Monday, April 27, 2009
New York, New York--It struck me even before there was news of the identity of the plane that this was a readiness test to see how fast the response by interceptor-jets was going to be. By all appearances they got up there a lot faster than on September 11th, 2001.
Small wonder that billionaire Republican Mayor Bloomberg was angry over not being notified. They just made an ass of him and his party again...because they can. Wish them luck making hay out of this one since the mainstream media isn't going to.
Would the administration of George W. Bush have even bothered with a readiness test? No. They were too busy robbing the public trough, that's why the attacks of September 11th, 2001 were such a success.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
South Bend, Indiana--This week, our friend and neighbor Bert Szymanski. He was 87 years old and is one of the last surviving people in Indiana (besides his widow) who saw John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson in life. Bert was also a father, a grandfather, and a great-grandfather who was loved by many. Bert was a trucker who helped build the Alaskan highway during WWII. Like many of his generation in South Bend, he worked at the Studebaker plant for several years and was laid-off when it closed in 1963.
Bert told me in January of this year some interesting details that are corroborated by Dillinger's lawyer's (Louis Picquett) book regarding the gang's hideout--a safe house--here in South Bend during the 1933-34 crime wave.
Details told to me by Bert fit Picquett's account of their staying in-hiding in South Bend like a glove. There were other Dillinger gang hideouts in this are, one at Koontz Lake that's long gone, destroyed by a freak tornado in the 1960s (my father showed us the remaining steps and foundation during the 1980s).
Dillinger was chased just down the road of our current residence by Indiana State Highway Police on old S.R. 6, just ten miles down the road from our home in Walkerton, Indiana. This was his stomping ground. Bert and his wife Sally saw Dillinger inside the Biograph just minutes before his murder by FBI agents in the alleyway of the theater, but fled the scene out of fear. They were just kids, no more than 13. Amazingly, I don't think Bert ever told his children about this, but then, I don't think he and Sallie were supposed to be in East Chicago on that hot summer day in 1934 either.
We're losing these stories to mortality every day, and it's a shame that we don't take more care in preserving our history. Sounds like a job for the federal government and a new W.P.A. oral history program.
Bert was a good man who loved his family, his children, his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and his neighbors. He was a good friend of my late grandparents and he will be missed. Bert and I reflected that he lived to see two Great Depressions in his lifetime, but he was pleased that Barack Obama had won the election and was hopeful that he could be our FDR. He was a smart man, a working man. I helped Bert from the floor of his garage twice--which contributed to a hernia! I will never regret helping my neighbor, he was quite a man. He was buried this morning, and hundreds attended his viewing yesterday. I'm going to miss taking him vegetables from our garden. Sleep well, the neighborhood isn't going to be the same without you.
Friday, April 24, 2009
J to the Powah of 7--There will be humor...wenches, grog, and the occasional flintlock AK-47 and RPG for all!!! Arrrrrrrrrr!!!!!! Can someone find me a schooner in Somalia? Starring Ron Paul and a cast of millions!
On the "torture flap" and all the waffling in DC: Bust Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, Rumsfeld, Rice, Miers, and the OLC attorneys
WWW--This is getting good. To say that I'm enjoying the shit storm created over the release of these torture memos, the narratives coming from former participants, and the formation of a coherent time line, would be an understatement. This could have a good effect on reining-in our intelligence community, and more. Reactionaries of every stripe are going to complain that this is "going to hamper the CIA, et. al.," which misses the point: actions defined as internationally illegal and barbaric behavior by them isn't necessarily going to make us any safer, quite the opposite.
But the the public has to be engaged in this, and so far, they are in a major way that's not showing any signs of cresting.
We could be seeing the radical reformulation of our foreign policy dialog inside and outside of the State Department and the executive branch. Why? Because the Bush II administration was so incompetent, so blustery in their criminality, that they didn't think that they had to cover their tracks much--not that they cared to most of the time, they thought the fix was on permanently. Who and what made them think that? Who gave them that blank check? Few buy the justifications these days. However, there still seems to be an increasingly isolated segment of the public that thinks George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, and the rest of the Bush II administration were somehow protecting us through methods that were proven useless in obtaining information centuries ago.
Torture doesn't work.
My advice to concerned members of the public who find the use of torture by our government unacceptable: sign any petition (once!), call your elected representatives, and make one hell of a lot of noise about your concern over this until we see some real action, some real justice. Until then, all bets are off, so keep hammering!
