Blogressive January 10, 2005
Wishful thinking and Abramoff
Here's what a noise machine can do for you? They can turn indictments of the Republican Majority Leader and the conviction of a top Republican lobbyist into a scandal that affects both parties.
Here's how the delusional NewsMax "reported" on Abramoff's indictment:
"This morning's announcement that Washington super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff has reached a plea bargain deal with the Justice Department has reporters salivating over what they hint is going to be a Republican mega-scandal.
But it turns out that the most prominent player in Abramoff's web of influence was reportedly none other than the Senate's top Democrat, Harry Reid.
In a little-noticed story in November, The Associated Press revealed that Reid had accepted tens of thousands of dollars from an Abramoff client, the Coushatta Indian tribe, after interceding with Secretary of the Interior Gail Norton over a casino dispute with a rival tribe."
Aha! Harry Reid. "The most prominent player in Abramoff's web of influence." Brilliant.
The President himself aided the spin with an outright lie describing Abramoff as "an equal money dispenser."
If you say something often enough it will wiggle into the public stream.
So how much of Abramoff's money flowed to Dems? With the Democratic leadership playing such a prominent role in the "web of influence," it must be considerable. Wolf Blitzer, who inhabits the CNN's "Situation Room," didn't waste any time and took the question to DNC chair Howard Dean:
"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."
For those scoring at home, here's a simple summary of the Abramoff scandal, so far:
"Abramoff reportedly used a personal credit card to pay for plane tickets for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), and may also have paid for a golfing trip for Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) that was purportedly sponsored by a nonprofit organization. These payments for junkets for DeLay and Ney were apparent violations of House ethics rules and were apparently not accurately reported in their House ethics filings -- a far cry from the legal, and appropriately reported, campaign contributions news organizations have lumped them in with. As The Christian Science Monitor reported on January 4, 'not everyone who ever took Abramoff-related money or perks is guilty of wrongdoing.' "
Or in even simpler terms:
"Between 2001 and 2004, Abramoff gave more than $127,000 to Republican candidates and committees and nothing to Democrats, federal records show. At the same time, his Indian clients were the only ones among the top 10 tribal donors in the U.S. to donate more money to Republicans than Democrats."
Still too complicated? Here it is in simpler Sesame Street terms: Today's scandal is brought to you by the letter "R."
Blogettes Fragments from headlines and blogs you may have missed
The hottest topic in the progressive blogosphere.
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"Cox, 33, began writing Wonkette two years ago and quickly became a must-read for Washington's political and media wonktocracy, working the gig into national prominence, television appearances and an inevitable roman a clef 'blovel.' Mentioned in just about every media outlet possible (and featured on the cover of the New York Times Magazine at the height of the 2004 election), she blogged profanely, hysterically, ironically -- sometimes all at once."
Hugh Thompson, Jr.
"Mr. Thompson and his crew came upon US troops killing civilians at the village of My Lai on 16 March 1968. He put his helicopter down between the soldiers and villagers, ordering his men to shoot their fellow Americans if they attacked the civilians. 'There was no way I could turn my back on them,' he later said of the victims. Mr Thompson, a warrant officer at the time, called in support from other US helicopters, and together they airlifted at least nine Vietnamese civilians - including a wounded boy - to safety."
Galloway joins Dennis Rodman, others on UK Big Brother show. "Still, what was Gorgeous George thinking when he decided to venture into reality TV? The parliamentarian who gave the US Senate committee an eloquent run for its money last summer after being accused of profiting from the UN oil-for-food programme for Iraq, will be eating and sleeping with people unlikely to be interested in political discourse of whatever kind. Of course, that’s just what George is banking on."
If the walls had ears... well, actually... "A new handheld radar scope from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) can provide troops with an ability that was formerly the province of science fictional superheroes alone—the ability to sense through up to 12 inches of concrete whether someone is in the next room. The Radar Scope is expected to be in use in Iraq by spring of this year, according to DARPA's Edward Baranoski. Weighing just 1.5 pounds, the device is about the size of a telephone handset and will cost about $1,000. Waterproof and rugged, it runs on AA batteries. Held up to a wall, users will be able to sense movements as small as breathing up to fifty feet into the next room."
