Exposed: Oregon’s Liberal Ride To Corruption

One-party rule in Oregon has left the state in scandal. From pulling the plug on the state’s version of ObamaCare because of political considerations (costing taxpayers $300 million) to the willingness of the political class to engage in crony capitalism with “green” billionaires like Tom Steyer, the state government is currently being combed over by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Congress.

The scandals have a common thread — former Gov. John Kitzhaber and his political cronies. And now, we have a smoking gun in this scandal. A report from the Energy and Environment Legal Institute Report is titled: “Private Interests And Public Office: Coordination Between Governors, the Obama White House and the Tom Steyer – ‘Founded and Funded’ Network of Advocacy Groups to Advance the ‘Climate’ Agenda.” This report contains emails and other evidence of coordination in this scandal.

Kitzhaber was a former emergency room doctor who set out to “save American healthcare.” In other words, he wanted to nationalize it. For a while, he played the fawning media like a fiddle. The crown jewel in his experiment was the creation of Oregon’s Health Care Exchange, Cover Oregon. Flush with hundreds of millions in federal cash, the state set out to create a model exchange to prove to the world that government-run health care could work. It didn’t.

After running ads and promoting the site, contractors and tech experts pleaded with the governor and his staff to not “go live” with the exchange. It wasn’t ready. Following week after week of embarrassment by the failure to sign up one enrollee, the governor tasked his political team to oversee the project. With an election looming, they advised him to pull the plug and join the federal exchange — just to save their political bacon.

At the same time, Kitzhaber’s team got into bed with green billionaire Tom Steyer. Steyer has been spending his fortune over the past four years promoting every green energy scheme under the sun. From climate change legislation to a failed initiative in California that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and promised to create thousands of jobs, Steyer has been on a losing streak. Despite spending close to $100 million in the 2014 elections, the vast majority of the candidates he backed lost.

Steyer has made no secret that he views involvement in green energy as a personal profit center. While plowing his millions into green energy groups, he subsequently was involved in green energy companies like Kilowatt Systems, LLC. Steyer is listed as a “manager” of the company which says on their website: “We were created to help [solar and energy efficiency] industry professionals make more sales. More financing options and more customers equal more profit. It’s that simple.” By the public electing politicians who were willing to use taxpayer dollars to push green energy schemes, Steyer gets richer. Kitzhaber was a nice target for the billionaire, and Oregon seemed like a nice potential profit center.

A new report by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute details how Kitzhaber’s team and his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, an environmental activist who did “consulting work” promoting the climate agenda, worked closely with outside groups funded in part by Steyer to promote a taxpayer-dependent green energy project.

According to the Portland Oregonian, “(Dan) Carol is a former Democratic opposition researcher who worked on behalf of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.” Carol copied governors’ aides and contractors/consultants on emails, also including Steyer — “a billionaire spending $50 million of his own money to elect, among other things, senators who would push his issues” Steyer in fact prepared to go all-in on policy through his “NextGen Climate Action group [which] was reportedly ready to spend as much as $100 million or more in 2014.”

As the report shows, “A recent Oregon production of two former Kitzhaber aides’ work-related, private-account correspondence confirm that ‘Kitzhaber told his staff that new state energy policies should match those that special interests were paying his fiancée to promote.’ One damning directive from Kitzhaber, which contradicts previous denials, stated in blunt and pertinent part, ‘Cylvia needs to be advocating the same clean economy policy in her role as spokesperson/advocate for the Governor’s Office and her role as a Clean Economy fellow. There cannot be any daylight between them…. This is another reason why she needs a role in developing the (state) policy itself.’”

Once the cover was blown, Kitzhaber was forced to resign. The FBI is looking into the actions of Kitzhaber’s fiancee, his aides and their relationship with outside environmental groups looking to profit from the taxpayers. Congress is demanding documents regarding the Cover Oregon exchange scandal. These are dark days for the Evergreen State–but more critically, an important lesson on why there should be a separation between businesses and government.

