If Al Gore Jr. ever runs for President, he'll have to answer some embarrassing questions about the source of his family's wealth.
"One of the minor mysteries of American politics has been the source of wealth for the family of Vice President Albert Gore Jr.," observes Joseph Goulden of Accuracy in Media. "When Gore's father was first elected to the House of Representatives in the late 1930s," Goulden continues, "he was an impecunious Tennessee school teacher who eked out extra dollars by playing fiddle at church weddings. But later, as a United States Senator, he lived in the plush Fairfax Hotel on Embassy Row in Washington, and sent his son, Al Jr., to the pricey St. Albans School, the haunt of kids from Social Register families."
In a recent issue of the Washington Inquirer, Goulden summarizes the contents of a new book called Dossier, written by investigative reporter Edward Jay Epstein, which "shows that the senior Gore had a silent partner who for several decades insured that his pockets remained comfortably filled. He was Armand Hammer, the multi-millionaire businessman and oil promoter who apparently collected art and politicians with equal zeal." Goulden notes that Al Gore Sr. was "Hammer's designated door-opener in official Washington."
The handsome compensation that Gore Sr. received for his services culminated in a half-a-million-dollars-a-year position with Armand Hammer's oil company, Occidental Petroleum. Al Gore Jr. picked up where his father left off and "put the family's Senate seat at Hammer's service."
Goulden describes Armand Hammer as "one of the odder, more odious characters of American business and politics, 'famous' chiefly because he was rich enough to promote his mammoth ego." He notes that Hammer's carefully and expensively crafted public persona was "that of a renegade oilman who made billions from Libyan oil, chummed around with politicians up to White House level, and adorned acres of galleries with paintings, some priceless, some fakes. Hammer's lawyers bedeviled honest journalists who tried to write otherwise."
Hammer's powerful influence on Al Gore Sr. and Jr. would have been bad enough had he been nothing more than an unscrupulous businessman. Like his father Julius, however, he was a lifelong Communist and a friend of the Soviet Union. "Some scattered hints that Hammer's ties with the USSR went beyond business friendship have surfaced over the years," says Goulden. Documents discovered in Soviet archives, however, leave no doubt that Hammer was "a man who bribed and cheated his way to great wealth -- and who started with Soviet gold."
Edward Jay Epstein's new book, Dossier, makes a compelling case that both Al Gore Sr. and Al Gore Jr. were the willing partners of a very powerful and very wealthy man, Armand Hammer, who was not loyal to the United States of America. A truly independent press would have exposed these connections decades ago, long before Al Gore Sr. and Jr. rose to their prestigious and influential positions.
C-SPAN recently interviewed Epstein, the author of the book Dossier about Hammer, to read the entire transcript go to: http://www.c-span.org/mmedia/booknote/lambbook/transcripts/50161.htm
Author: Edward Jay Epstein
Title: Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer
Air date: January 5, 1997
As the Senate begins work on restructuring the Internal Revenue Service, the agency's new commissioner is ordering its biggest overhaul in 45 years.
The reorganization will focus the IRS on serving taxpayers' needs, officials said yesterday.
Under the plan, IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti would reorganize the agency into "taxpayer service organizations" devoted to four categories: individual taxpayers; small businesses and the self-employed; large corporations; and pension plans, nonprofits, and state and local governments.
Rossotti is scheduled to unveil the plan during testimony today before the Senate Finance Committee.
The announcement shows the Clinton administration taking the initiative in proposing major changes at the IRS before Senate Republicans begin reworking an IRS overhaul bill that passed the House in November.
"Like every taxpayer, I am outraged by the reports of abuses by the IRS," President Clinton said in his State of the Union speech last night. He called for new citizen advisory panels, a stronger taxpayer advocate, 24-hour telephone service for taxpayers, relief for innocent taxpayers and swift Senate action on IRS reforms.
"Tonight I challenge the Senate: As your first order of business, pass our bipartisan package of IRS reforms -- now," Clinton said.
A key principle of the IRS effort, billed as "modernizing America's tax agency," would have the IRS better "understand and solve problems from a taxpayer's point of view," according to an IRS briefing paper.
