Category Archives: Bruce McCain

Services Set for Bruce McCain

MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR BRUCE MCCAIN

I was able to be a small service for Bruce yesterday and was honored to be a part of it, but I may come back for his Memorial Service. This announcement is from his family via Facebook:

MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR BRUCE MCCAIN 

A public memorial service for Reynolds School Board Chair Bruce McCain is scheduled for 5:30pm on Saturday, May 30 at the Reynolds High School Arts and Communications Building. Reception will follow in the Multipurpose Room. The RHS Arts and Communications Building is located at: 1698 SW Cherry Park Road in Troutdale. The entrance in on the west side of the building, near Columbia Park/Imagination Station. 

Bruce McCain was a community leader serving in many roles that placed in the position to serve his community. Bruce’s passing is an extreme loss for the Reynolds School District. As a member of the school board for the past four years and as chairman of the board this year, Bruce immersed himself in his duties and responsibilities and fully participated in all district activities whether board functions or student activities. 

His leadership, his sense of humor and his devotion to the district will be greatly missed. Bruce was active in high schools sports, serving as an official and photographer. Even when he learned that he had cancer, he thought about our students. His three most immediate goals, as he stated on several different occasions, were to be re-elected to the School Board, see the 2015 Bond pass, and stand on stage at graduation in June and hand out diplomas. Bruce accomplished the first two things; and in spirit he will be at Graduation in June. 

Captain Bruce McCain retired from the Multnomah County Sherrifs Department to pursue a private law practice. Bruce is survived by his wife of 35 years, Kathy and their three daughters Kelly McCain MartinRachel Heller and Stephanie Tyler and their families.

Bruce McCain: Bruce of the Blogforce

Bruce McCain’s sober civility was his hallmark in Oregon’s body politic. His memorial is set for May 30

 

Photo: Tim Newman Photography
Photo: Tim Newman Photography

Bruce McCain died Monday. 

Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon — indeed, the entire body politic — is the poorer.

You may know Bruce from his television appearances on local TV news casts, the voice of reason on my and Lars’s shows, his time as a Multnomah County Sheriff’s Captain, his professionalism as a Reynolds School Board Member, tireless legal advocate, political tactician, parishioner in the pew, the photographer on the sidelines, the doting grandfather and loving Dad. Husband.

He was a blogger on this website and his own.  A colleague.

He was all of these things.

But Bruce was one more thing that I believe needs to be said:

Bruce was the civil voice in a very uncivil political place. 

Columnist David Brooks says:

Politics exists on the surface, but conduct is at a deeper realm.

When I would engage in free-style verbal flame-throwing, Bruce would draw me back to reason. He did that for many people. His inner conduct — devotion to and love of God — was his deeper realm and informed everything he did. 

At one point in his life, Bruce considered the ministry as a profession, but found his calling in different areas. Still, he was always guiding people. Always the teacher.

Greek philosopher Heraclitus said,

Character is Destiny.

In whatever he did, Bruce brought his best. There were never any halfway measures on his part. Whether it was in his writings, legal briefs, advocacy or even his photographs, he always strived for his best.  

And he always strove to do more. The father of the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk, once said:

The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.

Bruce’s work was never done. There was always a challenge to confront, a case to win, a wrong to be righted.

He was ambitious, but his ambition was never at the expense of others. There was room for everyone in his successes. 

And he was trustworthy. As fellow Blogforce member (and Bruce’s good friend for many years), former Sheriff Bernie Giusto wrote:

From the earliest days at the Sheriff’s office Lt McCain was one of my closest and most trusted advisors. From there Bruce McCain became my closest confidant. When things were very tough during my second term, Bruce’s unwavering friendship was indescribably vital to my life at that time. The last time [I] talked with Bruce he called me friend. A great honor friend. I will never forget your strong character and honest friendship.

And he was generous. Generous with his time, his expertise and his spirit. On his daughter Kelly’s Facebook page I saw this photo:

bruce family

In the age of self indulgent, beauty-shot selfies, the meticulous photographer gave his family this photograph of himself. He’s not at his best here. He’s dying. He may not have wished this to be his parting shot. But in his spirit of generosity and love, he gave his family this memory. 

But they’ll always have this one too. 

bruce selfie

 

And so many more memories, little and big.

Salk once said,

Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors.

Bruce McCain was a good man. A man of rare generosity. A man of good character. A servant leader.

He knows where he was going and to those he left behind –his descendants– this ancestor left a road map of how to do it right.

Rest in peace, friend. 

McCain: ‘Administrative Law Judges’ Are Just One Reason Why the Outcome of The ‘Sweet Cakes By Melissa’ Case Was Baked In.

Who and what are ‘administrative law judges’ who apparently put Sweet Cakes by Melissa out of business for good?

sweet cakes

As we explained on this website yesterday, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same sex wedding have lost their case before state appointed Administrative Law Judge. But there’s a story behind this story. 

At issue is the role and function of these “Administrative Law Judges” or “ALJs”.

For the uninitiated, ALJ’s are not actual judges nor are they part of our judicial branch of government. In Oregon, ALJ’s are agency employees whose job security depends on pleasing the statewide elected official (Secretary of State, Attorney General Bureau of Labor and Industries boss) who signs their paychecks.

In this case, Administrative Law Judge Alan McCullough works for Brad Avakian, so it’s little surprise this ALJ rubber stamped BOLI’s pre-determined outcome, much like city hearings officer do in local municipal contested case hearings.

McCullough previously made news when he ordered a Eugene store to pay a woman $60,000 for denying her service wih her”service dog.”

There’s more. As I pointed out here in 2013, now that the Sweet Cakes by Melissa case is left up to BOLI Director Brad Avakian the issue is likely over and done with. Avakian is hardly a fair arbiter in this case. Even though same sex marriage was not law when when Sweet Cakes case got started, Avakian helped set the stage as a legislator:

On its third reading, SB 2 was carried by Sen. Avakian and passed the state senate, 21-7, with two excused. All seven nay votes were Republicans, while four GOP senators – Frank Morse, Fred Girod, David Nelson and Jackie Winters – voted with the Democrat majority. SB 2 then went to the house, where it was amended to provide an exemption from the Act for “a bona fide church or other religious institution.” Notably, this amendment did not provide for an individual exemption based on that individual’s personal religious beliefs. SB 2 passed the house with amendments, 35-25, with four GOP members – Vicki Berger (Salem), Bob Jenson (Pendleton), Chuck Burley (Bend) and John Dallum (Hood River) – joining all 31 Democrats.

As I predicted back then, there are more problems Christians and others will confront because of this law:

…Oregon law presently does not require a church to provide the use of its facilities for same sex weddings (which are not legal in Oregon anyway – yet). However, if a church or religious institution operates a commercial or business activity, such as a thrift store, the religious exemption may not apply. But more importantly, the OEA’07 provides no religious exemption for individuals.

The Sweetcakes case presents an interesting legal argument in that, while on the surface the Kleins appeared to violate the OEA’07 by refusing to make the same sex wedding cake, they in fact refused to participate in an act that at present is not lawful in Oregon. …[T]he Kleins are not alleged to have told gay and lesbian customers they may not enter or shop at Sweetcakes by Melissa, nor have the Kleins refused to sell their products to any protected class – with one singular exception. Whether the BOLI staff, including the ALJ, agrees or not is doubtful. But consider the following hypothetical case.

Five members of a religious sect that practices polygamy – one man and four women – enter the bakery. The man tells the owner he wants a wedding cake to celebrate his pending marriage to all four of the women, who he lists as brides. The baker tells the man he and his companions are welcome to purchase anything in the store, but the baker will not make a wedding cake for a marriage act that not only violates the baker’s personal religious beliefs, but is not lawful in Oregon, which does not recognize plural marriages.

On its face, the baker has violated the OEA’07 by discriminating against the five customers, based on their religion, which is a protected class. But can the OEA’07 compel a “place of public accommodation” to participate in an act that is not lawful in Oregon? While there is no current Oregon case deciding that issue…

With an activist labor commissioner in Avakian on their side, one can expect more cases to be brought before BOLI or in civil court, claiming sexual orientation discrimination. Christian-owned businesses are particularly vulnerable to set-ups and shakedowns if they refuse to provide their services to a same sex couple or gay person, who may not sincerely want the service in the first place, but may be looking to a P Club type BOLI award.

