Tuesday, July 31, 2007

REICHERT ILLEGALLY FRANKING?

"You will recall that last month I pointed out that Dave Reichert was abusing his franking privileges by sending out glossy mailings that were pure electioneering campaign pamphlets, and were being received by constituents within the 90 day period before an election, which was illegal. King 5 political reporter Robert Mak also dived into the matter questioning the legality of the mailings, and at least shining a light on the fact that Reichert had spent over $500,000 of tax payer money on such mailings.Well this latest piece of franked mail was dated July 18, which is 64 days before the September 19 Primary elections - well within the 90-day no-franking window before an election.This particular piece of mail was also unsolicited. I did not contact congressman Reichert about this subject, and it was not in response to a communication on my pert to him."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Create an immediate negative buzz for Dave Reichert

Communicating on a grassroots level through blogging is a beautiful thing that the internet makes possible to anyone. What I have been doing in my spare time is something akin to the mass mailings I used to do in AZ to pump up business and create buzz. Except now, it’s about defeating Dave Reichert in the upcoming election.
What I’m doing is collecting all the local blog addresses in my immediate area. (People who take the time to blog are generally the thinkers and communicators in their immediate social sphere.) The next time Dave Reichert uses his franking priviliges to send out blatant campaign propaganda for himself, I’m sending a comment/message to every blogger that I can find in my town.
From what I know of direct marketing (which is quite a bit more than the average person — because my economic life depended on it for 15 years), this gambit will bypass all established media and create an immediate negative buzz for Reichert.

A local blogger that I sent an "unsoliceted" comment to concerning Fox News had this to say:

Scout's Honor said...
"Why are you leaving unrelated comments on people's blogs? It's a bit rude, especially when they don't necessarily share the same views. It's like putting grafitti in a park or littering. I'm sure Fox Attacks means something to you, and it's entirely your own perogative to post/blog all you want on YOUR OWN BLOG. Just have some taste and courtesy and ask permission before posting willy-nilly on other's blogs such links that have NOTHING to do with their posts. Please be a good blog neighbor in the Northwest. Thanks for listening."

Unwittingly, Scout's Honor hit the nail on the head about unwanted communication -- except, I did not illegally use public tax monies and the U.S. Mail to promote my own personal political agenda.

So, all I can say to Scout's Honor is that I'll stop doing it when Dave Reichert stops doing it.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Join the Fox Attacks campaign:

Please tell your friends, family and colleagues to watch the Fox Attacks environment video.

http://foxattacks.com/

Monday, July 09, 2007

Campaign Finance in American Politics

Campaign Finance in American Politics

CampaignMoney.com is a unique website that lets you see for yourself the hidden world of American political campaigns. CampaignMoney.com is your door key to inside politics, American politics. Incidentally, you can check on people you know to see if and how they help finance these campaigns. What you learn may surprise you!

Bush justice is a national disgrace

This is from the Denver Post

"As a longtime attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, I can honestly say that I have never been as ashamed of the department and government that I serve as I am at this time.
The public record now plainly demonstrates that both the DOJ and the government as a whole have been thoroughly politicized in a manner that is inappropriate, unethical and indeed unlawful. The unconscionable commutation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's sentence, the misuse of warrantless investigative powers under the Patriot Act and the deplorable treatment of U.S. attorneys all point to an unmistakable pattern of abuse.
In the course of its tenure since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has turned the entire government (and the DOJ in particular) into a veritable Augean stable on issues such as civil rights, civil liberties, international law and basic human rights, as well as criminal prosecution and federal employment and contracting practices. It has systematically undermined the rule of law in the name of fighting terrorism, and it has sought to insulate its actions from legislative or judicial scrutiny and accountability by invoking national security at every turn, engaging in persistent fearmongering, routinely impugning the integrity and/or patriotism of its critics, and protecting its own lawbreakers. This is neither normal government conduct nor "politics as usual," but a national disgrace of a magnitude unseen since the days of Watergate - which, in fact, I believe it eclipses.
In more than a quarter of a century at the DOJ, I have never before seen such consistent and marked disrespect on the part of the highest ranking government policymakers for both law and ethics. It is especially unheard of for U.S. attorneys to be targeted and removed on the basis of pressure and complaints from political figures dissatisfied with their handling of politically sensitive investigations and their unwillingness to "play ball." Enough information has already been disclosed to support the conclusion that this is exactly what happened here, at least in the case of former U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias of New Mexico (and quite possibly in several others as well). Law enforcement is not supposed to be a political team sport, and prosecutorial independence and integrity are not "performance problems."
In his long-awaited but uninformative testimony concerning the extraordinary firings of U.S. attorneys, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales did not allay these concerns. Indeed, he faced a no-win situation. If he testified falsely regarding his alleged lack of recollection and lack of involvement, he perjured himself and lied to both Congress and the American people. On the other hand, if he told the truth, he clearly has been derelict in the performance of his duties and is not up to the job. Either way, his fitness to serve is now in doubt.
Tellingly, in his congressional testimony, D. Kyle Sampson (the junior aide to whom the attorney general delegated vast authority) expressed the view that the distinction between "performance" considerations and "political" considerations was "largely artificial." This attitude, however, is precisely the problem. The administration that Sampson served has elided the distinction between government performance and politics to an unparalleled extent (just as it has blurred the boundaries between the White House counsel's office and the attorney general's office). And it is no answer to say that U.S. attorneys are political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president. The point that is lost on those who make this argument is that U.S. attorneys must not serve partisan purposes or advance a partisan agenda - which has nothing to do with requiring them to promote an administration's legitimate policy priorities.
As usual, the administration has attempted to minimize the significance of its malfeasance and misfeasance, reciting its now-customary "mistakes were made" mantra, accepting purely abstract responsibility without consequences for its actions, and making hollow vows to do better. However, the DOJ Inspector General's Patriot Act report (which would not even have existed if the administration had not been forced to grudgingly accept a very modest legislative reporting requirement, instead of being allowed to operate in its preferred secrecy), the White House-DOJ e-mails, and now the Libby commutation merely highlight yet again the lawlessness, incompetence and dishonesty of the present executive branch leadership.
They also underscore Congress' lack of wisdom in blindly trusting the administration, largely rubber-stamping its legislative proposals, and essentially abandoning the congressional oversight function for most of the last six years. These are, after all, the same leaders who brought us the WMD fiasco, the unnecessary and disastrous Iraq war, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, warrantless domestic NSA surveillance, the Valerie Wilson leak, the arrest of Brandon Mayfield, and the Katrina response failure. The last thing they deserve is trust.
The sweeping, judicially unchecked powers granted under the Patriot Act should neither have been created in the first place nor permanently renewed thereafter, and the Act - which also contributed to the ongoing contretemps regarding the replacement of U.S. attorneys, by changing the appointment process to invite political abuse - should be substantially modified, if not scrapped outright. And real, rather than symbolic, responsibility should be assigned for the manifold abuses. The public trust has been flagrantly violated, and meaningful accountability is long overdue. Officials who have brought into disrepute both the Department of Justice and the administration of justice as a whole should finally have to answer for it - and the misdeeds at issue involve not merely garden-variety misconduct, but multiple "high crimes and misdemeanors," including war crimes and crimes against humanity.
I realize that this constitutionally protected statement subjects me to a substantial risk of unlawful reprisal from extremely ruthless people who have repeatedly taken such action in the past. But I am confident that I am speaking on behalf of countless thousands of honorable public servants, at Justice and elsewhere, who take their responsibilities seriously and share these views. And some things must be said, whatever the risk.
The views presented in this essay are not representative of the Department of Justice or its employees but are instead the personal views of its author. "
John S. Koppel has been a civil appellate attorney with the Department of Justice since 1981.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Pelosi must: "Shape up or ship out?"

