14 October 2006

Stretching The Facts

Mea culpa, I suppose. Or not mea culpa. I'm on record as not liking the manner in which Alan Pittman slants the facts to fit his preconceptions. He and I got to town in the same year, and he's always practiced a brand of journalism that I find offensive: the belief that you have to "goose" the facts to make your case more compelling.

It's OK to come to a conclusion: sadly most journalism today avoids ever making any sort of conclusion that would imply judgment, which is why you get these weird news stories where sanity and lunacy are given "equal time" in the name of "fair and balanced." "Fair and balanced" is a trademarked advertising slogan for a channel that likes to "goose" the facts the other way.

But it's NOT OK to goose the facts to prove that conclusion.

I've speculated about a possible Koch connection. It seems logical. It fits the facts. But I have no smoking gun -- just a lot of coincidences -- and I won't go to press over mere innuendo. So, believing that I am probably among the unnamed bloggers to whom Pittman refers, I can only say that it troubles me that the Koch brothers, Charles and David -- after buying Georgia-Pacific (Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups and products, paper, lumber, etc.) last December -- suddenly hold vast tracts of private logging lands that might well benefit greatly from the passage of "takings" initiatives in many of the states that Rich & Friends have "takings" initiatives in: Oregon, California, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Maine.

That's just a coincidence that troubles me. But this isn't any way to report that suspicion -- whether it's true or not.

And, I've sent a copy of each blog entry to the WEEKLY (hometown paper and all) just as I've sent it to the Register-Guard, the Salem Statesman Journal, the Oregonian, and other regional and national papers. So, whether I'm one of the "online bloggers" who "speculate" or not, well, you be the judge.

(Oh, and note the gratuitous smear tossed in at the end. Talk about your clinching arguments!)

from: The Eugene Weekly, October 12, 2006
Buying Initiatives
Rich out-of-state right wingers would radically change Oregon.

Howie Rich wants to dramatically cut Oregon school and public safety funding. Oregonians may ask, so what, who's Howie Rich?

Rich is the New York City real estate speculator behind Measure 48, the Oregon state spending constitutional amendment now on the ballot. Rich and conservative non-profits linked to him contributed $2.78 million for paid signature gatherers in Oregon, according to an investigation by the San Francisco Chronicle into the web of right-wing groups that gave $14.6 million to fund anti-government initiatives in a dozen states.

Rich-linked money also went to get Measure 45 on the Oregon November ballot. The term limits measure would throw half the current Legislature out in the next two years.

But while reporters have tracked the secretive money trail as far as Rich, it may go further into much deeper pockets. Online bloggers speculate that Rich is a front man for the ultraconservative Koch brothers, oil magnates worth $12 billion each.

The Koch brothers inherited their fortune from their dad, a founder of the far-right John Birch Society. They continued the family tradition, founding and bankrolling the far-right Cato Institute, and a host of other ultra-conservative anti-government groups. Their company Koch Industries (oil, refining, chemicals) became the nation's largest privately held company when it acquired Georgia-Pacific (logging and paper mills) last year with profits from high gas prices. Koch is an alleged major polluter and thief of federal oil and has escaped millions in fines and penalties, and had regulations changed through campaign contributions to the Bush administration, environmental and campaign finance reform groups have alleged.

Rich has been involved in many of the same anti-government causes and groups the Koch brothers have funded. Rich worked for David Koch as part of Koch's self-bankrolled run for vice president on the Libertarian ticket in 1980. Rich has refused to say how much of the initiative money is his or came from outside sources such as the Koch brothers. Rich and the Koch brothers have a history of evading campaign finance disclosure laws by laundering money through non-profit shell groups, critics charge.

In Oregon, the front man for Measure 48 is Don McIntire. At the Eugene City Club last week, McIntire argued that 48 was "a very benign measure, it is a warm fuzzy."

But the Defend Oregon Coalition — a broad group of parent, senior, teacher, business, union and good government groups — argues that Measure 48 could decimate the state. If it had been in effect since 1990, it would have cut state funding for schools, health care, public safety and other public services by 25 percent, according to a state analysis.

Measure 48 limits state spending increases to inflation plus population growth. But that formula fails to account for student, senior, and prison populations that are rising faster than general population growth and for rising health care costs that exceed inflation, the Coalition points out.

A similar measure in Colorado resulted in that state dropping in rank to near last for K-12 and higher education spending and high school graduation rates, according to a study by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Colorado voters voted last year to suspend the tax limit.

But McIntire argues that the state economy did well under the Colorado measure. "Their limit was very good for them."

McIntire calls Measure 48 the "rainy day fund" initiative and argues that it will create an emergency fund for the state to tap during deep recessions.

But Ben Westlund, a Republican state senator who recently turned independent, disputed that at the City Club Debate. "There is nothing in this measure that sets up a rainy day fund."

McIntire admitted that "this measure does not say it creates a rainy day fund." He said that the Legislature could elect to create such a fund by diverting some of the tax cuts in the measure.

The Defend Oregon Coalition is also opposing the anti-tax Measure 41, part of the "double whammy" on the ballot that they say is targeting funding for critical school, senior, health and public safety services. The complicated Measure 41 cuts income taxes for the wealthy and would result in a $800 million hit to the next biennial state budget as well as $151 million in retroactive cuts, according to the coalition.

Measure 41's front man in Oregon is Bill Sizemore, but the measure was largely funded by Nevada conservative millionaire Loren Parks, the sugar daddy for Oregon conservative causes. Parks, who made millions on medical equipment, has allegedly boasted that he can hypnotize women into becoming "sex machines" and has been sued for sexual harassment.
The writer -- a former second-grader -- stretches a little to make that last compelling point.


13 October 2006

Unlimited Terms of Endearment Part XXIII: The Secret Life of Duncan Scott

(Part the first)

Duncan Scott is a good Republican, to all outward appearances. He's the chair of the Flathead County Republican Party, and a founder and president of the Pachyderm Club. He practices law just outside of Glacier National Park.

In 2000, in New Mexico, he was George Bush's lawyer, tapped by the campaign to file suit on behalf of Bush to have all of New Mexico's ballots impounded, when it looked as though Bush had won New Mexico (he later lost narrowly in the recount). He was even a Republican state senator from Albuquerque. His Republican bona fides were beyond question.

But Duncan Scott had been quietly living a double life.


Originally a Montana boy, Scott graduated with the class of 1974 from Great Falls High School in Great Falls, Montana. That year, the top 20 hit songs were:
1. The Way We Were, Barbra Streisand
2. Seasons In The Sun, Terry Jacks
3. Love's Theme, Love Unlimited Orchestra
4. Come And Get Your Love, Redbone
5. Dancing Machine, Jackson 5
6. The Loco-Motion, Grand Funk Railroad
8. The Streak, Ray Stevens
9. Bennie And The Jets, Elton John
10. One Hell Of A Woman, Mac Davis
11. Until You Come Back To Me, Aretha Franklin
12. Jungle Boogie, Kool and The Gang
13. Midnight At The Oasis, Maria Muldaur
14. You Make Me Feel Brand New, Stylistics
15. Show And Tell, Al Wilson
16. Spiders And Snakes, Jim Stafford
17. Rock On, David Essex
18. Sunshine On My Shoulder, John Denver
19. Sideshow, Blue Magic
20. Hooked On A Feeling, Blue Swede
21. Billy Don't Be A Hero, Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods
[OK: 21, but what lover of music could possibly omit "Billy Don't Be A Hero"? - HW]

When Duncan Scott graduated from high school, Montana was 91% White, with about 6 percent Native Americans and hardly anyone anything else:

Montana US Census 1970
* White: 90.6%
* Black of African American: 0.3%
* American Indian/Alaska Native: 6.2%
* Asian: 0.5%
* Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islands: 0.1%
* Hispanic/Latino (of any race): 2.0%
* Two or More Races: 1.7%
But, to be fair, Montana was making steady progress. In 1910, Montana had been 113.2 percent white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau*. So in a mere six decades a 23% shift in the ethnographic breakdown of the state had occurred.

[*I know this sounds crazy, but that's what the official document says: 113.2 percent, and who am I to argue with the authority of the United States Census Bureau? - HW ]

The winter of Duncan Scott's freshman year in high school, the Libertarian Party was founded a couple states down the Rockies, in Westminister, Colorado -- just outside Denver and not quite all the way to Boulder -- in the home of David Fraser Nolan on December 11, 1971 -- his original vision composed of equal parts Robert Heinlein and Ayn Rand.

[Nolan is running this year, BTW, as the Libertarian candidate for Tucson, Arizona's 6th Congressional District seat - HW]

On August 8th of the summer that Duncan Scott graduated from Great Falls High Sschool, Richard Nixon resigned the presidency. (That may explain the bad pop music from that year.)

