Saturday, December 01, 2007

State-Sponsored Adultery

Well before it was publicly known he was seeing her, then-married New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani provided a police driver and city car for his mistress Judith Nathan, former senior city officials tell the Blotter on
"She used the PD as her personal taxi service," said one former city official who worked for Giuliani.

New York papers reported in 2000 that the city had provided a security detail for Nathan, who became Giuliani's third wife after his divorce from Donna Hanover, who also had her own police security detail at the same time.

The former officials told the extra costs involved overtime and per diem costs for officers traveling with Giuliani to secret weekend rendezvous with Nathan in the fashionable Hamptons resort area on Long Island.

When the New York City comptroller began to question the accounting, Mayor Giuliani's office declined to provide details to city security, officials told today.

"The Comptroller's Office made repeated requests for the information in 2001 and 2002 but was informed that due to security concerns the information could not be provided," a spokesperson for the comptroller's office said.

Appearing in public for the first time today, Giuliani told ABC News the accusations he assigned a police security detail to his mistress and helped to hide the expenses in the mammoth New York City budget "a pre-debate hit job."

"I'm sorry, but I still don't understand why they filed these expenses the way they did," he said.

Former officials close to Giuliani say he had "zero" to do with how the police security expenses for Judith Nathan, who he since married, were accounted in the city budget.
While criticizing the apparent improprieties associated with the “Shag Fund” scandal, for New York City Mayor Ed Koch alluded to a point that hasn’t drawn much attention.
“I found it strange that his lady friend was given protection,” said the long-time New York politico. “That was bizarre. She’s not the city’s responsibility. Rudy is the city’s responsibility. Your wife and his children get protection, and that’s understood. But certainly not your lady friend.”
And by “lady friend,” Koch meant “mistress.”

This isn’t exactly new, but in light of recent revelations about Giuliani hiding the expense of his taxpayer-funded romantic rendezvous in the Hamptons, it’s probably worth reminding the political world that in 2001, Giuliani had security details for two women — his wife and his “lady friend” on the side. At the time, Giuliani didn’t deny any of this.

As Greg Sargent noted, “This, combined with Politico’s story, reveals just how expensive Rudy’s extramarital trysts really were to New Yorkers — and adds plausibility to the Politico’s suggestion that tax money funded Rudy’s visits to see Judi in the Hamptons.”

Just to provide some context to all of this, I should note that much of this is old news. We knew about the trips to the Hamptons. We knew Giuliani ordered a security detail for both women. We knew that taxpayers ended up footing the bill.

What we didn’t know was that steps may have been taken to cover up the true costs of Giuliani’s extra-curricular activities. On CNN last night, Lou Dobbs tried to defend Giuliani, suggesting the mayor is entitled to a security force, even if he heads off to the Hamptons to see his mistress. John King had to explain why that’s not the point.
DOBBS: [W]hat was the implication that in all of this that somehow that the mayor, irrespective of what he is doing personally with whichever woman was in his life at the time, was still the mayor and entitled to security? One would assume that he would be and do you think the assumption would be incorrect?

KING: There is no question that the mayor gets security 24/7. The question being raised by the city comptroller himself, the man who audits the city financial account, is why is that not money not allocated to the mayor central budget, why is it not allocated to the police department, why is there not a line item that says security for the mayor? Why instead is an agency called the Loft Office, the Loft Board of New York City or the Office for People with Disabilities being charged for the mayor’s security detail, gas for his SUV and things like that.
Giuliani can have an affair, he can bring his security detail with him while he has an affair, but he can’t hide the costs of this in the budget for the city’s Office for People with Disabilities.

Josh Marshall, meanwhile, explains why Giuliani couldn’t just hook-up in the city he was serving at the time.
Before 9/11, the city of New York set up an emergency command center in the World Trade Center complex, actually in building 7. After 9/11 this was a matter of some controversy since it obviously wasn’t usable on the day of the attacks. (Building 7 eventually collapsed late in the day on 9/11.) And while no one could have predicted 9/11 precisely, there was a certain gap in logic in building the command center in what had already proven to be a top terrorist target.

However that might be, earlier this year it emerged that Rudy actually spent a lot of time in his personal quarters in the command center pre-9/11 because that’s where he took Judi for their snogfests while their relationship was still a secret.

In fact, it gets better. While it’s difficult to prove, there was a decent amount of circumstantial evidence — and some city officials believed — that Rudy’s reason for wanting the center in building 7 was so that he could walk there easily from city hall for his trysts with Judy.

So just how do we judge the price NYC paid for the Judi affair?
Good question.


Support the WGA or else we'll get this (those I think maybe these actreses work better off the yellow pages than a script...).

Kidding; this is more like the future....

Actually, I'm a believer of the obvious. Everything starts with the initial creator, to some degree or another. While nothing would get donw without exploitation of some degree, that does not mean that there can't be fairness and relative generosity.

So the world without writers:

Link to the above and more.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Daily Corruption Of Government Our Leaders Have Brought Us

Over a decade ago, I remember seeing a "Saturday Night Live" skit that still stays with me. It was a talk show where all of the guests had one thing in common: they were all jerks or psychopaths whose one-time actions had created lifelong inconvenience for the rest of society. There was that guy who put poison into a bottle of Tylenol, initiating the era of the childproof (and adult-proof) package. There was the hijacker, whose actions led to the nationwide construction of airport X-ray machines. And so on.

I thought of that this week when I learned what happened to one of my favorite Web sites:

It's an absolutely delicious concept. You plug in your cellphone number. At a date and time you specify, your phone rings. That's it. No charge.

It's a perfect way to give yourself an out when you plan to be on a date, in a meeting or anywhere else where you might need an excuse to get away—or to demonstrate your own popularity.

Better yet: You know how sometimes the person next to you can faintly overhear the person you're talking to? For that reason, when you set up a time and date for your call, you can also specify what you want to hear on the other end. You have a choice of five prerecorded "caller on the other end" one-way conversations, so that you can have a plausible chat. There's the boss ("This is Mr. Johnson calling from the office. Did you complete that thing, about a month ago? That photocopier training?"), the girlfriend call ("Hey, you, what's going on? I'm going out later. You should come!"), and so on.

In one of my talks, I explore the way the Internet and the phone have been merging in fascinating ways. And I always demo Popularity Dialer, setting it up to "interrupt" me during the talk itself. It's hilarious.

Until a few weeks ago. I pulled up the site for the demo—and found a note that it was down for "maintenance."

When the site didn't come back for several weeks, I e-mailed the creators, Jenny Chowdhury and Cory Forsyth, who built PopularityDialer as college students. Jenny wrote to explain the sad news: Some idiot had set up an unwanted PopularityDialer call to an F.C.C. lawyer. Next thing Jenny new, her site was served with a ludicrous citation:

"This is an official CITATION, issued pursuant to section 503(b)(5) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the Act), 47 U.S.C. § (503)(b)(5), for violations of the Act and Federal Communications Commission's rules that govern telephone solicitations and unsolicited advertisements."

Ms. Chowdhury and Mr. Forsyth had to take PopularityDialer offline.

The whole thing is absurd on so many levels.

* PopularityDialer doesn't advertise or solicit anything.

* PopularityDialer has always offered a place to list your number if you don't want to receive its calls.

* Plenty of other Web sites offer services that call you at a specified time. Most of them are wake-up services, like,,,, and so on. All of them offer exactly the same risk of abuse as PopularityDialer. You could use any of them to set up a wake-up call to an F.C.C. lawyer, too. PopularityDialer just happened to be the unlucky victim of an anonymous jerk.

It gets weirder. When Ms. Chowdhury and Mr. Forsyth contacted the F.C.C. to get an explanation for the citation, the F.C.C. minion who responded was equally baffled. "I don't see how a Web site falls within the jurisdiction of the F.C.C. or how it would cause T.C.P.A. violations," went the reply. "We would not give any advice on how to legally continue the operation of your business. That would have to come from your own attorney."

So let me get this straight: The same F.C.C. that sent the citation has no idea why it sent the citation?

Ms. Chowdhury and Mr. Forsyth have appealed the citation. Let's hope that sanity prevails, and that one of the Internet's cleverest and wittiest gems is brought back to life—soon.

A Small Spark Of Freedom

Recently unsealed documents show that a federal judge has rejected an attempt by federal prosecutors to obtain the records of thousands of people who bought used books on Amazon. The records were sought as part of an investigation of a Robert B. D'Angelo, a Madison city employee who is accused of underreporting his income to tax authorities and operating a private business using city resources. The ruling was released after a federal grand jury handed down a 39-count indictment against D'Angelo.

The customers whose records the government was seeking were not suspected of any wrongdoing. D'Angelo is accused of selling used books and other merchandise via Amazon's website, using city time and resources to do it, and failing to report the income to the IRS. Prosecutors wanted to interview some of D'Angelo's customers to help build their case. They initially sought records from 24,000 customers, but after they encountered resistance from Amazon, they narrowed their request, seeking the records of 120 customers—30 from each of the four years D'Angelo is alleged to have operated his business.

In a June ruling, Judge Stephen Crocker rejected the government's demands for customers' private information, ruling that the First Amendment gives heightened protection to records concerning the sale of expressive works. However, he also acknowledged that the federal government had a legitimate need to contact some of D'Angelo's customers. He brokered a compromise in which Amazon agreed to contact a larger sample of customers asking for volunteers willing to talk to the feds. Those who declined to volunteer would have their privacy respected.

In a striking passage of his June decision, Judge Crocker acknowledges that the government's intentions were honorable, but nevertheless worries about the fallout that would result from a revelation that Amazon had turned over the purchasing records of thousands of book buyers. He predicted that news of the disclosure would "spread over the Net"—transmitted by sites like Ars, perhaps—and that "the chilling effect on e-commerce would frost keyboards across America."

In an interview published today with CNet's Declan McCullagh, Amazon VP for litigation David Zapolsky said that Amazon receives such subpoenas roughly once per quarter, and that the company will challenge any subpoenas that involve the "compelled disclosure of customer expressive choices." In most cases, he said, the government will modify or withdraw their request in response to Amazon's concerns. More rarely, Amazon will take the case to court and let the judge decide if the order is appropriate.

Zapolsky cites two cases that have bolstered Amazon's ability to mount First Amendment challenges to grand jury subpoenas of book-purchasing records. In one case, the Colorado Supreme Court sided with a Denver bookstore that was fighting the compelled disclosure of one of its customers' records. In the other case, special prosecutor Kenneth Star unsuccessfully sought records regarding Monica Lewinsky from Kramerbooks, a popular book store and restaurant in Washington, DC.

The Madness Of Our Leaders

Sick fucks; how else can you characterize them?

Raw Story:
The architect of Bush's rise to power made the outrageous assertion last week that the Iraq invasion was the fault of Congress, not the White House. The Bush administration -- according to Rove's revisionism -- was simply aghast that a critical and controversial vote to let the president unleash US troops against Saddam Hussein came just weeks before lawmakers were to stand for re-election.

