A Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy

Have you recently noticed, a whole bunch of GOP figures are being indicted, investigated or excoriated for various (alleged) wrongdoings? If you are the corporate media, the answer is yes, but if you're a conscientious, informed American citizen, the answer is no.

Call it an amazing coincidence, but it seems that the recent rash of GOP scandals come only after the president's approval rating dipped below 45% that these stories (almost all of which involving actions which happened before hurricane season) came to the forefront of our national media's attention. Personally, I blame the market–news directors seem to be scared to criticize a popular president, but as soon as they smell blood in the water, they feel they can let loose all the negative stories they've been ignoring.
Maybe I'm oversimplifying here. There's really only one way to look at these scandals, and that's individually (i.e., without making some sweeping broadside about one political party or another). Shall we?

<b>Bill Frist</b>

So he told his blind trust officers to sell shares of the HCI corporation in sufficient time to get rid of them before the stock price fell due to a lower-than-expected earnings report. Big deal! It's not like he could have had inside knowledge of the company's fortunes–it's not like HCI, which is basically a chain of for-profit hospitals, was founded by his father and run by his brother or something.

Oh, wait–it was founded by his father and is run by his brother. (And you wondered how the guy could get through medical school and get Terri Schiavo's diagnosis so wrong–it's the family business, he'd rather be a politician.) I'm often reminded of the ravings of some libertarian idiot who bitterly complained that insider trading is a victimless crime. I wonder if the people who bought that stock only to have it plummet in value think the same way about the benefits of opacity and cronyism in corporate governance.

<b>Tom DeLay</b>

What's interesting about DeLay's indictments is that nobody's disputing the facts of the case; the defense Tom himself offered on Fox News was, 1) it wasn't illegal, and 2) I had no idea this money-laundering was going on. He later went on to say that the people of Texas deserved a Republian state Congressional delegation (as well as the nation as a whole) and that he was only enforcing the will of the people in gerrymandering six new GOP districts. Asshole!

Some conservatives have defended DeLay and the GOP by pointing out that the Texas Democratic party had done the same thing in a smaller amount. This is an excellent point. Since Ronnie Earle has a long history of prosecuting defendants from both sides of the aisle (including, most astonishingly, <b>himself</b>), I say, indict the Democrats, too! Corporate money does not belong in politics. Send the nation a message. But don't, for a minute, decide that situational ethics make it OK for any party to launder money. More about campaign finance later.

Some ocmmenters have noted that Earle has been trying to bring this indictment for two years, and speculated that the only reason he was able to do so now was because one of DeLay's co-conspirators has flipped. Now that'll be a fascinating trial! I'm looking forward to it.

<b>Libby, Rove, and Judith Miller</b>

Let's be clear: I don't like Judith Miller. If I had my druthers, the Judith Miller story would be about how she pumped Chalabi's and the Administration's lies about Iraq into the public discourse under the cover of America's (formerly) most respected newspapers. As it stands, she's under indictment for refusing to reveal sources for a story she didn't even write. And I respect that particular part of her journalistic ethics.

But it kind of makes you wonder why she's talking now, as opposed to right after Scooter's contacting her in jail the first time. Why is it suddenly OK for her to sing on permission from her source? Something is rotten in Denmark.

<b>Michael Brown</b>

Still on the FEMA payroll as a consultant. All those people who were forecasting the death of Brownie's career don't understand how cronyism works in the Bush administration.

Briefly, about FEMA: the Bush administration's attitude towards government is nowhere more egregiously irresponsible than in their destruction of FEMA. Whereas before Katrina, you could have viewed it as a farce, it's now just a tragedy.
The fact that FEMA is in charge of distributing large wads of relief cash seems to this administration to be an invitation for top-down corruption, whether it's extralegal pork or cushy contracts to private security firms in post-flooding New Orleans (see this month's Nation for details about that one). There's a reason FEMA was staffed with campaign flunkies–it became a funnel for political favors to and from cronies while Bush demoted FEMA directorship and limited the agency's effectiveness in a self-fulfilling prophecy of government's inability to help people.

There's a more sinister problem with Bush's FEMA, and indeed, his approach to everything: the whole administration is gripped with this corporate attitude that PR is the only thing that matters, not actual performance. These are guys who are so image-conscious that they have no interest in actually doing their jobs as opposed to looking busy, whether it's waging war or providing emergency relief (and they would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for those lousy reporters and their dog). Instead of Federal Emergency Management, these guys are in the business of Managing Federal Emergencies.

<b>Karen Hughes</b>

Speaking of PR, this evil, stupid bitch is on a worldwide mission to prove Bin Laden right and drive more Muslims into terrorism. If only this wasn't totally in line with the administration's policies as a whole.

<b>GAO Finds Bush Propaganda Campaign Was Morally Wrong</b>

Shockingly, the GAO has concluded that although surreptitiously paying commentators to puch government propaganda is wrong, it doesn't deserve any punishment. I guess that's half the battle. Now let's see them apply this concept to the War on Drugs, who are constantly bribing the media to include anti-drug messages the way corporations bribe the media to include product placements.

<b>Bill Bennett</b>

Oh, Bill, if you really want to defend your remark that aborting all black babies would be an effective way to reduce crime as a <i>Ged


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