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Monday, September 1, 2014

Wishing our Readers a Safe and Happy Holiday Weekend

Take some time during the more fun activities to remember why we celebrate this holiday:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Kin in the Game: Bachmann & Family, going down?

It's a fair bet we will be seeing more of this kind of press conference from Michele Bachmann, using the Sgt.Schultz defense.

Kent Sorenson, pled guilty last week, August 27th, in a federal plea deal relating to bribery and falsifying campaign expenditures. If you don't know or care who Kent Sorenson is, he is a former Iowa state Senator, and he was paid for his endorsement, first of Michele Bachmann, and then Ron Paul.

He's the former Iowa campaign chair for Michele Bachmann's failed presidential run, the one where GOD told her he wanted her to be president.

Sorenson took money to support first Bachmann, and then Ron Paul.

From the Wa Po:
On Wednesday, Sorenson admitted in federal court what he had long adamantly denied: that he took thousands of dollars in payments from the campaigns of Bachmann and Paul in exchange for his endorsement.

The former state senator pleaded guilty to one count of causing a federal campaign committee to falsely report its expenditures and one count of obstruction of justice for giving false testimony to a state independent counsel investigating the payments.

Two sealed documents were filed in court as part of the case, a possible indication that Sorenson is cooperating with federal prosecutors as part of a broader investigation.

In Iowa, you can buy a Republican for upwards of $80,000.

Apparently, Sorenson is going to jail as part of his plea deal as well. I'm betting he's not the only one.

Since Sorenson pled guilty, the chair of the Ron Paul campaign in 2011/12, Ron Paul's granddaughter's husband Jesse Benton, has resigned as the campaign chair of the Mitch McConnell campaign for senate re-election, while continuing to deny any wrong-doing. His alleged 'bag man' was Dimitri Kesari, operating a company called Hyllus. No, not the funny vaguely u-shaped bone under you mouth, inside the lower jaw. HYLLUS. Dimitri Kesari went on to be part of Team Mitch McConnell as well. And it is a fair guess that he, like Benton, could very well be facing jail time too.

But what about Michele Bachmann?

Her defense so far of any potential wrong doing was the Hogan's Heroes character Sgt. Schultz's defense, "I KNOW NOTHING". So then the question will be -- did the mostly knows nothing about anything factual Bachmann REALLY NOT KNOW? Or, like Schultz, is she lying through her teeth --- and will Sorenson rat her out as part of his deal with the feds?

As noted by the Gazette's Des Moines Bureau:
Last October, Sorenson resigned his Senate District 13 seat in Madison and Warren counties just hours after a special prosecutor found probable cause that he violated Senate rules and may have committed the offense of felonious misconduct in office by “knowingly” making false statements to the Senate’s ethics panel.

In his lengthy report, independent counsel Mark Weinhardt determined there was probable cause that the Milo Republican violated Senate rules by “accepting compensation” from entities associated with former GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s campaign “in exchange for his service” during the past caucus season.
And from the Huff Po:
Andy Parrish Affidavit: Michele Bachmann 'Knew And Approved' Of Payments To Kent Sorenson
"Congresswoman Bachmann knew of and approved this arrangement,” Parrish said. “She, like the rest of us, understood from Senator Sorenson that it did not run afoul of any Iowa Senate ethics rules. We relied on his representations in this regard."

Parrish added that his affidavit is "not in any way a rebuke or betrayal to Congresswoman Bachmann," whom he considers a "personal friend."

The affidavit included emails from Guy Short, a fundraiser for Bachmann for President, who said Sorenson could be paid by a PAC, and an email from Parrish himself saying, "We're cool he can't get paid from a PAC."

Short also has attracted an Federal Election Commission inquiry because he was paid by MichelePAC while working for Bachmann's presidential campaign.
and the Bachmann campaign denial, fro the same Huff Po article:
UPDATE: 5:30 p.m. -- William McGinley, Bachmann's campaign counsel, responded to the affidavit in a statement.

The way the media is portraying this story is wrong, reckless, and outrageous. The affidavit by a former employee in fact confirms that Congresswoman Bachmann followed all applicable laws and ethical rules and instructed those working for her to do the same. The alleged arrangement at issue was both lawful and properly reported under federal law. This dispute is between the Iowa Senate and an Iowa Senator: it has nothing whatsoever to do with Congresswoman Bachmann or her political committees. For anyone to suggest otherwise is both dishonest and reprehensible.
And from the aptly named Iowa Republican, which shows how much SHE was paying Sorenson before Ron Paul upped the ante:
Fellow Bachmann staffer Peter Waldron alleges, in a complaint filed with the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee, that Sorenson violated Senate Rule 6 by accepting payments from a presidential campaign or PAC.

In the affidavit, Parrish states that he personally recruited Sorenson to work on the campaign. Parrish notes that Sorenson allegedly told him that he could not be paid by the campaign directly, so Bachmann’s campaign fundraiser Guy Short would pay him via his company, C&M Strategies, as a consultant.

