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Al Gore as corporate stooge?

I missed a lot of big stories during my recent hiatus, but my friend Mal seems to think that Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize is among my most egregious abdications of duty. What's not clear is why. In my mind the Peace Prize is even less significant than Time's Man of the Year, and you and I've both won that one ourselves, Mal.

Here's an exercise for the readers. If a "peace" prize has been awarded to the likes of Henry Kissinger, Le Duc Tho, and Yasser Arafat, how much can it really be worth? Wait, I actually know the answer to this. It's exactly whatever the cash value of the prize is these days, which I'm too lazy to look up.

And at least for the past few years, the award has been synonymous with "Best Liberal Performance on the World Stage," so I submit that Gore's joining the ranks of political has-beens like Jimmy Carter is appropriate.

But all of this is beside the point. Why did Gore win the Nobel Peace Prize this year? Because this is the year that he ceased being a real threat to global corporate hegemony. Did any of you guys actually see his movie? After an hour and a half of all the "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!" hysteria, what are his solutions? Recycle and buy compact fluorescent light bulbs. Meanwhile, the rest of us Hollywood and Washington elites will continue to jet around to Oslo and Hollywood on private planes to give acceptance speeches, with each such flight completely undoing the annual conservation efforts of scores of Gore-ists eco-warriors.

What Al Gore has done is transform the anti-global warming effort into a retail phenomenon, shifting the onus of sacrifice away from governments and giant multinational corporations. Case in point? A friend of mine works for a company that's one of New Jersey's top polluters (and which shall remain nameless.) This company recently adopted a new "green" policy. Dpes that mean the company will scale back its greenhouse gas emissions? No,it means that all the employees are encouraged to stop using plastic forks and spoons to eat their lunch, and to bring silverware from home instead.

That's why Gore is being celebrated on the world stage, and why the corporate elite are so newly willing to embrace him and his message. The corporate leaders get the good PR of appearing "green," while any inconvenient notions of sacrifice are confined to peons like you and me. That's why I disagree with much of what Paul Krugman says here but do agree with him on one point: I can't understand the vitriol that some on the right are heaping on Al Gore in the wake of this award. Gore, like most other recent recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, has won it largely because he's been defanged, and no longer represents a threat to the powers that be.


Gore at his worst is still better than Bush at his best. Too bad for America.

"Gore at his worst?"

Isn't that redundant?

IF he were in any way "better" than the current occupant, he would've beaten him in at least one of those head-to-head debates.

Instead he came off looking like a clown....OK, that's redundant too, he would've come off looking like a Gore.

The ONLY reason the current occupant is IN the White House is because the Dems failed to nominate a Center-Right candidate, like a Zell Miller, even an Evan Bayh.

The Dems are responsible for GW Bush's two terms because they failed to run a decent non-Left of Center candidate, proving that the Bill Clinton nomination was a fluke amidst an avalanche of egregious errors (Carter-II, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry).

If that Party inists on running losers from that fetid ideology (the far Left), they'll continue to lose and the country will be worse off for it.

The country would be far better off if Gore had been president the last eight years. Your argument is a bunch of idiotic name calling and repeating of what Rush Limbaugh says, which is pretty much idiotic name calling.

Bush hates America. The Republican Party hates America. They want to change America into Mexico, with the few mega-rich living in gated communities while the rest beg to shine their shoes. Their every action has been to destroy the middle class of this country, and the constitution.

Barely, Get your shine box!

What I said was the absolute truth.

The ONLY reason GW Bush won two consecutive terms is that the Democrats failed to put up a mainstream opponent.

The way the American electorate is now configured, it is impossible for a Left of Center, even a "Center-Left" (moderate Leftist) to win against a more Conservative opponent.

That's just the way things are.

Clinton (a pro-Free Trade, Supply Sider) won because he was able to "run to the Right" of both Bush Sr., and Bob Dole.

Not at all surprising that you don't understand that.

And Gore would've actually been far worse than any other possibility...including the current one.