That point was made by Aaron Klein during a presentation at the Family Research Center’s Values Voters Summit and excerpted here:

I could understand the backlash from the gay and lesbian community. I could see that; what I don’t understand is the government sponsorship of religious persecution.

Bruce McCain is an attorney in private practice, member of the Reynolds School Board, retired Multnomah County Sheriff’s Captain and a member of the VictoriaTaft.com Blogforce. 

Bruce McCain: VA scandal has Oregon ties

Joan Mooney, top aide to Eric Shinseki and former chief of staff to US Rep. Darlene Hooley, resigns June 20 after grilling by House Committee on Veterans Affairs

The ongoing and expanding national scandal over veterans’ care has claimed yet another victim. This time it was

Joan Mooney (center) faces an irate House Committee on Veterans Affairs in May 2014.
Joan Mooney (center) faces an irate House Committee on Veterans Affairs in May 2014.

not a veteran himself or herself who died while lost on a secret wait list; but rather another high-ranking member of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s immediate staff. On June 20, Joan Mooney, Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs, quietly announced her “retirement” following a withering barrage last month in front of a Congressional committee seeking answers to the recently released VA Inspector’s General interim report that confirmed the worst fears of those looking into VA practices around the nation, including Oregon.

The interim report confirmed the existence of “multiple types of scheduling practices that are not in compliance with VHA policy.” The report indicated these preliminary findings may be the basis for allegations of creating ‘secret wait lists’ in Phoenix and elsewhere. President Obama called such behavior by the VA, if proven true, “dishonorable” and “disgraceful.” The report left Oregon’s two Democratic US Senators “flabbergasted.” Yet with Oregon ranking among the worst states in terms of veterans’ wait times for initial appointments, Senators Wyden’s and Merkley’s response was to ask Congress for more money.

Secretary Shinseki eventually heeded the call from both sides of the aisle to step down, culminating in his own resignation May 30. But the heads continue to roll at the VA, after senior staffers such as Mooney were called before an irate Congress that was in no mood for evasive answers or excuses lacking credibility. Mooney’s fate may have been sealed when she squared off with Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, on 28 in a widely viewed exchange that left Miller furious and Mooney stammering for answers

The fireworks in May were not an aberration, as Mooney had been the focus of criticism from members of Congress for some time. In September 2013, a member of the same House Committee on Veterans Affairs accused Mooney’s Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs (OCLA) of using “a veneer of incompetency to mask a process of systematically covering up information that’s embarrassing to the Veterans Administration.” Rather than accept Mooney’s responses as the product of bureaucratic incompetency, the committee member gave Mooney the ultimate backhanded compliment when he bluntly told her, “You are not what you appear to be today – a bumbling idiot.”

The Oregon Connection

Joan Mooney (L) with former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo (Guam), June 29, 2012
Joan Mooney (L) with former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo (Guam), June 29, 2012

Most Americans, including most Oregonians, likely have never heard of Joan Mooney, since the veteran political staffer has worked behind the scenes for most of her 20-year political career. For 12 years Mooney served as chief of staff for Democrat Darlene Hooley, who represented Oregon’s 5th Congressional District from 1997 through 2008. When Hooley announced she would not seek reelection in 2008, Mooney needed a new job and she found one in Washington D.C.

At the time, Mooney was known as Joan Evans, as she had married Paul Evans in February 2005 after meeting him in late summer 2004 when Evans was in the process of ending his first marriage. In 2007 Paul Evans was tapped to serve as Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski’s senior policy advisor for military and veterans affairs. As the governor’s point man on veterans care in Oregon, Evans served as Chairman of the Governor’s Veterans Services Task Force.

While Paul Evans may have been Oregon’s top policy person on veterans’ affairs, his wife soon upstaged him at the national level. On June 23, 2009, Joan M. Evans was nominated by President Obama to serve as Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs (OCLA) at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Mooney’s nomination was confirmed by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on August 7, 2009 and she was sworn in by VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on August 10, 2009. At her swearing in, Evans declared and promised:

“I am humbled and honored to be chosen for this position and look forward to joining President Obama and Secretary Shinseki in their effort to transform VA into a 21st century organization that is Veteran-centric, results-driven, and forward looking […] My mission will be to ensure the Secretary and VA leadership as well as members of the Senate and House of Representatives and the authorizing and appropriating Committees have what they need to perform their respective roles efficiently and effectively.”

Five years later, members of Congress were publicly calling her a “bumbling idiot” who intentionally or incompetently failed to provide members of Congress with what they need to get to the bottom of the “dishonorable” and “disgraceful” practices of the Veterans Administration. Understandably, Mooney had enough and effective June 20, 2014, she quietly retired from service, three weeks after her boss Shinseki was effectively pushed out of the VA Secretary position.

The VA Power Couple

Few Oregonians realized that in 2009, the state boasted arguably America’s greatest power couple on veterans’

Paul Evans, ex-husband of Joan Mooney and Oregon’s former senior policy adviser on veterans affairs, 2007-2010
Paul Evans, ex-husband of Joan Mooney and Oregon’s former senior policy adviser on veterans affairs, 2007-2010

affairs, with Paul Evans serving as Oregon’s top policy advisor and Joan Evans rising to become the official link between Congress and the VA. However, 2010 would not be so enjoyable for the couple. By December 2010 Paul Evans was finalizing his second divorce in six years – this time from Joan Evans. Moreover, he would not continue in his role as the governor’s top veterans’ advisor when John Kitzhaber took office in January 2011. Today Paul Evans teaches speech communication at a local community college. After a failed bid for the Oregon senate in 2006, Evans is making another run at the legislature as the 2014 Democratic candidate in house district 20 (West Salem-Independence-Monmouth).

After their 2010 divorce, Joan Evans became Joan Mooney once again and remained in her Alexandria, Virginia home while serving as Shinseki’s top aide to Congress until the two were shown the door through resignation and retirement. It’s not clear who at this point will clean up the VA mess in Oregon and across the nation. There will likely be more investigations, hearings, reports, recriminations and hand-wringing from the executive and legislative branches. For Joan Mooney, former chief-of-staff to Darlene Hooley and ex-wife of Oregon’s chief of veterans’ policy, she can take comfort in knowing it will not be her featured on C-SPAN or network news roasting over a Congressional committee’s grill.

Bruce McCain is an attorney in private practice, legal adviser for local media, a member of the Reynolds School Board, retired Multnomah County Sheriffs Captain and is a member of VictoriaTaft.com Blogforce. This piece originally was posted here. 

Are Bloggers “Journalists?” GOVERNMENT Federal Shield Law May Decide. VictoriaTaft.com Blogforce Weighs In.

We're all Thomas Paine now.
We’re all Thomas Paine now.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could pick and choose your opponents? Like boxing managers in some smoky room in Vegas deciding who would get the next shot at the heavyweight title, your opponent would be hand selected based on what you, the champ, believed would best serve your needs. 

In a sense, the Obama Administration proposes much the same arrangement with news coverage.  President Obama has asked Senator Chuck Schumer to reintroduce federal Journalist Shield Law legislation. 

In the age of Wikileaks and Ed Snowden, President Obama is understandably concerned about people leaking government secrets. You know, like the New York Times leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971.  

The shield law would allow a journalist a get-out-of-jail free card if they refuse to reveal a source of a story. But there’s a catch.  Government would decide who qualifies as a “journalist” and leave the seriousness of a journalistic transgression up to a judge to decide. The government would presume to separate the legit journalists from the non journalists.

And that puts Barack Obama in the role of Don King. 

As conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg puts it,

Journalism isn’t a priestly caste or professional guild with special rights. It is an activity we all have a right to partake in. Whether it’s a blogger with a virtual tip jar exposing malfeasance or 60 Minutes making fraudulent charges about George W. Bush, there will always be good journalism and bad journalism.

I was a working journalist for years and now I am a blogger. What changed? The person who paid me. The last time this law was considered, bloggers were left off the list of government-approved journalists and it looks like Senator Diane Feinstein wants to keep it that way in the bill’s latest iteration, 

“I can’t support it if everyone who has a blog has a special privilege … or if Edward Snowden were to sit down and write this stuff, he would have a privilege. I’m not going to go there,” she said.

