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Velvet Revolution Lawyer Sends Letter To Maryland AG Requesting Prosecution of Breitbart, O’Keefe, And Giles For Violating Maryland’s Privacy Laws.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack apologizes to Shirley Sherrod for his giving creedance to Breitbart’s dishonest and racist tactics along with The Fox “News” Channel’s echo chamber that made her their latest scalp.

Kevin Zeese, an attorney for Velvet Revolution sent a letter early this month to Maryland state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and State’s Attorney Patricia Coats Jessamy asking them to prosecute James O’Keefe, Hannah Giles and Andrew Breitbart for violating Maryland’s Privacy Statute. It included the following,

Under Maryland’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act, it is unlawful to tape record a conversation without the permission of all parties. See Bodoy v. North Arundel Hosp., 945 F. Supp. 890 (D. Md. 1996). Additionally, recording with criminal or tortuous purpose is illegal, regardless of consent. Disclosing the contents of intercepted communications with reason to know they were obtained unlawfully is a crime as well. Violations of the law are felonies punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years and a fine of not more than $10,000.

I also call upon your office to bring conspiracy charges against Andrew Breitbart for paying and directing O’Keefe and Giles and then directly carrying out the distribution of the illegally obtained tapes, also a felony under applicable Maryland law. Mr. Breitbart is the director of BigGovernment.com, an internet website that pushes far right propaganda and he has used the ACORN tapes as a fundraising tool for his operations.

We believe that the case for criminal prosecution has been made stronger by the release of four official reports on the criminal conduct of these three individuals, which I have linked below, and by the recent arrest of Mr. O’Keefe in Louisiana for his illegal entry into Senator Landrieu’s Senate Office in order to tamper with her telephone system. The House Judiciary Committee, the former Connecticut Attorney General, the California Attorney General and the General Accounting Office prepared these reports.

Each of these reports paints a damning picture of O’Keefe, Giles, and Breitbart, who went on a multi-state crime spree, invading the privacy of ACORN staffers nationwide, taping their conversations and then editing them to create the appearance of illegality and impropriety by ACORN/staffers. Each of these reports makes clear that neither ACORN nor its staffers committed crimes but that O’Keefe, Giles, and conspirator Breibart did. In fact, the California Attorney General granted O’Keefe and Giles immunity in exchange for the unedited copy of their illegal tape, which showed that the tape was intentionally edited to portray a harmful picture of ACORN.

Indeed, as reported here at American Commentary Blog back in January in a report titled,”While Karma Catches Up To Republican Brownshirt James O’Keefe And A Mentor, Propagandist Breitbart, Examination Of Fellow Thugs In The Landrieu Office Phone Tampering Attempt Turns Up Questionable Connections That Require Official Investigation.”, the growing body of lawsuits were beginning in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Also, the Landrieu break in was mentioned as well as questionable connections of O’Keefe’s Brownshirts he was partnered with. Robert Flannagan is the son of William Flanagan, acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana and Stan Dai had a connection to the Director of National Intelligence. As reported by Lindsay Beyerstein at Alternet in “James Bond Wannabe Part of Right-Wing Plot To Tamper With Senator’s Phones“,

The circumstances of Dai’s arrest are difficult to square any theory that the men were just checking the protocols of Landrieu’s phone system. A federal law enforcement official told the Associated Press that one of the four suspects was arrested a few blocks away in a car with “a listening device that could pick up transmissions.” Another anonymous official told MSNBC that the man in the car was Stan Dai. It’s unclear why the listening device wasn’t mentioned in the affidavit. The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Louisiana declined my request for further comment. …

In 2008, Dai served as associate director of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity Washington University. The ICCAE is funded by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and charged with recruiting the next generation of spooks. A university official assured Laura Rozen of Politico that Dai was a civilian whose job with the university ended in 2008 when the grant money ran out.

Last June, Dai was a featured speaker on torture and terrorism at a “CIA Day” for students in the Junior Statesmen of America’s summer school. The mission of the Junior Statesmen, according to the organization’s Web site, “is to strengthen American democracy by educating and preparing high school students for life-long involvement and responsible leadership in a democratic society.” The students visited Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va., and then returned to Georgetown for a series of lectures.

