Archive for the ‘John Conyers’ Category

Monica Conyers Sentenced to 37 Months in Prison

March 11, 2010

Well, yesterday the city of Detroit finally received some well-deserved justice.  Former Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers (wife of the Congressman John Conyers), was sentenced to serve 37 months in a federal prison after she plead guilty to accepting bribes.

Her plea was for taking bribes to support a contract with Synagro, a sludge processing company; however, the trial of her former aide, Sam Riddle, also exposed a series of other payoffs.  Because of that,  U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn was going to increase Conyers’ sentence.  He had originally planned on 3 years, then wanted to move up to 4-5 years, but Conyers protested and claimed she was a victim of an overzealous media out to get her.  She wanted to take back her guilty plea, but the judge wouldn’t allow it.  Instead, he backed down on the sentencing and went back to 3 years (37 months).

Here is a video, courtesy of FOX 2 Detroit:

And when reporters went to talk to Conyers, again courtesy of FOX 2 Detroit:

Conyers absolutely deserved this (in fact, she probably deserved the full 5 years).  She plead guilty to the charge, and then when she saw that she as going to get a REAL punishment, she tried to back out of it.  If she wasn’t guilty, she never should have plead guilty the first time.  Detroit deserved some justice yesterday, and I am happy to see Monica Conyers going to jail.  Her crooked ways and the ways of those like her (Kwame Kilpatrick, for one) are purely disgusting, and not what Detroit needs.  Hopefully, this, along with the sentencing of Kwame Kilpatrick, mark the road to recovery for Detroit politics and an end to corruption in Detroit.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Federal Judge Rules Bush’s Aides (Like Karl Rove) Can Be Subpoenaed

August 1, 2008

So, as I said, before, a case looking into executive privilege in regards to subpoenas from Congress was in a federal court, and the federal judge, U.S. District Judge John Bates (a Bush-nominated Judge), ruled that Bush’s aides are NOT exempt from Congressional subpoenas.

The full Memorandum Opinion can be read here (it’s 93 pages long, otherwise I’d stick the whole quote in here).  Since it’s so long, I’ll give two key quotes that pretty much summarize the opinion:

  • “Harriet Miers [and Josh Bolten] is not immune from compelled congressional process; she is legally required to testify pursuant to a duly issued congressional subpoena.”
  • Regarding the lack of case law for White House aides being immune from Congressional subpoena: “That simple yet critical fact bears repeating: the asserted absolute immunity claim here is entirely unsupported by existing case law.”

And that’s really the problem here.  Executive orders have been used since  1789, and that gives the Executive Branch some limited power to influence and shape laws without actually making new laws.  The Supreme Court RARELY overturns these, and although Bush didn’t issue an executive order here, the same principle applies.  The difference is that Bush has VASTLY overstepped the bounds of the executive branch, and is now completely reshaping things and taking us into unknown territory.

I agree with Bates’s opinion, and have previously said (here and here) that Rove should testify to Congress (although Rove isn’t mentioned in this case, his predicament came after Miers’s and Bolten’s, but he’s essentially in the same place as Bolten and Miers, so this will apply to him as well).

Now, let’s get to the reactions:

  • “We disagree with the district court’s decision.”  White House press secretary Dana  Perino
  • “I have not yet talked with anyone at the White House … and don’t expect that this matter will be finally resolved in the very near future.”  Robert Luskin, Karl Rove’s attorney
  • “It certainly strengthens our hand.  This decision should send a clear signal to the Bush administration that it must cooperate fully with Congress and that former administration officials Harriet Miers and Karl Rove must testify before Congress.”  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
  • “We look forward to the White House complying withthis ruling and to scheduling future hearings with Ms. Miers and other witnesses who have relied on such claims.  We hope that the defendants will accept this decision and expect that we will receive relevant documents and call Ms. Miers to testify in September.”  Representative John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
  • “I look forward to working with the White House and the Justice Department to coordinate the long overdue appearances.”  Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
  • “I’m sure it will be appealed and it will go on into next year, and it will become a moot issue.”  House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH), in regards to the fact that the subpoena will expire at the end of the 110thCongress in January.  Several Democrats have siad that they expect that the subpoenas will be reissued if and when they keep the Congress in this upcoming election.
  • “Unfortunately, today’s victory may be short-lived.  If the administration appeals the ruling, our congressional prerogatives will once again be put at risk.” Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), Ranking Republican in the House Judiciary Committee.

