Skip to main content

 photo feinstein-nsa_zps4acb2a19.png

We know now that Senator Diane Feinstein is all for storing every character you type, every location you visit, and everyone you contact (and probably favors deducing from metadata analysis everyone you've had sex with, but I digress...).

But did you know that Senator No-Privacy-For-You is also a player - alongside with husband, Richard Blum - in privatizing the Post Office and selling off its real estate to the lowest bidder? (no, 'lowest' is not a typo).

You probably didn't.

Enter Peter Byrne, close to the last of a dying species, that of investigative reporter. Byrne spent a lot of effort investigating Richard Blum, his real estate company CBRE, CBRE's exclusive contract with the government to sell Post Office real estate, his wife's interference with Post Office matters, and Blum's machinations as UC Regent to cause endowment monies to be invested in Blum-owned companies.

Mr. Byrne was kind enough to visit the Berkeley Post Office Defenders on Saturday, September 28th, and speak on the steps of the historic downtown Berkeley Post Office - in danger of being put on the auction block within the week. The audience was rapt as he mused about his investigation of the interconnections between Post Office selloffs and privatization, Goldman Sachs, Richard Blum and Diane Feinstein.

The result of his investigations was his new book, Going Postal: U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein's husband sells post offices to his friends, cheap. It's currently available as an e-book and (I am told) soon to be available in print version. Here's an excerpt from the Amazon description:

 photo po-going-postal-cover_zps47910d1a.jpg

National award-winning investigative journalist Peter Byrne reports that the husband of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has been selling post offices at bargain basement prices - often to his own business partners... It brings to light a scathing government audit of Blum's contract that is being ignored by the Obama administration. The investigation reveals how Senator Feinstein pressured the Postmaster General to stop a postal construction project, and to favor the interests of a developer working with her husband's firm. Byrne explains why the Post Office is not really broke and how powerful forces on Capitol Hill are angling to franchise the U.S. Mail monopoly. We learn that the post office executives in charge of Blum's contract have been up to a financial shenanigans of their own. This is first class investigative reporting...

Byrne has investigated Feinstein previously, along with many other topics, e.g.,
Senator Warbucks: Feinstein’s Iraq Conflict. 2007.

Death, Maiming, Money, and Muni. 2003 The enormous costs -- human and financial -- of bad drivers and lax discipline at the San Francisco Municipal Railway

and he
has received national, regional, and local recognition for investigative work, writing style, and in-depth profiles of politicians, grifters, grafters, and artists (for whom he has a soft spot). He also writes compellingly about new developments in physics, quantum computation, and stock car racing.
Here are some excerpts from his talk on Saturday:
The people who deliver the mail are pretty cool. The executives, on the other hand, are not.

The Post Office has some of the most valuable... real estate portofolios in the country.

They sold the Post Offices for far, far, far under their market value, often to the business partners and clients of CBRE.

In direct violation of its contract for the first year, CBRE was often representing not just the Post Office as the seller but its own clients and business partners as the buyer.

Blum, BLum's investment bank, CBRE and Goldman run the world.

The Blum mode of operation for the last twenty years, every since he got a US Senator... once you have a Senator in your family, people know that... and access to public capital has just been phenomenal for all of Blum’s businesses.

Not only is he a Regent of the University of California, overseeing the investment of 1.5 billion into his own business enterprises... Feinstein... oversaw over a billion dollars worth of contracts to companies owned and chaired by her husband.

Feinstein's economic disclosure statement runs 250 - 300 pages... Senator Rockefeller's runs 8 pages.

As far as I'm concerned... the investigation I’ve done... is a blueprint for indictment. Acutally, Attorney General Kamala Harris, I’ve done your work for you. All you need to do is pick up the East Bay Express.

It's bad enough that we have Republicans drooling at the thought of shutting down most of the Government and wanting to privatize the rest of it. We don't need Senators from the party this blog supports benefiting monetarily from the selling of our Commons.

Senator Feinstein has consistently refused to co-sponsor or support Senator Bernie Sanders sensible bill to save the Post Office, S.316. She has failed to protect our rights under the 4th Amendent, spouting nonsense about non-existent limitations on the NSA. She voted for war with Iraq.

California deserves a better Senator - a more progressive representative without a spouse who, at least according to the evidence presented by Peter Bryne, deserves to be in federal prison.  

Maybe some day we will have one.


For more info on the Defense of the Berkeley Post Office check out these diaries.

Killing the Post Office on the Altar of Privatization. Our Commons on the Auction Block.

Those Damned Hippies They're Saving the Post Office!

OMG They're Chalking the Post Office.

Saving the Post Office One Puppy at a Time

Credits:  Kossack allie123 (@alyssa011968) took the great video of Peter Byrne's talk.

 photo post-office-postcard-tents_zps5847c3e2.jpg

Originally posted to jpmassar on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 08:22 AM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, California politics, SFKossacks, and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site