Why is the Obama administration waffling back-and-forth on this? Some of the torture memos came out because they knew a whistle-blower was going to leak them to the press and watchdog groups. Nonetheless, it was a brave move to release them in unredacted form, and I applaud it. But the Obama administration doesn't yet know what to do about it, and the reasons are simple and complicated: yes, they have qualms about how the Bush II administration implemented torture against individuals captured in the field (oftentimes just taken off of the streets of another nation), but I think they want to keep this gun in their pockets for a rainy day.
Does it matter? It might not. This whole scandal is broader than just one incident: it's an internationally sprawling and seemingly endless string of incidents that constituted official policy under Bush II, a secret one. Interestingly, the former president isn't taking any potshots at President Obama on torture...only the factions of Karl Rove and Richard Cheney are. This speaks volumes as to who was the genesis of the policy, it could be isolated primarily to the last vice president.
However, none of this matters. George W. Bush was our standing president, regardless of whether he abdicated his responsibilities to Vice President Cheney. For this reason, there must be accountability because we are a nation of laws and precedents. If the Bush II precedents stand on torture and numerous other matters, we're no longer a democracy. Motivation enough for you now?
One thing's certain: There's a war for the minds of Americans on this issue being fought by Rovian operatives within the mainstream media, and they and the Obama administration are losing control of the debate to the public. This can only be a good thing. The groundswell is here, now.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
WWW--Beginning this week, former DC Madam attorney Montgomery Blair Sibley has begun a blog recounting some biographical details on himself and his erstwhile client, and some of them are pretty surprising, even to these eyes:Starting in the 1980s – when Jeane was running her “Unique Club for Men”, an in-call massage parlor disguised as a barber shop in Orlando, Florida – Jeane regularly visited the community of Cassadaga, Florida. As the website for Cassadaga states: “Through the years, many psychics have enjoyed reading in Cassadaga due to the ethereal vibrations with Spirit and clients with utmost clarity. These special
etheric vibrations emanate from the earth itself, sometimes called Ley Lines or energy Hot Spots. Known as “The Psychic Center of the World”, Cassadaga continues today as the premiere psychic community and is home to some of America’s finest psychics.”It was a psychic there in the mid 1980s who told Jeane that her business was under investigation by the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation and she should leave town. In short order, Jeane sold the business and left Orlando for San Diego, California.("Jeane and Psychics," Amos Probos.blogspot, 04.17.2009)
This jibes with comments Jeane made to me, and a curious pen pal who came along during the proceedings through a third party email service who claimed to have been Jeane's personal astrologer. They used a pseudonym, but it wouldn't surprise me if Hazil Tomim, mentioned later in the blog post.
What's interesting is that I believe Tomim told Palfrey that the case would come out in her favor, just as the pseudonymous pen pal stated to me. Considering the issue of abatement, they could be right; Palfrey's family could very well get back most of her assets from the federal government thanks to the fact that she died before sentencing. For anyone foolish enough to believe Jeane was murdered by the federal government, there's your motive for suicide, she was adamant that they weren't getting her assets under any condition.She meant what she said, contrary to the ravings of Alex Jones, Constantine, and Kurt Nimmo, and she said it to me and many others, including more than a few journalists. It's going to be interesting if I'll even be mentioned in Sibley's 600+ page tome on his experience of the Palfrey saga. At the very least, there will be some interesting primary material in addition to the attorney's take on his client, the government's prosecution, and whatnot.It appears--contrary to my own earlier fears--that Mr. Sibley is going to go with the fairly obvious fact that Ms. Palfrey was guilty, to his credit. Be sure to check-out the conspiracy coffee mugs and t-shirts at Prisonplanet and Infowars, they're a hoot!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
ACLU.org--Once again, I have to say that I'm impressed by this release of the internal record and that it's a hard day for cynics and the terminally jaded (if they can even fathom the meaning of it intellectually). This couldn't be kept in the dark any longer, and the new administration's actions today--while not going nearly as far as most of us would like--is a good step forward towards accountability for the architects of post-9/11 terror policy.
Looking at some of these memos, it's clear that the Bush II administration was in panic mode after the attacks of September 11th, 2001. Torture? That's for the desperate.