Thomas Paine was a blogger of his day. Would the pamphleteer who wrote Common Sense make the cut in DiFi’s world? 

Journalism is done for the public good, but it is a private activity. What role does the government have at all in this private activity?

Goldberg lasers in on a fundamental flaw in the logic behind this shield law. Lawmakers have forgotten that the First Amendment covers other things besides a ‘free press,’ 

It also protects free speech, free assembly, freedom of worship and the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances. We all have these rights. The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward has no more rights than my dentist.

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward has no more rights than my dentist.

It’s possible lawmakers have the same deliberate misunderstanding of the First Amendment as they do of the Second. Rights are accorded every individual citizen, not just government approved subsets of people they call ‘journalists’ or ‘militias.’  With that in mind, I’ve asked the VictoriaTaft.com Blogforce and others to weigh in on this issue. The following are their essays from their own perspectives.  

Journalist Shield Laws–A VERY BAD IDEA

Novelist John D. Trudel

What our President and some Republican cronies are attempting to do with this legislation is evil. They seek to exploit public outrage and endless rolling crisis (Obama’s “phony scandals”) to attack and erase our basic Unalienable, God-Given Constitutional rights. “We all have these rights. The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward has no more rights than my dentist,” says blogger Jonah Goldberg.

NSA is turning America into a “Total Surveillance State,” a “Prison without walls.” DOJ is lying to judges and committees while bugging reporters and Congress. IRS and many other Federal agencies are being used as political attack dogs, and NOT just against the TEA Parties, against companies like Gibson Guitar, non-profits like True the Vote, and, yes, against journalists and writers. We also have the Benghazi, Extortion 17, and Syria cover-ups. Who dares speak against this? Where is Paul Revere?

The media has totally failed in its traditional 4th Estate role. It has moved beyond bias to being an integral part of Team Obama, a propaganda arm with financial and family connections. The old media is no longer trusted, declining, and becoming irrelevant.

New networks are emerging, from Fox to The Blaze, part of a return to grass roots journalism with powerful new technology. Instead of Thomas Paine and his pamphlets, we now have legions of bloggers, writers, PACs, and informal networks, most of us seeking to spread truth, each in our own way. America is seeing a new awakening. The embers of freedom still burn.

This threatens Washington insiders, the power elites in both parties. They don’t want to face investigations, arrests, and impeachments. Instead of enforcing existing laws, they seek to pass new laws and empower bureaucracies to ration freedom and circumvent the Constitution.

The proposed “Shield Laws” are just one more attempt to create classes of Government Given Rights to favor insiders and to replace the God Given Rights endowed to ALL Americans by our Creator.

The proposed “Shield Laws” are just one more attempt to create classes of Government Given Rights to favor insiders and to replace the God Given Rights endowed to ALL Americans by our Creator. Obama’s “Soft Tyranny” is growing fangs and claws. Our rights come from God, not from any government, and we cede these at our peril. “Those who seek safety by giving up Liberty will wind up with neither.”

It is an interesting time to be a Thriller novelist. My last novel, Privacy Wars, won three national awards, predicted the NSA and IRS scandals, and is getting more discussion in political groups than in bookstores. My next book, Soft Target, has a SPEC OPS storyline.  I don’t even HAVE a blog yet. I’ve planned to start one as my Email lists are badly overloaded, but if we have government control of public speech, it is game over. Not just for bloggers, for all of us, and for the America we love.

[I]f we have government control of public speech, it is game over. Not just for bloggers, for all of us, and for the America we love.

“Share” if you want our politicians to start respecting the Constitution! Send them a message here: http://bit.ly/1doWd52.  John Trudel is a novelist and thinker. Find his work here: www.johntrudel.com

 

We’re All Journalists

Dan Sandini

Citizen Journalist, Dan Sandini: So by way of introduction I’m Dan Sandini, a double Masters with top grades and 20 years in tech and finance.  Came from nothing except three squares, a roof, and parents who loved and cared about about me.  After retiring self-made at 42, I saw Breitbart give a speech on YouTube and became a Citizen Journalist.  I’m lousy at all aspects of it, but was good and persistent enough to help expose the reality of Occupy, meet Breitbart and contribute to his movie Occupy Unmasked.

I want to say that it is my belief that all Citizens of the United States of America are, and should be considered Journalists.  I’ve learned that the truth is no one story.  That each of us as Americans, even when seeking to to offer “just the facts,”  offer unique perspectives.  Only with a collective perspective, available to all other Citizens, can we as a society form a consensus of what reality is, and thereby make the right decisions forward as a nation.  I have seen Blacks the target of racism, and have the act ignored by the reporters of every mainstream media outlet in the city in the interest of political expediency.  Without one brave TEA Party Mom with a cell phone camera, the truth would still be unknown.  But thanks to her:  the truth is undeniable.

Thomas Paine said:  “When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.”

Further, without having any formal education in philosophy or history, I have an innate sense that we humans are extremely special beings, all created equal, endowed by our creator with certain unalienable Rights, including our freedom to report the news as we see it.  This Right has been protected from legislators such as yourselves under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.  Thomas Paine said:  “When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.”  Please do not let history record that it happened under your watch.

Dan Sandini is a Citizen Journalist. Find his work here: http://www.youtube.com/user/daylightdisinfectant

 

Shielding the Police Journalist 

by Bernie Giusto

Nothing is more threatening to United States law enforcement’s ability to protect our free society than artificially limiting freedom of speech.

Nothing is more threatening to United States law enforcement’s ability to protect our free society than artificially limiting freedom of speech.

Agents of the FBI, Sheriffs, Chiefs of Police, State Troopers, Deputies and police officers in general have long relied on the right to engage anyone, in the court protected Fourth Amendment use of the force principle known ,”Mere Conversation.” Courts have long protected that principle with or without a specific purpose for the conversation. The freedom to ask questions, interpret the answer, and publish those exchanges in police documents as a part of the public record (available to a free press) is the check and balance courts have set out as the most fail-safe method limiting the abuse of the freedom of expression of an over ambitious law enforcement agenda.  First and foremost,  the courts have protected the right of law enforcement to be journalists undefined by law, with the right to ask and the purpose to inform of a crime past or a clear and present danger that may await.
 First and foremost,  the courts have protected the right of law enforcement to be journalists undefined by law, with the right to ask and the purpose to inform of a crime past or a clear and present danger that may await.

When Congress redefines Free Speech by defining a “journalist” with the purpose of limiting who is protected for sharing views, the real danger is not who is included in this newly created clique but who is left. The basis of police writings are nothing more than written observations informed by events which are often subject to the individual interpretation by individual “police” journalists. We not only allow, but courts have extolled the social virtues of, allowing police officers to lie to bad guys in order to get to the truth of a potential or actual criminal act to protect (the predefined) good guys. Eventually, both the lie and truth it may or may not extract become part of these journalistic observations. We trust that this creative fiction serves a greater interest, but even more, we trust that protecting the right of these “sworn citizen journalists” is a social necessity. The observations that lead to those lies to get to the truth are necessities worth protecting. These journalists may be summoned to court to validate the fiction, but most often they are not. These cop journalists are given the benefit of the doubt. In fact, we praise their results even if the cop had to lie to get to the truth. 

So it would lead this long-time “police” journalist to conclude that when Congress sets about redefining who gets protection for their journalistic creativity and who does not, it is defining what has social value and what does not. Congress could keep redefining what ‘value’ is and the rationale to decide. Congress could someday decide to end protection police journalists have for what they observe and record. Congress could decide to end the practice of allowing a cop to lie to get to the truth, saying that we are no longer allowed to judge the value of the lie but only experience the result of the lie on the public record and in the public consciousness. If that happens, we have gone way past “In God We Trust.”  Instead, we will have completely forsaken one of our founding principles on which free speech was born, “…[T]hat these truths are held to be self evident.”  I wonder if they meant “…but only as viewed by Congress.

 

Bernie Giusto, Multnomah County Sheriff (Retired), Chief of Police, City of Gresham,Oregon State Police, member Victoria Taft Blogforce.