One-party rule leads to corruption and scandal. It does not matter what party is in control; it seems like one party rule leads to corruption and self-dealing.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

WATCH: Journalist Releases Undercover Sting Video, Warns Hillary – More Is Coming

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas released undercover video on Wednesday purporting that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is skirting Iowa election law through its voter registration practices.

Time reported the the Clinton campaign went on high alert last week after determining at least two women it believed to be from Project Veritas were seeking to expose illegal activity within the organization. A campaign official expressed confidence the campaign has “upheld the law.” Furthermore, regarding voter registration–the focus of the video–the campaign’s “policy is to register all voters, regardless of their preference in candidates.”

What Project Veritas (PV) discovered, at least in the instructions given by one paid campaign staff member, is that its stated policy is not its practice.

The video opens with an undercover journalist from Project Veritas, who has apparently been posing as a volunteer, being told by an Iowa Hillary Clinton campaign staff member, identified as Sarah Sterner, that she is no longer in any Iowa Hillary offices or events anymore.

“Me?” the “volunteer” (from PV) responds–with a sense of faux disbelief reminiscent of Casablanca’s Captain Renault: “I am shocked — shocked— to find that gambling is going on in here!”  

The video then goes back a day earlier to show staffer Sterner explaining to a PV undercover journalist the campaign’s practice regarding voter registration: first, find out who they support.

“If you open up a conversation as like, ‘Hey, are you registered to vote?’ And they’re, like, ‘no,’ and they want to register, you have to register them,” she says.

“And so that’s why I want to keep our primary focus on, ‘Hey, are you a Hillary supporter?’ And then if not, then great move on, you know?” Sterner concludes.

The narrator, O’Keefe, states that Sterner is explaining how workers can “skirt” Iowa’s election law, citing 39A.2 (1)(b)(5), which states that “A person commits the crime of election misconduct in the first degree if the person willfully … deprives, defrauds, or attempts to deprive or defraud the citizens of this state of a fair and impartially conducted election process.”

A Republican field staff member, who wished to remain anonymous, told Time that approach to training volunteers about voter registration is pretty standard practice among the GOP ranks as well.

O’Keefe gained notoriety in 2007 with undercover videos he created with pro-life activist Lila Rose exposing Planned Parenthood practices. In 2009, undercover videos he released about ACORN generated such public outcry that the organization lost its federal funding.

O’Keefe comes on camera at the end of the Hillary campaign video, claiming: “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”

“In fact, stay tuned, Hillary, because we’re shortly going to release a stunning story of election malfeasance at the highest levels of your campaign,” promises O’Keefe. “Check your email.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Bombshell: Shades of Hillary’s Hijinks As IRS Reveals This About Lerner And Tea Party Targeting

Just as the Hillary Clinton Emailgate scandal continues to unfold in a devastating drip-drip-drip pattern, now it appears that the Lois Lerner investigation has taken another dramatic turn in a long series of damaging revelations. The ongoing Lerner drip-drip-drip has to do with IRS targeting and intimidation of Tea Party and other conservative and patriot groups.

The Washington Times reports that, just as Hillary used a private email account for conducting official business when she was secretary of state, Lerner — the former IRS official at the center of the targeting scandal — used not one, but two personal email accounts in her official capacity as director of the Exempt Organizations unit at the Internal Revenue Service.

Lawyers for the IRS just admitted in a court filing that the tax agency has found a second non-official Lerner email account that appears to contain records relevant to a lawsuit filed by a government watchdog.

Lois Lerner had yet another personal email account used to conduct some IRS business, the tax agency confirmed in a new court filing late Monday that further complicates the administration’s efforts to be transparent about Ms. Lerner’s actions during the tea party targeting scandal.

The admission came in an open-records lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm that has sued to get a look at emails Ms. Lerner sent during the targeting.