I could not agree MORE with Lamar Smith (and the fact that a major Republican is siding with the Democrats and the Judge shows that Bush is in the wrong).  Smith, unlike some Republicans is not making this a partisan issue, but wants to keep the power that has been given to Congress in Congress’s hands (and thus, partly in his hands).  These cases simply don’t happen – Congress and the White House normally simply compromise.  The fact that this was taken to court means that there is now a LEGAL precedent set.  But before those who are happy with this precedent start celebrating, we must remember that precedents and rulings can be overturned by higher courts.  If a higher Court, and ultimately the Supreme Court rules to overturn this ruling, Congress will be hating themselves for not simply COMPROMISING with Bush.  Congress will lose a power that they’ve taken for granted, possibly forever.

I DO hope that the Bush administration doesn’t appeal this, but I think that they will.  I hope Congress prevails.  The executive branch has overstepped it’s power, and needs to be stopped.  Miers, Bolten, and Rove should ALL testify.  And the Bush administration needs to remember that if this ruling gets overturned, this precedent will remain in effect when the Republicans control the Congress and are trying to subpoena Democratic aides.

I have faith in the system, and I really don’t see how Bush can win any case here, but weirder things HAVE happened.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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House Committee Votes to Hold Karl Rove in Contempt of Congress

August 1, 2008

Earlier this week, the House Judiciary Committee (chaired by John Conyers [D-MI]) voted 20-14 along party lines to hold Karl Rove in contempt of Congress for not showing up to testify back in early July.  This vote was only a recommendation, and it will be up to Nancy Pelosi whether or not to bring this for a vote before the full House in September.  If they did vote to hold him in contempt, the citation would be forwarded to the Justice Department for prosecution, or file a lawsuit, as she has done against Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers.

Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin, called the vote “gratuitously punitive,” since the question of executive privilege was already pending in a federal court (and that decision will be my next blog post tonight).

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) made the comments, “This is simply more election year politicking.  Nothing more need be said.”  And I partly agree with that, but I have ALSO said before, that Rove should be held in contempt.  You can’t just refuse to testify to Congress, and if Rove has nothing to hide, he should just testify.

I would’ve voted with the Democrats on this one.  But before the Republicans get on my case for this, let me remind you that many of you called foul at the Clinton administration for not having his people testify.  And to the Democrats who are calling foul now, if you didn’t cry foul at the Clinton administration, you have no right to do it now.  Investigations shouldn’t be partisan-controlled.  Period.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Dennis Kucinich: To Impeach, or Not to Impeach? That Is the Question

July 30, 2008

Alright – here’s another one of my stories that I’m posting as a catch-up from vacation.

Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) testified before the House Judiciary Committee (chaired by John Conyers [D-MI]), saying, “The decision before us is whether to demand accountability for one of the gravest injustices imaginable.”

Conyers reminded everybody that House rules specifically prohibit “personal abuse, innuendo or ridicule of the president,” so no direct accusations at the president were really supposed to be made, but that was largely ignored.  In fact, the hearing wasn’t an impeachment hearing, but actually was entitled, “Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations.”

