of calling names, whining and taking cheap shots. Try answering this question “how is it corruption and not questionable/bad judgement”.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 27, 2006 11:14 AM
Comment #177717

ulysses

The problem is the label terrorist? What is a terrorist? What is the difference between an insurgent, a military force and terrorist?

We tend to label groups that are anti-US, kill innocent people indiscremently with suicide bombers as terrorists. But if they use an air force to drop their bombs, the innocent civilians killed are collateral damage.

Terrorists bring terror. So didn’t the US bombing of Baghdad (shock and awe) bring terror to its citizens? Didn’t Israel’s bombing of Beriut bring terror to its citizens? Didn’t these bombings result in the deaths of innocent civilians?

What about our support for terrorists? The Nicaragua Contra’s and the Savadoran death squads that killed thousands of innocents. According to a de-classified CIA report, the objective of our support for the Nicaragua contra’s was to bring “Explicit and implicit terror to the country to discredit the Sandinistas”

What about the Cuban exiles in Miami receiving our support and protection (some of which have been labled terorists by the fBI). In 1997 they comitted hotel bombings in Havana directed from Miami, they blew up a cuban airline that killed 73 people, successfully assainted a Cuban diplomat in Washington DC and attempted to assainate Castro in Panama (My source is the book Rogue State by William Blum).

The label terrorist is a an over simplistic way to identify good vs evil. If they are on our side they are freedom fighters and if not they are terroists. It is a term that compartmentializes and groups all enemies into a into a simple category of evil and to rally international support against your enemies. Any country that has a home grown insurgency is labeled a terrorist by the government. Example; Russia labled the Chechen rebels as terrorists.

To me, A terrorist is any group or oraginization that brings terror and kills innocent people. Not all terrorist are the same and have the same motives. Some are just local resistence that pose no threat to the US (Hamas and Hamil Tigers) There are only terrorist actions. These actions as we agree are hideous, ruthless and immoral crimes against humanity. I do not differantiate between an insurgency or a country’s military that uses weapons that kill innocents. War by its nature is terror. Anyone engaged in war uses terror.

We must start looking at political solutions to our problems. Instead of classifying everything as “Good vs Evil”.

Posted by: Jerseyguy at August 27, 2006 11:22 AM
Comment #177722

Israel is an ally of the United States. Hamas, with the help of Syria and Iran attacked our ally. If they had attacked us directly we would be at war with them already.
Hamas and other terrorists deliberately target civilians including women and children. The sawing off of heads slowly in front of a video camera is not the same thing as a bomb from a plane killing civilians because the Hamas terrorists choose to hide their weapons and soldiers in schools and hospitals.
Many of what the news media call “civilians” killed by Israeli forces were in fact terrorists. Those who deliberately fund or otherwie support a terrorist group are themselves terrorists.
The “shock and awe” effort you referred to wasn’t carried out against civilians. The intention was to help the Iraqi military units realize quickly the futility of continuing armed conflict in support of the brutal dictator Saddam.
Look deeper into the evidence supporting the claims of both sides. Check the pristine pacifiers and stuffed animals in the foreground as our enemies attempt to fool people into thinking they were innocent civilians.
Check your own emotions. Are you feeling the urge to defend the terrorists who spread lies against the United States? Does that make you feel more patriotic as you support our enemies?

Posted by: Steve S at August 27, 2006 11:57 AM
Comment #177723

I think that we should not allow lobbist. The politians are then bought and paid for by all the special interest groups. What about working for the people, the very people who elected them? What about them paying for their own elections with the exception of contributions from private(and I don’t mean private companies in the guise of being public)citizens? No matter what pary you are from they all take money from somewhere who’s only interest is to serve themselves whether it be from Sri Lanka or American companies.

Posted by: michele at August 27, 2006 11:58 AM
Comment #177725

Haven’t you heard?
Politicians are above the law.
Need proof?
Why has Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) not been indicted yet for bribery (and the $90K found hidden in his freezer) ?
Hmmmmm … wonder who Bush will pardon? What a slap in the face of the judge, jury, and taxpayers who spent millions to get a conviction.

And even if he was ever convicted, the next Democrat President will give him a pardon, like the 140 felons pardoned by Clinton (many that even pled guilty, like Dan Rostenkowski).

But, on second thought … if it is true that things can’t get better until they get worse, then perhaps we should continue to let our corrupt government run amuck, and let it abuse the hell out of everyone and everything, and hasten the process? Then, perhaps, it will actually shorten the time until things get worse, so that they can finally get better (sooner)? Eh ?

Or, perhaps, simply Stop Repeat Offenders.
Don’t Re-Elect Them !

Posted by: d.a.n at August 27, 2006 12:23 PM
Comment #177726

This is all somewhat comical (and sad).
We have been reduced to arguing who is the most corrupt of the corrupt.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 27, 2006 12:24 PM
Comment #177729

Stephen-
If we are to speak of intellectually dishonest stances, let us speak of one where a right-wing commentator tells us that we support terrorists and corrupt politicians when we’re saying precisely the opposite.

We have no interest in denying the truth about William Jefferson. Not one Democrat on this board has said he’s getting a raw deal, or he’s being convicted before he’s had his day in court.

I think you’re caught in a loop of your own propaganda, where your stereotypical views of Democrats and liberals prevents you from seeing the statements they make right in front of you. The question here is not whether we can handle the truth. It’s whether you and your side can. Unfortunately, the relationship between the GOP and its constituents has become a co-dependent one, the GOP having scared people into believing the ascension of any other political movement is a sign of the fall of civilization.

Well, things are going to crap anyways, and people now see much less virtue in sticking with the right. When people see our people taking care of business in a wiser, more competent fashion, the lies of the right will be put to paid soon enough.

If our politicians don’t screw it up. They screw it up, we’re tossing them under the bus too, and we’re shopping for some new candidates.

Steve S-
Don’t fall into the trap of believing we can win a war against terrorism by simply becoming uninhibited in war. When you start equivocating about who is a civilian and who’s not, that only helps the case of those who paint us as evil barbarians.

As for Shock and Awe? Apparently they didn’t remain shocked and awed long enough not to form an insurgency.

As for the deceptions of the terrorists? I believe they’re capable of it, but it’s a dangerous road to walk where we’re denying much of the negative news we’re getting about our efforts on that account. It only helps them when we start playing credibility games, because naturally they can twist those to their advantage, given our credibility there.

