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There is no mistaking what Jack Abramoff did as a lobbyist during the Bush Administration. He was found guilty by a jury of his peers for illegal actions. He is possibly the most caustic and toxic name besides lobbyist. So much well deserved crap was shoveled his way, and he did his time.

When I saw he had a book coming out, and he was hitting all the talk shows, I wondered to myself; really? Can Jack really expect to rehabilitate his public image? Does he really think there's any hope for his brand? What is he trying to do, run for office after his redemption tour? It just seems so pointless. Stick a fork in Jack, he's done.

Then I stumbled across Jack joining Republic Report, a blog run by United Republic, an organization known for advocating sunshine and rooting out corruption. And it gave me pause.

So I know that being vindictive, cruel, and cynical is part of humanity. We hold grudges for a long time (sometimes, centuries). And you know what? Our vindictiveness is well deserved by the likes of Ted Stevens, David Vitter, name your unapologetic Republican politician.

But Jack?

“The people who were attacking me while I was a lobbyist — I don’t hold that against them in any way... Frankly, I agree with them at this point. It is I who had a journey, not them.”

He's been doing a mea culpa since he ever got out of jail.

Most unrepentents would make like a George W Bush; simply stay out of sight, hiding in some resort, hoping that people would simply forget.

But Jack?

"His name is toxic, right?," Penniman said. "He automatically elicits that kind of reaction. But you sit down and meet him, you realize he's  really different."

Penniman likened the hire to the CIA drafting hackers to boost the agency's understanding of cyber security.

"Who better to talk about this world?" he asked.

He's still hitting the spotlight. And for what? He's railing against the very thing he was doing.

Now, I was raised a certain way. I was raised to forgive, but never forget.

So I think, I am willing to forgive Jack Abramoff for whoring out our representative democracy, being part of this endemic problem. I just hope Jack is sincere. He's a smart guy, and America needs all the talent it can get to help us root out the corruption in our system, that preys on our collective wealth, that is sucking us all dry for those do nothings at the top of the money pile (ex; Mittens).

Your thoughts?

Poll

What to do about Jack?

10%2 votes
84%16 votes
5%1 votes
0%0 votes

| 19 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Above Grecian mantles were chiseled these words... Know Thyself... Nothing in Excess... the pop philosophy of its day.

    by ravagerofworlds2 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 06:53:31 AM PST

  •  actions speak louder than words (5+ / 0-)

    it will be interesting to see what happens. undoubtedly, he's qualified to shed a lot of light.

    'canter' is a horse's gait - 'cantor' is a horse's ass. - GayIthacan

    by qannabbos on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 06:58:25 AM PST

  •  I have also been impressed watching his (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gustafgrapple

    interviews.  I am eager to read the book and see what he has to say.

    He does appear to be a changed man, and he has paid his debt to society that was assessed against him.  I say it that way because I still believe that should be stripped of their ill begotten gains.  

    It gets on my nerves, and you know how I am about my nerves...

    by ciganka on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 07:39:07 AM PST

    •  Once paid, always paid (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ciganka

      I'm not particularly keen on the practice of forever punishing people (ie, lose the right to vote, etc.) after serving jail time. So we agree there. Whatever the law says about "ill gotten gains" depends on the crime. From what I can tell, it appears that Jack is broke.

      Above Grecian mantles were chiseled these words... Know Thyself... Nothing in Excess... the pop philosophy of its day.

      by ravagerofworlds2 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 09:03:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I was always taught that once someone has (0+ / 0-)

        "paid the debt" to society, there should be an opportunity for a fresh start - back when prison was supposed to rehabilitate in some way.  Unfortunately, our system has failed miserably to evolve in that spirit.

        By "ill gotten gains", I am mainly referring to money received for corrupt practices.  I am uncomfortable with people keeping those funds.  For example, a car thief does not get to keep the car and drive it after serving the term.

        It gets on my nerves, and you know how I am about my nerves...

        by ciganka on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 09:35:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I am forever suspicous... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paddy999, tigerdog

    ...of "flipped agents".

    Maybe it's just me.

    We're resigned to our collective fate because we've been conditioned to believe that this is as good as it gets.

    by Richard Cranium on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 08:46:08 AM PST

    •  Suspicion is fine (0+ / 0-)

      That's the point of "never forget."

      Jack's interviews on Fox vs. MSNBC are like Jekyll and Hyde though, at least, when he first started rolling out his reputation recovery campaign (to sell his book). I'd probably wait to see it in my local library.

      But I think that Jack has a certain Ethos when it comes to critiques of corruption. After all, Paul (Saul) was more valuable to Christianity after his encounter on the Road to Damascus.

      Above Grecian mantles were chiseled these words... Know Thyself... Nothing in Excess... the pop philosophy of its day.

      by ravagerofworlds2 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 09:05:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Me too. But I've watched his interviews (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick

      and other appearances (including an appearance on the panel of Up With Chris Hayes and on Colbert) and I've  been grudgingly  impressed.

      I will probably always be suspicious, but what he is doing now, what he is revealing about his former world/life and what he is pressing for-- the elimination of money in politics and forbidding just about anyone who has ever worked in the government from EVER becoming a lobbyist, among other things-- is valuable.

