Thursday, September 29, 2005

Patron of Charles Boustany, Tom DeLay, indicted, gives up leadership post

The major national political patron of Seventh District Congressman Charles Boustany, Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay, was indicted on criminal conspiracy charges by an Austin, Texas, grand jury on Wednesday.

DeLay's national political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, contributed $15,000 to Boustany's successful 2004 campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records.
DeLay also formed a PAC within Texas called Texans for a Republican Majority and used that organization to fund and direct state legislative races in the Lone Star State which produced a Republican majority in the Texas Legislature which subsequently re-re-districted Texas's Congressional Districts in a way that produced seven new Republican members of the U.S. House from Texas.

The indictment alleges that DeLay was involved in a conspiracy to route illegal corporate contributions into those Texas legislative races by laundering the money through national Republican campaign accounts.

Congressman Boustany is not involved in the case.

However, Boustany's political debt to DeLay was made clear when, on one of his first votes as a congressman on his first day as a member of Congress, Boustany voted to rig the Ethics process in the House in such a way that would ensure that new ethics complaints against DeLay would not be pursued.

House Democrats, to their credit, refused to participate in the rigged process. Ultimately, public pressure forced House Republicans to go back to the Ethics Rules that had been in existence prior to their attempt to exempt DeLay from the ethics code.

Congressman Boustany's willingness to put party above principle in matters related to his patron DeLay stands in stark contrast to Boustany the Campaigner who told voters he would not be part of the corrupt politics of the past. Boustany was somewhat right: his support for efforts to protect DeLay's corruption was not business as usual in the Congress — it was elevated to a whole new level.

Tom DeLay is the cornerstone of the Republican regime of corruption and influence peddling that has reach its zenith during the Bush/Cheney administration. In less than one year in the Congress, Charles Boustany has proven himself to be a loyal soldier in the effort to conceal and defend that corruption.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Progressives can do Better!

Republicans have now announced their plans to combat the deficit, and you guessed it they plan on gutting all of the programs we hold so dear.

Over the next 10 years, their plan calls for cutting the already feable Medicaid by over $225 billion party by increasing Medicaid co-payments. Please note - Medicaid is "the health care safety net for low-income children, elderly, disablied, pregnant women and parents." These cuts will ofcourse again hurt those most vulnerable of us all the while over 70 Billion in New Tax cuts are being proposed this year.

As this article outlines, there is a much better way. We can do more in less time. "Rolling back the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans would save $327 BILLION over 5 years". "Cracking down on offshore tax shelters would save another $65 Billion in 5 years."

Never before in this country's history have we given huge tax cuts. This republican party has been spending money like drunken sailors and growing governement to an all time and unsustainable HIGH.

It is time again to ask ourselves - are we better off today than we were 6 years ago? I think not.

We have to stand up and STOP this - "no tax - spend spend spend" republicans from damaging our country. Over 7 million people have been thrust back into poverty under this administrations policies while the rich are getting richer.

There is nothing CHRISTIAN about this administrations fiscal policy and paying for the Iraq war and rebuilding of the biggest natural disasters on the backs of the poor is completely unacceptable.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

"No one could have predicted . . ."

A recurring theme among the federal excuse-makers has been "no one could have predicted that the levees would break."

The facts are otherwise.

There was the Times-Picayune's award-winning five-part series on the threat of a catastrophic hurricane strike. Scientific American had an October 2001 article called "Drowning New Orleans" that covered this same scenario. National Public Radio had a two-part series in 2002 on the risks New Orleans faced due to flooding as a result of a hurricane strike.

There was also the eight-day, FEMA-sponsored disaster training session centered around a fictitious "Hurricane Pam."

So, indeed, many predicted this disaster. It was the failure to adequately plan a response that helped turn it into the catastrophe it has become.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Evacuees at Cajundome wait for first lady, and for lunch

From the Daily Advertiser

The entire story; no comment needed:

"As the first lady toured the Red Cross shelter at the Cajundome this morning, a line of evacuees waiting to eat their lunch trickled out the door of the Dome.

First lady Laura Bush arrived about midday to tour the shelter and meet evacuees.

By 12:50 p.m., the trays of food were still covered and hungry evacuees stood in line, holding empty plates. Rice, beans and jambalaya were on the menu. About that time, volunteers began rolling the carts of food into position to serve."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

There Are Human Fingerprints on this 'Natural Disaster'

The catastrophe of human suffering that has erupted in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina has riveted the attention of the world on our state and our greatest city.

What is unfolding before us will, undoubtedly, become the largest natural disaster that our country has ever faced.

But, this disaster is not solely the work of nature.

Eric Holdeman, director of the King County, Washington, Office of Emergency Management, says the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been dismantled by the Bush administration. He levied this charge in an op-ed piece in Tuesday's Washington Post.

Editor & Publisher points out that Bush's FEMA has specifically turned down requests for levee improvements in the New Orleans area over the past three years. This sorry tale was documented by the New Orleans Times Picayune as it was happening.

Tonight, on MSNBC's Scarborough Report, Louisiana's Junior U.S. Senator David Vitter delivered a thinly veiled threat of criticism against Governor Kathleen Blanco's leadership in this during this crisis, saying "there will be plenty of time to look at these issues more closely in the future," when Scarborough asked him to criticize Blanco.

GOP Congressman Bobby Jindal also said there will be an appropriate time to examine this.

Fine! Accountability all around! But, to do so will require a thorough review of the policy decisions of Vitter and Jindal's party leadership. After all, the policy decisions made during the past five years regarding FEMA and other issues, have come with Republicans in control of the White House, the Senate and the House.

Republicans should not dare raise the questions about accountable leadership unless they are willing to include their own leaders in the review as well!

Who refused to fund levee building? Who eliminated FEMA's program to mitigate threats? Who cut the operating budget for the New Orleans office of the Army Corps of Engineers?

The answer on each count was the Bush administration and the Republican-controlled Congress.

If Governor Blanco has to answer for her judgment, so, too, does the leadership of the party running this country!