Friday, January 27, 2006

Jack Who?

Bush is going out of his way lately to pretend like he never heard of this guy Abramoff. That smells a little odd to me, as you will see if you read Joe Conason's piece today. Take special note:

Abramoff served on the Interior Department's transition team -- where he was exquisitely positioned to advance the interests of his clients in the Mariana Islands and on Indian reservations -- and subsequently raised more than $100,000 for Bush's campaign. The lobbyist and his aides met with or contacted administration officials on at least 195 occasions to promote client interests during the first several months of Bush's first term, according to Abramoff's billing records.

And then there is the most intriguing instance of a presidential action that, wittingly or not, served Abramoff's interests. On Nov. 18, 2002, the federal prosecutor in Guam issued a subpoena to court officials on the Pacific island, who had secretly retained the lobbyist to stop legislation in Congress that would have curtailed their authority. The subpoena demanded all the records concerning the strange Abramoff contract from the administrative director of the Guam Superior Court.

On the day after U.S. attorney Frederick Black issued the subpoena to Abramoff's covert clients in Guam, the White House announced the president's decision to replace him. A career federal prosecutor who had held the Pacific island post for a decade, Black was demoted to a staff position. His replacement was a lawyer recommended by the Republican Party on Guam. Rove received the recommendation from another lobbyist for government officials Black had been investigating.
But that column was written today, after all the indictments and so forth. How about this report from USA Today from May, 2005 that I found with a simple Google search.
In President Bush's first 10 months, GOP fundraiser Jack Abramoff and his lobbying team logged nearly 200 contacts with the new administration as they pressed for friendly hires at federal agencies and sought to keep the Northern Mariana Islands exempt from the minimum wage and other laws, records show.

In addition, two of Abramoff's lobbying colleagues on the Marianas won political appointments inside federal agencies.

"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. Abramoff, then at the Preston Gates firm, scored few meetings with Clinton aides and the lobbyist and the islands vehemently opposed White House attempts to extend U.S. labor laws to the territory's clothing factories.
And do you hear all this stuff about the Marianas Islands? It is downright criminal how underreported this story is. I bet you don't know about it, and you will be aghast when you hear what is happening there under our flag.

The Marianas Islands are an American territory in the Pacific. Clothing manufacturers love it there because the islands are not covered by United States labor laws, but the manufacturer can put "Made in the USA" on the label. What happens there? Poor immigrants save up their entire lives to pay a black market guy to smuggle them to the United States. He takes their money, puts them on a boat and dumps them in the Marianas Islands where they are forced to work in sweatshops for $3/hour if they're lucky. The unlucky ones become sex slaves and have forced abortions.

Made in the USA

People with a conscience who like to sleep at night have been fighting to get this barbaric practice shut down, and that's where Abramoff comes in. Singlehandedly, this man has kept it alive. Well not singlehandedly, I suppose. Care to guess what Tom DeLay thinks about forced abortions and sex slavery in a United States territory?
"You are a shining light for what is happening to the Republican Party, and you represent everything that is good about what we are trying to do in America and leading the world in the free-market system."
"...a perfect petri dish of capitalism. It's like my Galapagos Island."
Yeah. He said that. He's a fucking asshole. The thing is, Bush helped with this too. And Abramoff? Well, he wouldn't have a career without the Marianas.

So when Bush gets all cute, scratches his head and goes off on a tangent about not having heard Abramoff's name until he was indicted, call bullshit. Big fucking assload of bullshit.

UPDATE: By the way, Bush doesn't actually have to meet with a guy personally to enact that man's preferred legislation. In fact, I would suggest that policy decisions are made at the so-called staff-level meetings, only to be brought to the president's desk afterwards. The point? When McClellan says that he won't discuss staff-level meetings because it's not germane, that is just another gigantic pile of bullshit.

1 comment:

Pseudo-intellectual lunatic said...

i hate bill o reilly too
i see it as one of ur links
don't u wish we can just fart on him.