I’ll briefly sum up the witnesses:

  • Former Los Angeles County Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi (he tried Charles Manson), author of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, was obviously in favor of impeachment.
  • Bruce Fein, a Deputy Attorney General in the Reagan administration – one of the smartest men I’ve ever seen.  He’s a Constitutional Law attorney and was just BRILLIANT about anything legal or historic.  The man was like an encyclopedia.  He was also in favor of impeachment, but didn’t let that bias his testimony.  He seemed to be the fairest and the most unbiased of them all.
  • Former Representative Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY) – she was strongly for impeachment, but didn’t testify much.
  • Former Representative Bob Barr (R-GA), turned Libertarian.  Now their party’s Presidential nominee – for impeachment, but he had to leave early, and didn’t testify much.
  • Ross “Rocky” Anderson, founder of High Roads for Human Rights and former mayor of Salt Lake City – he, didn’t testify much, and had to leave early, also for impeachment.
  • Stephen Presser, from the the Northwestern University School of Law – very smart.  He said that if the allegations are true (that Bush lied to get us deliberately into a war), he should be impeached, but he says he doesn’t interpret the evidence the way that the pro-impeachment people do.  A VERY smart man, but I think his bias stood in the way some.  Overall, I probably agreed with him the most (a cross between him and Fein).
  • Jeremy Rabkin, from the George Mason University School of Law – you could tell he was VERY biased, but he shared the argument that Presser had, regarding the evidence.
  • Elliot Adams, President of Veterans for Peace – pro-impeachment.  I think he left early as well – I didn’t hear much from him. from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law – He also sat on the Church Committee, and was pro-impeachment, but not the the bias of Bugliosi.
  • Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr.,

Kucinich’s articles of impeachment have yet to reach the full House, but the impeachment is not expected to go anywhere, and would probably fail in the House.  I’m not sure if the Committee voted on it at all, or not.

Overall, it was a VERY interesting hearing (I saw most of it [about the last 4 hours] the first time, and then the beginning 2 hours when I watched the re-run).  Of course, my sister mocked me for watching C-SPAN on our vacation, but I loved it.  I even had my father watching it.

Here’s my opinion: I don’t think that Bush intentionally lied to get us into Iraq.  On that note, I can’t see us impeaching him.

One of the things that Fein brought up a lot was his refusal to obey Congress and send people to testify (which I think they SHOULD do, as I indicated about Karl Rove).  He brought up some of the wiretapping and surveillance stuff.  And honestly, those are the areas that I could see a real impeachment case come up, NOT over Iraq.

But here’s the problem – we’ve only got 6 more months of Bush in office.  The amount of time and money that would go into an investigation would not make it worth it, because the Republicans in Congress would never vote to impeach Bush.  The Democrats don’t have enough support (just like the Republicans didn’t with Clinton), and I don’t see this to be a wise decision.

If Congress wants to investigate Bush after he leaves office, I say, sure, go ahead!  But I just cannot justify an investigation when we know the outcome of the impeachment.  I’m not taking a side on the impeachment.  I think a LOT of what Bush has done has gone WAY over the limits of the Constitution, but many war-time Presidents have done the same.  I would not be opposed to an investigation into this Administration, but I see an impeachment more of a way to make the Republicans look bad in an election year, than an actual attempt to remove Bush from office.

I know I’m going to take some heat from Republicans for saying this stuff, but I’m tired of partisan wars.  If Bush has done nothing wrong, an investigation will show that, but I think that, considering the severity of the accusations, for the good of the country, we do need an investigation.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Race for Michigan’s 9th Congressional District: A Look at Money and Fundraising

June 3, 2008

Alright, after a moderately severe housing disaster last week (who knew flushing a toilet could cause so much chaos), I am back and blogging about THE RACE FOR MICHIGAN’S 9TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT!  This week, I will be looking at the money (wishing that some of it were my own).

Who is giving who money?

I looked at the top 19 industry sectors (information from the U.S. Census Bureau).  In 7 of the 8 sectors that the census bureau and OpenSecrets.org looked at, Knollenberg raised more money than Peters (in terms of percentage, not total.  Total would be unfair to Peters because Peters has raised less than half of what Knollenberg has).