Scott went to Stanford and then worked as a staffer for Montana congressman Ron Marlenee (served 8 terms, 1977-1992). Marlenee was one of Montana's two congressmen until 1992, and was staunchly, well, a little wacky.
Sierra, Jan-Feb, 1992
The August coup - US Forest Service and timber policy
Paul Rauber

Counterrevolution in the Rockies: The timber industry flexes its muscle.

... The timber companies and their allies in Congress were apoplectic. In a May 23 letter, Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) sternly reprimanded Forest Service Chief Dale Robertson. "Dale, I am very disappointed with the Forest Service's accomplishment and accountability for timber outputs in Idaho and the nation as a whole," he wrote. "You have serious management problems that must be addressed. It is my hope you will move to assure targets are met and line officers are held accountable." Craig's complaints were echoed by Senator Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) and Representative Ron Marlenee (R-Mont.).

The political heat being directed at the Forest Service is a result of the severe overcutting of private woodlands in the northern Rockies. (From the air, western Montana and northern Idaho look like checkerboards, forested areas alternating with clearcut land belonging to Plum Creek and other giant timber companies.) Having exhausted its own resources, the timber industry expects the Forest Service to increase the cut on the public lands, and is outraged when it does not.
And, Marlenee could always be counted on to stand up for traditional values:
Reintroduction of wolf is a howling success
Deseret News (Salt Lake City), Sep 3, 2003

... at another press conference [in 1989], the anti-wolf forces were also out. Former Rep. Ron Marlenee, R-Mont., threatened to call for introduction of wolves in Utah along the Jordan River, City Creek Canyon or Liberty Park.
But, while he was against wolves hunting, he was entirely in favor of hunting by humans.
Sierra, May-June, 1994
Home on the rifle range - National Rifle Association opposition to Mojave National Park

by Paul Rauber

Since the Desert Bill's introduction in 1986 [to create Mojave National Park], opposition has come mostly from the mining industry, welfare ranchers, the BLM, and off-road-vehicle yahoos. The gun buffs did not come out shooting until 1991, when then-Representative Ron Marlenee (R-Mont.) introduced an NRA-inspired amendment that would have allowed hunting in what is now the East Mojave National Scenic Area once it became Mojave National Park. Marlenee's amendment passed the House, but the bill stalled in the Senate and went no further that year.
Common Cause Magazine, Jan-March, 1992
How special interests cater to Congress
Peter Overby

[It] bought a 30-page advertising section in Sports Afield to publicize the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, a two-year-old organization that fights for hunting and fishing enthusiasts on such issues as gun control and animal rights. Jointly produced by Hearst and the foundation, and packed with ads from Smith & Wesson, Anheuser-Busch, Colt, Winchester and Remington, the magazine section featured articles by and about the caucus. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) linked outdoor sports and national oil policy to explain "Why Alaskan Sportsmen Support Opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." Rep. Ron Marlenee (R-Mont.) wrote that "America's Hunting Tradition Must Be PROTECTED FROM FANATICS."
In 1992, congressman Marlenee was forcibly retired by the voters:
National Review, Oct 19, 1992
Cleaning House - 1992 congressional elections
Michael Fredenburg

Montana lost one of its two House seats, forcing a matchup between two incumbents, conservative Republican Ron Marlenee and liberal Democrat Pat Williams. The candidates' voting records have followed their respective party lines, and Marlenee is hoping to capitalize on Williams's support for the National Endowment for the Arts, painting him as an out-of-the-mainstream liberal who is willing to use the taxpayers' money to fund pornography.
Marlenee lost the election. Evidently there were more pro-pornography fans in Montana than he'd banked on. But the ex-congressman soon landed on his feet, with his years of friendship for hunting rewarded with a job as a lobbyist for, well, let the gun fans tell you:
The Gottlieb-Tartaro Report,
$30/12 issues,
12500 N.E. 10th Place,
Bellevue, WA 98005

August, 2003


It's not often the GT Report singles out a gun rights defender for a special tribute. We do it this issue because of RON MARLENEE's decades-long record of defending gun rights in a way that deserves greater appreciation: defending the right to hunt.

Safari Club International, a leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide, recently announced that RON MARLENEE, its highly effective lobbyist, will retire in December of this year but work on retainer through January 2004.

Gun owners everywhere owe MARLENEE a lot. MARLENEE served 16 terms as a U.S. Congressman prior to becoming SCI's lobbyist in 1992.
I know what you're thinking: Didn't we just learn that Marlenee served EIGHT terms? Yes. That's right. These little errors creep in and we have to make allowances. And I know what else you're thinking:

What does this have to do with Duncan Scott?

I will cheerfully admit that ex-congressman Marlenee's actions are in no wise indicative of Duncan Scott's character or beliefs, but I include this information because this is a BLOG, and, unlike commercial writing, I don't have to play mother may I? with some glassy-eyed editor, nor do I have a deadline or space restrictions.

When I cease to delight you, you will cease reading. So. I can include ex-congressman Marlenee because he's a colorful old coot, and a bit of Montana history. I also include him because to read his testimony AS a lobbyist is just plain pure-dee bizarro world fun:
Before the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans, Committee on Resources
United States House of Representatives
on March 13, 1997
On the H.R. 39,
Submitted by The Honorable Ron Marlenee
Director of Legislative Affairs, Safari Club International

In our view, the African Elephant Conservation Act is an extremely important piece of legislation because it assists African countries in meeting conservation goals for a species that we all believe is important...


The program also teaches the game scouts to evaluate the elephant populations from the point of view of their hunting trophy quality. This is important because it maximizes the revenues that can be obtained from a use of this natural resource, while minimizing the biological impact of the program. The revenues are a key incentive to conservation, and provide much of the funding used for such conservation. I have attached a paper entitled "Returns from Tourist Hunting in Tanzania," which describes in detail the economic importance of this activity. [i.e. shooting elephants for trophies - HW] It states that foreign safari hunting (which is called "tourist hunting") had a value of more than $10 million for Tanzania in 1992....
Now, that's SOMEthing. Anyway, Duncan Scott served in congressman Marlenee's office, along with current Montana congressman Dennis Rehberg.

Rehberg, a year older than Scott, is better than just a "good" Republican. According to the Washington POST's tally of his votes, Rehberg voted the GOP party line on every bill before this congress except for two times: Once, on the Immigration Law Enforcement Act of 2006, he didn't vote. And once, this term, he actually bucked the party and bravely voted for the Pension Protection Act of 2005. Duncan Scott originally took a different path.

Scott came back to Montana and went to law school. In 1982, during his last year, he jumped into ballot initiative politics. He was in on the ground floor on a ballot measure, working on the language, working on the petition drive, working as the state coordinator for the bill with the Libertarian Party.

According to the Montana Legislative Research Service:
Services#: 1981-1982
Petition#: I-94
Title: Licensing - beer and wine
Sponsor: Libertarian Free Trade Commission/Duncan Scott
Reviewed by: Harrington
Status: on ballot
Vote: 121,078/For 182,724/Against
Or 39.85% of the vote.

Duncan Scott moved to Alaska, where he continued to work for the Libertarian Party.

It was now the pivotal year in LP history, 1983. In 1980, Ed Crane had run the Clark for President campaign, garnering the largest percentage that the LP ever got. Mike Arno and Rick Arnold had been the Libertarian Party's ace petitioners in drives to get the LP on the ballot across the country. Originally partners, they had separated to each found companies that specialized in petition drives that you might recognize from this year:

National Voter Outreach, and Arno and Associates [See Part II ], who handled several states for the old Clark for President machine. 1980 had been the year that David Koch bought his way onto the Clark ticket by promising to spend $500,000 of his own money as the Vice Presidential candidate, and Howie Rich, Eric O'Keefe and the rest, under the supervision of Ed Crane of the CATO Institute ran the campaign.

The LP was not happy with the Craniacs by 1982.

The Crane operatives were accused to spending too much money, and finally, Ed Clark himself retired the campaign debt out of his own pocket.

Alicia Clark, Ed Clark's wife, and an accomplished businesswoman in her own right, had been elected National LP Chair, and Eric O'Keefe was the salaried National Director of the Libertarian Party -- whose National office was then in Washington DC. And then came the donnybrook in Bozeman, Montana.

The late economist Murray Rothbard*, a founding member of the Cato Institute, takes up the tale in the July 1982 Libertarian Forum:

[* Howard Rich's wife Andrea has an interesting connection to Rothbard. From "The History of Laissez Faire Books And the People Behind It"
Andrea read Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead in college and later attended her lectures at Nathaniel Branden Institute for several years. She was also very involved with the Libertarian Party, both nationally and in New York, from 1972 to 1983. During that period, she spent much time getting radicalized in Murray Rothbard's living room.]
July 1982 issue of the LIBERTARIAN FORUM, Murray Rothbard:
The LP NatCom meeting at Houston, March 27-28 was a quiet but deeply satisfying event, for it marked the distinct turning of the tide on the National committee. As we reported in our August-January issue, the Bethesda, Maryland meeting on November 7-8, 1981 was an exciting one in which a newly forged Grand Coalition of Mason and Clark forces beat back a determined attempt by the Crane Machine to seize power.


