Saturday, October 30, 2004

When Hypocrites are Allowed to Pass as Experts

The other day I saw Laura Ingraham guest host on Scarborough Country. What I saw shocked me. There on cable network news I saw an accused criminal being treated as a"talking head" with all the respect given to such a postion! Ralph Reed presents himself as a pious believer in the One True Faith of God that others will be damned if they do not worship. Well that's funny, because Ralph is himself accused of using religion to promote his own self-interest in a particularly twisted way.

He owns a public relations firm called Century Strategies which has business clients. Those clients he can tell you about, but according to The Nation, and the Washington Post, he has a few clients he'd rather not talk about. Clients like the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, who one the only casino in the state. They had a little problem. The Jena Band of the Choctaw Tribe wished to build their own casino in Louisiana. This threatened the Coushatta monopoly, especially when they heard that Haley Barbour agreed to represent the Jenas in front of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Naturally they wanted somebody of equal pull to offset Barbour's influence to stop the Jenas. They knew Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon. They knew Ralph Reed. He had connections with Karl Rove, Tom DeLay and through Rove, George W. Bush. According to The Nation, through Abramoff and Scanlon, the Coushattas contacted Reed who agreed to start a grassroots anti-gambling crusade to stop the Jena Band from bujilding a competing casino. And did Ralphie Boy do it? Reports say that he used - churches! Preaching from the pulpit ministers were duped into raising volunteers who did not know that they were fellow travelers in nothing more than a squeeze play tp serve corporate interests. Reed wasn't campaigning against gambling, he was simply destroying the competition of a startup to help a rich client. Like any other Elmer Gantry who didn't wanted to bo connected with his cash flow, Reed's retainer in this matter was paid by Abramoff with money laundered through one of his legal firms. And of course there is the fact that Abramoff, Scanlon and Reed are accused of scamming other casino tribes by first Reed shutting them down a' la the Jenas, than Abramoff and Scanlon taking their money to represent them - unsuccessfully I might ad. Of course Reed gets his under the table.

And this same person Ralph Reed is chosen by Karl Rove to be Bush's chairman of the Southeast section of the Bush / Cheney 2004 campaign, that puts under his control elector rich Florida. Now was Reed chosen because of his stature among the Christian fundamentalists, or his street rep as an a shady operator? Given the unsavory character of Republican voter intimidation tactics in Pennsylvania and Ohio, I'd say the latter.

And the lazy spineless networks don't seem to care about the alegations swirling around Baby Faced Ralphie. He just smiles, gives good face, and lies to everyone within earshot. And no one confronts him, this chairman of the Southeast section of the Bush / Cheney campaign. CNN just sits down with him as pretty as they please.

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