Patriotic Pork: Give Me That Old-Time Corruption

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From the Chicago Tribune: How Hastert benefited from sale: Planned highway could sweeten asset near Plano.

Excerpt:…a real estate transaction in Kendall County last December left House Speaker Dennis Hastert with a seven-figure profit and in prime position to reap further benefits as the exurban region west of Chicago continues its prairie-fire growth boosted by a Hastert-backed federally funded proposed highway…

Now this is the kind of political corruption we like here at Empire Burlesque! This is good old-fashioned, down-home graft just like Mother used to make when she ran Tammany Hall. There’s none of your fancy-shmancy, money-laundering, torturous transactions through cut-outs, front groups, PACs, pals, former aides, off-shore islands and what have you, like you get with your Tom DeLays and your Jack Abramoffs and your Duke Cunninghams. No sir, with Big Denny Hastert, it’s all up front, just like his prodigious belly: "We gonna build this highway I pushed through right near this land I done bought and, son, we gonna make ourselves a great big pile." That’s the American way!

Despite his exalted position in the Washington firmament, Hastert has always had the air of some local pol using prisoners from the county jail to blacktop his driveway or pulling strings with the planning commission to get an industrial park built on his father-in-law’s land. No doubt there are more sophisticated and sinister shadings to this Capitol rotundity, else he could not have come so far — a mere two heartbeats from the presidency. In fact, if Sibel Edmonds — the fired FBI translator and whistleblower long muffled by the Bush Regime’s sovietsky application of the "state secrets act" — is ever allowed to tell her story, good ole Denny might find himself reaping the healthy benefits of the Leavenworth Diet for a certain number of years.

But for the moment, let’s not mar this hymn of patriotic praise with such dark musings. For Denny’s greasy land deal takes us back to a more innocent time, an earlier, more rawboned America, where political corruption meant a few sticky-fingered hacks trying to make hay while the sun shines — not a vicious, relentless, all-pervasive program to overthrow Constitutional government and institute a militarist regime based on endless war, torture, concentration camps, "extrajudicial killing," state terrorism, state secrecy, and autocratic rule by a "unitary executive" beyond the reach of law.

God Almighty, wouldn’t be great if the main thing we had to worry about was just some Congressional chancer making mischief with the highway program?

Chris Floyd [send him mail], Global Eye columnist for the Moscow Times, is the author of Empire Burlesque: The Secret History of the Bush Regime.

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