But this release is not enough, and significantly more declassification is going to have to occur in the near future. The ACLU requested these documents over a year ago, and they only came to the rest of us through court filings:
In response to litigation filed by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Justice Department today released four secret memos used by the Bush administration to justify torture. The memos, produced by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), provided the legal framework for the CIA's use of waterboarding and other illegal interrogation methods that violate domestic and international law.The stakes in maintaining our liberties couldn't be higher regarding state secrets. Today, the Obama administration made a much bigger step forward than most administrations ever would --even under the current circumstances--but many more will have to come. However, there is now more than enough material to justify substantial investigations into crimes committed under the color of authority under the Bush II administration.
The ACLU has called for the Justice Department to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate torture under the Bush administration."We have to look back before we can move forward as a nation. When crimes have been committed, the American legal system demands accountability. President Obama's assertion that there should not be prosecutions of government officials who may have committed crimes before a thorough investigation has been carried out is simply untenable. Enforcing the nation's laws should not be a political decision. These memos provide yet more incontrovertible evidence that Bush administration officials at the highest level of government authorized and gave legal blessings to acts of torture that violate domestic and international law," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. ("Justice Department Releases Bush Administration Torture Memos," ACLU, 04.16.2009)
The ACLU's site has the most complete PDF collection of the four key torture memos, authored by the Justice Department's OLC (Office of Legal Counsel) under the direction of the White House to give illegal acts of torture a sheen of legality:
A 18-page memo, dated August 1, 2002, from Jay Bybee, Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA. [PDF]The New York Times is also offering an incomplete selection of the memos on its site. Accountability is coming.
A 46-page memo, dated May 10, 2005, from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA. [PDF]
A 20-page memo, dated May 10, 2005, from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA. [PDF]
A 40-page memo, dated May 30, 2005, from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA. [PDF] ("Abuse of Power: The Bush Administration's Secret Legal Memos," ACLU, 04.16.2009)
Thursday, April 09, 2009
"My mind hasn't been made up on AJ [Alex Jones] 100 percent."--Richard Poplawski, the Pittsburgh shooter.
WWW--The smoke on this one has yet to clear, and this writer wagers that it won't for some time. So far, Rawstory and DailyKos have enigmatically offered retractions that Pittsburgh shooter Richard Poplawski was influenced by the writings and musings of Alex Jones and his affiliated websites Inforwars and PrisonPlanet.
The Rawstory retraction is still puzzling this writer as the original source--The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette--which hasn't backed down, even going so far as to print an exchange between them and Alex Jones that not only doesn't let the conspiracy guru off-the-hook in being one of the shooter's influences, but actually confirming it with his rhetoric that sounds almost exactly like the terms used by Poplawski and his questionable acquaintances:
Mr. Jones, in a telephone interview with the Post-Gazette, denied any extremist views and described himself as "more of a libertarian" than member of the right wing.
He also denounced the violence that took place in Stanton Heights and suggested it reflected growing worries about gun confiscation.
"When the police and the military attempt to come for the guns, which they're going to do, it's not going to go well." [Ed.--My emphasis.]
He also complained that his views were being conflated with extremists that recruit people with legitimate concerns reflected on his own site and program.
"It's almost like I wake people up and they just get handed over to the nuts," he said. ("Poplawski was 'Braced for Fate' in days leading to attack," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 04.07.2009)
And maybe they were already nuts, Mr. Jones? And what about you? Why else would cowering skinheads feel an affinity with you and your paranoiac publications, media appearances and documentaries? Because if you insert the word "Jew" in your pronouncements, writings, and documentaries, you have the same ideology.
One word, that's it, the same.
Like all demagogues, Jones and his curious cadre are appealing to real social and economic problems--there are very real concerns regarding our most cherished liberties thanks to the damage done by the Bush II years to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But is running around yelling and intimidating progressives--as Jones is doing--going to fix anything? No, but his output and that of his kind has the potential of pushing another Richard Poplawski towards mindless violent action again, and there are many like him out there right now.
Jones has some intelligence: he knows that there is a slack-jawed segment of the left and progressive streams that might mistake him as one of theirs. That's part of the plan, as it is with Ron Paul, but also a tactic of the white hate underground to cloak yourself in the rhetoric of the progressive left to appear more "palatable." Is Jones a racist? Does it really matter when he appeals to them, ideologically?