"One of the untold stories about the war is ... this administration was opposed to voting on (the authorization the use of military force) in the Fall of 2002," Rove claimed with a straight face and apparently uncrossed fingers in a pre-Thanksgiving appearance on PBS's The Charlie Rose Show.

Of course, as Olbermann notes, "It's an untold story because it isn't true."

Using a "rogue Web site called," Olbermann quickly undercuts Rove's assertion.

"Despite Rove's claim that the White House opposed voting on Iraq in the Fall of 2002," Olbermann said, "on the first full day of Fall that year, the president urged Congress to pass an Iraq resolution, quote, 'promptly.' A week later, the president and the House Republicans agreed on an Iraq resoulution. A week after that President Bush was 'pleased' with the House vote on Iraq, and a week after that Mr. Bush signed the authorization for the use of military force in Iraq."

Olbermann, and his guest Arianna Huffington, noted the similarity of Rove's apparent attempt to rewrite history to the dystopian role played by the Ministry of Truth in Orwell's classic 1984.

"We've all used George Orwell references and 1984 references so much that the estate of Eric Blair ought to be suing us for copyright violations," Olbermann said. "But this really is that book, isn't it? Can't you just see John Hurt [who played lead character Winston Smith in a film version of the book] talking into the dictaphone rewriting the old newspapers with Karl Rove over his shoulder to eliminate inconvenient facts? Is this not the practical application of he who controls the past controls the future."

Huffington reminder her guest that technology in the 21st century makes it much harder to shuffle inconvenient facts down the memory hole.

"The only problem is when 1984 was written, Google and Lexis Nexis did not exist, and now they do," she said.

"I don't think there is any possibility that what Karl Rove is saying has any connection to the truth," Huffington said later. "There is just too much evidence. ... We have the Downing Street Memo that shows that they were already fixing the intel. They were determined to use 9/11, to use the president's incredible popularity at the time, to use the spinelessness of the Democrats to take us to war as fast as possible. It doesn't matter what Karl Rove says. The truth is the truth. It exists. It's real. And he can't change it."

A Recently Received Comment

Sliding down the slippery slope towards a fully corrupt society....

RoseCovered Glasses has left a new comment on your post "Must Reading: The Genius Of Our Leaders And Their ...":

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

Politicians make no difference.

We have bought into the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). If you would like to read how this happens please see:

Through a combination of public apathy and threats by the MIC we have let the SYSTEM get too large. It is now a SYSTEMIC problem and the SYSTEM is out of control. Government and industry are merging and that is very dangerous.

There is no conspiracy. The SYSTEM has gotten so big that those who make it up and run it day to day in industry and government simply are perpetuating their existance.

The politicians rely on them for details and recommendations because they cannot possibly grasp the nuances of the environment and the BIG SYSTEM.

So, the system has to go bust and then be re-scaled, fixed and re-designed to run efficiently and prudently, just like any other big machine that runs poorly or becomes obsolete or dangerous.

This situation will right itself through trauma. I see a government ENRON on the horizon, with an associated house cleaning.

The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. The event to watch is the collapse of the MIC.

For more details see:

Really, Can A Culture Like This Be Expected To Grow A Healthy Western Democracy Or Make Peace With Neighbors With Different Beliefs?

Democracies like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Christofascist 21st Century America....


The Frightened, Scary GOP Candidates

War Room:
...There was no "morning in America" for this bunch. There was no "pony in there somewhere." The plain blue rug on which they stood definitely didn't say "optimistic person comes to work." Indeed, the word "optimistic" was mentioned about as often as the word "Bush," which is to say, pretty much never.

At one point, we tried to make a list of all the things the candidates fear:

Illegal aliens. Illegal aliens at Mitt Romney's house. Having to check whether your painter or roofer has hired illegal aliens. Illegal aliens who want to cut in line. Amnesty for illegal aliens. "Special deals" for illegal aliens. Aliens -- legal and illegal both -- who make it "difficult for us to assimilate" and "take jobs" from the Americans already here.

The Council on Foreign Relations -- hello, Ron Paul! -- and the Trilateral Commission and the European Union and a NAFTA highway and international government.

Out-of-control spending. A tax on cigarettes. The costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The Department of Education. The IRS. "Most people in this country are more afraid of an audit than they are of a mugging, and there's a reason why," Mike Huckabee explained.

Isolationism. Defeatism. Appeasement. Another World War II coming out of Iraq. Hitler! Taxes. Tax increases. Having to make a pledge not to veto tax increases. A world without farm subsidies. Not having a "secure source of food." Hillary Clinton.

When Anderson Cooper asked Rudy Giuliani why obscure city agencies were forced to pay for his security detail while he visited his mistress in the Hamptons -- Cooper left out the mistress part -- Giuliani said he needed security as mayor because people were after him. "There were, you know, threats, threats that I don't generally talk about," he said. "Some have become public recently; most of them haven't."

Oh, yes, there were threats: Hillary Clinton again. China. China selling us poisonous toys. China buying weapons. Immigrants again, only this time maybe they're from China?

"You should never throw a gun to a person," Duncan Hunter warned; then he said that the "right to keep and bear arms is an important element of community security, home security, and national security. I think it is a tradition of the American soldier ... It is also a large part [of] family tradition."

Mitt Romney said his son buys guns.

"I own a couple of guns," Fred Thompson said, "but I'm not going to tell you what they are or where they are."

Murder, burglary and "one other category of violent crime," Giuliani said. Abortionists. Thompson said that overturning Roe v. Wade "should be our No. 1 focus right now."

Hillary Clinton.

Islamic terrorism. Islamic terrorists. The Democrats. Withdrawal. Surrender. Muslims and others who are insufficiently grateful for all the United States has done for them. Romney said he wouldn't close Guantánamo because he doesn't want "people that are carrying out attacks on this country to be brought into our jail system and be given legal representation in this country."

The ACLU. Islamic terrorists again. "They would like nothing better than to kill millions of people as they bring us down," Thompson explained.

Iran. Expensive oil. "A scenario of defeat." Another Vietnam. Not another Vietnam. "After we left Vietnam, they didn't want to follow us home," John McCain explained. "If you read Zarqawi, if you read bin Laden, if you read Zawahiri, read what they say. They want to follow us home. They want Iraq to be a base for al-Qaida to launch attacks against the United States. Their ultimate destination is not Iraq. Their ultimate destination is New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Phoenix, Arizona."

"We are living in a world where we are threatened," Tom Tancredo said. "It is radical Islam."

Judges who would outlaw religion. Homosexuals who would serve in the military. "We're in the middle of a war," Romney explained. Yes, Hunter said, and "most kids who leave that breakfast table and go out and serve in the military and make that corporate decision with their family, most of them are conservatives" with "conservative values ... Judeo-Christian values," and they shouldn't be forced to serve with homosexuals.

The "entitlement tsunami." "We also face tough new competition coming from Asia," Romney said. "We face global jihad, which we just talked about very briefly. We face a whole series of extraordinary problems -- overuse of oil, entitlement is out of control."

Hillary Clinton. John Edwards. Two Americas. Bridges we're blowing up overseas. Bridges that are falling down at home. Bridges to nowhere.

The Yankees.

Throughout the grueling and ghoulish two hours, Huckabee was the only one who came off as even halfway hopeful. He talked about the importance of education, about not punishing kids for the sins of their parents. And when Joseph from Dallas asked about the Bible, the new man from Hope was sunny enough to pick out the nice parts: "'Love your neighbor as yourself,' and 'As much as you've done it to the least of these brethren, you've done it unto me,'" Huckabee said. "Until we get those simple, real easy things right, I'm not sure we ought to spend a whole lot of time fighting over the other parts that are a little bit complicated. And as the only person here on the stage with a theology degree, there are parts of it I don't fully comprehend and understand, because the Bible is a revelation of an infinite God, and no finite person is ever going to fully understand it. If they do, their God is too small."

As soon as Huckabee finished speaking, Cooper cued a 30-second video from the Romney campaign: "It's an election like no other," it began. "An enemy lurks, waiting to strike. Our Main Street economy is competing with mainland China. Legal versus illegal doesn't seem to matter. Basic values like marriage are suddenly open to debate. For these challenges, ordinary isn't good enough."

Now What Does He Do About It?

War Room:
"I have to say this is one of the most arrogant, incompetent administrations I've ever seen or ever read about. They have failed the country." -- Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, speaking Wednesday before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Just In Case Anyone Was Doubting That Clarence Thomas Is Really, Really Stupid

Another instance where one must wonder whether a rightist pol is really unbelievably stupid or a deliberate panderer.

The wisdom of Justice Clarence ("I got appointed based solely on merit) Thomas:
He later characterized his "shut up" comment as simply "shock value," but then dug deeper into the issue. "I think that they should ask questions, but I don't think that for judging, and for what we are doing, all those questions are necessary," he said. "You don't have to ask all those questions to judge properly." Thomas compared judging to another profession where debate isn't aired in public. "Suppose you're undergoing something very serious like surgery and the doctors started a practice of conducting seminars while in the operating room, debating each other about certain procedures and whether or not this procedure is this way or that way. You really didn't go in there to have a debate about gallbladder surgery. You actually went in to have a procedure done. We are judges. This is the last court in a long line in our system. We are there to decide cases, not to engage in seminar discussions. Now, each of us has a different way of thinking about things. Some people like to talk it out. Some people enjoy the questioning and the back and forth. Some people think that if they listen deeply and hear the people who are presenting their arguments, they might hear something that's not already in several hundred pages of records."

Wanted For Treason


GOP Principle: Toughness On Terror Stops At The Wallet

Via Raw Story:
GOP presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani, who has made tough talk about combating Islamic terror a staple of his campaign, has had extensive business dealings with a foreign ministry helmed by a man with ties to the 9/11 attacks, according to a new report.

Giuliani Partners, a consulting firm which the former New York mayor founded after leaving in office in 2002, maintains a "cozy business relationship," with the "terrorist-tolerant" nation of Qatar, writes the Village Voice's Wayne Barrett. Barret reports that the firm's business partners in Qatar have included that country's former minister of Islamic affairs, Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani (above right), who has been accused of helping suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad evade an an FBI arrest attempt in 1996.

"In other words," writes Barrett, "as incredible as it might seem, Rudy Giuliani -- whose presidential candidacy is steeped in 9/11 iconography -- has been doing business with a government agency run by the very man who made the attacks on 9/11 possible."

Appearing on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Barrett said Giuliani should have known about Qatar's ties to terrorism in 2005, when he made the country one of his "principal clients."

"He would have had to have been deaf, dumb and blind not to know it because he then in 2005 had running his security unit two of the FBI agents who had been pursuing the Qatar relationship [to terrorism]," Barrett told Olbermann. "By 2005, the United States had a very complicated relationship with Qatar. It was fully aware of its ties to international terrorism."

Barrett went on to add that Giuliani Partners' business with al-Thani and Qatar was strictly a money decision.

"I think the conundrum really for Rudy as a candidate is he parades around America as the black and white candidate who can't see any grey," he said. "And so here you have a relationship where he could see the grey because there was so much gold involved."