The second personal email account that likely contains relevant communications to or from Lois Lerner has been identified as belonging to “Toby Miles.” While it is unclear as to why that particular name was given to Lerner’s heretofore undisclosed account, Fox News notes that Lerner’s husband has a similar name.

…Lerner’s husband is Michael Miles and reportedly may have been linked to the account. The IRS, though, concluded it was a personal account used by Lerner.

The IRS targeting scandal, which has been investigated for years by Congress, has continued to simmer largely because of the slow pace at which the tax agency has released information on Lerner and the behind-the-scenes activities involved in holding up the grant of tax-exempt status to a number of right-leaning groups.

As Western Journalism reported a few weeks ago, an angry federal judge has threatened to lower the boom on the IRS and its boss, John Koskinen, for stalling the release of relevant documents and discoveries. Judge Emmet Sullivan expressed his frustration with the tax agency in declaring that he may well take punitive action against the Obama administration for not complying with his order to provide to the court IRS documents that Koskinen and others have adamantly claimed were missing, inaccessible, or destroyed.

In addition, Rep. Jason Chafftez, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has said that he will possibly pursue contempt charges against IRS Commissioner Koskinen. The Republican lawmaker also threatened to mount an effort to remove the IRS chief from office through impeachment if President Obama didn’t fire him.

Obama has, of course, stood by his man at the Internal Revenue Service.

What do you think? Will the IRS and Lois Lerner ever be held accountable for their actions?

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Obama’s Toxic Environmental Pollution Agency

Here in my adopted home state of Colorado, orange is the new Animas River thanks to the blithering idiots working under President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s just the latest man-caused disaster from an out-of-control bureaucracy whose primary mission is not the Earth’s preservation, but self-preservation.

As always, the government cover-up compounds the crime — which is why the agency’s promise this week to investigate itself has residents across the Rocky Mountains in stitches. Or tears.

After the EPA and officials and their contract workers accidentally spilled three million gallons of pent-up toxic sludge on August 5 from a defunct mine in San Juan County that hadn’t operated since 1923, EPA apparatchiks delayed notifying residents for more than 24 hours. They vastly underestimated the volume and spill rate of the gunk. Then, while refusing to release data, EPA head Gina McCarthy flew to the glowing river to fecklessly declare that the water “seems to be restoring itself.”

The cleanup costs for the Colorado spill alone are estimated at $30 billion. Small farmers, ranchers, and tourist-related businesses will be reeling for years to come — yet the EPA is simultaneously pushing forward with Draconian ozone regulations (based on cherry-picked junk science) that will punish the state’s residents with no discernible health benefits.

If only Mother Nature could help wash away the institutionalized corruption that has been leaching from Obama’s EPA headquarters since Day One:

–BP oil spill data doctoring. Former White House Director of the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy Carol Browner and the EPA suffered no consequences after they repeatedly lied and cooked the books in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010. Browner, who pulled the puppet strings of then-EPA head Lisa Jackson, misled the public about the scope of the disaster by falsely claiming that 75 percent of the spill was “completely gone from the system.” Then she falsely claimed that the administration’s initial report on the disaster was “peer-reviewed.”

The Interior Department inspector general also singled out Browner for misrepresenting the White House’s blue-ribbon science panel, which opposed a six-month drilling moratorium, and exposed how she butchered their conclusions to justify the administration’s preordained policy agenda.

Browner, an inveterate left-wing crony lobbyist/activist, left office without so much as a wrist slap. Brazen data doctoring and destruction are her fortes. As EPA head during the Clinton administration in the 1990s, she was held in contempt by a federal judge after ordering a staffer to purge and delete her computer files. Browner had sought to evade a public disclosure lawsuit by conservative lawyer and author Mark Levin’s Landmark Legal Foundation.