Behind the scenes at Houston there circulated two stunningly revealing memos which embarrassed and helped subdue the Craniacs and strengthened the resolve of the Grand Coalition. One was a memo by Crane himself to the various Crane Machine bigwigs, setting the line about what should be done about Ed Clark's proposal to hold a public opinion poll about the LP, and stressing the importance of keeping the interpretation of poll results in Craniac hands. In this Feb. 16 memo, Crane instructed his Machine to stop opposing the poll itself, but rather to make sure to control its interpretation. The shocker is that the memo was sent, not only to top Craniacs Tom Palmer, David Boaz, Leslie Key* [*Leslie Graves, Eric O'Keefe's wife -- HW], Chris Hocker, Kent Guida, and the Riches, but also to LP National Director Eric O'Keefe, who, as an employee of the entire Natcom, is supposed to be strictly neutral among the factions. This memo raises profound questions as to whom O'Keefe is reporting to.

The other fascinating memo circulating at Houston was anonymous, dated Feb. 16, and sent to other top Crane Machiners. Our sister magazine Libertarian Vanguard has now revealed that the author of this snide and arrogant memo was none other than Chris Hocker, publisher of Crane-run Inquiry magazine. The June issue of Libertarian Vanguard publishes the entire memo.

One important aspect of the Hocker memo is that he refers frankly and openly to the "Crane Machine" and assumes that his readers are all members thereof. This should put to rest once and for all the various naifs and Pollyannas in the Libertarian Party who have claimed that there is no Crane machine and that it is all a figment of some of our imaginations. So let us all from now on stipulate: there is a Crane Machine.


My own perspective is that the Craniacs, preppie or no, all try to look and talk like tough, cool young professionals, neo-Haldemans. Look at the Craniacs, and one gets the feeling that one is back in the Nixon White House, with all the tough, cool, obnoxious young folk -- the Cheneys, the Deans, et al., ruled by Haldeman/Crane himself.

If the Grand Coalition made any mistakes at Houston, it was in underestimating the extent and depth of our majority. Presumably that will be rectified at the next NatCom meeting at Billings, Montana on August 7-8.

3. The Audit Report

Dave Walter (Pa.)'s Audit Report was a thorough investigation of the National Headquarters, a Craniac stronghold, with some sensational implications. Most fascinating was the revelation that National Director Eric O'Keefe had made "at least a hundred" calls to the Cato Institute in San Francisco during 1981 [long-distance, D.C. to San Francisco - HW]. Since Cato, Ed Crane's base, is supposed to be non-political, what would the director of a political party be doing making almost daily calls to Cato? Unfortunately, NatCom failed to question O'Keefe in depth on this one.
And then, in Billings, Montana (it is unknown whether Duncan Scott was present at the NatCom meeting, but it seems impossible that he wouldn't have been) all hell broke loose in the Libertarian Party. Rothbard writes:
September 1982

On Sunday, August 8, in Billings, Montana, only a few miles from where the imbecile General Custer got mowed down at the Little Big Horn, the National Committee of the Libertarian Party held one of the most dramatic and significant meetings in its history. Eric O'Keefe, ex-radical turned Craniac National Director, was ousted from his long-held post by National Chair Alicia Clark. Alicia's right to fire O'Keefe was upheld by the NatCom by a vote of 17-11, after which it was approved by 20-7 Alicia's naming of former Texas LP Chair Honey Lanham as interim Director for a six-month period.


On Sunday morning, before the meeting, Alicia Clark asked O'Keefe for his resignation. Any gentleman, concerned about alleviating trouble for the Party, would have resigned without question. But not only did O'Keefe refuse to resign, he stubbornly refused to accept the Chair's right to fire him. In the tense opening hours of the Sunday meeting, O'Keefe persisted in claiming that Alicia had no right to fire him, and maintaining that he was and would continue to be the National Director, and would resume his duties in Washington promptly. Things were getting hairy. Would O'Keefe have to be ejected from headquarters for trespass?

Suffused with bureaucratic megalomania, furthermore, O'Keefe made stump speeches, virtually adopting an "I am the Party" attitude, and maintaining his own indispensability to Party success. By taking this absurd and arrogant line, O'Keefe unwittingly helped demonstrate to one and all the necessity for his ouster. What we were all seeing in action was the behavior of a runaway, power-hungry National Director, whose dismissal clearly came none too soon.

Taking up O'Keefe's preposterous assertion of his immunity from discharge by the Chair was the stunned, shocked, and apoplectic Crane Machine, led by "Mr. Robert's Rules" himself, Jim Johnston. In a claim even more idiotic than usual, Johnston asserted that the Chair did not even have a legal right to rule on his point of order. (It is said that every year the Illinois LP auctions off, at high rates, Jimmie's dog-eared copy of his previous year's Robert's Rules). Johnston even had the discourtesy to block unanimous consent to allow the NatCom to hear the arguments of the Chair's parliamentarian, I. Dean Ahmad. Alicia of course ruled against Johnston's point, and the motion went to the full NatCom. It needed a two-thirds majority to overrule the Chair, but the Chair won out on her right to fire O'Keefe by the comfortable majority of 17 to 11.


Thus, when told that Honey Lanham had been an able Texas chair and asked what Honey's occupation is, Madame DeFarge Leslie Key [*Leslie Graves, Eric O'Keefe's wife. See Part 8 - HW] burst out, with sneering contempt in her voice: "She sells cosmetics." Never was elitism more odiously displayed at an LP meeting. When Andrea Rich badgered Alicia with the question: "How does Honey Lanham make her money?", a NatCom member, a person conceded by everyone to be one of the finest and kindest gentlemen in the Libertarian Party, was moved to burst out, in a rare display of anger, "That's none of your business, Mrs. Rich!"

When one NatCom member asked about Lanham's managerial experience, former chairman Dave Bergland incisively pointed out that the three previous directors, including O'Keefe, had had virtually no managerial experience before being hired.


But the most revealing ranting of the day was emitted by Howie Rich, possibly the top Craniac straw boss on NatCom. In her explanation of why she fired O'Keefe, Alicia had mentioned that Eric had repeatedly failed to carry out NatCom and her own directives to: expand much-needed internal education, help build state parties, and assist in fund-raising. All these three vital areas of activity were grievously and consistently neglected by O'Keefe, despite Alicia Clark's repeated urgings. What he had done instead was to devote virtually all Headquarters' resources to campaigning, particularly to assisting the Craniac ventures of Howie Rich's Campaign of '82 and especially the Randolph race for governor of Alaska.

In the course of his philippic, Howie Rich thundered that all these other matters were "peripheral," that only campaigns really counted. Evidently, ideas, principles, state parties and even financial stability could go hang. There spoke the naked, sinister voice of the Crane Machine. After the vote and the ineffectual ranting were over, the Craniacs all walked out of the meeting, never (with the exception of Hocker and Palm) to return.


The ouster had been building up for months, as Alicia tried repeatedly and in vain to get O'Keefe to expend resources her (and NatCom's) way. Instead, O'Keefe had his own agenda, the Craniac agenda for the Party.


For the buildup of anti-O'Keefe evidence became overwhelming. It was these damaging revelations that sparked the final decision of Alicia on Saturday night to ask for O'Keefe's resignation for the following morning. Perhaps the most damaging disclosure was the Finance Committee report by the highly respected Matt Monroe, a report which the bored Craniacs hardly attempted to challenge.

Monroe reported that under O'Keefe tutelage, the heavy NatCom debt, instead of being paid off, had increased since the beginning of the present NatCom term in September 1981. Even more irresponsible in view of the LP's shaky financial shape was the change in the nature of the debt. For some of the long-term debt had been paid off, but only by seriously increasing the short-term debt to various vendors in Washington, D.C. Monroe wrote ominously that "this debt should be rolled back as much as possible if we are to function among vendors in Washington, D.C." He continued by warning: "Our effectiveness in the future will depend, not only on the amount of money and candidates we can raise but also on our credibility with local merchants who provide us with their merchandise and allow us to use credit. At this time there are few of those, if any, left in the Washington, D.C. area who are willing to extend us credit.

And yet, despite the seriousness of the financial situation, Monroe reported that, "My impression is that the financial and fund raising activities are low priority items at this time in the minds of the people who manage the National office." In trying to launch a monthly pledge program for the national party, Monroe found in despair that "I have requested help from Eric O'Keefe and have not received it." As a result, Monroe reported that he would instead have to do all the work in Houston with local Houston volunteers, since O'Keefe and headquarters would not cooperate. Monroe also noted that he had requested assistance from the previous Finance Chair [Leslie Graves Key], but had received no "promises or advice in matters of fund raising."