Bush team rounding up Abramoff photos. "Bracing for the worst, Administration officials obtained from the Secret Service a list of all the times Abramoff entered the White House complex, and they scrambled to determine the reason for each visit, TIME reports. Abramoff attended Hanukkah and holiday events at the White House, according to an aide who has seen the list. Press Secretary Scott McClellan said Abramoff might have attended large gatherings with Bush but added, 'The President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him.' ”
Source: time.com via rawstory.com
Good news for incumbent: Ted Nugent may run for Governor. Bad news for residents of Michigan, sane people: Ted Nugent may run for Governor. "The average person who qualifies under the poverty level in America has [bleep]ing cell phones! And Tommy Hilfiger clothes! And bling-bling! I've seen them ... gold and jewelry and crack and meth! This is poverty? A topless grandmother in a sofa surrounded by dog feces? If you're poor, you can't have a dog! You start by eating the [bleep]ing pets! Am I out of my mind?" Ahem.
Checking one of these books out is bound to get you a special Patriot Act folder. "Brown University's library boasts an unusual anatomy book. Tanned and polished to a smooth golden brown, its cover looks and feels no different from any other fine leather. But here's its secret: the book is bound in human skin. A number of prestigious libraries -- including Harvard University's -- have such books in their collections. While the idea of making leather from human skin seems bizarre and cruel today, it was not uncommon in centuries past, said Laura Hartman, a rare book cataloger at the National Library of Medicine in Maryland and author of a paper on the subject."
Gore wins Florida. Again. From Florida State professor Lance deHaven-Smith, author a new book on the 2000 election: "During the election controversy, most observers acknowledged that more voters had gone to the polls to vote for Gore than for Bush, but it was unclear whether Gore had actually received more legally valid votes. We now know that he did. Today, this would be widely recognized if NORC had published a report on its findings, but instead it chose simply to release the data and let everyone make sense of it on their own. My assumption is that NORC and the research sponsors did not issue a report because they did not want to embarrass President Bush. The study was concluded just after 9-11-01."
Inventors of the arch reject golden arches. Dozens and dozens of panini served. "After a five-year battle, the fast-food giant McDonald’s has retreated from a southern Italian town, defeated by the sheer wholesomeness of a local baker’s bread. The closure of McDonald’s in Altamura, Apulia, was hailed yesterday as a victory for European cuisine against globalised fast food. Luigi Digesù, the baker, said that he had not set out to force McDonald’s to close down in any 'bellicose spirit' He had merely offered the 65,000 residents tasty filled panini — bread rolls — which they overwhelmingly preferred to hamburgers and chicken nuggets. 'It is a question of free choice,' Signor Digesù said."
Voting Bush off the island. "IF TV's 'Survivor' were cast with headline-hogging celebrities, whom would Americans vote off first? Paris Hilton, of course! Parade magazine's annual celebrity poll found 35 percent of its readers would send the overprivileged heiress packing, followed by President Bush with 33 percent, Tom Cruise with 12 percent, Britney Spears with 9 percent and Jessica Simpson with 7 percent."
Chips in our hands. "Forgetting computer passwords is an everyday source of frustration, but a solution may literally be at hand -- in the form of computer chip implants... The computer chips, which cost about $2, interact with a device installed in computers and other electronics. The chips are activated when they come within 3 inches of a so-called reader, which scans the data on the chips. The 'reader' devices are available for as little as $50."
Thanks to ministers, Alito's hot seat is now a blessed and oily hot seat. "Insisting that God 'certainly needs to be involved' in the Supreme Court confirmation process, three Christian ministers today blessed the doors of the hearing room where Senate Judiciary Committee members will begin considering the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito on Monday. Capitol Hill police barred them from entering the room to continue what they called a consecration service. But in a bit of one-upsmanship, the three announced that they had let themselves in a day earlier, touching holy oil to the seats where Judge Alito, the senators, witnesses, Senate staffers and the press will sit, and praying for each of the 13 committee members by name. 'We did adequately apply oil to all the seats,' said the Rev. Rob Schenck, who identified himself as an evangelical Christian and as president of the National Clergy Council in Washington."