Monday, October 22, 2007

Detroit News doesn't care about no stinking facts

I checked my e-mail this morning and find this piece of garbage article in my e-mail box from the Detroit News. I have written an e-mail to Nolan Finley, the editorial page editor for the Detroit News. I hope he will call me so he can get his facts straight.

End gotcha politics in Oakland race
Video ambushes of Peters, Knollenberg cross the line

Politics has never been a game for the thin-skinned. A certain amount of insult and abuse comes with the territory.

But the early politicking in the congressional race in southern Oakland County is crossing a line we cringe to see crossed, and portends a needlessly nasty and off-putting campaign.

Rep. Joe Knollenberg, R-Farmington, faces a vigorous challenge from recently retired Lottery Commissioner Gary Peters, a Democrat from Bloomfield Hills, and others.

Move.on.org, the left wing Democratic fundraising apparatus, is targeting the race because of Knollenberg's narrow margin of victory in the last go-round.

The Move.on.org money helps pay for a bag of dirty tricks. Bruce Fealk, a Democratic operative, has made it his mission to follow Knollenberg around firing questions at him while filming with a video camera.

MoveOn.org does not help pay for anything I've been involved in, least of all the giant head of Joe Knollenberg. Second, this is the only time I've had an actual encounter with Joe Knollenberg himself. All my other encounters have been with Knollenberg's staff, mostly district office chief, Shawn Ciavattone.

Fealk also dons a papier mache Knollenberg head, which he's worn while sitting on the porch of the congressman's home.

This is also not true. I was on Joe Knollenberg's porch for all of about 30 seconds, but I was NOT wearing the Joe Knollenberg head. Here's the video to prove what I'm saying.

I have never harassed, at least by the legal definition below, Joe Knollenberg, or anyone on his staff. I have pictures and video to prove what I'm saying, too. I wonder if Trent has anything to back up what he's saying? I'm sick of the right-wing smear machine smearing 12-year-old and 2-year-old children, as well as myself. It's time we stand up to the bullies on the right and let them know we aren't going to take it any more.

A person is guilty of harassment if:
(a) Without lawful authority, the person knowingly threatens:
(1) To cause bodily injury in the future to the person threatened or to any other person;
(2) To cause physical damage to the property of another person;
(3) To subject the person threatened or any other person to physical confinement or
restraint; or
(4) To do any act which is intended to substantially harm the person threatened or any
other person with respect to his physical or mental health or safety; and
(b) The person by words or conduct places the person receiving the threat in reasonable fear
that the threat will be carried out.

I have only been contacted by one reporter from The Detroit News, Laura Berman, for her story last week, and Laura did get a few facts wrong too, which I hope this post corrects.

10 comments:

Chet said...

Bruce,

There's a difference between legal harassment and the social use of the term to mean inappropriate (kind of like your phrase PITA). I don't think the Detroit News was accusing you of legal harassment, nor was it suggesting you don't have a First Amendment right to be socially inapproriate. It was using its own First Amendment right to condemn you, that is, exercise moral suasion and suggest a better approach.

They also got it wrong when they failed to distinguish differences between you and Lennox, and when they suggested Lennox put the camera "in the face" of Dean Gates (Lennox had the camera at his side when he was swatted) or for that matter anyone else (the only Lennox video I find close to the line is the one in the dark and that's because of the combination of following, poor video, and irrelevant question, but he never got close to Peters). The DN also got it way wrong when it suggested that neither side has condemned the two of you -- Joe condemned both you, and Lennox explicitly, on Beckmann. Peters refused to condemn you in any way.

As to the specific error about the head on the porch, I don't think its relevant to the overall point. You were on his property, you camped out across the street with a vendor machine, and you've tracked them for 2 years before that. A reasonable person would have cause for concern based on the tracking combined with the event -- I don't know that a reasonable person would be threatened imminently enough justify harassment charges, but I do know that you knew that weren't welcome at Knollenberg's home and you went there anyway. That's enough for me to say your action was inappropriate - the head on the porch is irrelevant to it (although the head would make you less threatening to me because it is funny and I know your physically vulnerable when wearing it).

Obviously, the space to say all that is hard when confined to an editorial, and I agree that this editorial didn't quite use its space exactly the right way, but on the whole I think they got it right.

Bruce Fealk said...

