Monday, April 24, 2006

I thought I'd bring this back just for FYI since the rampant corruption in the Republican party shows no signs of abating, but the cockroaches have scurried away from the light. Prediction: over the summer, at least two more notable Republicans will go to jail or get convicted of corruption and election law violations.
One of the ongoing memes the republicans are desperately clinging to regarding DeLay and Jack Abramoff and their sleazy corrupt behavior is "democrats took money from Abramoff too" Howard Dean told Wolf Blitzer today in no uncertain terms that this is NOT TRUE. Here's a link to the interview (Scroll down the page a bit), but if you're on dialup , here's a transcript for you: (Emphasis ours)

BLITZER: Should Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, who has now pleaded guilty to bribery charges, among other charges, a Republican lobbyist in Washington, should the Democrat who took money from him give that money to charity or give it back?

DEAN: There are no Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, not one, not one single Democrat. Every person named in this scandal is a Republican. Every person under investigation is a Republican. Every person indicted is a Republican. This is a Republican finance scandal. There is no evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money. And we've looked through all of those FEC reports to make sure that's true.

BLITZER: But through various Abramoff-related organizations and outfits, a bunch of Democrats did take money that presumably originated with Jack Abramoff.

DEAN: That's not true either. There's no evidence for that either. There is no evidence...

BLITZER: What about Senator Byron Dorgan?

DEAN: Senator Byron Dorgan and some others took money from Indian tribes. They're not agents of Jack Abramoff. There's no evidence that I've seen that Jack Abramoff directed any contributions to Democrats. I know the Republican National Committee would like to get the Democrats involved in this. They're scared. They should be scared. They haven't told the truth. They have misled the American people. And now it appears they're stealing from Indian tribes. The Democrats are not involved in this.

BLITZER:[long Pause, and a sigh from Blitzer] Unfortunately Mr. Chairman, we got to leave it right there. Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic Party, always speaking out bluntly, candidly.

The palpable disappointment of Blitzers as he realized he had been misled by the republican media machine yet again was indicative of what we fight for here. Some kind of balance to the news, absent true impartiality, would be a breath of fresh air. Until then, we have to hope Howard Dean and others will continue to blow aside much of the smokescreen, even if only for a moment.
Right Wing Christian Soldier James Dobson weighs in:
James Dobson: "If the nation’s politicians don’t fix this national disaster, then the oceans of gambling money with which Jack Abramoff tried to buy influence on Capitol Hill will only be the beginning of the corruption we’ll see. Some religious leaders want new ethics rules for Congress, but that’s only a band-aid fix. Politicians need to root out this infection. Gambling – all types of gambling – is driven by greed and subsists on greed. That makes it morally bankrupt from its very foundation. Gambling creates addicts, breeds crime and destroys families. We need courageous office holders who will begin the process of shutting down lotteries, casinos and other gambling outlets."

Hey, Jim, tell that to former Christian Coalition Director Ralph Reed. When Ralph Reed was the boyish director of the Christian Coalition, he made opposition to gambling a major plank in his "family values" agenda, calling gambling "a cancer on the American body politic" that was "stealing food from the mouths of children." But in the course of the Abramoff- Delay gambling graft investigations, it appeared Ralph Reed received several million dollars from Abramoff to lobby on behalf of Abramoff gaming interests. Abramoff's guys knew that to win any lobbying campaign in the South, they needed help mobilizing social and religious conservatives. So they turned to one of the best-known names on the religious right: Ralph Reed. Since his departure as head of the Christian Coalition in 1997, Reed has emerged as a highly sought-after corporate consultant, putting his organizing skills and political connections to work for business interests -- even those that conflict with his followers' conservative beliefs.

On the casino issue, Scanlon's company, Capitol Campaign Strategies, paid Reed to help assemble anti-gambling coalitions in Louisiana and Texas. Among other things, those coalitions backed a lawsuit filed by Texas' attorney general that early in 2002 succeeded in shutting down two Texas casinos that posed competition to the Coushattas' highly lucrative operation.

Reed says he has not wavered from his anti-gambling convictions and points out that his company was paid by Scanlon's firm, not the tribe. "We have never been retained by a casino to serve their interests," he says. But antigambling activists say that argument doesn't wash. "When you get paid big money, it's got to be gambling money," says Tom Grey, a Methodist minister who runs the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling. "Ralph Reed with all his sophistication should have known where the money came from." ---from this article in Mother Jones magazine.

Reed was in charge of Bush's 2004 election campaign in the Southeast, including Florida. In 2000, he was paid almost $3.7 million for helping Bush. In 1995, when he was still exploiting intolerance and fear, Time did a story on him that included the cover line "The right hand of God." Right hand possibly, but Gods? No, someone else.


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