Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In the Company of Scoundrels

Grover Norquist and the felonious Jack Abramoff
"Abramoff would have had no value without Norquist," said J. Michael Waller, a scholar at the Institute of World Politics who followed the two men at College Republicans. "Norquist was the pivot, he had the speaker of the House as his friend, all the new leadership, all the visionaries for more than a decade."

Abramoff was convicted of fraud and tax evasion in 2006. He was recently released from prison and now he's busy hawking his new book "Capital Punishment" with includes four pages of fodder pertaining to Alabama, Indian gaming money and influence buying  His long-time friend and money funneler, Grover Norquist, emerged miraculously unscathed from Abramoff's scandalous criminal enterprise and is "living well."

Grover is continuing to wreak havoc on America's political process while earning himself a fat stipend in the process. He's still up to his old tricks that he learned from his galloping days with Abramoff, and hasn't changed his political stripes one bit--even though he really deserves stripes of the black and white hue furnished by the federal penal system.

He's a scoundrel, a mighty mouse motormouth who deceives sheeple voters, conservative groups and willing politicians with red-hot anti-government rhetoric he's paid to deliver by the biggest special interests around: the Koch Brothers. In the republican world 'special interest' is a dirty word, a scourge to be rooted out and banished from existence before it "destroys America"--unless it's on the 'right' side of the equation.

Norquist plays that fiddle with all the dexterity of Nero inciting the right wing masses to dance in rapturous approval oblivious to the fact that real democracy is burning:
Today, GOP politicians who have signed Norquist's anti-tax pledge include every top Republican running for president, 13 governors, 1,300 state lawmakers, 40 of the 47 Republicans in the Senate, and 236 of the 242 Republicans in the House. What's more, the GOP's Tea Party foot soldiers are marshaled by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor – a veteran of Norquist's farm team, who first signed the pledge as an ambitious member of the Virginia legislature. Under Cantor's leadership, Norquist's anti-tax pledge was directly responsible for last summer's debt-ceiling standoff that wrecked the nation's credit rating by leading the nation to the brink of default. "Congress was willing to cause severe economic damage to the entire population," marvels Paul O'Neill, Bush's former Treasury secretary, "simply because they were slaves to an idiot's idea of how the world works."
Grover's undue influence has managed to rope-a-dope numerous Alabama politicians into signing his infamous pledge--a pledge that demands allegiance to Norquist first, and the respective office of the promised politician last.

Some conservative outlets recognize a street fighting omnipotent thug when they see one as Joseph Farah wrote for the ultra-conservative website World Net Daily in October of 2011:
Grover Norquist represents a grave danger to the conservative movement – and thus to the future of America. In my view, if America is to be saved from the gruesome fate of its current projector, the conservative movement will need to play a major corrective role. I simply don't see how that is possible when it is compromised, infiltrated and misdirected by people like Grover Norquist who are covertly promoting an agenda that is not only unconservative but, frankly, un-American.
Alabama doesn't get it and some of our political leaders made a deal with devil by signing Norquist's pledge despite what's known about him. Farah continues:
Over many years, he has carefully constructed a power base for himself inside the movement through relationships, favors, money, introductions. His official resume looks strong. And few of those he has worked with over the years are prepared to defy him, question his funding, investigate his friendships or connect the dots of his many and varied and sometimes seemingly contradictory alliances.
The GOP party in Alabama proudly places a high priority on morals, ethics, religion and keeping the right kind of company, lest they be judged by socializing with unsavory sorts who may tarnish their carefully polished public images. Ironically, those carefully crafted images are being peeled back through Abramoff's confessions and the Norquist element, revealing the gigantic hypocrisy within their party and what really happened in Alabama:
Abramoff's book does not detail how the $20 million was spent in Alabama over the course of five years. Part of his crimes included overcharging his clients and pocketing the extra money.
Abramoff said he "war-gamed" the Alabama strategy with his partner Michael Scanlon, who also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 months in prison.
Abramoff wrote that conservative activist Ralph Reed, whom he enlisted to help on the Alabama anti-gambling campaign, didn't want his "co-religionists" to know the operation was financed with gambling money.
The way in for Abramoff's scheme was to rapture the religious right and the Christian Coalition's Ralph Reed was the go to guy to pull that maneuver off successfully:
"It was obvious to me that the only way to stop Siegelman, MacGregor (sic) and the Poarch Creeks was to organize the Christians," Abramoff wrote. "Ralph could do this in his sleep."
"Our efforts for the Choctaw in Alabama were extensive and expensive, and included radio and television advertising," he wrote. "We organized scores of pastors and voters to lay siege to the statehouse and the governor's office." 
Former Alabama Governor Bob Riley (now a Washington lobbyist who's also "living well") was the brains behind anti-gambling in Alabama. Riley's connections to Abramoff's 'injun money' didn't dull the fool's gold shimmer of his own political legacy. Like Norquist, he walked away scot-free--a beneficiary of blind justice and the larger-than-life obvious corrupt behavior, deflected by "I didn't know" weak explanations:
The book does not mention the financial donations that Scanlon made to Republican groups and PACs that in turn made donations to Siegelman's anti-lottery Republican opponent, Bob Riley. Scanlon, who worked for Riley briefly in Congress in 1997, never made a direct personal donation to Riley. But Scanlon's public relations consulting firm gave more than $650,000 during that election cycle to four entities that contributed large sums to Riley's campaign. 
A half-sighted man in dark woods could have seen how unsavory that situation was. The corruption, payoffs and influence buying coupled with the complete disregard for ethics is revolting beyond the pale. Everyone involved with Abramoff is tainted. Not everyone involved with him is in jail. Or judged with the same standards the upright Christian soldiers apply to the democrats and any of their special interest groups.

