Monday, October 31, 2016

In the Fog of The Presstitutes - 5

"Let's begin the auction"
I. The Money Grubbing

"Online advertising revenue has risen as digital media becomes more popular" (Circulation vs. Advertising).

This election has been marked by a media disinfromation frenzy that is intended to keep us intrigued, wondering, unsure, and glued to the tube.

All of that without much of a grasp of the reality of what matters (Media Matters).

II. The Real Law Breaker

The presstitutes generated another blanketing fog over the weekend.

A fog that was confusing both to themselves and to the general public because of the resulting cacophony of uninformed speculation that went off the rails.

The imagined legality-story they pushed never mentioned that federal law, specifically the Hatch Act, forbids federal employees from partisan politics:
"The Hatch Act of 1939, officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, is a United States federal law whose main provision prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president, vice-president, and certain designated high-level officials of that branch, from engaging in some forms of political activity. The law was named for Senator Carl Hatch of New Mexico. It was most recently amended in 2012."
(Wikipedia). The culprit FBI director is aware of the law, and perhaps therefore took some pains to avoid its penalties.

The real news issue involves violation of the Hatch Act, which carries these penalties:
An employee or individual who violates section 7323 or 7324 shall be subject to removal, reduction in grade, debarment from Federal employment for a period not to exceed 5 years, suspension, reprimand, or an assessment of a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000.
(5 U.S. Code § 7326 - Penalties). The two sections (7323, 7324) mentioned in that quote read as follows:
(a) An employee may not engage in political activity—
    (1) while the employee is on duty;
    (2) in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official     duties by an individual employed or holding office in the Government of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof;
    (3) while wearing a uniform or official insignia identifying the office or position of the employee; or
    (4) using any vehicle owned or leased by the Government of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof.
(b)
    (1) An employee described in paragraph (2) of this subsection may engage in political activity otherwise prohibited by subsection (a) if the costs associated with that political activity are not paid for by money derived from the Treasury of the United States.
    (2) Paragraph (1) applies to an employee—
         (A) the duties and responsibilities of whose position continue outside normal duty hours and while away from the normal duty post; and
         (B) who is—
              (i) an employee paid from an appropriation for the Executive Office of the President; or
              (ii) an employee appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, whose position is located within the United States, who determines policies to be pursued by the United States in relations with foreign powers or in the nationwide administration of Federal laws.
(5 U.S. Code § 7324). And the other section is:
(a) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b), an employee may take an active part in political management or in political campaigns, except an employee may not—
     (1) use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election;
     (2) knowingly solicit, accept, or receive a political contribution from any person, unless such person is—
          (A) a member of the same Federal labor organization as defined under section 7103(4) of this title or a Federal employee organization which as of the date of enactment of the Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1993 had a multicandidate political committee (as defined under section 315(a)(4) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 441a(a)(4))); [1]
          (B) not a subordinate employee; and
          (C) the solicitation is for a contribution to the multicandidate political committee (as defined under section 315(a)(4) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 441a(a)(4))) 1 of such Federal labor organization as defined under section 7103(4) of this title or a Federal employee organization which as of the date of the enactment of the Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1993 had a multicandidate political committee (as defined under section 315(a)(4) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 441a(a)(4))); 1 or
     (3) run for the nomination or as a candidate for election to a partisan political office; or
     (4) knowingly solicit or discourage the participation in any political activity of any person who—
          (A) has an application for any compensation, grant, contract, ruling, license, permit, or certificate pending before the employing office of such employee; or
          (B) is the subject of or a participant in an ongoing audit, investigation, or enforcement action being carried out by the employing office of such employee.
(b)
     (1) An employee of the Federal Election Commission (except one appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate), may not request or receive from, or give to, an employee, a Member of Congress, or an officer of a uniformed service a political contribution.
     (2)
          (A) No employee described under subparagraph (B) (except one appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate), may take an active part in political management or political campaigns.
          (B) The provisions of subparagraph (A) shall apply to—
               (i) an employee of—
                    (I) the Federal Election Commission or the Election Assistance Commission;
                    (II) the Federal Bureau of Investigation;
                    (III) the Secret Service;
                    (IV) the Central Intelligence Agency;
                    (V) the National Security Council;
                    (VI) the National Security Agency;
                    (VII) the Defense Intelligence Agency;
                    (VIII) the Merit Systems Protection Board;
                    (IX) the Office of Special Counsel;
                    (X) the Office of Criminal Investigation of the Internal Revenue Service;
                    (XI) the Office of Investigative Programs of the United States Customs Service;
                    (XII) the Office of Law Enforcement of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms;
                    (XIII) the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; or
                    (XIV) the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; or
          (ii) a person employed in a position described under section 3132(a)(4), 5372, 5372a, or 5372b of title 5, United States Code.
     (3) No employee of the Criminal Division or National Security Division of the Department of Justice (except one appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate), may take an active part in political management or political campaigns.
     (4) For purposes of this subsection, the term “active part in political management or in a political campaign” means those acts of political management or political campaigning which were prohibited for employees of the competitive service before July 19, 1940, by determinations of the Civil Service Commission under the rules prescribed by the President.
(c) An employee retains the right to vote as he chooses and to express his opinion on political subjects and candidates.
(5 U.S. Code § 7323). FBI Director Comey is specifically forbidden:
Employees of the following agencies (or agency components), or in the following categories, are subject to more extensive restrictions on their political activities than employees in other Departments and agencies:

Administrative law judges (positions described at 5 U.S.C. § 5372)
Central Intelligence Agency
Contract Appeals Boards (positions described at 5 U.S.C. § 5372a)
Criminal Division (Department of Justice)
Defense Intelligence Agency
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Election Commission
Merit Systems Protection Board
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
National Security Agency
National Security Council
Office of Criminal Investigation (Internal Revenue Service)
Office of Investigative Programs (Customs Service)
Office of Law Enforcement (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)
United States Office of Special Counsel
Secret Service
Senior Executive Service

(career positions described at 5 U.S.C. § 3132(a)(4))
(Hatch Act, emphasis added). Setting an example as a lawful citizen is very important for federal and state agency heads to remember.

Simply put, the act targets partisan electioneering:
The [Hatch Act] is a federal law that bars certain governmental employees from taking part in political activities. Members of the Armed Forces are not covered by the Hatch Act, though their activities are governed by the Department of Defense (“DoD”). Prohibited activities include such things as holding public office while still employed in a covered government job, managing a politician’s campaign, or taking part in any activities that attempt to sway a person’s vote one way or another. Civil servants are prohibited from publicly taking a political side, but must remain neutral always, when in their public capacities.
(Hatch Act Definition, emphasis added). That law is not difficult to grasp is it?

III. Recent Violations By Federal Officials

The presstitutes do not seem to be aware of the existence of the law, even though it has been used relatively recently:
June 2007 – Lurita Alexis Doan, the administrator of the General Services Administration, was found to have violated the Hatch Act for her involvement in attempting to get Republican politicians elected.

May 2008 – Scott Bloch, Director of the Office of Special Counsel (“OSC”), which is a government agency responsible for enforcing the Hatch Act, and protecting the rights of people who report wrongdoing, or illegal activities, within the government. The FBI raided OSC offices, as well as Bloch’s home, as part of an investigation into allegations that Bloch had violated the Hatch Act in trying to exact revenge upon whistle-blowers in his office. Bloch was accused of obstructing justice by hiring an independent company to shred computer files proving the Hatch Act violations.

September 2012 – Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Director, was accused of violating the Hatch Act when she made a political speech during a government event. Sebelius claimed that she had made a mistake due to a technical error.

July 2016 – Julian Castro, the Housing and Urban Development Secretary, was found by the OSC to have violated the Hatch Act while being interviewed by television journalist Katie Couric. Castro admitted to the violation, but denied that the violation was done on purpose.
(ibid, Hatch Act Definition). None of those improper acts even come close to the hoopla, wildness, and frenzy that FBI Director Comey improperly caused.

IV. Conclusion

The non-partisan dynamics of government were contemplated and designed to insure that governments are concerned with all of the people in the nation, not just a partisan portion of the nation (Nonpartisan).

This understandable behavioral requirement is not limited to government officials, members of the public must also constrain themselves in the same manner concerning partisan behavior at election time:
“We had a guy who had a shirt on that the elections coordinator or deputy elections clerk felt like was a political statement,” Bulverde Police Chief Gary Haecker told the paper. “Therefore we got called up there because this gentleman didn’t want to either change his shirt, turn it inside out, cover the insignia or whatever it was. That is a violation of the election code.”

That code prohibits electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place.

“It can mean a T-shirt, a button, a hat, you know?” Comal County’s election coordinator, Cynthia Jaqua, told KSAT. “Anything related to the voting, the party, the candidate.”
(Man Arrested At Texas Polling Place). What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Once again the presstitutes have failed to serve their purpose, which is to serve all of the citizens in the public with competent information.

The previous post in this series is here.



6 comments:

  1. "Ex-AGs Alberto Gonzales, Eric Holder, Michael Mukasey rip FBI director" (link)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I get the feeling we're being railroaded, herded, influenced and distracted so that a certain person is "elected" - as if the entire operation isn't (completely manipulated enough and) taken out of the hands of the constituency via gerrymandering, the Electoral College, and much more.

    Tom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tom,

      They can't hide it very well anymore.

      Bernays came out and said it plainly in 1928:

      "THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of."

      (The Ways of Bernays, quoting his book "Propaganda").

      Delete
  3. The president criticizes Comey's action (link)

    ReplyDelete
  4. "FBI Historian: Comey Is ‘Putting Our 240-Year Experiment With American Democracy At Risk’" - link

    ReplyDelete