 
 

Anyone can report the news and should

by Victor Sharpe

The Constitution we appreciate and embrace so deeply is threatened by Democrat politicians, from the present incumbent in the White House, Barack Hussein Obama, down through the Democrat Senatorial and House ranks. Now we have Senators Durbin, Schumer, Feinstein, et al, threatening our First Amendment rights, namely by defining who is a “real” journalist.

The Shield Law attempts to place some limitations on courts and police from compelling journalists to divulge anonymous sources. But Senator Durbin wants to penalize those whom he disapproves of, especially those who write words he finds objectionable and not supportive of his leftist views. In a recent opinion essay published in the Chicago Sun Times, Senator Durbin argued it was “time to say who’s a real reporter.” In other words, he wants many of those on the right to be stripped of their First Amendment protections.

The Democrat supporters now want the Obama Administration to be the arbiter of who the First Amendment can apply to. In other words, the old Marxist aphorism that, “all people are equal, but some are more equal than others,” will apply and severely affect everyone’s rights – but primarily conservative bloggers and writers who oppose the soft tyranny that is the Obama regime.

Anyone can report the news and so they should. Just because amateur reporters or freelance journalists are mostly unpaid and work independently should not preclude them from enjoying the same First Amendment privileges, which the so often biased leftwing political hacks who infest the mainstream media receive.

Victor Sharpe is a writer for many national blogs, including American Thinker, is a musician and a middle east expert.

 

 

Free Speech is Free Speech; without compromise.

by Dr. Tim Ball 

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” –Thomas Jefferson

 The US Founding Fathers produced a masterpiece. It works because it has no illusions about the nature of people. As George Washington said, “We must take human nature as we find it, perfection falls not to the share of mortals.” They knew some people would attempt to ignore, bypass, or even corrupt a free society.  They understood the power of power;  the corruption of power; and the power of corruption. They anticipated Lord Acton’s comment that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Alexander Hamilton said, “A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired.” James Madison expressed it this way. “Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.” They designed a system that anticipated and precluded demagoguery. They knew the key was free speech and so made its protection the top objective. They knew governments were the most likely to abridge or control free speech and so made the second amendment the ability to defend it.

As George Washington said, “We must take human nature as we find it, perfection falls not to the share of mortals.”

The Fathers also understood that information and its dissemination is power and recognized the role of the media as the Fifth Estate. The US people and their constitution is being challenged as never before partly because the media failed. It is the pattern of previous civilizations that they begin to fail in the second century of their existence as demagogues and power elites undermine the values, institutions and thereby the belief of the people.

Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase, “global village”. It was the first part of information democracy. The second part was the creation of the Internet. For the first time in history a majority of people had access to information but could contribute their ideas and participate in discussions among large numbers of people. People realized the value, openness and diversity of the internet so it quickly became the source of information for more and more people. This accelerated the demise of the media already in progress because of their failure to  act as the Founding Fathers had envisioned.

In an ironic twist the success of the internet and bloggers has triggered attempts to limit their role. The media want the politicians, who they are supposed to prevent from limiting free speech, to limit free speech. They want journalists designated a special group and protected under a shield law.  A hint of the media concern was a comment by Juan Williams on FOX news about the unprofessionalism of bloggers.

As Harry Emerson Fosdick said, “Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.” Don’t let them be suppressed in any way.

Lack of professionalism, failure to expose wrong doing and open bias among the media are the main reason the public are not listening to them anymore. Their solution is to enshrine rights they have already failed to uphold and to suppress ordinary citizens who have used a vehicle of free speech to seek the truth. The blog site is equivalent to the Pamphlet during the Revolutionary War.[1] They were the vehicle of the people’s ideas and were critical in achieving freedom leading to the construction of the Constitution. Those freedoms are under attack as never before. This apparently small battle over control of the internet and information is central to the progress toward a full functioning and free society. As Harry Emerson Fosdick said, “Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.” Don’t let them be suppressed in any way.


[1] There is a “Check list of American revolutionary war pamphlets in the Newberry library”.  Dr. Ball is Canada’s first Climatologist and has been instrumental in bringing science back into the political debate over man made global warming. Find his work here: http://drtimball.com/

 

Who is a journalist matters

Bruce McCain

I’m not sure if this helps frame the issue or not. While I certainly don’t like the idea of Diane Feinstein defining who is and is not a “journalist” today, the question remains: Who is a journalist in today’s world where anyone and everyone with a smart phone and a YouTube account can self-publish “news” as a “citizen journalist?” Let me give you two examples in Oregon unrelated to the shield law, but with legal implications nonetheless.

But the question remains, who is “the media?” Can any citizen journalist with a WordPress blog, including some of our more activist OEA members, demand entry to our executive sessions as members of the media

Oregon is the only state that allows the media to sit in on executive sessions of public bodies (I know because I am an elected official of a large suburban school district). Under Oregon law, the media may attend, but may not report on what they learn. In our district, we have had local reporters from the Gresham Outlook and Oregonian sit in on out executive sessions in which we discuss some pretty touch subjects. But the question remains, who is “the media?” Can any citizen journalist with a WordPress blog, including some of our more activist OEA members, demand entry to our executive sessions as members of the media? It hasn’t happened yet to us, but there have been a handful of instances where just such a demand has been made by a blogger who was denied entry as a “legitimate” member of the media. If everyone today is a potential “citizen journalist” then no one is a journalist. It has become the classic distinction without a difference.

On another legal matter, Oregon like most states has several statutes that protect the media from defamation claims. In Oregon, a defamation claim against “the media” can only be brought if a demand for correction or retraction was first made or if the plaintiff alleges and proves actual intent to defame by the media defendant. As you probably know, in a defamation action against a defendant who is an owner, licensee, or operator of a radio or television broadcasting station, or an agent or employee thereof, the defendant is “not liable for any damages for any defamatory statement published or uttered in a radio or television broadcast, by one other than the [defendant] unless” the plaintiff alleges and proves that the defendant “failed to exercise due care to prevent the publication or utterance of such statement in such broadcast.” ORS 31.200. But again, who is a member of “the media?” You may recall an Oregon federal defamation case last year in which an attorney successfully sued a woman blogger for defamation. The defendant, Crystal Cox, represented herself (like Roger Alvey) and lost badly. But one of the issues the court had to address was whether or not this blogger was protected as “the media” for the purposes of Oregon defamation law. The court said No because “The Oregon Legislature has not expanded the list of publications or broadcasts to include Internet blogs.” The court also laid out a series of criteria for a member of the media, which Cox failed to meet:

“Defendant fails to bring forth any evidence suggestive of her status as a journalist. For example, there is no evidence of (1) any education in journalism; (2) any credentials or proof of any affiliation with any recognized news entity; (3) proof of adherence to journalistic standards such as editing, fact-checking, or disclosures of conflicts of interest; (4) keeping notes of conversations and interviews conducted; (5) mutual understanding or agreement of confidentiality between the defendant and his/her sources; (6) creation of an independent product rather than assembling writings and postings of others; or (7) contacting “the other side” to get both sides of a story. Without evidence of this nature, defendant is not ‘media.’”

At some point, someone – whether the legislative or judicial branches – must proffer an objective definition of “the media” or “journalist” if these statutes are going to have any meaningful effect. 

I realize there is a subtle difference between “journalist” and “media” but not much. I don’t have an answer for this issue. Perhaps Jonah Goldberg is right: abolish all special protection for “the media” if in fact everyone and anyone can now call themselves a “citizen journalist.” But good luck getting those laws changed in the face of stiff media lobbying. If anything, there may be efforts to add internet blogs to Oregon’s list of “publications.” At some point, someone – whether the legislative or judicial branches – must proffer an objective definition of “the media” or “journalist” if these statutes are going to have any meaningful effect. If not, then I agree with Goldberg and let’s just abolish all special protection for “the media” who now include anyone with a smart phone.

 Bruce McCain is a retired Multnomah County Sheriff’s Captain, an attorney in private practice and a member of the Victoria Taft.com Blogforce 

 

Diane Feinstein’s blogger persecution fetish is obscene

By Scott St. Clair

Who died and made Dianne Feinstein the newest William Randolph Hearst deciding who is and who ain’t a journalist? This paraphrase of what every kid in America has said at one time or another to the grade-school busybody who shoves everyone aside to make up her own tetherball rules or decide that her friends get first in line at the drinking fountain, fits California’s Democratic senior U.S. senator to a tee.