Oh, and you got it wrong too Chet to suggest MoveOn financed the head. That isn't true, so I think you should stop propagating lies like that and invoking George Soros' name. And I have not been tracking Knollenberg. That is another lie you continue to propagate. I have been at protests and rallies at his office, but have never followed. A woman who had a fundraiser for Peters happened to be driving through town when she saw Knollenberg's team and called me to alert me to their presence in Rochester. So I was neither following Knollenberg, nor did I ambush him. I know you use your words to be inflammatory, but a little truth wouldn't hurt.

MIKE said...

Chet - I lived through the era of civil rights and anti-Viet Nam war. The non-vilent, but publically irritating approach achieved the goals that most of we Americans laud today. No other method seemed to get results back then. There is little doubt that we are in an era of extreme discord on the direction our country is taking today. I think you can "wordsmith" to death, the dialogue surrounding Knollenberg, et et, but the fact remains, the only attention we desenters are getting from the official administration line is through these methods. There are powerful forces that have tried to influence & control the public, and sometimes it takes these type of counter measures to get heard. Resorting to a cliche, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease"!!!

Chet said...

Bruce, when did I suggest that?

I asked you who paid for it, and, indeed, when I asked the operative walking with you if he was paid, he responded with a question of "are you implying I'm paid," and I told him, no, just asking if he was or wasn't

Nothing wrong with asking.

And it turns out MoveOn.org did help the campaign against Knollenberg, contrary to your assertion otherwise. Since MoveOn is financed by Soros, and you receive assistance from their operatives, invoking his name is fair game. Whether you've received a check from Soros or not isn't the question -- it's a more sophisticated network than that anyway, and we both know it.

As to the semantics of "tracking", call it other words if you. The fact is that you appeared at a Knollenberg event on a moments notice and this was one of dozens of times you've been in campaign staff, family, or office staff's faces. That fits the pattern part of tracking, but if you want to play semantics, let's just call it "alot of times".

Mike, you can use "squeaky methods" without crossing the line. I love the papier-mache head. Awesome. Protesting. Good. Even doing it alot - no problem. But when you add it all up, and then throw in a trip to the guy's home, you've (Bruce, not you) made it personal and you have given the Congressman's family some cause for personal "fear" - and personal in a way that even if your cause is personal is wrong. I don't think Bruce crossed the line of breaking the law (trespass law requires one warning anyway, and legal harassment is, and should be, hard to prosecute because it can infringe on the first amendment and the law should default to that) -- but he came as close as he could.

Bruce Fealk said...

So what do you call Dennis Lennox recording Gary Peters through his office door? Following him in the dark from his office to his car. Purposely delivering the FOIA request to the wrong person to provoke a confrontation and editing the recording to make it seem like the Dean just lost it?

By the way, Dennis' video is only at 143,000 hits and only because he got linked into Fox and Drudge, not exactly legitmate news sources. Besides, his video isn't even asking legitimate questions. So you exaggerate again, Chet, just like the typical lying, cheating, Republican.

I haven't been tracking anyone, Chet. I have hosted protests at his district office and been outside for the most part and only ventured inside to deliver petitions. I never "camped out" at his property. We were there outside his house for 1 minute, as indicated by the length of the video. No reasonable person viewing the video of my visit to his house would call that harassment. Who knows. maybe Mrs. Knollenberg would have invited me in for a chat. She seems nice enough.

You continue to twist facts and words to suit your needs, just like with the MCRI, Michigan Civil Right Initiative, which was anything but about civil rights. But it is a clever use of a phrase to confuse people. Republicans are good at doing that. Calling legislation by names that are the opposite, like the Blue Sky Act, that allows for more corporate pollution. The Patriot Act that violates the Constitution and allows all kinds of domestic spying. And on and on and on. Lies upon more lies.

Bruce Fealk said...

So what do you call Dennis Lennox recording Gary Peters through his office door? Following him in the dark from his office to his car. Purposely delivering the FOIA request to the wrong person to provoke a confrontation and editing the recording to make it seem like the Dean just lost it?

By the way, Dennis' video is only at 143,000 hits and only because he got linked into Fox and Drudge, not exactly legitmate news sources. Besides, his video isn't even asking legitimate questions. So you exaggerate again, Chet, just like the typical lying, cheating, Republican.

