UPDATE: Ethics Comm. back in session WITHOUT Charlie Tuna
UPDATE UPDATE : His law firm abandoned him after they ALL misused Pac funds for his legal fees, The Comm. told him, “Hey, Dude, we told you FIVE different ways to get your legal fees paid, tis NO excuse”
~DJ JP’s dedication to Tuna: ‘Slip out the back Jack- Make a New plan Stan’…
~ If he was smart he would JUST pack it in & exit stage left…
UPDATE 1-N.Y. Rep. Charles Rangel makes opening statement at House ethics trial, then ‘excuses’ himself from hearing claiming lack of counsel and no time to set up a legal defense fund (He had time a whole month)
UPDATE II – Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, saying “50 years of public service is on the line,” implored a House ethics panel Monday to postpone his ethics trial until he can get a new lawyer. ( HE was the one WHO wanted a speedy trial)
~What a costly reelection & the dummies who voted him back! ~JP
Congressman Charles Rangel, whose ethics trial starts tomorrow, appears to have improperly used political-action committee money to pay for his defense.
Rangel tapped his National Leadership PAC for $293,000 to pay his main legal-defense team this year. He took another $100,000 from the PAC in 2009 to pay lawyer Lanny Davis. Two legal experts told The Post such spending is against House rules. “It’s a breach of congressional ethics,” one campaign-finance lawyer said.
Washington, DC, political lawyer Cleta Mitchell said there is “no authority for a member to use leadership PAC funds as a slush fund to pay for personal or official expenses.” Leadership PACs are typically used by politicians to donate money to other candidates.
But Rangel seems to have run afoul of House ethics rules. Lawmakers are generally allowed to use campaign cash to pay their lawyers, but this is limited to money in their personal campaign committee and they must ask permission first, the campaign-finance lawyer said. “The only campaign funds that a member may use to pay for congressional expenses are funds of his or her principal campaign committee — not the funds of a leadership PAC or a multicandidate committee,” according to the House Ethics Manual.
Legal fees tied to a campaign, election or performance of official duties are considered congressional expenses. “Accepting money or payment for legal expenses from any other source, including a PAC, would be a gift and is barred by the House rules,” the lawyer said. The Ethics Committee had no comment.
Rangel’s office refused to comment on the PAC money. On top of the $393,000 in PAC funds, records show Rangel yanked $1.4 million from his campaign coffers in 2009 and 2010 to pay the firm Zuckerman Spaeder, his main legal-defense team, and $100,000 in 2009 to pay Davis’ firm.
He also spent $147,577 for Washington, DC, lawyer John Kern and $174,303 for Watkins, Meegan, Drury & Co., a firm that offers forensic accounting and legal services
An eight-member ethics subcommittee of four Democrats and four Republicans will convene at 9 a.m. to hear the 13 charges. They include failure to disclose and pay taxes on his vacation home in the Dominican Republic; his use of a rent-regulated Harlem apartment as a campaign office; and using congressional stationery to raise money for the Rangel Center at City College.
~JP opines through the keyboard…Will it be a ‘real’ trial’? Or a liberal trial where Holder steps in at Obama’s behest to save Da Tuna?
Denair Middle School student, Cody Alicea, rides his bicycle to and from school with a U.S. flag attached at the back in Denair, California. (Debbie Noda/Modesto Bee/MCT)
Cody Alicea looked a little unnerved as he approached his bicycle Friday afternoon.
The 13-year-old walked into a clutch of news crews, drawn to Denair Middle School after a school employee’s request that Cody remove an American flag from his bike attracted national headlines. The district, in this small Stanislaus County town, reversed its stance Friday.
“I didn’t think it would cause this much attention,” Cody said after unlocking his flag-festooned bicycle. “No one has told me (today) I can’t fly the flag.”
Edward Parraz, superintendent of the Denair Unified School District, said that a campus supervisor asked Cody to remove the flag earlier this week out of concern for his safety.
Those concerns arose from a dust-up among students last school year after some racial tensions arose when Latino students brought Mexican flags to school around Cinco de Mayo.
“It’s one of those things that the campus supervisor was thinking in the best interest of Cody and it backfired on her,” Parraz said Friday. “I think it was the right decision with the wrong result. She feels miserable.”