A trusted friend emailed me that Al Gore is, today, a fairly regular D-Kos poster and uses the handle "Yacka Jah Yacka."

I remain skeptical, BUT a recent entry by "Yacka" pretty much outlined the same strategy Gore himself outlined shortly after we invaded Iraq.

SEE: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/10/24/0320/2227

Your problem, JMK, with your cushy, protected union job, is that you have never had to work in the real world.

You are really just a child. You live off of the taxes that real men like me have to pay, doing real work, taking risks, having high skills.

If it weren't for Democrats, you would even have a job, you poor little union parasite.

So now you revile every cop, fireman, public school teacher, military person, prosecutor, judge and politician because in your view those people are "parasites?"

The Constitution mandates most of those things - the military, the court system, the First Responders (the Emergency people who "protect life and property)....OK, it doesn't mandate or even OK any government on social programs or education and I've ackowledged that, but there's no way I'd call our hardworking public school teachers and the army of social workers and other social service bureaucrats "parasites."

Can I be honest with you?

Promise not to cry?

Bottomline Barely, you're too dumb to hold to the view that "socialized medicine works better than our current system," or that "we should adopt a more European economy, like France with its 30 hour work week." Your too dumb to make arguments for them.

In fact, you do harm to those positions by supporting them.

You couldn't read a simple chart that showed H-1B Visas exploding from under 50,000 in 1993 to just over 1 MILLION by 2001 (under Bill Clinton)...you thought that chart showed the H-1B Visa surge occurred under G W Bush.

You also still don't understand that the H-1B Visas was one of the good things Bill Clinton did. We NEEDED those workers.

You asserted (contrary to another article that YOU posted) that RICO statutes allow the government to "confiscate assetts prior to conviction."

You don't understand "profit and loss" and you don't understan the difference between "salary" and "other compensation."

There wasn't a single one of those issues where you were right and I was wrong...there wasn't a single one of those issues that I didn't take the time to painstakingly explain your errors to you in the nicest possible way.

You're too dumb to make any argument on bhalf of any viewpoint, because you're actually too dumb to understand those very basic issues.

And I'm merely stating a fact about your dumbness/stupidity. You've demonstrated it time and time again by continuing to argue about actual factual issues (like those above) even arguing against the things you post to defend your position, as all of them have shown you to be in error.

I've responded tyo you because I don't like seeing anyone suffer in ignorance, but while ignorance (lack of facts) can be cured, stupidity (not being able to comprehend facts) can't.

The fact that I'm the last person here who responds to you should show you that.

I'm going to accept the fact of your dumbness/stupidity and just not respond any more.

You're ultimately arguing against the things that YOU posted on RICO & H-1B Visas should've proved that to me....I've given you too much of the benefit of the doubt and myself too much credit for being able to reach you at least on some basic factual items.

Ignorance can be educated, but stupidity is a permanent condition....you're on your own.

JMK, does a spittle-foaming spastic like you really, honestly, believe that the childish misquoting, worksmithing, taking out of context, and hairsplitting the minutiae of someone's argument hands you some kind of wheelchair bound, helmeted, Special Olympics award?

Sometimes I have the frightening feeling that you might actually believe that other people think you have won anything other than the Longest and Most Redundant Post award.

What I said about H1B visas was exactly true, as you know. What I said about RICO is factually true, though they might WORD it differently. No sane person would argue that confiscating property and denying you the use of YOUR OWN MONEY to defend yourself is, in fact, confiscation, though I must admit that the strict, narrow, legal definition of confiscation might only refer to the LEGAL and PERMANENT transfer of your property. You can see how this isn't really a victory. The point was that the government illegally, before proving guilt, deprives citizens of the use of their own property, and they have done it many, many time to innocent people, just like they have illegally arrested and held countless innocent people, without trial, under the unconstitutional Patriot Act provisions, etc...

Truthfully, the way intelligent people see it, your death grip on some incredibly stupid, feeble, hairsplitting distinction only makes you all the more the LOSER.

