“Crossed the Line”

Remember what Monica Goodling said when she had to admit to using illegal questions during hiring? She "crossed the line."

Here’s Jack Abramoff, pleading for leniancy.

It is hard to see the exact moment that I went over the line but, looking backwards, it is amazing for me to see how far I strayed and how I did not see it at the time. So much of what happens in Washington stretches the envelope, skirts the spirit of the rules, and lives in the loopholes. [my emphasis]

These Republican goons have a big problem with lines, I guess.

image_print
  1. Citizen92 says:

    A reference to “goons” is going to take me O/T. You don’t see that word nearly enough.

    Goon #1. Had been pecking back around Abramoff lately and I ran across Reflections’ Photography’s public page of a meeting the the Alexander Strategy Group had with Coach Joe Paterno in 2004 during the NY GOP Convention. ASG was, of course the DeLay/Buckham syndicate. The photos puzzled me, until I just realized that the Tommy Boy figure featuring prominently was Paterno’s son, Scott. Still, how very interesting that DeLay, Buckham et al wanted to get Paterno into Congress. Scott Paterno addressed the 2004 RNC convention, and both Bush and Cheney stumped for him in Philadelphia. Oh, and Reflections was the one that took (and then tried to bury) the Abramoff/Bush photo.

    Goon #2. Gonzales and White House “Security”. Fascinating discussion about the White-House issued safe in Glen Fine’s report. But not surprising to hear that the White House had no idea what the combination was, considering all personnel security issues were being handled by White House Security Office Director Dr. Jim Knodell. Knodell, a former USSS agent, testified in front of Waxman’s committee (his hilarious video clip here) that his office never intended to investigate classifed security breaches.

  2. R.H. Green says:

    “Hard to see the exact moment…”. ” So much of what goes on [note the passive voice] in Washinton…skirts the rules…” I wonder if the word “Troglodyte” makes an impression.

    • skdadl says:

      skirts the spirit of the rules

      “Rules” is another one of the words they prefer to “law,” along with those impersonal or passive constructions.

      Remember Mr Scott pressing Goodling on what she meant by “crossing the line,” asking again and again whether she believed she had done anything illegal, and she finally said that she had “crossed the line of the civil service rules.” So Mr Scott said “rules … laws,” and raised his eyebrows. And she just ducked and then went to the kiddy defence: “but I didn’t mean to.” She would not say “laws” or any variation thereon. I guess that’s what you do if you’re a lawyer. Or guilty. Or both.

      • R.H. Green says:

        I was thinking something along those same lines.

        But you know, something that’s giving me heartburn is the phrase (from B Clinton in 92, “playing by the rules”. This seems to be referring to children playing games. We are adults and the context in which this casual term usually occurs is one of people following socially accepted customs and, as you say, laws. When I stop for traffic lights, pay taxes, even pay my bills on time, I am exercising my resposibilities as a citizen, not playing a game. This line of “thinking”, it seems, logically leads to the view that what Abramoff did was “not play nice”.

        • bobschacht says:

          I think the issue here goes to the alienation people feel from Law in our country. “Law” has come to be regarded as something arcane, incomprehensible, and impossible to follow. “Rules” are regarded as basic, easy to understand stuff. Congress has contributed to this divide by writing complex laws that most people cannot understand. Any game maker knows that games need rules, but they must be understandable, or people won’t use them. And they won’t buy the game if they can’t understand the rules.

          So, actually, Bill’s framing laws as “rules” may have been a way to make them seem more accessible and relevant.

          Bob in HI

          • R.H. Green says:

            “Something arcane, incomprehensible, and impossible to follow”. Tell that to the judge. I grant you that the rule of law is a failing construct in society, and I grant that framing laws as rules is a sensible and clever rhetorical device. Yet I maintain, nay insist, that condescendingly refering to a “playing” by the rules aids this failing, rather than counteracting it.

              • R.H. Green says:

                “…you must be honest”.

                “Ain’t it jus like the night, t’ play tricks when yer tryin to so quiet.”

                • stryder says:

                  Even when you take his work out of context it can seem so applicable.I got to thinking about this convention crap and how much it reminded me of this desolation row bit

                  They’re selling postcards of the hanging
                  They’re painting the passports brown
                  The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
                  The circus is in town
                  Here comes the blind commissioner
                  They’ve got him in a trance
                  One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
                  The other is in his pants
                  And the riot squad they’re restless
                  They need somewhere to go
                  As Lady and I look out tonight
                  From Desolation Row

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            I agree with you. Add in the near certainty that almost 30% of American adults don’t read well enough to understand a complex document, and the frustration mounts.