A couple days ago, his PrisonPlanet was gloating (since that's what they frequently do) over the fact that Rawstory and DailyKos offered their retractions., but not everyone's falling for it.
...Other notable blogs such as Little Green Footballs and Media Matters should also follow the example set by Raw Story and Daily Kos in issuing retractions.
As we announced in our previous article, we will consider taking further action should full and frank retractions not be forthcoming. ...Unfortunately that does not constitute journalism and in sensitive cases like this one it very often leads to slander and libel. ("Daily Kos Issues Retraction of Infowars/Poplawski Smear," Infowars.com, 04.07.2009)
Yet today, I received an email from SPLC (The Southern Poverty Law Center) with a link to the original Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article noting Jones's presence in the ideological-lexicon of one Richard Poplawski.
Neither the ADL or the Post-Gazette are offering any retractions, which could be very telling. This could be because they're not as disabled by the economic crisis and don't take threats like those from PrisonPlanet and Infowars as seriously as the sites that have offered-up their retractions--retractions that they've probably yielded to far too easily.
The straw man issue that Jones and his acolytes are putting out there is that these sites claimed his nexus of sites working as an "outlet for 'hate speech,' " which isn't what this writer or many others were claiming, but that there's a very real ideological-thread connecting all of them together. The white hate underground doesn't have a problem acknowledging these commonalities, but if you're trying to cater to everybody with a message of anti-government paranoia, you have to accept the dross as well--and that's leaving-out Jones's snake oil advertisers that include himself.
A message to Alex Jones: Libertarianism is a right-wing ideology, with connections and affinities to the farthest-reaches of the extremist right. That the moths are attracted to his light just speaks volumes that he's arch-conservative. This writer believes he's well aware of this fact. Tune into Fox News for his next appearance, it should be good for a laugh...until you realize what he's about. One of Jones's main methods of attack is to claim that the rest of us "don't get it." I think many of us get it. Fascism comes from below, and no, it's not just about little old Alex Jones.
"Suspect in officers' shooting was into conspiracy theories," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 04.05.2009: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09095/960750-53.stm
"Daily Kos Issues Retraction of Infowars/Poplawski Smear," Infowars.com, 04.07.2009: http://www.infowars.com/daily-kos-issues-retraction-of-infowarspoplawski-smear/"Poplawski was 'Braced for Fate' in days leading to attack," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 04.07.2009: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09096/960938-100.stm
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania--It would be unfair to lay all of the blame for the shooting rampage of Richard Andrew Poplawski in Philadelphia this week on Alex Jones (or even Glen Beck) alone, but he and the rest of the reactionary right noise machine own a good chunk of it. It's not begging the question since the unbalanced and ignorant spree killer was an avid reader and consumer of such extremist dreck.
This wasn't about someone "getting into it" with their family over a dog urinating on a rug, it was about a sick young man with a small mind who found inspiration from right-wing demagogues, some of whom erroneously get lumped-into being part of the progressive and populist left. But Poplawski wasn't part of that political stream and had direct connections with the white supremacist "Stormfront" white supremacist group and was an avid reader of Alex Jones, among others on the rightist fringe.
While it's true that Poplawski was influenced by various texts, Jones figures highly in the story, and the role of anti-government conspiracy theories play a significant part of what led an ignorant and antisocial personality to focused and violent action.
“He was really into politics and really into the First and Second amendment. One thing he feared was he feared the gun ban because he thought that was going to take away peoples’ right to defend themselves. He never spoke of going out to murder or to kill,” said Edward Perkovic, who described himself as Mr. Poplawski’s lifelong best friend.
Mr. Poplawski’s view of guns and personal freedom took a turn toward the fringes of American politics. With Mr. Perkovic, he appeared to share a belief that the government was controlled from unseen forces, that troops were being shipped home from the Mideast to police the citizenry here, and that Jews secretly ran the country.
