A Weekly View from the Foothills of Appalachia
September 26, 1999 #153
by: Doug Fiedor
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Copyright © 1999 by Doug Fiedor, all rights reserved
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WHEN FORFEITURE IS APPROPRIATE
Here comes another example of big government playing fast and loose with our money again. Actually, this time they say they gave it away in good faith. But then it got stolen.
This was a significant chunk of change, too. The amount represents somewhere between eighty and ninety bucks for each and every taxpayer in the country. Maybe more, actually. Let's low-ball it, though, and say eighty bucks.
So: Mr. And Mrs. Taxpayer of the United States, you have all been ripped off for somewhere around eighty bucks each by foreign criminals and they were so good at it you didn't even notice.
That's because our federal government helped. They gave over $10-Billion to the International Monetary Fund to give to Russia. But the IMF is not very good at paying attention to where the money ends up, so things get a little fuzzy after that.
Anyway, IMF gave Russia a total of about $20-Billion in international aid over the past few years -- about $10-Billion of which came from the U.S. Treasury. Our tax dollars, in other words.
Partially because we sent liberals from the Ivy League universities over to "help" Russia become a Democracy, and partly because the organized crime group we now call the Russian Mafia controls almost as much over there as the government does, Russia is in economic chaos.
Those money watchers (AKA: Finance ministers) representing the 182 nations that belong to the IMF and World Bank kept right on sending good money after bad, without demanding accountability or results. Now there are accusations in financial circles that the organizations "failed to stem the mounting corruption in the Russian economy," which has shrunk by 40 percent since the fall of communism.
That's the $20-Billion understatement of the decade!
Knowing that Boris Yeltsin was "in charge" (when sober) over there should have been a hint. Knowing that Al Gore was advising his buddy, former Russian Prime Minister Viktor Cherynomyrdin (KGB), for most of the last six years could have been yet another clue.
House Banking Committee Chairman James Leach (R-Iowa) -- who supported IMF programs for Russia -- called the scam "the greatest example of kleptocratic governance in modern history." The only issue, he said, was whether U.S. bankers and international oversight officials were "unwittingly duped or willing facilitators."
Facilitators, Jim, facilitators. And you guys in Congress gave each and every one of those bozos running IMF and World Bank immunity against prosecution for anything they do -- even the ones who are American citizens. Now there is zilch you can do about them.
The IMF counters by saying it has no evidence that any of the $20 Billion it has lent Russia over the last decade has been pilfered. It's just that IMF sort of "lost track" of part of it. Specifically, $15-Billion. But, that is not a big problem at IMF. They still recommend that the next installment on the current $4.5-Billion package to Russia be released.
Russia was supposed to pay off some of its debt with that IMF welfare money. Instead, Russia defaulted on its government bonds and devalued its currency. One would think that might have also been a hint to those in the international banking community. But, IMF and the World Bank people didn't seem to notice.
So, where was the money found? Well, last week Reuters reported that the head of Interpol said the alleged Russian money-laundering scheme involved a New York bank and was the biggest rip-off the agency had come across so far.
"What is complex in the Russian situation is that you seem to be dealing with corruption taking place at such high levels that the normal ways of cooperation you'd use are not necessarily the valid ones," said Interpol's British Secretary General Raymond Kendall.
It appears that it was a group activity over there. That is, Russian mobsters, businessmen and government officials all cooperated to launder the $15- Billion out of the country and quietly deposit it into accounts at the Bank of New York.
We know that because Russian government officials received it from IMF and deposited it into local banks. From there, it was a member of the Russian Mafia who most probably laundered it to the Bank of New York. We know that because, conveniently enough, the wife of a member of the Russian Mafia was the bank official at the Bank of New York in charge of administrating the accounts in which that $15-Billion was deposited. But, just before getting caught, she sent a lot of it back out of the country.
Now, here's a thought: Recently, an American citizen was stopped in a traffic stop and found to have $15,000 in cash. Simply because the motorist had the money, the police stole it. Forfeiture, they call that scam.
Well, here sits the Bank of New York laundering billions of dollars. If the money laundering and forfeiture laws applied equally to all, the American People would now own that bank and its officers would have been arrested.
Obviously though, forfeiture and "Know your Customer" laws do not apply to those who launder millions and billions of dollars. Those laws are, as we see, but population control devices, used specifically to frighten American citizens into genuflecting before the temple of big government.