People in Lebanon are asking the same question posed in your last paragraph, and not to our advantage. We cannot make this about image, because there the natives have a better chance of winning. Substance has to be the key here, and as long as Israel was engaging in punitive strikes against civilian targets, destroying civilian infrastructure, the substance of what Hamas and Hezbollah has been saying is true.

We must make a friend of substance, or image will ally with it and our enemies. We have to stop counting on the “terrorists are all liars” trope, especially when it comes to expanding it to those who bring out information confirming the substance of the charges. If we don’t keep the substance of our actions moral and upright, the image we wish to hold out to others cannot be maintained.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 27, 2006 12:47 PM
Comment #177734
Ulysses wrote to Jersey Guy;

“What exactly does one have to do to be labeled a terrorist in your world?”

Well, I dont know about Jersey Guys world, but in my world they have to:

1) Invade another country without provocation.

2) Occupy that country without end.

3) Continue to provide a military presents,
even when asked not to.

4) Deplete the economy.

5) Fail to rebuild the infrastructure.

6) Disban that countrys military.

7) And, start a civil war.

Yep…That ought to do it!
Posted by: PlayNice at August 27, 2006 01:52 AM

You forgot to mention

8) Torture, injure and kill civilians uninvolved in the fighting and

9) Incarcerate non-combatants indefinitely, without due process and without Geneva convention rights

It’s funny how when they do it, they are terrorists, but when we or our “allies” do the same things or worse, we’re freedom fighters.

But back to the original poster’s points:

How do you make the leap from this one guy Danny Davis doing something definitely questionable, probably unethical and arguably illegal to saying such things as:

If there’s anything more telling than the corruption and hypocrisy of Democrats it’s the feigned innocence and pathetic denial of Democrats talking about a purely ‘Republican’ culture of corruption.

If you can find a quote where any Dem said there was only corruption in the Rep’s ranks and absolutely none in the Dem’s ranks, you might have some hope of support your points.

Or perhaps this is all part of Bush’s campaign of terror. Knowing that Democrats like ‘five-term Democratic congressman’ Mr. Davis would willingly support terrorists, Bush probably concocted the whole 9/11 attack in order to persecute the aforesaid ‘five-term Democratic congressman’ Mr. Davis. Who knows, anything is possible.

This pile of Repug bloviating demagoguery deserves no more response than to lay there and stink from the rotten mindlessness that dredged it up until the buzzards, natures garbage collectors, pick it apart and convert back to the dung from which it sprung. It is beyond pathetic.

Posted by: Crazy_joe_divola at August 27, 2006 1:08 PM
Comment #177738

d.a.n.:
“We have been reduced to arguing who is the most corrupt of the corrupt.”

Well people may think they’re arguing who is more corrupt, but let’s be perfectly honest, the disturbing fact is there has never been a level of corruption to match the likes of the Cunningham, Delay and Abramoff scandals in our modern history.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 27, 2006 1:20 PM
Comment #177740

Does anyone else, (when hearing of another idiot congressman), get the picture in their mind of the three monkeys? You know, hear no evil - see no evil - say no evil. Sadly, the fact is they know full well what they are doing and saying. Forrest Gump’s Momma put it best, “stupid is as stupid does”.

Posted by: JR at August 27, 2006 1:28 PM
Comment #177741

Hey Crazy Joe,

No, I didnt forget the torture or wrongfull imprisionment, without due process. I just felt that real terrorists dont even do that.

See, real terrorists dont grab you and imprision you and torture you. No, real terrorists just grab you, imprision you and torture you, then either blow you up or decapitate you. It is kinda cleaner and less messier that way. They usually have a purpose in this. Like freeing their friends from prision, makeing a political point, of doing some kind of Jehad or something. That is what real terrorists do. Because they are real preditors. But we? No. We dont qualify on that scale … yet.

See, its like a real lion. A real lion catches its kill and kills it, for food. You have to respect a real lion, at least there is reasoning there, a purpose. But we, in that area? No, we are much more like the domestic house cat.

We catch our pray. We torture our pray. But, we never ever kill our pray. See its like the old story of the cat with the pet mouse. When asked why the cat didnt kill the mouse, the owner said, “Oh he just likes to keep it alive to play with”.

Thats kinda like us. We just kinda like to keep the Iraquis around so that we can “play” with em.

Posted by: PlayNice at August 27, 2006 1:28 PM
Comment #177743

JR,

Yep, they know full well, what they do, and so does our president, and now, thats really really scarey!

Posted by: PlayNice at August 27, 2006 1:30 PM
Comment #177744

Steve S

Contrary to what you think, I am not defending terrorit activities (or groups). I am trying to look at this more rationally and realisticly.

You are rationalizing finding minor differences that criminalize insurgent groups and legitimize military tactics and aggression. In my mind it is all terror.

I do not buy the argument that intentionally targeting civilians is not the same as collateral damage. Because there is no difference in the mind of the people being attacked and killed. If your child was killed by shock and awe, becasue one bomb missed its target, are you going to forgive the US and say it was collateral damage?

Yes the intent of Shock and Awe was against military and other strategic targets. But it was in a populated city and we did it knowing innocent people will probably die - even though they are not the intended target.

And don’t you think the people of Baghdad felt terror hearing the bombs go off? Bombs that failed and missed their target and killed innocent civilians? Dosen’t that cause terror in peoples minds? You have to look at this not from your intent, but from other people’s perspective. It maybe collateral damage to you, but to the family, we killed their child. So we now created a new enemey. You are not looking at casue and effect.

The other fact is, that terrorist organizations that have killed innocents is much less than any military campaign. The US has killed many more innocent people than Al-Qaeada. Israel has killed many more innocent People than Hezbollah. But were are forgiven becasue it was collateral. This is splitting hairs and it is not viewed this way in the Arab world. They see hypocrisy.

And why is Israel our ally? Why do we ally with a country that holds 4 million people in occupation for 40 years with no economy, no jobs, and constatnt poverty. They have no hope and no future. Are these the allies we want? If we value human rights shouldn’t we be with the Palestnians supporting their resistance against Isreal taking away their rights and support their fragile democracy?

Hezbollah and Hamas’s tactics are ruthless and I am not condoning or suporting them in any way. But don’t these groups have legitimate grievances against Israel?

