I surprised we haven’t printed “Thoughts & Prayers” on the dollar bill. Yet.
I surprised we haven’t printed “Thoughts & Prayers” on the dollar bill. Yet.
❝ Soviet-born South Florida businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman had just finished lunch at the Trump Hotel Wednesday with the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, when the pair were arrested at the first-class gate at Dulles Airport in Virginia on charges of violating federal campaign finance laws.
The duo, the feds allege, developed a sudden interest in the American political system in 2016, using LLCs and other tricks to keep their names off of the five- and six-figure checks they sent to a Trump Super-PAC and elected Republicans they pressed to give the U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine the boot, which Trump did earlier this year, reportedly after she asked Giuliani to go through official channels if he wanted to play foreign affairs…
❝ Giuliani referred to Parnas and Fruman as his clients earlier this year, after another oligarch publicly said the pair had come to him to “demand” he set up a meeting between Rudy and a Ukrainian leader. Rudy responded by advising the pair to sue and calling for the oligarch’s arrest.
Days before their arrest, Dowd had complained to the House Intelligence Committee that its call for financial information from Parnas and Fruman was an attempt to “harass, intimidate and embarrass my clients,” who had been assisting Giuliani “in connection with his representation of President Trump.”
I won’t say “birds of a feather” — that would slander birds. More like related slime critters that crawled out of shared sewers.
Pier Marco Tacca/Getty
❝ Five years ago, Matteo Salvini stripped and posed half-naked for a series of “sexy” photos that were auctioned on eBay…Today, Salvini’s party has transformed itself into one of the most prominent nationalist movements in Europe (now known only as Lega). Salvini himself has become Italy’s interior minister and the country’s most recognizable politician…
❝ Along with Marine le Pen in France, leader of the National Front (now rebranded as the National Rally party), Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, and others, Salvini is leading a startling resurgence of Europe’s far right…Holding up a rosary, kissing a crucifix, and thanking the “Immaculate Heart of Mary,” he proclaimed it time to “save” Europe’s “Judeo-Christian roots.”…
❝ These movements did not emerge overnight, nor will they fade anytime soon. Since mid-2016, together with colleagues at openDemocracy, we have tracked the growth of Europe’s nativist movements, from the Brexit campaign, to Orbán’s increasing stranglehold on the levers of power in Hungary, to cross-border networks seeking to block or roll back women’s and LGBTQI rights. Their strategy begins by influencing elections, courts, education, and healthcare systems, as well as policymakers and public opinion, and ends by taking power.
RTFA. Not quite up to the beerhall putschists of the 1930’s. The mindset is the same. Lots of the money comes from “the land of the free, the home of the brave”. Trumpkins.
❝ The Democratic National Committee passed a resolution Friday afternoon that activists say effectively reverses a ban on fossil fuel company donations.
The resolution introduced by DNC Chair Tom Perez states that the party “support[s] fossil fuel workers” and will accept donations from “employers’ political action committees.” It was approved by a 30-2 vote just two months after the committee adopted another resolution prohibiting donations from fossil fuel companies by a unanimous vote.
❝ The new resolution nods to “forward-looking employers” that are “powering America’s all-of-the-above energy economy and moving us towards a future fueled by clean and low-emissions energy technology, from renewables to carbon capture and storage to advanced nuclear technology.”
What a crock! Same as it ever was still means — same as it ever was. What needs to be different this time is that clean environment voters have two tasks ahead – not just a single action that makes you feel good and accomplishes nothing but continued control for creeps like the Fake President.
One. We have to get control of Congress away from corporate pimps. Two. With Democrats and Independents in the majority – including the whole range from center to left – we fight for progressive programs – continuing the fight to replace the copout brigade. But, please, don’t be foolish enough to think we can skip stages and run the risk of even two more years of criminal incompetence and corruption.
❝ Want a favor from a member of Congress? Give him money. That was the advice Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and head of the Office of Management and Budget, gave to a group of some 1,300 bankers and lending industry professionals at a conference in Washington, DC.
Mulvaney, a former South Carolina representative, said he would only meet with lobbyists who had donated to his campaign while speaking at the American Bankers Association conference on Tuesday, the New York Times reported. “We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mulvaney said. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”
❝ He did emphasize that at the top of the whom-he’d-talk-to ladder were his constituents — regardless of financial contributions — but lobbyists had to pay up…
❝ The payday lending industry donated more than $60,000 to Mulvaney’s past congressional campaigns.
Since Mulvaney took over at the CFPB, the government’s consumer watchdog, the bureau dropped sanctions against the online payday lender NDG Financial Corp., which was accused of running a “cross-border online payday lending scheme.” It scrapped another lawsuit against four Kansas-based payday lenders that allegedly stole millions of dollars from consumers’ bank accounts to pay debts they didn’t owe. The agency shut down a probe into World Acceptance Corp, which donated at least $4,500 to Mulvaney’s congressional campaigns…
No outside dollar$ needed to run BITD
❝Former American president Jimmy Carter has warned that US politics has been corrupted by billions of dollars of campaign financing following a supreme court ruling that he said legalised “bribery”.