The First Amendment should be rather clear to all: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
That means two things to our personal liberty: Congress may do nothing to favor one religion over any other -- all 1,500 religions in the United States are to be equal under the law, and free to practice as they wish. And, Congress may not regulate our speech or how we express ourselves. The States can, depending on your State Constitution, but Congress may not. And, Congress is the only federal branch of government authorized by the Constitution to make law.
Yet, in a display of total disrespect for the Constitution, Congress then went forth and passed a whole series of laws concerning religion, speech, assembly and how we shall be allowed to (or not) present grievances.
Most interesting, at the moment, are two bills that effectively trash speech, assembly and the redress of grievances in one whack. Worse, they would regulate political speech -- our ability to publicly criticize the actions of politicians.
According to the United State Supreme Court, political speech is the most protected of all speech. That is, citizens are free to display political signs as they wish, write either signed or anonymous texts for or against candidates or legislation and peacefully assemble with like minded people to propose and plan political action.
Now comes the Shays-Meehan bill in the House and the somewhat similar McCain-Feingold bill in the Senate. Generally speaking, both would make it illegal for a citizen to spend a buck or two to influence the outcome of a federal election in the 60-day period prior to an election. In other words, the bills are designed to stifle the political speech of grassroots advocacy groups.
The intent is to regulate and mandate the speech of any person or any group spending nearly any amount of money to get out their political message with a ton of regulatory red tape. And, if not obeyed, there is a threat of imprisonment, fines and/or forfeiture of property.
All statists want to limit dissent, of course. They gain power by limiting the ability of the people speak and express contrary ideas. So, it's no surprise that these new campaign finance bills directly limit most any form of expression that requires money to support it. And, by the way, this will also include web sites that profess a certain political point of view.
Just about anything a voter or citizen's group can do to influence the outcome of a federal election in the 60-days prior to an election would be banned. Elected officials will have all of that regulated money -- campaign funds -- to broadcast their views to the nation. But, "We the People" may have to keep our opinions to ourselves.
Our personal money is to be called "independent expenditures" or "advocacy" advertising and will be strictly regulated. That is, "independent expenditure" is "an expenditure by a person expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate that is not provided in coordination with a candidate." Any expenditure.
The liberal media outlets get a free pass in this, though. There is an exception in Sec. 201 of the McCain-Feingold bill for "communications appearing in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate."
We suggest, therefore, that every group throughout the country immediately develop a history of publishing periodic newsletters and pamphlets -- and whatever else they can afford -- before this campaign finance atrocity is passed. That is, become an established publisher of political commentary so as to get grandfathered in as a legitimate news source.
Surely, the Supreme Court will throw out any stupid laws limiting political speech by the people. But the cold hard fact of life in these United States is that many people could get arrested, convicted, fined and/or imprisoned before the case ever gets to the Supreme Court. So, we will all need to be protected in the interim as already established news publications.
We are woefully in need of strong campaign finance laws -- with penalties that impact directly on candidates. And that is simple to arrange. Candidates should be restricted to accepting campaign funds only from registered voters in their respective districts, and from no other source. And even that should be capped at a maximum of $2,000 or less per individual registered voter.
Else, it's business as usual in Washington and the graft will continue. The only ones they plan to freeze out of the equation are those of us who would criticize.
Wonders never cease! I turned on the radio last Tuesday afternoon and there was Rush Limbaugh talking with Pat Buchanan. Except, they weren't exactly "talking," they were in fact "debating" the political issues of the day.
Yeah. The Rushmeister debating the fiery conservative star of Crossfire and perennial presidential candidate Pat Buchanan. On conservative issues, too -- and there wasn't a stinken liberal sound in the hour. It don't get no better than that, folks! No matter what you may have felt about what was said, it simply does not get any better than that for a political debate.
Both stated their arguments clearly and defended their ground with debating expertise and an obvious knowledge of the topics discussed. Both made excellent points and sounded like they may have been converting the other on minor issues from time to time. Both debated with respect, honor and friendship for the other.
And then the hour was up. Such a damn shame, too! We seldom hear discussions like that broadcast anymore without liberals butting in with their steady stream of inappropriate and snide remarks.
So here's a thought we might all put forward to the man behind the EIB Golden Microphone: Have at them all, Rush. Debate each of them exactly the way you did with Pat Buchanan: Fair, friendly and firm.