This is why republicans are the epitome of hypocrisy and ridiculed for their many positions on policy matters--do as we say, not as we do. It's becoming increasingly clear to us that 'Christian' is rapidly gaining the notoriety usually associated with a four-letter word. The more the right makes excuses for, and turns a blind eye to, the systemic and pervasive corruption operating within their own ranks, the less credible they appear on anything.

So Say We The Opinion Board Of The Vincent Alabama Confidential 
*Abramoff interview with Lawrence O'Donnell 
Precursor to Abramoff book from 2009 "So Damn Much Money
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  1. The 'special interest' should be the elected officials doing what is best for the people. We should be treated special and the legislature and Congress should want us to be the ones treated as 'special' and they should gladly serve we the people, in the most special of ways.

    After that change, lobbyists would all disappear overnight and re-create themselves as hard working stiffs, earning an honest living or die of starvation. We would not care. We would be too busy enjoying our newly reformed government and being treated so special.

    If the people would stand up to these greedy and out of control scoundrels, and call them out as the villans they are and know the politicians are elected to do the job for us and no other interest.

    There is no room in the statehouse for these lobbyist thugs. And likewise, as there is no room in a marriage for more than two people.

  2. For the so-called Christians, the Special Interests Groups (who think they are so important and mighty and have to pay to play) and the government that works it, this pledge is out of order. No room for this sort of thing.

    Down with the pledge. Run them out of the state.

  3. It would seem to me, these political types use the lobby money from whatever source it may come and in order to use the so-called christians to further their agenda, the so-called christians must first take the money. Looks like the so-called christians don't care where it comes from.

    In the process, the so-called christians are used to further the interests of some, polarizing themselves, leaving themselves open not only to exposure, but also showing the people the whorey way in which they accept money. Which may not be as most church goers might think.

    Love one another is perhaps the buzz of the day. God loves the sinner. But is it the more we sin, the better we are loved?

    The money machine is well organized and well funded. The churches are well organized and (well?) funded. In the process of the these so-called christians, allowing themselves to be used this way and all, seems to me they would all step back out of the picture, pass the plate for good things and stop participating in political special interest(s) which have nothing to do with an agenda of the God kind.

  4. "Wolves in sheep's clothing here's your willing lambs," said the men of false religious virtue.

  5. "I have never been, nor will I ever be, beholden to lobbyists or special interests. I also support banning all political action committees, in order to maximize the transparency of money in politics. There should not be one set of rules for those with power, money, or influence, and another set for everyone else. The people of Alabama deserve a Governor who is responsive to the needs of all the people, not just the well connected, and who will ensure that no one is above is the law and no one is below the law. I will be that Governor."--Robert Bentley 2010

    Nice talk Doc it's unfortunate it was all a load of bs. Why did you sign Grover's pledge? Would you attend church with him or Jack? Are you a member of ALEC?

  6. This reads like the lobbyists have declared war on us. And I think they have. And the anti-gambling people do not need to know the money they accepted came from gambling, according to the lobbyists.

    Are christian and co-religionists related by something other than they both will take the money, no questions, no thinking.

  7. Bob Riley best not breathe easy just yet. It ain't over till it's over. We'll see come November 17th.

  8. Not one day goes by that we don't hear a story of corruption on the right. It makes me sick to my soul to hear so many lies by the rignt-wing Christians!

  9. I cannot wait for the spin on this. It should be better than Maytag.
    That money may have come from sin but once we laid our anointed hands on it and used for our good works it was forgiven.

  10. Flag on the field. Time the heck out here.

    Any legislator that signed that pledge needs to explain why GN's pledge came before their oath of office.

    Furthermore, any Alabama politician who belongs to ALEC should explain to all of us why they are aligning themselves with an agency of secrets.

    Transparency for the people damn it.

  11. Bingo Bobby knows he's in the deep water if he has to testify, he's going to call in all his markers for favors to keep from doing it.
    Let's flip this and pretend he's a democrat. How loud would the cries of what do you have to hide be about now?
    I'd say deafening.

  12. If Riley is ever going to have to answer for political crimes while in office someone better get on the stick and file something before SOL runs out.
    The delaying tactics to keep him off the stand are as transparent as clear glass. Executive privilege does not exclude breaking the law Mr. Strange.

  13. Freedom lovers and individualists, a la Tea Party, are too ignorant to understand that all they are doing is favoring the takeover of gov't by big corporations. Individuals may make up corporations but they are not the mindset of big business, which is to always turn a profit even if that means laying off workers and gobbling up federal and state tax incentives, a la corporate welfare, at the expense of state and local community needs.
    If there was ever a more misguided gang of wide-eyed fools somebody point it out to me.
    The gov't is far from perfect and the same can be said of corporations and privatization.
    Get the lobbyists and special interests out of gov't and let's see a real change we can believe in.


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