The problem is we look at this from a pro-US persepctive. There is too much blinding patriotic and Nationalistic fervor to approach this problem rationally. We are ignorant and unaware of how people feel about what we do and all that our government does in our name. We self-rationalize so we can forgive ourselves.

I agree that we have a real enemy and a real war to fight and win against terrorism. But I disagree on who the enemy is and how to defeat them. There is only a political solution and it starts with us - US citizens to define the problem more honestly and accurately. We have to change our policies in the middle east and of course oil. - But that is a different post and discussion.

Posted by: Jerseyguy at August 27, 2006 1:35 PM
Comment #177746
We have been reduced to arguing who is the most corrupt of the corrupt.
Adrienne wrote: Well people may think they’re arguing who is more corrupt, but let’s be perfectly honest, the disturbing fact is there has never been a level of corruption to match the likes of the Cunningham, Delay and Abramoff scandals in our modern history.

I agree. Government corruption is always with us, but influence peddling seems worse than ever. Government is FOR SALE.

But the voters allow it; through ignorance, indifference, apathy, complacency, and in general, laziness.

Human nature can’t be ignored. Our systems must be carefully designed to account for human nature, to increase transparency and accountability, and reduce the burden on voters. Otherwise, corruption will continue to grow (always).

The worst problem is the voters’ apparent indifference to corruption. Any nation that has become that unaware, uncaring, apathetic, and complacent must learn from some dire future jolt that self-government cannot hope to work without effective public concern from the electorate.

But, don’t worry. We will learn. The much-needed motivation for reform is on the way. It is called pain and misery. It is a good teacher, and we are on the right path to guarantee that lesson is inevitable.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 27, 2006 1:45 PM
Comment #177784

My Name Is Roger:

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FOR SALE

PRICE………………………………..

THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER

ROGER

Posted by: ROGER at August 27, 2006 9:49 PM
Comment #177793

Rodger,

Oh dont be silly Rodger, the White House would never take that little, in todays market.

They may be crooks,
But please,
Even they have their pride!

Posted by: PlayNice at August 28, 2006 12:09 AM
Comment #177796

Dear Jerseyguy

Contrary to what you think, I am not defending terrorit activities (or groups). I am trying to look at this more rationally and realisticly.

Gosh you could of fooled me.

You are rationalizing finding minor differences that criminalize insurgent groups and legitimize military tactics and aggression. In my mind it is all terror.

Excuse me, but exactly what do insurgent groups do that isn’t criminal? And…since when is it not legitimate to protect yourself against terrorism.

The other fact is, that terrorist organizations that have killed innocents is much less than any military campaign. The US has killed many more innocent people than Al-Qaeada. Israel has killed many more innocent People than Hezbollah. But were are forgiven becasue it was collateral. This is splitting hairs and it is not viewed this way in the Arab world. They see hypocrisy.

At last, the truth is revealed! You are a Muslim using an alias (or a potential terrorist living among us) because only an idiot or a Muslim would make such an incredibly ridiculous statement. 99.9% of the people killed by Al Qaeda and Hezbollah since their beginings have been innocent civilians. Osama bin Laden is authorized by fatwa to kill up to 10 million Americans, so quit with the innocent insurgent crap already.

And why is Israel our ally? Why do we ally with a country that holds 4 million people in occupation for 40 years with no economy, no jobs, and constatnt poverty. They have no hope and no future. Are these the allies we want? If we value human rights shouldn’t we be with the Palestnians supporting their resistance against Isreal taking away their rights and support their fragile democracy?

Well, it didn’t start off that way. Israel was granted a small (very small) parcel of land to call their own with historical legitimacy to back it up. The Arabs (read that Muslims) immediately tried to take it away from them and lost. Had Muslims not started wars against Israel the Israelis would still own only that small parcel they were granted. It’s pretty hard to have an economy, any kind of hope, much less a future if you’re concentrating on killing people instead of taking positive actions. In other words, the Muslims have brought this upon themselves.

Hezbollah and Hamas’s tactics are ruthless and I am not condoning or suporting them in any way. But don’t these groups have legitimate grievances against Israel?

Not a one. He hit me back isn’t an excuse in anyone’s book.

The problem is we look at this from a pro-US persepctive. There is too much blinding patriotic and Nationalistic fervor to approach this problem rationally. We are ignorant and unaware of how people feel about what we do and all that our government does in our name. We self-rationalize so we can forgive ourselves.

Hello, what other perspective should we have? As for the rest of that comment, I think you pretty much speak for your self.

What you might want to consider is that the U.S. alone has spent enough money on oil over the years to make every OPEC citizen wealthy. To top it off we pour billions in foreign aid into them. Those slums, the poor economies and constant poverty are not my or any other American’s problem. I’ve never seen the blueprints for a slum, I’ve never seen people who want to work fail to earn a living and I’ve never been able to understand the poverty of the Muslim world which are the wealthiest countries of all

Posted by: Santiago at August 28, 2006 3:32 AM
Comment #177800

Playnice,

If you think we’re playing in Iraq, I suggest you enlist. After all, the combat pay we’re getting out here is so that we can afford the sunblock we need to keep from getting too burned. Is there plenty of corruption out there? Yes. That being said, I fail to see the point nor the humor in your smug assessment of Iraq.

Posted by: 1LT B at August 28, 2006 4:35 AM
Comment #177804

Blame this on Bush. He should be watching who pays for these trips that these congressmen are taking. And blame Bush for Ernesto also. He is the fault of global warming. Also blame Bush for my tight socks. He should be investigating all these imports for bombs and should notice these tight socks. Blame Bush for pot hole I hit the other day also….and blame Bush……..

Posted by: Everett Hatton at August 28, 2006 7:13 AM
Comment #177810

Nobody’s denying that there is corroption on both sides.

But when you spend so much time and energy looking for and building such cases against Democrats …

…and yet ignore the egregious, blaring and horrific corruption that your own republican party is now rife with…

You sound like a-moral political haymakers trying to work soem kind of damage control miracle for the sake of your party because you yourself find the label: “republican” more valuable than truth, democracy or morality.

Such attacks as these, whether valid or not, fall flat because they harken back to all of our grade school mamories of the kid who got caught and instantly shouted “Well he did it, too.”