Detailing al-Thani's role in purportedly aiding and abetting Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, Barret says in the Voice that al-Thani helped the suspected terrorist to flee Qatar. Al-Thani also "remains a named defendant in the 9/11 lawsuits that are still proceeding in Manhattan federal court," he adds.

Barret writes that the reality of Giuliani's association with Qatar is "inconsistent with the core message of Giuliani's current presidential campaign, namely that his experience and toughness uniquely equip him to protect America from what he tauntingly calls 'Islamic terrorists' -- an enemy that he always portrays himself as ready to confront, and the Democrats as ready to accommodate."

Barrett's report was published a day before a much-discussed story broken by Politico's Ben Smith, which accused Giuliani of obscuring security expenses to disguise an extra-marital affair during his time as New York mayor. Although that story has been picked up by an array of news outlets, the Barrett piece has received a tamer reception thus far in the mainstream press.

Nevertheless, Olbermann called Barett's story a "startling and potentially ruinous revelation," and said of Giuliani, "The 'war on terror candidate' -- looking tonight a lot more like the 'ties to terror' candidate."
The Barrett piece is here.

And there's a little more here.

Oh, Well....

The Paper Of Record:
In almost every appearance as he campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination, Rudolph W. Giuliani cites a fusillade of statistics and facts to make his arguments about his successes in running New York City and the merits of his views.

Discussing his crime-fighting success as mayor, Mr. Giuliani told a television interviewer that New York was “the only city in America that has reduced crime every single year since 1994.” In New Hampshire this week, he told a public forum that when he became mayor in 1994, New York “had been averaging like 1,800, 1,900 murders for almost 30 years.” When a recent Republican debate turned to the question of fiscal responsibility, he boasted that “under me, spending went down by 7 percent.”

All of these statements are incomplete, exaggerated or just plain wrong. And while, to be sure, all candidates use misleading statistics from time to time, Mr. Giuliani has made statistics a central part of his candidacy as he campaigns on his record.


An examination of many of his statements by The New York Times, other news organizations and independent groups have turned up a variety of misstatements, virtually all of which cast Mr. Giuliani or his arguments in a better light. “He’s given us a lot of work up until now,” said Brooks Jackson, the director of Annenberg Political Fact Check, which is part of, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania that has corrected statements by candidates in both parties.


Last weekend, speaking about his belief in supply-side economics, Mr. Giuliani said, “I lowered, argued for lowering, and got the hotel occupancy tax lowered by 33 percent. And I was collecting $200 million more from the lower tax than the city had been collecting from before I was mayor from the higher tax.”

In fact, the increase in revenues from the hotel occupancy tax was just over a quarter of what Mr. Giuliani asserted — the city’s hotel tax revenues grew by roughly $58 million during his term, according to the city’s Independent Budget Office — and a booming economy, as well as the reduction in crime Mr. Giuliani helped produce, probably played a part. has reported that the Giuliani campaign exaggerated when it boasted on its Web site that “Mayor Giuliani increased the police force from 28,000 to 40,000,” noting that most of that increase came from his merger of the Transit and Housing Police Departments with the New York Police Department, a transfer of more than 7,000 existing officers to the department.


And the group also found that Mr. Giuliani erred at a Republican debate when, while calling for tort reform, he said that 2.2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product “is spent on all these frivolous lawsuits.” That statistic, the group reported, came from a study that pegged the cost of all civil claims at 2.2 percent of the G.D.P., without judging whether the cases had merit or not.

Even some people who support Mr. Giuliani’s proposals say he risks undercutting his own arguments when he relies on imprecise or questionable statistics.

In a recent radio advertisement by the campaign about his health care proposal, Mr. Giuliani repeated another false statement that he had been using on the campaign trail. In the advertisement Mr. Giuliani, who has had prostate cancer, asserted that his chances of surviving prostate cancer in the United States were 82 percent, while his chance of surviving in England would have been only 44 percent. His point was that the American health care system is far superior to England’s government-run system, which he refers to as “socialized medicine.”

The figure came from an article written by one of Mr. Giuliani’s health care advisers, but was soon discredited: the source of the research that was used to derive the statistic said that its data had been misused. The Office for National Statistics in Britain said that the true five-year survival rate was 74.4 percent — still lower than in the United States, but by a much smaller margin. Mr. Giuliani stood by the statistic, however, and kept using the advertisement, though it has since gone off the air.


Another radio advertisement that Mr. Giuliani ran over the summer stated that as mayor he “turned a $2.3 billion deficit into a multibillion-dollar surplus.”

That was also misleading. According to independent fiscal monitors, Mr. Giuliani did have to close a $2.3 billion deficit in his first budget, and did accumulate a multibillion-dollar surplus during his tenure. But by Mr. Giuliani’s last full fiscal year in office, the city was spending more than it was taking in in revenues, and Mr. Giuliani ended up spending almost all of the surplus to balance his final budget.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Slick Willy: Lying Or Maybe Telling The Truth?

We report, you decide.
The November 28 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe featured a discussion of former President Bill Clinton's November 27 comment that he "opposed [the war in] Iraq from the beginning," which contributor Willie Geist called "revisionist history." Similarly, in a November 28 "On Deadline" column discussing Clinton's comments, Associated Press writer Ron Fournier asserted: "In truth, Clinton did not oppose the Iraq war from the start -- at least not publicly." Fournier continued: "If the former president secretly opposed the war but did not want to speak against a sitting president (as some of his aides now claim), what moral authority does he have now?" But absent from either the Morning Joe discussion or Fournier's column was any mention of Clinton's comments on March 14, 2003, just days prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq -- which the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) posted on its website the evening of November 27 -- opposing war at that time. In those remarks, he said "let's give him [Saddam Hussein] a certain date in which, in this time, he has to destroy the missiles, reconcile the discrepancies in what we believe is the truth on chemical weapons, reconcile the discrepancies on biological weapons, reconcile the issue of the Drones, and offer up 150 scientists who can travel outside of Iraq with their families for interviews. If you do that, then we'll say this is really good-faith disarmament, and we'll go on without a conflict."

Clinton's March 14, 2003, comments were posted on The Fact Hub -- a fact-check website produced by Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign -- on November 27. From Clinton's March 14, 2003, remarks:
Do you believe this matters? If you believe it matters -- as I do -- then you have to decide if it matters whether we bend over backwards to try to disarm him in a way that strengthens rather than divides the world community. If you don't think it matters, then you're with a lot of the people in the current administration who think that we'll just go over there and this will take a few days, after we win -- victors always get to write history -- everybody will get over this and we'll get everybody back together and they'll be glad he's gone because he's a thug and a murderer. That's what they think. If you believe it matters to keep them together, then you've got to support some version of what Prime Minister Blair's doing now, which is to say, okay, he's finally destroying his missiles. And the administration, to be fair, is nominally in favor of what Blair's trying to do.

He's finally destroying his missiles, so let's give him a certain date in which, in this time, he has to destroy the missiles, reconcile the discrepancies in what we believe is the truth on chemical weapons, reconcile the discrepancies on biological weapons, reconcile the issue of the Drones, and offer up 150 scientists who can travel outside of Iraq with their families for interviews. If you do that, then we'll say this is really good-faith disarmament, and we'll go on without a conflict. Now if that passes, however, then you have to be willing to take yes for an answer. You see what I mean? I'm for regime change too, but there's more than one way to do it. We don't invade everybody whose regime we want to change. There's more than one way to do this, but if that passes and he actually disarms, then we have to be willing to take it, and then work for regime change by supporting the opposition to Saddam Hussein within and outside Iraq, and doing other things.

Our Honest Moral Leaders

Lying, dishonest shits, apparently each and every one of them. This crap hasn't stopped since December 2000.

Via Raw Story:
The federal official helming a probe into potentially illegal partisan political activities conducted by Karl Rove and other White House officials is himself the focus of a federal investigation.

Scott Bloch, the Bush-appointed head of the US Office of Special Counsel, is under investigation for the alleged improper deletion of emails on office computers, The Wall Street Journal's John R. Wilke reports.

"Recently, investigators learned that Mr. Bloch erased all the files on his office personal computer late last year," writes Wilke. "They are now trying to determine whether the deletions were improper or part of a cover-up, lawyers close to the case said." The inspector general of the Office of Personnel Management is examining the case at the urging of the White House.

The Special Counsel is also under scrutiny for claims that he used his position to retaliate against other employees, and that he "dismissed whistleblower cases without adequate examination." Investigation began in that case in 2005.

The Journal reports that Bloch called the tech support service Geeks on Call for help deleting computer files instead of using his agency's own in-house computer technicians. That company "dispatched a technician in one of its signature PT Cruiser wagons," according to Wilke, who adds that Bloch confirms contacting Geeks on Call but maintains it was part of an effort to "eradicate a virus that had seized control of his computer."

"Mr. Bloch had his computer's hard disk completely cleansed using a 'seven-level' wipe: a thorough scrubbing that conforms to Defense Department data-security standards," the report continues, describing a process which makes it "nearly impossible for forensics experts to restore the data later. Technicians were also directed to erase laptops used by Bloch's former political deputies, Wilke adds.

"Geeks on Call visited Mr. Bloch's government office in a nondescript office building on M Street in Washington twice, on Dec. 18 and Dec. 21, 2006," according the paper's review of a company receipt. "The total charge was $1,149, paid with an agency credit card, the receipt shows. The receipt says a seven-level wipe was performed but doesn't mention any computer virus."

The manager of the Geeks on Call franchise involved told the Journal that the so-called seven-level wipe was not a typical remedy for a computer virus. "We don't do a seven-level wipe for a virus," he said.

But Bloch told the Journal that no documents in connection to an investigation had been destroyed. "He also says the employee claims against him are unwarranted," according to the paper. "Mr. Bloch believes the White House may have a conflict of interest in pressing the inquiry into his conduct while his office investigates the White House political operation."

The Office of Special Counsel, which Bloch has headed since 2004, is tasked with enforcing the Hatch Act, a law enacted in 1939 to prohibit public employees from engaging in partisan political activity.

That organization's investigation into Rove and other White House officials, launched earlier this year, ironically includes a probe of missing emails. The Office of Special Counsel is examining "the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, missing White House e-mails, and White House efforts to keep presidential appointees attuned to Republican political priorities," according to the Los Angeles Times.

"We will take the evidence where it leads us," Bloch told the Times in April. "We will not leave any stone unturned."

Earlier this month, a federal judge ordered the White House to save all of its emails in response to lawsuits from two private organizations, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government, and The National Security Archive. The groups allege that as many as five million White House emails are missing.