Dai was a speaker at a CIA program called “Annual Junior Statesman Summer School” as reported here and the brochure of the event showed some interesting things,

Let’s look at the brochure or packets from the CIA program at which Dai was a speaker called “Annual Junior Statesman Summer School” Speakers Program. It cites his occupation as “freelance consultant”. It lists his career history as a former Assistant Director of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity Washington University, as serving as the Operations Officer of a Department of Defense irregular warfare fellowship program, and also as an Undergraduate Fellow on Terrorism of the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies (a neoconservative think tank with ties to Richard Perle).

It should be noted that consultant is a common cover for covert agents as indicated in a recent interview by Valerie Plame Wilson though it could be legitimate.

The Use Of Racism As A Political Tactic By The Right

Racism has been a tool for many governments throughout history for taking or holding power from the time of slavery, to the rise of fascism in Europe in the 20’s and 30’s up to today’s political tactics of the right in the United States. Since the Civil Rights Act was enacted by the Johnson administration, the Republicans under the Nixon administration developed what has come to be known as the Southern strategy to take advantage of white resentment. Since the age of Reagan and voo doo economics for the rich, multi-national corporations, and the military industrial complex, it has become worse. To vilify any of the people’s money going to the people for their benefit instead of everything for corporate interests, scapegoats have been needed. The have nots needed to be divided to vote against their interests and racism has provided the perfect weapon. And now that the Democrats elected Obama, the right has reached for old racist themes such as he is a socialist or Marxist (like they called Dr. Martin Luther King) though he has governed center to center right and the echoes of the racist “send them back to Africa” theme can be seen in the birther movement. The reappearance of dog whistles of the old south has opened the door for tools like Breitbart and he hasn’t disappointed. Add in the false race baiting stories generated by Fox “News” that has led to the destruction of ACORN, the bogus “New Black Panthers” story, the Van Jones firing, and now the firing of Shirley Sherrod, while dismantling the public square and attacking the themes of the 14th amendment, and has become way too obvious to deny or ignore. But Breitbart may have bitten off more than he can chew as Sherrod is contemplating whether or not to sue.

Disgusting Display

Two disgusting displays have emerged from this whole Sherrod affair. The first was done by Breitbart and Fox News (and subsequently on cue by “mainstream” reporting). In what can best be decribed as there is no low too low to go for the cause behavior, Breitbart edited a speech to the NAACP by Sherrod to make her out to be racist in her job with the Department of Agriculture when the speech was about overcoming the murder of her father by a white farmer and subsequent negative feelings to help a white farmer save his farm while working for a non profit organization before her job at the Department. She was glad she did because it wasn’t about race but about helping the poor. Breitbart’s vile and vicious artistry initially even fooled the NAACP as they condemned Sherrod before fact checking and then issuing a quick apology. The second disgusting display was Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s “quick response” firing of Sherrod without getting her side of the story, fact checking the claims, or facing her. This is following a pattern that has become all to familiar, which is tap dancing to right wing media like puppets on a string. That is because Obama’s administration is too populated by members of Will Marshall‘s DLC or “New Democrats“, the group of Democrats that are moderate conservatives (rebranded “centrists”) that have controlled the Democratic party policy since the 1980’s. They spend way too much time running away from the “L” word and dismissing fellow Democrats they view as “too liberal” as well as working to defeat “too progressive” or “liberal” branded legislation or amendments without examining the merits. The Democrats need “New Democrats” alright, the old ones that put right before wrong instead of political calculation before what is right. The right wing takes no prisoners and has named us that do not agree with their politics as enemies and unAmerican. There is no middle in their absolutism and eliminationism. This is a battle for survival.

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Delicious Irony

On tax day, rational Americans were entertained by the “Tea Party” protesting an imagined “big government” or “socialist takeover” and taxes when federal income taxes were reported to be at their lowest in 60 years. Now to show their steadfastness against Obama’s agenda on the anniversary of the battles at Lexington and Concord, Rawstory reports,

The gun-backers’ “Restore the Constitution” rally is set to be the first armed protest in a US national park, held at Fort Hunt and Gravelly Point, Virginia, locales run by the National Park Service. Their target? President Barack Obama and his agenda, health-care reform, climate control and bank bailouts.

It turns out, however, that it’s President Obama who actually made their rally possible. In May 2009, he signed a measure allowing Americans to carry guns in national parks into law.