Parrish also provided several emails. One of them, apparently sent from Parrish to Sorenson, states Short agreed to hire Sorenson at a rate of $7,000 per month, plus reimbursement for phone use and purchase of a laptop computer. Parrish says the monthly fee was raised to $7,500, without the phone reimbursement.

“Congresswoman Bachmann knew of and approved this arrangement,” Parrish writes in the sworn affidavit. “She, like the rest of us, understood from Senator Sorenson that it did not run afoul of any Iowa Senate ethics rules. We relied on his representations in this regard.”

If bimbo Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, utterer of so many odd and factually false things, doesn't take the fall, it is likely someone from her family, given the nepotism of her campaigns, WILL have to answer to the feds, and might have to face going to jail.

Would Bachmann sacrifice someone near and dear?

I think she would, those right wing values only go so far (apparently they include lying), and even right wing family values must have their limits. And if Bachmann throws one of her family under the bus....will they go willingly, or turn on HER? Both her husband and her son were key, top advisors/ top power players in her campaigns. They had, presumably, to be party to the payolla decisions, but would they go to jail for wife and/or mom? Because I do NOT envision Michele "I didn't get anything wrong" Bachmann taking responsibility for anything, EVER. I expect that if she can get out of jail by playing dumb, as opposed to BEING dumb, she will. But that could result in someone in her family being among those who take the heat for the bribery decisions. This is by no means a case where only the Rand Paul/Ron Paul family has kin in the game.

As noted almost a year ago, by the STrib, almost a year ago:
WASHINGTON – In the waning days of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign, her husband, Marcus Bachmann, allegedly wrote an e-mail describing his efforts to raise much-needed funds through an outside “super PAC.”

That e-mail is now in the hands of the U.S. Justice Department, which has subpoenaed records from the National Fiscal Conservative (NFC) Political Action Committee as part of a federal grand jury investigation into potentially illegal coordination between the PAC and Bachmann’s campaign.

The grand jury subpoena, first reported in the New York Times, represents a major escalation in the multiple federal and state inquiries that rose from alleged election law violations brought forward last January by campaign whistleblower Peter Waldron.

The grand jury subpoena, obtained by the Star Tribune, covers financial transactions involving an array of top Bachmann campaign officials, including her husband.

A copy of an e-mail purportedly written to Waldron by Marcus Bachmann describes a telephone conversation he had with PAC president Bill Hemrick to raise money for a mailing to evangelicals. Hemrick reportedly suggested that Bachmann contact GOP donor August Busch, who, according to the e-mail, agreed to give $7,000 “thru the NFC super pac.”

The e-mail ended: “Praise the Lord!!”

In his reply, Waldron warned that raising money through the super PAC could violate federal election laws that bar certain types of coordination between campaigns and outside political organizations.
As noted in the Daily Beast:
And Ron Carey, a plugged-in Minnesota GOP veteran who briefly served as Bachmann’s chief of staff, has said Marcus and son Lucas were the congresswoman's main advisers on the full spectrum of issues. “The only person she talks to as an insider is her husband, Marcus, who's a wonderful man, and her son Lucas,” Carey told the Star-Tribune. (Carey has been critical of his former boss, telling the Associated Press in February that she was unelectable and even so would not “be ready for the position of the president of the United States.”)
and from the Business Insider:
By most accounts, Dr. Bachmann’s campaign role is unique — he describes himself as his wife’s political “strategist” but also doubles as a personal assistant, press secretary, and confidante.

This HAS to up the stakes with the remarkably quiet but still open Congressional ethics inquiry into Bachmann. And we haven't heard from the DOJ for a while, investigating improper deals with her book, her PAC and her campaign.

From CREW:
Rep. Bachmann appears to have improperly used her presidential campaign resources to promote her memoir, and the Department of Justice is investigating whether the Bachmann campaign illegally coordinated advertising with a super PAC.
I had a hunch last year when Bachmann announced she was not running again for Congress that something of this size and import was behind it, not the relatively piddly Heki stolen-home-school-list scandal. THIS could involve serious jail time for a lot of people, including Bachmann.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Audio of the Michael Brown shooting discovered

From CNN:

Attorney: New audio reveals pause in gunfire when Michael Brown was shot

(CNN) -- Could a newly released audio provide more clues on what led up to Michael Brown's shooting death?
The FBI has questioned a man who says he recorded audio of gunfire at the time Brown was shot by Ferguson, Missouri, police on August 9, the man's attorney told CNN.

In the recording, a quick series of shots can be heard, followed by a pause and then another quick succession of shots.

Forensic audio expert Paul Ginsberg analyzed the recording and said he detected at least 10 gunshots -- a cluster of six, followed by four.

"I was very concerned about that pause ... because it's not just the number of gunshots, it's how they're fired," the man's attorney, Lopa Blumenthal, told CNN's Don Lemon. "And that has a huge relevance on how this case might finally end up."

The man, who asked that his identity not be revealed, lives near the site of the shooting and was close enough to have heard the gunshots, his attorney said.

He was speaking to a friend on a video chat service and happened to be recording the conversation at the same time Brown was shot, Blumenthal said.

A further complication to understanding the audio, which appears to record 10 shots is that unconfirmed reports indicate there were 12, not 10, bullet casings found at the scene.