This Is Why Stphen King Is Cool

You know, I just filmed a segment for Nightline, about [the movie version of his novella] The Mist, and one of the things I said to them was, you know, "You guys are just covering — what do they call it — the scream of the peacock, and you're missing the whole fox hunt." Like waterboarding [or] where all the money went that we poured into Iraq. It just seems to disappear. And yet you get this coverage of who's gonna get custody of Britney's kids? Whether or not Lindsay drank at her twenty-first birthday party, and all this other shit. You know, this morning, the two big stories on CNN are Kanye West's mother, who died, apparently, after having some plastic surgery. The other big thing that's going on is whether or not this cop [Drew Peterson] killed his... wife. And meanwhile, you've got Pakistan in the midst of a real crisis, where these people have nuclear weapons that we helped them develop. You've got a guy in charge, who's basically declared himself the military strongman and is being supported by the Bush administration, whose raison d'etre for going into Iraq was to spread democracy in the world.
So you've got these things going on, which seem to me to be very substantive, that could affect all of us, and instead, you see a lot of this back-fence gossip. So I said something to the Nightline guy about waterboarding, and if the Bush administration didn't think it was torture, they ought to do some personal investigation. Someone in the Bush family should actually be waterboarded so they could report on it to George. I said, I didn't think he would do it, but I suggested Jenna be waterboarded and then she could talk about whether or not she thought it was torture. And then the guy from Nightline said, "Well, obviously you've not been watching World News Tonight with Charlie Gibson." But I do — I watch 'em all!

Another Comment Posted Here

Bush and Cheney have managed to get oil to close at above $97.00 a barrel (an all time high), gold is near an all time high and the U.S. dollar is at its all time low. There is more Federal money going to civilian mercenaries than to American solders. During the last seven years our borders have been left open, now we have over 14 million illegal immigrants. Every military power in the world has managed to slip spies up through Mexico and across our borders unchallenged.

Bush's bad appointments have been in his own personal interests; he has disregarded his oath to protect and serve the U.S.A. Good job guys you have made millionaires of your GOP affiliates by awarding big government contracts to their sham organizations at the cost of bringing our country into a recession. You have redefined Democracy, the executive powers, our Judicial system and the role of our National Guards and the Military Reserves.

Alabama is right in the middle of Bush’s corruption. Bush has had to help Bob Riley win both his elections for governor. Slick Bob is being groomed as a potential vice president candidate for the 2008 election. But what about his connection to Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon during the 2002 election. Also, there is another cloud over Riley’s head that involves their conspiracy to eliminate his opponent Don Siegelman in the 2006 election which is starting to get national attention.

By showing no shame and declaring executive privileges the occupants in the white house have become fugitives that are untouchable. Charges can’t be brought against them, because the judicial system works for the executive branch in which the President is the man in charge. Congress has not been able to start an impeachment process because there are very few conservative (honest) Republican’s remaining in Congress who align themselves with the traditional Republican values. Bush’s new group of corrupt politicians are still using the name of the GOP and they still run on the Republican ticket; however, they are aligning themselves on Bush's and Cheney's corruption.

What’s the next move once a new president assumes office? What could possibly be Bush’s plan? How are they going to avoid prosecutions and possibly war crime charges? How are they going to prevent the Feds. from seizing their bank accounts and their assets. Will Bush perform midnight pardons? But, first they have to be charged with a crime to be pardoned. Who then would pardon Bush?

I believe that they have all their eggs in one basket. The new President will have to be a close ally. With so many facing possible prosecutions, I believe that what they did to get Bob Riley elected governor is just an example of what might happen to their presidential opponents.

I believe that Karl Rove has never been debriefed and that he is still using the NSA to do wiretapping to gather whatever information that he needs to eliminate top presidential candidates. I believe that Bush is using the Justice department to investigate all presidential candidates, and that Karl Rove is being given the results of their investigations to be used to blackmail and to generate smear campaign ads. This is the same thing that he and Donal Segretti done for Nixon. Segretti went to prison; however Karl was only twenty one and escaped prosecution. Maybe he won’t be as lucky the next time. If Karl’s tactics fail to get their candidate in the lead, I believe that Bush's and Cheney's crimes are so serious that the leading candidate will be assassinated regardless of whether he or she is a conservative Republican or a Democrat.

A Comment Someone Posted Here

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "How Our Leaders Are Destroying This Country And Sh...":
“FOLLOW RILEY’S CAMPAIGN MONEY BACK TO MICHAEL SCANLON AND JACK ABRAMOFF“. Before the 2002 gubernatorial elections, Bob Riley asked Choctaw Indian lobbyist Michael Scanlon who represented the casino-operating Choctaw Indians in Philadelphia, Miss., to funnel money from the Choctaw Indians in return for helping him get elected governor over Don Siegelman and if he was elected he would kill any hopes of Alabama getting a state lottery and block the Alabama Poarch Indians from getting a class 3 gambling license. Scanlon was to see that the money was laundered before the 2002 election through the Republican Governors Association, the Alabama Republican Party and to the Business Council of Alabama.. Scanlon had an interest in the 2002 Alabama elections, where Riley faced Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman, because Siegelman was advocating a state lottery, which could have attracted customers away from the Choctaws' two casinos in Philadelphia, Miss.
In 2002, Scanlon funneled the following amounts of Choctaw money to help Riley’s election campaign:

(1) Scanlon funneled $500,000 in October 2002 to the Republican Governors Association, which soon after transferred the money to a related Republican committee, which in turn donated $650,000 to Riley and $150,000 to the Alabama Republican Party the same month.

(2) Scanlon funneled $100,000 to four Alabama-based political action committees controlled by Montgomery lobbyists Joe Fine and Bob Geddie that contributed heavily to Riley's campaign.

(2) Scanlon funneled $9,000 plus later another undetermined amount to Progress PAC, the fundraising arm of the Business Council of Alabama, which also contributed heavily to Riley.

(3) Scanlon' also funneled $75,000 to "Riley" through the National Republican Congressional Committee, $50,000 to the NRCC, and the NRCC gave Riley $360,000.

In late 2001 Scanlon had paid $155,000, for the Choctaw Indians, to the public relations firm of Lunde and Burger for professional campaign services in Alabama which was used to defeat the lottery and gambling in Alabama while Siegelman was governor.

Today's Chapter About How India Enters The 21st Century

Link. More here.

And Now For Something Completely Different... Something Dirty

Must Reading: The Genius Of Our Leaders And Their Failed Policies In Iraq

You can never go wrong fighting an insurgency with "hearts and minds".

But we didn't do that in Iraq. Correction: still aren't doing it on the necessary level to establish a healthy democracy (if it can be done).

The sad, tragic story starts here:
The future of war began with an act of faith. In 1991, Navy captain Arthur Cebrowski met John Garstka, a captain in the Air Force, at a McLean, Virginia, Bible-study class. The two quickly discovered they shared more than just their conservative Catholic beliefs. They both had an interest in military strategy. And they were both geeks: Cebrowski — who'd been a math major in college, a fighter pilot in Vietnam, and an aircraft carrier commander during Desert Storm — was fascinated with how information technologies could make fighter jocks more lethal. Garstka — a Stanford-trained engineer — worked on improving algorithms used to track missiles.

Over the next several years, the two men traded ideas and compared experiences. They visited businesses embracing the information revolution, ultimately becoming convinced that the changes sweeping the corporate world had applications for the military as well. The Defense Department wasn't blind to the power of networks, of course — the Internet began as a military project, after all, and each branch of the armed services had ongoing "digitization" programs. But no one had ever crystallized what the information age might offer the Pentagon quite like Cebrowski and Garstka did. In an article for the January 1998 issue of the naval journal Proceedings, "Network-Centric Warfare: Its Origin and Future," they not only named the philosophy but laid out a new direction for how the US would think about war.

Their model was Wal-Mart. Here was a sprawling, bureaucratic monster of an organization — sound familiar? — that still managed to automatically order a new lightbulb every time it sold one. Warehouses were networked, but so were individual cash registers. So were the guys who sold Wal-Mart the bulbs. If that company could wire everyone together and become more efficient, then US forces could, too. "Nations make war the same way they make wealth," Cebrowski and Garstka wrote. Computer networks and the efficient flow of information would turn America's chain saw of a war machine into a scalpel.

The US military could use battlefield sensors to swiftly identify targets and bomb them. Tens of thousands of warfighters would act as a single, self-aware, coordinated organism. Better communications would let troops act swiftly and with accurate intelligence, skirting creaky hierarchies. It'd be "a revolution in military affairs unlike any seen since the Napoleonic Age," they wrote. And it wouldn't take hundreds of thousands of troops to get a job done — that kind of "massing of forces" would be replaced by information management. "For nearly 200 years, the tools and tactics of how we fight have evolved," the pair wrote. "Now, fundamental changes are affecting the very character of war."

Network-centric wars would be more moral, too. Cebrowski later argued that network-enabled armies kill more of the right people quicker. With fewer civilian casualties, warfare would be more ethical. And as a result, the US could use military might to create free societies without being accused of imperialist arrogance.

It had a certain geek appeal, to which Wired was not immune. Futurist Alvin Toffler talked up similar ideas — before they even had a name — in the magazine's fifth issue, in 1993. And during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, my colleague Joshua Davis welcomed in a "new age of fighting that combined precision weapons, unprecedented surveillance of the enemy, agile ground forces, and — above all — a real-time communications network that kept the far-flung operation connected minute by minute."

As a presidential candidate in 1999, George W. Bush embraced the philosophy, as did his eventual choice for defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. At the Pentagon, Rumsfeld instituted a massive program to "transform" the armed services. Cebrowski was installed as the head of the newly created Office of Force Transformation. When the US went to war in Afghanistan, and then in Iraq, its forces achieved apparent victory with lightning speed. Analysts inside and outside the Pentagon credited the network-centric approach for that success. "The successful campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq took far fewer troops and were executed quicker," Rumsfeld proclaimed, because of "advanced technology and skills." The Army committed more than $230 billion to a network-centric makeover, on top of the billions the military had already spent on surveillance, drone aircraft, spy satellites, and thousands of GPS transceivers. General Tommy Franks, leader of both invasions, was even more effusive than Rumsfeld. All the new tech, he wrote in his 2004 memoir, American Soldier, promised "today's commanders the kind of Olympian perspective that Homer had given his gods."

And yet, here we are. The American military is still mired in Iraq. It's still stuck in Afghanistan, battling a resurgent Taliban. Rumsfeld has been forced out of the Pentagon. Dan Halutz, the Israeli Defense Forces chief of general staff and net-centric advocate who led the largely unsuccessful war in Lebanon in 2006, has been fired, too. In the past six years, the world's most technologically sophisticated militaries have gone up against three seemingly primitive foes — and haven't won once.

How could this be? The network-centric approach had worked pretty much as advertised. Even the theory's many critics admit net-centric combat helped make an already imposing American military even more effective at locating and killing its foes. The regimes of Saddam Hussein and Mullah Omar were broken almost instantly. But network-centric warfare, with its emphasis on fewer, faster-moving troops, turned out to be just about the last thing the US military needed when it came time to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan. A small, wired force leaves generals with too few nodes on the military network to secure the peace. There aren't enough troops to go out and find informants, build barricades, rebuild a sewage treatment plant, and patrol a marketplace.

