Thursday, May 05, 2005

May 4, 2005

I Get It – Now
It was early 2002 and I was doing research work on Enron for out-of-power Clintonites. During that research I began following an Enron thread that eventually led me right smack into the middle of the DeLay/Abramoff machine. All the stuff you are reading today in the Washington Post and New York times was there – Enron, the Marianna sweatshops, the gambling, the money.

I laid it all out in a long and detailed report (posted here) and turned it in. Two days later I asked when we could get that information out. The answer I for was, no -- “We don’t want to pick a fight with Tom DeLay right now.”

I was flabbergasted. All the information now crippling Tom DeLay could have been out there before the 2002 mid-term elections and before the big race in 2004. By then DeLay would have likely been out of congress and back killing bugs in Sugar land, Texas.

Why, I asked myself, didn’t the Dems use that report? Today I got the answer:

“Lobbyist Jack Abramoff paid at least a portion of the expenses for two Democratic members of Congress and two staff members to then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) during a pair of trips in the mid-1990s to the Northern Mariana Islands, according to a former Abramoff secretary and travel records published on the Internet yesterday…..” (Full Story)

So, there you have it. As usual, it always comes down to the corrupting influence of money. Money has no party.

I can only imagine what those Dems who took money from Abramoff said when they saw in my report that Jack was the Darth Vader of Tom DeLay’s Empire of Evil.

At the same time I did this report I tried to convince people in Tom Daschle’s office to come hammer Bush’s tax cuts. Silly me. Once again the Dems had neutered themselves.

“Oh, we can’t do that,” they said. “A lot of our own members voted for those cuts.”

Yes, how embarrassing.

Like me most of you would probably be happy to trade clueless, valueless Democrats for the pack of Robber Baron bastard Republicans currently running the show. Nevertheless I am sick and tired of having my vote reduced each election to choosing lesser of evils. I am sick of the whole bunch of them, Repugs and Dems alike. A pox on both their scheming houses.

I don’t know whether to argue in favor of a viable third party that’s practical and progressive, or public financing of campaigns. Probably it will take both, because it would only be a matter of time before the HIV of politics, big money, infected members of that new party too.

So let’s review. If you read the report I wrote for Dems in March 2002 you will see that Dems could have sunk DeLay long before he was able to redistrict Texas and cement Republican control of Congress. And, he would have been gone before the next general/presidential election where his leadership PAC could extort millions of dollars from Bush’s wealthy tax cut recipients.

But the Dems didn’t, did they. And now we know why. They had had unprotected relations with DeLay’s Godfather, Jack Abramoff. They were infected. They are infected.

I am depressed. (Okay, okay… more so than usual.)

Why Independent Judges are Important
Christian rightwing-nuts have one more reason to hate an independent judiciary today:

“Miami, Florida -- “After first resisting a judge's order to allow a 13-year-old in state custody to get an abortion, Gov. Jeb Bush's administration changed course on Tuesday and said it would abandon the legal fight…. Judge Ronald Alvarez agreed to delay the procedure while he weighed the facts, but ruled on Monday that the girl was competent to make decisions about her pregnancy and free to do so under the State Constitution.” (Full Story)

This compassionate and commonsense ruling is precisely the kind of decision fundamentalists label as “judicial activism.” Let’s cut the crap. Any decision they don’t agree with is described as judicial activism.

Trying to force a troubled 13-year old girl to have a baby establishes a new marker for the religious right. If these folks ever prevail in their stated desires to stack government and the courts with their own kind the America that would emerge would be a place the Taliban would find most accommodating.

Want more proof?

"AUSTIN, Texas - Legislators in Texas, famed for its Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, considered legislation to ban 'sexually suggestive' performances in schools…. After an alternately comic and fiery debate — punctuated by several lawmakers waving pompons — the state House on Tuesday approved a bill to restrict "overtly sexually suggestive" cheerleading to more ladylike performances." (Full Story)

At least for now we still have a few judges willing to rule on the facts at hand rather than Revelations.

I have just one piece of advice for Dems. Since the one thing you guys are really good at is talking, filibuster.

Infallibility Oops
While on the subject of the Bible did you hear about the discovery? Scientists have finally figured out how to read scrolls found in Egypt many decades ago. The fragile scrolls were browned by age and the writing on them was virtually invisible. Well, they figured out how to make the writing visible and, it turned out they are very early, first century, versions of the New Testament.

Religious scholars have just begun reading them but already they have discovered that Bible thumping ministers who have been evoking 666 (“the sign of the beast,”) to scare their flock straight, have been invoking the wrong digit. Just fifty years after Christ got nailed his followers chronicled the real number -- 616. (Full Story)

Oops. I wonder what else did King James’ rewrite men got wrong – by accident or on purpose? I can’t wait to see. Will there be mention of a Mrs. Jesus locking horns with that little tramp Mary Magdalene? Stay tuned. I see rich potential for a late night HBO series in this stuff. Desperate Disciples?

(BTW, some folks in Michigan might want to check into getting a new area code now that Satan has a claim on 616.)

That’s has be it for today. I have reached smart-ass overload.

By Stephen Pizzo
Raconteur at Large

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