There are good and bad points, consistencies and inconsistencies, strong points and faults, in each of the Republican campaigns. These points are best debated and discussed with a good conservative commentator, rather than some sniveling liberal wanting more to play "gottcha" with a Republican candidate than allow interesting facts to come out. And, who better for that task than Rush Limbaugh?
Rush has the knowledge, the gift of gab and the ready made audience of interested listeners. There's a great fit there.
Fair, friendly and firm. That's where it's at in a truly informative debate. That's how Rush was with Buchanan and that is how he should be with all Republican candidates.
But, there was yet another little point that came out in the great Rush-Pat debate: That is the mention of James P. (Jimmy Junior) Hoffa being considered as a candidate for Pat's running mate.
Most people associate the name Jimmy Hoffa with organized crime, and it is true that he was a man to be feared when I was a kid. Some of us still remember that Hoffa appearing before the Senate labor-rackets committee back in 1957. We also remember how corrupt the Teamsters Union was back then and that Hoffa went to prison for (some of) his sins.
But that was James R. Hoffa, and that was a greatly different time.
Today it's James P. "Jimmy" Hoffa as President of the Teamsters Union. And Jimmy Junior is a world of different from Jimmy Senior.
Being the same age, from somewhat the same neighborhood, having basically the same interests, and having attended the same school system, we had occasion to bump into each other from time to time over the years.
Jimmy (Junior) Hoffa graduated from Detroit's Cooley High School as a member of the National Honor Society and was an All-City and All-State football player. From there, he attended Michigan State University, where he received a Bachelor's Degree in Economics. He even played football under the old MSU coach Duffy Daugherty.
Anyway, from there he went to the University of Michigan Law School where he graduated with a LLB degree. After that, he did a bit of aide work for the Michigan State Senate -- constituent relations and research, they say. From there, he began a law practice. Later came involvement with the Teamsters Union, of which he is now President.
Truthfully, I do not know what I think of the possibility of Jimmy Hoffa becoming Vice President of the United States. But, in fairness, I think I would be a bad person to ask.
Two important points should be made, though:
Unlike his father, Jimmy Junior is not a Democrat. Also, if there were more Republicans in Congress as conservative as James P. Hoffa, we would have a lot less stupid laws to worry about.
By: Craig M. Brown
His white Stetson framed against a blue gray September sky, Gatewood Galbraith rides again. Riding on the wings of grass roots support, his enemies are corruption, cronyism, big government and rising taxes.
"Gatewood for the people" is the cry throughout Kentucky, as Galbraith gains support in his race for Governor, running against the odds to unseat a corrupt administration. Weeks ago, skeptics said Gatewood didn't have a chance. Now their minds are changing as working men and women who have been betrayed by broken promises from the incumbent Governor are lining up behind Galbraith. He is running as the Reform party candidate, but Republicans as well as Democrats, all longing for a change, see Galbraith as the man to clean out the stables of fat cat special interests in the state capitol.
Galbraith is riding virtually alone, with no PAC money and contributions from large corporate interests. When elected, he will be indebted to no one but the thousands of small contributors who ask for nothing more than an honest government. Gatewood's message to the people is written in the words of the United States Constitution, with the emphasis on separation of powers and the Tenth Amendment. Gatewood believes in liberty -- our own personal freedom -- and the values that made this country great.
In the next few weeks before the election, Gatewood anticipates an aggressive, vicious attack from the incumbent Governor, desperate to hold his power in the state capitol. The Governor, with his bankroll bulging with special interest money, is certain to fill the airwaves with attacks on Galbraith, his ideas and his vision for the Commonwealth. But it's hard to kill an idea that floats from town to town and door to door. Already the Internet and small town newspapers are crackling with the news that Gatewood is gaining, and in some cases has passed the incumbent. The grassroots are growing louder and will soon reach a crescendo.
The nation should be watching this race. The "miracle" that occurred in Minnesota is likely to be repeated in Kentucky. The message is if the Republicans are going to abandon the principles of conservatism that they embraced during the Reagan era, then the Jesse Venturas and Gatewood Galbraiths of the nation are going to pick them up.
See for yourself what Gatewood Galbraith and his running mate, Kathy Lyons stand for. Take a look at their web site at: http://www.gatewoodkathy99.com
Note: Doug tells it like it really is -- Frank and honest.
Forest Glen Durland
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