Here’s some information from OpenSecrets.org:

Knollenberg received contributions from the following sectors.  I have highlighted the sectors that appear  on the Census Bureau’s list (the Census has Real estate and Finances as separate.  If they were combined, they would rank 5th, instead of 12th and 8th, respectively):

Sector

Total

Finance/Insur/RealEst

$269,200

Transportation

$238,149

Ideology/Single-Issue

$178,974

Lawyers & Lobbyists

$148,530

Misc Business

$135,050

Construction

$108,200

Other

$87,700

Health

$58,972

Energy/Nat Resource

$54,625

Defense

$33,250

Communic/Electronics

$23,550

Agribusiness

$15,500

Labor

$7,500

Now, let’s look at Peters:

Sector

Total

Labor

$132,500

Lawyers & Lobbyists

$103,921

Ideology/Single-Issue

$81,818

Other

$73,587

Finance/Insur/RealEst

$37,367

Misc Business

$35,943

Health

$15,750

Communic/Electronics

$5,300

Construction

$4,300

Agribusiness

$2,847

Transportation

$1,500

Energy/Nat Resource

$1,168

Or, let’s look at it this way, 41.99% of Knollenberg’s money has come from industries that make up a major  part of the district, while only 26.76% of Peters’ money did.

So, where is Peters’ money coming from?

Well, when we look at specific industries, we see that his #1 contributing industry is lawyers/law firms.  Then come leadership PACS (after retired contributors), then a  whole slew of…

Unions!

Now, no offense to any union members, but unions don’t have the 9th District as their focus.  Unions have gone from advocates for decent rights of workers to greedy organizations that border the category of corrupt organizations.  Take the UAW for example, which is now advocating fair trade because “China sells dangerous toys.”  Bull crap!  The real reason that you’re advocating fair trade is because you need tariffs on imports so that companies don’t ship your jobs overseas.  You want the ability to get paid $30/hour plus great benefits but still retain the right to strike anytime you want a 30 cent raise.  Get a life!  OK, sorry – back on track…

Peters has also received money from some of the most liberal politicians and organizations:

  • $4,000 from Representative Charles Rangel (NY-15)
  • $4,000 from Representative Nancy Pelosi (CA-8)
  • $5,000 NARAL Pro-Choice America
  • $4,000 from Representative John Dingell (MI-15)
  • $2,000 from Representative Sander Levein (MI-12)
  • $4,000 from Senator Carl Levin (MI)
  • $500 from Representative John Conyers (MI-14 – my future Representative after I move.  YIKES!)
  • $4,000 from Steny Hoyer (MD-5)
  • $10,000 from AmeriPAC: The Fund for a Greater America
  • $5,000 from Victory Now PAC
  • $10,000 from Our Common Values PAC
  • $10,000 from National Leadership PAC

So, we have Peters receiving money from some of the most liberal politicians and PACs in the country – scary.

Is there any hope, Republican Ranting?

Well, there’s always hope up in Oakland County (I’ve given up on hoping for Republicans down here in Wayne County).  Fortunately, Peters is being out-raised by nearly 2-1.  Knollenberg has raised $1,847,146 against Peters’ $750,162.  Knollenberg still has $1,336,212 on hand, while Peters has $644,931.

So, Knollenberg’s got this in the bag then?

Not quite.  Although I think he’ll win, it should be noted that Peters is benefiting from ActBlue, the online  Democratic fundraising site.  He has 1,004 supporters and has raised $228,540.  The online aspect, combined with his being on the DCCC’s RedtoBlue list, could help him where he needs it in the fundraising  area.

Overall, I still think that Knollenberg is doing great and is headed for a victory, but Republicans have to step it up and make sure that they’re supporting Knollenberg, not only at the voting booth but in the check books.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Detroit City Council Votes to Boot Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Out

May 15, 2008

On Tuesday, the Detroit City Council narrowly voted to oust Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, after investigations showed that he perjured in a whisteblower trial.