Believing most media were covering up important events, Mr. Poplawski turned to a far-right conspiracy Web site run by Alex Jones, a self-described documentarian with roots going back to the extremist militia movement of the early 1990s. ("Suspect in officers' shooting was into conspiracy theories," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 04.05.2009)
Dallas' 5th District, East Texas' 2nd District and the amazing 14th District, which runs all over everywhere, are also in play. In the amazing 14th, Democrat Lefty Morris (his slogan is "Lefty is Right!") faces the Republican/Libertarian Ron Paul, who is himself so far right that he's sometimes left, as happens with your Libertarians. I think my favorite issue here is Paul's 1993 newsletter advising "Frightened Americans" on how to get their money out of the country. He advised that Peruvian citizenship could be purchased for a mere 25 grand. That we should all become Peruvians is one of the more innovative suggestions of this festive campaign season. But what will the Peruvians think of it? ("Molly Ivins October 10," Forth Worth Star-Telegram, 10.10.1996)In short, Paul is recommending that well-off Americans at that time engage in capital flight, which is hardly a "left" position, but parallel with that of the mainstream Republican Party as well as extremist tax resisters and Wall Street. It's certain that he feels the same now, and that's not a populist argument by any stretch--it favors the rich--the people we can presume he really serves. But this is really going easy on Ron Paul, so we'll get to the "meat."
There have been many accusations over the years levelled at Paul that he's a white supremacist. Some of this comes from his own connection with the militia movement, one he shares with Alex Jones and many other allies of the Austin-based parapolitical demagogue. But Paul's grandstanding on these issues begs-the-question of whether it even matters whether he believes what he says.
Last week, Congress hailed the 40th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The heroic Ron Paul was the only member of Congress to vote No. Here is his statement. ~ Ed.Mr. Speaker, I rise to explain my objection to H.Res. 676. I certainly join my colleagues in urging Americans to celebrate the progress this country has made in race relations. However, contrary to the claims of the supporters of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the sponsors of H.Res. 676, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not improve race relations or enhance freedom. Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty.The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the federal government unprecedented power over the hiring, employee relations, and customer service practices of every business in the country. The result was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society. The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties. The rights of all private property owners, even those whose actions decent people find abhorrent, must be respected if we are to maintain a free society. ("The Trouble With Forced Integration," by Ron Paul, M.D., lewrockwell.com, 07.03.2004)
We tried in our discussions to identify and find remedies to typical militia weaknesses. One weakness seen often in militia history is that units degenerate into mere social clubs. To prevent this, all companies would participate in annual play-offs in the form of free-play exercises against other companies. The winner would advance to the next level. Our hope is that these competitions would become big deals in communities across America, spurring the militiamen on to greater efforts.Another typical militia weakness is doctrinal stagnation. To counter this, the militia would have its own General Staff, made up of the kind of "military dinks" who have been into military history and war games since they were kids. The General Staff would oversee doctrine, training and the regular round of free-play exercises. It would not vet individual militia members, since this would create centralization, but it would have the power to dissolve companies that performed poorly, became social clubs or got taken over by MS-13 and the like. ("Organizing the Militia, by William S. Lind," lewrockwell.com, 08.11.2005)
...In the meantime, we can expect the Obama libs [Ed.--I voted Nader, thank you very much.] to continue their demonization of those of us who not only value and support the Second Amendment – the very cornerstone of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights – but also those of us who realize government invariably plots against liberty and eventually enslaves the masses, as a glance at the last century reveals. ... It should be expected that the government will exploit the recent shootings in order further their propaganda and realize their master plan of an unarmed and helpless populace. It really is sad the liberals are helping them in this effort by offering themselves up as useful idiots. ("Lib Blogs Kick into Frothing Overdrive in Reaction to Pittsburgh Shootings, inforwars.com, 04.04.2009)That's funny, I'm a philosophical socialist who voted for Ralph Nader in the 2008 presidential elections, but does that matter when you're trying to discredit your critics? It does. Nimmo and Jones like accusing their adversaries of using "Stalinist tactics," yet there isn't one mention of the fact that Poplawski was an enthusiastic reader of Jones's site anywhere in his meandering article that must be read to be believed for its acrobatics and wild leaps of logic. What do you expect in the world of the paranoiac, the demagogue? Stalin would be proud.
Additionally,Nimmo creates a straw man argument that Poplawski's comments on the Obama administration came from Edward Perkovic, when the information really came from an acquaintance named Aaron Vire. Poplawski's neighbor, Tom Moffitt, has also stated that the young man expressed comments along the same lines as the accounts of Perkovic and Vire. That's three testimonies thus far that Poplawski was afraid his guns were going to be taken from him, specifically by the Obama administratoion, with more to come.
