Posts Tagged ‘Washington DC’

Jackson Jr. Allegedly Misused Campaign Funds for Home Decor: Report

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

new federal investigation into Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s finances alleges the Illinois congressman misused campaign funds to redecorate the inside of his Washington, D.C. home.

Three weeks before the election, the feds also are looking into whether Jackson Jr. used money from his House spending account to pay for the home decor, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Jackson family briefly put the D.C. home on the market last month for $2.5 million. At the time, a family spokesman said they considered selling the home to pay for healthcare costs linked to Jackson’s bi-polar disorder treatment.

Jackson Jr. went on medical leave from his political post in Chicago on June 10. Few details were released until his office confirmed in August Jackson had been receiving treatment for depression.

This new probe is unrelated to allegations Jackson tried to cut a deal with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich to take now-President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.  Those claims are under review by a House Ethics Committee.

As question swirl about whether Jackson Jr. could be indicted before the November election, the WSJ reports Jackson’s lawyers “sought assurances from senior justice department officials” that he would not be indicted before the election. Those officials would not make those assurances, the paper reports.

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President Dwight David Eisenhower:

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Eisenhower father was Jewish

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Eisenhower’s West Point Military Academy graduating class yearbook, published in 1915, Eisenhower is identified as a “terrible Swedish Jew.”

In 1943, Washington not only transferred Col. Eisenhower to Europe but promoted him over more than 30 more experienced senior officers to five star general and placed him in charge of all the US forces in Europe.

Wherever Eisenhower went during his military career, Eisenhower’s Jewish background and secondary manifesting behavior was a concern to his fellow officers.

During World War II when Col. Eisenhower was working for Gen. Douglas McArthur in the South Pacific, McArthur protested to his superiors in Washington (DC) that Eisenhower was incompetent and that he did not want Eisenhower on his staff.

Eisenhower was responsible for ” Operation Keelhaul ” – where allied forces rounded over two million anti-Communists who escaped Stalin  and tuned them over to Russian forces. Part of the Yalta Agreement between the Big Three — Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill — involved the repatriation of Russians to their respective homelands where they were either immediately executed or sent to die in the Gulag.

 

In 1945 Eisenhower threw 1.7 million Germans in open fields which killed approx 1.2 million

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How the American Nazi Party Explains U.S. Politics

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

This week, the American Nazi Party registered its first lobbyist in Washington, D.C. The single lobbyist, John Bowles, represents the South Carolina-based organization and is a former presidential candidate, standing in the 2008 election. The reactionary response to this news is to start debating the menacing rise of the far right in the U.S. and attempt to draw parallels with far-right extremism in Europe. However, Nazism as an ideology is ultimately a self-defeating endeavour and its contradictions highlight some of the major weaknesses in the more acceptable ideologies which rule our lives in the modern world.

Amongst its many distinguishing features, perhaps the ideological goal most associated with Nazism is its identification of the Jewish race as the cause of many of the problems of the modern world. Yet, it is not the individual Jew with whom the Nazi is in conflict, but rather the conceptual Jew which the individual represents. A person who identifies themselves as a Nazi is unlikely to be concerned about the physical, observable actions of a Jewish individual but rather the unobservable, non-corporeal behaviours the Nazi believes the Jew participates in (controlling society, avarice, magic etc.). Consequently, the actions of Nazism against the physical Jew only serve to strengthen the conceptual Jew of their prejudice. Of course, people of the Jewish faith are not a threat to society and their presence or absence will not affect the outcomes of public policy. The result being, in a state dominated by the Nazi ideology, where Jewishness is supressed or even exterminated, as the number of corporeal Jews decreases and the societal problems persist, the Nazi must allocate more and more blame to the conceptual Jew. In the mind of the Nazi, the conceptual, unobservable Jew (the “real” threat) becomes increasingly powerful despite their efforts to eliminate corporeal Judaism.

A similar pattern can be observed in the contemporary faith in neo-liberal economics (not that there are any similarities between capitalism and Nazism, simply that ideology behaves consistently in both cases). The neo-liberal capitalist believes that the more capitalism is allowed to act by itself, without government interference, the more successful it will be. The capitalist blames the failure of the capitalist system (recessions, depressions, price bubbles etc.) on the actions of those who “interfere” in the economy. Consequently, it is the goal of the capitalist ideologue to eliminate those organizations or beliefs they see as distorting the system (the Departments of Commerce, Education and … the other one. Oops). Yet, when capitalism continues to fail they must assign more and more blame to an ever decreasing group of corporeal agents. More power is transferred to the conceptual “opponents” of capitalism and ultimately the ideologue only manages to generate a perception of their own impotence as their ideological quest empowers their non-corporeal enemies.