Feinstein wants the federal government to define who is and who is not a “real journalist.” During Senate deliberation of a new federal “shield law” to protect journalists from being forced to disclose sources, she proposed an amendment that would limit its application to what she called “real reporters.”

Setting aside for the sake of argument that part of the First Amendment that says “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom…of the press…” that makes this a legally-dubious and specious effort, from a policy standpoint, what she is doing is deplorable public policy.

Her amendment “defines a ‘covered journalist’ as someone who gathers and reports news for ‘an entity or service that disseminates news and information.’”

This begs the question as to what qualifies as “an entity or service that disseminates news and information.” Nobody rightly knows. One thing we do know from listening to her, however, is that she’s on the warpath to exclude bloggers – especially teenaged bloggers – from any protection or coverage at all.

Have California bloggers been so unkind to her that she now has a fetish to persecute them?

But journalists are no better since they love to run a closed shop with high barriers to entry erected in the name of so-called “professionalism,” but which more resemble a way to keep the riffraff competition out. Even their professional organization – The Society for Professional Journalists – which was founded as a fraternity in 1909, likes to gussie up the family tree in order to distance itself from your grandfather’s journalism – watch “His Girl Friday” for a comic look at how it was in 1940 – to those who peddle their wares today.

If you want to get in their club, you have to play by their rules or don’t play at all.

All of which is reminiscent of the struggles I had several years ago with the Capitol Press Corps in Olympia when I covered state government for the Freedom Foundation in Washington state. I was there to report the news, dig up stories and tell those who read our blog what was going on. But because I didn’t get paid by an organization whose purpose was to report the news as they defined it, I couldn’t get press credentials, which consigned me to the cheap seats up in the Senate and House galleries, which occasionally had its advantages since I was forced to take a more panoramic view of things that allowed me to uncover a unique form of official chicanery.

I did get credentials from the United States Congress when I spent some time in Washington, D.C. to cover a story, but that wasn’t good enough for the Statehouse crowd.

Technology and market forces have, and will continue to change, journalism. So, what else is new? Part of that change is discarding some of the old to embrace some of the new.  

The muckrakers of the early 20th Century – Upton Sinclair, Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffans and others – were disparaged by many of the journalistic elites of their day since the demand for what they wrote and exposed came out of a public appetite for juicy stories whetted by sensationalist “Yellow Journalists.”

Then TV came along to displace newspapers as the number one source of news for Americans, with the Internet making strong inroads to eventually displace the tube.

About the only thing certain in all this is that most Americans distrust traditional news outlets. Sixty percent of those surveyed by Gallup a year ago said they don’t believe newspapers, TV and radio report the news fully, fairly and accurately. What happens when you have a product the public regards as lousy? They stop buying, and the bottom line gets whacked.

Let’s face it: Journalism and news outlets are in the toilet nationwide.  Newspapers have seen a 30 percent reduction in headcount since their heyday of just over a dozen years ago. Almost daily, print news outlets cease publication and convert to exclusively digital content. For-profit journalism is increasingly supplanted by non-profit journalism, which is itself struggling.

Once there were close to three dozen reporters covering the Washington State Legislature and the governor’s office in Olympia, but by 2009, it was tough to find a fourth for pinochle because so many publications stopped sending reporters to cut costs or because it was easier to publish the AP feed.

It’s no better in radio and TV, where bottom-line driven headcount reductions and thinner news coverage is the order of the day.

Yet the honorable gentle lady wants us to restrict the definition of journalist to a dying breed. Maybe it’s because the less there are of them, the better politicians like it. After all, isn’t a journalist’s job to hold politicians accountable – something on the order of speaking truth to power, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable?

Nah – that only mucks up the journalist’s next gig, which is working for the very ones he’s supposed to be watchdogging.

The hottest career move in journalism these days seems to be jumping ship from whatever “news outlet” you see dying on the vine to going to work as a PR flack for government. It’s happening both on the federal level and at the state level.

Back when I covered the capitol for the Freedom Foundation, yesterday’s Seattle Times or KING 5 reporter popped up as today’s “official spokesperson” for this, that or the other mayor, county executive, state agency or even the governor.

Instead of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, journalists are seeking out jobs that afflict them with comfort, which makes veteran reporter Seymour Hersh as mad as a wet hen.

Hersh, who received the Pulitzer Prize for uncovering and reporting on the My Lai atrocity during the Vietnam War, thinks that those who pass themselves off as journalists and editors these days should be fired because they’re too cozy with what he calls the “total nincompoops” who run the world.

Quoted at the UK’s TheGuardian.com, he’s especially critical of The New York Times for spending “so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would.” And, he contends, the Obama administration stopped informing the American public years ago about what the government was doing and morphed into a full-time auxiliary of the president’s re-election campaign.

He hasn’t much use for any of what he calls “insiders” in journalism today. His solution is for newspapers and news outlets to hire outsiders that cannot be controlled and turn them loose, which brings to mind the lowly blogger.

 I know this guy, an outsider, who runs a blog in West Seattle, and he’s taken it upon himself to do what the newspapers and TV stations in Seattle and King County won’t, which is investigate and report on alleged corruption of publicly-funded homeless activists and their cozy relationships with city and county government.

OK, so David Preston doesn’t always follow the AP Stylebook, but his Blog Quixotic performs a valuable public service by investigating how the public’s money is being spent, whether the spending complies with the law and generally what public officials are doing on a matter of significant interest to taxpayers.

But according to Dianne Feinstein, he’s no better than a 17-year-old blogging in his parents’ basement, ergo he’s undeserving of Shield-Law protection.

If he’s not, then nobody is, and maybe that should be so all the way around. There’s a case to be made that shield laws do more harm than good because they promote whispered secrets and half-exposures of the truth.  

If you’re going to have one, it shouldn’t exclusively apply to a government-defined class of swells who are already too cozy with those they’re supposed to investigate and upon whom they’re supposed to report.

It’s enough that some in government try to regulate the editorial content of newspapers critical of their action, even doing it repeatedly, or that newspapers sidle up to legislators currying tax-relief favors, which then makes their news and editorial coverage of the government questionable since they’re arguably beholden to it for survival. How about when one of Sen. Feinstein’s colleagues suggests the government should financially bail out failing newspapers? No matter how you slice it, it’s creepy.

And what are you going to do when “real” journalists partner with bathrobe-clad bloggers to provide coverage in neighborhoods and on topics the big boys have abandoned? That’s happening, but no protection for the blogger half of the partnership from Sen. Feinstein.

What people want is the news reported to them in an honest and straightforward manner. They no longer care if it comes from their local version of The Daily Planet or TheDailyPlanet.com, a local blog. If the facts are there and the story is accurate, that’s all that matters. If “journalism” gets practiced by a 17-year-old looking into miscues in the faculty lounge or a 70-year-old crusading for a new senior center who uncovers evidence of official misconduct, then so be it.

You don’t have to be a member of the union, work for the right employer, have a degree from the correct school or drink the right whisky to be a journalist. Maybe journalism is and should be like the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous description of obscenity —  probably many think it is already – which he declined to define saying only “I  know it when I see it.”

In any event, one clear obscenity is what Dianne Feinstein is trying to do to bloggers.

Scott St. Clair is a journalistic pugilist, born free American man, writer, journalist,  and is a member of the VictoriaTaft.com Blogforce

 

Bruce McCain: SOME FACTS FOR SAM ADAMS TO CONSIDER on JTTF

On April 28, 2005, eight weeks before Beau Breedlove’s 18th birthday, Sam Adams joined three other Portland City Council members to remove the Portland Police Bureau from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). In the aftermath of last week’s attempted mass murder of

thousands of Oregonians by a local Muslim jihadist, Adams now says he is open to a “fact-based approach”
to reconsidering Portland’s role in the local JTTF. So what has been Adams’ decision-making approach prior to his epiphany that considering facts might be a good basis for policy-making?

