A golf outing in Scotland - that's Abramoff on the left, Reed front middle and on the right former Rep. Bob Ney* who got scooped up in the mess.
Remember when they fought the law and the law won? Sadly, it broke up their little family and there were some squabbles. Such good times.
They were quite a pair back in the day . . . these two darlings of the Christian Right and AIPAC ran a brilliant coordinated con (with a little help from Tom DeLay). Dueling, dancing lobbyists playing each others’ casino clients one against the other, working from a script they developed in advance. All the while, Reed was wearing a flag and carrying a cross. It was highly profitable – bags of that money got funnelled into Mr. DeLay’s favorite ’causes’. (Plus Jack and Tom had some good times in the Marianas Islands making sure near slave labor conditions went uninterrupted because there was money to be made there too. )
Abramoff went to jail – I can hardly remember what for – but angel-faced Ralph got off still squeaky clean with his shoes shined. As for Tom, who cares any more.
Because Abramoff’s story sucked up all the oxygen, Ralph managed to lay low till everyone forgot what a little worm he was, so he’s now been allowed back into the club. He recently organized a Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference (these conferences always have the flag/cross thing in the name) and got all the kewl kids to come. Richard Land, head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Church, was one of them.
Land spoke kindly of his friend. And he undertook to deflect any attempts to stain the good name of his friend and fellow Christian by saying:
“Most evangelicals who know about it view Ralph as a victim and that he was victimized by Abramoff like so many others,” Land said adding, “Conservatives don’t have any problem with people making money.”
That’s what the man said. And Reed stood there beaming.
*Ney resigned Congress in disgrace and went to jail. When I started this blog, for some reason he commented here and we had a brief correspondence. He’d sobered up in jail, expressed genuine remorse and put his life in order. He seems to be an okay guy. So good for him.
Posted in Civics, Current Events, elections, Politics, religion
Tagged Bob Ney, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Jack Abramoff, Mariana Islands, Politics, Ralph Reed, religion, Richard Land, Southern Baptist Convention, Tom Delay
A NOTE AFTER THE FACT: My post below fails to note that this Wisconsin fight isn’t capital vs. labor. It’s different in that the private sector isn’t involved. But the sentiment doesn’t change – there’s been an assault on labor (you and me!) for decades.
I see Wisconsin* State Democratic legislators have taken to the road to prevent a quorum vote on a budget cutting bill because if they stayed in the State they could be legally compelled to attend a session. So they’ve removed themselves from the jurisdiction, It’s all over the news; here is a good place to keep up on it – from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Those ladies and gents in Madison are following in the footsteps of giants. In the footsteps of Texans, that is.
May, 2003. Memories . . .
“With action in the Texas House brought to a standstill, roughly 50 state Democratic representatives said they would remain in neighboring Oklahoma “as long as it takes” to block a Republican-drawn redistricting plan that could cost them five seats in Congress. “There’s 51 of us here today, and a quorum of the Texas House of Representatives will not meet without us,” said state Rep. Jim Dunnam.
The 2003 Texas stampede to Oklahoma inspired Mr. Thomas Delay himself to exert a little unlawful pressure on State authorities to travel over those state lines. Which was bad. Bad, bad, bad, even though those miscreant lawmakers (who’d found themselves a nice motel with a good pool table as I recall) had surely annoyed Mr. Delay, he probably wishes he hadn’t done it. Because that was one of the things for which Mr. Delay was investigated and indicted. Ah, hubris.)
Good times. Who says politics is dull?
* ALSO: It would be interesting if this centuries old capital/labor battle were to be fought on the home ground of the last century’s greatest progressive, Robert LaFollette. These guys forget that the ‘right to collective bargaining’ was established after much blood had been spilled, and the parties realized that talking was better than shooting.
(The tension of course never went entirely away and there has always been a faction that would destroy ‘labor’ – actually they want the laborers, they just don’t want uppity folk looking over their shoulders to see if safety is being observed or if wages are fair.)
DeLay Blames Liberal Jury For Conviction
I remember when he claimed he was being targeted by a liberal prosecutor for political reasons. (Video at the link.)
Maybe he’d have gotten a better shake beyond our shores – like in the Marianas Islands, where he is much beloved.
Tom Delay is headed for the big house. His sins were many but they got him on fraud, specifically because he “conspired to launder $190,000 of corporate money into campaign donations during the 2002 election by funneling it through the Republican National Committee. Texas law forbids corporate donations to candidates.”
During the Jack Abramoff scandals, we all learned the shameful details of Mr. Delay’s political life. His worst sin was cruelty; aiding and abetting slave labor in the Mariana Islands on behalf of campaign contributors. He’s scum.
Dave at The Conservative Lie gives us the definitive history of this man’s sordid history.
From the post:
“DeLay himself was the recipient of several “free” trips paid for by the notorious lobbyist. One such trip was to the US territory of the Northern Mariana Islands. DeLay and his family enjoyed some golf and some diving, while immigrant workers, predominately from Asia, slaved away in squalid conditions on the island to make clothes bearing the “Made in USA” label for companies like Gap and Liz Claiborne for about half of US minimum wage. Workers there enjoy living behind barbed wire in shacks without running water, 12 hour work days 7 days a week and forced abortions. After the trip, the Hammerdeclared the working conditions in the Marianas “A shining light for what is happening to the Republican Party,” and “everything that is good about what we are trying to do in America and leading the world in the free-market system . . . ”
Tom DeLay convicted. By a jury of his peers under the American system of law. Bet he’s glad he got his turn on Dancing with the Stars before heading to the pokey.
Money laundering. (Tom was reinvesting national Republican money into local races in TX is my memory.)
Big time blogger Atrios at Eschaton often charges his readers to ‘document the atrocities’ - which are what the Sunday morning news shows have become. And indeed there were atrocities aplenty this morning.
The very image of dignity
But none approached the sheer embarrassment of CNN’s Candy Crowley inviting the disgraced and indicted former GOP Minority Whip of the US House of Representatives, Tom Delay, whose recent turn on Dancing With the Stars was another national embarrassment, (isn’t he just the gift that keeps on giving?) to discuss the Tea Party movement.
Since there are only 535 serving members of Congress as yet unindicted, I can certainly understand why she had to turn to the ex-Rep with a felony indictment on his resume. I guess she couldn’t get Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham or Bob Ney. Oh yeah, they’re already in jail.
Candy Crowley wins this week’s atrocity award. And she’s probably a good candidate for many more wins going forward.
I hope to come back later today to heap praise on CBS Face the Nation. Bob Schieffer gets it. But there is a pressing need to go visit the unnaturally old person.
So until then, let’s all remember that today is the 149th day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.
UPDATE: A comment (below) from actual former Congressman Bob Ney advises me he is no longer in jail and served his sentence. He was released in ’08 and now has a radio show. Had I read all the way through his Wikipedia entry, I would have known that. I apologize to Congressman Ney.