            Craig Unger’s “House of Bush” makes a point that is probably also relevant — that extremists claim alliance to ‘higher laws’. He then points out how this way of thinking about the dangers of modern culture range from the young man who murdered Yitzak Rabin (because the young man was ‘only answerable to God’), as well as extremists here in the US.

            So some people don’t like the ‘laws’ because they can’t understand them, and others because they don’t view them as legitimate. (Some overlap between the two views.) Not a good situation. As we see daily.

            • bobschacht says:

              I know we’re in EPU-land, but I wanted to follow up on RoTL’s point:

              So some people don’t like the ‘laws’ because they can’t understand them, and others because they don’t view them as legitimate. (Some overlap between the two views.) Not a good situation. As we see daily.

              Moses supposedly started out with just 10 short laws, but then we wind up even in Exodus with many more regulations, and then comes Leviticus.

              Our Constitution may be small enough to fit in a vest-pocket sized book, but to carry the Code of Federal Regulations around, or even the U.S. Code, you’d need a hand truck.

              Every year, Congress passes at least one bill the size of the Cambridge Unabridged Dictionary (usually one of the Omnibus bills). No one really understands what all is in a bill of that size. Indeed, significant things have been slipped into such bills at the last minute that were unknown to the people voting on the bill.

              Such monstrosities erode the public’s faith and trust in government, and Republicans have capitalized on this.

              Bob in HI

  3. jdmckay says:

    from your link:

    I always tried to give my clients more than they asked. I always tried to make my partners more successful than they hoped; I always tried to forward the best ideals and candidates in my party; and I knew I had an obligation to support my religion and community.

    If I were the judge I’d add 10 years for that statement alone.

    OT: I just heard Carly Fiorina @ the convention say (from memory):

    * An Obama campaign spokesman said Palin was a Nazi sympathizer
    * The obama campaign released (posted on web, ???… I don’t recall here exact words) Palin’s SS#.

    This was in Fiorina’s explicit context of how hateful and venomous the Obama campaign is.

    Just wondering if anyone knows what 1/2 (1/4, 1/16 or 0.0) truth (wholecloth?) Mz. Carly is extrapolating that statement from. And just how would the Obama campaign come by her SS# anyhow.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, given how Hueville has sentenced on these other issues, I’m not sure this letter will help much. The letter is long on discussions of how he cooperated (which I’ve always thought he did because he thought other Republicans had screwed him over), and very short on remorse.

      More than Scooter Libby, mind you, but then Libby knew the commutation and pardon were waiting.

      • jdmckay says:

        The letter is long on discussions of how he cooperated (which I’ve always thought he did because he thought other Republicans had screwed him over), and very short on remorse.

        Yes.

        And when Abramhoff occassionally makes it back to forefront discussions, I always find myself wondering exactly what are the prosecutorial fruits of Jack’s cooperation? Anything? Didn’t I see a McCain email somewhere where he assured his repub colleagues he would not follow Jack’s trail of corruption pointing their way?

        Might be fun to ask Palin about that, given all I’ve been hearing from the McCain talking heads about her “reformer” credentials and “fighting corruption”.

  4. rosalind says:

    i’m partial to:

    “I’m not a bad man (although to read all the news articles one would think I was Osama Bin Laden), but I did many bad things.”

    persecution complex much?

  5. bobschacht says:

    McLame is not a “maverick”. He is a Loose Cannon. This revelation came to me as I was listening to Fred Thompson’s catalog of all the crazy stuff McCain has done, implying that St. John was just SO cute and adorable.

    Find the transcript of Thompson’s speech. Read the catalog of McCain’s misdoings. And then remember that this catalog is meant to praise McCain, and persuade us to vote for him!

    The right description is Loose cannon!

    Bob in HI

  6. Mary says:

    It must grate with Abramoff that Ralph Reed is getting to go out and two step with McCain in his cowboywannabe footwear.

    For no real reason –

    http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/m…..index.html

    the “stepping feet” illusion.

    To try to come up with a sequitor, notice that fixating on the center is almost always a first step to tricking the mind mind in these optical illusions.

  7. Teddy Partridge says:

    So Jackie’s been singin’ and wants to get out early? Then where are the indictments based on all the information he’s provided? Huh?

    Or does that all just go into AGAG’s briefcase, or Dick’s man-size safe?