I'm afraid everyone is laughing at you. They email me all the time to tell me so.

"What I said about H1B visas was exactly true, as you know. What I said about RICO is factually true, though they might WORD it differently. No sane person would argue that confiscating property and denying you the use of YOUR OWN MONEY to defend yourself is, in fact, confiscation..." (Barely Hanging)

Whenever I get you to post a torrent of inane invective and insults I know you've conceded defeat...it's your ungracious way of screaming "Uncle."

In fact, BOTH those points you make above remain wrong.

The H-1B Visa chart you posted, as I pointed out clearly showed H-1B Visas exploding from under 50,000 in 1993 to just over 1 Million by 2001.

Indeed, they did just that.

The Democratic Congress was right to sign onto the first limit in 1994 and the GOP Congress was right to sign onto the second in 1998.

The DeLay Congress rolled those quotas back to their original 65,000/year at their first opportunity (Bush was WRONG to sign onto that, in my view) and the current Democratic Congress is again rightfully considering raising the limits back up again.

Apparently you still don't understand H-1B Visas or structural unemployment or the chart that you posted that clearly showed what I carefully explained just now.

As for the RICO statutes, well, you're wrong yet again. RICO statutes do NOT allow government to "confiscate one's assets prior to conviction" and ironically enough, the article that you posted clearly acknowledged that.

As an example, say you'd invested in stocks with an acquaintance of mine named Dominick "Crazy Eyes" Vitello and he fleeced you out of a bunch of your money and the government subsequently went after good old "Crazy Eyes" on RICO charges.

Well, any assets that "Crazy Eyes" could prove were his, and NOT tainted by the alleged crime in question, could be used by him for his defense.

Apparently you don't understand that. So I'll explain that again SLOWER, ANY - ASSETTS - that "Crazy Eyes" - COULD PROVE were HIS OWN - and NOT connected to the ALLEGED CRIME - COULD - STILL - BE USED - for his defense...or for any other purpose!

Of course, ANY assets that he couldn't prove were his own, prior to the alleged crime, and that were suspected of being what is called "fruits from the poisonous tree," would be FROZEN....that means "He couldn't use those allegedly stolen assets for his own defense."

The authorities (especially the Treasury and the IRS) have long been able to freeze suspected "ill-gotten gains." RICO did not create that power.

If that power to FREEZE (not "confiscate" but "freeze"...and they're not even close to the same thing) didn't exist, then people like Miliken and Boesky and "Crazy Eyes" COULD and almost certainly WOULD either transfer those ill-gotten gains to a family member, or move them to a numbered off-shore account or, in your crazy eyed world, use them all up "paying for his own defense."

Thankfully, the way those RICO statutes are set up, good old "Crazy Eyes" couldn't use the monies he fleeced you out of to pay for his own defense, even though YOU'D apparently have no problem with him doing exactly that!

As a post script an acquaintance of mine with that exact nickname (but he wasn't a "Dominick" nor a "Vitello"), did in fact, do exactly that, fleece a lot of people out of a lot of money and oddly enough, the government does go after folks who do that sort of thing with...YES...the RICO statutes! So the real "Crazy Eyes" was indeed charged under RICO.

Sadly for "Crazy Eyes," he fleeced some very nefarious people out of some money, so the federal prosecutors were really the least of his problems. Unfortunately for him, he didn't know that at the time. It must've sucked to be him.

Funny story; he was indeed convicted on RICO charges and the frozen assets were then returned to the people he fleeced, and "Crazy Eyes" was sentenced to 3 to 5 in federal prison and given a stiff fine (a few hundred thousand) on top of the "ill gotten assets" that were then confiscated (they were "confiscated" precisely because they clearly DIDN'T belong to him after his conviction on those criminal charges).

At any rate, those nefarious guys he fleeced had other ideas.

