If You Can’t Do The Time, Don’t Do The Crime

A new group called Accountable America is warning conservative donors about staying within election laws. The New York Times wrote about this the other day with the misleading headline, Group Plans Campaign Against G.O.P. Donors.
Of course it isn’t a “campaign against GOP donors” it is a campaign warning against unlawful and unethical activity. But stopping unlawful activity just might dry up a lot of the Republican Party’s — and the right’s supporting infrastructure’s — cash flow. This includes 501c3 tax-free “charity” think tanks and 501c4 “issue” organizations that are really illegally engaged in candidate activity, or otherwise acting as conduits for corporate money or for those who have “maxed out” (reached the legal limit) for political donations.
The other day I wrote about,

… companies intimidating workers to vote a certain way, churches, think tanks, front groups incorporated as c4s but doing candidate work, campaigns violating election laws, etc.
… Suppose [we could create] some concern among the Wal-Marts and the Sheldon Adelsons that they had better think about following the law?
What would this do to the funding sources of the right’s machine?

So I guess great minds think alike. Heh.
There is plenty of need for an effort to get conservative and corporate donors to follow the law. Just for example — last week’s news about “curious” bundled political contributions made by employees of oil companies receiving billion-dollar contracts from the government to McCain and Republicans. Some of these donations came from people clearly unable to make such a donation on their own. This makes it appear that the companies may have illegally given these people money to give to McCain and the Republican Party and groups are demanding an investigation (that will never happen).

[Public interest groups] want the Justice Department to investigate whether bundlers for John McCain’s presidential campaign are using “straw” donations — those made in the name of someone else to evade contribution limits.

A story at TPM elaborates,

“An executive from a company that has a billion dollar contract to deliver oil to U.S. bases in Iraq possibly violated election law to funnel contributions to McCain. We think that warrants an investigation.”
And on the Hess matter … : “An office manager for an oil company that stands to gain millions in profits from offshore drilling makes donations for the first time this cycle to McCain, and did it at the same time nine other Hess donors do. That’s worth an investigation.”

Now that Accountable America is on the scene maybe corporations and big donors who are thinking about engaging in illegal activities will think twice.
If you want to help this effort you can donate by clicking here.
Update Kathy G writes about Accountable America in her post Liberal fascism strikes again!

* The new group will offer a $100,000 reward to those providing information that leads to the conviction or judgment against a conservative or business-related organization that violates the law.
* Accountable America will provide information to the public through television ads, mailings, phone calls and its Web site.
* Next week the organization plans to send a mailing warning nearly 10,000 Republican donors of the consequences of funding organizations that break or skirt the law.

Pentagon Pundit Scandal Broke the Law

Please read Pentagon Pundit Scandal Broke the Law | Center for Media and Democracy.
Note that “Pentagon” means the Republican Party appointees in the administration who run the Department of Defense, which resides in the Pentagon.
The Pentagon was conducting “information operations” targeting the American public. This program was blatantly illegal.
Note that almost NO news outlets involved are reporting on this story at all. What does that tell you?

Republican Prosecutors Drop Another Abramoff-Linked Investigation

Funny how all those corruption investigations stopped when all those prosecutors got fired, isn’t it? Here’s another: Burns no longer part of Abramoff probe,

Former Sen. Conrad Burns is no longer part of a federal investigation of jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
Burns, R-Mont., narrowly lost re-election to a fourth term in 2006 after Democrats made his relationship with Abramoff a central issue. Abramoff is the key figure in a corruption investigation that has led to convictions of a former congressman, legislative aides, lobbyists and officials in the Bush administration.

I’m not saying Burns was involved with Abramoff or not. I AM saying that there is no reason to have any confidence that anyone in this Justice Department is interested in finding out. He’s a Republican, so the case is dropped. We know that the reason those prosecutors who were fired was they wouldn'[t “play ball” with the politicization, and we know the ones who did and dropped investigations of Republicans and/or initiated investigations of Democrats kept their jobs. They are still there, the Congress isn’t doing their job of getting to the bottom of this, so we’re left with the assumption of political interference and corruption.

All The Way To The Top!

Governor Richardson said Friday if elected he will investigate and prosecute the torturers – all the way to the top. And Senator Dodd is filibustering right now against retroactive immunity for crimes committed at Bush administration request. Now we should ask the rest of the candidates if, once elected, they will also hold Bush administration officials accountable for crimes they committed in office.
Gov. Bill Richardson: Torture: Leadership Requires Accountability, All the Way to the Top – Politics on The Huffington Post,

We learned this week that the CIA destroyed tapes of American officials committing torture. The American people deserve to know whether laws were violated and whether the President was directly involved in illegal activities. Torture is a black and white moral issue. A failure to act decisively in this case will be an unacceptable failure of leadership.
Torture is un-American, it violates international law, and it is wrong. And when I am President, I will make sure that those who are responsible for torture are held accountable for their actions.

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Dodd Demands New Atty General Investigate White House Cover Up

Dodd Calls on Mukasey to Investigate McClellan Charges of White House Cover Up | Chris Dodd for President,

Chris Dodd today released the following statement in response to the claims of former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan that he “unknowingly passed along false information” to the American public and that “the highest-ranking officials in the administration were involved in [his] doing so,” including the Vice-President and the President:

“Today’s revelations by Mr. McClellan are very disturbing and raise several important questions that need to be answered. If in fact the President of the United of States knowingly instructed his chief spokesman to mislead the American people, there can be no more fundamental betrayal of the public trust.
“During his confirmation process, Attorney General Mukasey said he would act independently. Accordingly, today, I call on the Attorney General to live up to his word and launch an immediate investigation to determine the facts of this case, the extent of any cover up and determine what the President knew and when he knew it.”

More Libby Reactions From The Authoritarian Right

Here is more reaction from the authoritarian right.
The American Mind

According to their [liberal media]] logic President Bush should have looked away at what he saw as an injustice because Libby worked in the White House. Because Bush hasn’t commuted others that means Libby should be denied this action? How is that fair to Libby?

Power Line

The two most important factors are Libby’s public service and the fact that, at the time Libby made the false statements in question, the prosecutor already knew the answer to the question he had come to Washington to investigate. Indeed, it seems likely that but for the high profile and political context of the investigation, the prosecutor would not have asked Libby these questions.

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What The Public ‘Knows’ – Congressional Spending

I often write about what the public ‘knows.’ (For example, the public ‘knew’ that Iraq attacked us on 9/11 and was about to attack us with weapons of mass destruction before we invaded.)
Right now the public ‘knows’ that in the last few years Congress went way out of control with the spending. And Republicans understand that the public ‘knows’ that Democrats tax and spend.
I’m not sure that the public knows – or cares – that it was the Republicans who controlled Congress who were the spenders. I am sure that they won’t remember that for very long because it is not being repeated and is not being tied to a larger narrative about Republicans.
What is being repeated is that Democrats tax and spend. And the Republicans are busy reinforcing that: Bush blasts Democrats over budget spending,

“I will use my veto to stop tax increases and runaway spending that threaten the strength of our economy and the prosperity of our people,” Bush said in his weekly radio address. He was spending the weekend at his Texas ranch.
“By keeping taxes low and restraining federal spending, we can meet my plan to have a balanced budget by 2012,” he said. “The Democrats in Congress are trying to take us in a different direction.”

I wonder if the Democratic leadership understands what is happening. Everything that the public is upset about after years of Republican government is being transferred – in the public mind – over to them.

CIA-Agent Leak Investigation Points To Cheney

The cover-up continues. In a court filing the CIA-leak prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald makes it clear that “Scooter” Libby obstructed the investigation to discover who was behind the leak. That is the reason Libby was convicted of obstruction, and the reason no one has yet been indicted for the leak itself.
See Fitzgerald Again Points to Cheney,

Special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald has made it clearer than ever that he was hot on the trail of a coordinated campaign to out CIA agent Valerie Plame until that line of investigation was cut off by the repeated lies from Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.
[. . .] Libby’s lies, Fitzgerald wrote, “made impossible an accurate evaluation of the role that Mr. Libby and those with whom he worked played in the disclosure of information regarding Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment and about the motivations for their actions.”

And just WHO is the prosecutor talking about?

Not clear on the concept yet? Fitzgerald adds: “To accept the argument that Mr. Libby’s prosecution is the inappropriate product of an investigation that should have been closed at an early stage, one must accept the proposition that the investigation should have been closed after at least three high-ranking government officials were identified as having disclosed to reporters classified information about covert agent Valerie Wilson, where the account of one of them was directly contradicted by other witnesses, where there was reason to believe that some of the relevant activity may have been coordinated, and where there was an indication from Mr. Libby himself that his disclosures to the press may have been personally sanctioned by the Vice President.”

So What?

So now the word seems to be rippling out about what has been going on in the Justice Department. Of course, bloggers have been shouting about how it was also going on in every department all along… And for once it seems like a few people beyond the bloggers actually care this time. I think at this point a majority of the informed opinion-leadership – all the liberals and even some of the conservatives (David Brooks on the NewsHour tonite, for example) – understand that the Bush administration has, basically, thrown away rule of law. The word “lawlessness” is coming up a lot.
But so what? We knew that. Great. Now more people know it. So what?
That’s pretty much what Bush is saying, too. “So what? What are you going to do about it?”
And that’s the question, isn’t it?
Meanwhile, what does the public “know?” – in contrast to the opinion-leaders I mentioned. I scanned all three network news shows tonite and there was no mention of this supposedly huge scandal on any of them (unless I missed it.)*
But even if the public found out about all of this bruhaha — and cared — again, so what? No one is going to prosecute anyone for anything. I mean, they own the Justice Department and that’s part of what this is about — blocking prosecutions. They replaced everyone with Pat Robertson graduates like Monica Goodling, and fired prosecutors who were going after Republican corruption so, please, don’t try to tell me anyone is going to be prosecuted.
The only “rule of law” solution available is impeachment. That ain’t going to happen — there are enough “movement” Republicans in the Senate to block impeachment even if it got that far.
So … so what? Rule of law was so 20th-century.

Watch your backs.

* Update – No, I didn’t miss it – the networks just are not covering it. Read Jamison Foser’s Media Matters and Carpetbagger on this subject today.

Human Food Contaminated – Where Is The Noise?!

Pet food recall: I was wrong,

When I started covering the pet food recall … I thought that if this had happened to human food, it would have been taken more seriously.

But no, now we know it IS in the human food chain, and it is NOT being taken seriously. We haven’t even banned grain and other food imports from China until this is sorted out!

Domestic Terrorism Ignored

The other day I wrote about two domestic terrorism incidents that ere ignored by the media. Orcinus: The other kind of terror has more. Go read.

But remember: The FBI has de-emphasized right-wing extremist crimes and displaced them with an emphasis on “eco terror” as far as its chief domestic-terror concern. This is in no small part because this administration is being run by people who don’t consider bombings and arson against abortion clinics to be terrorism.
[. . .] Of course, acknowledging that this is the case would require a major readjustment of the media’s constructed narrative about the “war on terror.” So it continues to turn a blind eye, and in the process it profoundly misinforms the public.