There is a lot in the story, but this was my favorite part:
Sweeney was quoted in the Saipan Tribune on Jan. 15  as saying reports of poor working conditions in the CNMI were overblown, and that he had seen worse sweatshops back home in New York. Carlson said Sweeney was "absolutely not" aware of any severe mistreatment of workers or forced prostitution before he made these comments.
U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., a longtime champion of legislation to change CNMI wage and immigration laws, traveled to the islands in 1998 [snip].
Problems were obvious "unless you choose not to look at the facts on the ground," Miller said, adding: "A blind pig could run into the human rights violations and the exploitation of workers on the islands."
That sums up the modern Republican Party: Blind Pigs.
And we have three weeks to take them out.
To the jump...
He does what he is told to do. He moves money and earmarks as another cog in the House GOP Leadership web of corruption. He moved up the ladder helping DeLay's bag man, Jack Abramoff.
And when muscle was needed down in Florida to steal an election, Sweeney came down with his crew. When Bush was installed by the Supreme Court, Sweeney did not get to rest. DeLay, Hastert and Abramoff needed somebody to fly 7,000 miles to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and help convince the Governor to hire Abramoff's new lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig.
And Sweeney was tapped for the gig (perhaps it was part of the price for his newly won seat on the Appropriation Committee). While on the CNMI, Sweeney told the Governor and the CNMI Chamber of Commerce that they needed to rehire Abramoff. It worked. [I wrote about this last August and I am very glad the story is getting wider circulation.]
The Times Union story added new details, like felon Tony Rudy traveling with Sweeney and the failure to report the trip. Other details wait for a follow-up report. And there are more shoes to drop if reporters keep digging.
And Sweeney is just one of the many Blind Pigs of the GOP who overlook crimes, sexual predators, sweatshops, forced abortion, gun running, war profiteers, human trafficking, money laundering and on and on and on...
Beside the sleaze who have already left under a cloud (Ney, DeLay, Cunningham, Foley, etc.) there are those who deserve to be FIRED come November. And we have a chance to hold many of these weasels accountable.
Take Richard Pombo and John Doolittle (please). I could point to many reasons why, but Peter Schrag makes a convincing case in today's Sac Bee:
And now we have Sacramento's two near-neighbors, members of what unsympathetic bloggers call the Abramoff Seven: Rep. Richard Pombo of Tracy, who succeeded Shumway in the 11th District, and Rep. John Doolittle of Roseville in the 4th District [snip]
Neither Doolittle nor Pombo has been charged with anything illegal. But the goop trailing behind them makes the transgressions of their Valley predecessors look almost benign. Just tracing their links to Abramoff and the sweatshop-dominated Northern Mariana Islands and the Indian gambling interests that were his biggest clients would take a wall-size diagram. [snip]
How did a rancher from Tracy get so interested in those remote Pacific islands? The low-wage garment industry on the islands, which are U.S. territory, can label its products "Made in U.S.A." When the industry fought to block legislation that would have ended its exemptions from U.S. immigration and labor laws, Pombo and Doolittle were happy to help. [snip]
Doolittle, who ran fundraisers in Abramoff's Washington restaurant and used his skybox at sports events, also claims that he saw no sweatshops in the Marianas, or evidence of sex slavery or forced abortions.
Last week, Charlie Brown, his opponent, launched radio ads in which Wendy Doromal, a former government investigator, charges that she told Doolittle about all those things. Like Speaker Denny Hastert on Foleygate, Doolittle says he doesn't remember.
Doolittle and Pombo are just two more Blind Pigs. So is Ralph Hall. And there are so many more.
At the center of this web of corruption is the GOP House Leadership.
Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay converted the Congress of the United States into a massive system of bribes, earmarks and pay for play. It is a system that survived both of them.
A key reason for that survival is Denny Hastert. DeLay, Abramoff, Gingrich, Norquist and Rove are visionaries. They could imagine a way to take over the country and how to convert the Congress into their own private ATM. They could get the party started, but they needed day-to-day management. They needed to gather around them a team of implementers and a they needed a Traffic Manager to keep the web of corruption spinning.
For the House Leadership, the center was Denny Hastert. All the scams moved through Denny's office. Since coming on as DeLay's Deputy Whip at the start of the "Revolution", Denny has been at the center of the action. The head Blind Pig in a caucus of Blind Pigs.
I'm really hoping that John Laesch will defeat the Head Blind Pig this November. With your time, money and energy, I think he could be a giant killer.
There are many others. There are dozens of the "blind" GOP Members who couldn't sense the corruption even as they wallowed in it.
In fact, I've put together a list: The Abramoff 65.
Onc again I am including them in the Tip Jar. Find a Democrat to support.
Just click through the link and Donate.
Volunteer. Get involve in the Get-Out-The-Vote effort.
Take November 6 and 7 off of work. Get Involve.
I have a friend who knows Rove and Melhman and some others. These guys are NOT worried. They are sure of their technology. They are sure of their ground game.
We have to out play them. There is no luck involved. Whichever side works harded between now and November 8 will win.
Polls are nice, but it will take blood, sweat and tears to corner these Blind Pigs and push them out of the People's House.
Please do what you can. And then do some more.
To win we need your time, money and energy. We need to fight hard and fight smart.
If you need help researching the Abramoff connection, let me know. I will share what I have.
2006 is now. It is way past time to take our Country back.
Let's do this.