In a November 30 interview with NPR (never to be confused with the Victoria Taft Show) Adams openly admits that his willingness to reconsider Portland’s singularly arrogant abstention from the JTTF has more to do with national politics than keeping Portlanders and fellow Oregonians safe from the likes of Mohamad “Mo Mo” Mohamud, the Somali man now accused by federal prosecutors of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Adams told NPR that his newfound openness to the JTTF is because
“…we have a new administration, and an administration at the federal level and new leadership at the local in the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office that I have a lot more trust in than the prior administration. That’s one reason to take a look at our status of membership in the JTTF.”
Adams unwittingly acknowledged what most Portlanders understood since April 2005 – that Portland’s withdrawal from the JTTF was based more on a lack of trust in the Bush administration that on the “facts” Adams now says should drive city policy decisions. As for the new leadership at the federal level? Adams appears unaware that Robert S. Mueller remains Barack Obama’s FBI director after having been first appointed to the position by the distrusted George W. Bush on September 4, 2001 – one week before the day that changed the world.
Adams also falsely claims that the Portland Police Bureau was working “side-by-side” with the JTTF on this latest Muslim terrorist case. While it is true that police chief Mike Reese was briefed two months ago on the existence of the investigation, Reese was required to sign a confidentiality agreement and admits his agency’s involvement was limited to logistic planning and support for the sting operation and Mo Mo’s arrest. That’s a far cry from the Bureau’s investigative role prior to walking away from the JTTF five years ago. Of course, Mike Reese is in the same untenable position as is every Portland police chief who can be replaced by the petulant Adams faster than a citizens involvement committee that gives the wrong advice to the mayor. If Reese expects to remain in Adams’ company longer than a city hall intern, don’t expect the chief to weigh in on the wisdom of having the state’s largest police agency conspicuously absent from the JTTF.
Yet Adams now says he will “sit down with the FBI, the ACLU, and other organizations in the coming days” to reevaluate the ill-advised 2005 council decision. The question is what “other organizations” will Adams include with the Oregon ACLU in these discussions? And why is the ACLU even given a seat at the same table as the FBI? Can we assume the Oregon Tea Party, 9/12 Project – or even Victoria Taft will be given a seat next to the ACLU’s Andrea Meyer?
In a December 1st editorial in The Oregonian, the Oregon ACLU repeats its anti-JTTF mantra by describing Mo Mo’s attempted mass murder as an “FBI-choreographed fake attempted bombing” and “the stuff of high drama” designed to be used “as an occasion to urge the city of Portland to rejoin the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.” And this is the source of Sam Adams’ fact –based legal advice?
The ACLU and the radical left who will no doubt rise in opposition to the Police Bureau rejoining the JTTF will point to the 2004 case of Brandon Mayfield as why Portlanders should not trust the FBI and why Portland should remain the only major city refusing to partner in any of the current 106 JTTF’s now protecting America. Yet these same protesters are conspicuously quiet about the Portland JTTF’s success in the 2003 “Portland Seven” case.
Lest we forget, Patrice Lumumba Ford, Jeffrey Leon Battle, October Martinique Lewis, Muhammed Ibrahim Bilal, Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal, Habis Abdulla al Saoub and Maher “Mike” Hawash were all home grown Muslim terrorists from the City of Roses. Naturally, their supporter’s claimed the familiar rant that the Portland Seven were just pawns and scapegoats in Bush’s allegedly failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sam Adams wants facts? Try these:
  • FACT: On September 18, 2003 Muhammad Bilal and Ahmed Bilal pled guilty in US District court to charges of conspiracy to provide services to the Taliban, and conspiracy to possess and discharge firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence. The Bilals planned to travel with co-conspirators from Portland to Afghanistan to assist the Taliban in fighting against the armed forces of the United States.
  • FACT: The Bilals admitted that during the summer of 2001, they and others trained in fighting and with firearms in rural areas of Oregon and Washington state to prepare for jihad in Afghanistan or elsewhere. Both flew to Hong Kong to make their way into Afghanistan, but were forced to turn back when they were unable to cross into Pakistan.
  • FACT: Maher “Mike” Hawash, their co-conspirator, pled guilty in August 2003 to conspiracy of knowingly and illegally supplying services “to the territory of Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban or to the Taliban” in violation of Executive Order 13129, which was issued by President Clinton on July 4, 1999.
  • FACT: Patrice Lumumba Ford worked in City Hall under the nose of Mayor Vera Katz, Adam’s mentor. His father, Kent Ford was a 1960’s leader in the Black Panthers. At Ford’s sentencing, Judge Robert E. Jones said he was convinced Ford would have done anything he could to make sure he killed an American in Afghanistan. Judge Jones told Ford, “You do not represent the Muslim faith. You are an insult to the Muslim faith. You’re no Nelson Mandela or anyone close to it.” Yet Patrice Ford was described as a “model intern” in the Katz administration. At least Beau Breedlove changed the standard for model legislative interns.
  • FACT: The Portland Seven investigation was conducted by the Portland FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, made up of members of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Oregon State Police, the U.S. Postal Service, the Beaverton Police Department, the Port of Portland, the Vancouver Police Department, ICE (formerly INS), U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard, and Federal Protective Services – and the Portland Police Bureau.
Where are the Portland Seven now? Though indicted, Habis al Saoub was never captured and tried in US courts. Justice was served, however, after he joined an al Qaeda cell and was killed by Pakistani forces in Afghanistan in October 2003. Ford and Battle are each serving eighteen-year sentences. Lewis was sentenced to three years in a work camp. Muhammad Bilal received an eight-year sentence, while Ahmed Bilal got ten years. Hawash was sentenced to only seven years after agreeing to testify against the others.
Those are facts Sam Adams and the city council can no longer ignore.
 
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Bruce McCain: SOME FACTS FOR SAM ADAMS TO CONSIDER on JTTF

On April 28, 2005, eight weeks before Beau Breedlove’s 18th birthday, Sam Adams joined three other Portland City Council members to remove the Portland Police Bureau from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). In the aftermath of last week’s attempted mass murder of

thousands of Oregonians by a local Muslim jihadist, Adams now says he is open to a “fact-based approach”
to reconsidering Portland’s role in the local JTTF. So what has been Adams’ decision-making approach prior to his epiphany that considering facts might be a good basis for policy-making?

