Sunday, October 15, 2006:
The corruption just knows no bounds or ends. If the savings and loans scandal s weren't enough, we had the wave of accounting corruption with a raft of corporations around the same time Enron imploded. Then we've had the UN oil-for-food scandal, the campaign/lobbyist scandal, and the whole Bush and Blair administration's endless distortions about the state of the world and what ought be done about it. Now though, there is the new scandal of back dating stock options of high-ranking executives in Fortune 500 companies. It's obscenity after obscenity. Greed is claiming so many souls of the rabid capitalists. Will God save them from themselves?
We have US Congressmen Curt Weldon, a Republican from Pennsylvania, whose daughter was accepting payments from Bogoljub Karic while her father was pushing for the US to take Karic off the blacklist. Karic, a rich Serbian, was banned from visiting or trading with the US because Karic had been close to Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian leader. The investigation of Weldon is on-going as of Wednesday, October 18, 2006.
Republican US congressman Bob Ney of Ohio pled guilty October 13, 2006, to corruption charges in connection with Jack Abramoff. He was sentenced January 19, 2007 to thirty months in prison.
Republican US congressman from California Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigned November 28, 2005. He pled guilty to accepting millions of dollars in bribes and to federal conspiracy charges.
Republican US congressman Mark Foley resigned September 29, 2006, over sexual come-ons to teenage House pages.
Republican US congressman Tom DeLay resigned on June 9, 2006. We covered his case in some detail in the main body of this work. He was heavily involved in selling his vote to the highest bidder. He also funneled illegal funds into Texas to rig the US Congressional voting districts there in favor of his Republican Party.
Republican speaker of the house, Republican Dennis Hastert covered up the Mark Foley affair. He may have had worse dealings that have been covered up in the Sibel Edmonds whistleblower issue. He also help Tom DeLay change the membership and rules of the House ethics committee for a time when that committee was to review DeLay's dealings but was reversed when there was an outcry from the public.
Republican US congressman Jerry Lewis of California, House Appropriations Committee chairman, just fired sixty some private auditors/investigators from working for his committee on uncovering waste, fraud, and abuse in government spending on Iraq and Katrina, etc. Since the auditors' reports are kept secret by the committee, how may the citizenry know if spending has been abused? With the recent corruption revelations with the conservative Republicans in charge and with Jerry Lewis being investigated on spending or selling his vote and using his power to steer spending to contributors' causes, the whole thing about firing the auditors appears highly suspicious to many observers.
These problems are in a long tradition of corruption in the US Congress that cut across party lines. It just so happens though that as of the time of this entry, the Republicans have been in power, holding the White House and both chambers of Congress. The nation and world are worse off for it, not that it was headed in the right direction under the Democrats. It wasn't, and it won't be when they come to power again.
Republican Congressman Don Sherwood of Pennsylvania has been accused of beating his former mistress, Cynthia Ore. The Lawrence Journal-World reported the following:
According to one person familiar with the case, he agreed to pay her about $500,000 in a settlement last year that contained a powerful incentive for her to keep quiet until after Election Day. Cynthia Ore has received part of the money, and will lose some of the rest if she talks publicly about the issue before then, this source said.
The cover-up of waste, fraud, abuse, and general corruption in the Republican Party doesn't stop with Congress of course. The illegal contract letting has gone uninvestigated, people who object are terminated or otherwise marginalized, and the following was reported :
The New York Times is reporting the Bush administration and leading Congressional Republicans are trying to close the office overseeing corruption and abuse in the US-led reconstruction of Iraq. A provision attached to this year's military authorization bill says the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction will close on October 1st of next year. The office is headed by Republican lawyer Stuwart Bowen. Bowen's investigations have indicted several American officials on corruption charges, documented wasteful and inept work by large contractors and found the Pentagon did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons given to Iraqi troops. Democratic Congressmember Henry Waxman said: "It appears the administration wants to silence the messenger that is giving us information about waste and fraud in Iraq."
The point though is that supposed Christians have voted these corrupt officials into office. It would be a real blight upon the name of Christianity were it not for the fact that people who vote for such people are not real Christians.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of children needlessly suffer and die each day. The world spends some one trillion dollars a year on official national militaries when the effort ought to be put toward being Good Samaritans all.
Sunday, October 15, 2006:
In other news, research has shown that the vaunted deregulation of electric utilities failed to reduce electric rates.
Also, concerning the war in Iraq, The Lancet published a study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Al Mustansiriya University, Baghdad stating that there is only a two percent chance that fewer than four hundred thousand people have died as a result of the US invasion up the time of the study. The study was conducted using standard cluster methodology taught by the US government for use in war-torn areas. In ninety-two percent of the cases, the household produced a death certificate concerning the death. The study says that the likely figure for deaths is six hundred, fifty-five thousand (655,000). The Bush administration and Pentagon immediately dismissed the study. It is likely that the study is much closer to reality than the picture being painted by the US government.
What is additionally troubling is that the study found that forty-six percent of those killed by the US are under fifteen-years-old. They are killing prepubescent children and even babies over there with their so-called smart weapons and careful rules of engagement.
Monday, October 23, 2006:
Since the release of the Johns Hopkins, et al, study, the Iraqi government has been ordered by the US government to further order the Iraqi Health Ministry not to divulge civilian casualty figures.
Monday, October 30, 2006:
In an article for Rolling Stone , Matt Taibbi writes about the Republican led US Congress under George W. Bush:
The litany of fishy behavior left uninvestigated in the Bush years includes the manipulation of intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, the mistreatment of Iraqi detainees, the leak of Valerie Plame's CIA status, the award of Halliburton contracts, the White House response to Katrina, secret NSA wiretaps, Dick Cheney's energy task force, the withholding of Medicare cost estimates, the administration's politicization of science, contract abuses at Homeland Security and lobbyist influence at the EPA....
It took forty-two presidents before George W. Bush to borrow $1 trillion; under Bush, Congress has more than doubled that number in six years.
Taibbi covers a number of points:
- Vastly reduced hearings
- Drafting legislation without any input from the other party
- Scheduling conferences without notifying members of the other party
- Substituting legislation for bills passed out of committee
- Closing down all floor debate
- Closing down all bill amendments
- Passing legislation in the middle of the night
- Breaking their own rules by extending the time for voting when they lose so they may have more time to twist arms and make promises
- Passing laws late in the session so the opposition doesn't have time to overview the bills
- Working many fewer days than the notorious "Do-Nothing Congress" of 1948
- Working many half-days or less
- Issuing no subpoenas to the Bush-43 White House
- Little to no oversight of White House actions and inactions
- Lobbying scandals
- Selling legislation to the highest bidder
- Pollution exemption for the energy industry
- Corporate subsidies and tax breaks for the energy industry
- Endless pork-barrel spending and earmarks that see no debate
- No follow-up audit of Defense Department spending
Also, major election fraud and a number of other corrupt practices have saturated the Republican leadership.
There is a concerted effort to establish what is called a totalitarian dictatorship in the US based upon fear—fear of terrorism, which certain Republicans hammer on and drum up and cause (both the fear and the terrorism).
The Brennan Center For Justice at New York University School of Law has identified the following five major methods by which citizens are being denied the right to vote:
1. Crackdown on Voter Registration Drives
2. Using Databases to Keep Eligible Voters Off the Rolls
3. Inaccurate Purges of the Voter Rolls
4. Strict Documentation Requirements for Voting
5. Problems With New Voting Technology
Would the following steps help:
Some mundane steps would include that the elections hardware and software must not be proprietary. The hardware and software needs to be made by a consortium of representatives from all walks of life working as employees of the government and not as contractors. The hardware, operating system, and all other related software needs to be developed as open systems so that any manufacture and programmer may verify the equipment and code. The elections system must not be privatized in any way. The equipment needs to be uniform throughout the country. Policies and procedures need to be uniform. Hardware and software maintenance must be certified. The machines need to be hard wired and not wireless capable. They need to be redundant, that is to say there needs to be a local network backup creating a backup in real-time with battery backup. Each polling station that uses computer equipment needs to have a backup generator in case of a power outage. There also needs to be a paper trail. Everyone who shows up to vote must be allowed to cast a provisional ballot if he or she isn't on the rolls.
There needs to be universal voter registration.
This is all awful! Think about it. All these types of steps are considered necessary, because so many people have evil written on their hearts.
The house is terribly divided.
The Republican conservatives use all sorts of dirty tricks to keep people from voting. They mail out lies about voting laws and times. They make phone calls and distribute fliers, etc., with those lies. They use computers to make repeated automated phone calls to the same Democrats. Those calls don't identify the caller (the Republican Party) up front but rather start out as if the call is coming from a Democratic candidate. They target the poor and black communities primarily, because those voters tend to vote Democratic. These are illegal, criminal activities, but law enforcement doesn't do anything.
Despite the unscrupulous activities (dirty tricks) of the Republican conservatives, the Democrats still managed to take control of the US House of Representatives and the majority of governorships in the country. The Senate is still up in the air at (continued...click the next page number below)...continues... Click next page number below. [If you would like to see the full text on one page (helps with searching for text on the page), use the "No-Graphics Print Version".]
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Political Campaign Intervention
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Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
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- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
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- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)