For the first three years of the Iraq insurgency, American troops largely retreated to their fortified bases, pushed out woefully undertrained local units to do the fighting, and watched the results on feeds from spy drones flying overhead. Retired major general Robert Scales summed up the problem to Congress by way of a complaint from one division commander: "If I know where the enemy is, I can kill it. My problem is I can't connect with the local population." How could he? For far too many units, the war had been turned into a telecommute. Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon were the first conflicts planned, launched, and executed with networked technologies and a networked ideology. They were supposed to be the wars of the future. And the future lost.

Inside the Pentagon, the term network-centric warfare is out of fashion, yet countless generals and admirals still adhere to its core principles. On the streets of Iraq, though, troops are learning to grapple with the guerrilla threat. And that means fighting in a way that couldn't be more different from the one Donald Rumsfeld embraced. The failures of wired combat are forcing troops to improvise a new, socially networked kind of war.

I'm A Terrorist Now!

Maybe you are too.

Read how I became one here
and here.

Free Elections, GOP-Style

Is this a great country or what?! Here's to the permanent, one-party (GOP) state! Don't need dissent when the one party is perfect....
If you're planning to vote in Virginia's February Republican presidential primary, be prepared to sign an oath swearing your Republican loyalty.

The State Board of Elections on Monday approved a state Republican Party request to require all who apply for a GOP primary ballot first vow in writing that they'll vote for the party's presidential nominee next fall.

Maybe He Just Doesn't Know What "Straight Talk" Is?

Can that be the explanation for all the flippy-floppy?

War Room:
"We have turned things around from a failed strategy of Rumsfeld, which I was the only one that spoke strongly against, to a new strategy, which I supported, which is succeeding."

That's Sen. John McCain in an interview with Charlie Rose, and there are two points worth making about the "straight talk" he was delivering.

First, as Think Progress has noted before, McCain didn't always "speak strongly" against former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's strategy in Iraq. In March 2004, he declared that the United States was "on the right course" in Iraq. And in December 2005, he predicted that, "a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course."

Second, to the extent that McCain did "speak strongly" against the Rumsfeld strategy, he was hardly "the only one." While McCain was campaigning for George W. Bush's reelection in 2004, for example, Bush's opponent was criticizing Rumsfeld's war strategy and calling on him to resign.

He Never Said He Was Honest And Not A Thief, Just That He Is Mr. 9/11

Rightists snipe at one of their own, like the vicious dogs they are....
As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.

The documents, obtained by Politico under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, show that the mayoral costs had nothing to do with the functions of the little-known city offices that defrayed his tabs, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants.

At the time, the mayor’s office refused to explain the accounting to city auditors, citing “security.”

The Hamptons visits resulted in hotel, gas and other costs for Giuliani’s New York Police Department security detail.

Giuliani’s relationship with Nathan is old news now, and Giuliani regularly asks voters on the campaign trail to forgive his "mistakes."

DNC cancels L.A. debate
Post-Lott GOP leadership comes into focus
Are the Republicans ready for YouTube?
It’s also impossible to know whether the purpose of all the Hamptons trips was to see Nathan. A Giuliani spokeswoman declined to discuss any aspect of this story, which was explained in detail to her earlier this week.

Asked about this article after it was published on Wednesday, Giuliani said: "It's not true."

He said he had 24-hour security during his eight years as mayor because of "threats," adding: " I had nothing to do with the handling of their records, and they were handled, as far as I know, perfectly appropriately."

The practice of transferring the travel expenses of Giuliani's security detail to the accounts of obscure mayoral offices has never been brought to light, despite behind-the-scenes criticism from the city comptroller weeks after Giuliani left office.

The expenses first surfaced as Giuliani's two terms as mayor of New York drew to a close in 2001, when a city auditor stumbled across something unusual: $34,000 worth of travel expenses buried in the accounts of the New York City Loft Board.

When the city's fiscal monitor asked for an explanation, Giuliani's aides refused, citing "security," said Jeff Simmons, a spokesman for the city comptroller.

But American Express bills and travel documents obtained by Politico suggest another reason City Hall may have considered the documents sensitive: They detail three summers of visits to Southampton, the Long Island town where Nathan had an apartment.

Auditors "were unable to verify that these expenses were for legitimate or necessary purposes," City Comptroller William Thompson wrote of the expenses from fiscal year 2000, which covers parts of 1999 and 2000.

The letter, whose existence has not been previously reported, was also obtained under the Freedom of Information Law.

Long Island bills

The receipts tally the costs of hotel and gas bills for the police detectives who traveled everywhere with the mayor, according to cover sheets that label them “PD expenses” and travel authorizations that describe the trips.

New York's mayor receives round-the-clock police protection, and there's no suggestion that Giuliani used his detail improperly on these trips.

Many of the receipts are from hotels and gas stations on Long Island, where Giuliani reportedly began visiting Nathan’s Southampton condominium in the summer of 1999, though Giuliani and Nathan have never discussed the beginning of their relationship.

Nathan would go on to become Giuliani’s third wife, but his second marriage was officially intact until the spring of 2000, and City Hall officials at the time responded to questions about his absences by saying he was spending time with his son and playing golf.

The receipts have languished in city files since Giuliani left office, apparently in part because of City Hall's decision to bill police expenses to a range of little-known city offices.

"There is no really good reason to do this except to have nobody know about it," Carol O'Cleireacain, a Brookings Institution senior fellow who was budget director under Giuliani's predecessor, David Dinkins, said of the unusual billing practices.

A Giuliani spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel, declined to comment on any aspect of the travel documents or the billing arrangements.

A Giuliani aide who would speak only on the condition of anonymity denied that the unorthodox billing practices were aimed at hiding the expenses, citing "accounting" and noting that they were billed to units of the mayor's office, not to outside city agencies.

The aide declined to discuss Giuliani's visits to Long Island.

The trips themselves were a departure for a mayor who had prided himself on spending every waking moment in the city and on the job, and offer a glimpse into the dramatic and controversial finale to his tenure in office.

Receipts show him in Southampton every weekend in August and the first weekend in September of 2001, before the terror attacks of Sept. 11 disrupted the routines of his city.

Both the travel expenses and the appearance that his office made efforts to conceal them could open Giuliani to criticism that his personal life spilled over into his official duties and his expenses grew in his final years in office.

It is impossible to say which of the 11 Long Island trips indicated by credit card receipts were to visit Nathan and which were for other purposes.

Eight of those trips, however, were not noted on Giuliani's official schedule, which is now available in the city's municipal archive and contains many details of Giuliani's official and unofficial life.

The billing practices, however, drew formal attention on Jan. 24, 2002, when Thompson, the city comptroller, wrote the newly elected mayor, Michael Bloomberg, a confidential letter.

One of his auditors, he wrote, had stumbled upon the unexplained travel expenses during a routine audit of the Loft Board, a tiny branch of city government that regulates certain apartments.

Broadening the inquiry, the comptroller wrote, auditors found similar expenses at a range of other unlikely agencies: $10,054 billed to the Office for People With Disabilities and $29,757 to the Procurement Policy Board.

The next year, yet another obscure department, the Assigned Counsel Administrative Office, was billed around $400,000 for travel.

Increasing costs

"The Comptroller's Office made repeated requests for the information in 2001 and 2002 but was informed that, due to security concerns, the information could not be provided," said Simmons. Thompson took office in 2002.

Thompson also warned that travel costs had increased by 151 percent in Giuliani's final fiscal year, to more than $618,000, a number which also includes police security on campaign swings for Giuliani’s abortive 2000 Senate run and trips to Los Angeles by Donna Hanover, who remained Giuliani's wife and the city's official first lady, in the fall of 2000.

Most of that travel also was billed to obscure agencies, though portions — much of it trips to and from Washington by Giuliani deputies — were accounted for more conventionally, with a more visible charge to the mayor's office.

Thompson suggested Bloomberg "review ... the cost of mayoralty travel expenses, given your administration's focus on fiscal constraints."

A spokesman for Bloomberg, Stu Loeser, said: "When we received the letter from the comptroller, we referred the matter to the Department of Investigations, as we would in any case like this."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Investigations declined to comment.

The executive director of the Loft Board referred Politico to Bloomberg's office for comment.

The first trip to Southampton appearing in the travel documents runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1, 1999.

Four police officers spent the night at the Atlantic Utopia Lifestyle Inn, according to an approval request for official out-of-city travel, billing the city $1,016.20.

Giuliani’s private schedule, available from the municipal archive, lists no events on Long Island that day.

The New York Post reported the following year that Giuliani "had long weekend visits with gal pal Judi Nathan at her Southampton, L.I., condo last summer, according to neighbors who said the mayor did little to conceal their relationship.”

The neighbors called their relationship and their time in Nathan's two-bedroom condo overlooking Noyack Bay "an open secret.”

"Several residents of the condo sometimes asked Giuliani's driver and members of his security entourage to turn off their car engines," the Post reported.

That first trip was followed by at least 10 more, according to the travel and credit card documents.

One of those trips, on Aug. 20-21, 1999, included a fundraiser on the evening of Aug. 21. Giuliani’s four-man detail arrived 24 hours early, billing the city $1,704.43 at the Southampton Inn, according to their approval request.

More trips followed in the summer of 2000, after the mayor's affair with Nathan became public and they were seen together publicly in Southampton. The trips accelerated in the summer of 2001, when he visited Southampton every weekend in August, as well as on Sept. 2.

Many of the trips show expenses only for gas, though his police detail billed the city $1,371.40 for the nights of Aug. 3-4, 2001, at the Village Latch Inn in Southampton.

Giuliani's police detail also spent a night in Palm Beach, Fla., according to the bill for the American Express card under Giuliani's name. The detectives spent $1,714.99 at The Breakers, a sprawling hotel and resort.

There is no indication that Nathan visited Palm Beach. Giuliani's aide did not recall the trip.

The 2001 travel expenses were billed to the Assigned Counsel Administrative Office, a little-known unit of the mayor's office involved in programs that provide lawyers to poor defendants.

None of the 2001 trips to Southampton appear in Giuliani's official schedule. However, the schedule does contain a potential clue to his destination. Before three of them, Giuliani paid a visit to his barber, Carlo Fargnoli, on York Avenue near the mayor's official residence, Gracie Mansion.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another Candidate Selected By Big Media... May Not Get Nominated After All Their Efforts!

First Rudy, now Hilary!

The voters may actually get to may the selection, just like in a free democracy!

(Of course, the story's based on a Zogby poll, often inaccurate or unreliable yet somehow always newsworthy....)

How Our Leaders Are Destroying This Country And Show Their Hatred Of America

For most Americans, the very concept of political prisoners is remote and exotic, a practice that is associated with third-world dictatorships but is foreign to the American tradition. The idea that a prominent politician -- a former state governor -- could be tried on charges that many observers consider to be trumped-up, convicted in a trial that involved numerous questionable procedures, and then hauled off to prison in shackles immediately upon sentencing would be almost unbelievable.

But there is such a politician: Don Siegelman, Democratic governor of Alabama from 1999 to 2003. Starting just a few weeks after he took office, Siegelman was targeted by an investigation launched by his political opponents and escalated from the state to the federal level by Bush Administration appointees in 2001.

