Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Mr. Abramoff, do you know what the term "rat" means?

I'm sure you've all seen the movie Goodfellas. (And if you haven't, welcome to America!) Well, ladies and gentleman, I give you Henry Hill, the goverment version: Mr. Jack "The Rat" Abramoff.

Hey, Tommy, howya doin?

Washington is abuzz. Can you feel it in the air? The smirking and eye-rolling and cynicism games are in full swing. For yesterday, mercenary conservative lobbyist Abramoff
pleaded guilty to various charges of corruption. He'll get a lighter punishment for testifying against all the Congressman he bribed with trips, campaign money, and other perks in exchange for their support on the issues Abramoff lobbied for, which was a wide variety of things. He also paid certain newspaper columnists to espouse specific opinions on certain subjects that he favored.

Republican Bob Ney is the only Congressman named so far as having taken bribes from Abramoff, you can be sure there's more to come, including Democrat Harry Reid and that bastion of freedom and democracy, Tom DeLay. Surprised? Boy, that Tom DeLay sure does things the right way, doesn't he? The man who has been arrested - not accused, not investigated, but arrested, by the police - for money laundering. I say, a plague on all their houses. All this corruption has to stop.

Hey, Tommy, howya doin?

But all that said, Abramoff might be the shadiest of them all. Not only did he do all this corrupt stuff, but now he's ratting out his friends to save his own miserable sorry hide. Just like that pathetic rat Henry Hill in Goodfellas (who is
a real guy, as you know).

Like they say in Goodfellas, "people call them rats because they'll do anything to survive." Abramoff knows what "rat" means. He actually quoted The Godfather in business meetings and had underworld ties! Is this guy nuts or what? It's cool when this stuff is on a TV show, but not when these people are making selfish decisions that affect the lives of every man, woman, and child in the country.

Get him out of here. Him and all his other friends. They're just like the mob, only worse, because they can mess with 300 million people, instead of just 3,000 or whatever. This is a huge scandal, and maybe Abramoff's finking will help bring all this dirty laundry out. But still, he's a dirty, self-interested rat. Is anyone a straight shooter in Washington anymore?

Cue smirks and eye rolls.


ombudsman said...

Howard Dean claims that the DNC has checked FEC filings, and that not one democrat, directly or indirectly, has received money from Abramoff. I tend to believe this since most articles I've seen alleging Democrat involvement are either poorly sourced or manipulated intentionally. Take the Harry Reid allegation by The Conservative Voice that you posted as an example. It cites the following: "In November, the Associated Press reported that Reid had receive “tens of thousands of dollars” from Abramoff client the Coushatta Indian tribe." It implies that this is proof that Reid received money from Abramoff, but really it is a subtle twisting of words and facts. Reid may have received money from a tribe which happens to be Abramoff client, however, that is vastly different from receiving money channeled through Abramoff himself. The difference, of course, is that Abramoff was doing his work illegaly, essentialy stealing from tribes and lying about it later. The fact that Reid received money from a tribe through other legal avenues is not noble, but it is standard-issue washington lobbying. And it is legal. It's not surprising that Republicans would try to drag Dems through the mud with them via the conservative media echo-chamber, but what is surprising is that mainstream media, for whatever reason, continues to give these falsehoods credence. Scott, you used to be a journalist, is everyone in the profession really that lazy?

MSH said...

First of all, I'm still a journalist! Of sorts.

Second, media is like anything else - there are lazy people in all walks of life. And yes, the "mainstream media" can be lazy, especially with so much info so readily available.

Third, I think many media are simply being careful to mention (without impuning) members of both parties in the article so as to be as balanced as possible. Reid may not be a direct beneficiary, but his name has been linked. Same for others. We'll see where the chips fall for real after the investigations, trial, etc.

Finally, media members in both parties (more blantantly on the right side, contrary to the constant claim of "the liberal media") have and always will distort facts to advance their own political agenda, as you know. That's just the nature of the beast in today's polarized climate.

So long story short, yes some of the media is lazy, but more than that they're biased, and the real stuff will come out in the wash of the trial.

ombudsman said...

I guess it's just depressing that the journalistic ideal has become 2-party balance, and not a strict reportage of facts.

Yes, Reid's name has been linked, but in the distorted way I described above. Do you have any other sources on Harry Reid being involved in this?

MSH said...

I saw brief mentions somewhere "credible," but can't remember where. CNN maybe? No one ever reported he was directly tied to Abramoff or anything. I think the Dems like Clinton made a mistake when they dumped their related monies. That move, just as much as anything else, suggested their guilt. But now, a lot of Dems are holding onto their money because they assert they got it fairly. Here's a good article on that -

ombudsman said...

Yeah this is more of the same talking-point logic as The Conservative Voice. It might have been a bad move politcally for Clinton to give her money back, but that in no way implicates her from receiving money illegaly from Abramoff. I think i am rightfully paranoid of the republican spin machine. They are trying to say some Dems are guilty because they gave money back, while others are also guilty of wrong-doing for not giving their money back. Even worse, they are trying to characterize this Ambramoff stuff as business as usualy in Washington, i.e., it's really not that bad. It makes no sense and I don't buy it. These Dems happened to receive money from tribes that happened to be Abramoff's clients. If I buy a record at a store that sells Creed records, it doesn't make me a Creed fan. Abramoff bribed public officials, and he defrauded Indian tribes. He has admitted to doing as much in a court of law. So far, the only people indicted, and the only people publicly being investigated by prosecutors of breaking the law are Republicans. Until that fact changes, I am not going to believe the spin.