Friday, April 03, 2009
Dear Mr. Holder,
I understand that you have concluded that there were instances of prosecutorial misconduct in the case of former Senator Ted Stevens and that you have concluded it would be wise to drop the case and the conviction. This is good.
But I would enjoin you to look into other cases of what could very well be other instances of misconduct by U.S. Attorneys working under the influence of the Bush II administration. There are the cases of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and Mississippi attorney Paul Minor--both Democrats--and there's every indication that they were targets of selective politically motivated prosecutions by the Bush II DOJ. Serious probes are in order here.
It is my hope that a wider-ranging commission into the mismanagement and politicization of the Justice Department will be proposed by yourself and President Obama and the OLC. If we wish to restore the credibility of the DOJ, there must be transparency and accountability, even once someone has left public service.
I would bring to your attention the fact that the late Deborah Jeane Palfrey (aka the "DC Madam") was definitely a victim of similar misconduct when federal investigators or prosecutors extralegally leaked an unsigned federal search warrant to journalist and editor Bill Bastone, editor of the Tru TV website, "The Smoking Gun."
It's my opinion that Mr. Bastone needs to be compelled before a federal grand jury to discuss the conditions of the transfer of this information to his person, who did so in officialdom, and whatever else might have transpired between them. There was more than one case of misconduct beyond the Stevens case, and the rule of law must be respected and preserved. I hope that you feel the same.
yours, Matt Janovic, writer and researcher
Anchorage, Alaska--Perhaps Seward was wrong, but the people of Alaska have essentially spoken, and even through a jury last year: a majority of Alaskans don't want Ted Stevens to represent them on the national level anymore, and this goes beyond the narrow election results. But the will of the people aside, Stevens doesn't have many future options since former Anchorage mayor and Democrat Mark Begich legally won the election and isn't going to resign from the Senate.
There's no reason for Begich to resign. He won legally regardless.
The truth of the matter is, Ted Stevens was a guilty public servant who was over-zealously prosecuted by a Department of Justice under the control of the Republican Party via the Bush II administration. On time and on schedule, the GOP are calling for special elections and claiming incorrectly that Stevens has been cleared, but it's not going to float or catch-on with a public rightly concerned and fixated on an economy that was wrecked by the same people in many cases.
Far be it from the right to want a straw to hold onto and the ability to paint themselves as victims. The biggest problem is that this was all self-inflicted and that it took a non-partisan administration to fix the mess left behind in the Stevens case. The American Enterprise Institute had similar sentiments to say this week, and it's telling about the right's mindset of victimhood and entitlement.
...Republicans would be furious if Stevens had been prosecuted by a Democratic administration. But, inconveniently, he was prosecuted by a Republican administration. And it was a Democratic Attorney General who handsomely admitted error and dropped the case. Eric Holder may be making some decisions on political grounds, like his decision to reject the advice of the Office of Legal Counsel that the D.C. congressional voting bill is unconstitutional and accept instead the advice of the solicitor general's office that it would be defensible in court, a much lower standard. And we can criticize Holder for his conduct in connection with the Marc Rich and other Clinton pardons. But we can't say that he's a complete political hack. ... ("Former Senator Ted Stevens Deserves Praise From Alaskans, American Enterprise Institute, 04.02.2009)Correct, not a "complete political hack" like an Alberto Gonzales. And yes, there are huge parades going on this week in Alaska celebrating all of this. Didn't you notice them? Me either. And besides, Washington D.C. is predominantly African-American, and they don't tend to vote Republican...not that that has anything to do with Ted Stevens and the DOJ (DOH!), the AEI decided to drag them into it for reasons known only to themselves (since it doesn't make any sense).
No, the AEI really makes it clear that they want a fight, but cannot mount one for obvious reasons.
Additionally, this week's statements by the DOJ have not once mentioned anywhere that former Senator Stevens was cleared of any wrong-doing in the matter of bribery and making false statements to federal agents, but that the charges have been dropped. And once again, it should be reiterated that sitting Senator Mark Begich isn't going to resign. Can Stevens sue? Unlikely, and he doesn't want anyone looking into the things that he was legitimately convicted of, which are numbered in the several, and there could be more.