  8. Neil says:

    It often is hard to “see the exact moment that I went[you go] over the line” when you have no ethical or moral compass. But I think Abramoff knew right from wrong and just didn’t give a shit. The horribly derisive language he used to identify his clients behind their backs reinforces an observation that he demeaned them, not just becuase he was abusing their trust and getting away with it but also because he needed them to be less than human so he could sleep at night.

    Who else has the Rat delivered on? Any other criminal lobbyists? Why is Grover Norquist walking around in the White House and Minneapolis and not charged with money laundering?

    • Leen says:

      Abramoff, Bush, Cheney, Feith, Bolton…culture of psychopaths. No conscience, no shame….many suffer they do not care.

      Watching the Republican convention last night made me wonder have Americans all ready forgotten the last eight years and all of the crimes that have been committed by the Bush administration. Americans have forgotten the unnecessary in Iraq (the MSM has certainly helped them forget), the dead, the injured, the Iraqi refugees, trillions of dollars in debt, record breaking oil profits, illegal wiretapping. If Palin is such a “reformer” a person who goes up against “the good ole boys” she has a huge task in front of her. Wonder if anyone will ask either McCain or Palin about ACCOUNTABILITY.

      Palin was no substance all about divisiveness. Pathetic

    • Leen says:

      Abramoff, Bush, Cheney, Feith, Bolton…culture of psychopaths. No conscience, no shame….many suffer they do not care.

      Watching the Republican convention last night made me wonder have Americans all ready forgotten the last eight years and all of the crimes that have been committed by the Bush administration. Americans have forgotten the unnecessary in Iraq (the MSM has certainly helped them forget), the dead, the injured, the Iraqi refugees, trillions of dollars in debt, record breaking oil profits, illegal wiretapping. If Palin is such a “reformer” a person who goes up against “the good ole boys” she has a huge task in front of her. Wonder if anyone will ask either McCain or Palin about ACCOUNTABILITY.

      Palin no substance all about divisiveness.

  9. BayStateLibrul says:

    I didn’t realize how fucked up America is…
    No ball game tonight, so I’m forced to watch the damn convention.
    I’m sure that at 10:30, the Repugs will be having multiple orgasisms, they
    are so fired up…
    They are dodging questions on Sarah’s qualifications like the quintessential arsholes they are…
    What a laugher Whitman is… balance the budget? They just authorized $1B
    for Georgia, where the fuck did that come from?
    Please tell me this is all a joke.

  10. Mary says:

    16 – No, that’s a Mary12 at Huffington. Not me. Once upon time, before FDL logins, there was another Mary who would show up now and then with comments then disappear and I would get all kinds of kudos for her work.

  11. JohnLopresti says:

    computer said try post again. Glad to see the linkage to the congressionally shriven Goodling, who, perhaps, encroached way beyond some palindromic numberline.

  12. yonodeler says:

    The lines start looking wavy and they think they’re surfing, and that a big wave will sweep them to paradise.

    Giuliani knows no lines of truthfulness and decorum. Palin could have at least pretended to observe such lines, but she would have none of it. She, McCain, and the RNC should not have reckoned that a campaign environment without lines would be one in which Palin-McCain should expect to prevail.

  13. JohnLopresti says:

    OT: I wonder if Bill Leonard sees three+ boundaries, one set while in ISOO, one set by expert witness parameters, and a recent blizzard of motion to quash submissions from both sides in a lobbying but information exchange matter.

  14. Leen says:

    From JTA. What is happening with candidates and the I lobby

    This is under breaking news at JTA.
    Joe Biden pledged to respect Israel’s autonomy, but defended his willingness to oppose some AIPAC-backed measures.

    Biden is so insightful.(unable to link the breaking news)

    Biden on the line: Israel needs to decide on Iran, AIPAC does not represent the entire Jewish community
    20 minute conference call between Biden and media about Israel and Iran

    http://blogs.jta.org/politics/…..community/

    Palin meets with AIPAC leaders
    http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iow…..aipac.html

  15. jdmckay says:

    I see Abe got 4 years

    Judge Ellen Huvelle issued the sentence on conspiracy and other charges after federal prosecutors recommended leniency due to Abramoff’s cooperation in pursuing corruption cases against lawmakers and former administration officials. He faced a maximum of 11 years under a plea deal reached in 2006.

    That article also says:

    With Abramoff’s help, the Justice Department has won corruption convictions against a parade of lawmakers, Bush administration figures and Capitol Hill aides.

    Really? What convictions… what parade?