The changes would scrap the current division of the IRS into various functions of the tax collection process, such as examination, collection and appeals.
The initiative was applauded by congressional Republicans.
"It makes a lot of sense, and it is consistent with the new customer orientation at the IRS," said Rep. Rob Portman (Ohio), co-chairman of the IRS restructuring commission.
IRS spokesman Frank Keith declined to comment. An outline of the proposal was first reported in the industry newsletter Tax Notes.
The proposal envisions shrinking the national IRS office. The paper envisions that agency employment would remain stable.
The reorganization would create a "wage and investment income" group to serve some 100 million tax filers, a small business group serving 25 million, a large corporate group serving 100,000 and a pension group serving 1.8 million.
The House bill that the Senate plans to revise would create an outside management board and give taxpayers more than two dozen new rights.
Dear Mrs. Clinton:
In February 1974 the staff of the Nixon impeachment inquiry issued a report produced by a group of lawyers and researchers assigned with developing a scholar memorandum setting forth the "constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment."
You were a member of that group of lawyers and researchers, barely, I am sure, able to conceal your dislike for President Nixon. Within the year, Nixon would leave office disgraced , having witnessed articles of impeachment voted against him by the House Judiciary Committee, based in part on your report.
I must give you and your colleagues credit. You did not appear to have let personal animus influence your work product, at least not the final, published report. In fact, the report you and your colleagues produced appears objective, fair, well researched and consistent with other materials reflecting and commenting on impeachment. And it is every bit as relevant today as it was 23 years ago.
I presume--but I must ask whether--you stand by your research and analysis today. You said in 1974 that impeachment, as understood by the framers of our constitution, reflected the long history of the term used at least since late-14th-century England: "one of the tools used by the English" to make government "more responsive and responsible" (page 4 of your report).
Your also noted then--clearly in response to those who mistakenly claimed impeachment as a tool to correct "corruption in office" that "alleged damage to the state," and was "not necessarily limited to common law or statutory . . . Crimes" (page 7)
You quoted James Wilson, who at the Pennsylvania ratification convention described the executive (that is, the president) as not being above the law, but rather "in his public character" subject to it "by impeachment" (page 9)
You also-quite correctly-noted then that the constitutional draftsmen chose the terms describing the circumstances under which a president could be impeached very carefully and deliberately. You noted that "high crimes and misdemeanors" did not denote criminal offenses in the sense that prosecutors employ such terms in modern trials. Rather, in your well-researched memorandum, you correctly noted that the phrase "high crimes and misdemeanors" as substituted for George Mason's less precise term in an earlier draft of the Constitution: "Maladministration" (page 12 of your report). Not only that, but your further research led you to quote Blackstone's "Commentaries o the Laws of England" in support of your conclusion that "high crimes and misdemeanors" meant not a criminal offense but an injury to the state or system of government (page 12).
I applaud the extent and clarity of your research.
You even note that the U.S. Supreme Court, in deciding questions of intent, must construe phrases such as "high crimes and misdemeanors" not according to modern usage, but according to what the framers meant when they adopted them (page12 once again).
Even Alexander Hamilton finds a place in your research. You quote from his Federalist No. 65 that impeachment relates to "misconduct of public men, or in other words, from the abuse or violation of public trust" that is "of a nature . . .political [emphasis in original]" (page 13 of your report).
Finally, in bringing your research forward from the constitutional drafting documents themselves, you find support for your properly broad interpretation of "high crimes and misdemeanors" in no less a legal scholar than Justice Joseph Story. I was in awe of your use of Justice Story's "Commentaries on the Constitution" (1833) supporting your proposition that "impeachment . . . applies to offenses of a political character' . . . [that] must be examined upon very broad and comprehensive principles of public policy and duty" (pages 16 and 17 of your report). I could not have said it better.
You even note that the specific instances on which impeachment has been employed in our country's history "placed little emphasis on criminal conduct" and were used to remove public officials who had "seriously undermined public confidence" through their "course of conduct" (page 21).
