A Weekly View from the Foothills of Appalachia
November 29, 1998 #113
by: Doug Fiedor
Copyright © 1998 by Doug Fiedor, all rights reserved
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but only in its entirety, and with no changes
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SLEAZE GETS A FREE PASS IN D.C.
Unfortunately, the next couple elections may be very hard on Congressional Republicans. It's nothing the Republicans did, either. Actually, the problem is more about what they are not doing.
Republicans do not respect the Constitution. For instance, across the country on Thanksgiving weekend 1998, there are massive impediments to liberty. Congress unconstitutionally gave out general search warrants. At airports, guards search people, check passengers' baggage and arrest anyone who may be carrying a few bucks with them. On the highways of America, we have roadblocks actually stopping people to check for seat belt usage -- of all the asinine things. Really. Some idiot was able to talk Congress into straying so far from the original intent of the Constitution that we actually have a federal seat belt law now.
What's next? Will they legislate on how much water we can use to flush our home toilets, or something? Or maybe they'll legislate on how much we will be allowed to spend at the doctors. Better yet, how about a federal rule telling businesses which kind of people they have to hire? That'll work. That's right up there with the stupidity of federal laws about where farmers can shovel manure, dig a watering hole or sell their crops.
Whatever happened to freedom and liberty? If Congressional Republicans want to win anymore elections, they had better get to resurrecting our individual rights and liberties and get the federal government completely out of our personal lives. Else, they are going to learn the hard way that the Libertarian party is starting to look awfully good to millions of registered Republicans out here on our side of the Beltway.
Most of the problems Republicans will have in the next two elections will not exactly be their fault, though. Besides the fact that they stole more of our freedom, there's the sleaze factor to contend with. Sure, that was mostly the Clinton administration. But, by their negligence, the Republicans helped a lot to support sleaze.
The Clinton, Clinton & Gore team are about as corrupt as they can get. So, what did the 105th Republican Congress do? Nothing. They referred each incident to committee. That's about all.
Clinton may go into the history books as the most corrupt president this country has ever had. But, thanks to Clinton (pick one), Janet Reno will be remembered in history as someone who was both crude and negligent. Because, as soon as the Clintons are done with her, they are going to unload everything they know about her in the press. And, let's face it, Reno has a very eventful past.
Janet Reno will also be remembered by the American people as the person who took responsibility for Waco, where government thugs butchered American citizens. The Republican Congress did nothing about that, either. Many American people around the country still speak of that atrocity, and want justice. The next responsible administration can be expected to revisit that problem. Reno publicly took responsibility, but the White House was actually responsible. So, if the White House trashes Reno in the press, and Reno ever starts talking about the White House's true involvement, look for yet another major scandal. Some say that names like Hillary Clinton and Webster Hubbell will come up.
Even Al Gore is dirty enough to be impeached. Besides the "no controlling legal authority" for clearly violating the law by making fund-raising telephone calls from the White House, there's the Hsi Lai Temple fund-raiser escapade to contend with. The Senate Finance Committee still has their report posted for anyone wishing to read it. Most interesting is Section 17, wherein there is proof that Gore has raised foreign campaign funds at that temple many times -- even for his Senate campaigns. That's clearly illegal.
Yet, the Republicans in the 105th Congress did nothing. Not one thing! All Gore had to do was to look a little angry about being bothered by questions and Republicans gave him a free pass. He was quite correct, though. There is no controlling legal authority about anything that happened in the Clinton administration. Because, evidently, no one in Washington cares much.
The sorry fact is that everyone admits that Clinton fiddled with a young intern in the Oval Office. Starr even has living proof, in the form of video tapes taken by the security cameras. Most of the people of America have seen Clinton lie under oath -- repeatedly. The recording was played on prime time television. So too do most of the American people know that Clinton obstructed justice in numerous ways and lied to investigators. Incidentally, no one in the Clinton administration is refuting that, either. Nor is anyone doing anything about it.
Any of these actions would get most any American citizen a chance at a five year felony sentence. Yet, even though the White House team acts like the executive branch of a banana republic, nothing happens. They are, in fact, above the law. For proof, ask any Democrat.