Cody has had the flag on his bike since beginning of the school year and it was coincidental that it became a problem during the week of Veterans Day, which Parraz said is “the issue that made this look like Denair is the worst thing in the world.”
An online search Friday showed 33 different articles regarding the incident, ranging from local TV to news stations in Texas and Oklahoma. An item was posted on the Web page of conservative syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin, and a video on YouTube generated more than 300 views.
District officials have received thousands of calls, e-mails and faxes. Some were unpleasant, but “there was some good constructive stuff,” Parraz said.
He said there were people who thought “no matter what (freedom of speech) should have been the first and foremost thing we should have protected, but there are safety concerns, too.”
Parraz said the district has scheduled a special school board meeting Sunday to discuss how to defuse the situation, and is preparing a letter to the community.
Parents and community members, in the meantime, developed their own plan to walk students to school on Monday morning, flags flying high.
“We want to show the nation that this isn’t Denair,” said Cassie Olson, who is helping to organize the walk. Wearing red, white and blue, the parents will escort children down Main Street to the Lester Road middle and high schools.
“I live here. This is my town,” she said.
Though Olson’s children are grown up, she is concerned that people hearing about Cody’s story will think Denair — an unincorporated community of a little less than 4,000 people east of Turlock — is anti-American.
Anyone driving down Lester Road on Friday afternoon would not have gotten that impression. Red, white and blue mixed with the schools’ signature color of purple as students at both schools showed their support for Cody.
“They were all willing to get suspended for this,” said Shonda Elgin, whose daughter goes to Denair High.
As for Cody (who wore a dusky blue hoodie), he seemed a little overwhelmed by the response, which included honks and waving from people who saw him riding his bike to school Friday morning. Though he said he never felt threatened by any students, he had heard rumors that there were concerns for his safety.
“I didn’t want to make it an issue,” he said. “I just like flying the country’s flag.”
Before getting on his bike for a well-documented ride out of the parking lot, Cody also expressed sympathy for Parraz.
“It feels nice that people are on my side,” he said. “But I don’t want anyone against him.”
WASHINGTON — The midterm election may be over, but the in-fighting that dominated debate about the differences between Tea Party conservatives and establishment Republicans flared again Sunday as incoming lawmakers arrived in Washington for orientation.
Republican lawmakers-elect began entering town Sunday morning for courses meant to ease their transition from private citizen to public official. They are expected to attend GOP-hosted classes at the Capitol Hill Club designed to go over issues like ethics, House rules, blackberry usage and the bell-ringing system to call House votes, among other mundane functions.
House Republican Leader John Boehner, the presumptive speaker of the next House, welcomed newly elected congressional members with a letter commending them for the initiative to meet ahead of the lame-duck session that will pull the current Congress back to town this week.
“Your class colleagues will be a great source of support, inspiration and friendship in the months ahead as the new majority gets to work on the priorities of the American people,” Boehner wrote. “I look forward to the honor of serving with you in the 112th Congress as we begin a new drive for smaller, less costly, more accountable government in Washington. See you Sunday night.”
But in the midst of their arrival, the new class found itself smack in the middle of a series of hostile exchanges by sponsors of other overlapping events, and the incoming group of 60 Republicans is unexpectedly finding its loyalties questioned by other influential parties.
* The Tea Party Patriots, which has the backing of FreedomWorks, the Leadership Institute and other organizations that helped bankroll and campaign for up-and-coming Tea Party candidates, late last week accused GOP leadership and its sponsor, the conservative Claremont Institute, of holding the Capitol Hill Club function to indoctrinate new members into Washington’s unhealthy habits.
TPP then inflamed lawmakers by publishing personal information of the new class. That came about after the TPP, which states it wants to prevent its revolutionaries from being co-opted by establishment Washington, wrote its membership urging them to contact the newly elected members and complain that the Tea Partiers were being manhandled by Beltway insiders.
* The action also apparently alarmed sponsors of a “Constitutional Congress,” hosted by three current lawmakers, retiring
Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona and Sens. Tim Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina. They reportedly had planned their event as part of the Tea Party Patriots event, but separated themselves after learning of the conflict.