Mrs. Clinton, when I first raised the notion last month that the House should take but the first step in determining whether impeachment might lie against President Clinton for a pattern of abuse of office and improper administration of his duties, little did I realize your scholarly work 23 years ago would provide clear historical and legal basis and precedent for my proposition.
Amazingly, the words you used in your report are virtually identical to those I use today. For example, you said in 1974, much as I did in my March 11, 1997, letter to Judiciary Chairman Hyde, that "[i]mpeachment is the first step in a remedial process" (page 24 of your report) to correct "serious offenses" that "subvert" our government and "undermine the integrity of office" (page 26)
Thank you, Mrs. Clinton, for giving Congress a road map for beginning our inquiry.
Bob Barr (R., GA.)
Member of Congress
All fifth-graders in Michigan's public schools had to fill out a ``Fingerprint Investigation Journal'' as part of the science segment on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program. State law says that with few exceptions, children's fingerprints can't be obtained without parents' permission.
``It's offensive,'' said Andrea Lang of St. Clair Shores, who learned that her 10-year-old daughter provided fingerprints for the test last week. ``It's an invasion of privacy. Only criminals get their fingerprints taken.''
The fingerprint journal was merely a hands-on experiment designed to make the science portion of the test more interesting, Peter Bunton of the MEAP office, said Wednesday.
``No, we are not fingerprinting kids and sending their prints to the FBI or filing them in Lansing,'' he said. The fingerprint journals, he added, are ``thrown away, torn up, discarded, or sent home with the kids.''
``The law doesn't care if you throw it away,'' said Kerry Morgan, a Taylor attorney who was contacted by one parent. ``It just says you can't do it.''
Robert Sedler, a Wayne State University law professor, agreed fingerprints should only be disclosed voluntarily or in limited criminal circumstances.
Bunton said he was unaware of the law.
``I'm very sorry parents may have misunderstood this,'' he said. ``We will not be doing anymore fingerprinting in a classroom ever again.''
This get-rich-quick scheme is revealed in a new report by the National Taxpayers Union, which finds that many politicians will pocket nearly $100,000 a year once they retire -- in addition to Social Security benefits.
"Politicians have built themselves a golden parachute. The only problem is, it's our gold that's paying for it," said Libertarian Party Chairman Steve Dasbach. "These federal pensions give a whole new meaning to the phrase: Golden years."
The taxpayers group, which calculated benefits for 29 Congressmen and Senators who have announced their retirement, found that many incumbents will make up to $98,694 a year from their federal pensions.
As a result, many Congressmen will collect several million dollars over the course of their retirement, the study found. For example, the estimated lifetime benefits of Senator Dan Coats (R-IN), who will retire at age 56, will be a staggering $3.2 million.
Congressman Vic Fazio (D-CA) will rake in $2.5 million; Congressman Joe McDade (R-PA) will pocket $2.3 million; and eight other retirees will make off with million-dollar-plus retirement packages.
Why are the benefits so lavish? Because the same politicians who wrote the rules are collecting the benefits, said Dasbach -- and because they know that taxpayers will be stuck with the tab.
"But, sadly, most taxpayers will never live as well as the Congressmen whose luxurious retirements they are funding," he noted. For example, with their $98,694 annual pensions, retired Congressmen will make:
Nearly three times the $37,000 median household income in America.
"In other words, politicians will be making far more money for not working than ordinary Americans get for working," Dasbach said.
More than five times the $17,000 pension paid to comparable private-sector retirees, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
"The study found that Congressional pensions are so exorbitant that they would violate tax law standards -- if they were offered by a private company," Dasbach said. "But politicians get away with it because they exempted themselves from this law."
Ten times more than the average Social Security recipient.
"The average monthly Social Security benefit is $765, compared to a mind-boggling $8,225 a month for Congressional pensions," said Dasbach.
"But Congressmen aren't satisfied with these exorbitant pensions, so they made themselves eligible for Social Security benefits, too. When it comes to retirement, the U.S. Congress has picked the lock on the federal vault -- and they're helping themselves to handfuls of cash."
One side effect of the pension plunder, Dasbach pointed out, is that it gives politicians more incentive to stay in Congress, since the longer they serve, the higher their pensions.
