Daily Archives: July 1, 2004

Making a Difference

FITE Newsletter #30

Re: Self described Libertarian talk show host Jay Severin of FM 96.9 talk radio is your typical talk show host, always stirring controversy around such cultural issues as gay marriage, “liberal” media, and big government. He’s not the type of person you would think of as speaking out against the super rich. Yet he is quite willing to do so if callers bring up the subject.

When 3 callers from FITE confronted the other day on the issue of how the super rich own and run Washington, he didn’t exactly object. These are the folks, one FITERs said, who “earn in one DAY what the average American earns in a whole YEAR,” and they own and control Washington. They spoke of outsized tax breaks they bought with their wealth influence and how CEOs loot company treasuries. They suggested that we should simply “tax the poop out of them” to cut them down to size. His answer: “If it’s true what you say, you are right.”

He offered free of charge to send one of the callers a book, “Complete the American Revolution!” by Albert Piacente who he claims as a friend. “He writes exactly about what you are talking about.” Jay said he agrees with “most of what he says.” Piacente targets the super rich, calling for reinstatement of a stiff inheritance tax on them; he also accuses them of being at the bottom of most of this country’s problems.

Surprised at first, we eventually realized that Jay’s embrace of these issues makes sense. Americans from both the left and the right have always been against the absolute power conferred by the enormous wealth of the richest .1%. That is precisely why the wealthy right wing has sponsored over the last 20 years a media campaign focused only on the divisive cultural issues like gay marriage, prayer in the schools, etc. These issues have been consciously designed by the right wing to divert attention away from the real problem – that the country is owned and operated in the interests of the super rich, and against the interests of everyone else.

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It was no accident that three FITErs made consecutive calls exposing the super rich. We are orchestrating a campaign of calls to conservative talk show hosts across the country to expose the embezzlement schemes of the super rich that we document in this newsletter. We are developing ways to get our message through, and they are working.

We call with carefully prepared scripts that document that the super rich now own and operate this country. Contrary to the common stereotype, there’s no screaming and yelling. We are calmly and precisely broadcasting the message, and we will soon be orchestrating a similar campaign on a national level.

Want to make a difference? Jay’s program reaches 80% of the population of a swing state, New Hampshire. Calls that target the shenanigans of the super rich will automatically accrue to the President who specializes in cozying up to what he affectionately calls the “have mores.”

The advantage to this strategy is that it need not stop after the election when everyone waits to see what the new president will do. We know because both candidates refuse to talk about the frauds, embezzlements, and contempt of our country’s laws by the super rich. No matter what happens election day, we have to keep the pressure up.

We will provide a training manual, scripts, and connect you with others doing in our campaign who can give you support and encouragement to make calls. We will travel anywhere in eastern MA to get you started. We have recordings of several of the calls to show how easy and effective they can be.

Charles Palson

The Bush-Stretch

by Kryton

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Justice Department Says It Can’t Share Lobbying Data Because Computer System Will Crash
By Ted Bridis Associated Press WriterWASHINGTON (AP) – The Bush administration is offering a novel reason for denying a request seeking the Justice Department’s database on foreign lobbyists: Copying the information would bring down the computer system.

“Implementing such a request risks a crash that cannot be fixed and could result in a major loss of data, which would be devastating,” wrote Thomas J. McIntyre, chief in the Justice Department’s office for information requests.

Advocates for open government said the government’s assertion that it could not copy data from its computers was unprecedented but representative of generally negative responses to Freedom of Information Act requests.

“This was a new one on us. We weren’t aware there were databases that could be destroyed just by copying them,” Bob Williams of the Center for Public Integrity said Tuesday. The watchdog group in Washington made the request in January. He said the group expects to appeal the Justice Department’s decision.

Many Justice Department computer systems, especially at the FBI, are considered outdated. The FBI is spending nearly $600 million to modernize its antiquated systems.

The Center for Public Integrity sought information about lobbying activities available under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act, a 1938 law passed in response to German propaganda before World War II. Database records describe details of meetings among foreign lobbyists, the administration and Congress, and payments by foreign governments and some overseas groups for political advertisements and other campaigns.

“What they’re asking for is a lot, and it’s not something at this particular point in time we have the technical ability to do,” Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra said Tuesday.

McIntyre explained in a May 24 letter that the computer system – operated in the counterespionage section of the Justice Department’s criminal division – “was not designed for mass export of all stored images” and said the system experiences “substantial problems.”

Well why not down load one of each requested archive and then turn those into hard copy and duplicate them? What’s with this all or nothing “was not designed for mass export of all stored images.”

What’s perhaps even scarier about that sentence is that they are claiming that they don’t backup their database!

A backup is a “mass export of all stored images”…

However, I have this odd suspicion that they do backups regularly, but just don’t want to give up the info… I can’t imagine why…

“It sounds like incredible negligence for an agency that is keeping public records to keep them in such a precarious condition,” said Stephen Doig, interim director at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. “I’ve never heard the excuse that making the equivalent of a backup copy would somehow cause steam to rise out of the computer.”The government said an overhaul of the system should be finished by December and copies should be available then.

After the election? What a remarkable coincidence.

Paper copies of records still are available for review four hours each day for people willing to travel to Washington, the Justice Department noted. Williams said the index available to researchers there is at least 12 months outdated, “which kind of renders it useless.”Attorney General John Ashcroft ordered federal agencies in October 2001 to review more closely which documents they release. Ashcroft’s policy lets officials withhold information on any “sound legal basis.” Under looser policies issued in 1993, agencies could hold back information to prevent “foreseeable harm.”

“This is an administration and Justice is an agency that does not go out of its way to make information available to the public,” said David Sobel, general counsel for the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center.

[Put this down as one of today’s biggest understatements along with the NYT headline that says Powell ‘Sees Hints of Disaster in Sudan’. ‘Hints’, that’s a good one.–MA]