–Email evasion and transparency trouncing. While Browner was doing her dirty work as Obama’s unaccountable eco-czar, Jackson busied herself creating sock-puppet email personalities to circumvent public disclosure rules as the agency crafted radical climate-change policies in secret. She learned the tricks of the trade from Browner. Jackson admitted to using the pseudonym “Richard Windsor” on one of at least two separate secret government accounts. Competitive Enterprise Institute fellow Christopher Horner discovered the elaborate ruses in 2012. The agency had stonewalled Horner’s FOIA requests on the use of alias accounts at the agency; CEI sued to force the administration to comply.

In December 2012, Jackson resigned amid multiple investigations. Not a wrist slap. Not a scratch. In March of this year, a federal judge blasted the agency for avoiding a separate FOIA request by Levin’s Landmark Legal Foundation related to sock-puppet email accounts created by Jackson and others “who may have delayed the release dates for hot-button environmental regulations until after the Nov. 6, 2012, presidential election.”

Apple Computer hired Jackson in 2013 (and all of her multiple personalities). Two months ago, the company proudly announced that it was promoting Jackson to “vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives” and head of the company’s “global government affairs and public policy teams.”

–Enabling sex predators and porn addicts. Last month, the EPA inspector general finally testified on Capitol Hill about the agency’s chronic mismanagement of alleged sexual perverts on the payroll. One employee “engaged in offensive and inappropriate behavior toward at least 16 women, most of whom were EPA co-workers,” the IG reported. Supervisors “were made aware of many of these actions and yet did nothing.”

Well, not exactly “nothing.” The employee was actually promoted to assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Homeland Security — a position he used to harass six more women.

Two other EPA workers were caught binging on porn during work hours; one was observed getting his X-rated fix by a minor who was at the office during Bring Your Child To Work Day. The EPA allowed one perv to retire with full benefits; the other is still on leave, collecting a $120,000 yearly salary.

Double standards. Data destruction. Imposition of radical job-killing regulations. Law-breaking with impunity. Only in Washington does a rogue government agency with an $8 billion budget get away with such serial incompetence and criminality in the name of the “public good.” Protecting the environment has become a full employment racket for green crooks and cronies.

COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

We Are The Government: Tactics For Taking Down The Police State

“The people have the power, all we have to do is awaken that power in the people. The people are unaware. They’re not educated to realize that they have power. The system is so geared that everyone believes the government will fix everything. We are the government.”—John Lennon

Saddled with a corporate media that marches in lockstep with the government, elected officials who dance to the tune of their corporate benefactors, and a court system that serves to maintain order rather than mete out justice, Americans often feel as if they have no voice, no authority and no recourse when it comes to holding government officials accountable and combating rampant corruption and injustice.

We’re impotent in the face of SWAT teams that break down doors and leave toddlers scarred for life. We’re helpless to prevent police shootings that leave unarmed citizens dead for no other reason than the police officer involved felt “threatened.” We shrug dismissively over the plight of fellow citizens who have their heads cracked, their bodies broken and their rights violated for failing to jump to attention when a police officer issues an order. And we fail to care about the thousands of individuals who have been punished with extreme sentences for nonviolent offenses and are forced to spend their lives as modern-day slaves in bondage to private prisons and the profit-driven corporations they serve.

Make no mistake about it: virtually anything and everything is a crime nowadays (feeding the birds, growing vegetables in your front yard, etc.) to such an extent that if a prosecutor, police officer and judge were so inclined, you could be locked up for any inane reason.

This is tyranny dressed up in the official garb of the police state. It is the self-righteous, heavy-handed arm of the law being used as a decoy to divert your attention to the so-called criminals in your midst (the fisherman who threw back small fish into the ocean, the mother who let her child walk to the playground alone, the pastor holding Bible studies in his backyard) so that you don’t focus on the criminal behavior being perpetrated by the government (bribery, cronyism, electoral fraud, slush funds, graft, pork, theft, and on and on).