The rule of law, therefore, is dead. Thank you Congressional Republicans; you helped lay it to rest.
Congressional Republicans are the facilitators for the Clinton, Clinton & Gore wrongdoings. Except for the China connection, Republicans were not involved in any of it. The problem is, they could have stopped it all, but chose to do nothing. Sending the matter to committee is not a remedy, and they knew that going in.
The Republican run Congressional committees allowed numerous lies by administration workers and White House friends under oath. The committees also allowed obstruction of justice to go unchallenged. Not one contempt charge was brought up on any member of the administration for lying to a Congressional committee. Why?
Perhaps no one in Washington cares. Probably no one in the 106th Congress will either. Sleaze is business as usual in Washington; disrespect for the Constitution and the rule of law is the attitude of this era.
So, will Janet Reno, the Attorney General of the United States, follow the letter of the law by appointing an independent counsel for the illegal fundraising and China connection matters? No. Of course not.
Why should she? The administration does not obey the law any better than Congress obeys the Constitution -- which, unfortunately, is not at all.
It may have been a holiday week, but there were still a number of interesting things happening in Washington. Most interesting was the action taken by Judicial Watch. http://www.judicialwatch.org/
Larry Klayman filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of two shareholders of Loral Space and Communications Ltd. Generally speaking, the lawsuit focuses on the improper transfer of U.S. technology to China. However, it also alleges that seats on U.S. trade missions were awarded in exchange for campaign contributions.
This means, of course, that Judicial Watch will get to depose a number of people from the White House, Loral, the Department of Commerce and the Democratic National Committee. This is work that the Justice Department should have completed a year ago, but did not. Now, the information will be made public, and it should prove to be extremely interesting.
The White House press staff was busy, too. Apparently Hillary did not want to be outdone by one of Bill's favorite squeezes: Monica Lewinsky. So, Hillary had her press agent get her a spread in Vogue Magazine. Except . . . well . . . how do we put this nicely . . . Let's just give our compliments to the artist for a job well done. Airbrush work is a fine art and Vogue obviously used an expert.
Another of Bill's playthings also did well last week. Susan McDougal won her criminal trial in California. Just in time, too. She has another date with a court in Arkansas coming up shortly. It's doubtful if she will win the next trial, though.
And, while we're thinking about rabid Democrats, that old partisan Sam Dash put himself in the news again, too. Sam can't make up his mind. Back in the Watergate days, he wanted to crucify Nixon for lying. Last year, Dash collected a couple hundred thousand dollars working as ethics advisor for Independent Counsel Ken Starr. Then Dash stiffed Starr. It seems that "ethics" is not actually one of Dash's long suits. Apparently, he was discussing the case with -- and getting at least some of his marching orders from -- the White House while working for Starr. Typical Washington deceit.
Over on Capitol Hill, the Speaker apparent of the House, Rep. Bob Livingston, made a little news, too. Apparently he thinks our representatives are working too hard. They need a pay raise, Livingston mentioned within earshot of a couple reporters. For the 106th Congress to get a raise, the bill must be passed by the 105th. That could happen, but it's doubtful.
Why is it that Democrat lawyers usually seem to be involved in something shady and unethical? Eighteen foreign Democrat contributors and/or fund-raisers (out of the 90-some people involved) have fled the United States rather than be questioned by the investigators of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. We're starting to wonder if there wasn't some inappropriate inside information leaking from committee attorneys there, too.
For instance, Mark Jimenez, a Florida businessman, is now considered a fugitive, a Justice Department spokesman said. In 1996, Jimenez was Florida's largest donor to the Democratic Party. Accordingly, Jimenez was indicted in September on 17 counts of money laundering. Among other things, he made about $40,000 in illegal contributions to Democrat campaigns in 1994 and 1996.
Well, as it turns out, Abbe Lowell, a Washington attorney, represents the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee in the Clinton impeachment matter. Interestingly enough, Lowell is also the attorney of record for Jimenez in the contributions case.
Is that a hint as to whose side the Democrat committee members are working on, or what? The illegal side, apparently.
