• No Sweat
  • Friday, September 30, 2005


    It is time to return to Texas and DeLay’s corruption, the first target of my efforts to expose corrupt Republicans. This is from the Campaign for America’s Future:

    Tom DeLay and two of his close political associates were indicted on criminal conspiracy charges by a Texas Grand Jury earlier today. This is the same Tom DeLay who eleven years ago this week signed the so-called Contract with America and pledged to end Congress' "cycle of scandal and disgrace."

    The indictment against Tom DeLay has immediate political consequences -- he has just stepped down as House Majority Leader. This is a tremendous victory for everyone fighting to make Congress work again for the American people. But, it does not go far enough. Tom DeLay is the personification of the corrupt, pay-to-play politics that is the hallmark of today’s Republican-controlled Congress. To return honor and dignity to the legislative branch, and restore Congress' accountability to the American people, Tom DeLay must resign from Congress.

    Congress is no place for scoundrels like DeLay who blatantly abuse their power for personal and corporate gain. He and his co-conspirators in Congress have consistently pushed measures that benefit the wealthy elite at the expense of the American people. It’s time to clear the air of corruption that Tom DeLay has brought into the House of Representatives. Please write your Representative and demand that they call for Tom DeLay's resignation from Congress.

    But do more. Write the media telling them how disgusting you think DeLay’s corruption is. Tell them DeLay should resign and the Republican party has to start cleaning house before the American people can trust them again. Remember, these letters to the editor may just be having an effect! Keep up the pressure.

    Finally, you can help take down Tom DeLay and possibly help a Democrat successfully challenge him for his Congressional seat. Act for Change is raising money for a billboard illustrating DeLay's criminal corruption. They are asking for donations of $10 to publicize DeLay's corruption in his own district. Please consider helping them out.

    Saturday, September 24, 2005


    I have covered Republican Corruption in Ohio several times (see my other blog for my articles on this: ). Now there is a movement to Reform Ohio which we all can help. Here is the Reform Ohio website. And let me tell you the Republicans are going all out to block this reform movement. If we want a clean, fair Ohio, we have to act to REFORM OHIO!

    Here is a Daily Kos diary on the movement that focuses on what we can do, both those living in Ohio and those of us who don’t.

    I will focus on a few that apply to ALL of us, but please also check the diary for more ideas:

    3. Wherever you live, Donate to the Reform Ohio Now Campaign. We are up against some REALLY big money determined to maintain the corruption and gerrymandered districts (RON is worth an extra 6 congressional seats!). If all you can spare is $10 - spare it for Ohio.

    4. Letters to the Editor. Anyone can do this. Before you write a diary, write a letter ! We really need to educate Ohio Voters about Issues 2 thru 5 and LTE's are a great way to do that - let's flood those news rooms. The DNC has a pretty neat tool - just hit this link, enter your zip code and write your letter! Couldn't be easier. IF you live outside of Ohio - here is a list of Ohio Zip codes.

    5. If you have a Blog - Blog it ! Grow Ohio has a ton of info, and you can always check the Ohio lefty blogs aggregator too to keep up to date. Every time someone googles RON it better come up with our responses ! Also put up a link to RON - graphics here.

    Fight for honesty in Ohio!

    Saturday, September 17, 2005

    TARGET THE CORRUPT REPUBLICAN: The Consequences of the Spoils System

    I have covered the corruption of the Kentucky Republican Party where the Republican Governor has been violating state Merit Laws that prohibit political cronyism. Here is a Daily Kos diary covering the latest. You can also find out much more about the corrupt Kentucky Republican Party at the Bluegrass Report.

    But…what is worse is Bush’s cronyism. Every time Bush appoints someone he implies that Democratic opposition is somehow partisan and unpatriotic. But I have come to realize that unquestioned acceptance of Bush nominees is highly dangerous.

    Let’s look at FEMA. Mike Brown was appointed to head FEMA as a favor to Bush campaign manager Joe Allbaugh, who had been Bush's chief of staff in Texas. Here is a article on the cronyism of Bush and Allbaugh and how Brown benefited from his friendship with Allbaugh.

    The bottom line is Michael Brown had no experience and lied on his biographical report to the Senate when he was nominated. The Senate approved him almost without question. The result: when disaster hit Louisiana and Mississippi, Brown fumbled it so badly that, almost uniquely in the Bush administration of failure, Brown was forced to resign. Had the Senate looked at Brown more carefully, they might have realized he was appointed as a reward to Allbaugh, a political appointment unrelated to merit. Brown’s appointment was a return to the Spoils System of government. And hundreds, maybe thousands, died because of his incompetence. Corruption kills in Bush America!

    Now Bush has appointed John Roberts to be head of the highest court in our nation. And again they are demanding that the Senate rubber-stamps this appointment. But how can we trust the Republicans to appoint qualified people when it has become clear that cronyism and corruption dominate the Republican choices for appointments.

    Please write the media and decry Bush’s cronyism and demand that from now on the Senate must examine each and every Bush appointment with a microscope to see if he is well qualified. And they must reject any nominee that is anything but perfectly qualified. This is not about partisan politics. It is about clean and effective government. Write the media!

    Sunday, September 11, 2005


    This is not directly focused on Republican corruption...but it does involve some hypocracy and out-and-out callousness that is just disgusting. In general I want to focus on the corruption of Republicans, most obvious and odious in Ohio, Kentucky and Missouri. But this is a different kind of disgusting Republican behavior--callousness.

    The Republicans are well known for underfunding America's infrastructure, and that is one reason why New Orleans was flooded so badly. Everyone who live in NYC knows how badly funded our subways, roads and schools are. But when it comes to pork in their own districts, Republicans wallow in it. The city of Ketchikan, Alaska, with 14,000 residents, are building a bridge to Gravina Island, with a population of 50. Don Young (R-AK) pushed for and got Federal funding to build that bridge. Yet levees in New Orleans were neglected year after year. It is absolutely disgusting.

    But at least most Republicans realized that after the fact they had to show sympathy. So Congress overwhelmingly passed, and Bush signed, a bill giving aid to the victims of Katrina. But 11 particularly cold-hearted Republicans couldn't even bring themselves to be this generous. These 11 Republican Reptiles voted to leave those affected by Katrina on their own. I should note that NO DEMOCRATS voted to abandon the victims of Katrina yet again...only these 11 Republicans. We have to make these bastards pay by forcing them to defend their callousness when they are up for re-election.

    Here is my Act Blue list dedicated to defeating the Katrina 11. Please donate and please circulate this list now because we will need some really serious effort to make these seats competative. Let's show America that blaming the victim is not acceptable.

    I also want to continue to call people's attention to two other Act Blue lists put together by someone else targeting the 10 most vulnerable Repblicans, and protecting the most vulnerable Democrats. Donations to these lists would be more practical than donating to my list, but donating to defeat the Katrina 11 will give you better Karma because you will be going for the most cold-hearted of the lot.

    Thursday, September 08, 2005


    The FBI is investigating corruption in Brooklyn. Did the Dem party in Brooklyn do something wrong? Well…probably! The Brooklyn Dem party is split between the corrupt machine and the so-called reform clubs. It is notorious for being mired in corruption. Well now it seems the corruption in the Dem party in Brooklyn just may have gotten the attention of the FBI!

    I have been focusing on the Brooklyn DA position because here is where corruption seems to be a key issue and here is where the left has failed in a way that I, at least, see very clearly. And anyone who knows me knows that I have focused a fair amount of effort fighting republican corruption. Well, corruption isn’t just a Republican thing. True, the Republicans of today have taken corruption to new levels, levels that even Richard Nixon could only dream of. But here in Brooklyn, good old fashioned corruption is alive and well…and more disgusting than ever.

    Back during the peak petitioning season, I was told (second hand, mind you) about instances of threats and intimidation by people associated with the Hynes and the Sampson campaigns. I have nothing but the word of reliable friends on this, but both Hynes and Sampson have apparently acted like thugs in their bid for the DA spot. But there is nothing so far to pin it on them, so this is nothing but hearsay. But that might change.

    The Brooklyn DA race has become in my mind a nightmare that shows the horrible weakness of the Democratic party. The candidates are terrible, by and large, and the best candidate never got the support he deserved from the very people who claim they want a good candidate. This race illustrates the failures of BOTH the leftist and mainstream elements of the Democratic party.

    Here has been my analysis to date. The main fight is between two corrupt, thuggish factions within the Brooklyn Dem party. The incumbent, Charles Hynes, has held this post for 16 years. He is known for taking bribes and intimidating opposition. He claims to be responsible for a very reduced crime rate, which may be, in part, true. From what I can tell, he did some good things ten years ago and has ridden on that success since then. He approaches the post as a part-time job, teaching and writing in addition to being the DA for the entire Kings county. Rumor has it that his folk intimidated those petitioning for other candidates. Hynes’ main opposition is John Sampson. Sampson is supported by Clarence Norman. Norman is the man who controls the Brooklyn Dem party. He is head of the Brooklyn Dem machine…a machine that delivers one of the LOWEST voter turnouts in the nation. I am part of his machine in that I am a Democratic County Committee member in Brooklyn. The County Committee meetings are, to put it mildly, little more than farce. Norman is known for his corruption and has four indictments coming from Hynes which are going to be going to trial soon. Sampson is probably MORE corrupt than Hynes and possibly similarly thuggish, if the reports I have been told are true. This Celebrity Death Match between Hynes and Sampson is basically a fight between corrupt and corrupter. Neither is worth much in the eyes of a good, solid, honest citizen. At least Hynes has indicted Norman. THAT is his current claim to fame.

    This is already embarrassing to any self-respecting Dem. But there was once hope. There were three reform candidates. Arnie Kriss seems to have little going for him. Despite being focused on this race for months, I know little of him except that he has been described as the “Ed Koch” candidate. Well, these days, that doesn’t count for much. Then there is Mark Peters. I have met him twice. He SOUNDS good. Speaks very progressive and righteous. But, he is a young rich kid and he gives me the impression of someone who knows what to say but doesn’t have his heart in it. I think his intentions are good. BUT, he is a kid! He brags about the money he has raised (mostly from his rich family) and his connection with Eliot Spitzer (who, as far as I can tell, will have nothing to do with him). The main thing going for him is he is not connected with EITHER the corrupt Hynes or corrupt Sampson campaigns. When I first met him I distincly had the feeling he was waiting to figure out what I wanted to hear and then he told me what he thought that was. I don't trust him, but I have nothing solid against him. I may even be misjudging him. Some folks who I respect considerably have endorsed him, so maybe he is better than he seems.

    But there was one good candidate. I mean REALLY good candidate. This guy was someone I was willing to give some time and money to. He is recognized as honest by everyone. Every campaign recognizes his integrity. He is the smartest of the candidates. His name is Paul Wooten and, among NUMEROUS accomplishments in his life, he was one of the writers of the legislation that created the Public Advocate position in NYC. Wooten was the IDEAL candidate for the Brooklyn DA job. Period.

    Paul Wooten should have had the left, progressive, Green, Dean folks flocking to him. THIS is the candidate that they claim the Dems never run, the man with smarts, guts and integrity who puts civil rights before ANYTHING else. I petitioned for Wooten and, when the petition season was over, Wooten had more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Then, almost immediately after the filing deadline, Wooten dropped out "due to lack of funds." This left a VERY sad field of candidates…and embarrassment to the Dem Party. I blamed it on the fact that, by and large, the leftist wing of the Dem party, which claims to WANT this kind of candidate, failed to back him. Few people backed Wooten. The main person I know who fought for Wooten was the former head of the Brooklyn Kerry campaign. NOT the Dean or Kucinich or Nader campaigns. The Kerry campaign. Where was the left? I blamed the whining, complaining left for talking big but not coming out when their ideal candidate materialized.

    Well, I was probably right about that, but…apparently more is going on in Brooklyn. And it isn’t likely to smell good. Something is rotten in Kings county and it probably has to do with the Hynes or the Sampson campaign. And the FBI is smelling it!

    Here are some excerpts from the Footnotes Newsletter:

    A few weeks ago the FBI requested copies of petition sheets from the Brooklyn Board of Elections. According to reports, the agents specifically wanted to examine the petition sheets submitted by the candidates for [Brooklyn] District Attorney…This investigation is intended to determine whether the Civil Rights of some Kings County Voters have been violated, and who might have been responsible for that possible violation…

    The Civil Rights investigation was reportedly triggered by the sudden withdrawal of candidate Paul Wooten from the District Attorney contest. It would also involve the rumor that Wooten might have been pressured to withdraw by individuals connected with candidate John Sampson‘s campaign, and also by County Leader and Assemblyman Clarence Norman.

    Now let me be clear here. I was surprised at the suddenness of Wooten’s withdrawal so soon after the end of petitioning. I had thought he might not have gotten enough signatures, but I was assured that he had gotten MORE than enough. And, throughout the petitioning period, I heard rumors of intimidation. Nothing but rumors! But there it was. Suddenly, he had withdrawn and the FBI was interested!

    From the point of view of the FBI, the withdrawal of Wooten could have deprived many voters of the right to vote for the candidate of their choice. And if this withdrawal was the result of threats or an inducement of some kind, the FBI could determine that there was a Civil Rights violation and maybe something worse.

    Candidate Wooten has strenuously and repeatedly denied that his withdrawal was part of any deal made by him. And FOOTNOTES does indeed believe Wooten’s statement.

    I met Wooten three times. The one thing that he exuded more than anything else was integrity. In fact, everyone I talked to who supported other candidates agreed that Wooten had the most integrity. So I think some kind of back room deal is unlikely…though, given Brooklyn where even Yassky can be sucked into the influence of the machine, who knows?

    However, just as clearly, his withdrawal was a reluctant one. Wooten had just overcome the difficult and expensive challenge of petition-gathering. He had probably spent his own money, and even borrowed money to get on the ballot. Wooten was on the Ballot. The campaign was really just about to begin. And who knew what could or would happen in the 3 months between June 11 and September 13?

    Candidate Wooten had nothing to lose by letting his name remain on the ballot. And at the very least he could have engaged in some level of fund-raising to reduce the debts he had incurred. Nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

    Besides, Wooten, like almost every other Brooklyn lawyer (except the carpet-bagging, opportunistic, congressional candidate David Yassky) probably found Sampson’s candidacy to be absurd and offensive.

    This is a little unfair to Yassky. He is dedicated and in touch with the district, not such a “carpet-bagger.” BUT, he has been induced to support Sampson, something that greatly surprised me given Yassky’s close ties with the reform Democratic clubs.

    For Wooten, who is proud of his expertise, and in fact, even slightly arrogant [funny…I always considered him excessively humble, but…], the support of Sampson by the Clarence Norman gang had to be particularly painful. While Sampson’s legal experience seemed to be restricted to representing landlords in landlord/tenant court, Wooten has had his own Law Office in downtown Brooklyn for many years. He has had decades of experience as a trial lawyer, and is well-known and respected in Brooklyn’s Courts.

    In fact, over the years Wooten has handled cases for most of Brooklyn’s Black elected officials and we suspect that most of the time he has received little if any compensation for his legal work. So, as far as Paul Wooten was concerned, this was an opportunity for all those Black elected officials whom he had helped to finally show their gratitude to him…

    There was no one in Brooklyn who honestly felt that John Sampson was more qualified than Paul Wooten to be District Attorney. Except Sampson’s father…Maybe. But Wooten found himself running into closed doors and getting apologies rather than checks from people whom he expected to support him.

    I will again note that Wooten not only ran into closed doors among the black community, but also among the leftist community who largely ignored him, despite his excellent qualifications and universally acknowledged integrity.

    The overt and first part of the message was that Sampson was the County’s candidate through whom County would terminate Charles Hynes on September 13.

    The second part of the message is one which John Sampson himself stated to the Daily News. As District Attorney, Sampson would take the extraordinary step of conducting a “review and evaluation” of the on-going corruption trials of Clarence Norman and Jeff Feldman. So really, making a check to Paul Wooten’s campaign would be hurting the County Leader and Deputy Speaker of the Assembly. You wouldn’t want to do that, would you?

    Well…here we get to it. Hynes is corrupt and thuggish…but he HAS indicted Clarence Norman, so groups like Independent Neighborhood Democrats are backing him for THAT reason. Wooten would have, if anything, pursued these indictments more doggedly than Hynes. Sampson wants to “review” them. So, the machine could NOT tolerate a Wooten candidacy.

    The end result was that Paul Wooten’s fund-raisers ended up costing him money rather than raising money for him. Few people would dare to have their names listed as contributors to Wooten’s campaign.

    And then some time around July 11, an “inner-circle” meeting of the elders was convened in Bedford Stuy. FOOTNOTES was informed that it was convened by Al Vann and Annette Robinson, and that Paul Wooten was invited. The purpose of the meeting was to have a number of Black Elected officials and activists point out to Paul Wooten the wisdom and appropriateness of withdrawing from the District Attorney race.

    It was the typical “et tu Brute” scene with hugs and expressions of love and admiration for Paul and his unselfishness…

    DISGUSTING! Democrats throughout Brooklyn should be FLOCKING to support Wooten. Instead he is opposed by the corrupt machine, ignored by the so-called progressive left and abandoned by his original supporters. I AM EMBARASSED TO BE A DEMOCRAT IN BROOKLYN!

    And now, the FBI may be involved in more than the violation of voters rights to have a choice.

    Agents could be interested in whether Paul Wooten’s withdrawal was in any way connected with a long-range plan to tamper with criminal trials that are now being prosecuted.

    If interviews with the FBI reveal that there have been discussions between District Attorney candidate and defendant Clarence Norman about the future disposition of his criminal trials, John Sampson could find himself in a very sticky situation. Stickier than when he wobbled away from Gaza after hearing the first explosion of a rocket in the distance.

    What we have here is a summary of everything that is wrong with the Democratic party. A useless incumbent, a corrupt machine, an absent progressive grassroots, and betrayal of the one good candidate in the whole lot.

    I have been asked by many, including David Yassky, who I would support given the field. With the withdrawal of Paul Wooten, NO ONE is a good candidate. That is what the Dems have created for themselves. This is what the Brooklyn Dems are and what the reform clubs and progressive organizations are supposed to be fighting. I have been undecided who to vote for. But now I am almost certain I will either vote for pretty-rich-kid Peters because at least he isn’t corrupt yet, or I will write in Wooten because HE is the man who should be Brooklyn DA.