Siegelman was ultimately charged with 32 counts of bribery and other crimes in 2005, just as he began to attempt a political comeback. He was convicted the following year on seven of those charges. Last summer, Siegelman was sentenced to seven years in prison and immediately whisked off to a series of out-of-state jails, not even being allowed to remain free on bond while his appeal was under way.

Shortly before the sentencing, however, suspicions expressed by Alabama observers that there was something "fishy" about the case -- as Scott Horton of Harper's Magazine would later put it -- began to reach the national stage. What initially appeared to be merely a whiff of possible political corruption became something stronger, with allegations that Karl Rove and the Bush Justice Department had been operating behind the scenes. And yet, despite these suspicions and the attempts of a few journalists to bring them to greater notice, Siegelman's case remains virtually unknown to most of America.

As a result, RAW STORY Investigates has decided to focus a series of reports, interviews, and investigative pieces over the next several weeks on Siegelman’s case. At the very least, the investigation will illuminate an incestuous pool of corruption in Alabama, with government officials, lobbyists, attorneys, and even judges behaving in ways that breach the public trust.

Part one: Don Siegelman, political prisoner

Governor Don Siegelman was a popular Democratic politician in a largely Republican state and was the only person in Alabama history to hold all of the state's highest posts. He served as Attorney General, Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor and finally as Governor from 1999 to 2003.

On Election Day in November 2002, when the polls had closed and the votes were being counted, it seemed increasingly apparent that Governor Siegelman had been victorious in his re-election bid against Republican challenger Bob Riley. But then -- just as in the infamous Florida election of 2000 -- something strange happened in the tallying of the votes.

As CNN reported at the time, there appeared to be two different sets of numbers coming through for one particular Alabama county:

“The confusion stems from two sets of numbers reported by one heavily Republican district,” the network stated.

“Figures originally reported by Baldwin County showed Siegelman got about 19,000 votes there, making him the state's winner by about two-tenths of 1 percent,” its reporter added. “But hours after polls closed, Baldwin County officials said the first number was wrong, and Siegelman had received just less than 13,000. Those figures would make Riley the statewide winner by about 3,000 votes.”

"Sometime after midnight, after the poll watchers were sent home, a small group there decided to recount the votes a third time," Siegelman told a news conference at the time. "No watchers legally entitled to be present were notified -- and then a different total was established."

The following morning, Alabama saw a new governor declaring victory in the election. But the story didn’t end there. It was only the beginning of a case that would turn the politics of dirty tricks into something far more sinister.

Riley's electoral victory rested on a razor-thin margin of 3,120 votes. According to official reports, Baldwin County conducted a recount sometime in the middle of the night on Nov. 6, when the only county officers and election supervisors present were Republicans. It was during this second recount that the shift in votes from Siegelman to Riley appeared. Although various computer “glitches” and technical anomalies occurred across the state, it is widely acknowledged that the Baldwin County recount is what decisively delivered needed votes to the Riley camp.

State and county Democrats quickly requested another Baldwin County recount with Democratic observers present, as well as a state-wide recount. But before the Baldwin County Democratic Party canvassing board could act, Alabama’s Republican Attorney General William Pryor had the ballots sealed.

Unless Siegelman filed an election contest in the courts, Pryor said, county canvassing boards throughout the state did not have the authority “to break the seals on ballots and machines under section 17-9-31” of the constitution.

But at the same time, other, more embarrassing questions involving the Riley camp and Alabama Republican officials appeared to have fallen off the radar.

Embarrassing questions

A RAW STORY investigation shows that as early as 1998, when Siegelman was first elected governor, Alabama corporate interests already saw him as a looming threat. (See timeline.) These interests were aligned with GOP operatives who would emerge again during the 2002 election cycle.

One of those well-known Republican operatives was William "Bill" Canary, who was a longtime Alabama hired gun before he became a Bob Riley campaign advisor in 2002. In 1994, Canary -- whose focus at the time was on defeating Democratic judges in Alabama -- brought in outside help in the form of yet another GOP operative by the name of Karl Rove.

At that time, Rove had been active in Republican political campaigns for more than 15 years and had recently been hired as an advisor to George W. Bush's campaign for governor of Texas. A wider public would learn of Rove only six years later, when he was tapped as Bush’s White House Deputy Chief of Staff after the 2000 election. Rove's name would then appear in almost every scandal involving the Bush White House, the most infamous of which involved revealing the name of a covert CIA officer as political retribution for her husband’s refusal to endorse bogus intelligence leading up to the Iraq war.

Rove and Canary managed Attorney General William Pryor's re-election campaign in 1998. It was Pryor who would later seal the Baldwin Country ballots in the 2002 governor's race, ensuring the victory of a candidate who had been advised by his own former campaign manager, Bill Canary. All three men -- Rove, Canary, and Pryor -- are also known to have a close political and social relationship. In addition, then-Lieutenant Governor Siegelman appears to have made an enemy of Pryor as early as 1997, when he criticized Pryor's close relationship with the tobacco industry.

After Pryor was re-elected as Alabama Attorney General in 1998, he almost immediately began the investigation into Siegelman which would eventually lead to Siegelman's conviction and imprisonment nearly a decade later.

Pryor's history and relationship with Canary and Rove should have been reason enough for the Alabama Attorney General to recuse himself from the November 2002 election controversy. But Pryor refused. The following April he was nominated by George W. Bush to serve as a federal judge on the Eleventh Circuit Court. He was eventually installed by a recess appointment, overriding the objections of Senate Democrats.

It would take a Riley campaign attorney -- long-time Alabama Republican Dana Jill Simpson -- to finally blow the whistle on the Republican governor. In a 2007 affidavit and sworn testimony, Simpson stated unequivocally that dirty tricks had sealed her boss’s victory in the 2002 election, and she named Karl Rove and the US Department of Justice as conspirators in the case.

Simpson had worked for the Riley campaign in 2002 as an opposition researcher, digging up dirt on then-Governor Siegelman. According to Simpson's May 2007 affidavit, Siegelman was pressured to concede the 2002 election because the Riley camp threatened to make public a set of photographs of one of Siegelman's supporters planting Riley campaign signs at a Ku Klux Klan rally. Simpson also stated that Canary had indicated that “Karl” -- by which she had no doubt he meant Karl Rove -- had taken a personal interest in the matter.

Simpson had been communicating with Siegelman attorney's before releasing her affidavit, and during that period her house was burned down and her car was run off the road.

Expanding on her original allegations, Simpson testified on Sept. 14 before lawyers for the House Judiciary Committee and dropped a bombshell revelation. In this additional testimony, Simpson described a conference call among Bill Canary, Governor Riley's son Rob and other Riley campaign aides, which she said took place on November 18, 2002 -- the same day Don Siegelman conceded the election. Simpson alleged that Canary had said that “Rove had spoken with the Department of Justice” about “pursuing” Siegelman and had also advised Riley's staff “not to worry about Don Siegelman” because “‘his girls’ would take care of” the governor.

The “girls” allegedly referenced by Bill Canary were his wife, Leura Canary -- who was appointed by George W. Bush in 2001 as the US Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama -- and Alice Martin, another 2001 Bush appointee as the US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Simpson added that she was told by Rob Riley that Judge Mark Fuller was deliberately chosen when the Siegelman case was prosecuted in 2005, and that Fuller would “hang” Siegelman.

The Canary “girls,” the judge, and the jury

Siegelman case watcher have noted that the Canary “girls” would be instrumental in “taking care” of the governor by fixing the facts around his indictment. Yet it remains unclear what charges, if any, Siegelman was actually guilty of, because the process had become so politicized and the case so aggressively partisan.

Leura Canary had begun working on Siegelman’s case almost as soon she took office in 2001, when she federalized Attorney General Pryor’s ongoing state probe. It was that investigation that finally culminated in Siegelman's prosecution on corruption charges in 2005-06, just as he was again running for the governorship.

In 2002, after having spent more than six months investigating Governor Siegelman, Leura Canary was forced to recuse herself -- or at least give the appearance of doing so -- over her husband's connections to the Riley campaign. However, it is widely believed that she in fact continued to guide the case behind the scenes.

In 2004, charges of Medicaid bid-rigging were brought against Siegelman by the other one of Bill Canary's “girls,” US Attorney Alice Martin. These charges were eventually thrown out by a visibly exasperated Alabama judge.

After Siegelman indicated his intention to seek reelection in 2005, Canary’s original investigation resurfaced. Canary had never stopped pushing the investigation along, even against the advice of her professional staff, and in October 2005, Don Siegelman was once again indicted by a federal grand jury in Canary's district on 32 counts of bribery, conspiracy and mail fraud.

The Siegelman case was assigned to Judge Mark Fuller, a former district attorney whom George W. Bush had nominated for a federal judgeship in August 2002. Fuller was accused by his Siegelman-appointed successor in the district attorney's office of falsifying payroll records with intent to defraud the Alabama retirement system, leading him to back Riley during that year's election. This episode raises serious questions about Fuller's refusal to recuse himself and helps explain Rob Riley's alleged statement to Jill Simpson that Fuller would “hang” Siegelman.

Siegelman was accused of accepting a $500,000 donation from HealthSouth founder Richard M. Scrushy in exchange for an appointment to the Alabama hospital regulatory board. That donation went to pay off a debt incurred by a non-profit foundation set up by Siegelman and others to promote an education lottery in a state referendum. However, Siegelman's attorney argued that he did not control the foundation by which the debt was incurred, nor did he take money from or profit from the foundation.

The case dragged on until June 2006, shortly after Siegelman was defeated in the Democratic primary. A few weeks later, he was acquitted of 25 of the 32 counts against him, but he was ultimately convicted on the other seven, after the jury had deadlocked twice and been sent back to deliberate by Judge Fuller. During the trial itself there were many irregularities, including strong indications of jury tampering involving two jurors.

When it finally came time for sentencing, Judge Fuller imposed a sentence of seven years, four months and would not allow Siegelman to remain free while his case was under appeal. Within hours of his sentencing, Siegelman had been taken to a federal penitentiary in Atlanta.

In the days immediately following Siegelman's imprisonment, another set of strange occurrences further underscored the serious ethical and legal questions surrounding this case. First his lawyer's office was broken into, although the thieves took nothing of value and only appeared to have been looking for files. Then, ten days later, Siegelman was sent on an extended odyssey to prisons in Michigan, New York, Oklahoma and finally Louisiana -- during which time his attorneys were led to believe that he had been moved to Texas.

It was this final series of moves that brought this case to public notice and raised the ire of 44 former state attorneys general, who penned a letter to Congress asking that the case be investigated.


Throughout a week of phone and email discussions, Ms. Siegelman spoke and wrote about her father’s conviction and imprisonment on bribery and conspiracy charges and about the continued harassment of the family and those around them. The family home was broken into. Her father’s attorney had his office ransacked. Even the key whistleblower in the case – Dana Jill Simpson – had her house burned down and her car run off the road.

