We’re the only winners. The players don’t stand a chance.

There’s nothing like hiring arsonists to burn the house down, issuing fire extinguishers, then identifying yourself as innocent bystanders.
An Appeal from Center-Right Bloggers

The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.

We are not naive about lobbying, and we know it can and has in fact advanced crucial issues and has often served to inform rather than simply influence Members.

Lets translate that into plain English: Now that Jack Abramoff has been caught and Tom Delay’s fat is in the fire we’ve decided that while corruption and infuence peddling has worked in the past and we’ve supported it with our blog propaganda by blowing smoke up the a*s of any reader willing to visit our sites; now that buying legislation thing is so 05′ we’ve decided we’re against it. On our way further down to the murky bottom of ethics in politics, we the center-right bloggers will try and drag as many Democrats as we can down with us because we haven’t discovered ethics really, we’ve just been caught being hypocrites and appologists, and we’re going to make them suffer too.

A note before we continue, I’ve read most of these “center-right” blogs and with a couple of exceptions they’re more far right then center. If they consider themselves the center then American political thought has shifted closer to Alfredo Rocco then Thomas Jefferson.

Back to the corruption issue which is obviously also an issue of ethics. No doubt there is too much money in politics as a tool of influence and lobbyists are the UPS of political money. To solve the problem you have to get out of denial mode and look it straight on, this post by Captains Quarters captures the tone of the far right, he blame shifts to
Democrats.

The Democrats intend on using the ongoing scandal surrounding Jack Abramoff as a way to talk about the supposed “culture of corruption” surrounding the GOP, and have referenced the disgraced lobbyist’s donation lists to exploit the catchphrase, “[Republican] knew Jack”. Well, according to CapitalEye, a whole lot of people knew Jack, and not just Republicans. CQ reader John K sends the link tonight with the list of Democrats to which Abramoff’s attention was given.

What a clever little smear, he suggests without saying it, giving himself some denibility later, that Democrats got money from Jack too. He even refers readers to a chart on a non-partisan web site. The Captain begs the question, should he be steering the boat since he can”t read a chart. Further he adds that Republicans didn’t take the money because they’re corrupt, but because they have more political power, so let’s not drag ethics into the discussion.

That follows from the fact that the GOP controls more power, and has since the midpoint of Clinton’s first term

Media Matters can read a chart (CRP is where the Captains chart was from):

Media Matters for America search of the Center for Responsive Politics database of campaign contributions did not find any contributions from Abramoff to Democrats or Democratic leadership political action committees.

Yes some Democrats have received money from people that were also Jack Abramoff clients, like the Indian tribes, that is not in and of itself illegal. If taking money from the tribes is the same as taking money from Jack, then the scandal reaches out even deeper in Republican waters. For the sake of appearances I suppose, some Democrats are returning their tribal donations….Democrat Returning Donations From Abramoff’s Tribal Clients

Tribal clients of Jack Abramoff’s firm include Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana, Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, Pueblo of Sandia, Pueblo of Santa Clara, and Tigua Indian Reservation.

Abramoff himself did not donate a penny of his personal money to Democrats, so far as we can tell. So it’d be accurate to say that “Abramoff’s associates and tribal clients” gave to Dems.

Some of the “Abramoff-related” money linked to Dems comes from Greenberg Traurig’s political action committee. Greenberg is a huge bipartisan legal/lobby firm. It regularly gives money to members of both parties.

Lobbyist Abramoff’s `Equal Money’ Went Mostly to Republicans

U.S. President George W. Bush calls indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff “an equal money dispenser” who helped politicians of both parties. Campaign donation records show Republicans were a lot more equal than Democrats.

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.

Bush’s comment about Abramoff in a Dec. 14 Fox News interview was aimed at countering Democratic accusations that Republicans have brought a “culture of corruption” to Washington. Even so, the numbers show that “Abramoff’s big connections were with the Republicans,” said Larry Noble, the former top lawyer for the Federal Election Commission, who directs the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.