If O'Keefe & Co. were incapable of working with volunteers, they were apparently even less able to work with many state parties. Bitter letters were read into the record on Saturday by the state central committee of the Louisiana LP and by the chairman of the New Mexico LP denouncing O'Keefe, headquarters and its practices. The Louisiana Party wrote of national's "arm-twisting recruitment [of candidates] process," and declared that "at this point we don't know if we are victims of an overzealous staff, poor management, an amateur con-game, or a combination of all three." Christa-Bolden, New Mexico LP chair, wrote bitterly of "the ineptitude, incompetence and lack of trustworthiness demonstrated by the individuals purportedly in charge of National Headquarters." O'Keefe's failure to pay petitioners in New Mexico as promised, led to Ms. Bolden's conclusion: "It is up to the people running the National Party to support state organizations where possible ...


But the most damaging revelation from the point of view of libertarian principle was the June 15 memo from O'Keefe to Howie Rich on "Campaign Issue Selection," setting forth O'Keefe's strategy for the campaign. In the first place, this odiously sellout memo was sent to Rich over the head of Sheldon Richman, chairman of the outreach committee and supposedly Rich's boss, to the justifiable complaint of Richman. In addition, O'Keefe's Craniac strategy is horrendous, and represents another giant step downward in the degeneration of Craneism into blatant and total opportunism. Proposals by LP candidates, declared O'Keefe, must be confined to "proposals which voters can believe could be implemented in the near term. Like the Clark campaign's proposals, they should be essentially first Year proposals.. .


There were other revealing passages in O'Keefe's memo to Rich. One: "No particular civil liberties issue seems nationally prominent right now." So much for civil liberties. Oh really, Eric? And what about the massive assault on abortion rights looming in Congress? And what of federal drug enforcement? And grandson of S. l.? And the unleashing of the FBI and CIA, etc. And the Post Office Bill? But I suppose none of that could be handled realistically, pragmatically, in one year's time.


So what is O'Keefe's substitute for these excellent compact statements? "I can't tell the difference between Republicans and Democrats.... We need some fresh ideas and a real change." Go ahead say it, Eric: we need a new beginning. And we got one, but with Ronnie Reagan.

For this monstrosity alone, Eric O'Keefe should have been sacked, and sacked hard, and Rich and his cohorts along with him.

Alicia Clark came into the chairmanship race determined to bring unity to the Libertarian Party, and to rise above seemingly petty and useless factional disputes. When she came into office, she was open to all NatCom members and factions, and distributed committee posts and functions with an even hand. But she found that O'Keefe & Co. would not cooperate. It was their way or nothing. She saw O'Keefe and the Headquarters Staff keep to their own agenda, and so, after a long train of abuses, she finally acted, and acted with decision and dispatch. Just as we learned about Alicia, Alicia seems to have learned about the nature of the Crane Machine.

As one top Clark adviser of 1981 put it recently, with his usual wit and flair: "A year ago I believed in unity and balance in the Party, and an end to all the petty bickering and faction fighting. I'm a slow learner but I've learned, and now I make Rothbard look like a moderate on the Crane Question."
And this from the November/December 1982 Libertarian Forum:
... let us now turn to the two top Craniac campaigns in the nation. The most important, of course, was Dick Randolph's race for Governor of Alaska. In early summer, Randolph, for some curious reason, turned his entire campaign over to the Crane Machine, lock, stock, and barrel--and to Eastern preppie carpetbaggers at that. After offering the job to several others and having it turned down, the Crane Machine sent Kent Guida--fresh from his only political experience as third-place loser in a three-person race for national chair in 1981-to Alaska as campaign manager (?!) for Randolph.

Other Craniacs poured up there, including Anita Anderson and Paul Beckner, and Ed Crane himself and the Riches were much in evidence. Crane and his hireling Chris Hocker were made co-finance directors of the Randolph campaign in the lower 48. And when Craniac Eric O'Keefe was kicked out of his job as National Director of the LP in August, he was immediately trundled up to Alaska to help run the show.

For a year, the Craniacs had been trumpeting Randolph as a "winnable" candidate, and O'Keefe managed to direct a great deal of headquarters resources into the fight. Randolph put out a campaign book, Freedom for Alaskans, which was witheringly reviewed by a former VP candidate and National Chairman Dave Bergland in the October frontlines as gravely downplaying libertarian principle.

In short, a typical Craniac campaign: lots of hype, lots of splash, lots of money, opportunistically burying principle, and run by the much vaunted tough young neo-Haldeman "professionals" of the Crane Machine itself.

And what was the result? Absolute unmitigated disaster. Remember that Ed Clark got 12% of the Alaskan vote for President in 1980, and that a popular minor party candidate should do much better for Governor or Senator than some out-of-stater running for the top political job of President. Remember also that Dick Randolph was a two-term State Representative as a Libertarian, and had been a Republican State Rep in the past; he had name recognition throughout the state. And how much did Randolph get, after all the "professionalism," and tons of money? Only 15 per cent! Unbelievable.

Furthermore, the amount of money collected and spent by the Randolph campaign was enormous. At this writing, we don't know the precise figures, but various reports from Crane Machine sources range from the enormous $550,000 to a staggering $1 million. This means, that to gain his 25,000 votes, Randolph spent somewhere between a whopping $22 and $40 per vote. (Contrast this to Steiger's 8 cents a vote in a similar absolute vote range!) This is surely one of the highest dollar/vote ratios in American political history. It is true that Jay Rockefeller spent in this range in his race for governor of West Virginia, and that Tom Hayden spent something like it this year for State Rep in California. But the difference is that they won, whereas all Randolph got was a measly 15 per cent.


The Crane Machine are not only lowdown opportunists and betrayers of libertarian principle, they are incredibly inept and bumbling opportunists to boot. They sell their souls only to win a mess of nothing. But, if you look at their record, they have been successful so far in two and only two important ways: (a) in continuing to con the Koch brothers and other contributors into pouring millions into their shabby operations; and (b) in continuing to con activists into doing the foot-soldier work of getting signatures, stuffing envelopes, etc.*

[* 2006: They still don't pay their interns, and brag about it. -HW]


A grim footnote to the Crane/Randolph Alaska disaster was the equivalent Craniac catastrophe in New York. In a race where Eric O'Keefe claimed the chances to be "excellent" for FLP gubernatorial candidate John Northrup to get the 50,000 votes needed for ballot status, Northrup got a miserable 18,000 votes for 0.36% of the total. But, in contrast to Alaska, this calamity was scarcely a surprise, since it simply continues the grisly and unbroken record of disasters committed by the tiny, inept, and Craniac-ridden New York Party. The New York Party is run like a feudal fiefdom by Craniacs Gary Greenberg and Howie and Andrea Rich, and Northrup's campaign manager was the well-known Craniac operative, Bruce Majors.

But, once again, in a manner echoing the much more grandiose Alaska caper, the New York Party managed to raise the hefty sum of approximately $100,000 for the doomed Northrup, weighing in with a big dollar/vote ratio of about $5.50 a vote. Yet the Northrup defeat should easily have been foreseen by anyone familiar with the New York Party or the state's political situation.
And this grace note is found at the end of that November/December 1982 Libertarian Forum:

The Laissez-Faire Bookstore has always tried to serve impartially all sectors of the libertarian movement, and it has carried the Libertarian Forum since its inception. For several years, the Bookstore computerized our mailing list and shipped out each issue to our subscribers. Now, Andrea Millen Rich, the new proprietor of the Laissez-Faire Bookstore and a top operative of the Crane Machine, has banned the Lib. Forum from its sacred portals. Mrs. Rich's reason: because the lead article in the September issue ("Blockbuster at Billings"), which told the story of the firing of Eric O'Keefe as National Director of LP, consisted of "vile and demented lies."
From being "radicalized" sitting in Murray Rothbard's living room, Andrea Rich was now banning his magazine from her newly-purchased bookstore. Something that would shake the very foundations of the Libertarian Party was now clearly brewing.

This was only a foretaste of what was to come.

And Duncan Scott? Oh, don't worry. All the major players will converge in Manhattan on Saturday, September 3, 1983.

But Scheherazade perceived the coming of the dawn and fell silent.


11 October 2006

Unlimited Terms of Endearment Part XXII, Working The Airwaves

It's hard to know where to begin: The Howie Rich attack machine growled into full snark mode during the last week of September -- which was expected, based on their past campaigns. After fourteen years of stealth initiative campaigns, none of the friends of Howie Rich have term-limited themselves out of "bypassing the legislature" by enacting their own edicts.

If this all sounds familiar then listen to Common Cause Magazine in 1993, reporting on the Term Limits campaign that Howie Rich and Eric O'Keefe started in early 1992 or even the winter of 1991, fourteen years ago:
Common Cause Magazine
Summer, 1993

The money behind the movement: term limits is touted as a grassroots uprising. But guess who's paying the bills?

Amy E. Young

... a Common Cause Magazine analysis of campaign finance reports filed in the 14 states suggests that something else is fueling the fire: More than three-fourths of the movement's financing in 1992 came from four national groups and a relatively small number of wealthy individual donors.