There really is no justice in the federal government. Rear Admiral John T. Scudi was charged with two counts of adultery, giving false official statements, obstruction of justice and ethics violations. Do any of these things sound familiar? Scudi was actually relieved of duty. Yet, Congress allows Scudi's Commander-in-Chief to run the whole of the military. Maybe only people who make that stuff a lifestyle get a free pass in Washington.
Among the many reasons to elect a Republican president in 2000: Ken Starr announced that he will stick around for two more years, presumably to prosecute the Clintons after they leave office. Our job, therefore, is to elect someone who will not pardon them.
The departing Congress struck yet another blow against freedom of speech on the Internet. This time it was through H.R. 3783, the "Child On line Protection Act" (COPA). The last time Congress tried to censor the Internet the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously tossed it out for being unconstitutional. No matter though, like the administration, Congress isn't much interested in Constitutional constraints or Supreme Court opinions.
Therefore, COPA's Constitutional flaws are identical to the violations that led the Supreme Court to strike down the Communications Decency Act (CDA) in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U.S. __, 117 S. Ct. 2329 (1997).
This new law makes it a federal crime to "knowingly" communicate "for commercial purposes" material considered "harmful to minors." Penalties include fines of up to $50,000 for each day of violation, and up to six months in prison if convicted of a crime. The government also has the option to bring a civil suit against individuals under a lower standard of proof, with the same financial penalty of up to $50,000 per violation. Read civil forfeiture in there, too.
Despite claims by Congress that the new bill is "narrowly tailored" to apply only to minors, ACLU Staff Attorney Ann Beeson said that the constitutional flaws in this law are identical to the flaws that led the Supreme Court to strike down the CDA.
"Whether you call it the 'Communications Decency Act' or the 'Congress Doesn't Understand the Internet Act,' it is still unconstitutional and it still reduces the Internet to what is fit for a six-year-old," said Beeson, who was a member of the original ACLU v. Reno legal team.
The ACLU also said that the law "bans a wide range of protected expression that is provided for free on the Web by organizations and entities who also happen to be communicating on the Web for commercial purposes."
"It is our fervent hope," said Barry Steinhardt, President of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, "that Attorney General Reno will concede that the new law is unconstitutional so we can avoid prolonged litigation."
"The First Amendment still stands," he added. "A law that the Justice Department found unconstitutional last week did not suddenly become constitutional this week."
Funny thing too, this time, even the Justice Department told Congress they were wrong. Justice even took time to send an analysis of the bill to congress: <http://www.aclu.org/court/acluvrenoII_doj_letter.html>. In it, the Justice Department said that the bill had "serious constitutional problems."
As the Justice Department also noted, the new law is ineffective because minors would still be able to access news groups or Internet relay chat channels, as well as any website generated from outside of the United States.
Last month, civil liberties groups filed a court challenge to the new federal Internet censorship bill. At a news conference in downtown Philadelphia, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Electronic Frontier Foundation said the Justice Department was correct in warning that the law unconstitutionally censors valuable online speech.
In papers filed in federal District Court (http://www.aclu.org/court/acluvrenoII_complaint.html ) in Philadelphia the groups are seeking an injunction against the new law, which was scheduled to go into effect sometime this month, but is now suspended.
The list of plaintiffs includes the Internet Content Coalition, a member group including Time Inc., Warner Bros., C/NET and The New York Times Online; OBGYN.Net, a women's health website; Philadelphia Gay News; Salon Magazine; and the ACLU on behalf of its members including poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and ACLU President Nadine Strossen.
For once, we agree with the Justice Department. Short of shutting it down, the Internet cannot be censored. Furthermore, we do not believe that unsupervised children belong on the Internet. This is not, like television became, a dumbed-down baby-sitter for parents who do not wish to supervise the activities of their children. The Internet shall not become a children's computer network. It is primarily an adult communications network. There is all kinds of information available here, much of which is not appropriate for children.
We certainly do not agree with some of the "information" displayed on the Internet. But, that is not to say we want it censored. Because, one thing is very certain with today's federal government: We cannot trust them! If they ever get their foot in the door to censor one thing on the Internet, they will soon be back to censor many, many other things. And that, folks, is one of the sure things in life.
First to go would be publications like this newsletter.