Even the most extreme and implausible ideology shares common features with those belief systems which govern our everyday lives. The politics of assigning blame must ultimately result in self-destruction as individuals try to leverage the realm of perception to support their desired power structure. Ultimately, John Bowles and the American Nazi Party pose much less of a threat to our society than the ideology of blame which we encounter every day.

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Get it right for Ike

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Good news: The federal commission in charge of designing a memorial to Dwight Eisenhower in the nation’s capital has moved to delay its formal application to the agency that must approve it.

Whether Washington needs yet another memorial is open to debate. But if anyone qualifies for such enshrinement, it’s certainly Eisenhower.

As supreme commander of allied forces, he led the effort that freed Northwestern Europe from the clutches of Nazi Germany. He then served as the first NATO commander and president of Columbia University.

In 1952, he was elected the nation’s 34th president in a landslide — and re-elected four years later by a similarly overwhelming margin.

As president, he ended the war in Korea, confronted Soviet aggression, built the national highway system, sent troops to Little Rock to enforce desegregation and began America’s space effort by creating NASA.

But the central theme of the proposed memorial, designed by noted architect Frank Gehry, is not these accomplishments but rather Eisenhower’s humble prairie roots. Which is why the Eisenhower family is rightly upset and pressing the commission to redesign the monument.

True, Eisenhower once described himself as “a barefoot boy from Kansas” — words that Gehry took as his inspiration. That’s why the centerpiece of Gehry’s design is a statue of a young Eisenhower “dreaming” of his future acheivements.

But then, the Lincoln Memorial doesn’t depict the 16th president in a log cabin.

As Ike’s granddaughter, Susan, told Congress last week: “The man we celebrate is not a dreamy boy but a real man who faced unthinkable choices, took personal responsibility and did his duty — with modesty and humanity.”

Other objections note the monument’s proposed scope — four acres, rising 80 feet high — which is not in keeping with Eisenhower’s “simple” character.

Foes of a redesign cite the likely added cost and delay, which could make it impossible to complete the memorial by 2015, the 70th anniversary of V-E Day.

As Susan Eisenhower noted, it took three designs to produce the FDR memorial after his family raised concerns. To his credit, Gehry has agreed to consider changes, and discussions with the family are under way.

“We should not be afraid of getting this right,” says Susan Eisenhower.

Well put.

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CIA Claims Release of its History of the Bay of Pigs Debacle Would “Confuse the Public.”

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Late last year, the Central Intelligence Agency explained to Judge Kessler of the US District Court in Washington DC that releasing the final volume of its three-decade-old history of the 1961 Bay of Pigs debacle would “confuse the public,” and should be withheld because it is a “predecisional” document.    Wow.  And I thought that I had heard them all.

On the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the National Security Archivefiled a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for the release of a five-volume CIA history of the Bay of Pigs affair.  In response to the lawsuit, the CIA negotiated to release three volumes of the history — the JFK Assassination Records Review Board had already released Volume III– with limited redaction, currently available on the National Security Archive’s website.  At the time, the Director of the National Security Archive’s Cuba Documentation project, Peter Kornbluhquipped that getting historic documents released from the CIA was “the bureaucratic equivalent of passing a kidney stone.”   He was right.  The Agency refused to release the final volume of this history, and the National Security Archive is not giving up on the fight.

Keet it secret!

Volume five of the history, written by CIA historian Jack Pfeiffer –who sued the CIA himself to release the history in 1987, and lost– is described by the CIA as an “Internal Investigation document” that “is an uncritical defense of the CIA officers who planned and executed the Bay of Pigs operation… It offers a polemic of recriminations against CIA officers who later criticized the operation and against those U.S. officials who its author, Dr. Pfeiffer, contends were responsible for the failure of that operation.”

David S. Robarge from roadrunnersinternationale.com

While Dr. Pfeiffer’s conclusions may or may not be true, FOIA case law appears to be pretty clear that Americans –who funded the operation and Dr. Pfeiffer’s histories– have the right to read this document and decide for themselves its merits.  Despite the claims of the CIA’s chief historian David Robarge, the document should not remain in the CIA vaults because its conclusions “could cause scholars, journalists, and others interested in the subject at hand to reach an erroneous or distorted view of the Agency’s role.”  Historians, after all, are well trained in treating documents –especially CIA hagiographies sources– skeptically.

 

To prevent the public from reading this volume, the CIA has argued that because it is a draft, it is a predecisional document and can be denied under exemption b(5) of the FOIA.  Except –as Davis Sobel, counsel to the National Security Archive points out in our motions– the case law states otherwise.