A friend of mine at the time, under some duress I might add, told them exactly where "Crazy Eyes" was (Atlantic City) and a few of those guys went down there and they beat him half to death with a hammer and then set him on fire....saving "Crazy Eyes" a prison sentence in the process.

I know that because one of those guys who did that very bad thing was a distant relative of mine, and the really ironic thing was the murder in AC was never solved and those guys got their money back, from the "ill gotten" assets the feds froze.

A sort of "All's well that ends well," kind of story, I guess.

At any rate, do you now see the difference between "freezing ill-gotten assets" and "confiscating" same?

Do you now understand that ANY assets that can be proven to belong to the suspect and not "ill-gotten gains" from the alleged crime remain his even when other assets suspected to be related to the crime are "frozen?"

Do you now understand why the authorities NEED to be able to freeze the assets that the suspect CAN'T prove rightful ownership of, assets believed to be the result of criminal actions, so that he can't, in effect, use the money he fleeced you out of to defend himself against charges that he fleeced you out of your money?!

Poor retard JMK, any can check the record and see who started hurling insults first. Don't cry because I am better at it (and everything else) than you.


Several authors have sought to quantify the types of cases in which RICO has been employed. Typically this has been done by analyzing the predicate acts upon which RICO suits have been based or by classifying defendants as traditional organized criminal enterprises or not. Meeker and Dombrink (1984) did an early study of the application of criminal RICO. They concluded, based on their analysis of 39 randomly selected appeals cases, that the racketeering activities that occurred in the majority of the RICO cases were the type traditionally associated with organized crime. For example, extortion was involved in 19 percent of the cases, labor racketeering in 19 percent, and narcotics in 17 percent (Meeker, Dombrink 1984 317).

Lynch (1987a, 1987b) has done the most complete survey of RICO defendants to date, analyzing all 250 federal appeals generated by criminal RICO through 1985. He (1987a 726) argues that the use of RICO in attacking traditional organized crime's infiltration of legitimate businesses has been a dramatic failure. Fewer than 8 percent of the cases fall under this category. Overall however, percent of the cases involved the operation of wholly criminal enterprises, while in 60 percent the enterprises alleged to have been conducted through a pattern of racketeering were formal or "legitimate" entities such as businesses (28%), government agencies (19%), and labor unions (Lynch 1987a 733). (It was unclear before the U.S. v. Turkette decision in 1981 whether an illegitimate enterprise could itself be subject to RICO prosecution unless ties to a legitimate enterprise could be demonstrated. Individuals associated for entirely illegitimate purposes can now constitute a RICO enterprise.) Business fraud constituted the most frequently stated predicate (34 times) followed by narcotics (26 times) and police corruption (18 times) (Lynch 1987a 735). No other predicates were employed more than 15 times. The complaint against RlCO's overuse in fairly ordinary business fraud cases is validated by Lynch (1987a 748).

Perhaps the most novel and paradoxical use of RICO has been against government agencies themselves (Hoffman 1989). Implicit in RlCO's language is that a governmental agency could be tainted or corrupted by contacts with enterprise criminality, although a government department is not the sort of thing in which one may acquire an interest or invest the proceeds of racketeering (Lynch 1987a 699). Seventy-one of the 236 cases cited by Lynch (1987a 735) involve government corruption. RICO has, in effect, federalized state and local government corruption. (Bribery of a state or local official is not a federal crime. Only one RICO case has involved bribery of a federal official, which is a federal crime with a stiff penalty [Lynch 1 987a 743j.) RlCO's impact in this area was largely an unforeseen occurrence in 1970 while the legislation was being drafted, and represents another example of how the federal government can sometimes use backdoor approaches to increase its criminal jurisdiction. In this case, however, most would agree that local corruption is a serious problem requiring outside prosecution. The practice is equivalent to Congress appointing a special prosecutor to investigate an offense committed by a federal executive branch member.

I haven't used a single insult to date.

And once again, you post an excerpt from an article that does NOT disagree with a single point I made.

