Repubs Gone Wild
It never eases to amaze me how members of the law and order party manage to evade the consequences of their actions, unlike all of the rest of us. Beginning with former Congressman Bill Janklow attempting to pass the financial punishment for his negligent driving which resulted in the death of Randy Scott almost exactly a year ago, [Janklow should be very glad these guys aren't his constituents!], we have a whole host of very recent examples of irresponsible elitist Republican misbehavior to present.
State Sen. Tommy Robertson (R-Moss Point), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, on Monday was found guilty of driving under the influence in Lafayette County Justice Court. The DUI conviction is not Robertson's first. In 1997, he pleaded guilty to DUI in Biloxi.
Defense attorney Dwight Ball also argued the case should have been dismissed because officers did not let Robertson perform the walk and turn test or stand on one leg test at the scene of the accident.
That argument would sure work if I tried it, wouldn't it? At least he hasn't killed anyone like Janklow has.
Republican U.S. Rep. John Hostettler pleaded guilty and agreed to a suspended 60-day jail sentence on Tuesday for having a loaded handgun in his luggage at the Louisville, Kentucky, airport. His Glock pistol was confiscated, and his permit to carry a gun will not apply in Kentucky during the two-year period. He also cannot purchase a gun outside of his home state of Indiana or Washington, D.C., during the period, a spokesman for the court said.
Prosecutors, in researching the misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon, found the penalty Hostettler faces at his Aug. 23 sentencing was comparable to similar cases.
What? No unlimited stay at Guantanamo Bay under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act like us mere mortals would get? The injustice of it all!
John O’Connor, 34, a Fallon Republican, was arrested last Thursday by a Fallon/Churchill County and state police narcotics task force on suspicion of selling 11.7 grams — about four-tenths of an ounce — of marijuana to an undercover officer last December. In his first bid for office, O’Connor is challenging Sen. Mike McGinness in the Republican primary in the Central Nevada District. McGinness has held the seat since 1992.
“It was a bad day for politicians,” said John Drew, a state police lieutenant in charge of the Fallon/Churchill County narcotics task force. Drew said O’Connor’s arrest was delayed since December because “we had some other ongoing investigations we did not want to jeopardize.” If convicted, Drew said O’Connor could be sentenced from one to six years in prison. But he said the sentence could be suspended after a successful probation.
I admit this next guy is NOT a Republican, but he sets up the next item so well!
Linwood E. Tracy Jr., of Fallon, an Independent American candidate in Assembly District 35, was indicted last Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges of intimidating and threatening government officials investigating a Washoe County employee suspected of income tax evasion.
In the federal indictment, Tracy and Ruth Irene Gillings, a clerk in the Washoe County marriage license bureau since 1991, are accused of attempting to intimidate a federal Internal Revenue Service agent trying to collect back taxes from Gillings. A second count is for threatening Washoe County controller employees in an attempt to remove a federal garnishment for Gillings’ back taxes.
Tracy said Gillings does not believe in paying federal income taxes on religious grounds. And he said he doesn’t believe in paying taxes either.
Well, as the Misbehaver-in-Chief just said: Really Rich People Cheat On Their Taxes, so this must be a valid Republican argument!
Now, now! Certainly the Democrats are capable of criminal activity just as Republicans are, and you wrong-wingers are all welcome to whack Bill Clinton's penis one more time if that's how you get your jollies, but I am focussing on Republicans at this time because of their party stance on what fine moral and ethical people they are - just like this guy:
Trent Franks is no fiscal conservative. And he's the worst kind of Christian.
Joseph Stedino, the Cadillac-size Mafioso, shoved wads of cash toward Bobby Raymond, a state legislator who looked like an altar boy holding a collection plate. Stedino bribed the politician to secure off-reservation, goombah-style gambling in Arizona. Public servant Raymond promised action and plenty of it. To establish street cred with the gangster, the legislator eschewed his oh-my-gosh appearance in favor of a little omertà aftershave: "I do deals," said Raymond. "I don't give a fuck about issues. There is not an issue in this world that I give a shit about."
What Would Jesus Say?????
