Archive for November 16th, 2006

Text of Abramoff e-mail

The e-mail that lobbyist Jack Abramoff sent to friends at 3:50 a.m. EST Wednesday before going to prison. E-mail addresses and the timing of his family’s visits have been deleted to protect their privacy.

Subject: My last email for a while

My dear friends,
I hope that you will forgive the impersonal nature of this email. I write this to you on the eve of my incarceration. I am not sure how long I will be in prison, but hope that it is not too long before we have a chance to see each other again.
First, I wanted to thank you for standing by Pam, the kids and me during this very difficult period. Unfortunately, things are going to get worse (starting today no doubt) before they get better, but I am confident that ultimately the turmoil will subside and we will have our lives back. One day, G-D willing, we will know why all of this had to happen. In the meantime, we soldier on, bolstered in no small measure by your friendship.

Several friends have inquired as to how to stay in contact during this next phase. Though I am grateful for this interest and would of course be thrilled by any contact, I hope that no one will feel at all obligated to be in touch during this time. Having said that, here is the situation.

The questions I have been asked revolve around the following topics: mail, visits, telephone and email.

Mail. Mail is probably the easiest way to stay in touch. Unfortunately, this means snail mail through the good old US Post Office. The federal prison system permits inmates to receive letters, photos and periodicals, but thats pretty much it. Unfortunately, if anything else is sent, it will either be destroyed or returned to you. As for letters, please bear in mind that the authorities have the right (and in my case probably will use it) to read all incoming and outgoing mail. Also, I almost certainly will want to write back to you and, since I dont know whether they are going to limit our stamps, envelopes and paper, if possible, perhaps you could include a self addressed, stamped return envelope and even a blank sheet of paper in that envelope. I am not sure that the return envelope will make it to me, but if not, youll know as soon as you get my return letter. In any event, as you can imagine, I will be beyond grateful for any mail from you. Here is my address at the prison:

FPC – P.O. BOX 1300
CUMBERLAND, MD 21501-1300

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House Democrats name Hoyer to No. 2 post

WASHINGTON – House Democrats on Thursday chose Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer (news, bio, voting record) to be House majority leader over Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), the choice of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record), in line to become speaker.

Hoyer was elected on a vote of 149-86.

The balloting marked a personal triumph for him, but also a snub to Pelosi, moments after the rank and file selected her unanimously to become speaker when the House convenes in January.

“We made history and now we will make progress for the American people,” Pelosi told the party caucus moments after her selection.
She vowed that after 12 years in the minority, “we will not be dazzled by money and special interests.”


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Congressman calls for cutoff of Iraq funds

In an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, former presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) called for an end to American financial support of the war effort in Iraq and for immediate troop withdrawal.

“We need to get out,” said Kucinich, responding to a comment by a member of a conservative think tank. “And we need to get out through cutting off funds. Once we determine to cut off funds, the money is in the pipeline for an orderly withdrawal.”

The congressmember elaborated, “Until you cut off funds, the administration is free to … keep the troops there, as the President has stated again and again he’s going to do. … The White House is prepared to stay in Iraq through the end of its term.”

Kucinich insisted that Democrats have to come up with a “new direction” for the Iraq quagmire. “And that new direction must be out. It has to be ‘UN in, US out.'”

In the same interview, another former Democratic presidential candidate and senator, George McGovern, had this to say when asked about parallels between the situation in Iraq and the war in Vietnam, which was raging during McGovern’s 1972 campaign for the White House against President Nixon:

Well, they were saying the same thing they’re saying about Iraq. We were told all during those long years when I and others were trying to terminate our military involvement in Vietnam, an intervention that the chief architects now say was a dreadful mistake. And they said that if we pulled out — maybe it was a mistake to go in, but if we pulled out, there would be a slaughter of people in Vietnam of indescribable dimensions, that Ho Chi Minh and his people would just slaughter everybody in the country that disagreed with him. We also were told that the countries next door would start toppling into communism, if we left Vietnam. None of that happened. … There was no great bloodbath inside Vietnam. The Vietnamese … became our friends almost immediately after we took our army out of their country. They assisted us in trying to locate missing American soldiers. They were ready for diplomatic relations with us. We have no problem with Vietnam today. And, as a matter of fact, none of the countries next door toppled into communism. So, those were the scare tactics that were used to keep us in Vietnam for about 20 years. … The President has said recently that maybe we have to stay until the year 2010. That’s another four years, during which time we’ll probably kill several thousand more American troops, and the terror now going on inside Iraq that began when we invaded the country will only get worse. No country, in the long term, wants a foreign army lodged in their country.

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House Democrats Formally Name Pelosi Speaker

Democrats this morning unanimously selected Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to be the speaker of the house when the new Congress meets in January. But voting still is to come in the bitter fight for majority leader, the second-ranking position for Democrats.

That showdown involves Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) and has divided House Democrats only a week after their party won elections that will give them control of Congress. It has also prompted numerous complaints that Pelosi and her allies are using strong-arm tactics and threats to try to elect Murtha.

Murtha, 74, a former Marine who was among the first on Capitol Hill to call for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, may have hurt his own chances Tuesday night when he derided the Democrats’ ethics and lobbying package before saying he will push for its passage anyway out of deference to Pelosi. His statement, at a gathering of conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats, was cited by backers of his rival, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), as further proof that Murtha’s controversial ethics record disqualifies him to lead the party in a new political era.

Pelosi’s aggressive intervention on behalf of Murtha has baffled and angered many Democrats, who think she has unnecessarily put her reputation on the line out of misplaced loyalty to a friend and because of a long-standing feud with Hoyer, the minority whip. Pelosi has pushed Murtha’s candidacy at social events, in private meetings and with incoming freshman Democrats; they have been called to her office to discuss committee assignments, only to hear first that she needs Murtha in order to be an effective leader.

Hoyer, 67, was heavily favored to win the race until Sunday, when Pelosi — in a move that shocked even her staff — openly threw her support to Murtha, despite a vow to stay neutral. She said in a letter that she was swayed by Murtha’s early call for a withdrawal of U.S. troops, and that he would be best positioned to lead a new Democratic majority.

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