"Unfortunately, this is the exact opposite of what most Americans want," he said. "Abolishing Congressional pensions would be a built-in term limits mechanism by encouraging politicians to get real jobs in the private sector with honest pensions.
"Politicians already make $136,000 a year in office. There's no reason to continue paying them once they're out. It's time to retire these gold-plated pensions -- and slam the door on the Congressional millionaires' club."
Rev. Stephen Mashburn led the delegation by reading "A Declaration of Intent" which states in resolution form the reasons for leaving the Republican Party. It further stated that this delegation will work to advance the biblical and constitutional principles through the Kansas affiliate of the U.S. Taxpayers Party. In an emotionally charged appeal Rev. Mashburn urged others to join the Party.
A DECLARATION OF INTENT
Whereas the Constitution by design of its Framers consists of the chains that are to restrict the federal government; and
Whereas all political office holders are required by law to swear an oath to God to uphold the Constitution, this being the one duty any federal office holder must perform above all others; and
Whereas all but a few have neglected this solemn duty to uphold the Constitution to restrict the power and scope of the federal government to its narrow boundaries so clearly set forth in said Constitution; and
Whereas both major political parties exercise considerable control over their members in office resulting in an ever increasing role of the federal government in size, authority and fiscal cost; and
Whereas even the principles contained in the national and state platforms of the Republican Party are relegated to meaningless rhetoric when it comes to actual policy making in the form of laws; and
Whereas we along with many dear friends in the Republican Party have poured our efforts, finances, sweat and tears into attempting to return the Republican Party to the state of holding principles over politics for the last two decades; and
Whereas these principles are constantly undermined and surrendered at the state and federal level on an increasing scale while the Party leaders hold forth the false hope of incremental victory, false because such a strategy betrays the Constitution; and
Whereas the grassroots activists who make up the backbone of the party are given mere lip service by these leaders and are forced to continually fight internal battles on stands where principle dictates a clear decision; and
Whereas Abraham Lincoln invoked the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, "And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." (Mark 3:25)
Therefore, Be it known that we the undersigned are compelled to hold the principles contained within the Constitution and Declaration of Independence over and above loyalty to any political party or persons.
We pray our dear friends whom we have worked and fought hard with in the past to promote a return to a Constitutional government, will understand that we hold no personal grudge against any particular person or office holder(s).
We must at this time resign from our positions as precinct Committeemen and Committeewomen along with all other positions to which we were elected. We must also resign from the Republican Party in order to pursue the goal of returning American jurisprudence to its biblical presuppositions and the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries through a new party.
Our intent is not to slight the Republican Party, but to advance true Christian conservative principles through a Kansas affiliate of the U.S. Taxpayers Party, the only truly 100 percent Pro-Life party that holds its members legally bound to uphold the principles in its platform. We hope to strengthen those few candidates and/or office holders in both major political parties who stand on principle over politics with our support. In all other cases, we will field candidates who will place principle over politics in order to maintain a clear conscience before the Lord Jesus Christ and the people.
May God bless our friends who still believe they can achieve the goal of restoring our Republic through the Republican Party. Our experience is that this simply won't happen since the main goal within GOP politics is to get elected. Until voting for what is right is more important than all else, having Republican or Democrat before one's name will mean nothing in regards to changing our nation's direction in the future. To achieve victory, we first must seek it.
We are alarmed at the number of citizens across the nation who, having grown disenchanted with the lack of direction and principle within the Republican Party, are simply withdrawing from the political process. We invite all people who wish to see principle placed above politics to not give up on the system but to join with us in the Kansas T Party.
Stephen Mashburn - Precinct Committeeman, Legislative District Chair for 96th District
Cedric Boehr - Former Precinct Committeeman
Sandi Boehr - Precinct Committeewoman
Melvin Lallement - Precinct Committeeman
Grace Lallement - Precinct Committeewoman
Rev. Christopher L. Fleet - Precinct Committeeman
Judith Fleet - Precinct Committeewoman
Scott E. Griffin - Precinct Committeeman
Ellen C. Griffin - Precinct Committeewoman
Brad W. Bennett - Precinct Committeeman
Wilma Graves - Precinct Committeewoman
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