Thursday, May 31, 2007

Rove’s “Obstruction of Justice?”

- Greg Palast - -

Fired Prosecuters:
Rove’s “Obstruction of Justice?”
RFK says “They Ought to be in Jail”
Posted By Greg Palast On May 14, 2007

Democracy Now!
Monday, May 14th, 2007
On a single day, December 7, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales demanded the resignations of 8 United States Attorneys. What was really the purpose of the firings - and who was behind it? Investigative journalist Greg Palast reports.
AMY GOODMAN: Perhaps the most well known of these US attorneys is ousted New Mexico prosecutor David Iglesias. His case has been at the center of the political firestorm. Investigative journalist Greg Palast has been closely following this story. He files this report.

TOM CRUISE: Your honor, I’d like to ask for a recess. I’d like an answer to the question, Judge.

J.A. PRESTON: The court will wait for an answer.

GREG PALAST: This past December 7 was not the first time United States prosecutor David Iglesias had been brutally cut loose. In the 1992 film A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise plays David Iglesias, the true story of the young military defense lawyer fighting to uncover the truth.

TOM CRUISE: I want the truth!

JACK NICHOLSON: You can’t handle the truth!

GREG PALAST: Greg Palast.

DAVID IGLESIAS: Greg, hi. David Iglesias.

GREG PALAST: Hey, how are you, Captain?

DAVID IGLESIAS: Hey, I’m doing just fine. Thank you.

GREG PALAST: So can you handle the truth or not?


GREG PALAST: Captain Iglesias, the US prosecutor, knew something was very wrong when, just a week before the 2006 midterm elections, he received a strange and threatening call to his home. It was his state’s senior senator, the powerful Republican leader Pete Domenici on the line, pushing Iglesias to file criminal charges against a Democrat before the election.

DAVID IGLESIAS: I’m sitting in my bedroom, and here’s the killer point, Greg. He says, “Are these going to get filed before November?” And I said I didn’t think so. And the line goes dead. In other words, our senior senator hung up on me. A terribly inappropriate call.

GREG PALAST: Inappropriate, certainly. Obstruction of justice, possibly.

DAVID IGLESIAS: He basically wanted to know: are you going to file these cases that can help Heather out? That was the subtext. I felt terrible after that phone call.

GREG PALAST: By “helping Heather,” he meant Congresswoman Heather Wilson, then candidate Heather Wilson. The race was a dead heat. Domenici wanted him to bust a Democrat to help Wilson. Still, Iglesias tried to be the loyal party man, even covering up the threatening call.

Did you report this phone call to anyone at the time?

DAVID IGLESIAS: I did not, and I should have. There is a requirement under the US attorney’s manual for us to report that kind of contact from a member of Congress. I didn’t do that.

GREG PALAST: But that act of loyalty wasn’t good enough for Karl Rove, the President’s political advisor. Rove flew to New Mexico just before the election and got an earful of complaints about Iglesias from state party chiefs. Rove reported to President Bush, who personally put the heat on Attorney General Gonzales. Iglesias was stunned.

DAVID IGLESIAS: I had no idea that a few local yokels in New Mexico would have enough stroke to get the President to complain.

GREG PALAST: There was more than failing to help the Wilson campaign. In the 2004 presidential election, Republican operatives blocked a quarter-million new voters nationwide from voting on grounds they brought the wrong IDs to the poles. To justify this massive blockade, Republican officials wanted Iglesias to arrest some voters to create a high publicity show trial. Iglesias went along with the game. Just before the 2004 election, he held a press conference announcing the creation of a vote fraud task force. But the prosecutor drew the line at arresting innocent voters.

DAVID IGLESIAS: They were telling Rove that I wasn’t doing their bidding. I wasn’t filing these voter fraud cases.

GREG PALAST: The evidence fellow Republicans gave him was junk. He refused to bring a single prosecution.

DAVID IGLESIAS: It was the old throwing pasta at the wall trick, that he’s throwing up pasta. Something’s got to stick, and it didn’t.

GREG PALAST: For failing to bring the voting cases, Iglesias paid with his job.

DAVID IGLESIAS: They wanted a political operative who happened to be a US attorney, and when they got somebody who actually took his oath to the Constitution seriously, they were appalled and they wanted me out of there. The two strikes against me was, I was not political, I didn’t help them out on their bogus voter fraud prosecutions.

GREG PALAST: Rove personally ordered his removal. As a prosecutor, Iglesias says that if missing emails prove the firing was punishment for failure to bring bogus charges, Mr. Rove himself is in legal trouble.

DAVID IGLESIAS: If his intent was, look what happened with Iglesias, if that was his intent, he’s in big trouble. That is obstruction of justice, one classic example.

GREG PALAST: Iglesias believes the real reasons for the firings are in what are called the missing emails, emails sent by the Rove team using Republican Party campaign computers, which Rove claims can’t be retrieved. But not all the missing emails are missing. We have 500 of them. Apparently the Rove team misaddressed their emails, and late one night they all ended up in our inboxes in our offices in New York City.

And as Iglesias predicted, they reveal a story the party would rather keep buried. Voting rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., reviewed the evidence in our cache of emails and concluded:

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: They ought to be in jail for doing this, because they knew it was illegal, and they did it anyway.

GREG PALAST: What is it that was so obviously illegal that law professor Kennedy thought they deserved prison time? The evidence that shook him was attached to fifty of the secret emails, something that GOP party chiefs called caging lists, thousands of names of voters. Notably, the majority were African American. Kennedy explained how caging worked.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: Caging is an illegal way of getting rid of black votes. You get a list of all the black voters. Then you send a letter to their homes. And if the person doesn’t sign it at the homes, the letter then is returned to the Republican National Committee. They then direct the state attorney general, who is friendly to them, who’s Republican, to remove that voter from the list on the alleged basis that that voter does not live in the address that they designated as their address on the voting application form.

GREG PALAST: In all, the Republican Party challenged nearly three million voters, a mass attack on minority voting rights virtually unreported in the US press.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: So they disenfranchised millions of black voters who don’t even know that they’ve been disenfranchised.

GREG PALAST: Page after page of voters with this address, Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, hundreds, thousands of soldiers and sailors targeted to lose their vote. Go to Baghdad, lose your vote.

And what does this have to do with the prosecutor firings? Take a look at the name at the top of the secret missing email: Tim Griffin. This is the man in charge of the allegedly illegal caging operation. He is research director for the Republican National Committee, special assistant to Karl Rove, and as of December 7 Karl Rove’s personal pick for US attorney for the state of Arkansas. Is this a case of the perpetrator becomes the prosecutor? For Democracy Now! this is Greg Palast.

JACK NICHOLSON: We use words like honor, code, loyalty.

GREG PALAST: Is Tom Cruise going to play you in this follow-up?

DAVID IGLESIAS: He’s more handsome, but I’m quite a bit taller, so I’ve got that on him.

AMY GOODMAN: And that was the excerpt of A Few Good Men from Greg Palast’s piece. Greg Palast, investigative journalist, his latest book just out on paperback called Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans, Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild. Greg Palast joins us in the studio now.

Greg, I just want to start where you left off and started this film: A Few Good Men. I don’t think most people understand this about David Iglesias.

GREG PALAST: Yes, well, Iglesias was the guy played by Tom Cruise in the film A Few Good Men, which is a real story about how a young military attorney stood up to military brass to uncover the truth. And somehow they thought that this — you know, this Tom –

AMY GOODMAN: This was the hazing of a young man, a soldier, who was killed.

GREG PALAST: Yeah, who was killed. And it was covered up. And, you know, he just wanted to get to the truth. That was David Iglesias. Now, here he is again, you know, standing up to the brass. I mean, one of the things we have to be very careful of is — you know, I’m not going to say he’s a man for all season — he went along just before the 2004 election and held a big splashy press conference, saying, “Yes, I’m going to go and look for voter fraud,” that there are — you know, it looks like there may be thousands of fraudulent voters.

Understand what this is about. This is to create a hysteria so they could pass legislation which would require voters to show up with ID. A quarter-million voters were turned away for having the wrong ID, but no one was arrested. So Karl Rove and his assistant Tim Griffin are in a panic. You’re turning away thousands of voters, you’re not arresting any. So he’s asking Iglesias, demanding Iglesias — and now we know a half dozen others, almost everyone that was fired — they demand that they just grab people. That’s where Iglesias drew the line in the sand. He said a press conference is one thing, which he probably shouldn’t have done, but literally handcuffing innocent voters for show trials — and then, of course, then you drop the case later — that is one thing he absolutely was not going to do. He was going to give up his job.

He also made the mistake — when he got calls from Senator Pete Domenici asking for inside information, pushing him to arrest Democrats a week before the midterm election of 2006, that was another attempt at what could be obstruction of justice. The US code for US attorneys requires that he turn in Senator Domenici, which he admits he didn’t do. And now he regrets that, but he said, “You know, I want the evidence out there anyway, even if it shows that I failed to act.”

AMY GOODMAN: And Healther Wilson, of course, also called, and Heather Wilson at the time in an extremely close race for her political life as a congress member from New Mexico.

GREG PALAST: Well, in fact, from my investigation, she didn’t win. There was voter fraud, and that the majority of the votes went to the Democrats.

Another thing is that Iglesias did not, unfortunately, investigate the other side of the coin, which is this massive denial of votes, systematic by Republican operatives. Now, what we have and what we showed in the film is that when I was investigating for BBC and for Democracy Now! back in 2004, we got 500 of the so-called missing emails of Karl Rove. They were, you know — Karl Rove, people think he’s an evil genius, but that’s only about half right. I mean, he’s not necessarily the sharpest knife in the drawer, and he and his guys were mistyping their email addresses, sent them to, instead of dotcom, which is an email domain owned by friends of ours, who shot them right to us.

We went through the 500, and what we found were this massive plan to deny the right to vote — I mean, extraordinarily targeting African American soldiers sent overseas. They’d send them a letter to their home address. The letter would come back. They say, “Gee, they don’t live there. They shouldn’t be allowed to vote.” Their absentee ballot would come in from overseas, and it would be challenged. They would lose their vote. They wouldn’t even know it. Now, when we showed this to several voting rights attorneys, including, as you heard, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. — now, he was really shaken up. That’s when he said these guys should be in jail. So this is the other side of this whole issue involving the prosecutors.

And who did this? Who was in charge of this? It wasn’t Rove personally. He had put Tim Griffin in charge. Griffin is the guy who, with Rove, picked out the US attorneys to be fired and then had himself named by Rove — had himself named by Rove to the spot as US attorney for Arkansas. So what we may have here is a case of the perpetrator of voter fraud becoming the prosecutor. I mean, it is — and what this is all about — in fact, I have an internal Tim Griffin email — what this is all about is, he says it’s all about the votes. This is about the 2008 election, a panic to get their people in place for 2008 to create hysteria about voter ID, knock out minority voters, especially Hispanic, and to put in their people who are experienced in knocking out voters.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go more into this after break. We’re talking to Greg Palast. His book just came out on paperback. It’s called Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans. Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Greg Palast, investigative journalist, author of Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans. Investigative journalist Murray Waas reported last week the Bush administration has withheld emails showing senior White House and Justice Department officials collaborated to conceal the role of White House strategist Karl Rove in installing his former deputy, Timothy Griffin as US attorney in Arkansas. The emails show that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, worked with White House officials on two letters that misled Congress on the appointment and also Rove’s role in that. Greg?

GREG PALAST: Well, yeah. They were covering up the fact that Tim Griffin was Rove’s right-hand man. And you have to understand, Rove, as the political director at the White House, was deeply involved in targeting and taking out the US attorneys who were recalcitrant and wouldn’t start handcuffing Hispanic voters on false voter charges. They also know that it’s a slippery slope, because they know that I have 500 of the so-called missing emails.

In fact, that’s one of the points that — in one of their internal emails, which was actually subpoenaed by the committee, they’re complaining about that guy, the British reporter — that’s Greg Palast. As you realize, Amy, I’m American. But, of course, my reports are exiled to BBC Britain, and then they come back here through Democracy Now!, bless you. But they’re saying that these reports about Griffin’s role have not been picked up in the US media, in the US national media. And they’re kind of right. I mean, this material has not come through the US media.

They don’t want Griffin’s role opened up, because once they have the role of Griffin in the firings opened up, they’ll ask why that happened. They will find and discover these emails, and, in fact, now that they’re public, will turn them over to the Conyers committee, and then they’ll find out that Griffin was deeply involved in the removal of legal voters. And now you’re getting into potential felony area. That’s a very serious business. So they want to stop the slippery slope of bringing in Griffin and revealing the entire chain of emails, not just his involvement in the firings, but what led up to it, and that brings us to the emails that you just saw on our report.

AMY GOODMAN: In this whole scandal, we keep hearing about voter fraud, voter fraud. But can you explain what is being talked about here with this aggressive effort to restrict, particularly people of color, voting in battleground states?

GREG PALAST: What happened is that the Republican Party was running a massive campaign directed by Karl Rove and, we know, Tim Griffin, from the written emails, to block voters’ votes or to challenge their votes. One way to challenge voters was to say that they were stealing someone else’s identity. Someone is voting for Amy Goodman. Well, they say, the solution is to create ID cards. The problem is we can’t find anyone anywhere who has committed this crime of stealing Amy Goodman’s name to vote. People are not willing to go to jail to vote in some school board election or even for the presidency.

What Griffin, Rove’s assistant, wanted Iglesias to do — they gave them 110 names. They wanted them, for example, to arrest some guy named, say, roughly, if I remember, like Juan Gonzalez, and say he voted twice, stealing someone’s ID. Well, in New Mexico there may be two guys named Juan Gonzalez. So Iglesias just thought this was absolute junk, absolute junk stuff, and he wouldn’t do it. So it’s all about trying to create a hysteria about fraudulent voting.

There are 120 million people that voted, and I can’t find an actual case out of 120 of a prosecution that — a real prosecution of any single voter for voter identity theft. There is like five cases in the country involving some minor offices. That’s it. So it’s a complete false prosecution set-up, kind of like the Soviet Union: just grab people, put them on show trials, maybe let them go later, maybe they languish in jail.

On the other side, they’re covering up their own program, programmatic challenge of voters, which is not covered in the US press. Three million people were challenged. By the way, this isn’t, you know, from the Democracy Now! black helicopter. This is from the raw data of the United States Election Assistance Commission: three million challenges. These votes were basically lost. Over a million votes were lost. Half a million absentee ballots were thrown out, and many, many of those were votes of African American and Hispanic soldiers that went to Iraq, got their ballots challenged under this Karl Rove-Tim Griffin scheme, and they lost their vote. And they didn’t even know that they lost their vote. So all of this is being covered up.

And so, they cannot now — they don’t want to open up the whole story of Tim Griffin, how he became US attorney, what his role was, because it goes all the way back. And what David Iglesias was saying, US attorney, now captain — by the way, he’s back in the military — Captain Iglesias was saying, if you can show this chain of intent, that it’s all about the voting and he’s being punished for not bringing these false prosecutions, he says, that’s an obstruction of justice charge that can be brought against Karl Rove.

And, by the way, one little sidelight on that is that Captain Iglesias, one of the excuses that they try to give for firing him, Amy, was that he was absent for too many days from office. They didn’t mention that he was absent because he was on active duty in the US Naval Reserve. He is now, by the way, bringing the very first claim ever. You cannot fire someone for doing their duty in the US Naval Reserve. He’s now filing a charge against the commander-in-chief, George Bush, for attempting to fire him for simply showing up for active duty.

AMY GOODMAN: The Arkansas Leader reported enterprising reporters examining Griffin’s fanciful resume discovered his blistering record as a prosecutor was nothing more than paper shuffling in short stints in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps and federal prosecutor offices. He had never taken a single case to trial. His career had consisted almost altogether of political hatchet work.

GREG PALAST: Well, you have to look at what’s going on here. You’ve replaced Iglesias, who is, you know, the Tom Cruise lawyer who has real experience as a prosecutor, as a trial lawyer from the military. They remove him, and they put in a paper shuffler — worse, someone who is actually shuffling voters’ papers that he shouldn’t be shuffling. You saw the kind of emotional reaction of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., voting rights attorney. He was the most emotional, because you have to imagine — remember that his father, his late father, was the predecessor to Alberto Gonzales. Imagine, we’ve gone from Robert F, Kennedy, Sr., to Roberto Gonzales.


GREG PALAST: Yeah. And you can, you know — from Kennedy’s, this was very an emotional issue. To see the office that his father used to protect civil rights being used deliberately to attack civil rights is a very serious business. But, again, here he is saying, and Iglesias is suggesting now with this evidence, that it rises now to obstruction of justice.

AMY GOODMAN: And, interestingly, McClatchy Newspapers reporting, as part of the strategy, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has sought to roll back policies to protect minority voting rights. On virtually every significant decision affecting election balloting since 2001, the division’s voting rights section has come down on the side of Republicans.

GREG PALAST: Well, even worse, what’s not covered there is that they covered up the active attack on legal voters. I mean, you’re talking — the caging lists that we have, in the 500 sheets, the 500 emails, we have 70,000 names. That’s one state. This was a multimillion-dollar, gold-plated attack operation on the right of minority voters to vote. And, obviously, Griffin knew it, because he was in charge of it. So you actually have the guys who are supposed to be protecting voters are either actively covering up or even actively participating in knocking out legal voters. I mean, it’s like the mob has grabbed the police department. That’s the problem, by the way, with voter fraud — with real voter fraud, not the phony stuff of grabbing the Juan Gonzalezes of New Mexico — if you win, you’ve now grabbed the apparatus of protection and enforcement. It’s the perfect crime.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to leave it there. I want to thank you very much, Greg Palast, for joining us. Greg, an investigative journalist, latest book just out in paperbook called Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans, Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild.

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Jerry Falwell dead at 73

World Socialist Web Site
Jerry Falwell, founder of the right-wing Moral Majority, dead at 73
By David Walsh
17 May 2007

Jerry Falwell, one of the leaders of the Christian Right in the US, died Tuesday in his office in Lynchburg, Virginia at the age of 73. Although his brand of fundamentalist hucksterism has been around for a long time in America, Falwell belonged to a generation of preachers who enjoyed unprecedented success as religious entrepreneurs, television personalities and even political leaders.

While the evangelist’s death has been dealt with in a somewhat muted fashion in the mass media, a sign of the decline in Falwell’s own personal standing, such treatment as he has received has been generally respectful. Television news programs inevitably tell their viewers that Falwell was an “influential figure,” who “left his mark” on America, although he was an individual who aroused “controversy.”

Typically, Katie Couric of “CBS News” told her audience that the death of Falwell closed “one of the most controversial chapters of American political and religious history.... Revere him or revile him, Jerry Falwell’s name is one for the history books.” This explains nothing. Why should this character, mediocre in every department except his ability to appeal to the worst in his fellow citizens, have become a name in any history book?

In an especially stupid segment on CNN’s morning program Wednesday, correspondent Brianna Keilar offered her description of the scene in Lynchburg: “People here are teary-eyed, they are grieving for the loss of Reverend Falwell. But one member of the church also told me, you know, he’s in a better place. And even in death his message will live on. They say he lived what he preached.” And so forth.

In fact, as a religious conman and bigot, Falwell contributed what he could to the debasement of American political, social and cultural life.

Born in Lynchburg in 1933, the son of a flamboyant businessman (and sometime bootlegger) and a devoutly Christian mother, Falwell discovered his calling while a college student. He dropped out of Lynchburg College and transferred to Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. What was the atmosphere at this worthy institution during the height of the anticommunist Cold War in the early 1950s? One can only imagine.

Back in Lynchburg in 1956, Falwell organized his own church and soon afterward began radio and television broadcasts of the “Old-Time Gospel Hour.” He was a proponent of segregation at the time, telling a local paper in 1964 that the new Civil Rights Act had been misnamed: “It should be considered civil wrongs rather than civil rights.” His television program hosted prominent racists such as Govs. Lester Maddox of Georgia and George Wallace of Alabama.

Some years earlier Falwell had declared that the famed 1954 Supreme Court decision striking down school segregation “would never have been made” if Chief Justice Earl Warren and the other members of the court “had known God’s word and had desired to do the Lord’s will.”

Falwell might have remained one of dozens and dozens of preachers with local followings had it not been for significant changes in American social relations.

Following the overwhelming defeat of Republican Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election to Democrat Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon sought to redirect the Republican Party toward the construction of a new mass base for right-wing economic and social policies. This became known as the “Southern Strategy,” as the Republicans sought to whip up a racist backlash against the civil rights movement, particularly in the Southern states. After a century of one-party rule by the Democrats, the South was transformed into a stronghold of the Republican Party in the 1970s and 1980s.

As the Republican Party recast itself as a right-wing, quasi-theocratic party, and the ability of fundamentalism to play a leading role ceased to be primarily a regional phenomenon, Falwell rode the wave to national prominence. Along with a number of others, he launched the Moral Majority in 1979—on a program of imposing fundamentalist Christian dogma as state policy, ferocious anticommunism and anti-welfare-state economics—which was credited with assisting Ronald Reagan in winning the presidency in 1980.

If historian Douglas Brinkley is correct that Falwell “set the tone and tenor for the 1980s,” it is a sad commentary on the decade. In any event, he certainly both embodied and agitated for the lurch to the right that has occurred in official American political life.

Falwell inveighed against gay rights, feminism and, in general, any signs of social liberalism. The Lynchburg preacher denounced Martin Luther King and others for their “left-wing associations” and declared that “Labor unions should study and read the Bible instead of asking for more money. When people get right with God, they are better workers.” In 1979 he told his followers that he yearned for the day when America “won’t have any public schools. The churches will take them over again and Christians will be running them.” He opposed sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa in the 1980s, warning of a Soviet-backed revolution.

Falwell later wrote that he was convinced that a majority existed in America that could “turn back the flood tide of moral permissiveness, family breakdown and general capitulation to evil and to foreign policies such as Marxism-Leninism.”

The actual political alliance was bound up less with such apocalyptic moralism than with the earthly material interests of the American upper class. Falwell and dozens of other television preachers helped mobilize disoriented sections of the middle class and working class behind a program which resulted in a dramatic transfer of wealth from working people to the super-rich, as well as enriching a sizeable layer of the upper middle class, including Falwell himself.

The premise of the Moral Majority proved to be a fraud, even in its own terms. Successive Republican administrations talked the language of the Christian fundamentalists and made significant attacks on democratic and constitutional rights, but these measures encountered a deep-rooted popular opposition. The promised theocratic transformation of American life did not materialize, and Falwell and many of his fellow televangelists, like Pat Robertson, had to continually up the dosage of their extreme-right demagogy, embracing increasingly bizarre theories.

The election of Bill Clinton in 1992, in particular, seemed to set Falwell off. He threw himself into the campaign to destabilize and bring down the Clinton administration, producing a fanciful “documentary,” concocted of lies and innuendo, known as The Clinton Chronicles. The video hinted at the most outrageous crimes, from cocaine-smuggling to murder.

In 1999 Falwell declared that the Antichrist was probably on earth, and he would be Jewish and male.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Falwell notoriously declared: “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America ... I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.’” He declared that the terrorist attacks were God’s judgment on America for “throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked.”

Such comments were criticized or even ridiculed by the American media, but these same people had been passing off this ignoramus as a serious moral leader and statesman for two decades. They bore considerable responsibility for his having a national audience to begin with.

By the time of his death, Falwell’s moment had clearly passed. Even at the height of his influence, it would be mistaken to believe, as the media and his own followers claimed, that his ideas ever had mass support. Falwell became a national figure in a period of political reaction when organizations to which broad layers of the population looked for leadership or assistance—the trade unions, civil rights organizations, the Democratic Party—were in the process of decomposing or dramatically shifting to the right. The relative prominence of the religious right has come in large measure by political default, as well as enormous subsidies from corporate America and the wealthy.

The vacuum of progressive politics in America has brought all sorts of people to the fore and, in many cases, made them rich. To give the man his due, Falwell was obviously a savvy business operator. He transformed his humble church, started with $1,000 in 1956, into a massive propaganda and money-making operation. He made use of various technologies as they emerged to promote his cause. His Liberty University in Lynchburg has nearly 20,000 students, each paying some $16,000 tuition a year.

Religion in America is big business. Total retail sales of religious products—including books, music, gifts and cards—amounted to some $7 billion a year in 2005, according to BusinessWeek. Of the $260.18 billion in charitable contributions Americans made the same year, $93.18 billion went to religious organizations.

As we noted at the outset, religious hucksterism is not something new in the US. Such people have been around for a long time, since colonial days. The early twentieth century saw no shortage, in the Billy Sundays and Aimee Semple McPhersons. Sinclair Lewis (Elmer Gantry), H.L. Mencken and others did their share to discredit the charlatans and religious backwardness in general.

Writing in the Baltimore Evening Sun in September 1925 in the aftermath of the death of William Jennings Bryan, notorious for his campaign against the theory of evolution in the Scopes Trial, Mencken commented: “The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame.”

For a generation Falwell personified the smarminess, hypocrisy and thinly veiled thuggery of a retrograde social trend. All in all, his was a baleful presence in American life.

The Rise and Fall of Crazy Horse Too

The Rise and Fall of Crazy Horse Too
by Joshua Longobardy
Las Vegas Weekly
May 10-16, 2007

Four perspectives on the violent, greedy tale of an iconic strip club


Save for this spring’s intermittent wind gusts, which charge down old, glum Industrial Road like a team of horses, there is an elegiacal silence that sometimes looms over the parking lot of the Crazy Horse Too gentlemen’s club, even as night falls, when in past times the Crazy Horse Too pulsated without pause—sometimes it can be perceived from inside Buffalo’s shop next door, 2478 Industrial Road.

Perceived even through the newspaper articles taped to the façade window of Buffalo’s shop, clippings that document the saga of the Crazy Horse Too, the topless bar notorious in this city and whose name resonates nation- if not worldwide, but which is an afterthought now, no longer the lurid and lucrative paradise it was, after a monumental collapse on account of its former owner’s myopia and greed. And, in all truthfulness, it pleases Buffalo—Jim Barrier, a former professional wrestler and one of Las Vegas’ most colorful characters—for he says that ever since 1984, the year the Rizzolo regime took over the Crazy Horse Too (seven years after Buffalo had opened his shop, Allstate Auto & Marine Electric), he has had to contend not just with his neighbor, Frederick “Rick” Rizzolo, but also with the mafia men associated with his neighbor, as well as with the government, numerous individuals of which, from councilmen to cops to mayors to judges, have had close ties to Buffalo’s neighbor.

“I remember the day Rick Rizzolo moved in—February first, nineteen hundred and eighty-four,” Buffalo says. “I’ve been here, seen it all, bro. Business isn’t one-tenth of what it used to be over there; the parking lot isn’t half as full as it was five years ago. That’s a fact.

“My good friends used to come to town, guys like the Undertaker and Papa Shango. Wrestlers, you know. They’d come visit me at my shop, and they’d say, ‘Buff, we know you’re in a fight with your neighbor, and we’re not trying to betray you, but everyone in the county knows Crazy Horse Too is the only place you can get it all.’ They were wrestlers, you know, the type who did it all.

“I’ve seen James Caan walk in there. Brad Pitt, Tom Selleck, Tyson, Rodman. You name it. They treated those guys like kings.

“But other guys—every day I seen the other guys stumble into my shop drunk and bloodied. Every day, bro. They sat right there on my couch as I called 911.”
Although Rizzolo had forbidden his employees from speaking to him, Buffalo says, he still had friends in there, and they would describe to him how the hustle worked during the club’s supernatural rise:

“A mark comes in, a guy who looks like he has money, and Vinnie would send his girls to meet him at the door. Vinnie’s girls, you know, were the Playboy type, girls that made 500 grand a year. They bring him straight back to the VIP, which cost him $100 a girl just to enter, and he has to buy at least one bottle of champagne, something that cost the club $80 but him $800. He has some fun, and before he knows it they are ringing up $5,000 on his credit card. If he contests the bill, he gets taken out, and those big goons Rizzolo employs beat his head in.

“That’s what happened with Kirk Henry,” Buffalo says. “I was there, I saw him. And if I hadn’t taken those photos, they would’ve pretended like nothing happened that day.”

Buffalo tells how, on the morning of September 20, 2001, arriving to work, he saw a body lying on the ground just outside the Crazy Horse Too’s golden front doors, and how he heard an indiscernible voice saying, “You killed him ... You killed him.”

And so Buffalo called 911, just as he had done dozens of times prior, and just as he would do dozens of times afterward, until Rick Rizzolo was finally exiled from his strip club five years later, almost to the day. And because so many atrocities had occurred out in the plain view of Buffalo from his auto shop next door, beatings and drug deals and prostitution, which had not only been crimes against the law and Buffalo’s own sense of right, but had also hindered the flow of business at Allstate to a mere dribble, twice sending Buffalo into bankruptcy, he had already gotten into the habit of retrieving his camera and snapping photos—at first to bolster the lawsuit he had filed against Rick Rizzolo in 2000 for racketeering, an accusation which District Court Judge Nancy Saitta, who already had four other cases on her calendar involving Rizzolo, a chief campaign contributor, threw out in 2001 but which the feds would vindicate five years later when they hit Rizzolo’s Power Company with an indictment under the same charge; and then because it was the right thing to do. And that’s what he did: He shot photos of the body lying in front of the strip club.

Buffalo tells how there was a formidable silence hovering over the parking lot. How nobody wanted to talk. He says the firefighters and EMTs who responded to his call walked around in a daze, and they would not tell him anything, save for one firefighter who mumbled the truth:

“They broke his neck.”

“They wanted to pretend like it never happened, bro,” Buffalo says, his eyes distant and his voice still astonished, as if both were back in September 2001. “No one would’ve ever known about Kirk Henry if I hadn’t taken that photo.”

“That beating,” wrote longtime mob reporter Jeff German, in a comprehensive article for the Las Vegas Sun detailing Rick Rizzolo’s long and dramatic reign at the Crazy Horse Too, “invigorated an FBI racketeering investigation into other alleged criminal activities taking place there.”

Buffalo tells how there had been a deep dark history of such violence outside the Crazy Horse Too. Such as Scott Fau in 1995, whom a homeless man found beaten and deceased next to the train tracks behind the strip mall which encapsulates both Allstate, on the south end, and Crazy Horse Too, next to it. And Rick Sandlin in 1985, whose severe beating with a baseball bat was attributed by law officials to Rick Rizzolo, who walked away from the case with a gross misdemeanor and no jail time thanks to his lawyer, Oscar Goodman.

“And there were so many more, bro, I could go on all day,” Buffalo says. “I don’t know why Rizzolo and his goons did it. He was making more money each year than I will in a lifetime. It must have been a power thing,” Buffalo continues on. “It was like he had a perversion for power. I’ve seen him stand out there and laugh as his goons smashed people’s heads in. He’d watch, and cackle.

“Just like he did in April of nineteen hundred and eighty-five. He walks out back here, in the back alley behind the strip mall, and he has one of his goons with him. He doesn’t have the mafia look that he does now; he is thinner and he doesn’t have the premature white hair he has now. He’s back there and he pulls out his 9 millimeter and he shoots this dog. For no reason. Just points his gun sideways, like they do in the gangster movies, and shoots the dog. And then he starts laughing. Cackling. Then he walks back to his club like nothing happened. That’s a true story.”

Neither Rizzolo nor Tony Sgro, his attorney, opted to offer Rizzolo’s perspective on this event or any other regarding the Crazy Horse Too. In one of the scarce times Rizzolo has spoken to the press, in 2003, just after it became public knowledge that the FBI had long been investigating his club, he said: “I’m making more than $15 million a year. Why would I jeopardize that by doing something stupid?”

“Rizzolo was a moron,” Buffalo continues. “He could’ve had me out of this place in April of 1997 if he would’ve done business with me like a man.”

Rizzolo had in fact called Buffalo that April and arranged a meeting between the two neighbors to talk about buying Buffalo out of his lease. Rizzolo’s business was proliferating, no doubt tops at that time in Las Vegas’ strip club industry, which though cutthroat is second only to brothels in regard to the most lucrative businesses per square foot (ahead, even, of casinos). More than the actual building space Buffalo’s auto shop occupied, Rizzolo needed Buffalo’s parking allotment to keep up with the heavy traffic that passed through his strip club 24 hours a day, 364 days a year (Crazy Horse Too closed on Christmas, to clean the carpets). Rizzolo had or would manage to usurp the strip mall’s other tenants, but on account of the contract Buffalo had consecrated over a handshake and drink with his original landlord, which provided for at least 20 years’ option on his lease of 39 cents per square foot, Rizzolo could not move Buffalo, despite his obsessive efforts, for which Buffalo would file a second litigation against him in 2003.

“That’s how it’s been the last 23 years, bro,” Buffalo says, stroking his beard. “All this stuff I’m telling you is stuff that happened.”

In April 1997, Rizzolo himself called Buffalo, proposing the two meet at the auto shop to discuss business. By this time Buffalo had had enough and was more than ready to be bought out. He, Buffalo, brought his brother to speak on his behalf, for he believed his brother would be more apt for business, objective and unimpassioned. Rizzolo walked in with his associate Al Rapuano, and they positioned themselves on either side of the small, congested office. Buffalo’s brother laid out the terms that Buffalo had dictated to him prior: $1 per square foot, which equates to $10,000 a month, for 10 years, for a total of $1.2 million. Rizzolo, Buffalo says, appeared offended. Buffalo would not relent a penny. And so Rizzolo put his cigarette out on Buffalo’s floor and walked out. He never returned.

Buffalo tells how he wouldn’t get so close to Rizzolo again until June 1, 2006, when he shadowed Rizzolo out of the federal courthouse Downtown, where U.S. District Judge Philip Pro had heard Rizzolo’s guilty plea to crimes uncovered during the feds’ long investigation of the Crazy Horse Too. “Crimes,” Buffalo says, smiling, “that I’ve been yelling about from my rooftop since February, nineteen hundred and eighty four.”


The mainstream media was not there during the rise. For 16 years—time in which Rizzolo built for himself and his impregnable coterie a grand Roman paradise smack dab in the middle of downtrodden Industrial Road, by means truculent, ruthless and no doubt corrupt—the media touched little on the Crazy Horse Too. In fact, it wasn’t until September 20, 2001, when Kirk Henry had his neck twisted outside the strip club, that the media begin to record the Crazy Horse Too’s place in the history of Las Vegas.

It was no secret at the time that the club was basking in triumph, high above its competitors, in large part because of the news outlets themselves, which reported that the Crazy Horse Too was grossing anywhere between $10 and $20 million a year, that some 2,000-plus patrons a day were walking through its golden doors, including actors, rock stars and sports heroes, and that it, once a small, solemn warehouse with just enough square feet—1,200—to accommodate its 12 dancers, was now 2.3 acres, and housed up to 1,500 girls in a single 24-hour span. One reporter made it into Rizzolo’s office, and he (the reporter) took note of the photos of mob legends on the wall, the crystal cabinets, the magnificent desk, the 16 surveillance monitors, the heavy ordnance, the barber’s chair that once sat the infamous Al Capone, the overall splendor and sheer size of the 7,000-square-foot room, adequate for a man who was reported to put in 18-hour workdays.

No doubt the Crazy Horse Too was at its apex when the mass media turned its eyes to the club, and so it was also there to record with accuracy the decline of Rizzolo’s empire, from the day Henry had his neck twisted to January 23, 2007, when Rick Rizzolo was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison, ordered to pay $17 million in restitution, forfeiture, back pay and fines, and struck with the paralyzing mandate to never again operate in the realm of adult businesses.

No doubt, September 20, 2001 was the pivotal point. For that was when the story of Henry was dispersed throughout Las Vegas, in large part due to the photo snapped and disseminated by Buffalo Jim Barrier, whom journalists both local and national would seek as a source. It was reported that Kirk Henry, a businessman from Kansas with a wife and two kids, had engaged in a dispute over his $80 bar tab at the Crazy Horse Too and ended up with a loyal shift manager snapping Henry’s neck just outside the club—or, as Henry’s attorney Don Campbell would put it to the press, “twisting his neck like a corkscrew.” Henry himself, paralyzed from the chest down, would later tell reporters:

“I heard a noise behind me, and before I could turn around I felt an arm come around my shoulders and neck and I heard a grunting noise. I fell to the ground. I reached down and touched my legs and there was no feeling. I screamed, ‘I can’t feel my legs! I can’t feel my legs!’”

Representatives for Rizzolo and the Crazy Horse Too responded that Henry’s blood-alcohol level was two and a half times over the legal limit. It was the same rebuttal—customer drunkenness—that they would give when reporters rekindled the story of Scott Fau, whose wrongful death lawsuit against the club was still pending at the time of Henry’s incident, as well as of other past beating victims.

And that was it. That was all the media reported then. The district attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case, and the outgoing DA at the time told a reporter that he was handing it off to his successor, who turned out to be David Roger and who also let the case slide. But it had already evoked the media’s attention, so that by the time Henry and his lawyers filed a lawsuit against the Crazy Horse Too and Rick Rizzolo a year later, news sources from print, TV and the Internet were looking into and revealing Rizzolo’s connections with not just suspected members of La Cosa Nostra but also elected officials in the government.

Channel 3 News aired a lengthy investigative piece, after which it became public knowledge that Rizzolo kept on staff at the Crazy Horse Too men like shift manager Vincent Faraci, son of Bonnano crime family captain “Johnnie Green” Faraci and a verified member himself; bartender Joe Blasko, a disgraced ex-Metro police officer who had been convicted for his part in a 1981 burglary linked to the “Hole-in-the-Wall” gang run by Anthony “the Ant” Spilotro, the notorious mobster; and floor man Rocco “Rocky” Lombardo, brother of Chicago crime boss Joey “The Clown” Lombardo, recently implicated in the cinematic homicide of Spilotro.

Other reports would reveal that Rizzolo’s best friend and the godfather to his three children was Joey Cusumano, a former top lieutenant of Spilotro’s, whom Rizzolo gave the refuge of his house after an assassination attempt almost took Cusumano’s life in 1990. Rizzolo was close associates with Fred Pascente, a reputed Chicago mob figure, and with Fred Doumani, a wealthy, longtime Las Vegan often associated with underworld mob figures.

“Rizzolo did not hide the fact,” Jeff German says: “When you visited the Crazy Horse Too, you got the feeling that you were in mob territory.”

(“I used to sit on Joe Blasko’s lap, and he would tell me these fascinating stories about the old days in Vegas, you know, with the mob and everything,” Sandy White, a former cocktail waitress at the Crazy Horse Too, recalls. “I really admired him, liked him, even though I guess he was a bad man.”)

The media documented Councilman Michael McDonald’s home, which happened to be in the same Canyon Gate community as Rick Rizzolo’s, and which happened to be listed under Joey Cusamano’s family name. In fact, McDonald, whose Ward 1 encapsulated the Crazy Horse Too at the time, was served, though to no avail, with two ethics complaints that accused the councilman of not just being complicit but also catalyst in Rizzolo’s overt and endless attempts to countermine his competitors’ innovations, such as Sapphire’s unprecedented size and Treasures’ fine steakhouse.

It documented Mayor Goodman’s sponsorships of changes in the law that would allow Rizzolo to expand his club to within the prohibited 1,000-foot barrier of another strip club, and which would permit 18- and 19-year-old girls to dance in strip clubs within the jurisdiction of the city. It documented, in 2002, the City Council’s approval of Al Rapuano as a key employee at the Crazy Horse Too, despite his ominous standing with Nevada’s gaming board, with Mayor Goodman himself saying (yes, saying: not abstaining, even though he once served as Rapuano’s attorney) that the gaming board has nothing to do with liquor licensing, which is required for key employees. In that same year all the major media outlets documented an unprecedented act in the city when the council permitted the Crazy Horse Too to expand by 6,000 feet prior to obtaining the required inspection approvals from various government agencies. Rizzolo’s local campaign contributions, exceeding $135,000, including $40,000 to Goodman, were well-documented.

And the media recorded the downfall. On May 31 and June 1, 2006, Rizzolo and 16 of his employees entered into plea deals with the United States Department of Justice, all except one (Bobby D’Apice, who twisted Kirk Henry’s neck) for tax evasion. Moreover, Rizzolo pleaded guilty on behalf of his Power Company to charges of racketeering. By March 28, 2007, they all received their sentences in U.S. District Court, with only two of them landing time in prison, Rizzolo’s punishment the worst: 366 days at Taft Correctional Institution in California.

The Crazy Horse Too had shut down on September 6, 2006. Newspapers snapped photos of Buffalo Jim Barrier showing the victory sign in the empty parking lot in front of the club. It was an ephemeral end. The club reopened, under new ownership, on October 16, 2006, the papers would report.

“What distinguished Crazy Horse from its competitors was its reputation for being a mob hangout and dishing out frontier justice,” says German, who has been covering the mob in Las Vegas since 1978. “It was basically a minor story in the grand scheme of things until the FBI conducted its raid in 2003.”

To be precise, that was February 20, 2003, at 5 in the morning, with more than 80 law officials at hand.


Two S.W.A.T. teams charged the old ivory-columned palace that early morning, guns drawn, says an FBI agent who spoke at length under the two conditions that he be neither named nor quoted. Two teams, along with the FBI, the DEA, the IRS, ATF, Metro: It was a cast of thousands. Later, the Crazy Horse Too would try to sue them for use of excessive force, but to no avail. The FBI has five criteria for bringing in S.W.A.T., and the Crazy Horse Too met four of them, when only one was needed.

The investigation, which culminated in the raid, was called Genuine Risk. The agent remembers it: How they went in, one of the S.W.A.T. teams going one way, one the other, and he headed straight for the shift manager’s office. The FBI had planted one of their cameras in there, and so, he said, he knew what to expect. Sure enough, there was Vinnie Faraci, staring at them as they came in, his disposition as indifferent as ever.

It was 5 a.m. There wasn’t much commotion, as if they had foreknowledge of their fate. One thing you should understand about Rick Rizzolo, the agent says, is that he always seemed to be bored. He had everything—the best women, the best cars, the best food—it wasn’t easy to excite him. Perhaps Rizzolo found the investigation fun, because it was unpredictable and because it was something new.

The FBI brought hospital gowns for the girls and female agents to assist them. When the lights were turned on, the agent tells, and the officers’ eyes adjusted a little, guys became nauseated by what they saw. Nobody wanted to go near the seats.
He elaborates: When the FBI had asked the judge to sign the search warrant, she had made the comment, “My, you guys want to seize everything but the carpet and furniture.” Yes, ma’am, the FBI agent told her. Then, after they ran through the club with the ALS (the alternate light source, which detects bodily fluids), the agent went back to the judge and asked if they could take a sample of the seats and carpet. The FBI delivered them to the lab. And the lab turned up nine different types of semen from one seat.

The FBI scanned over the entire club, from front to back, like a copy machine, for more than 14 hours, with exceeding diligence and meticulousness, because they knew that defense attorneys like Oscar Goodman, who had an amazing record of having cases against his clients, like Tony Spilotro, thrown out for technicalities or legalities before they even made it to trial, would be scrutinizing the raid for any small yet fatal misstep.

They searched Rick Rizzolo’s office; they saw the mafia pictures exalted on the walls and Al Capone’s barber’s chair, and they found the million dollars in cash he was reported to keep in his office at all times, not locked away in a hidden safe but tucked neatly in a desk drawer. It was $800,000, to be exact, with markers denoting money owed to Rizzolo. Such as the $15,000 from Metro Sgt. Tom Keller, who was to be suspended by his superiors and then transferred to another unit.

Rizzolo was no doubt a huge gambler, the agent says. A whale, the casinos called him, and of the best sort. He was low-maintenance. He didn’t need to be flown in on a private jet, didn’t need a prince’s suite to stay in, didn’t need any of that: He only wanted to have fun, and sometimes, the FBI discovered, that resulted in losing $1 million in a single night. But Rizzolo is a shrewd, remarkable businessman, says the agent, and one cannot underestimate him.

Much to their surprise, the agent says, they found that the regime at the Crazy Horse Too had retained tons of boxes of records—documents from throughout the years, enough to fill an entire moving truck and more than enough to incriminate no fewer than 21 employees for the felonious deeds they committed and had recorded in those documents—deeds that should have gotten them no less than 20 years in prison.

It was staggering how much money they were making back then, in the ’90s and early 2000s, the agent says. What was different about the Crazy Horse Too, as compared to other strip clubs, is that the girls did not pay a buy-in at the door. No. They worked their shift, and at the end they reported to the shift manager’s office and gave 10-30 percent of their earnings, depending on the girl, to the club. A girl could make $75 and plead with Vinnie that she needed to keep more money for her sick child, and he’d look at her with complete indifference, tell her to never come back again.

Despite several calls placed to the law offices of David Chesnoff, in an attempt to speak about the saga of the Crazy Horse Too and his client Vinnie Faraci’s place in it, neither Chesnoff nor Faraci has opted to speak.

The money, the agent says, would then be distributed proportionately in white envelopes to the bartenders, floor men, bouncers and Rick’s brother and father. The shift managers made double. So everyone was vested in what the girls made. The bouncers didn’t patrol the club to keep the peace, as they do in other clubs; no, they were there to check on how much the girls were making, to intimidate the customers, to beat them up if need be. That was how they did business.

The girls enticed customers to the back, the VIP room, which has doors that lead to the back alley. Either they took the customers back there, where parked limos served as mobile brothels, or the bouncers dragged them out there to extort money. That’s how it was.

The agent says that the FBI had accumulated enough ironclad evidence to hit 21 employees with RICO charges (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupted Organization acts, historically tied to organized crime), which carry a sentence of no less than 20 years. And so they were shocked when the U.S. attorney’s office announced on June 1, 2006, that they had negotiated plea deals with 16 employees at the Crazy Horse Too, for nothing more than tax evasion, and one (D’Apice) for racketeering, as well; and then they were demoralized when they found out that 14 would never spend a day in prison, and that Rick Rizzolo, who got the worst punishment, would only have to serve one year and one day behind bars.

When asked what the impetus behind the plea deals was from the U.S. attorney’s point of view, Natalie Collins, spokesperson from Nevada’s U.S. attorney’s office, did not provide a response.

No, the agent says, for many in the FBI this case will never be resolved. Ten years they investigated, starting around 1995. They had 14 agents on the investigation—five full-time—and 23 personnel in total. They collaborated with the IRS, DEA, Metro: It was a cast of thousands. They traveled the country to track down witness statements, they used innovative techniques to hammer down the case, and now most of the Crazy Horse Too employees are back out on the streets. And Rizzolo, he says, will receive nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

The FBI wanted RICO for 21 of them, the agent says, not even so much for all the evidence they gathered, but because of the countless victims, like Scott Fau, so that truth and justice are done.


There were just two stages flanking the bar and pool table when Jenna Massoli walked into the Crazy Horse Too in 1991. That’s all there was. It had by then nonetheless earned the reputation as the best damn topless bar in town, and the girls—redheads, brunettes, blondes; young and old; all with “10 times tighter bodies and much bigger boobs” than Jenna—were making, she heard, upward of $300 a night. And so Jenna suppressed the fact that she was only 17 and still just in high school when she applied to be a dancer there, for it is illegal for minors to dance, but it did not matter: They permitted her anyway, because she was blond and appealing, and, as her eventual path to the top of the porn industry, as Jenna Jameson, would demonstrate, ambitious. And so with the stage name Jenasis, she dissembled her innate shyness and diffidence, which stemmed from her turbulent personal life, and without any formal training she began to master her wiles, practicing them on men like Nicolas Cage, Jack Nicholson, David Lee Roth and, even better, hotel presidents. And just like that, not even yet a full-grown woman, Jenna turned wealthy, grossing $2,000 to $4,000 a night.

According to Jameson’s autobiography, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, she became one of Vinnie’s favorite girls.

“Yes,” Sandra White says, “that’s how it was. Except that when I worked there in the mid- and late ’90s, rumor was Vinnie’s girls were making anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000 a night.” Which no doubt meant the men were making more every year too, splitting 15 percent of every girl’s earnings each shift.

Sandy had worked as a cocktail waitress and dancer for five years. From inside the dark club she saw the intemperate fun; she saw how the girls walked out of the club with no less than $500 a shift and, many of them, with cocaine and booze in their system; she saw how the club attracted the best of the best-looking girls from across the country, lured by the same scent of cash that had lured Jenna Massoli. And, now a decade removed from that place, White says the memories of the Crazy Horse Too are still active, incessant, which is why she feels the urge to write a book about the club to which she already has a title picked out: The Truth (Behind the Doors of the Crazy Horse Too).

An urge to tell how during the club’s celestial rise, while White was bringing Bart Rizzolo, Rick’s father, his coffee each morning for five years, the topic of his conversation every morning was how to get rid of Buffalo Jim Barrier. (“Every morning?” an FBI agent had asked during investigations into the club. “Well,” she’d told him, “there was two—maybe three—days he didn’t.”) To tell what happened to Scott Fau, the big, talkative man who was having so much fun with everyone without getting even one lap dance and who was showing Sandy pictures of his wife and kids—what happened to that man on that fatal morning in 1995, when all of a sudden two bartenders and two floor men, including Joe Blasko, whom she liked and admired, beat him down to his knees, beat his nose clean off his face ... and ... and ... (even after a dozen years it throbs so vivid she struggles when recounting it) ... and the next thing she heard of him was when the cops came to the club the following morning to take statements on his death.

There were others, too. There was Sean Spanek, who went with three friends to the Crazy Horse Too on the last day of January 2001. He said the bartenders lied about the charges, and when they (Spanek and his friends) challenged the bill, the bouncers “threw us against the wall, and then out the door, and then onto the ground, and left us bloodied.”

There was Debra Washington, a dancer, who said Rick Rizzolo, whom she knew personally, told her he’d kill her boyfriend, and it wouldn’t be the first time he did something like that.

There was Jermaine Malcolm Simieou, a customer at the strip club who had to file a police report after he, according to what he wrote on the report, suffered at the hands of bouncers a broken nose, missing teeth, a black eye, knots in his head and a damaged shoulder.

“It was as if the money was not enough,” says White, who had testified on behalf of Scott Fau’s widow during her lawsuit against the club and who had been an informant for the FBI. “It was as if they wanted more.”

And further, it was as if nothing could halt the Crazy Horse Too’s rise during the late ’90s and into the dawn of the new millennium.

Because it seemed like no one outside themselves could have stopped the ascension. Not the city. Despite the violence, and despite more than 700 calls placed to Metro concerning the strip club in the years 2001, 2002 and 2003 alone, the Crazy Horse Too never once experienced an arrest of staff or incurred a citation of any sort—let alone came up before the City Council for a show-cause hearing, required of any business in the city’s jurisdiction suspected of wrongdoing. Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese, in whose Ward 3 the Crazy Horse Too now stands, says he had asked for one during those years but was told it couldn’t be done because the club was under federal investigation. Yet the Cheetahs strip club of the infamous G-Sting scandal appeared before the council for a show-cause hearing while they were under an FBI investigation. The man responsible for scheduling show-cause hearings—Jim DiFiore, business-licensing director and the same man today responsible for enforcing the special conditions of the permanent liquor license the city council granted the Crazy Horse Too this past April, against the advice of Metro and the city attorney—declined to speak about the Crazy Horse Too despite numerous attempts to get his take.

Mayor Oscar Goodman, a former attorney for Rizzolo and his Power Company, who has long called Rizzolo a friend and generous campaign contributor, also declined to speak about matters referring to the Crazy Horse Too, instead deferring to Reese, who said: “I don’t know, I don’t go in those types of clubs.”

Nor the courts. Although at least seven civil cases had been brought up against the Crazy Horse Too during its rise through the ’90s and early 2000s, and settled out of court, the district attorney’s office never pursued one complaint. When it was made public that DA David Roger had received $50,000 in campaign contributions either from Rizzolo himself or fundraising parties that Rizzolo threw, he returned the entire largesse without explanation. Rizzolo’s parties, in fact, were legendary, and well-attended by top lawyers and prestigious judges. One of whom, now Supreme Court Justice Nancy Saitta, whose name would be sullied by the LA Times during its 2006 investigative report on judicial corruption in Las Vegas, managed to have at one time five cases involving Rizzolo on her calendar (two of which also involved Buffalo Jim Barrier, and one Scott Fau), and in none of the five cases did Rizzolo suffer harm.

When Michael Galardi was on the witness stand during the infamous G-Sting trial, the investigation which had stemmed from a seed of information caught on one of the FBI’s taped phone conversations of Rizzolo, he claimed that Rizzolo “owned” Saitta.

Only they at the Crazy Horse Too could’ve brought themselves down, White tells. And, she says, with an interminable sigh, they did.


The Crazy Horse Too is not dead. On account of a new owner and a sympathetic city council, it endures, although not as vital as it once was. The handful of girls working there bring in enough money to keep the lights from turning off.

But before that—before the regime at the head of the Crazy Horse Too had pleaded guilty to tax evasion and racketeering, which was the coup de grace, and before the invasion of law enforcement in 2003 had left the club in rubbles, and before Kirk Henry had had his neck twisted, and before the gentlemen’s club had risen to the top of Las Vegas’ lucrative strip club industry, and before Rick Rizzolo had come to the helm of the club in 1984 ...

And before they were to find his head, detached, in the desert, Tony Albanese, an authentic mob man, was the first to call the place Crazy Horse Too. It had been a discothèque, of substantial popularity, called Billy Joe’s, owned by a man who had introduced dancing girls to the bar and who would die of health complications in the late ’70s. The day Albanese bought the place he slapped onto the preexisting sign the words “Crazy Horse Too,” because by that time, 1978, he had already opened the first Crazy Horse, on Flamingo and Paradise, his real bread-winner. And so the sign out front read Billy Joe’s Crazy Horse Too, and it was a fun little place, according to Buffalo Jim Barrier, who used to treat his employees out there after work.

In 1981 they found Albanese’s head in the desert in Needles, California. Henry Rapuano, the father of Rick Rizzolo’s close associate Al Rapuano, took over the operations of the club, placed it under the name of lawyer Joseph Monteiro, and took out the Billy Joe’s from the name out front, so that it would from then on be known only as what it remains today: Crazy Horse Too. Then Henry Rapuano would die of a sudden and unforeseen heart attack. Rick Rizzolo, a Valley High School graduate and a former soda jerk at A&W, would, two years later, take control of the club.

Son of Bart, brother of Ralph and Annette, now a father of three who divorced his wife of 15 years the day before he was indicted, Rizzolo, exiled now from his strip club, must report to prison no later than this forthcoming May 22. If its current tenant cannot afford the $45 million Rizzolo is asking for the Crazy Horse Too by June 30, the property will be taken over by the government.

The Cerberus takeover of Chrysler

World Socialist Web Site
The Cerberus takeover of Chrysler—what it means for auto workers
By Shannon Jones
17 May 2007

Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda called for cuts in retiree health benefits one day after the announced sale of the North American unit of DaimlerChrysler to the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. The statement by LaSorda, who will continue to head Chrysler under Cerberus ownership, confirms that the sell-off of Chrysler is the preparation for a wholesale assault on North American auto workers.

The sale of the Michigan-based automaker to Cerberus has been widely presented by politicians, the media and the leadership of the United Auto Workers as a blessing for Chrysler workers. The change of ownership, it is said, will help shore up and stabilize the automaker’s operations and ultimately benefit the workforce.

The reality is that Cerberus, a firm notorious for stripping companies of their assets in order to resell them at a profit, is preparing to brutally slash the jobs, wages and benefits of Chrysler workers. Since its founding in 1992, Cerberus has amassed enormous wealth from the contraction, not the expansion, of corporate entities ranging from retail chains to auto parts and supply companies. It has left a trail of battered companies either drastically downsized or dismantled.

Last year, for example, Cerberus bought 600 Albertson’s supermarkets. Within months it had laid off 1,000 workers. In 2004, Cerberus purchased the Mervyn department store chain. The next year it closed 62 Mervyn stores, eliminating 4,800 jobs. It recently closed a bus plant in Canada and several textile mills in the US. It has also been involved in the downsizing of the car rental firms Alamo and National.

The sale of Chrysler to Cerberus “will shake the ground under people’s feet in a huge way,” Kevin Boyle, a professor at Ohio State University and a noted historian, told the New York Times in a May 14 article entitled “Cerberus Emerges from the Underworld.”

The Wall Street Journal on May 15 quoted Peter Pestillo, the former CEO of auto parts maker Visteon and for a time the Ford executive in charge of UAW talks, as saying, “This deal by Cerberus sets things up for very significant changes in Detroit. It will shake up GM and Ford as well.” Cerberus, Pestillo continued, doesn’t “soldier on with bad contracts. They shine things up and sell.”

Unlike mutual funds, private equity funds operate largely outside of government regulation, since their stock is not publicly traded. They pool huge amounts of private capital seeking the largest return in the shortest time. The modus operandi of firms like Cerberus is not to create profit through the development of new products and technologies, but to plunder the assets of existing companies.

An article in the May 14 edition of the German magazine Der Spiegel, entitled “Hellhound Snaps up Chrysler,” had this to say: “Venture capital firms like Cerberus invest in or purchase other companies that are about to go bankrupt. After buying them, they either take control as the largest creditor, rationalize the business and re-sell it—or they carve it up into pieces. Originally, Cerberus primarily bought the debt of bankruptcy candidates from their creditors. Since then, the portfolio has expanded to all kinds of problem-ridden assets. Firms like Cerberus have earned the nickname of ‘vulture funds.’”

One asset Cerberus undoubtedly has its eye on is Chrysler’s profitable auto finance unit Chrysler Financial. Cerberus already owns a majority stake in General Motors Acceptance Corporation Financial Services (GMAC), which it bought from General Motors last year. It is likely that Cerberus will attempt to carve Chrysler Financial, with net assets of $5.5 billion, out of Chrysler and merge it with GMAC, creating a massive and potentially highly profitable entity.

Cerberus’s owners have reaped enormous profits since the company’s start-up in 1992. Company founder, Stephen Feinberg, formerly worked at corporate buyout firm Drexel Lambert, notorious in the 1980s for popularizing so-called “junk bonds.” Fortune magazine in 1999 listed Feinberg as one of the richest Americans under the age of 40. At that time his net worth was $274 million.

According to an October 3, 2005 report in BusinessWeek, some of the top personnel at Cerberus earn up to $40 million a year. An article in CNNMoney from November of 2006 noted that private equity firms returned 22.5 percent on investments, as compared to an average of 6.6 percent for companies included in the Standard & Poor’s 500 list.

Such extraordinary returns are not possible from more traditional business operations, and certainly not from the production and sale of automobiles. The functioning of firms such as Cerberus often involves complex and risky transactions that have absolutely nothing to do with the creation of real value.

A piece in the March 16, 2006 edition of USA Today states that the secret of private equity firms “is the use of debt—usually as much as seventy cents of every dollar they invest. Because they pile debt onto the companies they buy, private equity firms free up their own cash, allowing them to make additional investments and maximize their potential returns.”

In some cases, private equity fund managers have been accused of taking out loans against the assets of companies they have purchased so as to award themselves fat payouts, regardless of what happens to the takeover target.

Underlying the rise of private equity is the ready availability of investment cash. Following the 2000 stock market collapse, private equity became a preference for investors seeking big returns.

Increasingly, private equity funds have obtained investment capital from public pension funds, which accounted for about one quarter of all new money raised by private equity firms last year. According to a report in the May 15 New York Times, among the investors in Cerberus are the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension System and the Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System.

Thus, workers’ pension funds are being used to help underwrite the takeover and destruction of companies and the consequent elimination of the jobs and benefits of other workers.

Further, given the highly speculative nature of private equity ventures, the increasing turn by pension funds to private equity investment is exposing workers’ retirement benefits to substantial risk. There is already talk in some circles of a “private equity debt bubble” (Boston Globe, May 1, 2007).

Who runs Cerberus?

A look at the leading personnel of Cerberus underscores the socially reactionary character of this enterprise. Feinberg has assembled a management team comprised of individuals from politics and business whose names are associated with job-cutting and other anti-social polices carried out by the US and international ruling class over the past several decades.

* The chairman of Cerberus is John W. Snow, formerly Bush’s treasury secretary. Snow led the drive for massive tax cuts for the rich. Prior to his tenure in the Bush cabinet, Snow headed CSX Corporation, the railroad conglomerate.

* Former Republican Vice President Dan Quayle is another notable at Cerberus. Since joining Cerberus in 2000, he has focused on international operations, using his political connections to assist in acquisitions in Japan and Germany.

* Former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was an investor, according to a report filed in 2001.

* David Thursfield, a senior member of Cerberus’s automotive and industrial team, gained a reputation at Ford as a savage cost-cutter. His push to force parts suppliers to reduce prices produced so much tension within Ford management that he was forced to leave the company in May 2004, the same month he joined Cerberus.

* A new figure at Cerberus is Wolfgang Bernhard, a former executive at Chrysler and Mercedes Benz. According to a report in the May 14 New York Times, “At both companies he wielded a cost-cutting ax, ruffling the feathers of the labor unions and higher-ups.”

* Another important team member, assisting Cerberus operations in Europe, is former German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping, who is said to be an advisor. Scharping was dismissed from his government post in 2002 following several scandals.

For the UAW bureaucracy to praise the sale of Chrysler to Cerberus, claiming it is in the “best interests” of workers, says much about the reactionary interests the UAW serves.

White House pressed Ashcroft on wiretaps

White House pressed Ashcroft on wiretaps
By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press

A top Justice Department official thought President Bush's no-warrant wiretapping program was so questionable that he refused for a time to reauthorize it, leading to a standoff with White House officials at the bedside of the ailing attorney general, a Senate panel was told Tuesday.

Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he refused to recertify the program because Attorney General John Ashcroft had reservations about its legality just before falling ill with pancreatitis in March 2004.

The White House, Comey said, recertified the program without the Justice Department's signoff, allowing it to operate for about three weeks without concurrence on whether it was legal. Comey, Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller and other Justice Department officials at one point considered resigning, Comey said.

"I couldn't stay, if the administration was going to engage in conduct that the Department of Justice had said had no legal basis," Comey told the panel.

A day after the March 10, 2004, incident at Ashcroft's hospital bedside, President Bush ordered changes to the program to accommodate the department's concerns. Ashcroft signed the presidential order to recertify the program about three weeks later.

The dramatic hospital confrontation involved Comey, the acting attorney general during Ashcroft's absence, and a White House team that included Bush's then-counsel, Alberto Gonzales, and White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, Comey said. Gonzales later succeeded Ashcroft as attorney general.

Senior government officials had expressed concerns about whether the National Security Agency, which administered the warrantless eavesdropping program, had the proper oversight in place. Other concerns included whether any president possessed the legal and constitutional authority to authorize the program as it operated at the time.

Comey testified Tuesday that when he refused to certify the program, Gonzales and Card headed to Ashcroft's sick bed in the intensive care unit at George Washington University Hospital.

When Gonzales appealed to Ashcroft, the ailing attorney general lifted his head off the pillow and in straightforward terms described his views of the program, Comey said. Then he pointed out that Comey, not Ashcroft, held the powers of the attorney general at that moment.

Gonzales and Card then left the hospital room, Comey said.

"I was angry," Comey told the panel. "I thought I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man who did not have the powers of the attorney general."

Comey's testimony revived one of the Bush administration's most bitter internal fights just as Gonzales appeared less under siege about the firings of several U.S. attorneys last year. Bush has stood solidly by his longtime counselor's side; calls for Gonzales' resignation have waned in recent weeks.

Asked about Comey's testimony, White House press secretary Tony Snow said he didn't know anything about the conversation at Ashcroft's bedside. But he defended the program.

"Because he had an appendectomy, his brain didn't work?" Snow said of Ashcroft. "Jim Comey can talk about whatever reservations he may have had. But the fact is that there were strong protections in there, this program has saved lives and it's vital for national security and furthermore has been reformed in a bipartisan way."

Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman, said he couldn't comment on "internal discussions that may or may have not taken place concerning classified intelligence activities." But he said the program succeeded in helping detect and prevent terrorist attacks and was always subject to rigorous oversight and review.

Democrats cited Comey's testimony as evidence of what they say is Gonzales' tendency to put loyalty to Bush ahead of most everything — including Justice's tradition of independence from the politics of the White House.

"What happened in that hospital room crystallized Mr. Gonzales' view about the rule of law: that he holds it in minimum low regard," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Under questioning by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., Comey said he was not threatened by Vice President Dick Cheney or other White House officials who disagreed with him on the legality of the eavesdropping program.

Comey recalled that after the bedside incident he started to offer his resignation and was persuaded to wait a few days until Ashcroft could resign with him. "Mr. Ashcroft's chief of staff asked me something that meant a great deal to him, and that is that I not resign until Mr. Ashcroft was well enough to resign with me," Comey said.

On March 12 at their daily briefing of the president, Bush asked Comey and Mueller for separate private conversations on Justice's concerns about the eavesdropping program. There, Comey said, Bush agreed to do "the right thing."

"We had the president's direction to do what we believed, what the Justice Department believed, was necessary to put this matter on a footing where we could certify to its legality," Comey said of the period after those private meetings. "We did that."

Spokesmen for Ashcroft and Mueller refused requests for comment.

Lindsay Lohan Tops Maxim `Hot 100' List

Lindsay Lohan Tops Maxim `Hot 100' List
Tuesday May 15, 2007

Lindsay Lohan rules. According to Maxim magazine, at least this month, she's the hottest woman in the world.

The "Georgia Rule" actress-troublemaker tops the magazine's eighth annual "Hot 100" list, a ranking by editors weighing buzz and beauty for women in film, TV, music, sports and fashion.

"There is no other star in the world (who) causes more of a stir in the public eye than Lindsay," said Maxim Editor in Chief Jimmy Jellinek in a statement. "Her every move is watched and reported on."

Not surprisingly, Jellinek described his young, male readership as being "obsessed" with the 20-year-old Lohan, a ubiquitous party girl who spent the weekend soaking up the sun (with a new boyfriend) in the Bahamas.

Jessica Alba had to settle with the No. 2 on the list, which is in the magazine hitting stands Saturday. She's followed, in order, by Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Biel, Ali Larter, Eva Mendes, Rihanna, Eva Longoria, Fergie, Sienna Miller, Angelina Jolie, Beyonce Knowles and Katherine Heigl.

Celebrity sisters Ashlee and Jessica Simpson are on the list at No. 16 and No. 41, respectively. Ashley Olsen, half of the mogul acting twins, placed 37th, while sister Mary-Kate didn't make the cut.

The cover of the Hot-100 June issue features a picture of No. 29: Sarah Silverman.
On the Net:


"Georgia Rule":

McDonald's to expand Angus burger test

McDonald's to expand Angus burger test
By Nichola Groom

McDonald's Corp. plans to expand a test of premium Angus beef burgers this summer to some restaurants in the Northeastern United States, an executive said on Monday.

Karen King, who oversees McDonald's 5,200 restaurants from Key West, Florida to the Canadian border, said the company was "encouraged" by sales of the fancier Angus burgers in Southern California, where they have been test marketed since last year.

"We're going to be testing Angus burgers later this summer in one of the Northeast markets," King, McDonald's East Division president, said in an interview. "With all test products we want to get a sense of different geographies and demographics so we're going to take it around the block here in the East."

King declined to say which market would be getting the fancier burgers, and spokeswoman Danya Proud said a final decision had not yet been made.

The burgers are seen as a key way McDonald's is working to compete with rivals Burger King Holdings Inc. and Hardee's and Carl's Jr. parent CKE Restaurants Inc., both of which have been selling bigger, premium burgers for several years.

Expansion of the Angus burger test comes as McDonald's works to extend the success of a three-year-old turnaround that has revitalized sales at the world's largest restaurant chain. King, a 32-year McDonald's veteran, said new drinks like iced coffee and tea and new chicken and breakfast products would be key to sustaining the company's momentum.

King oversaw the introduction of iced coffee to McDonald's restaurants in New England and said she was optimistic about its addition to restaurants throughout the United States.

"It was a gap in our menu, and we've been tremendously surprised by the product," King said.

In addition to her regular job, King has also taken on a new responsibility -- convincing McDonald's restaurant employees and customers that a job at the restaurant chain offers opportunities for development and growth.

King, who started working at a McDonald's restaurant in Georgia in 1975, is appearing in a television commercial as part of a new campaign to emphasize career opportunities at the chain. It is the first time McDonald's has featured an executive in its advertising.

"We want to tell people externally that this is a great career no matter what your goals, and we're also talking to our current employees," King said.

The campaign is McDonald's latest effort to change the image of its restaurant jobs as low-paying and dead-end. In recent years, the company has improved pay and benefits for restaurant workers and has taken other measures to emphasize the opportunities a McDonald's job can offer.

As for King, who has overseen the East Division for two years, she said she is in no rush to move on to her next McDonald's job. Once that does happen, however, she said she might pursue an international opportunity as she has not yet had any experience outside the United States.

Her predecessor as head of the East Division is Tim Fenton, who now serves as president of McDonald's Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa business.

Looks like Manny is REALLY handy after all...

Looks like Manny is REALLY handy after all...,2933,269819,00.html

New Jersey Kids See Porn Instead of Cartoons on Disney Channel
Thursday , May 03, 2007

MIDDLETOWN, N.J. — Children here got more than they bargained for when they tuned into "Handy Manny" on the Disney Channel this week. Now cable giant Comcast is investigating how hardcore pornography was broadcast during a popular cartoon program.

Customer Paul Dunleavy would also like to know. He was stunned Tuesday morning to find his 5-year-old son watching something other than a cartoon about a bilingual Latino handyman, Manny Garcia, and his talking tools.

"It was two people doing their thing, it was full-on and it was disgusting," the Middletown father of three told The New York Daily News for Wednesday newspapers.

"I couldn't believe it," he said. "We try to do the right thing to protect our kids from this stuff, and then they broadcast it on children's TV."

Dunleavy's phone number was unlisted when The Associated Press tried to contact him Wednesday.

Comcast spokesman Fred DeAndrea confirmed the programming error occurred around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. He described it as an "isolated issue in a local New Jersey facility."

"We automatically detected the issue and it was corrected promptly. We apologize to any customer who experienced an issue yesterday morning," said DeAndrea, who said the mistake was made by his company, not Disney.

DeAndrea declined to provide the duration of the pornography broadcast, how many homes it reached, how the mistake happened and whether anyone will be disciplined for the X-rated error.

A Disney Channel spokeswoman said the company has asked Comcast for assurances that appropriate measures were taken to prevent such offensive incidents from happening again. The state Board of Public Utilities, which regulates the cable industry in New Jersey, has made a similar request and has asked to meet with Comcast officials to discuss the matter.

"We value the trust that parents have in our programming and certainly take yesterday's regrettable program disruption extremely seriously," said Disney Channel spokeswoman Karen Hobson. "Comcast has taken full responsibility for this situation, and we understand that they are currently working to determine the root cause of the incident."

Dunleavy told The Daily News that he received an apology directly from Comcast. But he was still disturbed by the incident. "My son was extremely upset because he thought he'd done something wrong, and we're hoping what he saw doesn't become an issue for him."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Oil of Oregano

Thanks to for alerting us of the following information...

Oil of Oregano

Survival Enterprises
3655 N Government Way, Suite 6
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83815
1 800 753-1981

It was believed, by the ancient Greeks, that the God Venus created Oregano and gave it wonderful sweet favor and scent. The herb was said to be the favorite of Aphrodite. The word oregano means “joy of the mountain” from the Greek oros, meaning mountain and ganos meaning joy. Bridal couples where crowned with garlands of oregano to bring them peace and tranquility. Oregano grew wildly on the Greek hillsides and was believed to make the the grazing goats and sheep healthier and their meat more tender and tastier.

Inscribed on clay tablets thousands of years old (found in the Mid East), were instructions on how to "anoint" (or purify) those attending religious meetings. "Hyssop" (mentioned in the Bible and now known as the ancient herb Oregano) was used by boiling water that had the oregano leaves in it, then rinsing the hands and feet of the participants with this potent mixture. The powerful antiviral, antibacterial properties of oregano would naturally destroy any possible infections that might have been inadvertently carried into these sacred meetings.

For over 4,000 years of man's history, the ancient herb Oregano has been used by healers world wide to treat a wide variety of ailments, and to strengthen man's ability to fight off illness. It has powerful bacteria and fungi killing properties, as well as being used as a painkiller and anti-inflammatory.

The ancient Greeks were among the first to take advantage of oregano's medicinal qualities. The Greeks termed the spice origanos, meaning "delight of the mountains." Those who have visited Greece, where oregano covers the hillsides and scents the summer air, would probably agree with this name. The sweet, spicy scent of Oregano was reputedly created by the Goddess Aphrodite as a symbol of happiness. Bridal couples were crowned with garlands of oregano, and the plants were placed on the tombs to give peace to departed spirits.

Oregano is one of the most diverse health aides available. Researchers have uncovered numerous benefits to using oregano and extracted oil of oregano. But buyer beware, these significant health benefits are unattainable if the oregano is not the true substance. Although there are a wide variety of plants that are confused with oregano (including marjoram, thyme and sage), true oregano grows wild in Mediterranean regions such as Greece. The wild oregano is the source of surprisingly potent oil of oregano.

True oil of oregano offers many exciting remedies to a variety of ailments. In Herbal Renaissance, Steven Foster credits oregano as having "been employed to treat indigestion, diarrhea, nervous tension, insect bites, toothache, earache rheumatism, and coughs due to whooping cough and bronchitis (primarily for it's antispasmodic effects)."

In The Cure is in the Cupboard, Cass Ingram, D.O., has written a book that is dedicated to unveiling the health benefits of oregano and oil of oregano. He notes that "wild oregano is a veritable a natural mineral treasure-house, containing a density of minerals that would rival virtually any food."

The wild oregano is rich in a long list of minerals that includes calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, copper, boron, and manganese. Vitamins C and A (beta carotene) and niacin also are contained in oregano. Judging from its mineral content alone, it isn't hard to figure out why oregano is such a valuable commodity. Consider some of oregano's other useful purposes and it becomes even more obvious.

"Oregano is one of Nature's finest preservatives." states Ingram in another book, Supermarket Remedies. The author suggests that if oregano is used with foods such as meat, eggs, milk, or salad, you "will greatly halt the growth of microbes and, thus, reduce the risk for food poisoning."

The key element in oregano is the oil, which Foster points out "contains carvacrol and thymol as the primary components." Foster attributes the "fungicidal and worm-expellant properties" of oil of oregano to carvacrol and thymol. "These two phenols may constitute as much as 90% of (the oil)."

However, Ingram adds that these two phenols work synergistically and that is the reason "oil of oregano packs a double punch in antiseptic power and explains why it is infinitely more potent than commercial phenol in microbial killing power."

All of this helps make oregano oil a significant factor in treating internal and external fungi including athletes foot. Skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema can be improved with the treatment as well. Ingram explains the astonishing discovery that "oil of oregano outright destroys all variety of fungi and yeasts, regardless of where they reside."

In addition to fighting various fungi, oil of oregano is useful against bacteria and parasites. As Ingram asserts, "oil of oregano's antiseptic powers are inhibits the growth of the majority of bacteria, something that prescription antibiotics fail to accomplish." In the case of parasites, oil of oregano has had success neutralizing worms, amoebae and protozoans.

Additional uses for oregano and oil of oregano are unlimited. They have been found helpful in combating diarrhea, intestinal gas, and digestive problems, as well as sore throat and breathing difficulties. Oil of oregano can be immediate help against bee stings and many venomous bites until medical attention can be reached. Oil of oregano has even been suggested as a treatment for dandruff, diaper rash, and other skin disorders.

The benefits of oregano have gone largely unnoticed and underpublicized for far too long. As Ingram notes, oregano is "one of the world's finest natural medicines, that is if it's true oregano." So while oregano may hold the answer for a number of your health questions, be sure that it is in fact the real thing. Remember, these remedies are only attributed to genuine oregano and oil of oregano. Nonetheless, their values are much too important to overlook. Oregano may just be the thing you are searching for, or maybe didn't realize was available.

Many studies are discovering that Oregano, the "pizza herb", is a powerful antioxidant. The compound in Oregano, rosmarinic acid, has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral properties. Of all the plants in the mint family, Oregano is the richest in antioxidants.

Oregano may help prevent the cell damage caused by free radicals--highly unstable oxygen molecules that steal electrons from other molecules they find. Free radical reactions are most likely involved in inflammation, degenerative arthritis and the aging process in general. Evidence is growing that antioxidants may help relieve osteoarthritis and rheumatism.

Oregano also contains four anti-asthmatic compounds; six compounds that are expectorants; seven that lower blood pressure; nineteen antibacterial compounds and up to 8.8 percent bactericidal compounds.

Loaded with antiseptic compounds, Oregano is useful in treating sinusitis; try a tea and inhale as you drink.

Make a tea by using one to two teaspoons of dried oregano per cup of boiling water.

According to Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs, Oregano helps reduce fevers and relieve cramps, bronchitis, childhood diseases such as measles and mumps, and irregular menstruations. Make this tea: bring a pint of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add one teaspoon of Oregano. Stir well, cover and let steep for about half an hour. Strain and it can be refrigerated. Warming only slightly that amount to be consumed, one cup two to three times daily.

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Cass Igram's book
"The Cure is in the Cupboard"

"Infectious disease and Oil of Oregano"

A microbe is described in the dictionary as a minute form of life. A microorganism is one that causes disease. We are surrounded by an infinite number of microorganisms. We tend to think of them as something outside the body, but if truth be known, the number of microbes residing in the body would be shocking.These microbes or microorganisms have a critical influence on our health. Infectious diseases are responsible for many of our modern day diseases, disabilities and deaths. Most of the hospital visits are infection related and more than 90% of doctor visits are due to infections.

While the major cause of death in this country is degenerative diseases, infectious diseases are the major cause world wide. However, between the 1600's to the early 1900's, a large number of deaths were infection related. For example in the early 1900's several million people died from a flu epidemic. In that same era, other killers such as cholera, diphteria, tuberculosis, small pox, typhus, pertussis, hepatitis, shigella and amebic dysentery claimed many lives.

In the 1940's, we see a dramatic reduction of these untimely deaths due to improved sanitation and nutrition and the advent of antibiotics. Yet infections still kill even in spite of the advances in moderm medicine. The latest statistics show that the number of infection related deaths have risen by 60% between 1980-1992. It is expected that at this rate, by the year 2000, infectious diseases will rival heart disease and cancer as a primary cause of death.

Many viruses and bacteria have become immune to the current arsenal of antibiotics. There is no drug available that is guaranteed to cure any of the major infectious diseases. In fact, drugs, particularly antibiotics, have aggravated the dilemma. The widespread use of antibiotics have created mutant resistant microbes and because these microbes alter their genetics, they have become immune to the antobotic.

These mutants are a major cause of severe illness in western culture. These genetically altered microbes are not only able to resist the antibotic, but they are also able to invade the immune system. Some bacteria are even able to digest the drug and use it for fuel. They are extremely difficult to kill.

The diseases that result can be life threatening. The "Hippocrates" magazine quotes that 130,000 hospitalized patients in this country die each year due to antibiotic resistant microbes. In "Germs that won't die" by Lappe tens of thousands of Americans who have never had a serious infection develop one simply by entering a hospital as a patient or a visitor. Millions of people lose their health or lives from infections which could be potentially cured if physicians only knew about the antiseptics of nature.

Many people are also allergic to antibiotics. Some reactions are sudden and often severe. Many have died or have suffered serious damage to their immune system and/or internal organs. Americans spend thousands of dollars on antibotics. Sadly, this is not money well spent. Most of the drugs are ultimately ineffective and tend to aggravate the illness. There are several reasons why.

Antibiotics create mutant microbes. These mutants continue to cause trouble and do not respond to treatment. Antibiotics also destroy the friendly bacteria that perform useful functions, i.e., Lactobacillus acidophilus. These friendly bacteria aid the immune system and help prevent infection. Drug toxicity is another problem arising from the widespread use of drugs.

Some drugs such as aminoglycosides, erythromycin and tetrecyclines damage vital organs such as the liver, bone marrow and kidneys. Antibiotics are a regular cause of hepatitis, inflammatory damage to the liver. Antibiotics have their place, but they are prescribed excessively and this has led to a much more serious and dangerous health crisis.

Incredibly, drug companies are investigating the use of natural substances in the treatment of infectious diseases. Before the advent of penicillin, such substances as sulfur, garlic, ginger, goldenseal, Echinacea, thyme, camphor and horseradish were commonly used as natural antiseptics.

A look back at history either to a museum or an old pharmacy will reveal that natural medicines were the mainstay and served as such for over 200 years. Many physicians and herbalists for years used these natural substances to fight infections and microbial resistance was not a problem.

We must once again return to our natural resources to eradicate the enormous number of infectious diseases including those which are now resistant to antibiotics. Synthetic drugs are unreliable and are responsible for complicating the sickness. Side effects are numerous and often severe and lead to a host of new problems which then might require treatment. Natural antobiotics are essentially non toxic.

Oil of Oregano is a premier antiseptic and contains a wide range of antimicrobial powers. It is unequaled in its ability to kill a wide range of microbes and it does not promote microbial resistance. The oil is derived from certain species of oregano plants, similar to what is grown in herb gardens. Its odor or fragrance is pugnant and its flowers are quite colorful.

This is not to be compared to what we find in the spice section of the grocery store or in Italian foods. Oregano, as we know it, is not the same medicinally. You won't achieve the desired results by eating pizza or spaghetti.

The oil is derived from a unique species of plant that grows wild throughout the world. The oregano is rich in essential oil and is processed in a special type of distillation. This procedure ensures minimal alteration of the active ingredients and the curative properties are preserved. The result is an amber colored liquid which has a powerful and hot tasting flavor. Its odor is similar to camphor. It takes 200 pounds of herb to produce 2 pounds of oil. It is difficult and expensive to produce. What you find in health food stores is not a medicinal grade of oregano.

The premier features of this product are:
- its valuable inflammatory actions
- can neutralize a wide range of spiders, scorpions, bees, ants and snake bites and stings
- natural antiseptic, can treat various painful lesions and pain disorders
- mucolytic, helps to mobilize and thin mucous, useful in lung disorders
- antitussive, halts cough and eases spasticity of the lung tubules
- antispasmodic, obliterates tightness and spasms of muscles
- its greatest attribute is its antimicrobial property

Some of the infectious diseases are; staph/strep, E. Coli, veneral disease, salmonella, cholera, typhus, flesh eating bacteria, camphylobacter, dysentery, mycoplasma, Epstein Barr, HIV Heliobacter, herpes, colds, flu, hepatitis, tuberculosis, Lyme, Shigella, Candida, Cyclospora, Cryptosporidium, Meningoccoccus, Encephalitic virus, dengue and hantavirus. They can strike at anytime. Not only is it the epitome of distess to contact one of these diseases, many of them are fatal and have nomedical cure.

What is little known is that in addition to the acute infections, many chronic diseases are also caused by infections. Diseases including arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia, lupus, ulcerative colitis, chronic fatigue syndrom, rosacea, gastritis, and Chron's disease are not usually correctly treated. Antibiotics will not work for these conditions, rather, it is the natural antiseptic and nutritional therepies that are the answer."
"These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any diseases."
The above is a Government ORDERED statement.
It is NOT based in either reality or sanity.
Just like our Government.

In a landmark decision on Friday, Jan. 15, 1999, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the health claim rules imposed by the FDA unconstitutional and in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. The court instructed the FDA to define "significant scientific agreement" for health claims on dietary supplement labels, and instructed the FDA to allow the use of disclaimers on labels rather than to suppress these claims outright. The court further held that four FDA Final rules (prohibiting certain nutrient disease relationship claims) invalid under the first Amendment to the Constitution.