She maintained throughout all of these communications that Karl Rove – the former White House Chief of Staff – helped engineer her father’s fate with the help of two judges and two US Attorneys.

Indeed, Republican attorney and whistleblower Simpson testified that Bush-appointed Federal Judge Mark Fuller, who presided over Siegelman's trial, was selected in advance by Alabama Republican operatives working in concert with the US Justice Department. That department was then headed by Alberto Gonzales, who has recently resigned in disgrace.

The other federal judge with an involvement in the case is Judge William Pryor, who as Alabama attorney governor began the investigation of Governor Siegelman that eventually led to his indictment.

Then there are the two US Attorneys whose offices brought charges against Siegelman, Leura Canary, who was appointed by George W. Bush in 2001 as the US Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, and Alice Martin, another 2001 Bush appointee, who is the US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Leura Canary is the wife of Bill Canary, an Alabama political operative with strong ties to Karl Rove who has worked as a campaign advisor to both Alabama's current governor, Bob Riley, and former Attorney General Pryor.

Dana Siegelman believes strongly that the two US attorneys and two federal judges appointed by George W. Bush were taking orders from Washington to go after her father.

“What I mean by pressure is the prosecutors knew that in order to please Gonzales, Canary, Pryor, Riley, and the White House, they needed a conviction,” Siegelman said. She added: “Even if he were guilty of what they accused him of, there wasn’t enough evidence to put him away. The entire trial was corrupted by politics.”

Siegelman asserts that her father is only allowed to have visitations in prison with his family and his attorneys and is being denied access to the media and communication with the outside world. She notes, however, that this appears to be prison policy. What is unclear is whether Siegelman is being denied access to reporters. Dana Siegelman says that some reporters have attempted to reach out to her father, but were denied access.

Raw Story's Larisa Alexandrovna: Let's go back to the election of 2002, ultimately where this story begins, and the strange turn of events. Your father was governor from 1999-2003. He was leading in the polls against Republican opponent Bob Riley and it was widely believed your father would win. But something happened on the evening of November 5 [2002]. Can you take us back to that night?

Dana Siegelman: It was a strange two days, really. Our family stayed at the RSA building in Montgomery, Alabama for the result proceedings on November 5th. Late into the evening, around 11pm, my dad was winning. My brother and I were exhausted, and our parents had us taken home to go to bed. When we got home, we couldn't sleep, so we sat in the kitchen until the final results were in...Dad had won.

RS: At that point, anyway, that was the belief. Is that correct?

DS: Yes. We ran upstairs, threw on our nice clothes, and ran outside to security and asked them to take us back to the RSA tower quickly. My dad was already onstage saying his thank-yous, when we came up to join him. It was a very special moment for the Siegelman family. We were just so happy for him.

RS: But something changed overnight, is that correct?

DS: Well, the next morning, November 6th, my dad's opponent, Bob Riley, came on Alabama statewide television announcing that he had won, and that there had been an error with the ballots in Baldwin County. How he had news of this and my dad, the governor, did not, is beyond me.

RS: How close was the election?

DS: Close enough for there to be skepticism with Bob Riley's proclamation.

RS: So your father wanted a recount?

DS: My dad wanted a recount because it was blatantly obvious that the ballots had been tampered with.

RS: Blatantly obvious?

DS: They announced that my dad was the winner when there were enough votes accounted to accurately state that. For new votes to mysteriously appear the next morning, it seems clear that they had been tampered with one way or another.

RS: Have you heard of a man by the name of Dan Gans?

DS: I don't know of Dan Gans, but I do know that someone, or some people, are to blame. Baldwin County had always voted predominantly Democrat. For them to suddenly change their mind, in the percentage that was shown, is nearly impossible. Specialists have analyzed this election, and all of them have come to the same conclusion: The ballots were forged in the middle of the night.

RS: First let me tell you the allegations surrounding Mr. Gans. This is from the Baldwin County Now website: “Glynn Wilson, a former Christian Science Monitor correspondent who now publishes and writes for his news site, posted a piece in June stating that Dan Gans – Riley's chief of staff during the would-be governor's time as a U.S. Representative for Alabama's 3rd District – electronically changed the results, giving a razor thin edge to Riley, who went on to win the state by 3,120 votes." Is this what you mean about the ballots being tampered with or are you talking about something else?

DS: Absolutely. Like I said, someone is to blame for swinging the election.

RS: Just to be clear, I am not saying Mr. Gans was behind anything. I was just curious about this allegation and if you had heard of it. Let’s move on to the recount. Governor Siegelman – your father – wanted a recount. What happened next?

DS: I am not sure if a legitimate recount was ever performed. Needless to say, my dad conceded the election to Bob Riley. The reason for this has a lot to do with who was in the attorney general's office during this time. That much, I do know.

RS: Are you talking about William “Bill” Pryor?

DS: Yes. He put my dad in a catch-22. Either my dad asked for another recount, in which he knew Pryor would reward Riley and therefore make my dad look like a schmuck, or my dad had to concede the election with his dignity.

RS: What about him as the attorney general?

DS: The attorney general assumes control in an overtime election such as this. For two months the attorney general manipulated the situation on Riley's behalf. There was little my dad could do.

RS: How did he manipulate it?

DS: He had decision-making power. As for the logistics, I don't know.

RS: What happened after he had the ballots sealed? Specifically, what happened with the investigation into your father?

DS: Leura Canary and her husband Bill…

RS: Let me make sure everyone knows who we are talking about. Leura Canary is the US Attorney for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama and William “Bill” Canary is her husband, a close friend of Karl Rove and GOP operative who during this time was advising the now governor Bob Riley.

DS: That is correct. The prosecution came out of Leura Canary's office and a few months later was thrown out by a judge who thought the indictment was completely contrived. [Editor's note: This prosecution came out of Alice Martin's office. The second indictment was the one from Leura Canary's office.]

RS: This was the first indictment for Medicaid big-rigging, the one Judge U.W. Clemon threw out for lack of evidence, with prejudice, correct?

DS: Yes.

RS: Then there was the second indictment. Tells us about this indictment.

DS: Yes. The second indictment came out of Washington with more pressure behind it.

RS: What do you mean “pressure?” From whom?

DS: What I mean by pressure is the prosecutors knew that in order to please Gonzales, Canary, Pryor, Riley and the White House, they needed a conviction. In other words, it was going to take more than a scolding from a judge to get the prosecutors to drop the case the second time. Karl Rove and Bill Canary regained their prosecutorial power.

RS: But when you say pressure from Washington, are you saying pressure from the White House?

DS: I mean Washington put pressure on these prosecutors to go after my dad a second time because they failed the first. Rove and Canary's prosecutorial power is the prosecutors, who were, quite literally, just puppets for the Republicans after my dad.

RS: What else can you tell us about this indictment?

DS: A whole new selection of charges that had been conjured up, and a new team of prosecutors to boot. The first indictment had been thrown out, but my dad was already a political target for Karl Rove. My dad was the first governor to endorse Al Gore in his campaign against Bush, and that was enough to keep Rove's prosecutors after my dad. It is obvious that these indictments mean nothing in terms of going after a criminal but mean everything in going after a man.

RS: Do you think your father committed any of the crimes he was convicted of?

DS: I know my dad isn't guilty of a crime. He should have been wiser about those he hired and surrounded himself with, but as for doing something illegal, absolutely not. Even if he were guilty of what they accused him of, there wasn’t enough evidence to put him away. The entire trial was corrupted by politics.

RS: But even if he were, do you think that at this point it would make a difference in terms of how this case was handled?

DS: Not in the slightest. Everything about the case was corrupt. There is even alleged misconduct within the jury.

RS: How do you think your father emotionally handled the trial? Did he think he there was a chance he would be convicted? Was he surprised?

DS: My dad is incredibly strong. He is also the most positive person I know. He never let on that he was upset or scared in any way. Every time we talked, he was encouraging and optimistic. He truly believed this indictment had no stronghold on him. That's one reason the conviction was such a shock. Anyone getting their news from my dad assumed everything was hunky dory.

RS: Did you think there was a chance he would be convicted? Were you worried?

DS: I never for a moment imagined he would be convicted. It was so absurd to even think in that way. We knew there was no evidence, so we had nothing to worry about.

RS: How about your mother and brother? Did they think there was a chance he would be convicted?

DS: No, they never thought he would be found guilty. I will say that my mom was a nervous wreck, all the time, and for the most part, still is. She had no problem voicing her anger through all of this. My brother's personality is a mixture of my mom and dad's. He has great composure. Some days he would smile and joke about the situation, and other days he would blow up about it.

RS: Did you get a lot of local support from the community, news outlets, etc.?

DS: People in Alabama are great. Even the Republicans [laughs]. For the most part, people are very kind and supportive. A lot of people see it for what it really is...politics. Very few people think my dad is actually guilty of wrongdoing, and I only know this because of the internet. No one has ever said that to my face.

RS: What about the media? Do you feel they have given this story enough attention?

DS: No. There hasn't been enough press. This isn't just a sad story or a bump in the road for politics. This is the corruption of the United States Justice Department. This is a criminal conspiracy for political reasons at best. We have a team of national players trying to manipulate the government so that they can have unchecked power. I hate to use this as an example, because it upsets me, but truth be told, this is cancer, not a cold. The media which has covered it thus far has done an incredible job. Thank God for intelligent, moral people.

RS: Have you read any of Scott Horton’s work [in Harper’s] on this? He has been covering the case for some time now.

DS: He is one of my heroes. I haven't talked to him personally, but when I get the chance to shake his hand, I'm going to hug him instead.

RS: What about interviews with your father? Has any media outlet attempted to interview him in jail?

DS: Many have tried to get an interview with him. From what I've heard, they are not letting anyone in.

RS: Who would have had the authority? The warden?

DS: I suppose, but in this case, I doubt the warden would ban the media from seeing my dad.

RS: Then who do you believe is behind this and why? Do you know this to be the case for sure or is this just rumors you have heard? Has your father attempted to reach out to the press as well?

DS: My dad has been looking forward to meeting with the press. It is my belief that the Justice Department has a hand in keeping the press away. They just finished getting my dad out of the way. The last thing they want is him speaking out from prison.

RS: The question that is always on my mind about this whole thing is that this is a great deal of trouble to go through just to get rid of a [former] governor who had already lost the [2006] Democratic primary. Isn’t it? Even if we assume that the seven charges your father was convicted of were in fact valid, that still does not explain the rest of the issues around this case. Looking at it objectively, the only time I have seen these types of extremes is usually to silence someone. Do you think your father knows something?

DS: He knows a lot. I think what they were afraid of is the fact that my dad will never stop the good fight. The men and women behind this conspiracy have a lot against my dad. My dad wanted an education lottery, brought jobs to the state, made big businesses pay their taxes, sought to completely change Alabama's constitution, raised teachers' salaries, gave African Americans jobs that Caucasians had supremacy over for years, helped in fundraisers for other Democrats, supported the arts, was well-respected on a national level, etc... It was a battle against a truly liberal leader, not some moderate Democrat. He held the highest offices in the state and was Alabama's longest running politician. Republicans wanted their state back, and they got it.