If Bush cleared brush as often as he lies his fake ranch would be a barren waste land by now.

Between 2001 and 2004, Abramoff joined with his former partner, Michael Scanlon, and tribal clients to give money to a third of the members of Congress, including former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, according to records of the Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service. At least 171 lawmakers got $1.4 million in campaign donations from the group. Republicans took in most of the money, with 110 lawmakers getting $942,275, or 66 percent of the total.

What makes the Republican/ Abramoff scandal so important is the quid pro quo involved but leave it to a blogger on the An Appeal from Center-Right Bloggers.
list to minimize the depth and level of payoffs:AssRocket at Powerline wrote , How Much Smoke, How Much Fire?

How much information Abramoff actually has remains to be seen. The information that was filed yesterday, which can be accessed here, seems surprisingly thin. It deals mostly with allegations that Abramoff defrauded clients, principally Indian tribes, by paying fees to vendors secretly controlled by him. Again, bad news for Abramoff, but of little public interest.

AssRocket thinks there is little interest by the general public that in a democracy based on one man one vote representation that buying legislative and administration favors goes all the way to the Senate and the POTUS…..Controversial lobbyist had close contact with Bush team

WASHINGTON (AP) – In President Bush’s first 10 months, GOP fundraiser Jack Abramoff and his lobbying team logged nearly 200 contacts with the new administration as they pressed for friendly hires at federal agencies and sought to keep the Northern Mariana Islands exempt from the minimum wage and other laws, records show.

Can you trust right-wing bloggers that either do not understand the issues over the NSA scandal or are obfuscating the issue. No Wisdom doesn’t get it, The Anchoress has just made up her own version of the NSA controversy opting to deal with a strawman( she is of the we’re all gonna die if we don’t let Bush break the law school of propaganda). I’m only linking to two, they all pretty much use the same head in the sand talking points. Bush is wrong to violate the very accomodating FISA law for domestic eavesdropping. Bushbunny does not have that power as POTUS or as CIC. There’s a very fundamental issue underling what’s at stake; do we want to continue to live in a democracy with the checks and balances of the three branches of government or do we want a ruler who is above the law…I covered this topic here
and here, and Unclaimed Territory has covered the legal and ethical questions at issue, here, Mark Schmitt here,, and legal scholars here

It turns out that Bush was may have been doing warrantless domestic spying before 9-11, so the events of 9-11 would suggest that breaking the law to protect America is nothing more then ass whistling…..Bush Authorized Domestic Spying Before 9/11

The National Security Agency advised President Bush in early 2001 that it had been eavesdropping on Americans during the course of its work monitoring suspected terrorists and foreigners believed to have ties to terrorist groups, according to a declassified document.

The NSA’s vast data-mining activities began shortly after Bush was sworn in as president and the document contradicts his assertion that the 9/11 attacks prompted him to take the unprecedented step of signing a secret executive order authorizing the NSA to monitor a select number of American citizens thought to have ties to terrorist groups.

ACE (V.O.)
We’re the only winners. The players
don’t stand a chance. And their cash
flows from the tables to our boxes
…through the cage and into the
most sacred room in the casino …the
place where they add up all the money
…the holy of holies …the count
room.

He opens the door. We see inside the count room from NANCE’S
point of view.

It looks like the area behind a teller’s cage in a bank. A
large room, windowless, decor-free. One side is a mesh cage,
opened to reveal stacks of cash boxes. Several COUNTERS in
white shirts are gathered around a glass table counting and
sorting paper money.)

ACE (V.O.)
Now this place was off limits.

COUNTER #1
Verify two thousand.

ACE (V.O.)
Even I couldn’t get inside, but it
was my job to keep it filled with
cash. That’s for sure.

NICKY (V.O.)
They had so much fuckin’ money in
there, you could build a house out
of stacks of $100 bills. And the
best part was that upstairs, the
board of directors didn’t know what
the fuck was going on.

From the film CASINO, screenplay by Nicholas Pileggi