The Treasury Department is "encouraging" banks, savings institutions and credit unions to voluntarily set up low-cost accounts for all federal beneficiaries who don't have checking or savings accounts. That is, the accounts must soon be available to anyone who receives a federal check, for any reason.
A "rule" is expected to be published shortly. Therein, financial institutions could charge no more than $3 a month for the accounts. They must also permit at least four withdrawals a month, either from tellers or automated teller machines. No minimum balance may be required by the banks. Account-holders are to receive monthly statements and, they are to also receive debit cards so as to be able to make point-of-sale purchases at grocery stores, utilities, gasoline stations and wherever.
Treasury says that the government issues about 860 million payments a year. Therefore, they say, they want all payments to be via direct deposit, electronically. Besides, this makes it much easier for government agents to see how much money people have.
Because, in a separate action by FDIC, banks will be required to participate in a "know your customer" program. And, this is where things start getting very interesting -- unconstitutional as hell, but interesting nonetheless.
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Financial Recordkeeping and Reporting of Currency and Foreign Transactions Act of 1970 (31 U.S.C. 1051 et seq.) is often referred to as "The Bank Secrecy Act" (BSA). The regulation issued by the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) (31 C.F.R. 103) under the BSA was originally intended to aid investigations in an array of criminal activities, from income tax evasion to laundering of money by organized crime.
Well folks, they've branched out a little -- to put it mildly. Whereas, once they were requiring that banks inform Big Brother of any transaction over $10,000, now they are down to $3,000. Worse yet, through a "know your customer" program instituted by FDIC, banks are required to keep "profiles" on all customers and report to IRS and FBI any major deviations from said profile.
In other words, anything even resembling individual unalienable or Constitutional rights are about to end in these United States. Big Brother is taking over our lives, completely. Read it and weep; for this is the law in the words of those unelected Washington bureaucrats who already control nearly everything in the country. This is part of their Third Way program of total control over the American people. A program, which from the point of view of the citizen, will look like a blend of socialism and fascism.
Even though not [yet] required by regulation or statute, it is imperative that financial institutions adopt know your customer guidelines or procedures to enable the immediate detection and identification of suspicious activity at the institution. The concept of know your customer is, by design, not explicitly defined so that each institution can adopt procedures best suited for its own operations. An effective know your customer policy must, at a minimum, contain a clear statement of management's overall expectations and establish specific line responsibilities. . . .
Part 353 of FDIC Rules and Regulations requires insured state nonmember banks to report to FinCEN on FDIC Form 6710/06, Suspicious Activity Report (SAR), known or suspected criminal offenses. Details on the reporting requirements may be found in Section 8.2 (Criminal Violations) of this manual. Among the suspicious activities required to be reported are any transactions aggregating $5,000 or more that involve potential money laundering or violations of the BSA. Suspicious transactions may no longer be reported by using a CTR [currency transaction report]. If the suspicious transaction involves more than $10,000 in cash, a CTR and a SAR must be prepared and filed. If the suspicious transaction involves between $5,000 and $10,000 in cash, only the SAR should be prepared and filed. . . .
An integral part of an effective know your customer policy is a comprehensive knowledge of the transactions carried out by the customers of the financial institution. Therefore, it is necessary that the know your customer procedures established by the institution allow for the collection of sufficient information to develop a transaction profile of each customer. The primary objective of such procedures is to enable the financial institution to predict with relative certainty the types of transactions in which a customer is likely to be engaged. Internal systems should then be developed for monitoring transactions to determine if transactions occur which are inconsistent with the customer's transaction profile. A know your customer policy must consist of procedures that require proper identification of every customer at the time a relationship is established in order to prevent the creation of fictitious accounts. In addition, the bank's employee education program should provide examples of customer behavior or activity which may warrant investigation.
At this time I would like to refer readers to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Then, we would like to refer readers to the words of Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist Papers No. 78:
There is no position which depends on clearer principles than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this would be to affirm that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.
There was a time, about 60 years ago, when our Constitution superseded all tyrannical legislation, rules and regulations. Not anymore, apparently. Of course, back then, we also had a few honorable people in government.
For more information on this very oppressive and unconstitutional legislation and regulation, go to:
Note: Doug tells it like it really is -- Frank and honest.
Forest Glen Durland
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