Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 27, 2008
POLITICS: By Any Means Necessary

Looks like government computer "accounts assigned to the office of Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Toledo Police Department" were all used to dig up dirt on Joe the Plumber. The investigation at the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency is continuing.

So much for the little guy. He doesn't stand a chance against Obama.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Politics 2008 | Comments (39) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Unless evidence is unearthed that directly implicates the Obama campaign, this issue has no legs.

Posted by: MVH at October 27, 2008 11:03 AM

Why wouldn't the Child Support Enforcement Agency have legitimate interest in Joe the non-Plumber's earnings, particularly as he and McCain misrepresented them?

Posted by: rs at October 27, 2008 11:12 AM

Where are all those who worried about the Right to Privacy, enshrined in the aura of the penumbra of the Constitution? (Or is it the penumbra of the aura? I always confuse those two.)

But our founding documents seem mutable when they in any way endanger the ascension of The One. Once He's safely in office a law can be passed with penalties for those who criticize the new administration, but until then we must content ourselves with rather petty assaults on the doubters of His apotheosis.

But more seriously, when will computers, governmental or other, be pressed into service to examine the flaws in Obama's background? I have what I feel to be a legitimate interest in his general history, a very great deal of which has been "misrepresented."

Posted by: Dai Alanye at October 27, 2008 11:55 AM

MVH and rs,

You're missing the point. It is amazing that our privacy can be violated that easily solely for having the audacity to ask Obama a question. This isn't the child support enforcement folks looking to see if he is hiding income and not providing for his children. Remember early in the primaries when some low level clown at the State Department looked at various famous people's passport records including Obama's? He was a nobody wasn't tied to any campaign. Obama raised a big stink and the schmuck was rightfully fired for violating the access he had to private records.

I will say (unlike some of my fellow Ohio bloggers) that Nancy Rogers is most likely uninvolved and unaware of the transgression. Since she took over on an interim basis for the fired AG she has played fair as far as I can tell. This will be a good test for her. How aggressively will she pursue this case? Will she appoint a separate investigator? This really has little to do with Joe at this point and is more about the rest of us having faith that political partisans can not play big brother on us and then do a data dump to discredit us if we happen to question our "superiors" from the government.

Posted by: largebill at October 27, 2008 11:59 AM

I'd take Crank's charges seriously if Conservatives hadn't spent the last 7 years cheerleading the Bush Administrations invasion of citizens right to privacy.
As the old Conservative saw goes: If Joe the plumber has nothing to hide, he shouldn't worry about the government invading his privacy.

Speaking of Joe the plumber, thank God the taxes on his $40,000 in yearly earnings is helping pay the million-dollar salaries of AIG's executives.
Now that's re-distribution of wealth that Conservatives support (and they always have).

Posted by: Berto at October 27, 2008 12:39 PM

Uncle Crank, please tell us again why you support immunity for telecom companies that broke the law by helping the government spy on American citizens without a warrant.
Is it because "it's OK if you're a Republican"?

Posted by: Berto at October 27, 2008 12:43 PM

I see above that Obama's supporters just don't have any problem with this, think it's just great.

All kneel before the Obamessiah! Kneel in service of The One! And get used to that position if you are not already.

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 27, 2008 12:44 PM

berto, you'd better cite that law. I'm sure you can--don't worry if you spend a couple of hours Googling. The truth is out there.

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 27, 2008 12:46 PM

Relax spongeworthy.
Make believe there's an (R) after the name Obama on the ballot. You'll find yourself kissing his ass in no time (and as Maxwell Smart would say, "and loving it!").

Posted by: Berto at October 27, 2008 12:50 PM

Berto and rs - Good to know you guys approve...I'm not upset that the Toledo Police Department, the AG or the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency have investigative powers. My concern is that those powers, which exist for legitimate purposes, are being abused to attack a private citizen for asking a question to a public official during an election.

Posted by: Crank at October 27, 2008 12:53 PM

spongeworthy,
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or as Conservatives call it "toilet paper".

Posted by: Berto at October 27, 2008 12:53 PM

Nice try, Berto. You appear to be unfamiliar with the word "unreasonable."

Posted by: Crank at October 27, 2008 1:03 PM

I'm not missing the point. The post seemed to assume the Obama campaign was behind it. For what we know at this stage, it could just be some nosy local government officials. Not everything is a big political conspiracy.

