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:
Byrne has investigated Feinstein previously, along with many other topics, e.g.,
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...
Senator Warbucks: Feinstein’s Iraq Conflict. 2007.and he
Death, Maiming, Money, and Muni. 2003 The enormous costs -- human and financial -- of bad drivers and lax discipline at the San Francisco Municipal Railway
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.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.
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.
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.