(1) RICO does NOT "allow government to confiscate assets prior to conviction."

(2) RICO does NOT "allow government to FREEZE assets the suspect can prove were his prior to &/or unrelated to the criminal activity in question.

(3) RICO has been misused and it's been reformed many times since its inception - in the 1980s, and again in the 1990s. BUT it NEVER "enabled government to confiscate assets prior to conviction, NOR to freeze any assets unrelated to the suspected criminal enterprise.

Don't dare challenge any of those FACTS, Barely. There are no grounds (evidence) upon which they can be challenged and there exist no cases where the abuses YOU claimed occurred ("assets confiscated prior to conviction") occurred.

Oh, and PLEASE stop posting things that agree with exactly what I've told you.

It's as though you don't even read over what you cut & paste.

Fried (1988 424-434) has written at length on the problems third parties suffer under RICO. Since 1984, monies and properties subject to seizure effectively become government property at the moment the initial crime was committed, a policy known as the "relation back" doctrine (Cloud 1987 821 822). Only those who can prove they had no knowledge whatsoever of the source of the monies or property given or sold to them by the convicted racketeer or had title to the property prior to the date the offender committed his crime are to be granted redress. RICO requires third parties to wait until a post-conviction hearing to assert their claims opposing forfeiture of assets to the government (18 U.S.C. Section 1963 j & m Supp. III 1986). In cases in which the forfeiture proceedings are civil, the rights of innocent third parties to property are often considered extinguished (Blakey, Gettings 1980 1036).

Federal prosecutors at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) advocate the use of civil forfeiture because a number of criminal defenses can be avoided (Myers, Brzostoski 1981 34-54). For example neither entrapment, double jeopardy, illegal seizure of the property, acquittal on the criminal charges, nor the property owner's lack of knowledge that their property was being used in a drug offense can be employed as defenses to avoid civil forfeiture.

United States v. Regan, 858 F.2d 115 (2d Cir. 1988) (upholding the government’s right to restrain the dissipation of potentially forfeitable assets under 18 U.S.C. § 1963(d)(2)).

Under federal forfeiture laws, the government may obtain pre-trial seizure of and ultimate ownership over a wide range of property that was used in the commission of, or that represents the proceeds from, numerous federal crimes, including white collar crimes. For an overview of these laws, see J. Kelly Strader &Diana Parker, Civil and Criminal Forfeitures

Please stop it!

RICO was overhauled a number of times since these articles were written (the latest 1988)...and NOT a SINGLE

When charged under RICO, the authorities CAN (and DO) demand that the suspect prove which assets of his were his before the alleged crime occurred or were unrelated to the crime.

The authorities then "FREEZE" (that means "restrain the dissipation of potentially forfeitable assets" a/k/a "those related to the alleged crime") all those assets the suspect cannot prove weren't the result of the alleged crime.

That makes perfect sense, OTHERWISE, as I noted above, a guy like "Crazy Eyes," after fleecing poor Barely Hangiing ou of his life's savings, would use those ill-gotten" or those "potentially forfeitable assets," to defend himself against your rightful claim.

RICO has been one of the most abused statutes, BUT it has NEVER, as you've repeatedly claimed, "allowed the government to CONFISCATE assets prior to CONVICTION."

Why not simply acknowledge that you mis-spoke and save yourself all this trouble?

This isn't a contest.

There is no prize for anything here.

You made erroneous statements about H-1B Visas and the RICO statutes and a number of other things. I've merely pointed out exactly why those statements of yours were wrong.

That's all.

An incomplete cut and paste from Word;

That second sentence was, "RICO was overhauled a number of times since these articles were written (the latest 1988)...and NOT a SINGLE SOLITARY ONE backs up your claim that "RICO allows the government to CONFISCATE assets prior to CONVICTION."

"all those assets the suspect cannot prove weren't the result of the alleged crime."

See Barely, dur hurrr, GUILTY until proven INNOCENT, dats me and Bush's NEW AMERIKA!