According to the analysis, term-limit committees in 14 states raised $5.9 million in cash and in-kind contributions, of which 80 percent was raised from the four groups and just 624 donors of $500 or more. The groups -- USTL, the now-defunct Citizens for Congressional Reform (CCR), Americans Back in Charge and Americans to Limit Congressional Terms -- supplied more than $2.2 million, while more than $2.5 million came from the 624 individual donors.

Term-limit proponents say they were forced to raise big money in anticipation of a strong opposition financed by special interest groups out to protect their friends in Congress. While powerful interests indeed helped finance opposition efforts, term-limit backers outspent them by nearly 6 to 1.

From the very beginning the term-limits movement was financed by large donors. The first major national term-limits group, CCR, spent more than $1 million in California, Washington and Michigan and then closed shop amid controversy surrounding its funding sources. CCR was bankrolled largely by two conservative billionaire industrialist brothers, Charles and David Koch of Wichita, Kan., who often wired money from their bank accounts directly to the term-limit committees. The group disbanded in late 1991, just after term-limit opponents filed a complaint with the Michigan secretary of state questioning the validity of a list of donors CCR filed to comply with a state law.

In early 1992 Howard Rich bought CCR's assets -- mainly a mailing list and some office furniture -- assumed its liabilities and set up shop as USTL. The group contributed $1.8 million to various 1992 state term-limit campaigns, while members of its finance committee kicked in another $119,700 in personal donations and loans. USTL's donations went for petition printing, signature gathering and, late in the campaigns, advertising. The group also provided political advice to the campaigns, emphasizing local coalition building and paid media.

USTL spokesperson Langan, who stresses his group's independence from the defunct Koch-financed organization, says his group's money comes from 80,000 members nationwide, whose donations average $17, and 58 national finance committee members who kicked in nearly $2 million. Langan declines to provide specifics about the contributions, saying the nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization has no obligation to do so. Rich refused a request for an interview....
Patterns are patterns. And people tend to repeat their patterns. That was 1993, this is 2006.

So, the Rich reticence has been entirely expected. And the attack-dog approach had been expected. But what was not expected was that it would be laid at my front door via two entirely different routes. I've told you about the personal attacks on the bloggers. But this odd back-door confluence appeared right here, in my home town on September 29:

KOPT-AM, the local AirAmerica affiliate -- for whom I've been a regular guest since early 2005 -- began running a strange ad that Friday. (CLICK HERE to download the mp3)

A woman's voice told you how your union was using your union dues for (gasp!) politics, and how the SUPREME COURT said you have a right to tell them not to. And contact this phone number or website to find out how YOU CAN GET YOUR MONEY BACK!

Well, given the shows that it ran during -- Stephanie Miller, Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, Ed Schulz -- it was tantamount to offering a free steak dinner for two during a vegetarian talk show. Evidently, several angry callers complained about the "ad" which turned out to be a PSA -- a Public Service Announcement -- which meant that the anti-union ad was running for free during the entire Friday lineup. FCC rules demand that a certain number of PSAs be run to comply with stations' broadcasting license requirements.

This seems particularly ironic in light of this week's news that the business-controlled National Labor Relations Board has just ruled that nurses, and other workers numbering about 8 million are "supervisory personnel" and, therefore, cannot belong to unions.

Unions are, right now, the only counterweight to unlimited spending in state campaigns, as in the case of Howie Rich & Friends' several ballot measures in several states. I am not, please note, suggesting that Rich has the political clout or stature to lead or even influence such a movement, but he certainly is riding the wave.

And there is an odd connection between Howard Rich and that PSA that was yanked from the air by the weekend. It's not what you would think, but I'm getting ahead of the story.

The PSA group's letter to the station reads, in part:

"That's why I hope you'll utilize the enclosed PSAs to inform your listeners of their rights regarding this vital issue which affects unionized employees throughout the state."

The letterhead at top contains a 72 point process blue legal scales, along with a standard lawyerly-looking name and address block of type.

And the 8 point name "Stefan Gleason," is followed by the 6 point title "Vice President." (Tiny, in other words).

Radio stations get these mailers by the barrelful, and often shuffle them in without actually looking very closely at them. At least, that's what I'm told.

The boldface and underlined paragraph of the letter (the only part that the reader is likely to skim) reads:
"The enclosed public service announcements describe how employees can receive (bold) free information and free legal aid ( un-bold) in reclaiming forced union dues spent on political causes they find objectionable."
Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I have seen the actual CD that was sent (which is probably what was read, and not the florid PR letter that accompanied the disc). Now, see if you, as someone who gets dozens of these square white CD mailers a week, get an entirely different message from the CD label itself.

At about a 50% screen in the background, a montage, with a pretty black girl of about 9 or ten, with flowing curly tresses looking at what seems to be a flower, but on closer inspection is revealed to be her "working mother's" hand holding a green bug. The mother-figure is presented in profile, facing right, but is mostly obscured by the type.

In the upper right hand corner, a blue shirted, blue-jeaned man holding a clipboard, and in the upper left -- I kid you not -- there is a man wearing a tangerine hardhat, staring purposely upwards (towards the future, one supposes) wearing a white shirt and an enormous purple satin-finish tie. The knot on it looks half as long as the (engineer? foreman? hardhat model?) fellow's face. It seems a rather odd fashion choice, given, but that's not the point.

The photo in the back is merely meant to express something about labor and kids on casual examination. OK. Labor and kids. A cute little black girl. That's important somehow. But how, we really can't say.

Below the red line it says in straight Helvetica bold: Public Service Campaign. Below that, in italics, centered:
Overcoming the Illegal Use of Forced (line break)
Union Dues for Partisan Politics.
And then here are the titles:
1. Working Man/
Union Politics
PSA, :30

2. Single Mom/
Union Politics
PSA, :60

3. Working Woman/
Union Politics PSA, :30

4. Teacher/Union
Politics PSA, :60
(You can find all of these, plus more at: http://www.nrtw.org/media/psa.php )

But that 50% screened photo -- faded back from 100% where the type would be swallowed by the shadows -- is meant to say:

Hey, we're about having pretty young black girls learn to be scientists and unions and warm and fuzzies. The "Single Mom" and "Working Woman" and "Teacher/Union" all neatly overlays the girl's mother/teacher's head, which is why the first thing you see is the cute little black girl.

Little Girl. Working Mom. Union Dues. Public Service.

And the type suggests "Overcoming Illegal" -- hey who's not for overcoming illegal? -- and "Union Dues" and we can see all those "union" people on the cover. (I presume that the beautiful child is a member of the Beautiful Children's Modeling Union).

And so, without realizing it, someone at KOPT ran the PUBLIC SERVICE CAMPAIGN CD and is currently catching hell for it. Or not.

The real point is that the ad ran, just as they'd planned the ad to run: for free and under the radar. If you hate unions, you use mobster caricatures and big stogies and lots of forearm hair. No: the warm and fuzzy nature of the "Public Service" CD was meant to deceive. Just the way that those YOU WON $1,000,000 Envelopes with their official certificates are meant to deceive.

The internal politics at the radio station are their own concern and don't need addressing to understand that the group behind the PSA just snookered a "liberal" radio station into running free union-busting advertising all day.

How many "conservative" radio stations are running that free advertising, right at the height of the political season, right in the midst of an all-out war on Unions?

We don't know.

Certainly the purpose of the ads is to defund union contributions to various political races and ballot measure campaigns, et al.

It's sort of the same thing as if union lawyers were traveling the land, freezing the assets of all the millionaires, like Howard Rich, just long enough so that they couldn't contribute to any political campaigns.

So, an attack and a particularly weasely attack: if no radio station runs the "PSA"s -- which the stations' FCC license requires them to run a certain number of -- then they're only out the price of the mailing. But if only a few stations run the ads, then they've 'made money on the deal.'

I would be curious as to WHICH states these "Public Service" announcements were sent out to. We know already that Rick Berman's "Center for Union Facts" launched a series of attack ads early in September, specifically in states that Rich-related ballot measures were also in. So, it would be interesting to know whether the PSAs that ran on KOPT were similarly targeted.

Who is "they"? you might ask.

Follow the Money

Good question. Glad you asked.

"They" is a group called the "National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc."
8801 Braddock Road
Springfield, VA 22160
(703) 321-8510
fax: (703) 321-9613
So: the warm and fuzzy nature of the "Public Service" CD was meant to deceive. They only do full disclosure down in the part of the letter that they know no station manager has any time to read:

"The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization that provides free legal assistance to employees across America whose human and civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuse. As a public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the Foundation is providing pro bono* [*lawyerese for 'free'- HW] assistance to thousands of employees in more than 200 cases nationwide. Part of its charitable mission is also to provide employees with accurate information about their rights through public service announcements and other means of outreach.

To be frank, I had never known what "compulsory unionism abuse" was before, and I have a feeling that it's not a term much in linguistic vogue.