President Obama instructed every agency (yes, even the CIA) to “usher in a new era of open government” and apply a  “presumption of disclosure… to all decisions involving FOIA.”   In response to this instruction, the Department of Justice Office of Information Policy –responsible for enforcing FOIA throughout the government– issued its own guidance to agencies (yes, even the CIA), explaining:

“A requested record might be a draft, or a memorandum containing a recommendation.  Such records might  be properly withheld under Exemption 5, but that should not be the end of the review.  Rather, the content of that particular draft and that particular memorandum should be reviewed and a determination made as to whether the agency reasonably foresees that disclosing that particular document,given its age, content, and character, would harm an interest protected by Exemption 5.  In making these determinations, agencies should keep in mind that mere “speculative or abstract fears” are not a sufficient basis for withholding.  Instead, the agency must reasonably foresee that disclosure would cause harm…

For all records, the age of the document and the sensitivity of its content are universal factors that need to be evaluated in making a decision whether to make a discretionary release.” *

As the D.C. circuit recognized, “the Supreme Court has pointed out that the ‘expectation of the confidentiality of executive communications [] has always been limited and subject to erosion over time…”” (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice (D.C. Cir. 2004.)

Even presidential records are barred from being withheld under “predecisional pretenses” after a period of time.  The Presidential Records Act expressly states that exemption b(5) cannot be invoked to withhold records once the president has been out of office twelve years.  If the presidential communication and work process is not threatened by this provision, there is no reason that the CIA’s history staff should be.

And there is a good chance that the history is not even a predecisonal document.  The burden rests on the CIA to point to the specific decision that the history is “decides” to make it a predecisional document.  And so far they have not.  Their case rests on the speculative and abstract fear of  “discrediting[ing] the work of the CIA History Staff in the eyes of the public or, worse, in the eyes of the Agency officers who rely upon CIA histories.”

Even if parts of the document truly are predecisional, only they can be withheld, the facts leading up to that decision –and histories are (hopefully) based primarily on facts– must be released.

To wit, draft histories have frequently been released under FOIA.  In 2010, the Department of Justice released portions of  pages of a candid history of Nazi-hunting (and Nazi-protecting) clearly marked DRAFT.   (The unredacted version of the report was subsequently leaked– no prosecution by the Obama administration for that one… yet.)  Moreover, the CIA previously disclosed Volume IV of this history in draft form (with a disclaimer)!  This final volume to the CIA’s history remains one of the few –perhaps the only– government produced product chronicling the doomed invasion which remains classified; the public should be allowed to see its contents.

“Trust us. You don’t need to read it for yourselves.”

The National Security Archive’s case is a strong one.  I’m confident that Judge Kessler will require a de novo review of the document leading to its eventual release.

On the other hand, the CIA’s “confuse the public” defense appears is as weak as it is insulting.

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*It’s certainly not clear why DOJ attorneys would agree to argue this case for the CIA, especially after Eric Holder sent a government-wide memo which promised to defend denials of FOIA requests only when disclosures would truly harm agency interests.   What is more clear is the reason why many agencies have failed to implement the Obama FOIA reforms –the Department of Justice has done a poor job implementing them within its own divisions, and the DOJ Office of Information Policy has done a poorer job forcing other agencies to comply with the law.

As the Archive’s counsel David Sobel put it, “This case is yet the latest example of the Obama administration failing to deliver on its promise of ‘unprecedented’ transparency.  It’s hard to understand how the release of this document, after all these years, could in any way harm legitimate government interests.””

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Crime- Flash Mob Gang Of Black Girls Robs DC Store

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

For the second time in a week, a flash mob robbed a convenience store in the Washington DC area. Could it be a new trend in the Washington region?

In the latest incident, 10 girls stormed the Shop Express convenience store along Benning Road in northeast Washington at about 3:15 a.m. Thursday.

They loaded up on food, drinks and snacks at different parts of the store.

 

Some of the women were carrying bags to hold some of the items. Then they all rushed out of the store at the same time without paying.

“We’re not going to tolerate it,” Assistant Chief Peter Newham said. “We’re going to move to arrest the folks that were involved.”

Employees said that each of the women stole about $60 worth of merchandise.

Stealing is a very normal thing at convenience stores,” one employee said. “It happens every day — morning, evening, night. But such kind of thing I have never seen before.”

Investigators are trying to identify the shoplifters from surveillance video.

“If you watch the video, you can see that not every one of the young ladies that was involved took something, but there were certainly some who did,” Newham said.

Store employees said this was the third such incident at the store in the past couple of weeks, and that if the trend continues, the 24-hour store will have to close at night.

This store is not alone in its flash mob troubles. Last Saturday, a flash mob took over a 7-Eleven in Germantown.

Investigators in Montgomery County said they know who some of the suspects are, but they are hoping people will recognize the others and call police.

Police said that teens shouldn’t feel safer committing these crimes in groups, because finding one kid in a group won’t be hard, and after police get one suspect, they can take down the rest, News4′s Tracee Wilkins reported.

“We have a lot of cooperation from the folks that live in the 6th District,” Newham said. “It’s not uncommon to have people who are willing to assist us, especially in a crime of this nature. So we’re confident … that we’ll be able to get the kids that were responsible.”

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