These people though never protested during the greatest assault on the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and even during the taking away of the writ of habeas corpus during the Presidency of George W. Bush. That’s a good thing for them in that not only would you be arrested, you couldn’t even wear T shirts derogatory to Bush or even campaign buttons of political opponents such as Kerry supporters found out and protestors were either arrested on bogus charges or put into “free speech zones“. Journalists covering protests such as at the RNC Convention were arrested on bogus trumped up charges. Truth be known, if you put the Constitution and a roll of toilet paper in front of these people, they probably couldn’t tell the difference.

Tax Day Musings And The “Tea Party”

Now that tax day has come and gone, some interesting stories and facts have emerged. First is the report that multi-national U.S. corporations such as ExxonMobil and General Electric paid no U.S. income taxes again but paid them in other countries according to a Think Progress report titled, “ExxonMobil paid no federal income tax in 2009” which said,

Last week, Forbes magazine published what the top U.S. corporations paid in taxes last year. “Most egregious,” Forbes notes, is General Electric, which “generated $10.3 billion in pretax income, but ended up owing nothing to Uncle Sam. In fact, it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion.” Big Oil giant Exxon Mobil, which last year reported a record $45.2 billion profit, paid the most taxes of any corporation, but none of it went to the IRS.

Think Progress is citing the Forbes story by Christopher Helman titled, “What The Top U.S. Companies Pay in Taxes” which goes on to say,

Exxon tries to limit the tax pain with the help of 20 wholly owned subsidiaries domiciled in the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands that (legally) shelter the cash flow from operations in the likes of Angola, Azerbaijan and Abu Dhabi. Exxon has tens of billions in earnings permanently reinvested overseas. Likewise, GE has $84 billion in overseas income parked indefinitely outside the U.S.

You see, they are the East India Tea Company of our time. The real tea party was about the East India Tea Company through the Tea Act of 1773 being allowed to monopolize the tea market to the colonies by exempting it from paying taxes on tea shipped into the colonies and from paying taxes on any excess inventory. The smaller tea merchants of the colonies did not have such an advantage and thus they orchestrated the Boston Tea Party where East India Tea Company tea was dumped in Boston harbor and was born the expression “no taxation without representation”. Somehow, I don’t think the clowns showing up at the “tea party” rallies have these facts and concepts in their minds. They unwittingly support the East India Tea Companies of today because the corporate money and allied politicians that are funding their “grassroots” movement have put an alternative reality in their heads, that being, instead of the influence and control these corporations have acquired over the American political process (culminating in the current Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC), they believe the exact opposite has occured and “big government” has taken over the private sector. The Think Progress report went on to note the 2008 Government Accountability Office report that 2/3rds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes from 1998 through 2005. Given the current debt of this nation through these continual tax cuts at the top coupled with the “free trade agreements” that have led to lower household incomes, fixed higher unemployment rates and deregulation such as Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which led the way to the financial collapse (sorry lunatics, it wasn’t ACORN, Carter, or poor minorities and immigrants) and watered down regulation enforcement which led to the mining deaths from Massey Energy run by Tea Party member Don Blankenship, this recent tax news is particularly disgusting.

Second is the piece authored by Dave Lindorf titled, “Your Tax Dollars at War: More Than 53% of Your Tax Payment Goes to the Military” which states the folowing,

The budget for the 2011 fiscal year, which has to be voted by Congress by this Oct. 1, looks to be about $3 trillion, not counting the funds collected for Social Security (since the Vietnam War, the government has included the Social Security Trust Fund in the budget as a way to make the cost of America’s imperial military adventures seem smaller in comparison to the total cost of government). Meanwhile, the military share of the budget works out to about $1.6 trillion. …

US military spending isn’t just half of the US budget. It is also half of the entire global spending on war and weaponry. In 2009, according to the venerable War Resisters League, US military spending accounted for 47% of all money spent globally on war, weapons and military preparedness. What makes that staggering figure particularly ridiculous is that America’s allies–countries like France, Britain, Germany, Italy, and Japan–account for another 21% of the world’s military spending. Fully 12 of the top-spenders among big military-spending nations are either allies of the US, or are friendly countries like Brazil and India. That is to say, America and its friends and allies account for more than two-thirds of all military spending worldwide.

China, in contrast, probably the closest thing to a real “threat” to American interests because of America’s treaty commitments to the island nation of Taiwan, and China’s claim that it is a part of the PRC, spends only some $130 billion on its military, much of which is actually devoted to maintaining military control of the country’s own 1.3 billion people, some of whom might prefer to be independent, or to be freer….

Meanwhile Iran, which the White House and Congress are portraying as America’s arch enemy despite its not having invaded another country in hundreds of years, isn’t even on the list of the top 17 military big-spenders. Iran’s current military budget is a teensy $4.8 billion, about the same as the estimated $5 billion spent on the military by North Korea–America’s other “major enemy.” Each of those country’s military budgets is about one-quarter of the military budget of Australia, or a third of the military budget of the Netherlands.

Given that some estimates have put us having over 1000 military bases in 135 counties, this is all massive overkill that threatens the US with implosion not unlike what happened to the Soviet Union. This is the military industrial congressional complex that President Dwight Eisenhower once warned Americans about. When you throw in the no bid contracts that took place in Iraq, the information Judicial Watch gathered on the Cheney Energy Task Force had concerning Iraqi oil reserves and multi-national corporate interests interested in them in March, 2001, long before the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, it all draws quite an unspoken picture. And there isn’t much talk of the TAPI pipeline in Afghanistan or US installed Afghan leader Hamid Karzai once being a pipeline negotiator for the Unocal bid either.

And the last news item or story is that income taxes according to William Gale, co-director of the Tax Policy Center and director of the Retirement Security Project at the Brookings Institution in a CBS News Hotsheet report titled, “What’s Obama Doing to Your Taxes

are at their lowest level in 60 years. …

“The relation between what is said in the tax debate and what is true about tax policy is often quite tenuous,” Gale told Hotsheet. “The rise of the Tea Party at a time when taxes are literally at their lowest in decades is really hard to understand.”

Despite the facts, polling data in another CBS Hotsheet report titled, “Tea Party Supporters: Who They Are And What They Believe” the following results are noted,

Sixty-four percent believe that the president has increased taxes for most Americans, despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans got a tax cut under the Obama administration. Thirty-four percent of the general public says the president has raised taxes on most Americans.

While the 34% of the general public believe the opposite of reality (which is in itself an indictment of mainstream corporate media), the numbers for the “Tea Party” are quite staggering. The cause is explainable though, as noted,

Sixty-three percent say they get the majority of their political and current events news on television from the Fox News Channel, compared to 23 percent of Americans overall. Forty-seven percent say television is their main source of Tea Party information, the top source; another 24 percent say they get Tea Party information from the internet.

Lately, there has been some effort in the mainstream media to legitimize the “tea party”. But let’s be honest for a moment. These people are nothing but low information voters driven to irrational anger by charlatans at the Fox News network and right wing radio as well as monied interests and right wing organizations to shut down dialogue and accountability for political gain instead of legitimate concerns. The fact many of them believe President Obama is not legitimately the president of the United States and doesn’t have a legitimate birth certificate is not rational or sane dialogue. The fact they call him a Communist, Marxist, Nazi, and Fascist likewise given that some of these things are quite opposite of each other. The fact they are calling the new Health Care Bill socialism while is it basically a copy of Republican Mitt Romney’s Health Care in Massachusetts, was patterned after a rendition of a bill written by AHIP and authored by a former health insurance executive, and is pretty close to the Nixon effort at reform should be enough to reveal these people do not live in a reality based thought process. If anyone should be mad at the bill, it should be liberals and progressives who were shut out of the process. And what’s worse, much needed regulatory financial reform is being sold to these gullible people in the “tea party” movement by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) as a “permanent bailout” instead of reregulation of the financial industry to make sure what happened never happens again. These liars and hate speakers on the right and complicit Republicans are playing dangerous games with the future of our republic. The fact that a basically conservative approach at reforming our health delivery system was met with madness and violent overtones and the recent arrest of Hutaree Militia members planning to carry out murder should be tampered down immediately and this movement discredited before more tragic results occur. On April 13th while eating at a local Burger King, I saw a man that was agitated and mumbling but with some discernable words concerning Chris Matthews of MSNBC and that he had enough of him and the lying liberals. He proceeded to get louder and louder and he began saying that all the liberals in this country needed to be killed (repeatedly) which started making others a little uncomfortable. I have a message for this man. Turn off Fox News, your radio, and seek professional help before you bring harm to yourself and others. And for those of you spreading the lies, hate speech, paranoia that is dividing my country, from the charlatans at Fox News, the hate speakers on right wing radio, to the Republican members of Congress encouraging this garbage, please stop and start helping fix this country’s problems you have helped create.