In the face of such abject injustice, outright corruption and overt inequality, it’s hard to feel empowered to believe the average citizen can make a difference. It’s hard to persuade anyone to stand against tyranny when all you can promise them as a reward is persecution, prosecution and a one-way trip to the morgue. And when the outcome seems to be a foregone conclusion—the government always wins—it can seem pointless, even foolhardy, to dare to challenge the system. As such, it’s far easier to buy into the political process, even though elections amount to nothing of consequence.

There are also those who subscribe to the notion that an armed revolution is the only thing that will save America. These armed resistors are making themselves easy targets and will be the first to be taken down by militarized police who are trained to kill and armed to the teeth with every kind of weapon imaginable, from grenade launchers and sniper rifles to armored vehicles and Black Hawk helicopters.

So how do you not only push back against the police state’s bureaucracy, corruption and cruelty, but also launch a counterrevolution aimed at reclaiming control over the government using nonviolent means?

You start by changing the rules and engaging in some (nonviolent) guerilla tactics.

Employ militant nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience, which Martin Luther King Jr. used to great effect through the use of sit-ins, boycotts and marches.

Take part in grassroots activism, which takes a trickle-up approach to governmental reform by implementing change at the local level (in other words, think nationally, but act locally).

And then, while you’re at it, nullify everything the government does that is illegitimate, egregious or blatantly unconstitutional.

Various cities and states have been using this historic doctrine with mixed results on issues as wide ranging as gun control and healthcare to “claim freedom from federal laws they find onerous or wrongheaded.”

Where nullification can be particularly powerful, however, is in the hands of the juror.

As law professor Ilya Somin explains, jury nullification is the practice by which a jury refuses to convict someone accused of a crime if they believe the “law in question is unjust or the punishment is excessive.”

According to former federal prosecutor Paul Butler, the doctrine of jury nullification is “premised on the idea that ordinary citizens, not government officials, should have the final say as to whether a person should be punished.”

Imagine that: a world where the citizenry—not the government or its corporate controllers—actually calls the shots and determines what is just.

In a world of “rampant overcriminalization,” where the average citizen unknowingly breaks three laws a day, jury nullification acts as “a check on runaway authoritarian criminalization and the increasing network of confusing laws that are passed with neither the approval nor oftentimes even the knowledge of the citizenry.”

Indeed, Butler believes so strongly in the power of nullification to balance the scales between the power of the prosecutor and the power of the people that he advises:

If you are ever on a jury in a marijuana case, I recommend that you vote “not guilty” — even if you think the defendant actually smoked pot, or sold it to another consenting adult. As a juror, you have this power under the Bill of Rights; if you exercise it, you become part of a proud tradition of American jurors who helped make our laws fairer.

In other words, it’s “we the people” who can and should be determining what laws are just, what activities are criminal and who can be jailed for what crimes.

Not only should the punishment fit the crime, but the laws of the land should also reflect the concerns of the citizenry as opposed to the profit-driven priorities of Corporate America.

Unfortunately, for thousands of Americans who are serving life sentences for nonviolent crimes as a result of harsh mandatory sentencing laws passed by “tough on crime” politicians, the punishment rarely fits the crime.

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, with every ill inflicted upon us by the American police state, from overcriminalization and surveillance to militarized police and private prisons, it’s money that drives the police state. And there is a lot of money to be made from criminalizing nonviolent activities and jailing Americans for nonviolent offenses.

This is where the power of jury nullification is so critical: to reject inane laws and extreme sentences and counteract the edicts of a profit-driven governmental elite that sees nothing wrong with jailing someone for a lifetime for a relatively insignificant crime.

Of course, the powers-that-be don’t want the citizenry to know that it has any power at all.

They would prefer that we remain clueless about the government’s many illicit activities, ignorant about our constitutional rights, and powerless to bring about any real change. Indeed, so determined are they to keep us in the dark about the powers vested in “we the people” that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1895 that jurors had no right during trials to be told about nullification.