* Rep.-elect David Schweikert of Arizona added that none of the organizers need to worry about the new class going astray from its fundamentals because the freshmen are “firebreathers” who are just trying to divvy up their time to be most effective.
A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That
* As if office politics weren’t enough to unsettle the recently elected, they soon could potentially witness the Republican Party go through another upheaval as Republican National Committeeman Saul Anuzis tries to unseat Michael Steele as chairman of the Republican National Committee.
~A note from ~JP- I am so ashamed of my president. He’s a freakin’ apologist * a defeatist, ashamed of the U.S.! He went on his tour, costing millions & gets ridiculed by foreign leaders. When will people understand we are being deliberately undermined by this administration?! It is JUST my opinion & hopefully I won’t get carried off to a fusion center (FEMA Concentration camp). Laugh at Jesse & Alex if you will, I do sometimes, but always, always leave it in the back of your mind…
~We truly have to question what is a “Fusion” Center used for, this post has chronicled TWO of them. All I can ask is , “What is going on?! Nonetheless, one thing is certain it is all very intrusive on U. S. Citizens but are the two related? Up to you to decide, but I am discombobulated by all of it. There IS something here, but it is beyond my pay grade to assimilate it, let alone comprehend it. ~JP
The Chief Privacy Office has not done the work that Congress set out for it to do. Instead, it has focused almost exclusively on the fourth statutory duty, conducting a privacy impact assessment for each Department action. The annual reports of the Chief Privacy office note that the Office is divided into two major functional units: Privacy Compliance; and Departmental Disclosure and FOIA. The structure of the annual report reveals the Office’s confusion of these two duties, to the detriment of the former. The Chief Privacy Office has focused almost exclusively on the publication of Privacy Impact Assessments of privacy invasive DHS technology acquisitions rather than as a check on activity that negatively impacts privacy.
The following is a brief list of examples, programs undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security since its start during the Bush Administration, which the Chief Privacy Office has allowed to go forward:
* Fusion Centers and the Information Sharing Environment
* Whole Body Imaging
* Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) Surveillance
* Suspicionless Electronic Border Searches
EPIC Prevails in Virginia Fusion Center FOIA Case. Yesterday, Richmond General District Court held
that EPIC “substantially prevailed” on the merits of its freedom of information lawsuit against the Virginia State Police. EPIC filed the case after the State Police refused to disclose documents describing the federal government’s involvement in efforts to limit Virginia’s transparency and privacy laws. Through the litigation, EPIC uncovered a secret contract
between the State Police and the FBI that limits the rights of Virginia citizens to learn what information the State Police collect about them. The court’s letter opinion requires the State Police to pay EPIC’s litigation costs, but not its attorneys’ fees. For more information, see EPIC’s web page EPIC v. Virginia Department of State Police: Fusion Center Secrecy Bill
. (May 9, 2008)
~From Wired in 2007:
The antiterrorism industrial-complex has spawned so many information sharing initiatives, integrated databases, task forces, cross-agency work groups and federal grants, that it becomes easy to forget about one or the other. For instance, the Washington Post reminds us that states and cities, using $380 million, have created “Fusion Centers” to collect, analyze and distribute information.
So given that’s its pretty clear by now that there are no native Al Qaeda cells in the United States, what exactly do these places fuse?
The fusion centers range from small conference facilities to high-tech nerve centers with expensive communications networks. Some do investigations, while others focus on information-sharing – passing tips to the FBI and scanning federal intelligence for developments of interest to local departments. Some have explored the use of controversial data-mining software in keeping with their respective state laws.
Maryland’s three-year-old fusion center outside Baltimore offers a glimpse of the new intelligence world. Hidden behind a bolted door with no nameplate in a quiet office park, the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center houses members of 23 local, state and federal agencies.
Harvey Eisenberg, an assistant U.S. attorney who helps oversee the center, said the police and other government employees are being trained to phone its 24-hour “watch section” when they spot suspicious activity. Calls to the terrorism hotline advertised on the Capital Beltway are also answered by officers in the watch section.
“You need to educate cops, firefighters, health officials, transportation officials, sanitation workers, to understand the nature of the threat,” he said. “And not to become super-spies. . . . Constitutionally, they see something, they can report it.”