If corruption has finally becaome a concern to you republicans, why do you go looking for these cases while ignoring the need to clean out your own house?

Posted by: RGF at August 28, 2006 10:38 AM
Comment #177811

Santiago

Your reply was defensive and you miss my point. Accusing me of being a Muslim shows you cannot grasp what I am talking about. You show no intellectual understanding of a complex problem. All you have is to repeat old worn right wing talking points that got us into this mess in the first place.

Violence is Violence and Violence is terror. How can you deny that? And it dosen’t matter who delivers it or what the motive. The US military or Al-Qaeada. It effects its victims the same way - Fear, anger, resentment and vengence. It creates new enemies.

The problem is that people in this blog only see one view. Their own. I am trying to get conservatives to think out of the box. Instead of with blind patriotism and simplistic definitions of good and evil.

By only have a pro-american view and the Arabs have only a pro-Arab view. There is never an appreication for each other as fellow human beings. We live in our own isolated and delusional world. And this makes the world more dangerous.

To answer your question “Hello, what other perspective should we have?” - A world view. A Human view. A christian view of all being God’s Children. People of the world feel the same pain and fears you have. And want the same peacful and happy life you do.

This is why things are dangerous. There are many sides to a problem and conflict. If we do not recognize an deal with them as such, we will never solve them. Your approach is to forever perpetuate war. You offer no solution but more of the same.

Posted by: Jerseyguy at August 28, 2006 10:38 AM
Comment #177816

Santiago-
Only an idiot, huh?

The question here is whether a civilian in that country would look at the blasted buildings and make your desired distinction. Would they, seeing the building blown up, their countrymen, friends, and even family pulled out dead or injured, believe that they weren’t targeted, or would they just generalize the attack as an attack on them as well?

If Bin Laden said that he was really aiming for the financiers in the tower, trying to destroy these people who back up energy companies that exploit his people, would we give a flying crap, or would we shout and scream about all the innocent people he killed?

The only way to really avoid this kind of quandary is to minimize the fighting. If you get things properly under control, so that incidents like this are rare to non-existent, and localized on true troublemakers, it will be easier for people to make the distinction we make. As long as it is repeated and constant though, it’s not accident, it’s policy: we will kill innocent civilians to get at the terrorists and the insurgents.

The insurgents are not innocent, but they are not guilty of being a foreign threat. In fact, in the eyes of their people. they may be the romantic rebellion, the punks doing for their country or their religion or their group what the corrupt leaders won’t. Much of the dynamic of how this war works centers around what groups one has sympathies towards. Muslims are not supposed to war against Muslims, but Sunni and Shia don’t necessarily consider the other group Muslim.

To some degree, they are responsible for this, but to a greater degree, we are too. They may have followed their inclinations, but we deprived them of their sovereignty, without providing the law and order they had under the older, though tyrannical system. So far, we’ve failed to bring them true Democracy, and instead have only brought anarchy.

As for wealthy countries, we are the wealthiest country of all. The nations of the Middle East are dirt poor, even with the oil coming in. The countries of the Middle East did not get off to a good start.

Imagine: First, deal with the decay of an ancient empire, with all the corruption and lawlessness that follows. Then have the European powers coming in, imposing their borders, imposing friendly (not to mention decadent and corrupt) rulers, and worse yet supplanting years of tradition and religious wisdom in favor of an often amoral, secular modern order.

Then see WWII separate them from their possessions, with these people torn in two directions trying to grasp both the past and the future at once, while maladapted to dealing with both. Wealth in an economy is more than being able to sell billions of dollars of crude. It’s being able to have a functioning society that is, if not at peace with, then cautiously tolerant of modern times.

It’s a tall order, and they are on the inside of this situation looking out.

Everett Hatton-
Please remind me: Who is in charge of this nation’s energy policy? Who is the Commander in Chief of this nation’s armed forces? Who’s responsibility is leading this nation’s defense?

We can talk about what Bush can be blamed for when you’re willing to admit he should be held accountable for something.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 28, 2006 11:45 AM
Comment #177818

mark,

Eric

Can you possibly be any more disingenuous? You label Democrats as corrupt, the spend your entire post on one person. Then you go on to skew the facts. You say he says he was unaware the trip was paid for by the Tami Tigers then make it sound like he admits it was when he says that the group who did pay for it was associated with the Tigers.

One person? Well, haven’t we been treated with the painting of the entire Republican party as being corrupt vis a vis Tom Delay. Who really is only guilty of being Republican. 

Mr. Simonson, unlike other conservatives who post here(such as Jack), you have absolutley no credibility IMO.

It is the credibility of Democrats that is nil these days.

Posted by: eric simonson at August 28, 2006 12:26 PM
Comment #177819

Eric,

“It is the credibility of Democrats that is nil these days.”

To paraphrase; assigning blame for corruption in Washington, is like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500.

Nobody in Washington, on the right, or the left, has much credibility right now.

Your post is just more of the same “you’re bad guys are worse than mine” baloney.

You can’t seem to see the forest for the tree that is right in front of you.

Posted by: Rocky at August 28, 2006 12:36 PM
Comment #177820

Paul,

So here’s what you are saying: “Republicans are not so crooked; look, I found a Democrat that does the same thing.”

If you search hard enough you will find corruption anywhere. But with Republicans, there is no need to search. It has been coming to us in gushes in the last few years.

Seems like a double standard to me Paul.

Here’s the problem, Democrats actually created a reelection slogan out of pointing out the source of campaign contributions of a few selected Republicans and proclaimed that it was an epidemic they called the, “Republican Culture of Corruption.”

Then comes the revelation that the sources of these same ‘corrupt’ contributions had contributed to Democrats as well. Then suddenly such contributions are no longer corrupt. In fact, one democrat actually said that, in effect, she cleaned the corrupt contributions simply by taking them.

The morality here is interesting.

Posted by: eric simonson at August 28, 2006 12:42 PM
Comment #177821

Most (if not all) incumbent politicians in the U.S. congress are irresponsible (or worse) and voters keep re-elecinng them.

It’s no mystery. Voters are programming them to be that way, by re-elecinng them, regardless.

After researching public records, newspaper articles, civil court transcripts, and criminal records, Capitol Hill Blue (1998) discovered that:

  • 29 members of Congress have been accused of spousal abuse.

  • 7 have been arrested for fraud.

  • 19 have been accused of writing bad checks.

  • 117 have bankrupted at least two businesses.

  • 3 have been arrested for assault.

  • 71 have credit reports so bad they can’t qualify for a credit card.

  • 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges.

  • 8 have been arrested for shoplifting.

  • 21 are current defendants in lawsuits.

  • And in 1998 alone, 84 were stopped for drunk driving, but released after they claimed Congressional immunity.

  • The original Capitol Hill Blue article listed some names too, and also noted that some were serial-offenders with extensive tracks records of fraud or violence.

    Now that voters have been crappin’ in their own nest for so long, voters cannot ever hope that congress persons will suddenly decide to clean up their own mess.

    Voters can not even hope to see crooked politicians convicted or imprisoned. Politicians are above the law. Even if convicted, they may get a pardon (like the 140 felons pardoned by Bill Clinton).

    Until voters stop re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians, congress will continue to be irresponsible.

    And voters (as long as they can still vote) will mostly likely figure it out eventually, when their threshold of pain and misery is finally reached. The sooner, the better. Too bad it has to be that way. Too bad we have waited far too long already. Voters seem more fond of wallowing in the petty partisan warfare, lazily pulling the party lever (i.e. straight ticket), being bribed by pandering politicians with the voters’ own tax dollars, or don’t even care enough to bother to vote.

    Posted by: d.a.n at August 28, 2006 12:44 PM
    Comment #177822

    Eric Simonson,

    You have made the comment that Tom Delay is “Realy only guilty of being republiucan.”

    Back that up. You CANNOT.

    ALL the elements of the campaign contribution crimes he is guilty of are documented in the public record. There is no room for doubt. His nefarious contributors actually admitted it openly. That, not partisan politics, is why he was indicted.

    Posted by: RGF at August 28, 2006 1:11 PM
    Comment #177823

    We cannot make a blanket statement that all Dems or all Reps are corrupt. Individuals are corrupt, regardless of the party.

    Instead of breeding more hatred toward each other, we need to legislated and enforce term limits. The power in Washington comes from “being around the block” too many times. The more entrenched a person in power becomes, the easier it is to be sucked into the black hole of corruption.

    I say (2)consecutive terms and then you’re out. If you want to run again, there must be at least (1) term between. The Washington machine, as well as many State machines, periodically need to be scrapped and new machines brought in. It’s not enough to replace a few nuts & bolts to keep the old, inefficient machine running.

    Posted by: CathyJo at August 28, 2006 1:28 PM
    Comment #177824

    Jerseyguy

    Your reply was defensive and you miss my point. Accusing me of being a Muslim shows you cannot grasp what I am talking about. You show no intellectual understanding of a complex problem. All you have is to repeat old worn right wing talking points that got us into this mess in the first place.

    Defensive? I think maybe it is you who doesn’t quite get it. What is so complex about a geo-political cult whose 1400 year old stated goals, are to destroy us, our way of life and force any survivors to accept their barbaric way of life. It is you, not them, that have made the problems complex. They are not going to change their goals…period. When you can accept that, you will have an obvious and very simple solution at hand.

    Violence is Violence and Violence is terror. How can you deny that? And it dosen’t matter who delivers it or what the motive. The US military or Al-Qaeada. It effects its victims the same way - Fear, anger, resentment and vengence. It creates new enemies.

    I can’t deny the first part of your comment above, but it depends on who is on the receiving end of the violence that is important. What you seem to to be missing is that because of Islam and the terror it brings, I only care about me and mine. including my fellow Americans.

    The problem is that people in this blog only see one view. Their own. I am trying to get conservatives to think out of the box. Instead of with blind patriotism and simplistic definitions of good and evil.

    What possible definition of good and evil would make one whit of difference here? Good and evil speak for themselves, anything else is pure piffle. You are trying to get everyone to think your way, Jerseyguy. Quit playing the altruist, you suck at it because your liberal motives are so obvious.

    By only have a pro-american view and the Arabs have only a pro-Arab view. There is never an appreication for each other as fellow human beings. We live in our own isolated and delusional world. And this makes the world more dangerous.

    This is not about any one view. There is no view. This is all about Islam, pure and simple. As for appreciation, you obviously have never read any of the Quran or chapters of the Surah. If you have it is obvious you do not believe what you read, do not understand them or just can’t accept the fact that these are bad people who don’t want or ever intend to play nice.

    To answer your question “Hello, what other perspective should we have?” - A world view. A Human view. A christian view of all being God’s Children. People of the world feel the same pain and fears you have. And want the same peacful and happy life you do.

    What have you been smoking? Or do you have a reality distortion generator? If everyone wanted what I want there would be no crime, war, murder or corruption and we’d all be driving flowered VW campers. Unfortunately, there are those who would deny me and mine that way of life and they must be eliminated so that there can be peace.

    Posted by: Santiago at August 28, 2006 1:33 PM
    Comment #177827
    CathyJo wrote: We cannot make a blanket statement that all Dems or all Reps are corrupt. Individuals are corrupt, regardless of the party.
    That’s very true.
    CathyJo wrote: Instead of breeding more hatred toward each other, we need to legislated and enforce term limits.

    Term-limits would probably not accomplish much.
    It is also the lazy way.

    Often, ideas like that, which attempt to limit bad behavior, do not increase transparency or accountability. If we make changes, that should be to increase transparency and accountability. Otherwise, the problem is only transformed; not reduced or eliminated; possibly even exacerbated.

    A good example of a no-brainer, common-sense reform that would increase transparency and accountability would be a ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL amendment. But, those in power will not allow such a BILL to ever be passed, along with numerous other no-brainer, common-sense reforms; not if the BILL, in any way reduces incumbent politicians’ power, opportunities for self-gain, or the security of their cu$hy, coveted incumbent seats of power.

    Besides, the voters already have the power to resolve the problem, once they have enough reason to care enough to make it happen (provided they don’t wait too long and still have the right to vote).

    As someone wisely said, we have to stop trying to accommodate the problem. Bandaid fixes won’t solve the root problem, and the root problem is far, far more simple all want to admit.

    Afterall, the real solution is to simply stop re-electing the irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians

    Also, if we ever had any good politicians (if there is such a thing), why limit their term? Shouldn’t the voters decide?

    Human nature can’t be ignored. Our systems must be carefully designed to account for human nature, or corruption will continue to grow (always). When things get bad enough, the worst problem is the voters’ apparent indifference to corruption. Any nation that has become that unaware, uncaring, apathetic, and complacent must learn from some dire future jolt that self-government cannot hope to work without effective public concern from the electorate. But, don’t worry. We will learn. The much-needed motivation for reform is on the way. It is called pain and misery. It is a good teacher, and we are on the right path to guarantee that lesson is inevitable.

    Posted by: d.a.n at August 28, 2006 1:40 PM
    Comment #177830

    Hey d.a.n.

    I couldn’t agree more that the electorate has the power to change things, but it is the electorate who are lazy.

    With a past of public corruption and scandal, Mass. voters continue to vote for Ted Kennedy. It’s easier for most voters to vote for the incumbent because they have not taken the time to research the candidates. This is not informed voting. Most of the political advertisements say “vote for me because the other guy is worse”. How about “I am an honest man/woman and I will give a million dollars to anyone who can prove differently!”

    I am realistic enough to know that any sitting congress would ever vote to end their jobs with term limits, but if the masses pushed for it, the squeeky wheel may get some grease.

    Again, the problem is that many voters don’t want to take the time to affect change.

    If term limits won’t work, then how about “enforcing the same laws” that apply to me & you. If I embezzled from a client, I would be found guilty and punished accordingly. Yet, everyday there are scores of public officials who embezzle from the citizens of our nation.

    It’s may sound simplistic…but when you boil it all down, the problem is sin.

    Posted by: CathyJo at August 28, 2006 2:01 PM
    Comment #177837

    CathyJo-
    Problem with term limits is that they don’t work. You sacrifice experience for turnover, and there are no guarantees about who you get. A person should be reelected as long as the voters want them.

    It’s the voters we have to change, our political behavior as well. Without that change, everything else will emerge to become the same old corrupt mess. No term-limit or fight against incumbents can make up for a apathetic, ignorant constituency.

    Eric-
    Tom DeLay is only the most visible among the corrupt in your party. Bob Ney, Duke Cunningham, and Jack Abramoff are but a few of the examples out there. Besides, as a whole, the Republican Congress has failed to reduce spending, failed to exercise fiscal responsibility. Your party’s approach to Katrina has been the breaking point for that credibility. Your party has actually brought people to yearn for the good old days when the Government would actually help people. They are sick of the government not working for the public good.

    Santiago-
    A good examination of history will yield a much more complex picture of the Muslims. The notion that they are uniquely territorial doesn’t hold water. Just look at the beginnings of their initial expansion. They were expanding into territories where the former occupiers were by turns Persian, Greek, Israelite, Egyptian, Roman, among others. Even within the Muslim states, we see one group conquering another, The Arabs rising out of Arabia to conquer, then being conquered in turn by the Turks. You can generalize and fearmonger about stated goals of expansion, but then you have to neglect that this was the business everybody else has been in.

    You state there is a simple solution. I point out to you that the simple solution has been employed in Iraq, and not with the desired results.

    Additionally, you miss a very fine point when dealing with adversaries: there is little in the way of absolute good and evil there. Mostly, they are just people like us. Few people are shining Saladins and King Richard the Lionhearts, even the figures themselves. Few are blackhearted like the worst of comicbook and fairy tale villains. To over-apply these labels both blinds you to the goodness in people, and others to true evil in an adversary, when years of throwing around that term have robbed it of its meaning.

    Also, I can imagine both sides of the issue, both sides of the conflict, and perhaps work out the terms of a proper settlement by correctly guessing what people are willing to settle for to settle down.

    As far as your knowledge of the Quran goes, I would ask you whether you know what Hadith is.

    The truth is, most people on the other side of the world don’t know or don’t care what we’re doing until it becomes their problem. Globalization has made some things their problem, and that I feel they should learn to live with. Some of those people think otherwise, like the Bin Ladens of the world. If our policies, though, brutalize many of the people who would otherwise not care about, perhaps even welcome interaction with us, then we have a problem.

    This isn’t about the hippy stereotype you seem have about liberals. This is about how you judge when warfare will actually do good. War is not always a sword to cut the knot with. Often, it becomes the knot itself, which no sword can cut.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 28, 2006 2:34 PM
    Comment #177842
    It may sound simplistic…but when you boil it all down, the problem is sin.

    That does not sound simplistic at all.
    That sin is laziness.
    From it comes many bad things.
    Most people, naturally, seek security and prosperity with the least amount of effort and pain.
    There is nothing wrong with that, but some (Cheaters) have surrendered to laziness, which breeds Corruption. The one big difference between Cheaters and non-Cheaters, is that Cheaters will resort to unethical and/or illegal methods (to varying degrees). Especially when and where opportunity and/or Power exists.

    It really is that simple.
    WE are the problem (voters and politicians).
    But, since politicians won’t reform themselves or pass term-limits, it’s now up to the voters.

    The voters will do the right thing, eventually, when their threshold for pain and misery is finally reached, and they are most certainly on the right path to guarantee that it happens. Pain and misery always has been and always will be the best teacher. It’s 2 steps forward, and 1.999 steps backward (sometimes 4 steps forward, and 3.999 steps backward), but progress is slow because we keep having to re-learn many of the same lessons. Too bad it has to be that way. Too bad we are so short-sighted. If we were more intelligent, we would recognize these no-brainer truths and design our systems, organizations, governments, and societies with more transparency and equal accountability. Until then, we will suffer the consequences.

    Posted by: d.a.n at August 28, 2006 2:53 PM
    Comment #177845

    Agreed, d.a.n.

    But laziness (sloth) is only one sin. It’s the “greed, envy, pride, wrath, lust & gluttony” that people entertain and eventually succumb to that is destroying morality.

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely. If we have a great leader, then he/she would get re-elected after a one term waiting period. We have to do something to weed out the rift-raft.

    I enjoy our little talks!!

    Posted by: CathyJo at August 28, 2006 3:01 PM
    Comment #177875

    CathyJo,

    Thanks! Me too.

    Pride
    Envy
    Gluttony
    Lust
    Wrath
    Greed
    Sloth

    Pride can definitely cause probelms. That may be Bush’s problem now. The solution to that problem requires humility. As we saw in the debate, and since, Bush may have too much pride to admit any mistakes. But, it is understandable. It is very hard to admit that you may be responsible for 2600 dead American troops, no WMD, poor planning, ignored warnings of hijacked airliners, and tens of thousands of dead Iraqi citizens (and climbing). Yes, very, very hard indeed.