He described the landmark 2010 Citizens United court decision, which equated campaign spending with free speech, as an “erroneous ruling”.
❝Speaking after the Iowa caucuses, in which Republican candidates spent $43m on TV advertising and Democratic candidates spent $16.8m, Carter said the domination of money in politics represented the biggest change since he was elected president in 1976.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I didn’t have any money. Now there is a massive infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns for all the candidates. Some candidates like Trump can put in his own money but others have to be able to raise a $100m to $200m just to get the Republican or Democratic nomination. That’s the biggest change in America…”
Carter said: “The erroneous ruling of the supreme court, where millionaires, billionaires, can put in unlimited amounts of money, give legal bribery the chance to prevail, because all the candidates, whether they are honest or not, or whether they are Democratic or Republican, depend on these massive infusions of money from very rich people in order to have money to campaign…”
“As the rich people finance the campaigns, when candidates get in office they do what the rich people want. And that’s to let the rich people get richer and richer and the middle class get left out. All the statistics show that the middle class are stagnant or going down in their income for the work that they do.”
❝He added: “When I ran against Gerald Ford, or later Ronald Reagan, we didn’t raise a single penny to finance our campaign against each other … nowadays you have to have hundreds of millions of dollars to prevail.”
There is so much about American elections that is corrupt – and corrupting – it’s difficult choosing where to start. The primary process ties you to the 2-party choice. Limits you to choosing from a pool of candidates who believe either of the two parties best represents the future of this nation.
The buying and selling of campaigns at the primary and national electoral level is already well documented. Along with gerrymandering just another election trick – for both parties.
Conservative packing of federal courts combined with states rights folderol allows for the wave of laws and regulations moving backwards the individual right to vote by decades. All the way up to the Supreme Court – so far.
Pick and choose where you want to start, folks. I’m supporting activists here in New Mexico fighting for open primaries. These can easily be regulated down to one person, one vote, at primary time. Our courts are passing the buck to the state legislature – which is about as chickenshit as any other in the nation. So, expect nothing but nothing.
Poisonally, I’d like more of a Euro-style opportunity, an open primary with any number of candidates from all avenues – followed by a runoff if no one exceeds 50% in the popular vote. The California model comes closest.
Limited campaign time, limited campaign expenses.
❝A Texas woman and her son, a teen known for invoking an “affluenza” defense after a deadly drunken driving wreck, held a sort of farewell party before fleeing his probation, driving to the Mexican border and trying to disguise themselves…
Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said 18-year-old Ethan Couch and his mother, who were detained Monday in the Pacific Coast resort city of Puerto Vallarta, planned their disappearance.
“They even had something that was almost akin to a going-away party before leaving town,” he said.
❝Couch was on juvenile probation for the wreck that killed four people when he was 16. During the sentencing phase of his trial, a defense expert argued that his wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility — a condition the expert termed “affluenza.” The condition is not recognized as a medical diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association, and its invocation drew widespread ridicule.
❝Anderson said an arrest warrant would be issued for Couch’s mother, Tonya Couch, on charges of hindering an apprehension. A prosecutor says that during a hearing next month they plan to ask a judge to transfer Ethan Couch’s case to adult court…
❝Ricardo Ariel Vera, the representative of Mexico’s immigration institute in the western state of Jalisco, said the mother and son were being held at immigration offices in the state capital, Guadalajara, and would be returned to the United States aboard a commercial flight to Houston sometime Tuesday…
❝Couch was apparently trying to lie low; a photo distributed by the Jalisco state prosecutor’s office show him in detention with his blond hair dyed black and his normally blondish beard a light brown.
Anderson has said he believes the two fled in late November after a video surfaced that appears to show Couch at a party where people were drinking. If found to be drinking, Couch’s probation could be revoked and he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
❝Couch was driving drunk and speeding on a dark two-lane road south of Fort Worth in June 2013 when he crashed into a disabled SUV off to the side, killing four people and injuring several others, including passengers in Couch’s pickup truck.
Throw the key away. Put mom in a cell down the hall. Sentence their lawyers to work at honest jobs.
Roadside condom vending machine destroyed by the thieves
❝A man died on Christmas Day in Germany after he was hit in the head by a flying piece of metal from a condom machine that he and two accomplices blew up in an apparent robbery attempt…
❝The 29-year-old man was taken to hospital in the western town of Schöppingen, near the Dutch border, by the two other men who fled the scene of the explosion in a car, leaving behind condoms and money scattered around the gutted vending machine.
❝The two men told hospital officials that their friend had fallen down the stairs, injuring his head. Suspicious of their story, the officials called the police.
During questioning, police said, one of them admitted that the three had blown up the condom machine, and that their fellow conspirator was hit in the head by metal as he tried to take cover.
Sometimes, you get what you deserve, eh?