In a November 30 interview with NPR (never to be confused with the Victoria Taft Show) Adams openly admits that his willingness to reconsider Portland’s singularly arrogant abstention from the JTTF has more to do with national politics than keeping Portlanders and fellow Oregonians safe from the likes of Mohamad “Mo Mo” Mohamud, the Somali man now accused by federal prosecutors of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Adams told NPR that his newfound openness to the JTTF is because
“…we have a new administration, and an administration at the federal level and new leadership at the local in the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office that I have a lot more trust in than the prior administration. That’s one reason to take a look at our status of membership in the JTTF.”
Adams unwittingly acknowledged what most Portlanders understood since April 2005 – that Portland’s withdrawal from the JTTF was based more on a lack of trust in the Bush administration that on the “facts” Adams now says should drive city policy decisions. As for the new leadership at the federal level? Adams appears unaware that Robert S. Mueller remains Barack Obama’s FBI director after having been first appointed to the position by the distrusted George W. Bush on September 4, 2001 – one week before the day that changed the world.
Adams also falsely claims that the Portland Police Bureau was working “side-by-side” with the JTTF on this latest Muslim terrorist case. While it is true that police chief Mike Reese was briefed two months ago on the existence of the investigation, Reese was required to sign a confidentiality agreement and admits his agency’s involvement was limited to logistic planning and support for the sting operation and Mo Mo’s arrest. That’s a far cry from the Bureau’s investigative role prior to walking away from the JTTF five years ago. Of course, Mike Reese is in the same untenable position as is every Portland police chief who can be replaced by the petulant Adams faster than a citizens involvement committee that gives the wrong advice to the mayor. If Reese expects to remain in Adams’ company longer than a city hall intern, don’t expect the chief to weigh in on the wisdom of having the state’s largest police agency conspicuously absent from the JTTF.
Yet Adams now says he will “sit down with the FBI, the ACLU, and other organizations in the coming days” to reevaluate the ill-advised 2005 council decision. The question is what “other organizations” will Adams include with the Oregon ACLU in these discussions? And why is the ACLU even given a seat at the same table as the FBI? Can we assume the Oregon Tea Party, 9/12 Project – or even Victoria Taft will be given a seat next to the ACLU’s Andrea Meyer?
In a December 1st editorial in The Oregonian, the Oregon ACLU repeats its anti-JTTF mantra by describing Mo Mo’s attempted mass murder as an “FBI-choreographed fake attempted bombing” and “the stuff of high drama” designed to be used “as an occasion to urge the city of Portland to rejoin the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.” And this is the source of Sam Adams’ fact –based legal advice?
The ACLU and the radical left who will no doubt rise in opposition to the Police Bureau rejoining the JTTF will point to the 2004 case of Brandon Mayfield as why Portlanders should not trust the FBI and why Portland should remain the only major city refusing to partner in any of the current 106 JTTF’s now protecting America. Yet these same protesters are conspicuously quiet about the Portland JTTF’s success in the 2003 “Portland Seven” case.
Lest we forget, Patrice Lumumba Ford, Jeffrey Leon Battle, October Martinique Lewis, Muhammed Ibrahim Bilal, Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal, Habis Abdulla al Saoub and Maher “Mike” Hawash were all home grown Muslim terrorists from the City of Roses. Naturally, their supporter’s claimed the familiar rant that the Portland Seven were just pawns and scapegoats in Bush’s allegedly failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sam Adams wants facts? Try these:
  • FACT: On September 18, 2003 Muhammad Bilal and Ahmed Bilal pled guilty in US District court to charges of conspiracy to provide services to the Taliban, and conspiracy to possess and discharge firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence. The Bilals planned to travel with co-conspirators from Portland to Afghanistan to assist the Taliban in fighting against the armed forces of the United States.
  • FACT: The Bilals admitted that during the summer of 2001, they and others trained in fighting and with firearms in rural areas of Oregon and Washington state to prepare for jihad in Afghanistan or elsewhere. Both flew to Hong Kong to make their way into Afghanistan, but were forced to turn back when they were unable to cross into Pakistan.
  • FACT: Maher “Mike” Hawash, their co-conspirator, pled guilty in August 2003 to conspiracy of knowingly and illegally supplying services “to the territory of Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban or to the Taliban” in violation of Executive Order 13129, which was issued by President Clinton on July 4, 1999.
  • FACT: Patrice Lumumba Ford worked in City Hall under the nose of Mayor Vera Katz, Adam’s mentor. His father, Kent Ford was a 1960’s leader in the Black Panthers. At Ford’s sentencing, Judge Robert E. Jones said he was convinced Ford would have done anything he could to make sure he killed an American in Afghanistan. Judge Jones told Ford, “You do not represent the Muslim faith. You are an insult to the Muslim faith. You’re no Nelson Mandela or anyone close to it.” Yet Patrice Ford was described as a “model intern” in the Katz administration. At least Beau Breedlove changed the standard for model legislative interns.
  • FACT: The Portland Seven investigation was conducted by the Portland FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, made up of members of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Oregon State Police, the U.S. Postal Service, the Beaverton Police Department, the Port of Portland, the Vancouver Police Department, ICE (formerly INS), U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard, and Federal Protective Services – and the Portland Police Bureau.
Where are the Portland Seven now? Though indicted, Habis al Saoub was never captured and tried in US courts. Justice was served, however, after he joined an al Qaeda cell and was killed by Pakistani forces in Afghanistan in October 2003. Ford and Battle are each serving eighteen-year sentences. Lewis was sentenced to three years in a work camp. Muhammad Bilal received an eight-year sentence, while Ahmed Bilal got ten years. Hawash was sentenced to only seven years after agreeing to testify against the others.
Those are facts Sam Adams and the city council can no longer ignore.
 
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Bruce McCain: Overcoming the Multnomah Effect

This is the third of a three part series from local attorney, Bruce McCain, on the effect of Multnomah County on state wide politics. See his other offerings here and here and also at the NW Connection here.

It’s now been two weeks since Oregon’s general election left our “ungovernable” state with John Kitzhaber as governor for the third time. Now the question for Oregonians who do not admit Sam Adams is their mayor is this: How long will they tolerate Portland’s monolithic, liberal Democratic machine to determine almost every statewide race in Oregon?
As seen in the latest gubernatorial race, it matters little what Oregon voters outside of Multnomah County have to say when it comes to statewide races. The Multnomah Effect – led by deep blue Portland – is simply the Democratic Party’s ace-in-the-hole that has determined (and drastically altered) the outcome of most statewide races the past decade.
 As of October 2010, Multnomah County had nearly 420,000 registered voters. The bulk of those voters reside in Portland, whose 201,000 registered Democrats dwarf the combined totals of the 74,000 non affiliated voters and 46,000 registered Republicans. Of course, every votes counts (presumably only once). And for Democratic candidates running for statewide office, there’s no place like home – particularly for those officials who hail from Portland such as Treasurer Ted Wheeler, Secretary of State Kate Brown, U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and reportedly Ron Wyden.
This year’s gubernatorial race clearly showed the Multnomah Effect in action and how Oregon truly is polarized between a Portland-centric liberal enclave and a much more moderate remainder of the state. John Kitzhaber went to bed election night smiling and confident, though he faced a 14,000 vote deficit. He knew Multnomah County would carry him to victory and he was correct. Kitzhaber finally emerged with a narrow 49%-48% victory over Republican Chris Dudley. The governor-elect lost to Dudley in 29 of 36 counties even though Democrats enjoyed a voter registration edge of more than 200,000 statewide. But Kitzhaber decisively won the only county and city that seem to matter in Oregon politics.
In Multnomah County Kitzhaber captured 190,000 votes to Dudley’s 74,000. Subtract those totals from each candidate and Oregonians would have elected Chris Dudley by more than 100,000 votes. The Kitzhaber-Dudley race was hardly an anomaly. In 2002, Oregonians not living in Multnomah County preferred Kevin Mannix over Ted Kulongoski by 52,000 votes. But thanks to the Multnomah Effect, where Kulongoski outpolled Mannix 159,242 to 70,745, the Democrat won the governor’s race.
In his 2006 re-election campaign, Kulongoski beat Ron Saxton 699,786 to 589,748 thanks to a huge margin of 177,797 to 65,488 in Multnomah County. Subtract those numbers from both candidates and Governor Saxton would have succeeded Governor Mannix and Oregonians would have been spared the past eight years of Ted Kulongoski.
In 2008 Democrat Jeff Merkley dared to go where every other Democrat feared. Merkley took on incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Gordon Smith. Riding the wave of Obama-mania, Merkley upset Smith by just under 60,000 votes statewide. But Merkley outpolled Smith 242,000 to 96,000 in Multnomah County. So again, other than Multnomah County voters, all other Oregonians preferred Smith over Merkley by more than 85,000 votes.
Multnomah is one of 36 Oregon counties. If Oregon was a dog, it would be a freakish creature that tries to walk forward, but always ends up being dragged backwards by its oversized tail.  What can Oregonians in the other 35 counties do to counter the effect of Portland and Multnomah County on the state’s political culture? The answer lies in the results and aftermath of the 2010 state legislative races.
Republicans destroyed the Democratic supermajorities in both chambers, ending up with a 30-30 split in the house and narrow 16-14 deficit in the senate. As noted earlier, Matt Wand’s victory over Democratic incumbent Nick Kahl in HD 49 replanted the Republican flag in Multnomah County and revealed something about Multnomah County that may surprise some outside its boundaries: voters in Multnomah County who live east of I-205 tend to vote more like the rest of Oregon than like their über-leftist Portland cousins.
East Multnomah County’s voting tendencies can be traced back to the Portland annexations of the mid-1980’s and early 1990’s. Many residents in mid-Multnomah County resented Portland’s annexation of their neighborhoods and do not identify with the politics of Sam Adams and the Portland city council. Meanwhile, the cities of Gresham, Troutdale, Fairview and Wood Village have long complained than the downtown governments of Portland and Multnomah County have ignored their needs for years. Just as the rest of Oregon feels helpless against Multnomah County, many county residents living east of I-205 feel helpless against the overwhelmingly liberal politics of Portland.
Oregon conservatives and independents must realize that Portland will remain a deeply liberal and powerful political influence on Oregon politics for the foreseeable future. The goal, therefore, is not to change Portland, but to limit its influence on the rest of the state. The 2010 legislative races laid a strong foundation upon which to improve in 2012, when Oregonians outside of Portland can send a decisive message that the dog intends to control its tail.
The key battleground areas in 2012 will be the metropolitan suburban areas of Clackamas and Washington counties, which saw key GOP wins in 2010. Visually, the objective is to surround Portland’s blue liberalism with a red quarantine wall built on the principles than propelled the GOP to its historic nationwide “shellacking” of Democrats in 2010.
Washington County in particular will see heavy action in 2012 as the GOP seeks to advance from its outlying areas while inner Democratic strongholds adjacent to Portland will fiercely defend their turf. Helping to lead this suburban effort will be Rachel Lucas, wife of HD27 candidate Dan Lucas, who defeated 2002 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Tom Cox for the chair of the Washington County GOP. This key internal GOP election was a battle over the direction of the Republican Party in Oregon’s second most populous county. For those who celebrate the stunning Republican legislative wins, Rachel Lucas’s election is great news.
In Multnomah County, Jeff Reynolds was elected chair of the Multnomah County GOP, defeating an incumbent whose politics were virtually indistinguishable from most North Portland Democrats. Reynolds inherits a county apparatus that has been historically irrelevant in a county where non affiliated voters outnumber registered Republicans. But Reynolds also has a great opportunity to help solidify and build GOP support in east county, where the next major battles will occur in 2012. Meanwhile, Republicans surviving inside Portland city limits often feel like those vastly outnumbered souls trapped at Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers, wondering from whence comes their help. To them Reynolds’ answer should be the same as Gandalf’s to Aragorn: “Look to the East…”
Bruce R. McCain
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Bruce McCain: Overcoming the Multnomah Effect

