Thursday, October 19, 2006

News du jour

In response to criticism from a person who said "Ms. Gillibrand has never served in the military and yet she is making veterans benefits and the Iraqi war a top priority."

A. Isn't this a reflection of her solid moral character? Gillibrand cares about veterans and our troops.

B. Has John Sweeney ever served in the military? I'm sure he'd be sending me flyers telling me all about it if he had, but to be sure I checked his bio and no, he did not serve in the miltary either.

C. NY Mag has a good point here:

Not to get overly technical about the relationship between government and the armed forces, but if only lawmakers who'd served in the military were allowed to have oversight regarding military affairs, wouldn't that be like sorta how it is in one of those, uh, whadya call 'em…fascist military dictatorships? Either we can't handle the truth or someone needs to undo the bunch in Col. Nathan R. Jessep's olive-drab undies.

The PJ has a story up on Sweeney's trip in today's paper. Check it out.

What does Sweeney say after learning that the government of CNMI said they didn't pay for his trip and the Chamber of Commerce said that it did pay for it? (This would mean that his unreported trip was a violation of house ethics rules). Denial aint just a river in Egypt:

"I don't believe that I'm not in compliance," said Sweeney. (link)

The report goes on:

Abramoff was lobbying at the time on behalf of the Northern Marianas government, which opposed labor reforms proposed for the U.S. commonwealth.

His colleague, Tony Rudy, who had just left the staff of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to work for Abramoff, accompanied Sweeney. Rudy is now cooperating in a federal investigation into congressional corruption involving Abramoff.

Like Abramoff, Rudy also pleaded guilty. Read about Rudy's rise from DeLay's aide to Abramoff's right hand man here. DeLay fought to stop the laws that Abramoff wanted stopped, Sweeney goes with a guy connected to both Abramoff and DeLay and he expects us to think he's not connected to Abramoff and that his visit was about advising the CNMI government on Sweatshops?

This isn't the first time that Sweeney has ignored house ethics rules. So why should anyone believe him when he says:

"I don't know Jack Abramoff and I've never even met Jack Abramoff."

Sweeney sounds alot like Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary who told reporters that Bush didn't know Abramoff either, saying, "The President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him."

But later Time reported that there are unpublished photos of Bush with Ambramoff.

What is really pathetic about Sweeney's efforts to distance himself from Abramoff is how easy it is too see through it. Abramoff even bragged about how much he was accomplishing for CNMI:

"Our standing with the new administration promises to be solid as several friends of the CNMI (islands) will soon be taking high-ranking positions in the Administration, including within the Interior Department," Abramoff wrote in a January 2001 letter in which he persuaded the island government to follow him as a client to his new lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig.

The reception Abramoff's team received from the Bush administration was in stark contrast to the chilly relations of the Clinton years. (link)

On the other hand, why am I so shocked? Sweeney tries to tell us that this is what he looks like after half a glass of wine and a stromboli. Yeah, right.

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