Posted by: MVH at October 27, 2008 1:16 PM

MVH, c'mon. Nobody said it was a big political conspiracy. It was a bunch of petty bureacrats abusing their investigative power in service of The One.

Berto, keep searching for that law! You know there's no chance that the lefty kook blogger where you got the idea that laws were broken didn't know what they were talking about.

Don't give up!

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 27, 2008 1:22 PM

I think the one thing we really don't want to do is have both parties thinking it's okay to invade our privacy because the other guys started it. In the absence of evidence otherwise, I'd tend to attribute this to over-zealous Obama supporters unconnected to the campaign. But it's still wrong.

Posted by: Jerry at October 27, 2008 1:31 PM

"Looks like government computer "accounts assigned to the office of Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Toledo Police Department" were all used to dig up dirt on Joe the Plumber. The investigation at the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency is continuing."

Too bad all these agencies aren't spending their time, energy and money into finding Obama's birth certificate!

Posted by: mnotaro at October 27, 2008 1:53 PM

"What is sauce for the goose is saucs for the gander," EXCPET at baseballcrank.

When the first stories broke about Palin vengeance crusade against her former BIL, Crank, your response was not to be concerned about the "little guy." To the contrary, you basically said, "go ahead guys, defend someone who tasered his kid, etc." Here, your "little guy" works without a license and is not fulfilling his child support obligations. What gives?

Unlike you, I believe that if Obama campaign staff were involved, they should be fired and Obama should apologize to Little Joe. You know, like the way the McCain campaign apologized over the hoax attack onits supporter in in Pittsburgh. Oh, wait, THAT didn't happen.

Posted by: Magrooder at October 27, 2008 2:47 PM

Magrooder, Wooten is an employee of the state. He carries a gun. Palin had personal knowledge of him threatening the life of her father and tasering his kid. As his ultimate superior, it would have been irresponsible of her to do nothing. If you think that's similar to government authorities going after a private citizen who disagreed with a candidate in public, I'm not even sure what to say to you.

As for the Ashley Todd story, I would note that when law enforcement found her story false, the McCain people stopped. As opposed to the "kill him" myth, which was pushed by Obama himself in a nationally televised debate after it was exposed as false, and which Obama's supporters are still touting after the Secret Service found it baseless.

Posted by: Crank at October 27, 2008 3:09 PM

And Macgrooder, you can find us a list of all the petty bureaucrats who looked up all the dirt on Wooten and released it to the media. Hop to!

These people in Ohio dug up the most minute damning pieces in Joe's background. We don't know anything about Wooten but his actions as an agent of the state or actions in violation of regulations.

Let's see what the media digs up on Wooten courtesy of political hacks working for the State of Alaska. Then you might have one piece of a point.

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 27, 2008 3:25 PM

Over the week-end I saw the video of the "question" Joe the non-Plumber asked, during which he misrepresented the earnings of the business he probably can't qualify to buy. He didn't seem to have any particularly strong objections to any of Obama's remarks. In fact, he seemed to be nodding his head in agreement most of the time.
That being said, Joe would have disappeared into obscurity had McCain not (repeatedly) invoked him to further his political agenda, while Joe himself was happy to participate the following day. You don't get to complain about the glare of the spotlights when it's you and your candidate that are responsible for your celebrity. And the shirt-tearing about privacy from a bunch of right-wing authoritarians is ironic indeed.
Stevens: guilty on all counts. What is it with these Alaska Republicans?

Posted by: rs at October 27, 2008 4:07 PM

rs - When Obama has done one-tenth as much to cleanse Illinois of what Daley, Blagojevich, Rezko, Stroger, Giannoulis, Emil Jones et al represent as Palin has done to cleanse Alaska of what Stevens, Murkowski and Young and their circle represent, you can talk.

Posted by: Crank at October 27, 2008 4:17 PM

"I know you are but what am I?" is your answer? You're an attorney, right?
While I didn't mention her, Mrs. Palin seems to have learned well from Alaska Republicans Stevens, Murkowski, and Young, what with her extravagant spending of donor money on clothes and make-up, her billing the state of Alaska for days and nights spent at her home (a quite expensive home built under somewhat curious circumstances by Steven's favorite contractor), and the plane trips and luxury hotel accomodations the state was billed for her children who accompanied her while she was a government functionary.
What is it with these Alaska Republicans?

