Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Petition Process' Perversion Laid Plain

by Kyle Michaelis
The Omaha-World-Herald did a heck of a job on Sunday laying out the bizarre and irksome facts surrounding the twin petition efforts supporting constitutional amendments imposing a state spending lid and stripping families of the right to remove a loved one from life support without the prior legal sanction of such action by the actual patient. Most peculiar, of course, is the funding, which was laid out quite nicely in the chart below.

Of course, if the above illustration were to present a true graphical depiction it would have to be circular, but this is adequate for at least establishing the highly questionable and deeply troubling facts as they are currently understood.

As for the meat of the article, there are no mind-blowing revelations, but it certainly adds an increased level of depth to that which has previously been discussed here. The World-Herald's to be commended for covering its bases journalistically and adding a new level of sad hilarity to the proceedings with the "Who's on First"-style antics of disavowal and outright confusion when the parties were actually questioned about their respective involvement.

Highlights of the must-read OWH report include:
The amendment was drafted by Steven J. Safranek, an attorney who was raised in Omaha and who teaches at Ave Maria Law School in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Wesley J. Smith, a California attorney....

Safranek and Smith said they worked on the amendment via e-mail and conference calls, but that it wasn't their idea and they don't know whose it was. They said they weren't involved in funding or running the petition drive and didn't select Nebraska as the target state.

Safranek said there had been talk of a humane care amendment percolating in pro-life circles since the spring of 2005 ... He said he wasn't sure how he became part of an e-mail group drafting it.

He said he was paid $1,000 or less but doesn't recall who wrote the check.

"Americans for Limited Care maybe? Or Nebraskans for Limited Care?" he said. "I mean, I'm sorry, Nebraskans for Humane Care might have been it."

Nebraskans for Humane Care Committee has not reported any payment to Safranek.


Safranek said he didn't know anything about Americans for Limited Government, the group that indirectly funded the Nebraska petition drives from its downtown Chicago headquarters.

He expressed surprise when told ALG and U.S. Term Limits share several of the same leaders. Safranek was a paid consultant for U.S. Term Limits in 1997.


As for who ultimately funded the effort, [Laird] Maxwell [of Montana-based money funnelers America At Its Best] said: "People from all over the nation. I don't really know. It's a national movement. I send donors to ALG. They send donations and donors to me."


ALG gave money to Maxwell's group, which in turn was used for the two Nebraska petitions.... ALG leaders publicly embrace only the spending measure.

The decision to spend money on humane care, they said, was up to Maxwell.

"We haven't done anything on (humane care)," [ALG Chairman Eric] O'Keefe said.

But his wife has.


Leslie Graves, who is married to O'Keefe, started Renewal Voter Outreach, the company that was paid $1.4 million to gather signatures on the Nebraska petitions.....

Once she decided to do humane care, she was asked to circulate the spending petition as well....

Graves said she's been active in pro-life causes for more than seven years and feels strongly that the humane care measure is needed. But she said it wasn't her idea and she wasn't involved in funding it. She said she heard about the amendment from Safranek, whom she said she had known for years.

Safranek, however, said he doesn't know Graves and didn't inform her about the measure.

Surely, you're getting a sense of the hilarity, not to mention the depravity at the core of this deceitful pack of say-anything ideologues who obviously believe themselves above conventional standards of honesty, fair-dealing, and accountability.

Yesterday, the World-Herald finally held these bastards accountable. Obviously, they were not expecting it, and they were not prepared for it....otherwise, one has to imagine they would have put together at least some plausible explanation avoiding the worst inconsistencies of their present masquerade.

Compliments to the reporters for laying out the story in as plain of English as is probably possible for all the convolution and misdirection that have been employed to prevent the light of truth from ever reaching these machinations. But now is no time to become complacent. For all the questions that are finally being asked, the incomplete record and contradictory responses reveal that few real answers have been uncovered. From what we know, much can be presumed, but little can be asserted.

Caught in their lies - their manipulation exposed - those responsible for this monstrous abuse of the democratic process owe some answers to the people of Nebraska about their mysterious cross-purposes. It seems Nebraska voters are being experimented on like lab rats by out-of-state influence peddlers testing different formulas for "success" on populations nationwide. At the same time, the flooding of our plains with money has clearly opened the possiblity of graft, laundering, and criminal collusion severe enough to warrant immediate investigation by public authorities who have seen these games played before - though more often in the boardroom than at the ballot box.

They chose to use Nebraska as an ideological battle ground. For their foolishness and arrogance in this regard, they now stand positioned to suffer a stunning defeat right here that could pull back the curtain on their shadowy operations across the country.

This is the beginning - not the end. Keep asking those questions. Keep fighting for those answers. Much is known, but little is understood. If we keep the light of truth burning, there is, no doubt, so much more for us to learn.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job. The question remains: Why can't Neb. Accountability & Disclosure Comm. go after these shell out-of-state organizations given the sheer amounts of money flowing through them to put an issue on the ballot; without grassroots involvement? If they can drag Hergert to Hell and back they ought to be able to at a minimum, investigate the entites that are buying their way on to our ballot.


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