But it turns out that I was wrong. And you need to understand that Oregon, a union state for many, many years, generally doesn't know what "Right To Work" actually means.

Returning the compliment, the "Anti Union Network" notes:
Role of National Right to Work in the Anti-Union Network

National Right to Work is the country's oldest organization dedicated solely to destroying unions. Its network consists of four organizations that share leadership, offices, resources and staff, all with the common goal of undermining workers' freedom of association. To carry out this mission, the National Right to Work Committee employs over 200 staff to lobby, fundraise, distribute propaganda, and interfere with workers' union organizing efforts, and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation employs nearly 50 staff for its litigation efforts.

While the organization has doggedly pursued an anti-union agenda for a half century, its public profile has recently been eclipsed by the big-budget anti-union front group the Center for Union Facts.

Does National Right to Work have anything to do with right-to-work laws?

When anti-union ideologues lost an effort to enact a national law weakening unions, they created the National Right to Work Committee in 1955 to pass such laws at the state level. The group's single-minded focus of doing away with unions was as unambiguous then, as it is today, however the name it shares with the very legislation it was created to pass, is purposely confusing....
Clearly, we have two diametrically opposing viewpoints there, but the "purposely confusing" statement certainly gibes with observable fact.

Two of the vice presidents of the NRTWLF, Inc. are of interest here. The first, the fellow named on the letterhead, has been a staunch advocate of anything that would advance the NRTW agenda: ending unionism as we know it. They never quite say that, in the same manner that the "school choice" advocates never quite say that they want to end public education. Instead, they want to weaken the unions (e.g. 'collective bargaining') to the point where they would collapse. His name is Stefan Gleason.

But it's the Board's vice president and executive committee member -- serving on both the Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors of both the National Right to Work Committee and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation -- that is of interest to us here.

You remember that I said there was a Howard Rich connection? You might even recall this person from part 14, The Hoop Snake. His name is Duncan Scott.

Here's Shea Anderson, the reporter on the Boise WEEKLY who was one of the first to get a sense of the strange electoral machinations of the eponymous rich man back east:
JULY 5, 2006
Idaho's Measure, New York's Money


Laird Maxwell disdains taxes. But he apparently welcomes out of state money.

The proponent of the newly-certified ballot measure against property takings in Idaho used a healthy chunk of out-of-state cash to get his brainchild on the ballot. In a nutshell, the measure would require Idaho state government to pay any Idaho landowner for any impact to their property value created by a new land-use law.

Except for $50 donated by Maxwell, the entire budget for This House is My House came from out of state, according to reports from the Idaho Secretary of State. $100,000 came from Montana-based America At Its Best. Another $237,000 came from the New York-based Fund for Democracy, headed by Howard Rich, a libertarian activist and major donor.

Like Duncan Scott, Rich spends his money nationwide, funding libertarian candidates and initiatives across the country. He is listed alternately as a real estate developer, an attorney and the president of the political action group U.S. Term Limits on federal campaign finance reports....
Not enough to jog your memory?

Well, Duncan Scott has been a huge, if discreet player in all of this, sending money from Montana to Nebraska, to the tune of $1.7 million.

This is just a little complicated, but you'll pick it up very quickly, dear reader. Watch the pieces of the puzzle interlink and mesh:

A very good researcher at TPM Cafe who goes by the name of mrs panstreppon first ran across this cross-indexing of entities:
Grover Norquist's $650k Grant to the "National Alliance"

... I learned that William A. Wilson, a conservative activist, lives at 10424 Woodbury Woods Court in Fairfax but I did not find an organization named the "National Alliance". Recently, another member of the TPM Cafe wrote to me and identified the National Alliance For Worker and Employer Rights (NAWER) as the probable recipient of the $650k grant.

NAWER was registered in Virginia in September 2004. Richard Quinn Jr. is the chairman and William A. Wilson is the treasurer. The NAWER Foundation was registered in December 2005.


William A. Wilson, NAWER treasurer, is the owner of Associated Public Affairs Professionals, a consulting firm which was paid $15k by Gary Bauer's campaign in 2000. Wilson is associated with numerous conservative organizations. Here's a partial list:

US Term Limits
US Term Limits Foundation
Term Limits America PAC
America At Its Best
Council For Responsible Government
Parents In Charge (formerly Legislative Action Drive)
[sic: it's actually LEAD and is still is PIC's charitable 'twin' - HW]
SocialSecurityChoice.org Foundation
Feeling a little woozy?

Well, no wonder. It gets dizzying trying to sort out this Rosetta Stone of Howie Rich led and managed organizations. (And the list is by no means complete.) Add "Americans for Limited Government" and "Foundation for Democracy" and you've just about sewn down every dollar "contributed" in every state, whether the petitions made it onto the ballot or not.

There is no time, nor space to go into NAWER, but suffice it to say that its mission parallels the "National Right To Work" groups Duncan Scott Boards with -- who were numero uno in the union-busting game until Rick Berman suddenly came on the scene early this year with his "Center for Union Facts."

Sense a pattern here?

And, remember that Duncan Scott is a high muckety-muck in the NRTW Legal Foundation that slipped that "public service" CD into the AirAmerica station's regular PSA rotation -- effectively helping itself to hundreds of dollars of free air time to spread their message, which is, essentially: "defund the unions' political coffers now, at the height of the electoral season."

To which it might be noted that you have seen nearly every one of these foundations, PACs and "charitable" groups in previous installments of this series. I have been waiting to tell you the tale of "SocialSecurityChoice.org" but the time is not yet propitious.

But special attention must be paid to "America At Its Best" above. As noted in Part VIII, "America At Its Worst," "Americans for Limited Government" and the National Taxpayers Union (Norquist's original outfit before he formed "Americans for Tax Reform" for the Reagan White House) gave all the money to "America At Its Best."

So, follow the money: Howie Rich to his Chicago ALG office, to Laird Maxwell and Duncan Scott, respectively. Maxwell to Missouri. Scott to Maxwell in Idaho and Nebraska.

And, now that the cat's out of the bag about "Montanans in Action," Howie Rich to MIA's Trevis Butcher to the Prop. 90 campaign in California.

When you think about that, MIA is a particularly apt acronym for what has happened to the eponymous rich man's money: Tinker to Evers to Chance.

Let's follow it from Duncan Scott, because we're going to be following Scott and Maxwell quite a bit in the next installment.

Duncan Scott to Mike Groene and Thomas Mann in Nebraska for two petition drives, and most of that $1.7 million to Leslie Graves in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and then across the bed to her husband, Eric O'Keefe, Howard Rich's right-hand 'strategy" man for a couple of decades now.
US Term Limits Press Release:

News Release
For Immediate Release
February 2, 1999
Contact: Jason Miller
(202) 463-3200

Americans for Limited Terms President Eric O'Keefe today announced the release of his long-awaited book "Who Rules America: The People vs. The Political Class," an expose on how incumbent Members of Congress have used the power of government to entrench themselves and hobble opponents, and the citizens who are trying to change this.

O'Keefe is recognized as one of the driving forces behind the success of the term limits movement in the 1990's....
So, Scott to Groene to O'Keefe.

Now, can you tell me which shell the pea is under?

The cut that they played on the radio was the sixty second cut: Single Mom/Union Politics. (CLICK here to listen)

And part of our thanks for that public service must surely go to Duncan Scott. We shall see more of him in the very near future.

But I still don't know what any of this has to do with showing a bug to a cute little black girl.



09 October 2006

Unlimited Terms of Endearment Part XXI: So Which One Is Shemp?

We finally have the answer to that puzzling question: "What's the connection between Howie Rich and his state-by-state frontmen (and woman)?"

It was revealed during the attack that began in late September and was fully rolled out last week. (The last time so many states were simultaneously attacked by any entity, it was called the Civil War.)

But let's set the stage with a story from real life, just to prime the pump:

From The Idaho Statesmen (Oct. 8) :
[Prop 2] Proponents are led by Laird Maxwell, a government hater who makes his living attacking solid citizens like Supreme Court Justice Linda Copple Trout and former Transportation Board Chairman Chuck Winder. In his spare time, Maxwell opposes school bonds, fights measures like the Boise Foothills levy and purges moderates from the GOP ... Lawyers on both sides advance mind-numbing arguments about what the measure means. They'll have ample work should Prop 2 pass. On Friday, proponent Heather Cunningham debated opponent Jerry Mason....
I received this eyewitness account last night from a thoughtful Idahoan:
I attended that debate in Boise in an old 10+ story office building. It was very interesting. Laird Maxwell was there. After both sides gave their 10-minute intro speeches, there was going to be about an hour of questions from the audience. After the first question, the moderator called on Maxwell out of courtesy, saying he wanted to give him an opportunity to ask a question ahead of the 200+ people in the audience. Everyone turned around and looked at Maxwell's table in the back of the room. A person at his table said, "Laird left a couple of minutes ago." Within 30 seconds, the fire alarm in the building went off and we all had to evacuate. The fire department never showed up and the debate never happened as the crowd dispersed after standing around outside for half an hour or so.

Good old west politics as I see it (and from quite a few others who were standing around). However, we will never know.
Well, it sure is funny that convenient fire alarm and all. Reminds me of a George Bush joke that's making the rounds, but we'll move on. Now that you're in the mood:

The attack seems to have begun, starting with this humble little blog, sometime in late September. I had been expecting it -- no, not the loathsome smear piece that they ran on me, penetrating to page 51 of Googling "Hart Williams" for whatever nasty tidbits they could cherry pick. Those were unexpected, if trivial. But the nasty "Dead Agenting"-style* attacks were entirely characteristic. Howie Rich & Friends have a long history of it, and they are creatures of habit.

[see HERE for definition and details]

Their campaign style has always been to attack, never defend, and try to grub up any 'dirt' they can on the opposition. To make grandiloquent pronouncements about giving "control back to the people," putting "the people in charge," and so on and so forth. But the attack component is always there.

This weekend, the attack spread through several states, the political equivalent of a Denial Of Service (DOS) attack: mailbombing your server via proxies with so many emails that the server shuts down.

The Portland OREGONIAN:
Oregon, 6 other states blanketed in records bid
FOIA - A group wants e-mail pertaining to property rights and spending limits, an effort that will cost time and money

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Close to 500 cities, school districts and state agencies in Oregon, and thousands more in six other states, have been hit with public records requests for all e-mails pertaining to any communication regarding measures on term limits, property rights or limiting spending, an undertaking most local municipalities say will take months and thousands of dollars to complete.

A Virginia-based group, Citizens in Charge, is mounting what its Web site calls "a study of public resource abuse" under the name CitizenFOIA (FOIA stands for Freedom of Information Act). Citizens in Charge is aiming its campaign, which also includes requests for Internet and e-mail use policies and their enforcement, at Oregon and other states where groups backed by Howard Rich, the head of Americans for Limited Government and U.S. Term Limits, pushed spending limits or property rights measures this year.

Citizens In Charge's president, Paul Jacob*, says his group is nonpartisan.
But that's only a technicality. They, as Libertarians, gave up on actually winning elections a long time ago. Instead, the "Craniac" wing -- who include most of today's players, as chronicled by Murray Rothbard back in 1983 -- infiltrated the GOP and its media (e.g. Heather Wilhelm, the Robert-Novak approved, Regnery Publishing "Fellow" who serves as ALG, USTL and lord-knows-what-other-acronym Communications Director, i.e. press flak) and pursue their private agenda through whatever devious means necessary.

[*Paul Jacob, you will recall, is Howard Rich's brother-in-law, sits on Howie's ALG and US Term Limits boards, and is the "face" of the ALG agenda with his syndicated radio spots and his TownHall column "Common Sense."]

The fact that they're trying so hard to hide their money and influence creates a suspicion of their motives on the face of it, or, to use the latin, prima fascie.

The NEW YORK TIMES embarrassed itself yesterday by writing the EXACT SAME COLUMN that I pointed out in Part V, The Locusts:
"Does this sound eerily like an echo-chamber? With minor variations the story runs as follows:

Out of state interests (either unidentified or merely labeled without analysis) are backing a petition drive. The petition gatherers come from out of state. So does all the money. A qualified opposing spokesperson says: "This isn't a [state name goes here] grassroots movement."

The local cranky All-American front man pooh-poohs the charges: "It doesn't matter where the money comes from. This is important to the citizens of [state name goes here]."

And there the story ends. Again and again and again and again. The story ends at the petition filing date, and at the state line. And now that state's citizens are left with an exhausting fight and a vote on something they'd never realized they wanted to fight about.

And the locusts move on...."
Here's the New York TIMES:
Supporters of the ballot efforts in the West -- often called "Kelo-plus" -- say they want to stop so-called regulatory takings, the idea that government effectively takes private property when zoning laws limit how it can be used.

Opponents say the regulatory-takings initiatives are essentially a ruse, that they are trying to exploit anger over the Kelo decision and eminent domain to roll back zoning regulations that are critical to controlling growth, protecting the environment and preserving property values.

The more far-reaching proposals in the West -- in Idaho, Arizona, California and Washington State -- are citizens' initiatives supported by signature petitions, and they are often supported financially and logistically by national libertarian groups.

This House Is My Home [NOTE: Headed by Laird Maxwell - HW], a group based in Boise that is sponsoring the Idaho measure, Proposition 2, is among groups in several states that have received strong financial help from Fund for Democracy, headed by Howard S. Rich, the New York real estate investor who is chairman of the libertarian group Americans for Limited Government. As of late June, Fund for Democracy had given at least $237,000 to This House Is My Home, about two-thirds of the money raised by the group. The next filing deadline is Oct. 10.

"We are essentially a 'networking station' that brings together grass-roots activists, donors and community leaders who share a common interest," John Tillman, president of Americans for Limited Government, said in an e-mail message. "In this case, that common interest is in restoring property rights for the average citizen."
Some Howie Rich stooge (in this case Laird Maxwell and John Tillman) tells you about the "grass roots" movement and how they're helping the poor locals fight mean old Mr. Government. And there it lies.

But this is demonstrably untrue. Rich has his standard sound bite, which, if we take at face value, is the same thing as Tillman's -- we're benevolent benefactors helping out the locals.

Except, as I wrote to the TIMES: I must protest. The Americans for Limited Government group is not local, nor 'grass roots,' nor do they "help" local anti-tax activists: they HIRE them. Through the long summer, the stealth outside funding via "astroturf" groups has been well and amply covered.

Howie Rich says:

July 11, 2006
Contact: Heather Wilhelm

Yesterday, activists in Michigan turned in over half a million signatures, topping off what has been a tremendous response to ALG's grassroots campaigns for property rights and spending reform. ALG is supporting the efforts of local groups in Arizona, California, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington this year.
"I've been active in politics for years," said Howard Rich, chairman of Americans for Limited Government, "and I've volunteered with a lot of campaigns. This is one of the most tremendous responses I've ever seen. I'm pleased that we could help these local groups."
And on NEW WEST, reporter Dan Richardson, noted on 9-19-06:
Earlier this month, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski (running for re-election), challenged Rich to come debate him on Measure 48, Oregon's spending limits initiative, fronted by longtime anti-tax activist Don McIntire. Rich refused ("I'm happy that I could help out the local group in Oregon -- they've faced a real uphill climb against public employee unions and special interests.")
I could continue to cite the official line, via numerous quotes, but the bottom line is that there is a fundamental difference between "helping" local grass roots, and hiring local frontmen. In Idaho, it's Laird Maxwell. In Arizona it's Laird's new wife, Lori Klein. In Montana, it's Trevis Butcher (pig on loan from Scott Tillman), in Nebraska, it's Mike Groene. Let's look at those "local group" soundbiters, and see whether they're hired mercenaries (whether they believe in the cause is immaterial: of COURSE they 'believe') or "grass roots local groups."

I feel bad for the "Newspaper of Record," making itself a clueless laughingstock and all.

Except that the newspapers I cited in that July 19th column have got it figured out by October 8th. The NEW YORK TIMES, arrogant and clueless, wandered into Idaho and wrote the standard he-said/she-said story.

But the Omaha WORLD HERALD reported Friday:
SOS requests swamp agencies
October 6, 2006

A leader in the push for a limit on state government spending is blanketing Nebraska cities, counties and school districts with public records requests that officials say would cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to fulfill.

"This is harassment," Lynn Rex, director of the League of Nebraska Municipalities, said Thursday.

Hundreds of school districts, all 93 counties and Nebraska's largest cities have received at least four requests for records from Mike Groene of North Platte, Neb., chairman of the Stop Overspending Nebraska group.

Among other things, he is asking for all records and documents relating to computer, e-mail and Internet use policies and all electronic records that mention the Nebraska SOS campaign and its petition gatherers.

The SOS group is campaigning for Initiative 423, a proposal on the November ballot that would limit state spending to the rate of inflation plus population growth.

After receiving Groene's second request, Omaha Deputy City Attorney Tom Mumgaard replied that a good faith search of all computer records would entail a substantial effort and could cost at least $276,000.

The City of Papillion estimated its cost at more than $100,000. Individual school districts report estimated costs of at least $500 to $1,000.

Groene said the records requests are not part of the spending lid initiative.

He said the requests are part of a national study by Citizens in Charge, a Milwaukee organization seeking to catch public employees violating electioneering rules by supporting or opposing ballot issues with public resources.