RS: Okay. Let me ask you about his communications with the outside world now. What about email? Does your father have access to email?

DS: No.

RS: Just him or is that the prison policy for all prisoners?

DS: All prisoners, I believe.

RS: How about the legal bills. How did your family pay for everything?

DS: We couldn't possibly. My dad never made enough money as a politician, and unlike most public officials, doesn't have a business on the side. It's no secret, we have lots of help.

RS: What type of help and from whom?

DS: I can't disclose that information. This is a dangerous situation. When Dana Jill Simpson came forward with her testimony, her house was burned down. My dad's lawyer's office was broken into. Our house was broken into. My point is, I would tell you if I thought it was safe to do so for the people helping out.

RS: I had no idea your house was broken into. What happened? Was anything taken? Did the police find the perpetrator?

DS: We figured it was Big Brother dropping in for a visit. A plug here...a plug there...this happened twice during the trial. Nothing was stolen.

RS: Now you are starting to sound like me when my anger is overpowered by my Jewish sarcasm.

DS: [Laughs]

RS: How has all of this affected you? What are you doing now?

DS: It affected me greatly. My entire philosophy on life has changed. You start questioning everything. In fact, I was in Israel when my dad was shackled and taken into custody. I immediately began to question what I was doing there, why I wasn't home, what I should be doing with my life, etc. It was very scary. Now I won't let myself be scared. There isn't time for those feelings. My dad is the type of person who wants no sympathy. He doesn't need it. He wants to know that people are being active, doing something to remedy the situation, and moving their lives forward in a positive direction.

RS: When was the last time you saw your father? What did he say?

DS: I saw him Thanksgiving weekend, and he was very positive. Everyone likes him at the prison, and even the guards come up to talk to him. I'm happy to know his disposition hasn't changed just because his environment has. He wants to know what's happening out here. He has ideas on what more we could be doing, or new people to contact. That's mainly what we talk about.

RS: How does he usually find out what is happening “out here,” is it through his attorney and your visits? Does he have access to the papers and/or the Internet?

DS: No Internet. I believe there might be a few papers allowed into the prison. Mostly, he hears the news through letters people write.

RS: Again, do you know if this is prison policy for all prisoners or is your dad being denied access?

DS: I believe it is the same for all of them. I'm sure my dad would have mentioned if there were discrepancies.

RS: Why do you think this was done to your father and who do you think is behind this?

DS: Like I said, Karl Rove wanted him out of the way. I know this happened because of [Rove’s experience with this type of] politics. Rove was managing Pryor's campaign for the Attorney General's office in Montgomery, Alabama. That is where the indictment came from. It is the same office [Bill] Canary worked out of. It doesn't get more obvious than that. Karl Rove had the perfect connections to make this happen, and there is sufficient evidence linking him to the conviction. My dad was a political threat they wanted removed, pure and simple. In addition, our government is supposed to have laws in place that protect against partisan prosecution. In my dad's case, every one of those laws were tampered with. A partisan judge presided over the case, and everything that should have been checked and balanced was manipulated instead.

RS: You are speaking of Judge Mark Fuller, is that right? What specific evidence? Can you give an example or two?

DS: For instance, when my dad's lawyers found out that the jury had been privy to information outside the courtroom that was negative in respect to [HealthSouth founder Richard] Scrushy [who Siegelman was found guilty of taking bribes from], Judge Fuller overlooked it. When a juror said he believed Scrushy was guilty before the case began, he was allowed to stay and was eventually made foreman!

RS: But President Bush nominated both Judge Fuller and Judge Pryor and used a recess appointment to confirm Pryor. Do you think the President knew what was going on? Do you think this is why Karl Rove resigned?

DS: The President absolutely knew what was going on. Perhaps Rove resigned so that he could spend time with his family before they put him on trial.

RS: [Laughs] I see you have a healthy sense of humor. But how can you say the President absolutely knew? Do you have proof or you believe he had to have known?

DS: I wrote [President Bush]. But that's hardly proof. I doubt he read my letter. I'm just assuming he knew because he should know what his Deputy Chief of Staff is up to.

RS: What about Bill Canary? He continues to be a player in Alabama politics even now, doesn’t he? He is President of the Business Council of Alabama. He serves on various advisory boards for Governor Riley. Do you think this has tainted him at all, and if not, why not?

DS: He tainted his wife. He put his wife on the front line, and she has taken all the blame. He had her do the dirty work. In reality, Bill Canary is just as guilty as his wife.

RS: If you had a moment, a chance to face Judge Mark Fuller and now-Judge William Pryor, what would you say to them?

DS: May God forgive you.

RS: What about the tobacco industry? Do you think they played a role in this?

DS: Quite possibly. The tobacco industry hates my dad. They wouldn't hesitate to get rid of him.

RS: How would you place your father’s case in the context of the US Attorney scandal?

DS: Up front and center. My dad's imprisonment brought light to several other corrupt cases. When we went to Washington, family members of other indicted men and women were thanking us because my dad helped expose the injustices they've endured. The US Attorney scandal goes hand-in-hand with my dad's case.

RS: And together, that is, your father’s case and the ones you allude to, what do they mean collectively? Is this about elections?

DS: It is more than elections. It is ultimate power they're after. It went from dirty campaign ads that hurt a person's reputation, to dirty politics that destroyed that person's life.

RS: If you could tell the world something about your father, what would it be? What kind of man is he?

DS: My dad is my hero. I know no one more caring, dedicated, smart, and positive than him. He notices everyone and sees situations for what they really are. He knew what the people of Alabama needed for more than 25 years...and he did just that. My dad will never give up on his life's calling. Even in prison, he remains the most caring, dedicated, smart, and positive person I know.

RS: There are people who say your father was a crooked politician and deserved what he got. What do you say to that?

DS: I'd say those people see all politicians that way.

RS: What happens next?

DS: We continue fighting for justice. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."

RS: Thank you for your time Dana. I know you generally don’t give interviews, so I thank you for taking the time and allowing me to ask you some of these questions.

DS: Thank you for choosing to focus on this case. I have a newfound respect for journalists and writers since this trial. There is power in the pen.


A top immigration official, who has been criticized for her youth, inexperience and poor judgment, took a question from a government employee posing as a reporter during her very first press conference last year, RAW STORY has learned.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief Julie Myers called on an agency spokeswoman who was standing with about a dozen other reporters during a February 2006 press conference in San Antonio. Critics had criticized Myers as an unfit nominee because of her lack of immigration experience and close ties to the Bush administration. Her performance at that first press conference was panned when she "struggle[d] to pronounce Nuevo Laredo," a Mexican border town that is a hot spot of criminal activity and drug trafficking into the US.

The ICE employee was told not to ask any questions, and she was verbally reprimanded after doing so, according to a letter delivered last week to the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Committee chairman Bennie Thompson requested the Department of Homeland Security review its press-relations protocols after the Federal Emergency Management Agency was found to have staged a fake press conference in October to respond to raging California wildfires, causing the press conference's organizer to lose a promotion.

"[T]he intent of staff involved in each instance was different, but both episodes were foolish and completely unacceptable," J. Edward Fox, DHS assistant secretary for public affairs, wrote to Thompson. "Nothing can be more important than credibility and integrity when communicating with the public."

Fox's letter said the San Antonio press conference happened in January 2006, although the San Antonio Express News reported Myers' first press conference after garnering a controversial recess appointment as a DHS assistant secretary was not until Feb. 3, 2006.

DHS spokesman Russ Knocke, who discovered the fake question in a review of department press conferences, told RAW STORY that he was unable to determine the precise date of the press conference, which some employees remembered as happening in late January while others remembered the date as early February. Furthermore, he said his investigation did not reveal exactly what question was asked.

"There's some fog," Knocke said in a phone interview Monday. "Most folks who were present do not recollect exactly what the question was."

The immigration spokeswoman, who Knocke refused to name "because of obvious HR restrictions," asked Myers a general question about her feelings on ICE's relationships with other law enforcement agencies, he said based on general characterizations of the question. No transcript of the event exists in DHS or ICE records, Knocke said, although some employees he spoke to gave general characterizations of the question.

According to Fox's letter, the spokeswoman told her supervisor that she wanted to ask Myers a question and ignored her boss's admonition not to question Myers. In "short order" after the press conference, the spokeswoman was verbally reprimanded by her immediate supervisor and a public affairs official at ICE headquarters in Washington, Knocke said.

Myers called on the staff member by name "for purposes of concluding the press conference," after she had answered several reporters' questions, Knocke said. After responding to the staffer, Myers continued to take several more questions from reporters.

The ICE spokeswoman was "well known amongst San Antonio media," Fox wrote, and Knocke said she worked as a reporter in the area before joining the immigration agency. Reporters covering the press conference, which focused on an earlier immigration bust that netted $1 million in cash, drugs and heavy weapons, apparently did not mention that the spokeswoman was among the questioners. Attempts to reach reporters for further comment were unsuccessful Monday.

Since last month's revelations of the fake FEMA press conference, the agency has started to implement new protocols for handling press events that would prohibit government employees from asking questions alongside journalists, Fox wrote. A similar plan is expected to be enacted across DHS offices nationwide.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) also came under fire recently when her campaign admitted planting a friendly question with an audience member during a recent town hall forum.

It is unclear how many questions Myers took from real journalists to balance the soft-ball lobbed from her employee. The just-appointed assistant secretary had faced harsh criticism from conservative commentators and lawmakers who said she lacked the law enforcement and management experience to oversee ICE, which has 15,000 workers and a $4 billion budget.

President Bush elevated Myers to the position with a controversial "recess appointment" that subverted the Senate's ability to confirm the nominee. Critics say Myers' ascension to the top spot at ICE was another example of Bush's "cronyism" because she is married to a US Attorney who formerly served as chief of staff DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and her uncle is Gen. Richard Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"This nomination is a monumental political and policy blunder in the wake of the Michael Brown/FEMA fiasco," wrote conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, a fierce critic of the administration's immigration policies, before Myers took on her new job. "And I can tell you ... rank-and-file DHS employees and immigration enforcement officials are absolutely livid about Myers' nomination."

More recently, Myers was forced to apologize after an ICE employee showed up at a costume party in what many thought was a racist costume and she was on a panel that judged the costume "most original."

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who sits on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, has placed a temporary hold on Myers' nomination because of her failure to condemn the costumed employee, who reportedly showed up at the party wearing dark makeup, dreadlocks and prison stripes.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has not scheduled a floor vote on the nominee, but Myers has the support of several key Senators and a McCaskill spokeswoman has said she does not intend to hold up the vote indefinitely. A McCaskill spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

Myers' recess appointment expires in January, and even some Republicans doubt whether she could or should be confirmed.

"The way things are going, we may not ever vote on her nomination," Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., who is a second cousin of Myers' husband, told the Associated Press earlier this month. "Our nation's immigration enforcement agency needs non-controversial leadership. That would be best served by going in a different direction with this nomination."
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