    True, the real problem is us. We are all culpable.

    But, with regard to government, our biggest problem is laziness and greed (which are somewhat releated). There are ways to design systems better to account for the human factor. Many processes have been cleverly over-complicated. It would not be hard to simplify those processes. The hard part is finding the will to simplify and maintain those processes. One such badly-needed simplification to increase transparency and accountability would be a ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL amendment. Many such simplifications are needed to create and ensure more transparency and oversight. The problem with our FOR-SALE government is that we have let it get so out-of-control, that we do not even know about most of what goes on, and everyone in congress looks the other way (as admitted by Sen. John McCain in an NPR interview in 2005). That is why incumbent politicians are so brazen (e.g. like Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) hiding $90K in the freezer, Abramoff, DeLay, etc.).

    So, when does the laziness and corruption end?
    When do things get better?
    Don’t worry. There is a built-in mechanism to ensure that the people finally take action to end the corruption.

    Laziness and corruption finally ends with it becomes too painful.

    Until then, no reforms are possible. Not until possible until voters feel sufficient pain and misery to finally stop re-electing (empowering) the same irresponsible incubment politicians, stop pulling the party lever, stop wallowing in the partisan warfare, or even bother to vote.

    Not until there is enough pain to motivate voters to do the one simple thing they were supposed to do all along, always. Don’t re-elect irresponsible incumbent politicians.

    Americans are starting to get fed up. But, to what degree? Probably, not enough. Not yet.

    But, they will (most likely). When the government, economy, and legal system are dysfunctional enough, and the middle class has been squeezed to near non-existence, then the people may finally do something about it.

    Unfortunately, the longer we wait, the worse it will get.

    Posted by: d.a.n at August 28, 2006 4:42 PM
    Comment #177901

    interesting article but if read correctly i am to assume that the indians are the ones that are prosicutible, and they just might be. But Abrimoff is indicted and the ones who lost out are the Americans. Abrimoff had a lot of affiliations. Are all these people guilty? The prez even dennied knowing Abrimoff and yet we have photos and guest book signitures that he visited with the prez, at the white house. This article simply states that someone other than a (R) recieved money from the Indians. This article does not state that Abrimoff and this (D) had afilliations. The Indians and abrimoff had somethin cookin and the Indians and a lot of other people had somethin cookin. So are we to assume that anyone who was affiliated with this band of Indians is currupt? According to this article, we are.

    Posted by: bryan at August 28, 2006 6:14 PM
    Comment #177912

    For those that aren’t convinced that the Tamil Tigers, read the following posts in Wikipedia and decide for yourself. I have, but there is enough of a shade of gray that you could come to a different decision.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil_Tigers

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notable_attacks_by_the_LTTE

    Posted by: Rob at August 28, 2006 6:35 PM
    Comment #177961

    Santiago

    Without realizing it you made my point.

    You are hostile to people who disagree with you.

    You are not open to any other viewpoint but your own. You will not even try to understand my view point objectively and engage in gentlemanly debate. You call me a Muslim, Terrorist or liberal so you can discredit me.

    All you care about is you first and America second. You could give give a rats ass about anybody else in this world.

    You have no sense of compassion or empathy for innocent Arabs beings being killed in these conflicts. No sense of reality what vilolence is and what it does to people and how it impacts us as a country. How it creates enemies.

    You have a simplistic view of a complex world. You cannot see or try to understand the other side of an issue. You lump together all terrorists groups as one. All Muslims are terrorists. So you can simply understand it. They are bad we are good. This requires no intellectual couriosity or analysis.

    You have no sense of history or context. You have a competly distorted view of Islam and the Middle East. To you only Islam brings terror. But you fail to recognize the US and Israeli Military brings terror as well to the people of the Middle East. You see evil in your enemy, but not in yourself. No sense of cause and effect.

    And you have not replied to one of my arguments with objective facts and reasoning. You are all emotion. To you violence is the only solution. You cannot be reasoned with. You deserve Bush and the violent world we live in.

    There is an interesting book you should read. “Conservatives without Conscience” by John Dean. It uses scientific imperical data and studies to explain the personality profile of today’s conservatives.

    “Authoritarians who have a hightened psychological need to manage uncerntainity and fear. They cannot live with ambiguity. They Accept and need authority and groups (religion, military, patriotism) to give moral clarity and will put aside their personal morality for the morality of the group. They want to control and dominate people, generally racists and cannot tolerate dissent. They seek conformity and unity”

    How much of this sounds like you….?


    Posted by: Jerseyguy at August 28, 2006 9:07 PM
    Comment #177980

    Stephen-

    I want to add on to your point about people being good or evil. I know this is a terrible shock to some of those simplists out there, but EVERYONE is good and evil, only in different proportions. I believe that EVERY individual is more good than evil deep down (of course some are made viscious through their experiences). Each person can demonstrate goodness, and each person can act badly. It depends on circumstance.

    That “terrorist” who shoots a rocket from his apt window probably bounces his kids on his knee just like anyone else. He has loved ones, he laughs, and he cries. He also begins to view life as expendable when forced to view death on a regular basis. They are human beings.

    Looking at this as good v. evil makes it impossible to reconcile the mission objectives with the battle objectives. Our troops deserve an explaination that makes sense, as do the American people who foot the bill. Demonization may work in war, but what about keeping the peace? That is what police do, after all.

    Posted by: Kevin23 at August 28, 2006 10:00 PM
    Comment #177992

    Yes, Kevin, and I objected to a similar easy reduction recently posted in the blue column. It’s all rather self-serving, no?

    Posted by: Trent at August 28, 2006 11:07 PM
    Comment #178020

    Trent-

    I assume you mean the simplification of complex struggles to good v. evil as being self serving? If so, I agree.

    Terror is a srategy…a means to an end. A terrorist is simply one who chooses an extreme strategy. It seems to me, the next logical steps are that a growing population will just create more desperate people, and inevitably more “terrorists” all over the map regardless of current efforts. It’ll never go away completely without eliminating hate. Not likely.

    So even were the good v. evil thing true, I still can’t see the justification for war, unless of course we’re talking about an attempt at complete eradication of millions of people. That can’t be easy, nor fast, nor cheap. Tough sell…rightfully so.