~With the intrusion of our bodies, are the “Centers” the place we get sent for a fictitious charge? Ventura and Jones are not so far off the mark friends! ~JP
As we like to say around the 27B offices, “Don’t suspect a friend, report him.”
For years, the left left has charged the government is spying on their anti-war rallies (they do show up with spy cameras), have infiltrated marches and gatherings (this one is true as well, seen it with my own two eyes), and that the government has been gathering files of intelligence on them (largely not true, and this assumes there’s any intelligence at all at work in the dictatorial apologists over at A.N.S.W.E.R.)
But the left left’s fantasy of the return of Hoover could well come true, just because of how bureaucracies work. These centers will soon need to justify why they get money and they’ll have to find new targets besides the guy reported for taking pictures of a subway car.
The only question will be who gets targeted? What’s left of organized crime? Online pedophiles? Hackers? Left wingers? Or maybe these targets will all get fused together… On things for sure, there will be no peace dividend.
Alex Jones–Conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, talks to Jesse about secret government detention centers
ACLU Urges Senate Judiciary Committee to Probe Department of Homeland
Posted: April 01, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: (202) 675-2312, firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee for an annual oversight hearing, the American Civil Liberties Union calls on the committee to demand he answer tough questions about DHS’s most troubling initiatives. The ACLU submitted a statement for the record detailing concerns the organization has with some of the department’s activities, namely recent policies regarding immigration raids, deaths in immigration detention facilities, Real ID, Total
Information Awareness and fusion centers.
“The Department of Homeland Security, under the direction of Secretary Chertoff, has established itself as an agency that will ignore and, if needed, trample the privacy and liberty of American citizens under the façade of national security,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “DHS has overseen severe violations of individual rights, such as entering homes without warrants and implementing surveillance programs that target innocent Americans. Secretary Chertoff should fully disclose his agencies violations of our civil liberties and begin an open and frank dialogue with the American people about what he is going to do to fix it.”
Secretary Chertoff testified before the House Judiciary Committee last month, where similar questions were asked of him. He disclosed little, making today’s hearing crucial for Congress and the American people the department is tasked with protecting.
“DHS has begun a downward spiral (Notice: This is from 2008) that continues to strip away individual privacy and rights, as well as trample the sovereignty of the states,” said ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Tim Sparapani. “Real ID is a prime example, where DHS is attempting to force on the states a national ID scheme. The federal government has more than proven that it should not be in the
business of storing Americans personal information, and Real ID will create a one-stop shop for identity thieves.”
“Secretary Chertoff has been at the helm of DHS when severe breaches of individual rights have occurred around the department’s immigration practices,” added Joanne Lin, ACLU legislative counsel. People have died while being detained by DHS. Americans’ homes have been invaded by armed ICE agents and citizens, including young children, taken into custody during ICE raids. There have been cases of citizens who were detained or deported by DHS. Secretary Chertoff needs to explain ICE’s conduct to the Senate and the
~People, this is not War of the Worlds. We are in for a real bumpy ride. It began the day Obama was elected & kept appointing people who refused to answer to anyone! ~JP
Welcome to the world of immigration detention, where over 32,000 immigrants are detained on any given day. To see the map of Detention Centers, Community Organizations, ICE Offices and Immigration Courts GO HERE
The truth is out there, all you need to do is take the blinders off. Listen to Alex Jones, Gov Ventura, Ron Paul, Judge Andrew P. Napolitan, and most of all your gut. They speak the truth, and will give you the tools you need to become aware to the constant attack on your civil liberty. Don’t be fooled by people who demonize those who are labeled Conspiracy Theorists. You must realize it is those people who unknowingly aid the NWO in suppressing the truth. Always follow this one rule and you will flush out those who intend to bring this country to the ground. “An honest man, fears no question.” ~ DallasGoldBug
* This can only be believed by Seeing it with your own eyes:
The Department has deployed intelligence officers to state fusion centers in:
* District of Columbia
* New Jersey
* New York
* North Carolina
* South Carolina
The Department has also deployed support to fusion centers in New York City, Los Angeles and the Dallas region.
Now, maybe you can watch this show with a more open mind:
“Police State” It’s been said the government has a plan to declare martial law and round up millions of United State citizens into concentration camps. Jesse may have found a conspiracy in plain sight as he investigates the proliferation of law enforcement Fusion Centers around the country. And they may be connected to hundreds of detention centers ready to accept prisoners at the stroke of a Presidential pen.