The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog states:
Nobody seems overly thrilled with the outcome, least of all Stevens’s attorney, Williams & Connolly’s Brendan Sullivan. “This jury verdict was obtained unlawfully,” read the statement penned by W&C. “The misconduct of government prosecutors, and one or more FBI agents, was stunning.” The statement went on to decry the “corrupt” conduct of attorneys and the FBI in the case, though it said Holder and the new prosecution team, along with Emmett Sullivan, the trial judge, were “heroes” for bringing the information to light. ("Can Ted Stevens Sue the Government...And Win?," WSJ Law Blog, 04.02.2009)Stevens also has some curious defenders in the Senate, such as the questionable Daniel Inoye (D-Hawaii) who has been tangentially connected to the Randy Cunningham/Brent Wilkes bribery scandal and straw men like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ("[H]e's already been punished enough."). Inouye has a bad habit of publicly defending his corrupt peers in Congress, but a wolf knows a wolf and the public knows it at the moment. One need only look at the approval ratings of Congress, as they haven't gone much higher since the Bush II administration left office.
The Obama administration's DOJ has made a good decision in many respects here, and it will tend to undercut most calls of partisanship when such former Bush II luminaries as Karl Rove take the stand this spring. This writer's take is that there will be many more following Mr. Rove into court, some being sent off to be housed in a federal prison.
From Dermot Cole's Oped at The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner's blog:
...But the Republican party and Gov. Sarah Palin are going to have to accept that Begich was elected to a six-year term. He's not going to resign.
The "corrupt Department of Justice" is the problem, according to Randy Ruedrich, the state GOP chair.
But if the Republican Party and Palin push the call for Begich to resign, it will naturally lead to renewed debate about aspects of the Stevens investigation that were not contradicted by the flip-flops in Bill Allen's story and the evidence withheld from Stevens' lawyers. ... ("Begich is not going to resign," Newsminer.com, 04.02.2009)
That's about where it's going to rest, contrary to the cynical flip-flopping of the inimitable Governor Sarah Palin and the rest of the GOP inside and outside of Alaska who are now calling for special elections. It's not going to work when a Republican administration overzealously and incompetently attempted to prosecute a guilty man, then had the charges dropped by a new Democratic one. Stevens should feel lucky indeed.
Other defendants from the same period are either dead (by their own hand in the case of the DC Madam), desperately working to make a deal, divested of everything they own, and/or are currently sitting in a federal prison. No April Fool's there. Ted Stevens is just as guilty today as he was before April 1, 2009, but the last administration's prosecutors simply made so much of a mess of it that it's not worth pursuing, and there's every reason to do so to serve a greater good that has little to do with the former defendant.
Stevens's lawyer is mistaken that his client has been "cleared." He has not. Lockstep Republicans are echoing the same, and all of them are being intellectually dishonest. Nothing new there, move along. Letting Stevens go was an easy decision from every angle, there are bigger fish to fry and they're going to be entering the docket soon. Some of them will be prominent career Republicans, while others will be right-leaning criminal CEOs. The Obama administration's dismissal of the conviction will be their political firewall.
Now, it's time for the OLC to look very seriously and assiduously into the prosectutions of Mississippi attorney Paul Minor and former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman for what were likely political ends by the Bush II administration and elements within the RNC. While they're at it, they might want to look into prosecutorial misconduct in the trial of the DC Madam. It's there, just ask Bill Bastone of the Smoking Gun some time, it'll get a rise out of him. Let the rule of law be served.
"Former Senator Ted Stevens Deserves Praise From Alaskans, American Enterprise Institute, 04.02.2009: http://www.aei.org/publications/filter.all,pubID.29651/pub_detail.asp
"Can Ted Stevens Sue the Government...And Win?," WSJ Law Blog, 04.02.2009: http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2009/04/02/can-ted-stevens-sue-the-government-and-win/
T'was back in W-W-II, when Columbus crossed the ocean blue.
"Seriously, who wants to go hunt for bigfoot with us in the Sierra Ancha Mts.? " said
the social networking status update.
Wouldn't you? If it was true.
For years and years nobody thought the Japanese and Germans were funny--
were I kidding--but it's true.
But read haikus,
you'll get the news.
I decided to write a murder ballad about bigfoot in the shower,
a daunting task sure to bring derision.
But that was my right,
"That was nobody but some Mexicans," said the Colorado naturalist,
but no one would listen.
We murdered the neanderthals,
and they haunt us with precision.
Wouldn't you? You know it's true. It wouldn't do.
Someone might sue, but I paid my dues.
Because back in W-W-II,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
I believe it because I want to.