Opinions need not be feared nor suppressed.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Local bloggers target of FBI probe

Hold the presses!

A source familiar with the federal investigation into the Luzerne County judiciary has told me federal prosecutors have sent target letters to two local political bloggers advising them that they are being investigated and should immediately seek legal counsel.

An e-mail sent to the Office of U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Martin Carlson, went unanswered, as well as repeated phone requests for a comment from that office.

That same source claims federal prosecutors have “physical evidence” that the bloggers in question were accepting cash payments from three high-ranking county officials to guarantee what prosecutors called, “positive press and excessive praise” for and of the policies and actions of said elected officials.

Reached at his office at Luzerne County Community College, Political Science professor, Baldo T. Denameland, said, “The press, the fourth estate’s role in a representative democracy is that of the ultimate watchdog of the three estates of government. He went on to say that “when the press colludes with any branch or member of the government, society at large loses as the last stopgap in the system of checks and balances safeguards fails.”

He also explained that cases involving cash changing hands for the delivery of positive press from members of the established media for the benefit of elected officials are few and far between, but the most pressing question is whether or not a private citizen “blogging” about politics could be considered a legitimate member of the mainstream media by the courts.

The scandals spread, kiddies.

Stay tuned.

Shotko gets shot down!

From the Citizens' Voice:

Breaking News: Judge dismisses St. Patrick's Day Parade protester's suit

A federal judge has dismissed a civil-rights suit filed against Wilkes-Barre by a Scranton man arrested while carrying a sign critical of then-President George W. Bush during the city’s 2005 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.In a ruling issued today, U.S. District Judge James Munley rejected the arguments of Kurt Shotko, 41, that the arrest violated his First Amendment rights and that police had no grounds for the arrest.

I was there. I saw the whole thing, including the arrest. He was way out of line at what was supposed to be a family event, and the Wilkes-Barre Police Department shut his dead ass down. Exactly what I would have expected them to do.

And as for his then call to WILK in which he claimed he was confronted by, arrested by and subsequently beaten by “leather-clad, jack-booted riot cops in the bowels of police headquarters,” um, those were motorcycle cops, you dummy. And smart motorcycle riders, especially the ones that might find themselves pursuing fleeing vehicles at excessively high speeds, where leather.

41-years-old, eh? 41? 40-effing-one? Time to consider finding some gainful employment already? You know, work?

I guess it takes all kinds to fill an asylum.

I’m going to be interviewing one of the hopefuls for the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board.

That is, I’m going to submit a series of questions to said individual and then publish the responses here. An electronic age, blogger interview, if you will.

Anyway, with controversy, rumor and innuendo swirling all about after the recent arrest of one of this city’s board members, feel free to send along any questions you might have. But don’t delay as I’ll probably be sending them along around this time tomorrow.

My preferred style of interviewing is to have the interviewee sit here with me at the modest adobe and consume mass quantities of fermented weeds and the like, while getting way, way, way off topic after a brief bit of professional type back and forth.

Here’s a sample question reflective of my interviewing prowess:

Markie: Why Miller Lite?

So, for the sake of this future school director’s reputation, he ought not show up here in person for the purposes of being interviewed for these pages. No sense getting a DUI after the big interview session, right?

I dunno.

I want to touch upon this recent Walter Griffith flap one final time.

Follow me here:

Fellow bloggers wouldn’t touch it. The newspapers have yet to touch it. I happen to know that Steve Corbett of WILK didn’t touch it. But one lonely blogger not only chose to go with it, he continues to press on and compound upon his original mistake. Or, to mush on with his purposeful attack.

Now, assuming this unknown, nameless and faceless blogger realizes he or she is the only one who thought or still thinks it prudent to mess with a candidate’s personal life and that of his immediate family, I’m left to assume that this entire ill-advised stunt was and still is politically motivated.

So, for me, the overriding question is, who put said blogger up to it? And furthermore, which candidate is he trying to help by working to destroy another? Even more insidious, which candidate is really behind all of this?


Pathetic, but interesting nonetheless.



Tom Carten said...

That same source claims federal prosecutors have “physical evidence” that the bloggers in question were accepting cash payments from three high-ranking county officials to guarantee what prosecutors called, “positive press and excessive praise” for and of the policies and actions of said elected officials.Golly; if they hadn’t said “bloggers” and if the guy were still alive, I’d have to say it was a particular person I knew at the Voice some years back. Give him the money, get the press.

D.B. Echo said...

Waitaminute! Where do I sign up for this program? I'm always looking for ways to monetize my blog!

Anonymous said...

kind of curious will this investigation get radio person(s) who had/have defended public officials. just curious

Tom Carten said...

Not necessarily. It's no more than the old payola business that radio went through some years back. They promoted records but got paid for it, which is what this investigation is about (substituting pols for discs). In this case, you can say what you want, but don't take money or favors under the table.

Anonymous said...

Come On Tom Name Names. Jerry....

Anonymous said...

on the walter thing.. i had no idea and i really would not have cared, but your post piqued my interest and i googled and found the blog you were refering to. if those responses really are walter's i am shocked. i never took him to be that way. it is with a genuinely heavy heart i am honestly reconsidering my vote for him.... i understand being upset, but as the controller of the county i would hope emotions would not rule one's actions... it is one thing to verbally lash out, but to take the time to write something and read it over and then hit the send button.... rationality would have said, getting in the gutter is not a good idea... walter should be well aware elections are not contested under "gentleman's rules" they are down and dirty and an extreme contact sport... to get involved means to have a thick skin... if this was common knowlege, no matter the outcome he had to know it was going to come out.... i am extremely sad..

Tom Carten said...

3:59. I don't want to, because his son has the same name. You're guess is also right, but that wasn't political.