Groene said the study has found examples of Nebraska public officials using office computers to encourage their employees to fight the spending lid ... Groene said the requests should be easy to fulfill. "Anybody who knows computers knows that it'd only take 15 minutes to search for a key phrase," he said....
Now, just compare what that Nebraska "local" fellow said to what Idaho's "local" Laird Maxwell said within the same 72 hour period:

From The Idaho STATESMAN
Thursday, October 05, 2006
JOHN MILLER Associated Press Writer

BOISE, Idaho -- Nearly 2,000 school districts and local governments in Idaho and at least five other states, including Montana, are being targeted by foes of big government, who think taxpayer funded resources such as computers are being used improperly in political campaigns. Sweeping, three-page public records requests have also been made in Montana, Nebraska, Arizona and Michigan, said Laird Maxwell, a Boise activist involved with groups behind property rights or government-limiting initiatives up for a vote in those states. In Nevada, agencies could receive records requests this week, the groups said. Some officials call this a disruptive fishing expedition aimed at taxing scarce resources...

Paul Jacob, a Virginia limited-government advocate who heads Citizens in Charge, and Chris Kliesmet, with Citizens for Responsible Government in Milwaukee, are helping...Maxwell says the information should be just a keystroke away. "They're stonewalling us," he said. "Either we have transparent government -- or we don't."
Or compare with what Montana's Trevis Butcher (whose Montanans in Action was FINALLY outed as being financed by Howard Rich groups on Yellowstone Public Radio, when MIA co-chair Senator Joe Balyeat, of Bozeman admitted as much on Sept 21 (see HERE )

The Great Falls [MT] Tribune

Political activist Trevis Butcher's name appears at the bottom of the letters. Butcher sponsored three statewide initiatives, which were thrown out by a Great Falls judge because of deceptive and fraudulent signature-gathering methods. The Montana Supreme Court is reviewing the lower court's decision regarding CI-97, CI-98 and I-154.

Although Butcher's signature stamps the bottom of each FOI request, the Winifred rancher distanced himself from the massive request for public records. Butcher couldn't say how many agencies across the state were asked to divulge public records, and he referred questions to the president of Citizens In Charge, Paul Jacobs (sic). Jacobs (sic) could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

However, Butcher said every agency that received an FOI request is suspected of having used public resources for political means, he said, either by exchanging e-mails with national political organizations and labor unions or through inner-agency exchanges.

The information requested has nothing to do with Butcher's appeal to the high court, he said, so much as the information will indicate how well Montana complies with open record policies or misuses public resources, he said.

"All of this (data) is going to come out long after the initiatives are over," Butcher said. "I'm certainly not the individual that put together the criteria for the study and the research. It has nothing to do with the initiatives in the (state) Supreme Court."
This is in line with the long, long history of Rich organizations attacking the "opposition" by whatever means necessary, including bringing in Wisconsin political hitman Chris Kliesmet (about whom more later).

When you stop to consider that the "opposition" is simply anyone who imposes their policy decisions (as expressed in ballot measures), the tactic is particularly vicious, selfish and even childish:

If you don't go along with us, we will GET you.

I'm not making this up, as we will see. Howard Rich and his cronies have a long, vicious record of dumping money into campaigns to DE-elect candidates that didn't go along with them, and have done so all the way down to the level of school board elections. In Idaho just a couple of years ago, they gave the maximum amount allowable to the candidates that agreed with their term limits position, and then gave the maximum amount allowable AGAINST candidates they didn't like, as INDEPENDENT attacks.

So, the smear aimed at me, and at the DailyKos diarists wasn't surprising. It was merely the petulance of a gang of spoiled Eastern wanna-be plutocrats.

No: the real "hit" was underway already. Was it hatched at the ALG conference in Chicago in August? Well, Paul Jacob's letter on the CitizenFOIA website is dated August 30. You be the judge.

In other words, last week they launched a political 'worm' virus. And then John Tillman told the New York TIMES that they were just "helping out the locals."

So HOW can it possibly be that the 'locals' all stepped up and toed the line in the same week, if not on the same day with virtually identical sound bites? While John Tillman was repeating HIS sound bite -- virtually identical to Howie's?

I ask you gentle reader: is Howie "helping" these "grass roots" people or are they Rich stooges? Here's another one from the OREGONIAN story:
[Paul] Jacob and others at Citizens in Charge, such as Eric O'Keefe , listed on the group's board of directors, and Chris Kliesmet , the designated auditor for the records requests, are longtime supporters of term limits, limited government spending and property rights. Kurt Weber, whose name is at the bottom of the FOIA requests, is a Libertarian Party leader in Oregon. [Oregonian, Oct 7.]
Kurt Weber and Paul Farago, according to the official Oregon Secretary of State campaign finance filings, are the committee directors of Oregon's "Committee To Restore Term Limits."*

[*NOTE: This is a very sleazy dodge. The notation is "effective 8-18-06" but Farago and Weber were NOT associated with the Term Limits petition drive, except as the shadowy figures that retired Washington state dentist AND official petitioner Ted Berthelote told the Salem STATESMAN JOURNAL in February:

Statesman Journal
February 7, 2006

"Berthelote, who moved to Oregon four years ago, said he was approached by term-limits backers who read a guest opinion column that he wrote for The Bulletin in Bend. He declined to say who would run the campaign or identify the backers.
"I guess you'll just have to find out," he said.

[Well, now we know. -HW]

Campaign-finance reports revealed that $60,000 came from U.S. Term Limits, an Illinois group that has provided the financial muscle for many other state term-limits measures. An additional $40,000 came from Americans for Tax Reform, a group led by Grover Norquist that has supported past Oregon tax-limitation measures....
As soon as the ballot measure was approved, Farago (who was co-chief petitioner in 2004 and back in 1992) slithered back into the limelight as the "face" of Term Limits. THAT's 'deviousness' defined.]

The ever-vigilant local media finally picked up that the Monday attack was underway on Oregon state employees only Friday, as the OREGONIAN ran the piece (on a Saturday, as per usual). It contains this damning line, recall:
"Citizens In Charge's president, Paul Jacob, says his group is nonpartisan..."
And therein lies the whole, vile rub that lies at the center of this political maelstrom: when Paul Jacob says "nonpartisan" he means it only in the technical sense that it is neither Republican nor Democrat.

It is Libertarian.

According to the OREGONIAN story:
[Paul] Jacob and others at Citizens in Charge, such as Eric O'Keefe , listed on the group's board of directors, and Chris Kliesmet, the designated auditor for the records requests, are longtime supporters of term limits, limited government spending and property rights. Kurt Weber, whose name is at the bottom of the FOIA requests, is a Libertarian Party leader in Oregon.
It is Ayn Randian "Objectivist" and it believes that the best government is no government at all. The famed Grover Norquist* quote is neither inappropriate nor unconnected. Getting government to the size that it can be drowned in the bathtub is merely the means: drowning it in the bathtub is the end.
[*Norquist is and has been connected with this gang for many years now. First as the Executive Director of the National Taxpayers Union -- founded by ex-Libertarian John Davidson Davis, who was in large part responsible with certain WALL STREET JOURNAL writers for the "Vince Foster was MURDERED" scandal-mongering at the beginning of the Clinton Administration, and who still sits on NTUs board -- and then forming the astroturf group Americans for Tax Reform in the West Wing of the Reagan White House, and running it as an under-the-radar group until spinning it back outside the White House grounds to the present day.

So it really isn't any coincidence that in several states --specifically Oregon -- ALG, US Term Limits, the National Taxpayers Union and Americans for Tax Reform are all in bed together. They've never been not. - HW]
The Oregonian continues:
Though Jacob said his group "works with people all across the political spectrum" and simply supports the initiative and referendum process ("let the voters decide how they use it," he said), the records sweep appears to be part of a coordinated campaign by a close-knit group of longtime libertarian activists.
In August, O'Keefe, who is chairman of the Americans for Limited Government executive committee, Kliesmet, and Jacob were featured speakers at the organization's conference in Chicago. Americans for Limited Government and Fund for Democracy, created and backed by Rich, have supported about two-dozen initiatives in 14 states, most aimed at scaling back government power. In 2004, Citizens in Charge spent more than $640,000 in an Arkansas ballot measure battle over term limits.

"I love term limits, I think they're the best thing since sliced bread," Jacob told The Oregonian this week.
Well, we don't know whether Maxwell, Groene, Weber, Butcher, Klein or their other goons feel the same way. But I wonder how the hell to term limit Paul Jacob and Howie Rich. At least Butcher admits he's merely following orders.

These shadowy interests have come into my state, picked a fight, and now they're harassing public employees. Why?

Because they don't like the idea of public employees. Whether any of them have actually met any public employees in my state is a real question. No: perhaps not legally (if you believe that there is "law" in the "legal" system), but certainly a crime has been committed here. We call it "disturbing the peace." Given the sheer size of the effort and the physical weight of all those dollar bills flooding into my state (they've spent, in Oregon as of 10-1 about $2 million so far) the volumetric magnitude by which they've disturbed our peace is deafening.

But these are NOT "local groups." These, dear friends, are mere hirelings: They take their marching orders from Paul Jacob and Eric O'Keefe and, of course, from Howie Rich.

Or to quote Howie Rich:

"I'm far more interested in initiatives. The initiative process enables you to bypass the legislature ...."

Meet Howie's stooges.