The council voted as follows on having the governor oust the mayor under her power, having the council itself remove the mayor and censure the mayor:

  • Council President Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. – Yes, Yes, Yes
  • Sheila Cockrel – Yes, Yes, Yes
  • Brenda Jones – Yes, Yes, Yes
  • Kwame Kenyatta – Yes, Yes, Yes
  • JoAnn Watson – Yes, Yes, Yes
  • Council President Pro-Tempore Monica Conyers – No, No, No (no surprise here – her husband is an idiot, why wouldn’t she be one too)
  • Barbara-Rose Collins – No, No, Yes
  • Martha Reeves – No, No, No
  • Alberta Tinsley-Talabi – No, No, Yes

And here’s some quotes from various council members:

  • “I think it places additional pressure on the mayor to consider making a move.” ~~Ken Cockrel, Jr.
  • “Part of what makes city government work is an element of trust.” ~~Sheila Cockrel
  • “My vote reflects my love for our city, not hatred for our mayor.” ~~Brenda Jones
  • “His removal is a necessary step towards excising the malignant tumor … within the city of Detroit.” ~~Kwame Kenyatta (Honestly the best analysis of the situation.  All the others have been WAY too kind to Kilpatrick.)
  • “I have an absolute belief that the best scenario out of all of this is for the mayor to resign.” ~~JoAnn Watson (And you thought that you had convinced him to resign, but you didn’t.)
  • “This is going to cost the city a lot of money and it’s going to cost the city a lot of time.” ~~Monica Conyers (When did we decide to sacrifice justice for money?  If we never tried any criminals, all of the governments would save money.  This is the most ridiculous excuse out there, and it shows just how dumb Conyers is.)
  • Removing the mayor “sets a bad precedent.” ~~Barbara-Rose Collins
  • “The council’s no further ahead with that vote than  we were before we took it.” ~~Alberta Tinsley-Talabi (Is that a reason to vote against it?)

So, what happens now?

  • The governor could remove the mayor.
    • Within the next week, the council will send a sworn statement to Granholm’s office asking her to remove the mayor.
    • The governor’s office will have a meeting with the state’s attorneys to look into the complaint.
    • Assuming that the complaint has followed the proper protocol, Kilpatrickwill be served with a copy of the complaint and and notification of a hearing.
    • If it is found that the mayor engaged in official misconduct, Granholm would have to open removal proceedings, but there is no set timetable that would accompany the process.
  • The council could remove the mayor.
    • The council will hold a public hearing on June 13th.
    • A trial would take place sometime after the hearing.  This would last about 2 weeks.
    • The council would vote on removal.
    • Kilpatrick’s attorneys could block the effort in court.  He could also appeal his removal in court.
  • Kilpatrick could resign.
    • I’ll wake up from a really weird dream, hit the snooze button, and hopefully dream about some fun vacation in San Antonio (it’s a GREAT city – you should go sometime).

So, what’s likely to happen?

  • I DOUBT the governor will step in.  She has said that she doesn’t want to, and Detroiters (especially African Americans) would NOT look kindly upon the “intrusion.”  If you ask me, Detroit needs a good intrusion.  L. Brooks Patterson should annex Detroit and whip it back into shape.
  • I REALLY DOUBT that the mayor will resign.  JoAnn Watson pleaded with him to resign, and that got nowhere (I plan on doing a blog post specifically on her plea, sometime later today).
  • The council will probably vote to remove him after the hearing, but Kilpatrick will appeal it, showing that he really doesn’t give a rip about the city, making them pay more money, to oust him for a crime that he and his mistress committed during a trial where he cost the city $8 million.
  • Wayne County Prosecutor Kym worthy will probably build a good case and he’ll be found guilty in a criminal court.

I’ll keep you updated as things happen.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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