"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
-- Sinclair Lewis
Sunday, October 23, 2016
Terry Tate-- The Office Linebacker Knows How To Make America Great Again!
-by Noah Not that I advocate physical violence as of punishment for bad behavior, even when that bad behavior is physical violence itself. Personally, my mind turns to much more devious punishments (admittedly only after thinking of things involving 5 finger death hits and crowbars). But what does one do when one encounters someone who, if he was raised by parents at all, was probably raised by the four-legged kind. Clearly, some people never met up with any sort of discipline, instruction in morals, or learned about the concepts of human decency. Aw, hell. Screw my inner liberal! Damn the chains of intellectualism and reason! Sometimes, ya just got to go with a man who offers real solutions: The Office Linebacker himself, Terry Tate! I could watch this all day! And I mean all day! When the glorious day comes that there is such a thing as NoahTV, this will run 24hrs on NoahTV1. And, just wait 'til you see NoahTV2! Come on... was that awesome amazing, incredible, fantastic video worth a couple of bucks for the congressional candidate of your choice who wants to make America great again? You won't see that on Rachel Maddow's Show, will you?
Probably I haven't been paying close enough attention -- and goodness knows, I've tried my hardest to pay as little attention as possible to this whole election thing -- but in all my years of forced Trump-watching, I've managed to miss the link between the Billion-Dollar Loser and his (and his dear old dad's) onetime lawyer, Roy Cohn. But as soon as you think of that rabid legal attack dog imparting his, er, wisdom, to the Younger Donald, and something sure clicks. And especially now that we see the older and scummier Donald as a full-time politician. (I see now that in June the Washington Post's Robert O'Harrow and Shawn Boburg took an extensive look into the Donald-and-Roy connection in a piece headlined "The man who showed Donald Trump how to exploit power and instill fear.")
And when you think about Roy Cohn, who in the land of the living would you be most likely to think of next? If you said playwright Tony Kushner, who made the dying-of-AIDS Roy Cohn a major character in his epic play Angels in America, then you're thinking in the same groove as NPR's This Week in Politics, which yesterday shared a phone interview that David Furst did with Kushner from London. Here's how the Cohn-Trump and Cohn-Kushner connections are established on WNYC's program page for This Week in Politics:
In just about any introduction for Roy Cohn, you find the word 'infamous' within the first sentence or two. He was chief counsel to Joseph McCarthy during the senator's Communist witch hunt of the 1950s. Instrumental in the trial that led to Julius and Ethyl Rosenberg’s executions. Attorney to mafia bosses. Eventually disbarred for misconduct in 1986.
And in the 1970s and 80s, he was Donald trump's lawyer. Many say, his mentor.
Roy Cohn appears as one of the characters in Angels in America, Tony Kushner's award-winning play and miniseries about New York during the worst years of the AIDS epidemic.
This week, playwright Tony Kushner joins host David Furst to talk about Cohn, Trump and the 2016 race. Kushner is in London, where he's working on his new show, The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures.
Now Kushner isn't exactly a fan of Roy Cohn, but he feels a connection to him and his story, which is how he came to put Cohn in Angels in America. At the time of Cohn's death, a closeted gay man felled by AIDS, Kushner was uncomfortable with the homophobic glee in the response of some of Cohn's longtime enemies, and thought the story at least called for some looking into.
Kushner specifies in the interview that he has to be careful to distinguish the real Roy Cohn from the character he created in the play, but he carefully notes that he devoured every source he could find on the subject, and in the interview he surprises David Kurtz at the outset by saying that no, he doesn't see a copy of Roy Cohn in Donald Trump.
TONY SAYS: "IT SEEMS WEIRD TO SAY THIS,
BUT I THINK MAYBE ROY WAS A FINER PERSON"
What? He thinks Donald Trump doesn't measure up to the likes of Roy Cohn?
I felt, in reading about him, and I read everything I could get my hands on, that there was something coherent in his core, that he was -- for all of his maliciousness and his ruthlessness and his destructiveness, in the case of the Rosenbergs' execution (he frequently bragged about forcing the judge to send Ethel Rosenberg to death; his malevolence crossed over into judicial murder) -- so he's a very bad person.
