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January 11, 2006

Abramoff Bribery Scandal Shines a Light on a Grave Threat to Democracy

-- by Dave Johnson

Several organizations are calling for "reform" of the campaign-finance and lobbying system. This is a mistake. It is very important to understand that this Abramoff scandal is about breaking laws, not about any need for reform of existing laws. But more than that, it is about an attempt to change America into a one-party state.

This scandal is about the leadership of the Republican Party creating a self-perpetuating system where public money is spent to promote a non-democratic, divisive, destructive ideology and perpetuate one-party control -- THEIR control -- of the country.

The Abramoff scandal shines a light on how the currently-constituted "conservative movement" / Christian Right-controlled Republican Party, not isolated individuals, are systematically using the power of government to finance and extend an illegal, corrupt machine of one-party domination. Their leadership implemented a comprehensive, party-wide system wherein companies paid for legislation and were punished by the government itself if they refused to pay. The committees of the Congress itself were used to intimidate lobbying firms and others to purge all but Republicans and then become tools to increase Republican Party control. The money received was used to strengthen this system and further promote the ideology and candidates. Meanwhile, the agencies of government are systematically and rapidly being purged and replaced with "conservative movement" operatives, and increasingly used to enforce one-party control.

I believe this system is a component of an organized threat to our democracy from a well-financed, self-described "Leninist," subversive, cult-like, conspiratorial movement intent on imposing a corporatist/theocratic authoritarian system on us. I think history teaches us that we are already well down the "slippery slope" of increasingly repressive government, with a president who says laws do not restrict his authority and that Democrats "provide comfort to our adversaries" and I fear the signals such language sends to "the base."

I think this ideologically-driven threat to our freedom is a national emergency as grave as that which we faced from Germany or the Soviet Union. But when we faced those threats we were able to recognize and fight back against the propaganda with the resources of our own government. Today, however, the government's resources themselves are increasingly turned on us.

So when you hear that this scandal is about Democrats as well as Republicans, or "everybody does it" don't buy that crap for a second. This is a very very different situation from simple graft. This is not about an individual member of Congress taking a payoff or otherwise cashing out from the position. This is NOTHING like Former Speaker of the House Jim Wright selling self-published copies of a book for cash or Dan Rostenkowski getting free stamps and trading them for cash. This is systematic abuse by the leadership of a political party in a scheme to take over the country.

Watch your backs.

Posted by Dave Johnson at January 11, 2006 12:43 PM

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Comments

Yea there is a lot of yak yak on the news about a scandal but no details telling the public that this was a mafia like operation- you give us money and hire our party people or you get out of town. It was a strong arm one party machine and that message is not being told. the restaurant that serves free meals to 'friends' etc, front businesses for laundering money etc and all with the leadership of the RNC. Ralston former Abramoff aide is Rove's aide now and she gave out favors tickets sky box reservations etc. No one is asking about this- why the only thing the indians got was a picture of a handshake with bush?

Posted by: k at January 11, 2006 2:38 PM

I believe this system is a component of an organized threat to our democracy from a well-financed, self-described "Leninist," subversive, cult-like, conspiratorial movement intent on imposing a corporatist/theocratic authoritarian system on us.

I see you are off your meds again, Dave.

Posted by: Pericles at January 11, 2006 2:50 PM

The other part of this is that rove's plan for 50 year domination requires that all money be soaked up by Republicans and all dem sources: unions,public employees, etc be defanged and defunded. It is all part of the plan. If no opponent has any money and cannot get hired but all your guys do,like Ralph Reed being on Enron and Microsoft payrolls, like the operatives at Ford that were involved in cutting the anti gay deal- yes their operatives are peppered through govt bureaucracy and private sector funding sources.

Posted by: k at January 11, 2006 3:03 PM

Why do you think the Republicans want to destroy public schools and gut the civil service by letting all govt functions be privatized? It is a twofer- you get all that govt money to your friends and supporters, there is no accountability, jobs become plums only to go to your supporters, "christian' teachers and social workers for example, and there are no public employee unions to support Dems. The destruction of civil service is a means to control bureaucracy, control who gets what and reward your friends and punish your enemies

Posted by: emel at January 11, 2006 9:35 PM

Actually, the underlying problem IS that out present campaign-financing system does constitute nothing less than legalized bribery. Yes, the Republicans are at the top of the D.C. dung-heap, yes, they've gotten their hands very, very dirty, yes Lord Acton (a long-dead Member of the British Parliament's) maxim that "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" holds true today, BUT if you think that Democratic pols are any better, go live in Chicago for a year, where two-thirds of the (Dem.) City Council are ex-convicts.
You want to stop de facto bribery, pass a law against it, and prosecute aggressively. Otherwise, replays of the Abramoff scandal will be inevitable, whichever party is running the circus.

Posted by: Joseph the Egyptian at January 12, 2006 1:15 AM

Note that because of legal threats, 4 (four!) Houston TV stations are refusing to air political ads which talk directly about DeLay's corruption. The media organizations have come under the control or intimidation of this same mafia-like structure. Very scary.

Posted by: Ralph at January 12, 2006 4:24 AM

actually dave is not off his meds on this one, but the problem is he missed running further upstream on the idea. there are people on the right, and the left, who find their utopia in exclusion, and would love to be on top with no way to knock them off the mountain. the problem is extremists, always has been, always will be, till we wake up.

Posted by: reverend gisher at January 12, 2006 5:21 AM

Did anyone note the number of powerful evangelicals tied up in this?

Paul Weyrich's crew at World Magazine are already doing damage control with their base:

http://grannyinsanity.blogspot.com/2006/01/rapture-ready.html

the depth of these crimes is downright astounding.

Posted by: grannyinsanity at January 12, 2006 11:23 AM

What's despicable is how erstwhile "principled" conservatives go along with it for convenience. Only when the winds shift do they change their tune and scurry for cover. So much for principle.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Conservative.

Posted by: Jack O'Roses at January 12, 2006 1:01 PM

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