~Does this sound like the DOJ plans on using the Fusion Centers for illegals?! Where WERE they for Katrina?! There is a Fusion Center in LA! There is one in NY, why didn’t they have all of our citizens go there for protection, being we did not know the extent of 9/11?! As well as in D.C. ? What do YOU think these Fusion Centers are for? JUST Curious.
Rep. John Boehner announced this week that he will fly commercial to and from Ohio instead of using military aircraft if he officially becomes Speaker of the House of Representatives in January. This would be an abrupt change from the corrupt and disrespectful example set by Speaker Pelosi.
Presumptive House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday that he will not use the military jet provided to current Speaker Nancy Pelosi to fly from D.C. to his home district each week, but will board the same airlines as everybody else.
Pelosi had claimed after she became speaker in 2007 that a military aircraft was offered to her in light of position as second in line to the presidency. But Boehner said he’s not so concerned.
“I’ve talked to our security folks about the security involved in my new role. Over the last 20 years I’ve flown back and forth to my district on commercial aircraft and will continue to do that,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said.
Here’s the statement I offered to the press on the matter:
At the heart of the corruption problem in Washington is a sense of entitlement. Politicians believe laws and rules apply to the rest of us but not to them. Rep. Boehner is sending the right signal by promising to do what most other Americans do for business travel – fly commercial.
Judicial Watch blew the whistle on Speaker Pelosi’s shocking abuse of military luxury travel. We are glad that Rep. Boehner will not follow Pelosi’s corrupt example. Rep. Boehner’s decision is wonderful news. Members of the U.S. military and taxpayers will be grateful. The next step is to curtail the use of military luxury travel for other members of Congress. In the meantime, Judicial Watch is proud to have exposed and to have helped end this abuse of our nation’s military.
Indeed, our investigations team has been relentlessly in pursuit of documents that shed light on this scandal. Our tenacity has led to reform. Let’s just take a quick moment to review some of the key evidence we compiled against Pelosi:
Judicial Watch obtained internal Pentagon email correspondence detailing attempts by Pentagon staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft for herself and her family as well as the speaker’s 11th hour cancellations and changes.
Here’s just one sample email from an obviously frustrated Defense Department official responding to Pelosi’s repeated requests for military aircraft: “Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi’s team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?…[T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…” The email also notes that Pelosi’s office had, “a history of canceling many of their past requests.”
Judicial Watch uncovered documents that demonstrated the Speaker was using U.S. Air Force aircraft as her own personal party planes. Overall, the Speaker’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over a two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol.
For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008, included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Baileys Irish Cream, Maker’s Mark whisky, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.
Judicial Watch also uncovered documents indicating that the Defense Department was colluding with Members of Congress and staff, including Speaker Pelosi, in responding to military travel FOIA requests filed by JW and other organizations. In one case, a Defense Department official sent a CD with all of the “Pelosi related travel docs” to the Speaker’s office before releasing them to the public. Why were congressional offices getting the chance to preview documents before they were released to the American people? We’re still waiting for an answer.
We’ll keep an eye on the new Speaker of the House. Judicial Watch is nonpartisan and we’re prepared to take on Republican abuses when they take over the House. But let’s hope Boehner’s decision to end Air Pelosi is a positive sign of things to come in the new Congress regarding ethics.
Climate catastrophe? The end of civilization as we know it?
Cool It is based upon the book of the same name and lectures by Bjorn Lomborg, the controversial author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. Award-winning filmmaker Ondi Timoner travels the world with Lomborg exploring the real facts and true science of global warming and its impact.
Lomborg is the founder and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a globally respected think tank that brings together the world’s leading economists to prioritize major global problems – among them malaria, the lack of potable water and HIV/AIDS – based upon a cost/benefit analysis of available solutions.
Amidst the strong and polarized opinions within the global warming debate, Cool It follows Lomborg on his mission to bring the smartest solutions to climate change, environmental pollution, and other major problems in the world.
For more information about Bjorn Lombog and the Copenhagen Consensus, a think-tank based in Denmark that tells governments and philanthropists about the best ways to spend aid and development money: