Something Stinks: John Edwards and a Thirty Year Jail Term?

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Does no one else find the very fact of John Edwards being on trial curious? Does no one else wonder about the criminal basis for the prosecution? About who in politics does and does not end up being destroyed by matters related to sexual behavior?

Let me preface my take on the Edwards trial with one general observation: Not all politicians are created equal. And not all are treated equally. Therein lies an issue deserving a much, much closer look: whether vulnerable Democrats, chiefly of the liberal persuasion, are targeted for destruction.  Or at least helped along to their doom by a double standard.


But first, the specifics of the Edwards case. He faces a potential $1.5 million fine, but, far more seriously, up to thirty years imprisonment. Thirty years. His crime? Not murder, not torture, not armed robbery, not stealing money from clients. No, his crime was his failure to report campaign contributions. While preparing for his second presidential bid, in 2006, he got caught up in an extramarital affair that produced a child. And, not exactly able to announce that fact or ask his sick wife to sign off, the wealthy Edwards turned to some wealthy backers to take care of the woman and the baby and hide the whole thing from Elizabeth Edwards and presumably everyone else. Two people gave him a total of $900,000.

When someone running for office receives money, or the benefit of money or services, that’s a contribution, and it must both be reported and be subject to restrictions on amount. Unless of course it has nothing to do with the campaign itself. Certainly, candidates receive ordinary income (such as fees for lawyering) that is not subject to those limits. And if someone gives a candidate a gift that is not used for the campaign, it is similarly not subject to campaign finance laws.

So, what’s the ill intent here—and the consequence for the public interest? If this were a bribe by someone seeking to influence Edwards as an office-holder, that would be one thing. If the money were intended to help sway voters to support Edwards, that might be valid cause for pursuing the case aggressively. But nothing about the two donors, both elderly (one has since died), suggests an attempt to gain illegal influence. In reality, both donors –the billionaires Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and Fred Baron—apparently liked and believed in Edwards and, when asked, were quick to aid him in a tough spot.

If it sounds like Edwards still needed to apply FEC rules and limits, consider this: Scott Thomas, a former commissioner of the Federal Election Commission testified that he did not consider that the payments would have come under his agency’s auspices—in part because they were not used directly for the campaign and did not free up any of Edwards’ own money to be spent on the campaign. And Thomas noted that the gifts from one of the donors continued after Edwards dropped out of the race, indicating they were not for campaign purposes. Unfortunately for Edwards, the ex-commissioner, a 37-year FEC veteran with great credibility on these matters,  was only permitted to testify without the jury present—and the jury may never get to hear from him.

In any case, one doesn’t need to in any way defend Edwards’ conduct to see that the matter is a bit complex, and the prosecution for a federal crime, and the prospective punishment, extraordinarily harsh.

The “Liberal” Media Loves to Sink Liberals

What’s this really about? The equal application of election law? Equal pursuit of actual corruption? An equal standard of sexual misbehavior and how it should be handled?  It’s hard to see any of these legitimate concerns front and center here.

What did strike me about this matter is that it seems to confirm a feeling that I have long had:  Progressive Democrats who get caught with their pants down appear to pay a steeper price in terms of impact on their career prospects—if not criminal prosecution— when compared to similarly compromised corporate-friendly Republicans.

Let’s consider the long list of Democrats before John Edwards who were wounded by accusations of sexual misbehavior: Gary Hart. Gary Condit (who was tied to the disappearance and murder of a young woman; although in the end it turned out he had nothing to do with it, he was ruined anyway because of an alleged dalliance with the young woman). Bill Clinton. Eliot Spitzer. Anthony Weiner. (I’m sure I am forgetting some.)

Republican politicians seem no less prone than Democrats to adultery and other common if frowned-upon behavior. But compared to the infamy visited upon those named above, how many of us recall all the GOP/Conservative Scandals? How often were these the topic of constant chatter on the major talk radio programs? Try David Vitter, Newt Gingrich, Jon Ensign, Dan Burton, Helen Chenoweth, Henry Hyde, Robert Livingston, Mark Foley, to name but a few. Several quickly resigned but the only one who, pardon the expression, went down after extensive coverage (and his own resistance) that I can recall was Larry Craig—whose public washroom behavior (and tone-deaf defense thereof) was pretty hard to ignore.

In fact, given the standard GOP claim to represent “family values” and morality in general, it would seem that shenanigans from that side of the aisle would warrant more attention—and graver consequences — if for nothing more than the inherent hypocrisy and cynicism.

We cannot ignore the decision-makers who decide whom to prosecute, partially in response to unstated political and other pressures. Nor should we ignore the role of the media (and supposed friends of the Democrats) in sealing their doom.

The New York Times, purported linchpin of the liberal media, hammered Bill Clinton and broke the Eliot Spitzer call-girl story.  Gary Hart was investigated by the purportedly moderate-liberal Miami Herald and Washington Post. Clinton was taken to the woodshed by Joe Lieberman and some feminists. Spitzer was quietly mugged, off-record, by his Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who was only too glad to capture the governorship himself  two years later.  In the case of Rep. Weiner, the saturation coverage made it difficult to recall that he had not actually had sexual contact with the women he was sending messages to. Nevertheless, he was assailed by prominent liberal blogs and cut off by Nancy Pelosi; his seat, a sure Democratic bet, went GOP in a special election.

The same cannot be said, in general, of conservative politicians or conservative media. Their tendency has been to largely ignore, or to understate, or to deflect attention from the Republican shenanigans and abuses.

So much for the notion of a “liberal” media showing favoritism to its own.  My experience is that the “liberal” label when applied to journalists is a red herring which distracts us from the fundamentally accomodationist nature of the corporate-owned media. But the liberal label is effective in pressuring journalists to prove they do not coddle liberals—by doing the exact opposite.

The media is, by nature, cowardly. It too seldom goes after powerful people over the actual business of governing because it is too hard to make the audience care. And it only goes after people for misusing their peckers when it senses that a mob is forming, that there’s blood in the water. Then it is all about going to the head of the pack.

If we examine the case of Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, the contrast to Edwards’s treatment is startling. Sen. Vitter, a slavish advocate of oil industry and other corporate interests, broke the law prior to 2004 by patronizing prostitutes while a member of the House. The scandal broke after he had been elected to the Senate; he is still in the Senate. When it became public that his name was in the records of a Capitol Hill escort agency, Vitter put out a written statement of contrition, went into a week of seclusion, emerged and, with his wife (who happens to be a prosecutor), made a brief public apology, then refused to answer questions. He was never prosecuted due to the statute of limitations. The woman who ran the call girl ring he frequented, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, aka the “DC Madam,” was found hanged in what was labeled a suicide, after publicly saying that if anything happened to her, she most certainly did not intend to do harm to herself.

Had Vitter stepped down, the Democratic governor of Louisiana at the time would presumably have appointed a Democrat to temporarily fill his seat—an important factor in a closely divided Senate.

The hypocrisy of a “family values” politician like Vitter knows no bounds. When Vitter was in the House of Representatives he actually took calls from the DC Madam during roll call votes; later, Sen. Vitter expressed outrage over purported actions of the poverty group ACORN, where several staffers showed tolerance toward conservative operatives with a hidden camera who were pretending to be involved in prostitution.

So Vitter is still in the Senate, defending the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, while Anthony Weiner, who was never accused of any crime, was forced to resign by howls of protests from all quarters, including the Democratic leadership who abandoned him in the face of the “inevitable.”

Ye Olde Honey Pot

The media—and hence the public—tend to focus more attention on failings in politicians’ private lives than in their public ones. We already know that politicians are all too human in their private tastes, which appear to have little cause-and-effect relationship to their conduct in office. But we continue to make personal rectitude the standard of fitness for politicians, rather than the actual policies they advocate—and the interests that shape their priorities.

Yet, paradoxically, it is exactly in their public actions and the policies they espouse that we may look for the roots of these selective scandals.  Could politicians with the “wrong public values” be targeted for a fall?

I find it instructive to look at the specifics of Edwards’ predicament, and the curious decision to prosecute in a federal court what was, while morally inexcusable, private behavior involving chiefly the wronging of a spouse.

-Edwards became enamored of a woman who approached him—and who was well aware that he was married, and how exposure of the affair could impact his future if it became public.

-The story came to the public in part with the help of the National Enquirer, the same paper that played a prominent role in Hart’s downfall in the run-up to the 1988 Presidential election..

-Edwards was, like Hart, a handsome, charismatic—and populist—candidate, a rare liberal hope in a party traditionally prone to nominating “system” moderates. His issues were poverty and income inequality, climate change, universal health care, and withdrawing troops from Iraq. When Rielle Hunter approached him in 2006 he was on a cross-country tour to help labor unions.  

-Hunter in some ways is reminiscent of other women who came forward to ruin or nearly ruin Democratic politicians with accusations of sexual improprieties—while personally profiting from their actions–including Donna Rice (Hart), Gennifer Flowers (Clinton) and Ashley Dupre (Spitzer). Meanwhile, some of those who turned on Edwards, notably his former aide Andrew Young and his wife, have by their own admission done well financially for doing Edwards in.

-Though Hunter was their entire case, prosecutors were sufficiently wary of her (or perhaps of drawing additional attention to her precise role in the matter) that they did not call her to the witness stand.

This investigative reporter smells a rat in Edwards’s downfall. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m not sure exactly who decided what, when, but consider that Hunter was down on her luck when she happened to bump into Edwards while he was in a hotel bar. The following excerpt is instructive. It comes from a book by Edwards’ former aide Andrew Young, now a prosecution witness against Edwards (The Politician):

The senator first met Rielle in early 2006 when he was in New York during a cross-country speaking tour with actor Danny Glover on behalf of hotel workers who wanted his help at union rallies. As she eventually told me herself, she saw Edwards in the lounge of the Regency, a five-star hotel on Park Avenue…..

By the time she saw John Edwards, she had lived much of her life on the edge of glamour, wealth, and enlightenment but was, at forty-one, divorced, unemployed, and living rent- free with a friend in New Jersey named Margaret “Mimi” Hockman.

When she made eye contact with the senator…she asked him if he was the candidate she had seen on television. After he identified himself, she said, “You’re so hot, but on television that doesn’t come through. You seem distant. I can help you with that.”…

Rielle …decided immediately that she would devote herself to helping him reach this potential. This assistance would begin later, after she arranged to bump into him on the sidewalk, where she would flirt some more.

What’s even more interesting is that Hunter wasn’t really in a position to do what she promised. Partnering with her roommate, the two had to recruit still others to execute rudimentary video and editing work. Soon she and her crew were traveling with the politician, filming him in cinema verite style for online “webisodes.”

Now, how about Hart? The Hart scandal had the flavor of an operation designed to remove an enormously popular, populist candidate from the race. (Hart was at the time the leading Democratic candidate, and well ahead of his likely Republican opponent, vice president George H.W. Bush, in match-ups.)

Hart was invited onto a boat with a ridiculously newsworthy name (“Monkey Business”), an attractive blond plopped in his lap, and a waiting photographer got the money shot. A private investigator provided journalists with a report saying that Hart and the blond, Donna Rice, appeared to have spent the night together.  Other reporters were given an anonymous inside tip. The story reads right like a thriller—or an intelligence op.  A bit like how Watergate became a sensation. (See our series on the downing of Nixon here.)

It is now common knowledge that Clinton was targeted by a well-oiled Right-Wing operation (not too far off from Hillary Clinton’s statement, seemingly wild at the time, that her husband was the victim of a “vast, right-wing conspiracy”). We never did learn quite enough about how someone with Monica Lewinsky’s modest credentials and unique charms (just the sort Bill Clinton was known to appreciate) ended up interning for him. On the surface, it all looks innocent enough, but I’ve seen enough hints, and, over the years, enough comparable scenarios, to wonder.

Message: If You Mess With the Establishment, Don’t Mess With the Ladies

The Spitzer story featured a cast of corporate kingpins angry at his actions as attorney general, and the GOP “dirty tricks” specialist Roger Stone. Exactly how Spitzer’s financial transactions drew federal attention has been inadequately explored, as has why so big a deal was made of his extracurricular activities (the central federal legal “issue” was that he arranged for a prostitute to cross state lines). As for Anthony Weiner, he was targeted by the late provocateur Andrew Breitbart  and fellow Right-wing activists who used fake email addresses and pretended to be underage girls.

Probably the most interesting thing is how many of these guys who went down—or in Clinton’s case nearly did—were messing with powerful interests. Excepting perhaps Clinton, they all had a streak of populism—going after bankers, and the one percent, and, in at least one case, the CIA. Hart and Edwards both had stirred class-conscious politics prominently into their broader messaging. Hart was on the investigative Senate committee that looked into CIA abuses in the 1970s, and became an outspoken critic of the excesses of the spy establishment—just as Richard Nixon was secretly battling the CIA, the Pentagon, and corporate interests at the time that the Watergate scandal began to undo his presidency. Weiner was a liberal and a close ally of the Clintons with an eye on the New York mayor’s office. Spitzer was a leading figure in targeting Wall Street, insurance industry and other corporate abuses. He was one big problem for some tough customers, and had his eye on the White House next.

Is all this worth another look? This reporter thinks so.

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49 responses to “Something Stinks: John Edwards and a Thirty Year Jail Term?”

  1. olenska says:

    You missed one. According to Hunter S. Thompson’s last book – completed just before his “suicide” – Dennis Hastert ran a child prostitution ring in DC using orphan boys from Boystown who also ran cocaine across country for them. Hastert left Congress very quietly and the media never mentioned it. gee, wonder why.

  2. Bill Jones says:

    The Republicans get a pass because everyone on the right knows that politicians are lying scumbags.
    The Democrats get hosed because the left is dumb enough to believe that their guys are decent people.
    The right has their beliefs affirmed, the left betrayed.

    Who do you think will be more vindictive?

    • Russ Baker says:

       If “everyone on the right knows” politicians are liars, then the screaming crowds at Sarah Palin presentations are….liberals?

  3. Banslow8 says:

    Excellent research and observations.  Thanks for posting. 

  4. Riorat. says:

    I’ve heard the “Lion of the Senates” 69 transgression was an actual hit JOB. Regardless its all so sadly true, the bad guys took over on that fate full November day.

  5. Scamper4 says:

    I’ve said this same thing for years. Michael Dukakis was as much of a ‘war’ hero as GHW Bush but was made fun of and humiliated for looking a little dorky while riding in a tank. Clinton was a setup. Edwards I don’t know for sure since he married the woman. I’d still vote for Edwards. Good grief, most presidents had affairs before or while in office. Don’t like it, but power makes people take risky chances.

  6. Colleen says:

    Before he came to office i had believed Obama was a people’s man.  And the powers that be let us think that about both Obama and Edwards.  But maybe Edwards was the real deal and maybe that is why he had to be taken out of the presidential race by the powers that be in order to let a pseudo people’s man (their guy actually) take the White House.  

    • GeorgeHW says:


    • olenska says:

       I was raising money for Edwards when he left the race. Edwards was about to take down K street and outlaw lobbying if he had made it into office.  What family with obscene wealth might have paid off the Enquirer to pursue him?

  7. Diane Noland says:

    I think you’re onto something, Russ! Most definitely. The powers that be don’t like Democrats and especially those who really do threaten their claim. Edwards did. I thought he was the best candidate hands down. He had it all. Damn that male testosterone. It’s every man’s Achilles Heel and the thugs know it.

    • Neo-Realist says:

       More specifically, TPTB like Corporate and or Conservative Democrats but not the progressive dems.

  8. grammaellen says:

    Edwards did do wrong but so has so many others. Thirty years is rediculous!! he has suffered enough. I never wanted Weiner to resign but thats the way so many Democrats are(I’m a Democrat) but I’m  not a wimp.They never back up their own but pick on them like chickens do to their sick. In the 2000 elections when a group from Texas came to the door that was locked where both parties plus a Judge were counting the votes a knock came at the door demanding to get in & the wimpy democrats ran out the back door like cockroaches. They seem to think it makes them look bad when they stand & fight. Really it makes them look like they have no backbone.
    If these socalled lawyers or whatever there called want to help our country then go after Wall St or the banks that have brought so many hardships on Americans & guit spending tax money on people that have not done much wrongs. Gramma Ellen

  9. Solas says:

    Perhaps it’s like the wine and the tablecloth parable: one notices drops of wine on an otherwise white tablecloth, whereas when a cloth is already spotted and stained, the drops of wine do not show. 

  10. abbeysbooks says:

    This may be too long for you. I hope not. I posted it at susiemadrak also.

    Not just New America they have been going on forever. It’s just that there are more people like you out there noticing and commenting on the hypocrisy. The problem is that the criticism strengthens the system and they use your criticism to strengthen the system they are perpetuating. They incorporate it, digest it and make muscles from it.Marcuse: The capitalistic system is like Pac-Man. It devours its “enemies”. Marcuse never thought his books criticizing the system would become best sellers. Moore has said the same about his documentaries. They make money for what they denounce so they distribute them.Edwards is a scapegoat. What else is new. He is the “swine sent over the cliff” holding all the sins getting dumped overboard. Edwards is Deterrence in Baudrillard language. His trial is a “floating sign” masking the emptiness of the justice system.Guerrilla Law is the response to this. Foucault has written a lot about it, the justification for the resistance to it, the method of using judo against it. Gene Zimmerman taught $500 2 week – 10 hours a day – seminars on how to do it. If we all did it we would get justice in this country as our Constitutional Rights are practically impregnable. But if you don’t know your rights, you may as well not have them.Edwards is now a victim of what he did in the court system as the aggressor. He is being tried for fucking outside of marriage while Elizabeth played the victim out loud. This is what he is being tried for.It shows how very very moral and ethical the system is to try a former candidate for president of the United States. Even idols can be tumbled off their pedestals.You are always so close to full understanding.

    • Russ Baker says:

       Some interesting points, but a bit “all over the map.” Shorter, with a sharper focus, and paragraph breaks, would be helpful to others. Anyway, thanks.

    • abbeysbooks says:

      I’m non-linear. Sorry.

    • abbeysbooks says:

      Actually my comments come from Baudrillardian and Foucauldian post modern thinking. Sort of like cookie crumbs for a different way of thinking about Edwards’ targeting.Deterrence is for the purpose of drawing the attention from the masses possible focus on something they don’t want them to pay attention to. So bring charges against Edwards as his cheating will justify it. Same for Spitzer. See how moral we are! We care about victim wives!We will punish these dicks!

      Look how Michael Jackson was set up. Even when you win the litigation you still lose.

    • GeorgeHW says:

      Russ, you are the new Chuck Harder !

  11. willow says:

    He should have solicited boy pages, played footsie in the stalls of public bathrooms, or destroyed the global economy.  If he had, he’d be home free. 

  12. Though i am not anyone important in the scheme of things, I was taught early in life to always be honest and true,because anything  that  you do that is wrong  in this life, you will never get away with. You will always be caught, even if you think not, and some people do, but you will always be caught, and you will have to pay the consequences. It is sad that this is so hard for some people to learn,only to destroy their life,and in the process the lives that they could have helped just by doing the right thing.

    • abbeysbooks says:

      No you won’t always be caught. Only if someone wishes to make a scapegoat out of you. Give a parking ticket while a woman is in the back alley being accosted. The ticket is easier work.

      Bush the murderer and Cheney the kingmaker are not being prosecuted, are they? Edwards is being tried for fucking and impregnating a skank.

    • Guest says:

      Unfortunately you were taught something that doen’t match reality. Behind all great fortunes there is always a crime, or act of treachery.

    • Major Martin says:

       I’m with you, Wanda.

      All our acts are recorded in the very fabric of the universe. Those who believe they get away with their crimes are short-term thinkers who just don’t understand the larger picture. In time, they will….

  13. Chris R. says:

    Everyone remembers Donna Rice, but it was the Washington Post that forced Hart out in May of 1987.  The WaPo ignored the well known rumors about Bush the elder having a mistress, which combined with his other baggage would have cost him the election, while threatening to “out” a woman whom Hart apparently had had a long term relationship when separated from his wife.  Considering Hart’s sterling public record, the WaPo’s blackmail, and that is what it was, was extremely partisan.  No doubt team Bush rewarded the WaPo with exclusive stories for their hatchet job of Hart.

    If you actually look into the details of the Monkey Business caper, you will find that Hart’s media consultant, Ray Strothers, was originally scheduled to be on that trip to help Hart write a speech.  At the last minute he was called away for a fundraiser for the mayor of Dallas, who was the wife of DNC chair Robert Strauss, who later was named the last US ambassador to the USSR.  Considering that Hart and Gorbachev had planned reductions in nuclear weapons, etc., this reward for someone who helped Bush win the election is glaring.

    You will also find a British connection since Brit Christine Keeler, who brought down a British government with a sex scandal involving the UK John Profumo, the British Secretary of State for War, and a Russian military officer, sold the pictures to the National Enquirer of Donna Rice sitting on Hart’s lap AND Rupert Murdoch was granted special favors from Bush to get his US citizenship and ownership of several U.S. television stations.  At one point during the media frenzy in 1987, Hart made statements indicating that he felt his phone had been tapped.  In light of Murdoch’s habit of doing this in the U.K., there is reason to believe that he did that here as well to aid the election of Bush in 1988.

    • Chris R. ….

      R U saying that Christine Keeler possessed the prints/negs of Gary Hart and Dona Rice propinquiting and sold them to the Nat. Enq.? I’ve not heard that one, unless I’m mis-reading your sentence re: “a British connection” to Hart’s prosecution/persecution.
      On the subject of Spitzer’s financial transactions being the “fruit of the poisonous tree”–that is, gained by illegal wiretaps, check Jim Bamford’s WIRED mag article from April 2012, a folo on his “The Shadow Factory,” asserting that the National Surveillance Agency (NSA)* had installed “splitter” computer systems (some made in Israel, I believe–as NARUS-brand) on ALL the US telecommunications carriers, effective Jan/Feb, 2002. (I think Bamford quoted Russ in one of his books, no?)

      That is, ALL of our US telecommunications have been duplicated/copied and shipped down to the Total Information Awareness system at Lackland AFB, which has now run out of room, so an even bigger facility is being built at Bluffdale, Utah. I like to call these facilities “spyClouds,” after Apple’s “iCloud” and the general “cloud computing” lingo characterizing humongous computer storage “disk farms” or “data-centers.”

      The NSA’s Big Brother system may not yet have the all the capabilities theatricalized in the BBC’s “The Last Enemy” (which see, if you haven’t already) and other techno-spy entertainments, but remember that Blair/Orwell’s original Big Brother (1948) had two-way TV–video cameras and microphones in every TV set. We’ve reached that technical plateau at least with the video-conferencing capabilities built into iPhones, iPads, laptops, used with such applications as Google+, Skype and FaceTime, etc.

      But the NSA’s goal, I’m sure, is to build all the technology needed to surveil every citizen in the nation in real-time. Which suggests that every citizen should develop personal skills in using very high-order digital encryption technology for all their communications tasks, unless you want to exist off the grid, using smoke signals, jungle drums, wig-wag and perhaps tin-can telephones. Snail-mail or messengers have  been compromised ever since the “technology” of paper and ink, royal seals and sealing wax, and the horse (or pony) and rider were invented. Ditto “micro-dots” and “invisible ink” and the mini-Minolta.

      I don’t think, given current computing power, that it is an insurmountable problem to have real-time, total citizen surveillance. Way back in the Dark Ages (1980-81), using a DEC PDP 11/34, I had to find a way to translate the entire Encyclopædia Britannica (13 volumes and a yearbook, but not the ProPædia) from IBM’s EBCDIC to the ASCII which the Atex system used. It had a nice capability to “work-list” a queue (folder) to a task, which would then direct the output to the next step, or to an error queue. (Don’t know if this capability has been around since Unix, but it’s certainly replicated with AppleScripts and “smart folders.”) I merely had to create a folder for every character, upper-, lower- and piece-accent-cases, pass the article files to the first folder, have the task change each capital A from EBCDIC to ASCII, then pass the file to the lower-case “a” folder, then to B, b, C, c and so on,  like a waterfall or cascade, one letter at a time. If memory serves, I think it took about 8 hours to run all the EB articles through the cascade.

      Now, with “parallel computing” and “array processors” and high-powered micro-computers, such a task might take, what, three minutes? Or more like in Google-Time, with times like 0.18 seconds to search EBCDIC-to-ASCII (with 96,000 hits), but faster. To have, say, 10,000 spy agents each at a multiple-screen, multi-media workstation, tracking 10,000 citizens in real-time might require a workstation for each person being spied on. Perhaps the “workstation” would be as large as the “shipping containers” being used by the CIA and JSOC, etc., in which they run their Assassination-By-Joystick operations, with expensive, unmanned model airplanes (but bigger) and Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, via satellite telecommunication links. But whatever they come up with (and the NSA’s in-house (and out-house, or contractor-run)  for computer hardware, about every 18 months (Moore’s “Law”) the “power” of these devices will double. And that’s an exponential function, I believe. 

      I’d also think it’s safe to say that every one of these surveillance operations is illegal, violates the so-called Foreign Intelligence Surveillance act, and is totally beyond the bounds of any government activity supposedly reigned in by the Fourth Amendment. What’s the current slang about such things?  “Fourth Amendment…FAIL!”

      The saddest thing about this concerted and deliberate destruction of the Constitution, by those who have and/or had sworn to “preserve, protect and defend” it (the prexy) or “support and defend” it (everyone else), is that it’s being justified because, supposedly, “we were attacked” on 9/11/2001.  And of course, we were not—it was all an inside job, with, perhaps, some bits and pieces sub-contracted out, as was the task of destroying the crime scenes where some 3,000 souls, give-or-take, were snuffed.**


      * I’m proposing to “my” congressional delegation that the “National Security Agency” be renamed to more properly reflect its current activities, namely, the National Surveillance Agency. Any support will be appreciated. (This is a “truth in labeling” or Citizen Protection effort, seems to me.  Back in 1830, when Congress/Andrew Jackson wanted to steal the Cherokee’s land, they passed “The Indian Removal Act”. Compare that candor quotient with the totally bogus “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act”). 

      ** That total is probably subject to revision, given that people have observed that the former Solicitor General’s new wife looks a good deal like the wife who supposedly died in a 9/11 crash. If the price of DNA sequencers drops, as a current issue of “Science” magazine suggests, perhaps a large number of us could afford to have iPhones or iPads with built-in DNA sequencers. Heck, the fuzz are now doing iPhone retinal scans, without warrant, from a couple yards away. Which suggests that we all get polarizing coatings on our eye-glasses, along with some kind of Gimp Gaiters–that would use electrical impulses to alter our “gait,” the way we walk (Monty Python’s “Ministry of Silly Walks” was more prescient than it knew–or had a source close to M in MI6).

    • Major Martin says:

       And let’s not forget that Gene Pope Jr., publisher of the National Enquirer, worked for the CIA’s psychological-warfare division before emerging, with cash of mysterious origin, to purchase and rebuild the Hearst paper that became the Enquirer.

  14. John Lovejoy says:

    If you will recall, Boris Yeltsin, in his memoirs, said Monica Lewinsky was hired by powerful Republicans to bring down Clinton. Yeltsin said he knew about this beforehand and warned Clinton, who ignored Yeltsin.

  15. Kevin Schmidt says:

    The real reason why Edwards is being hit with this bogus charge is because he dared to defy the Bilderbergs, who used to be such good friends of his, that they invited him to their exclusive conferences.

    Edwards job was to help John Kerry throw the pResidential Election, and then he was supposed to fade from the political scene. But instead, he ran for pResident again, which shone the spotlight again on his prior thrown election.

    The Bilderbergs don’t like to be disobeyed, so they threw the law at him.

    • Kevin Schmidt says:

       By the way, where is Don Seligman, former governor of Alabama?

      Is he still being persecuted for being a popular Progressive Democrat?

    • Guest says:

      The media never finishes a story . What did happen to Seligman?

  16. Guest says:

    It’s just another diversionary show trial ,Info/tainment at it’s best/worst.

  17. notthere56 says:

    I greatly appreciate your work. I don’t disagree with your premise; I would add the worse trend of the same ilk, assassinations (JFK, RFK, MLK, Wellstone, etc), which is even more obviously one-sided.

    What I have wondered all along is this: In the Spitzer case, the genesis of the case was access to his banking records. Is this access itself a product of post-9/11 surveillance-state laws and power? I’m suspicious that that kind of surveillance, in his case specifically, was made possible by laws like the Patriot [sic] Act that enable these fishing expeditions into citizens’ private records. Is this info known, or is it an area that deserves consideration/investigation?

  18. sfulmer says:

    Are you smellin’ what the Baker is cookin’?  

  19. Arkana150 says:

    It was not a sex scandal but Rod Blagojevich was blatantly taken out quick. He threatened that the state of Illinois would stop all business with Bank of America if they did not restore credit to an Illinois business so the workers could get paid and he was arrested that night.

    • Guest says:

      Blagos proximity to to Barry was dicey He had to go quick . Ruin his reputation and then jail him with malice. Tried and true methods.

  20. Elliott Negin says:

    George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld started a war under false pretenses and have not been indicted for high crimes and misdemeanors. Cheney has cheerfully admitted that he condoned waterboarding, a violation of the Geneva convention. Bush senior pardoned all the Iran-contra criminals. Edwards, meanwhile, is facing 30 years. 

    • abbeysbooks says:

      Exactly. Correct thinking. Edwards is Deterrence, a “floating sign” asserting justice while masking the emptiness of our justice system. 

      I do a lot of blogs and Ayn Rand2 is only one of them. She asserted capitalism to the extreme, to excess, (following Nietzsche, her only mentor) to “worse than worse’ to hyper-capitalism, right to the limit of the abyss and then she pushed it over. (DeLillo’s Eric Packer in Cosmopolis) And she did it without knowing what she was doing, following Nietzsche without fully understanding him deeply enough. Baudrillard does and says so. 

  21. EJK says:

    Thank God. Finally someone sticking up for this guy. He was the ONLY true populist running in ’08. Did some bad stuff. Now the vampires got ‘im.

    I’d still take Edwards over Wall Street’s mass-murdering WH con-man anyday.

    Another great piece of real journalism from Mr. Baker.

    • Kevin Schmidt says:

       Edwards helped to throw the pResidential Election of 2004. He gets no sympathy for me. But the real criminals in all of this are the Bilderbergs, who also are the real power behind Democratic and Republican fascism that now runs the country with an iron fist.

    • Dmeredith says:

      Good piece Russ.  I knew Hart was set up but had not really thought much about Edwards, but the MO is certainly the same. 

    • abbeysbooks says:

      Sorry but your analysis of power is incorrect. See Foucault.

    • Neo-Realist says:

       Edwards helped throw the presidential election in 2004????  How?  The same VP candidate that wanted to fight the fraudulent returns in Ohio.  What are you talking about?

    • abbeysbooks says:

      Yes. Correct. See my two comments above.