Barely please, try and make some sort of case for your views!

An uncle of mine, who has defended people in RICO cases had no problem doing that when he recently argued to me that, "The RICO statutes give the government broad powers to go after any "criminal enterprise," that is any group of people who profit from ANY kind of criminal activity, as a "Racketeering Offense," giving law enforcement more latitude than in your garden variety criminal offenses.

"One of the things many Civil Libertarians take issue with is the government's right to freeze assets believed to be related to the alleged criminal actions in question."

So Barely, how come you couldn't make a simple, clear and concise argument like that?!

Here's more of my exchanges with my uncle Jerry, maybe they'll help clear up some of your confusion;

(ME): Are you saying that RICO allows law enforcement to freeze all of a defendant's assets upon indictment?

(Jerry): "No, not at all. First, it's the courts, not law enforcement that freezes those assets and the court can ONLY freeze those assets that the evidence indicates are "related to the criminal enterprise in question." All the defendant's other assets are unaffected."

(Me): Are you saying that that's a bad policy?

(Jerry): "No! I and most lawyers don't say that that's a "bad policy," although we do argue that RICO has been overly broad in its scope and that it has been abused, especially early on, as it served as an incentive for some law enforcement agencies to use RICO forfeitures to pad police budgets. That has been largely reformed in the 1990s, but it had led to earlier abuses.

"RICO as it now exists is actually a good tool, used against both "white collar criminals," and corrupt public officials.

"Very few lawyers have a problem with RICO allowing the courts to freeze assets adjudged to be related to a criminal act, because if they didn't freeze those accounts, those stolen assets could be transferred to other associates or hidden away in numbered offshore accounts."

(ME): Two questions, (1) Do you think that freezing a suspect's assets prior to conviction is an example of "guilty until proven innocent," and (2) Is it wrong that RICO is used against public officials over corruption charges?

(Jerry): "To your first question, absolutely not! A judge must look at the evidence and decide what, if any, of the assets in question appear, by a preponderance of the evidence, to be related to the alleged criminal act. That protects the defendant's Due Process rights, so it is clearly not an example of someone being considered "guilty until proven innocent."

"And to your second question, the answer is also no. It IS the "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act" after all. It definitely should be used against corrupt public officials even more than it is now. Few people would believe the amount of corruption that's out there. A corrupt public official really is a "white collar criminal," often absconding with hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars."

(ME): I was getting the impression from you earlier that it was almost impossible to defend RICO cases.

(Jerry): "I don't know why you'd get that impression, because what I said was that "many Civil Libertarians have a problem with RICO" and always have. They certainly had more cause back in the 1980s and especially back in the 1970s, but no, they're no more difficult to defend than any other case.

"I've defended slightly over three dozen such cases and I've won about ten of them and I've actually gotten some guilty people off the hook in the process. Many of those charged under RICO are so clearly guilty that they openly admit their culpability, and seek to make the most favorable deal they can. I'd say that I've pled out the vast majority of the other cases."

(ME): You know that you've gotten guilty people off?

(Jerry): "Sure, I generally know their status up front. I have to, so I can defend them.

"Hey, what can I say? That's why they hire me, I'm very good at what I do."

(ME): Those people who are acquitted, they get to keep their formerly frozen assets?

(Jerry): "Absolutely. They're acquitted and considered "Not Guilty," and those assets are then returned to them."

See that?

It really is possible to make sound arguments. My uncle Jerry had no problem doing it.

And I hope you noted that he did say that RICO does NOT allow assets to be frozen without due process and that it's necessary for the courts to freeze the assets it considers related to the crime in order to PROTECT the VICTIM.

So, would you like to try again?

YOU said "RICO allows the government to CONFISCATE assets prior to CONVICTION."

That statement is obviously and foolishly wrong.

I said it did not and we've both posted things that have proven that I was right and you were wrong on that issue.

Al Gore's Global Warming activity is clearly racketeering in violation of the Rico Act. It also includes mail fraud.

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