Posted by: rs at October 27, 2008 5:08 PM

Crank,

Wooten first. There is a distinction between a state employee and an unlicensed plumber, though the distinction is not relevant here. Each has privacy rights that cannot lawfully be ignored by anyone. Palin's "fear" -- and there is fairly convincing evidence that it was not real -- does not give her, or her husband, the right to put undue pressure on Wooten's superiors to fire him, especially after all the proper procedures had been followed. To characterize her as his ultimate supervisor is false in all but the most technical sense. If she was as you claim, why didn't she just fire him herself? ANSWER: she had no such authority.

Ashley Todd -- The McCain campaign tried to push the story out before it had done any research to verify the truth. When Michelle Malkin gets it right so quickly, it can't have been that hard. In any case, no apology has been forthcoming.

Posted by: Magrooder at October 27, 2008 5:59 PM

What exactly is the point of your blog, Crank?

You submit a rigid statement or viewpoint. Some people commend you, others disagree. Nobody changes their minds, so it's virtual group masturbation.

There is no bipartisanship in any of your stances. At no point will your blog entries convince someone to change their mind, in any way...

I'm not disputing your right to have this blog, but don't you think that an endeavor that was bit more independent, and not blindly devoted to just one party/ideology, would engender more thoughtful dialogue, and perhaps -- shudder -- agreement between Dems and Reps?

Posted by: Dorce at October 27, 2008 8:50 PM

I think the point is for Crank to express his side's view and persuade as many as he can.

Posted by: Magrooder at October 27, 2008 9:31 PM

Dorce,

It used to be a really solid blog filled with principled conservative views, that were not necessarily auto-partisan. It was thoughtful, well written...just all around really good.

There has been a dramatic transformation though, and it now has become so painfully partisan. The comments section is filled with arguments over whether some county govt agency might have used computers inappropriately or who may have been behind it.

I always come back to read the baseball and hope for a return to the principled conservative viewpoint and an end to the redstate/dailykos garbage.

Posted by: Chris at October 27, 2008 10:21 PM

Dorce,

It used to be a really solid blog filled with principled conservative views, that were not necessarily auto-partisan. It was thoughtful, well written...just all around really good.

There has been a dramatic transformation though, and it now has become so painfully partisan. The comments section is filled with arguments over whether some county govt agency might have used computers inappropriately or who may have been behind it.

I always come back to read the baseball and hope for a return to the principled conservative viewpoint and an end to the redstate/dailykos garbage.

Posted by: Chris at October 27, 2008 10:21 PM

I have a major problem with this sort of governmental snooping. Yet increasing surveillance powers and a steep decline in privacy rights is one of those things that both parties agree on.

As Crank admitted he's not against increased "investigative powers." Many Americans, including "pro-privacy" Republicans and "individual liberty" Dems seem to have made that Faustian bargain over the last 8 years.

That said . . . what the hell does this have to do with Obama??? Are you suggesting, Crank, that this snooping was conducted at Obama's behest? That he has control over the Ohio state government?

Otherwise, this is exactly the kind of "news coverage" you've been peddling lately that shows you to be a pundit, not a serious political analyst.

If that's cool by you, then so be it. You're a good pundit, a smart pundit, a pundit who writes very well.

But a pundit nonetheless. I can't wait til the election passes so I can get one of my favorite bloggers back.

Posted by: Mike at October 28, 2008 7:19 AM

You whiners are aware that you can access Baseball-Only Content by clicking the link on the homepage, right? So why do you bother with the political posts if you don't like them? Are you looking for an excuse to whine? That's unseemly for grown men.

Today it turns out there is no doubt Joe's records were accessed by a state official. That official is a maximum donor of Obama's. You guys can cry about Palin firing the Tazer trooper or fling Stevens' name around as it it were some defense, but this woman should be fired and you all should be ashamed of yourself for trying to gloss over an egregious abuse of power for political gain.

And Ted Stevens could walk out in front of a herd of caribou for all I care. Good riddance.

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 28, 2008 9:40 AM

spongeworthy, you and the host keep building straw men to fight. There's no evidence this is an orchestrated effort of the Obama campaign as intimated in the original post. No one has suggested that if a state official has inappropriately accessed an individual's records they shouldn't be punished. However, there is a certain incongruity in this sudden concern for privacy rights by knee-jerk defenders of government snooping.
McCain and Joe the non-Plumber set Joe up for this scrutiny by lying about his professional and financial standing while placing him in the spotlight. It does seem reasonable for the Child Support agency to be taking a second look if Joe is paying child support based on the $40K/yr he actually earns compared to the higher earnings he and McCain intimated. And again, there's the incongruity thing, what with the failure to acknowledge the ethical and legal shortcomings of Governor Moosealini in the Troopergate debacle.
By the way, about your comment. Definitely whining. In fact, this election season is proving the inability of the political right to take a punch without tearing up. Pussies is one word that comes to mind to describe how they (you) are dealing with a downturn in political fortunes.

Posted by: rs at October 28, 2008 10:20 AM

This is hilarious.

For 20 years, we have heard about Willie Horton. The Horton ads - the ones that named and showed him, rather than just discussing the furlough program - were run by an independent group in South Carolina. Doesn't matter, we were told; anything done on behalf of the GOP candidate is presumed to be done with his authority.

For 8 years, we heard about phone calls in the South Carolina GOP primary in 2000. Nobody ever produced any evidence of such calls, and certainly nobody ever had a non-speculative basis for finding the Bush campaign behind them. Doesn't matter, we were told; secondhand rumors of calls is plenty of proof, and anything done on behalf of the GOP candidate is presumed to be done with his authority.

For 4 years, we have heard about the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Now, I happen to think the Swifties performed a vital public service and were proven right more often than wrong. But they were an independent group, funded by allies of Bush, to be sure, but not coordinated with the Bush campaign. Doesn't matter, we were told; anything done on behalf of the GOP candidate is presumed to be done with his authority. Any suggestion to the contrary is to be mocked and scorned, as it is inconceivable that there is such a thing as independence on the GOP side of the aisle.

In this campaign, we have had endless ink spilled on things said at McCain or Palin rallies. Much of this has been based on flawed or outright incorrect reportage, but even aside from that, this is random supporters. Doesn't matter, we were told; anything done on behalf of the GOP candidate is presumed to be done with his authority.

Runs only one way, apparently. If it can't be proven that Obama personally ordered something be done, then absolutely anything done on his behalf gets a complete pass, move along, no story here.

Breathtaking.

Posted by: Crank at October 28, 2008 10:34 AM

Mike - I think we have a fundamental policy disagreement. I think the government needs strong authority to enforce the law and protect national security (although we'd have fewer privacy concerns if we had fewer laws to enforce). I also believe in popular accountability: while there are legal remedies in some cases for specific abuses, the bottom line is that if the executive abuses the powers he is properly granted by law, the remedy is with the people. That's also why we need clear lines of authority (I agree 100% with every word of Scalia's dissent in the Independent Counsel case about the dangers of prosecutors unaccountable to the people, which come to think of it is reinforced yet again by the Branchflower report). I have a major problem with the whole liberal notion that accountability derives from unelected bodies who are themselves accountable to no one.

Posted by: Crank at October 28, 2008 10:41 AM

However, there is a certain incongruity in this sudden concern for privacy rights by knee-jerk defenders of government snooping.

Just beyond stupid. A new level of dumb here.

Plumbers are not terrorists. Plumbers don't pose a mortal threat to you or anybody else. This is just a stupid bit of crap to fling against the wall in an effort to obfuscate the wrong that has been done here.

Even if you could compare terrorist surveillance to using state records to smear a plumber and we actually were being hypocritical,
it wouldn't clear you of your responsibility to condemn this rather than defend it.

Yet again and again you rush to the defense of any action as long as it helps The One. It's disgusting.

And of all the underhanded crap that's gone on for years in politics, has a candidate ever stood by to benefit from a political lynching without being forced to confront it by the media? Has Obama ever condemned his supporters for their overzealous pursuit of his opponents, their children, his critics?

That's cowardice. I guess you guys feel that when you're in the crosshairs, then he'll step up and defend you. Or else you know you'll willingly fall in line with whatever your Messiah decides and won't ever cross his supporters. More cowardice.

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 28, 2008 10:54 AM

"Breathtaking"?
Like I wrote, it sure doesn't take much to give you guys the vapors, Scarlet.
Tomatoe? Tomato? Move-On? Swift Boat?
Your willful partisan ignorance of the history of American political campaigns and their operatives is unbecoming of a man boasting your educational background who presumes to blog on the subject.

Posted by: rs at October 28, 2008 11:03 AM

spongeworthy, for some reason I imagine your screen and keyboard decorated with your spittle when I read your comments.
I wrote previously of my plans to flip a coin for either Nader or McKinney being derailed by the Hate Talk Express and my irresistable desire to see the political right go apoplectic over calling the socialist Obama their president. I'll be throwing down a shot while thinking of you next Tuesday.

Posted by: rs at October 28, 2008 11:16 AM

You don't have to wait until then. Whoever wins, I lose. May as well start drinking now.

I think you're being disingeuous when you claim the Hate Talk Express has moved you into the Obama camp. For some reason you can't bring yourself to condemn this Ohio thuggery or the hatchet job on Palin's family. In fact, you attempt to downplay it and you deflect on behalf of The One.
You don't even think he should condemn it.

But of course McCain has run a hate candidacy, right?

That kind of partisanship is not for the undecided--you're an Obama cultist.

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 28, 2008 1:56 PM

Yep. Because he's gonna implement our secret socialist agenda.
Whether the Corporate Democratic Stooge or the Corporate Republican Stooge wins, we all lose. However, that it will cause no small amount of agita in the Sara Palin/Tim McVeigh wing of your party will at least allow me to smile as we take it up our collective ass.
Thanks for the invitation to drink. I think I will.

Posted by: rs at October 28, 2008 5:03 PM

"Remember early in the primaries when some low level clown at the State Department looked at various famous people's passport records including Obama's? He was a nobody wasn't tied to any campaign. Obama raised a big stink and the schmuck was rightfully fired for violating the access he had to private records."

And it was found that it was done out of curiosity, not of malice. The problem is Crank has decided not to wait to decide if it's someone who is curious, a media leaker, or someone doing some private vetting for either campaign, or done because often agencies do this when names pop up into the news(they don't want to be caught out of sorts). Just point fingers.

Of course, this could be strengthened with both federal and state privacy law enhancements. Well, we know why people are shying away from that. And it isn't domestic surveillance.

"Doesn't matter, we were told; anything done on behalf of the GOP candidate is presumed to be done with his authority."
You forget the follow up, with black actors, sponsored by Bush.

"Runs only one way, apparently. If it can't be proven that Obama personally ordered something be done, then absolutely anything done on his behalf gets a complete pass, move along, no story here."
The difference is enormous, since you can't even establish if it was just curiosity or information gathering. It is an ENORMOUS privacy violation either way, and this is the story - not blindly pointing fingers.
What if one of the people ran a conservative blog, and wanted to get his information to contact him first? No evidence of course, buy I can say this just as well as you can say something else.

"random supporters."
The problem isn't the random supporters shouting things at the Two Minute Hate. The problem was that they heard these things, and did not stop for a moment to correct or chastise until it became evident how bad it was getting.

You should go look at YouTube for some of the people in lines, obviously some provoked by Obama supporters. He got suckered in the debate - he's proud of all these people, which is why it is relevant now, and why random supporters matter. I have a favorite link if you want it.

Posted by: Dave at October 29, 2008 4:11 AM

Just beyond stupid. A new level of dumb here.

Plumbers are not terrorists. Plumbers don't pose a mortal threat to you or anybody else.

Talk about fundamental disagreements.

Sponge, people accused of being terrorists aren't terrorists either.

People convicted of crimes that meet some definition of "terrorism" are. We have a presumption of innocence under Anglo-American common law. I assume you agree with that.

Assuming you do, take a lil' look at Amendments 4-8 some time, and explain how we are justified in snooping, detaining, not charging, not offering the support of counsel, torturing, etc all these "terrorists" that apparently haven't had their right violated.

No one should have been snooping on Joe the Plumber. You and I agree on that. But that's because I don't think the government should be snooping on anyone in the absence of some serious probable cause.

Not because of plumber's immunity.

Posted by: Mike at October 30, 2008 8:35 AM
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