Arizona Congressman Trent Franks took a $500 contribution from Raymond last summer. Bobby Raymond still did deals. And Congressman Franks, a vociferous Christian fundamentalist and self-professed fiscal conservative, is so broke he shamelessly took cash from a known felon busted for political corruption. First, this is not a case of mistaken identity. Congressman Franks knows who Bobby Raymond is; hell, everyone knows who Bobby Raymond is. But Congressman Franks especially knows who Bobby Raymond is because they ran against each other back in the day for a House seat in District 18 with the soon-to-be felon winning by 200 votes. Second, this is not a case of deep political corruption. Far from it. Congressman Franks is like one of those buffoons you stumble across in the back chapters of a Mark Twain novel. With broken fedora, busted brogans, and torn jacket, our hero cannot sell enough medicinal elixir to stay solvent. He is so inept with money that he is sober against his will. Someone else will have to buy the next round. When he ran for Congress in 2002, Franks promised never to take money from Political Action Committees because he claimed the lobbyists who fund PACs wanted favors for their checks. But if Franks is so desperate that he vacuumed cash from the guilty and incarcerated, perhaps you won't be shocked to learn that the Congressman has gone back on his word and these days inhales PAC donations like Mississippi River riff-raff heedlessly gorging on a slops bucket.
The Congressman's sleaze with PAC funding and campaign finance is aggravated by two remarkable priors: First, he needs the special interest money to satisfy personal debt; second, his inner circle is, and always was, tainted by the three stooges of Arizona political ethics -- Evan Mecham, Charles Keating and J. Fife Symington III. [All of whom were staunch McCain supporters by the way - ed]
Franks didn't return repeated phone calls seeking comment. But his record speaks for itself. Nearly two decades of public life rattle with back taxes due, tax liens, lawsuits, judgments, car repossession, expired auto tags and federal fines. For much of this period, he nickel-and-dimed taxpayers until you could picture him wandering around church picnics with a Post-it note on his forehead that read: "Deadbeat."
If Congressman Trent Franks was your brother-in-law, you would fire your sister.
But he's not some shirt-tail relative with a series of get-rich scams. He has moved from working oil and gas leases to serious debt on the public dole.
Franks moved to Arizona and ran for office one step ahead of the law.
In 1984, the same year he won his first and only seat in the statehouse, a Texas judge ruled that Franks and his brother owed Halliburton industries -- yes, Vice President Dick Cheney's Halliburton -- nearly $30,000 in principal, interest and attorneys' fees.
Five years later, the lawyers were still chasing Franks for the money. In 1989, the parties finally settled. Terms of the settlement remained confidential.
Throughout the '80s and into the '90s, fiscal conservative Trent Franks pushed a new tax theory: If you are short of cash, don't pay the government. He cavalierly ignored his taxes -- and notices to pay back taxes -- forcing the government, federal and state, to impose liens. The nine penalties ran from a substantive personal lien by the feds for nearly five grand, to the picayune of several hundreds. Large and small, he was behind on all before he was eventually forced to make good.
Not much changed when Franks was elected to Congress in 2002. Last year the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) fined him $4,200 for election fund-raising violations because of lax reporting and recordkeeping.
Franks' treasury burst with money from the likes of Raytheon, Boeing, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, Northrop Grumman, and others with federal contracts and a kinship for legislators who sit on the House Armed Services Committee.
One military constituency that has not contributed significantly to Franks is armed services veterans. Although they are organized into groups like the American Legion, veterans' groups' bylaws generally forbid PAC donations.
On March 21, 2003, two days after American troops invaded Iraq, Franks voted to slash veterans' benefits by $28 billion.
Congressman Trent Franks clutches a Bible to his breast as justification for holding office the way that a swashbuckler uses a parrot as part of the get-up.
Franks' loud Christianity prompts him to challenge laws separating church and state. He is insistent that prayer, Christian prayer, specifically, must be reinserted into the classroom. More alarmingly, he supports a pro-life stance that is breathtaking in its virulence.
Here is an example of what I am talking about:
In his first bid for Congress in District 2, he distributed a faith-based tape to selected households. The film carried a note from the candidate's wife who wrote that Franks' "deep Christian faith and courage have always sustained our family."
The video featured a speaker from Mission Media.
Mission Media is interesting on a number of fronts. Based not in Arizona but in Idaho, records at the Secretary of State's office in Boise show that it is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation that, amongst other things, makes religious videos about missionary work.
In 2002, the Franks campaign paid Mission Media $3,000. In the campaign video, Mission Media's board officer, Michael Boerner, appeared urging viewers to vote for Franks.
Yet the articles of incorporation state clearly that as a 501(c)(3), the business "shall not participate in statements, any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office."
Mission Media apparently violated both the spirit and the letter of the law. On July 7, 2003, Mission Media was administratively dissolved by the state of Idaho "for failure to file the required annual report . . ."
Though reinstated this year, the company and the Franks video are a stark reminder of what happens when church, state and demagoguery mix. After September 11, 2001, I think decency ought to compel religious zealots to loosen the grip upon public microphones, legislative ballots and incendiary rhetoric.
How Would Jesus Vote?
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