But one thing that impressed me was that from the day McCarthy drank himself to death to the day Roy Cohn died, he never abandoned the memory of Joe McCarthy. He defended it; he defended what McCarthy had done; he defended McCarthy himself, as a wonderful person. In reading what Roy wrote about him, and he wrote a lot about him, it seemed to me that this was somebody who actually was capable of loving someone else, and maintaining that love, even when it became very unfashionable to do so.
Which speaks to a kind of character consistency in Roy that I see no evidence of whatsoever in Donald Trump, who seems to me to be a profoundly disloyal person who's so entirely interested in himself to the exclusion of all else, who lives in a world of delusion that's entirely created by his titanic, monstrous narcissism, that loyalty to other people, which requires a kind of object constancy, is completely out of the question.
So he seems to me really nothing like Roy in that sense. It seems weird to say this, but I think Roy was maybe a finer person than Donald Trump.
KUSHNER RECOGNIZES TRUMP-STYLE POLITICAL TACTICS AS "THE QUINTESSENCE OF McCARTHYISM"
This photo was one of those used to accompany an extensive piece that Trump biographer David Cay Johnston wrote for London's Daily Mail in July, "How Trump made the Mob an offer they could not refuse: He might have made a killing building his first skyscraper, but Donald's shrewdest investment was in the MAFIA."
Which is not to say that Kushner doesn't see the Cohn-McCarthy legacy in Trump. Asked about such things as Trump's practice of systematic character assassination of his opponents and his "relentless conspiracy theories," Kushner says, "It makes complete sense that he learned lessons from Roy, who learned lessons from McCarthy, or McCarthy learned lessons from Roy, or the two of them together cooked up this style."
Then Kushner listens to a pair of audio clips: first, McCarthy raving about "Communist infiltration of the CIA" and our nuclear program and God knows what else; then Trump saying, "She's guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run. And just in that respect I say it's rigged."
Kushner pronounces this "the quintessence of McCarthyism."
And it has been horrifying but kind of fascinating to watch it happen in real time as opposed to reading about it in the history books. If you say an enormous lie, that you yourself know is a lie, and you just repeat it over and over again, and don't bother to answer any questions about it, and never get yourself in a situation where you're going to have to answer the questions -- I mean, that's where McCarthy made his big misstep, taking on the U.S. armed forces, so soon after World War II, and calling them an organization full of traitors --
and, of course, precipitating the televised hearings that unmasked McCarthy in front of the whole country. This lesson Trump seems to have learned quite well, Kushner suggests, noting that he's "pretty good at avoiding" answering awkward questions.
Mostly he never has to really explain anything, or reconcile any contradictions, and he just repeats whatever lie has popped into his head over and over again, leaving us to simply wonder, "Does he know he's lying now?" And whether the con artist believes his own con is a kind of a mesmerizing question. It's just unfortunately not the question we should be obsessed with in a presidential election.
"No, AIDS is what homosexuals have. I have liver cancer," a belligerent Roy Cohn (Al Pacino) insists in response to the diagnosis his doctor (James Cromwell) is trying to deliver, in Mike Nichols's HBO production of Tony Kushner's Angels in America.
You Want Us To Deal Seriously With Climate Change? The Key Is Congressional Change
This week Blue America has been working with our friends at Climate Hawks Vote to win House seats for candidates committed to ameliorating climate change, primarily House seats that are in winnable districts that the DCCC is ignoring. With Trump's dysfunctional campaign and crude bigotry dragging down the whole ticket, it looks-- for the first time this cycle-- that the Democrats actually have a chance of recapturing the majority and retiring Paul Ryan from the Speakership. Imagine a House where Ryan's willingly ignorant committee chairmen no longer set the agenda! The DCCC doesn't like taking on GOP committee chairmen. We do-- and we are. Our candidates are all running, in part, to address global warming, combat the fossil-fuel industry, and support renewable energy. If climate hawks are part of a winning coalition that takes over Congress in 2017, we can work towards halting toxic fracking, towards stopping extreme-energy projects; we can start the work it will take to put a price on carbon pollution, and we can make sure subpoenas are sent to ExxonMobil instead of climate scientists. Our candidates want to invest billions in renewable, resilient infrastructure to restore climate justice and end the fossil-fuel economy-- before it's too late. Taking back the House is a big challenge-- Republicans currently hold a 30-seat advantage. But all across the country, Democratic registration is up and Trump's continuous stream of bile is turning off mainstream conservative voters who are telling pollsters they won't be voting for Republican candidates November 8. Progressive candidates in the suburbs of Philadelphia (Mary Ellen Balchunis), Austin and San Antonio (Tom Wakely), New York (Zephyr Teachout and Duwayne Gregory), Los Angeles (Bao Nguyen and Nanette Barragán), Kalamazoo (Paul Clements), Miami (Alina Valdes), to name a few, weren't looked at as winnable by the DCCC. That's all changed now... and if we're going to have a House ready to work on, for example, climate issues, it means taking back the House and not taking it back with Blue Dogs and New Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- the ones who opposed single-payer and the public option and stuck us with a very flawed Obamacare. So... please dig as deep as you can comfortably do and pick out a candidate or two-- for the future of the country and the species and the planet. Want to get a feel for how strongly our candidates feel about climate as an issue? Mary Ellen Balchunis told us yesterday that "While the Republican party is still debating whether climate change even exists, I am prepared to enact legislation that will reduce carbon output on day one. I will fight for a carbon tax while encouraging investment in clean, sustainable technologies to shape the clean energy economy. Beyond this, I will support public transit development and a modernized electrical grid, to make sure that we have the infrastructure to sustainably meet demand in the future. Unfortunately, my opponent Pat Meehan claims to care about climate change, but has voted to repeal the only carbon regulations on power plants, end research into the effects of fossil fuels, and even permit pipelines to run through our national parks and monuments. Pennsylvanian's deserve a legislator who prioritizes a healthy environment for their children's future ahead of oil and gas companies' balance sheets." And our candidates have records of leadership on progressive issues. Take Nanette Barragan, for example. "While my opponent was filling his coffers with Big Oil special interests money from the most disreputable lobbyists in Sacramento," she told us, "I was leading a successful fight to prevent the drilling of 34 oil and water injection wells in Hermosa Beach and into the Santa Monica Bay. If you care about climate change, retire Isadore Hall and send me to Congress. We both have records that are as crystal clear as the water still is off Hermosa Beach." Does that sound like someone you want on your team, fighting for your issues? Her opponent, Isadore Hall, is one of Sacramento's most corrupt legislators, a disgrace to a legislature that can't wait to see him leave.
Paul Clements isn't just one of the strongest advocates of climate change action of any candidate running for Congress, he's up against the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Rep. who buries every climate proposal. "In this election, we have the opportunity to replace one of Congress's leading climate science deniers," he said. "Fred Upton has been called, appropriately, 'Congress's Number 1 Enemy of Planet Earth,' and has been using his position to block any meaningful action on climate change. Congressman Upton has taken $931,000 from the oil and gas industry, and has used his role as Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee to keep energy companies from being held accountable for their actions, especially companies like Exxon and BP, in which he owns a quarter of a million dollars in stock. Despite his record, an outside group recently had the audacity to come into our district to promote Fred Upton as a 'clean energy champion.' The outrageous nature of their lies show just how important Fred Upton is to oil and gas, and how threatened they are this year. If Congressman Upton is reelected, we can expect two more years of obstructionism from Congress, and a dangerous lack of action on climate, our nation's most critical challenge. I look forward to working in Congress to reverse the damage that has been caused, and prevent climate catastrophe." Tom Wakely is running against Science Committee Chairman and chief climate change denier, Lamar Smith. "What truly gets me worked up," he told us, "is this idea that you have to 'believe' in climate change. The notion that it takes some great leap of faith in order to see and feel destruction or pollution is simply maddening. This is basically a matter of rejecting reality. There is no option when it concerns our climate. We have to act now. We must end fossil fuel subsidies and find market based initiatives to turn over a new leaf. There's no going back if we continue to wait for the corruption to subside or wait for the oil to run out. Lamar Smith and anyone of his ilk must be retired. The livelihood of future generations depend on it." All the candidates at the thermometer below are real change candidates, not status quo politicians. We need them and right now they need us. The election's in just a little over 2 weeks.