Moreover, anyone daring to educate a jury about nullification runs the risk of prosecution. Just recently, for example, 56-year-old Mark Iannicelli was charged with seven counts of jury tampering for handing out jury nullification fliers outside a Denver courtroom. Now Iannicelli is not being accused of advocating for or against any case in progress, nor is he charged with targeting any particular members of the jury. Nevertheless, Iannicelli could be sentenced to one to three years in prison because he dared to educate the jurors about an option that no judge or prosecutor ever mentions in court: the right to acquit someone who may be guilty if they also believe that the law is unjust.

Such intimidation tactics proved less successful when used against Julian Heicklen, who was accused of jury tampering for handing out nullifications pamphlets in Manhattan. A federal district court judge found Heicklen not only innocent of the charge of jury tampering, but went so far as to warn that the law—18 U.S.C. § 1504—raises significant First Amendment concerns (“the First Amendment squarely protects speech concerning judicial proceedings and public debate regarding the functioning of the judicial system, so long as that speech does not interfere with the fair and impartial administration of justice”).

Jury nullification has played a significant role in our nation’s history. It was championed early on by John Hancock and John Adams and relied on at various points since then to push back against laws deemed egregious, unjust or simply out of step with the times. Most recently, jury nullification has become a popular tactic to thwart laws that mandate harsh punishments for those convicted of possessing even minimal amounts of marijuana.

For instance, in one case I worked on years ago, a jury refused to convict a 54-year-old man who had been charged with possession of marijuana. Prosecutors claimed that a SWAT team, doing an area-wide land and air sweep, had spotted two marijuana plants growing in the hollow of a dead tree on the man’s 39-acre property. Had the man been found guilty, he would have been sentenced to jail–and his 90-year-old mother, blind, deaf and dependent on him for care, would have had to be institutionalized.

In delivering his closing arguments, the prosecutor warned the jury that disagreement with the laws against pot possession and disapproval of police tactics are not valid reasons to nullify a case. Of course, those are exactly the reasons why more Americans should opt for nullification.

In an age in which government officials accused of wrongdoing—police officers, elected officials, etc.—are treated with general leniency, while the average citizen is prosecuted to the full extent of the law, jury nullification is a powerful reminder that, as the Constitution tells us, “we the people” are the government.

For too long, we’ve allowed our so-called “representatives” to call the shots. Now, it’s time to restore the citizenry to their rightful place in the republic: as the masters, not the servants.

Jury nullification is one way of doing so.

The reality with which we must contend is that justice in America is reserved for those who can afford to buy their way out of jail.

For the rest of us who are dependent on the “fairness” of the system, there exists a multitude of ways in which justice can and does go wrong every day. Police misconduct. Prosecutorial misconduct. Judicial bias. Inadequate defense. Prosecutors who care more about winning a case than seeking justice. Judges who care more about what is legal than what is just. Jurors who know nothing of the law and are left to deliberate in the dark about life-and-death decisions. And an overwhelming body of laws, statutes and ordinances that render the average American a criminal, no matter how law-abiding they might think of themselves as.

As I’ve said before, when you go into a courtroom, you’re going up against three adversaries who more often than not are operating off the same playbook: the police, the prosecutor and the judge.

If you’re to have any hope of remaining free—and I use that word loosely—your best bet remains in your fellow citizens.

They may not know what the Constitution says (studies have shown Americans to be abysmally ignorant about their rights), they may not know what the laws are (there are so many on the books that the average American breaks three laws a day without knowing it), and they may not even believe in your innocence; but if you’re lucky, they will have a conscience that speaks louder than the legalistic tones of the prosecutors and the judges and reminds them that justice and fairness go hand in hand.

That’s ultimately what jury nullification is all about: restoring a sense of fairness to our system of justice. It’s the best protection for “we the people” against the oppression and tyranny of the government; and God knows, we can use all the protection we can get.

Most of all, jury nullification is a powerful way to remind the government—all of those bureaucrats who have appointed themselves judge, jury and jailer over all that we are, have and do—that we’re the ones who set the rules.

If they don’t like it, they can get another job.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth