Tuesday, October 04, 2005

On the Verge of Collapse

September 21(October 4), 2005
As the 2006 Congressional campaign dawns on America, the Republican Party, as recently as several months ago the unchallenged titan of U.S. political power, finds itself under assault from all directions. Last Wednesday, on September 28th, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was indicted by a Texas grand jury on conspiracy charges stemming from his involvement in the transferal of corporate money to Texas state campaigns. The move, illegal under Texas law, could earn DeLay a two-year prison sentence and a $10,000.00 fine. Jon Stwart, who joked just weeks ago on the Daily Show of DeLay being a convicted felon, could now find his jests strangely prophetic.
And the hammer of justice has come down a second time on the Hammer of the House today, as the same grand jury that charged him less than a week ago with conspiracy has now indicted him for money laundering (an action that he calls, “an abomination of justice.”) Despite DeLay’s assertions that the prosecutor (who has indicted twelve Democrats and only three Republicans in his career) acted on political motivations, the accusations are a burden from which the former Majority Leader will likely not recover. No one speaks of reelection; reelection is at best a dim possibility in this Congressman’s very bleak future. DeLay aides and Congressional insiders freely admit that most of his energies will be spent on what promises to be an exhaustive legal defense. The general consensus in Washington is that, even if acquitted, Mr. DeLay will simply not have the resources (financial or otherwise) to salvage his political career.The effective incapacitation of the legislative bull on whom it has depended for so long is only one of many political upsets that are plaguing the Republican Party. In the Senate, Majority Leader Bill Frist could very well face an indictment similar to Mr. DeLay’s should an SEC investigation into his financial practices reveal that he is guilty of insider trading. That charge was leveled after the Tennessee Senator sold a significant portion of his stocks in HCA, a healthcare company founded by the Frist family, only weeks before the corporation announced unsatisfactory quarter earnings. The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently looking into the matter to find if anything illegal was done.
The scandal and corruption extends beyond Republicans in Congress, however, reaching to the highest executive power in our nation, the Oval Office. Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove and Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Lewis Libby have both been implicated in a plot to take political revenge on former U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson by outing his wife, Valerie Plame, as an undercover CIA agent. Matters have been made even worse by the President’s seeming inconsistency regarding the actions of his staff members, first saying that he would terminate anyone involved in a crime, then saying he would terminate anyone indicted on charges, and finally saying that he would terminate anyone convicted of charges. The general impression seems to be that the President has no intention of quashing the dishonesty and perhaps even outright illegality that seems to flourish in his Administration.
This all comes as the President’s approval rating hovers around 40% and questions regarding his motives for the Iraq war grow louder and more persistent.


Blogger RightDemocrat said...

Dr. Bill Frist won a seat U.S. Senate seat from Tennesseee in 1994 by portraying himself as a compassionate physician. Once in office though, Senator Frist became an advocate for big medicine opposing legislation that would allow patients to sue HMO's and guarantee patient access to medical specialists. Many of Frist's original supporters were disappointed. A Washington Post article from October 4, 1999 quoted a doctor who supported Frist's first Senatorial campaign. Dr. Charles Handorf, a pathologist, was quoted as saying, "Dr. Frist has been a huge disappointment. We thought we knew what he was about. But it looks like he's stepped out of the tradition of patient advocate and become a pure politician." Despite the disenchantment of past supporters, Frist's pro-big business voting record won him many friends among the corporate lobbyists who welcomed his election as Republican Senate Majority Leader in 2002.

Frist has long insisted when asked about possible conflicts of interest with his "family" company that his HCA holdings were in a blind trust. Now Frist has been caught in a lie as it turns out that he did have detailed personal knowledge of the contents of the "blind" trust. Reuters reported that the SEC has subpoenaed Frist's records for a insider trading investigation. Frist recently dumped his shares in HCA, founded by his father and brother, just before lower company profit forecasts brought down the value of shares. The good doctor now may have the opportunity to use his medical skills in the federal prison medical clinic. At the very least, Frist should have the decency to step down as leader of his party although he does fit the ethical standards of corporate Republicanism very well. Under the circumstances, Frist can hardly represent the interests of his Tennessee constituents and it would be appropriate for him to surrender the U.S. Senate seat along with a public apology. In addition, to Frist's long-standing deception as his relationship with HCA, it should be noted that this "family" business has engaged in a pattern of fraudulent conduct. For documentation about HCA's history which includes Medicare and Medicaid fraud, check out this link http://tinyurl.com/bdbk7 and read about the unethical and criminal conduct of the Frist "family" business.

11:56 PM  

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