      If you haven't seen it, watch his interview on C-Span, filmed at Harvard University Law School. It's a real eye-opener, worthy of your time! http://www.c-spanvideo.org/...

      You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help. --Calvin & Hobbes

      by tigerdog on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 09:15:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  TY. Bookmarked for viewing later. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tigerdog

        #OWS #Occupy: Exposing US police brutality to the entire world.

        by OleHippieChick on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:14:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is really key: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tigerdog
        [a]nd forbidding just about anyone who has ever worked in the government from EVER becoming a lobbyist... (bolding mine)

        Here, in land use, the head of an agency may dodge a ethical problem by leaving the land use agency and going to a private firm (including a law firm though they are not a lawyer) for a few years. I don't know it for a fact, but I contend that they STILL hold influence there, on a project, by their mere presence. That project--or aspect of a project such as getting a 404 (clean water) permit--is known to be attached to them, plain and simple. And their former colleagues know it.

        FURTHER MORE, and importantly, they may end up lobbying for a while THEN return to the agency (which happened here several times) and since everyone knows it CAN and DOES happen the other agency employees are careful not to be too critical because that person could end up being their boss. This I know happens for sure.

        Yet those of us in the public are often denied materials we need through the CA ORA, OR, worse yet, documents we don't even know exist are illegally withheld, which we also know has happened.

        In one case, on a personal request in the days before they got so guarded, I found a note from a county land use employee reading, "Meet the criteria on paper but ignore the requests of the public and state the criteria filled" scrawled in pen across the right hand margin. This involved a legally required alternative to a project under CEQA.

        To whit, I am in the middle of addressing the former problem now (failure to release information) which is really a First Amendment issue, though by the time it would get to court, it would be moot because by then it WILL be public. The goal of all of this is to thwart organizing and avert sunshine.

        It's a fucked up system no matter how you look at it and is designed to push a project in the direction they want which, here, is ALWAYS approval if a large firm. It's hell for the private, individual applicant, though, who is treated very differently (read like hell).

        Least you believe land use decisions are not important, they effect every single aspect of YOUR and YOUR FAMILY'S lives from how and how long it takes you to get to work (or anywhere else) to the quality of the air you breathe, the quality of your infrastructural services (library, police, fire, schools) to the wholeness of almost every ecological link in a chain. It also has legs well into the rights of First Peoples (just south of here they built a RCatholic school ballfield over the graveyard of the First People), and every level of history, paleontology and archaeology. It can also be a determinate of whether your house on the hill stays put or takes a ride down the slope along with your pool.

        It has a breathtaking panorama over everything, yet almost no one in the general public understands it and this advantages the lobbyists and bad guys in a huge way.

        Suckey is all I can say. It needs to be permanently changed.

        You are right. Lobbying needs to be banned permanently by ex-muni/fed employees.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:28:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tigerdog

          The revolving door needs to be removed. The best way, is defining corporate personhood out of existence.

          Above Grecian mantles were chiseled these words... Know Thyself... Nothing in Excess... the pop philosophy of its day.

          by ravagerofworlds2 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:27:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Got to do that! Also... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cany

            Abramoff speaks at some length about the staffs of our congress critters. He says that often the best way to approach a congress critter, or to even bypass them to get what lobbyists want, is to get to the staff members. Remember, it's generally the staff who write the bills, not the congress critters themselves.

            He gives as an example some highly placed staff member who can be approached, made friends with, and told that "if you ever want to leave this job come see me, I'll hire you at twice the salary." Paraphrased, but that's the gist. That person is now inclined to be on your side and help persuade his/her boss, along with providing access. Also, when someone thinks you're their friend, they're less likely to think badly about you...

            He thus argues that it's at least as important to deny those people access to lobbying as the congress critters themselves.

            Imagine if Ari Fleischer (sp?), Karl Rove, et al, not only couldn't form Super Pacs but also could not lobby...

            Seriously, watch this video when you have time. It's a rip roarer! http://www.c-spanvideo.org/...

            You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help. --Calvin & Hobbes

            by tigerdog on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:45:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  That won't do it entirely. (0+ / 0-)

            prior to CU, the problems we had were existent in huge numbers.

            might help, but won't do it.

            202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

            by cany on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 05:47:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I am aware of land use decisions (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cany

          but in a limited way. Just enough to have been alarmed and sometimes outraged by past decisions that have affected anywhere from a few people to thousands, often without them knowing about it until it was too late.

          Maybe the land use issue most familiar to the most people is eminent domain, which has been so often abused and in countless ways.

          I'm glad that there are people like you, cany, to keep up with such issues and let the rest of us know. We can't fight what we are not aware of. Thank you.

          You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help. --Calvin & Hobbes

          by tigerdog on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 11:27:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Well Wendell Potter was in a similar situation. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    timewarp

    He just didn't go to jail, he did insurance PR lying. Yet he has made a huge difference in the fight against the health insurance companies.

  •  Color me skeptical.... once a grifter (0+ / 0-)

    always a grifter.

    "George Washington: "The power under the Constitution will always be in the people.... and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can, and undoubtedly will, be recalled." 1787

    by moose67 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 12:31:26 PM PST

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