This is the third of a three part series from local attorney, Bruce McCain, on the effect of Multnomah County on state wide politics. See his other offerings here and here and also at the NW Connection here.

It’s now been two weeks since Oregon’s general election left our “ungovernable” state with John Kitzhaber as governor for the third time. Now the question for Oregonians who do not admit Sam Adams is their mayor is this: How long will they tolerate Portland’s monolithic, liberal Democratic machine to determine almost every statewide race in Oregon?
As seen in the latest gubernatorial race, it matters little what Oregon voters outside of Multnomah County have to say when it comes to statewide races. The Multnomah Effect – led by deep blue Portland – is simply the Democratic Party’s ace-in-the-hole that has determined (and drastically altered) the outcome of most statewide races the past decade.
 As of October 2010, Multnomah County had nearly 420,000 registered voters. The bulk of those voters reside in Portland, whose 201,000 registered Democrats dwarf the combined totals of the 74,000 non affiliated voters and 46,000 registered Republicans. Of course, every votes counts (presumably only once). And for Democratic candidates running for statewide office, there’s no place like home – particularly for those officials who hail from Portland such as Treasurer Ted Wheeler, Secretary of State Kate Brown, U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and reportedly Ron Wyden.
This year’s gubernatorial race clearly showed the Multnomah Effect in action and how Oregon truly is polarized between a Portland-centric liberal enclave and a much more moderate remainder of the state. John Kitzhaber went to bed election night smiling and confident, though he faced a 14,000 vote deficit. He knew Multnomah County would carry him to victory and he was correct. Kitzhaber finally emerged with a narrow 49%-48% victory over Republican Chris Dudley. The governor-elect lost to Dudley in 29 of 36 counties even though Democrats enjoyed a voter registration edge of more than 200,000 statewide. But Kitzhaber decisively won the only county and city that seem to matter in Oregon politics.
In Multnomah County Kitzhaber captured 190,000 votes to Dudley’s 74,000. Subtract those totals from each candidate and Oregonians would have elected Chris Dudley by more than 100,000 votes. The Kitzhaber-Dudley race was hardly an anomaly. In 2002, Oregonians not living in Multnomah County preferred Kevin Mannix over Ted Kulongoski by 52,000 votes. But thanks to the Multnomah Effect, where Kulongoski outpolled Mannix 159,242 to 70,745, the Democrat won the governor’s race.
In his 2006 re-election campaign, Kulongoski beat Ron Saxton 699,786 to 589,748 thanks to a huge margin of 177,797 to 65,488 in Multnomah County. Subtract those numbers from both candidates and Governor Saxton would have succeeded Governor Mannix and Oregonians would have been spared the past eight years of Ted Kulongoski.
In 2008 Democrat Jeff Merkley dared to go where every other Democrat feared. Merkley took on incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Gordon Smith. Riding the wave of Obama-mania, Merkley upset Smith by just under 60,000 votes statewide. But Merkley outpolled Smith 242,000 to 96,000 in Multnomah County. So again, other than Multnomah County voters, all other Oregonians preferred Smith over Merkley by more than 85,000 votes.
Multnomah is one of 36 Oregon counties. If Oregon was a dog, it would be a freakish creature that tries to walk forward, but always ends up being dragged backwards by its oversized tail.  What can Oregonians in the other 35 counties do to counter the effect of Portland and Multnomah County on the state’s political culture? The answer lies in the results and aftermath of the 2010 state legislative races.
Republicans destroyed the Democratic supermajorities in both chambers, ending up with a 30-30 split in the house and narrow 16-14 deficit in the senate. As noted earlier, Matt Wand’s victory over Democratic incumbent Nick Kahl in HD 49 replanted the Republican flag in Multnomah County and revealed something about Multnomah County that may surprise some outside its boundaries: voters in Multnomah County who live east of I-205 tend to vote more like the rest of Oregon than like their über-leftist Portland cousins.
East Multnomah County’s voting tendencies can be traced back to the Portland annexations of the mid-1980’s and early 1990’s. Many residents in mid-Multnomah County resented Portland’s annexation of their neighborhoods and do not identify with the politics of Sam Adams and the Portland city council. Meanwhile, the cities of Gresham, Troutdale, Fairview and Wood Village have long complained than the downtown governments of Portland and Multnomah County have ignored their needs for years. Just as the rest of Oregon feels helpless against Multnomah County, many county residents living east of I-205 feel helpless against the overwhelmingly liberal politics of Portland.
Oregon conservatives and independents must realize that Portland will remain a deeply liberal and powerful political influence on Oregon politics for the foreseeable future. The goal, therefore, is not to change Portland, but to limit its influence on the rest of the state. The 2010 legislative races laid a strong foundation upon which to improve in 2012, when Oregonians outside of Portland can send a decisive message that the dog intends to control its tail.
The key battleground areas in 2012 will be the metropolitan suburban areas of Clackamas and Washington counties, which saw key GOP wins in 2010. Visually, the objective is to surround Portland’s blue liberalism with a red quarantine wall built on the principles than propelled the GOP to its historic nationwide “shellacking” of Democrats in 2010.
Washington County in particular will see heavy action in 2012 as the GOP seeks to advance from its outlying areas while inner Democratic strongholds adjacent to Portland will fiercely defend their turf. Helping to lead this suburban effort will be Rachel Lucas, wife of HD27 candidate Dan Lucas, who defeated 2002 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Tom Cox for the chair of the Washington County GOP. This key internal GOP election was a battle over the direction of the Republican Party in Oregon’s second most populous county. For those who celebrate the stunning Republican legislative wins, Rachel Lucas’s election is great news.
In Multnomah County, Jeff Reynolds was elected chair of the Multnomah County GOP, defeating an incumbent whose politics were virtually indistinguishable from most North Portland Democrats. Reynolds inherits a county apparatus that has been historically irrelevant in a county where non affiliated voters outnumber registered Republicans. But Reynolds also has a great opportunity to help solidify and build GOP support in east county, where the next major battles will occur in 2012. Meanwhile, Republicans surviving inside Portland city limits often feel like those vastly outnumbered souls trapped at Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers, wondering from whence comes their help. To them Reynolds’ answer should be the same as Gandalf’s to Aragorn: “Look to the East…”
Bruce R. McCain
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com