    Posted by: Kevin23 at August 29, 2006 2:51 AM
    Comment #178045

    Ummm….

    Wasn’t this supposed to be silly effort to turn the tables in distracting way and find corruption in a Democrat?

    How did get to the simplistic republican world view discussion?

    Posted by: RGF at August 29, 2006 8:35 AM
    Comment #178114
    Without realizing it you made my point.

    Only to you and those who think your way.

    You are hostile to people who disagree with you.

    You seem to be a bit testy yourself bubba

    You are not open to any other viewpoint but your own. You will not even try to understand my view point objectively and engage in gentlemanly debate. You call me a Muslim, Terrorist or liberal so you can discredit me.

    Have you ever been to the middle east? If you haven’t, (which is pretty obvious) you aren’t qualified to debate a friggin thing with me. Ok, I’ll apologize for calling you a Muslim, Terrorist, or a liberal…you’re just clueless.

    All you care about is you first and America second. You could give give a rats ass about anybody else in this world.

    Well, you almost got something right. Me, mine and America come first. As for the second part, DAMN RIGHT! We need to fix all that’s wrong here and when that’s done we might see what we can do for the rest of the world. Until then, screw everybody else.

    You have no sense of compassion or empathy for innocent Arabs beings being killed in these conflicts. No sense of reality what vilolence is and what it does to people and how it impacts us as a country. How it creates enemies.

    All of these people have hated us for longer than you’ve been alive and there isn’t anything you or anyone else is going to do to change that. The people in charge have a goal. Learn and understand that and you might survive.

    You have a simplistic view of a complex world. You cannot see or try to understand the other side of an issue. You lump together all terrorists groups as one. All Muslims are terrorists. So you can simply understand it. They are bad we are good. This requires no intellectual couriosity or analysis.

    Let me see…nearly all the religious leaders of the Muslim world (who are really in charge) have vowed to either convert us or kill us. That is not simplistic nor is it complex…just a fact. Why try to make anything else out of it. You can believe them because they really mean it. If you want to have some intellectual curiosity, read Islamic holy texts. Here again, you are not qualified to debate this, because you’ve obviously not studied nor do you have any first hand face to face experience with a Muslim. If you have, and can still spew this bullshit, you are one of them.

    You have no sense of history or context. You have a competly distorted view of Islam and the Middle East. To you only Islam brings terror. But you fail to recognize the US and Israeli Military brings terror as well to the people of the Middle East. You see evil in your enemy, but not in yourself. No sense of cause and effect.

    Don’t even go there, Jerseyguy. Why don’t you pack your bags and I’ll take your dumb ass on a royal tour of the middle east and lets see if you’re still as stupid when (if) you get back. By the way, I’ve never hijacked a plane, cut off anyone’s head or stoned anyone to death. Your right about the evil part though, I’m not, they are.

    And you have not replied to one of my arguments with objective facts and reasoning. You are all emotion. To you violence is the only solution. You cannot be reasoned with. You deserve Bush and the violent world we live in.

    I’ve told you the facts, you just don’t like them. You want a touchy feely everything is wonderful world…sorry Jerseyguy, it’s never going to happen.

    There is an interesting book you should read. “Conservatives without Conscience” by John Dean. It uses scientific imperical data and studies to explain the personality profile of today’s conservatives.

    Got it, read it, it’s a joke, right? It’s a gigantic one sided dis with no redeeming qualities. Have you ever read anything by Ann Coulter just as bad in the other direction.

    “Authoritarians who have a hightened psychological need to manage uncerntainity and fear. They cannot live with ambiguity. They Accept and need authority and groups (religion, military, patriotism) to give moral clarity and will put aside their personal morality for the morality of the group. They want to control and dominate people, generally racists and cannot tolerate dissent. They seek conformity and unity”
    How much of this sounds like you….?

    What you are not smart enough to fear will most certainly kill you. Ambiguities are puzzles to be solved. Ah…there is something wrong with religion? A military to protect and serve shouldn’t be? I don’t piss on or burn flags… Guess this makes me a bad person. And… Only if the group does not have it’s collective head up it’s collective ass. As for the morality part, that’s esoteric bullshit. I’m a worker bee who limits my domination to an appreciative wife. When you say racists, does that mean as in Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson or the KKK? Sorry, this white boy was a volunteer worker in New Orleans and did extra time in the original Peace Corps many moons ago. Conformity and Unity have their place in the natural order of things, just ask any child psychiatrist.

    Jerseyguy, you’re saying I should try to see things from your viewpoint…shit, my generation created your viewpoint…then we got mugged and learned all isn’t and will never be as we once hoped and dreamed it would be. You just haven’t been mugged yet and I truly hope you never are.

    Posted by: Santiago at August 29, 2006 1:40 PM
    Comment #178553

    Santiago - WOW! You sound like an angry and bitter person taking your anger out on others. Me, arabs, who else is a target of your venom?

    You apologize for calling me a Muslim, terrorist and liberal, then go right back and call me Stupid and a dumb ass. All Muslims - “They all hate us”. Why so much hostility and anger?

    You have a superiority complex that no one is entitled to talk to you about the Middle East because they haven’t been there. So I cannot possibly know anything about it.

    These are not arguments of a rational person. And what you must remember, which scares me is that there are Arabs just as rigid as you with the same ignorant views of the US and of who we are, and how we hate them, and want to control them, their resources and make them all Christians.

    I have not rebutted specifically to many of your claims becsue there is too much to rebutt. The evil you find in the Koran is just as clear in the book of Leviticus in the Bible.

    But When I talk about history, I do not just mean Middle Eastern History. But of US history in the world and how we interact with other countries. How US AID really works to promote poverty and dependence, what agreements are made with oil rich countries to keep them in power as long as the oil flows. Our over throw of democratically elected governments becasue they do not support globalization. You mention “They want to kill us becasue they hate us” - But why do they hate us? If you understood this history, the answer becomes clearer.

    Here is a Buddhist lesson for you:

    Anger and fear - It is a matter of seeing them as the delusions that they are: distorted conceptions that paint a false picture of reality. They are negative because they lead to unhappiness and confusion.

    Good Luck with your life…

    Posted by: Jerseyguy at August 31, 2006 2:54 PM
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