This does make it appear that the cop, Darren Wilson, who previous to his hire at Ferguson worked at a police department that had such bad race relations with the community that it was DISSOLVED, emptied his weapon into Michael Brown.

We should do the same!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Why Presser v. Illinois is the progunner's worst nightmare.

Of course, Scalia dismissed it in his exposition of mendacity called District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), but he also dismissed such pearls as:
With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.

To make this view of the case still more clear, we may remark, that the phrase, "bear arms," is used in the Kentucky constitution as well as in our own, and implies, as has already been suggested, their military use. The 28th section of our bill of rights provides, "that no citizen of this State shall be compelled to bear arms, provided he will pay in equivalent, to be ascertained by law." Here we know that the phrase has a military sense, and no other; and we must infer that it is used in the same sense in the 26th section, which secures to the citizen the right to bear arms. A man in the pursuit of deer, elk and buffaloes, might carry his rifle every day, for forty years, and, yet, it would never be said of him, that he had borne arms, much less could it be said, that a private citizen bears arms, because he has a dirk or pistol concealed under his clothes, or a spear in a cane. So that, with deference, we think the argument of the court in the case referred to, even upon the question it has debated, is defective and inconclusive
Since they "weren't helpful".

That's putting it mildly--they totally contradict your position.

After all, why not dismiss anything which shows that what you are saying is total bollocks?

The American people are too happily ignorant to notice anyway.


Presser basically is making the same tired argument we hear over and over about being part of an unorganised militia, except that term didn't have actual currency back then in US Federal law.  The court tossed that argument since Presser wasn't part of the enrolled militia.

Even better, Presser actually addressed the incorporation issue.  If Heller is a joke, then McDonald v. Chicago is even worse of a joke since Presser came to the correct conclusion about the matter:
We think it clear that the sections under consideration, which only forbid bodies of men to associate together as military organizations, or to drill or parade with arms in cities [116 U.S. 252, 265]   and towns unless authorized by law, do not infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms. But a conclusive answer to the contention that this amendment prohibits the legislation in question lies in the fact that the amendment is a limitation only upon the power of congress and the national government, and not upon that of the state.
Yeah, the Second Amendment relates to congress' power under article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 & 16--not state power.

I thought that Alito was on the ball when he asked if congress' power was "plenary" in the Heller.  Yeah, it is which means that the answer is:
The right is related to the militia and congress' power to arm it
Seriously, you had it right in US v Rybar, 103 F.3d 273 (3d Cir. 1996), WHAT MADE YOU GO FOR THE INTELLECTUALLY DISHONEST POSITION??? DIDN'T THINK YOU WOULD GET CAUGHT????

Back to the story,  Presser concerned people openly carrying while pretending to be a militia and claiming their Second Amendment right, but the court swatted it down saying:
It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States as well as of the states, and, in view of this prerogative of the general government, as well as of its general powers, the states cannot, even laying the constitutional provision in question out of view, prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms, so as to deprive the United States of their rightful resource for maintaining the public security, and disable the people from performing their duty to the general government. But, as already stated, we think [116 U.S. 252, 266]   it clear that the sections under consideration do not have this effect.
Oh dear, it's that nasty civic right interpretation.

And, unlike Justice Stevens' version, this one actually got it right on incorporation.

Presser even compares the First Amendment claim:
We have not been referred to any statute of the United States which confers upon the plaintiff in error the privilege which he asserts. The only clause in the constitution which, upon any pretense, could be said to have any relation whatever to his right to associate with others as a military company, is found in the first amendment, which declares that 'congress shall make no laws ... abridging ... the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.' This is a right which it was held in U. S. v. Cruikshank, above cited, was an attribute of national citizenship, and, as such, under the protection of, and guarantied by, the United States. But it was held in the same case that the right peaceably to assemble was not protected by the clause referred to, unless the purpose of the assembly was to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The right voluntarily to associate together as a military company or organization, or to drill or parade with arms, without, and independent of, an act of congress or law of the state authorizing the same, is not an attribute of national citizenship. Military organization and military drill and parade under arms are subjects especially under the control of the government of every country. They cannot be claimed as a right independent of law.
By now, I am laughing my arse off since this case is a serious nugget when looked at in relation to the farce that is Heller-McDonald.  Combine Presser with Miller, and Heller-McDonald is the serious odd man out.

As I have been pointing out, it is a tough stretch to say that carrying weapons in public outside the national defence context is protected (again, the US Constitution makes it clear it addresses NATIONAL Defence and no where mentions self-defence).

I keep mentioning that if the law is silent on the topic, one cannot assume or imply it is somehow addressed, which is something else Presser mentions:
Under our political system they are subject to the regulation and control of the state and federal governments, acting in due regard to their respective prerogatives and powers. The constitution and laws of the United States will be searched in vain for any support to the view that these rights are privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States independent of some specific legislation on the subject.
I keep wishing that someone with more academic clout/prestige would take up these arguments, but it seems that I am the little boy who is saying the emperor has no clothes here.

But, I have loads of evidence he is as naked as a jaybird.