I haven't been tracking anyone, Chet. I have hosted protests at his district office and been outside for the most part and only ventured inside to deliver petitions. I never "camped out" at his property. We were there outside his house for 1 minute, as indicated by the length of the video. No reasonable person viewing the video of my visit to his house would call that harassment. Who knows. maybe Mrs. Knollenberg would have invited me in for a chat. She seems nice enough.

You continue to twist facts and words to suit your needs, just like with the MCRI, Michigan Civil Right Initiative, which was anything but about civil rights. But it is a clever use of a phrase to confuse people. Republicans are good at doing that. Calling legislation by names that are the opposite, like the Blue Sky Act, that allows for more corporate pollution. The Patriot Act that violates the Constitution and allows all kinds of domestic spying. And on and on and on. Lies upon more lies.

Chet said...

So if Fox isn't legit, neither is Olbermann.

Who cares? No one in the district cares about either of you. The Lennox story is important because genuine First Amendment issues and violations have occurred now, whereas Wisecup merely exercised his own First Amendment rights arguing (stupidly) against you. The Lennox story will actually have legs until CMU ceases its use of government power against him -- but it won't matter to the CD09 voters, either.

Gary Peters office door and walking to his car is no different than your videos of Joe's office door (and you actually make your way inside to Joe's staff's credit). Its' his office - not his home. Even Gary understands that if you read his responses to media - he knows the mere act of questioning (irrelevant or not - who decides that - and I agree that one of those questions was irrelevant, but asking whether he missed his office hours was highly relevant too) is not illegal.

As to the length of your video, no one knows how long it was, what happened outside the viewing frame, and what was edited in time. And that doesn't account for the overall pattern of your approach over the years. Repetitive presences itself lends to reasonable people having concerns - couple with going to the home. I agree that it would be unreasonable to say you committed criminal harassment - not unreasonable for them to have concerns and say you were close to the line and to warn you through contact with authorities.

Finally, you raise irrelevant and ugly personal attacks against me and my history because you can't do better. I stand behind the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) as both fair and civil rights and properly defined words. Civil rights belong to all individuals, Bruce, even you.

Bruce Fealk said...

Actually, Chet, I think you're wrong again. Dennis' story is a manufactured story. Are only independently wealthy people supposed to run for office? Under Dennis theory Joe should retire from the Congress, since he's on the public dole, to run for office.

Gary's position is paid for with private funds, not government funds.

I think people do care about the issues I raised with Joe and Trent and the hysterical tirade that Trent launched against me, which he doesn't regret apparently. And I suspect the voters in Oakland County care and I predict will vote Joe out of office next November by at least a 5 point margin of victory for Gary Peters.

Bruce Fealk said...

Oh, and by the way, you're welcome to look at the original video on my camera, since the video is still on it and I can prove that I posted the entire video, though the various media reports have edited it to their liking.

Chet said...

Gary's position is paid with public money. The fact that a private donor endowed the position doesn't mean the position is private - the university maintains exclusive control over whom to hire, and the position could have been filled by other people. The university writes the check. It also pays the benefits exclusively. And finally, good universities are supposed to go out and get donors to share some of the burden. That doesn't turn public universities into private ones, nor does it turn their employees into such.

Second, the often repeated retort that the criticism is against Peters holding a job at all while running is NOT the argument I think is being made. Certainly not the argument I would make.

The argument is that Peters was given he job as a "sweetheart deal" - that he is paid a full-time salary on a full-time contract, and that he spends less than one day a week doing that on taxpayer money while he campaigns, and was given and took the job knowing his intentions. You make sure Gary gives the taxpayer 40 hour work weeks and I'll be ok with it. Peters, in his own words, said he left the Lottery Commissioner post because he couldn't campaign full-time and work that position full-time. Weeks later he takes a job from another government agency. That's two different sides of his mouth, or its taking advantage of his connections to secure a low-effort job that fleeces the taxpayer and student for the amount of effort required. Nothing wrong with a job while running - but no one (that isn't trying to evade contribution limit laws) in the private sector's going to pay me for 8 hours of work a week a full-time salary, and if they did, the FEC would be (properly) looking at that transaction as a contribution in excess of the contribution limit.

You know what this episode really proves -- how overpaid professors are for the little amount of work they do. Now I want to be clear - there are some professors that give their full effort and heart to earn their salary, but if this is the norm for fulfilling one's full-time contract with a university, then its obvious why tuition went up 20% last year at CMU.

Are those issues as important as the war? No. But they are valid public issues.