Archive for September 17th, 2006

So Ohio Congressman Boy Ney is pleading guilty to charges for his activities involving Jack Abramoff. Good riddance to trash.

The lawmaker said he had agreed to use his clout on behalf of Abramoff clients in return for gifts and other largesse that included nights of casino gambling in London and a lavish golf junket to Scotland. In a statement, he said that alcohol abuse had contributed to a downward spiral in his life and that he had checked himself into a rehabilitation facility for treatment.

(By the way, why is it always conservatives who claim their malfeasance is to blame on some outside source like drugs or alcohol? Aren’t these people the ones who tout personal responsibility and urge lawmakers to be tough on crime?)

Do these activities sound familiar? “…agreed to use his clout on behalf of Abramoff clients”? “…in return for gifts and other largesse that included nights of casino gambling…”?

It should. You’re not the only one to notice the similarities in this case and the alleged activities of Montana’s own junior Senator, Conrad Burns. Time noticed it, too, in an article entitled “Who’s the Next Target in the Abramoff Probe?”:

A source close to the investigation told TIME that scores of US prosecutors and FBI agents continue to examine the activities of other sitting members of Congress and prominent individuals who could face prosecution, though not necessarily before the November 7 election. The source confirmed previous public reports that particular scrutiny is being paid to Sen. Conrad Burns, a Montana Republican who faces a tough campaign for reelection.

“A lot of the conduct to which Ney has pleaded guilty is similar to the alleged conduct of Senator Conrad Burns and his staff,” points out Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-profit watchdog group. “Abramoff has said that Burns and his staff used Signatures [Abramoff’s restaurant] like their cafeteria. And Burns took a number of legislative actions on Abramoff’s behalf, even as members of his staff went on trip to the 2001 Super Bowl on private jet and visited Sun Cruise gambling ships, which were partly owned by Abramoff. “Abramoff himself said in an interview earlier this year, “Every appropriation we wanted [from Burns’s committee] we got. Our staffs were as close as they could be. They practically used Signatures as their cafeteria. I mean, it’s a little difficult for him to run from that record.”

Matt Singer addressed the fantastic, if predictable, reply from the Burns’ camp:

You can keep trying to convince me that Bush Justice Department is playing politics by leaking news that your boy is under scrutiny. I don’t buy it. Burns is under scrutiny because the corruption in his office was obvious. He sold out his country on the Marianas. He sold out Iraq on the Telecoms. And he undermined our entire republic for a pittance. And if he didn’t know what he was doing, he’s too damn stupid to be called Senator.

This may be a good time to remind folks that it’s too late for the GOP to slip Dennis Rehberg on the ballot instead of Boss Hogg.

Plus Rehberg’s got ties of his own to Abramoff. If Conrad goes down, do you think he takes Dennis, too, to lighten his sentencing a little? It’s not like these guys are loyal or have any integrity or anything. If Conrad would sell out his country, his Senate vote, for a few thousand dollars, imagine what he’d do to reduce his jail time…

So…yup…I was on national television. It sure was nerve-wracking wating for the segment to air, and my nerves weren’t helped by my folks who caught the show on the East Coast a couple hours earlier and who called with about fifteen minutes to go…

But I think NOW caught the blogs and their effect the way I see it. Obviously I don’t see myself as some out-of-touch radical; quite the opposite. I said this on the show, and I’ll say it again, I’ve got the same concerns as the majority of Americans, I’ve got kids, a mortgage, a job, and I’m just trying to get by, give my kids a good home and a good future while staying up on the bills. And I’d also say my views aren’t unique or radical, because I’ve had a steadily growing readership since the blog’s inception, and a number of positive feedback since both this blog’s appearence in the Missoula Indpendent and on NOW.I’m not alone. And neither are you.

NOW did a fantastic job of showing the blogs as a network of grassroots activists working towards common goals, most notably finding and supporting ideal candidates. Which brings me to my favorite part of the segment: Margie.

I got goose bumps when she said in the past she always voted for the lessor of two evils. But this year, she’s voting for the candidate she wants in office. And that smile! That smile of pure joy! That’s exactly how I feel about Jon Tester and this Senate race. He’s the right man for the job. Period.

So if you haven’t seen it, give it whirl. The twins play a feature role, and there’s some excellent footage of the Hamilton debate.

For those of you who have been writing in, thanks for all the comments, and I’ll get back to you when I can. Thanks again!

In the meantime, for all those first-time blog visitors who were thrilled to something like 4&20 blackbirds, I assure you there are many blogs as good or better as this in your home state. Check out LeftyBlogs.com and click on your state in the left sidebar. Bingo! An instant list.

But the bottom line is that success this election in winning back Congress for America is you, dear reader. Get involved. You can make a difference.




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