"Shape up or ship out?
Cindy Sheehan has challenged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to move to Impeach Bush by July 23 or prepare for Sheehan to contest for her Congressional seat as an Independent.
"Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership," Sheehan told The Associated Press. "We hired them to bring an end to the war. I'm not too far from San Francisco, so it wouldn't be too big of a move for me. I would give her a run for her money."While I admire Cindy Sheehan's willingness to fight for what she believes in, I don't necessarily support her. And I'm not sure that I agree with all of her listed reasons for why Bush ought to be Impeached. I don't see Bush exercizing his Constitutional authority to commute Scooter Libby's prison sentence as an Impeachable offense, for example. But it does seem to me that the rhetoric coming from many Dem candidates in 2006 isn't exactly being reflected in their official actions now that they got themselves elected. And I certainly support the right of constituents to demand that their elected representatives walk the walk after having talked the talk.
What do you think?" From "Pre Emptive Karma"

Marc Rich and Scooter Libby: A Bad Comparison

Let us put to rest any comparison of the commutation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's sentence and the pardon that Marc Rich received from President Bill Clinton.

They are in no way comparable.

By the degree of the individual's guilt and traitorous behavior, Libby's sentence-commutation by George W. Bush could be more aptly compared to GWB's father's pardon of Oliver North. North could have implicated the elder Bush in the illegal arms for hostages deal, which funded the subsequent murder of hundreds of thousands of Central American peasants, at the hands of the Reagan/Bush administration. Similarly, Libby could implicate the current underdstandably secretive holders of the offices of president and vice-president, of covering up the deliberate outing of a covert CIA operative.

Bill Clinton, in his autobiography, My Life, on pp. 940-941 has this to say about his own last-minute pardon of Marc Rich:

"The most controversial pardons went to Marc Rich and his partner, Pincus Green. Rich, a wealthy businessman, had left the United States for Switzerland shortly before he was indicted on tax and other charges for allegedly falsely reporting the price of certain oil transactions to minimize his tax liability. There were several such cases in the 1980s, when some oil was under price controls and some was not, inviting the dishonest to underestimate their income or to overcharge their customers. During that time, several people and companies were charged with violating the law, but the individuals were usually charged with a civil offense. It was extremely rare for tax charges to be prosecuted under the racketeering statutes, as Rich and Green were, and after they were charged, the Justice Department ordered U.S. attorneys to stop doing it. After he was indicted, Rich stayed overseas, mostly in Israel and Switzerland.

The government had allowed Rich's business to continue to operate after he agreed to pay $200 million in fines, more than four times the $48 million in taxes the government claimed he had evaded. Professor Marty Ginsberg, a tax expert and husband of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Harvard law professor Bernard Wolfman had reviewed the transactions in question and concluded that Rich's companies were right in their tax computations, which meant that Rich himself had not owed any taxes on these transactions."

I call bullshit on Republicans for using the Marc Rich pardon as an example that is in any way comparable to the commutation of Scooter Libby richly deserved sentence. Incidentally, one of Rich's former lawyers was the ubiquitous Scooter Libby.

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