Is The Republican Wing Of The Democratic Party Taking Over? Only If You Let Them
Patrick Murphy... with Little Chucky Schmucky
The Democratic Establishment is panicking progressives into voting for unspeakably corrupt conservative candidates, warning them that Trump is under the bed and that if they don't vote for Democrats up and down the ticket, he will kill and eat everyone-- and not necessarily in that order. In recent days, we've been warning you about how the DCCC has orchestrated a return of the Blue Dogs. Blue Dogs and New Dems-- the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- are getting millions of dollars in support for their campaigns from the DCCC and Pelosi's illegally coordinated House Majority PAC, while progressives have been almost entirely left to fend for themselves, often after the DCCC badgered donors into not contributing to progressives' campaigns. This week, the New Republic ran a piece, Will 2016 Mark the Return of the Blue Dog Democrat? which throws around the term "Blue Dog Democrat" very loosely. Blue Dog Democrats fill out an application and there are membership dues and a secret handshake. It's not a randomly hideous state of mind; it's a defined group one joins. The Blue Dogs have turned people down who applied for membership-- literally-- for not being right-wing and corrupt enough. So... unless someone can show you the secret handshake, they're not really a Blue Dog. A conservaDem, on the other hand, that's a better description of Missouri Senate candidate Jason Kander. Xander is running against one of the most egregiously corrupt Senate Republicans, Roy Blunt, whose wife is one of the "top corporate lobbyists in Washington" and whose 4 children are all K Street lobbyists as well. Kander is an anti-corruption reformer. But... the writers have bought into the old Beltway conservaDem conventional wisdom that only reactionaries can win in states like Missouri. They're incorrect and it's a fatal flaw of establishment Democratic strategy.
But should Kander win this Senate fight, he would be the most prominent member of a new crop of white, young, male Democrats emerging in the South—politicians who would have fit neatly into a Democratic Party with an influential conservative wing, but are somewhat anachronistic in a party that has grown more liberal, urban, and diverse in the Obama era. This is the irony of Kander’s candidacy: If the Democratic Party wants to start winning in the South, it may have to reach towards its Blue Dog past, rather than its multi-ethnic present and future. Twenty years ago, Missouri was a remnant of the solid South, a bulwark of conservative Democrats who were for guns and against abortion.
Kander, better than Blunt
Kander's approach is smart and is based on an assumption "that Missourians have grown tired of career politicians like Roy Blunt who have been grandfathered into political power. 'He is Washington through and through,' said his communications director, Chris Hayden. 'Jason believes that it’s time for a new generation of leadership.'" Not a word of policy there-- just process. Nothing inspiring or about how Kander can help Missouri families make a better life. Ethics reform is good and it's a strength Kander is making the most of... but progressive policy is missing from his pitch. His "biographical campaign grounded in character, not ideology" is not enough for anything other than-- at best-- a step up the careerist ladder. When he gets into pushing policy, it's to show how anti-Obama he is.
“He was the first Democrat to come out against the Iran deal.” In an election season that has partly been defined by establishment vs. anti-establishment politics, Kander falls squarely in the latter camp. Not only is he running against Republican elites, but is also keeping his distance from Hillary Clinton. He appeared with Clinton at an early campaign rally, but hasn’t been seen with her for months and sat out the Democratic National Convention in July. Kander’s twist is that he doesn’t belong to the main anti-establishment wing of the Democratic Party-- the Bernie Sanders wing. When we asked Hayden which senators Kander most admired and would want to work with in Congress, he listed Iowa’s Joni Ernst and Arkansas’s Tom Cotton, two fiercely conservative Republicans who, like Kander, are also veterans.
It gets worse. The authors, Alex Shephard and Laura Reston, then ballyhoo a Democrat so bad-- an "ex"-Republican, spoiled rich-kid with ZERO accomplishments and a loyalty to Wall Street and a wealthy and powerful Saudi family who's helped finance his career-- Patrick Murphy, literally the worst Democrat the part is running in 2016. "Kander," they wrote, "isn’t the only young, white Democrat to run for office in the South, drumming up national media attention as the Next Big Thing in the region. Patrick Murphy, the Democratic Senate candidate in Florida, fits a similar mold. He’s moderate and charismatic, a rising star in state politics." He isn't "moderate." He's conservative, nor is he charismatic; he's drunk. If he's a rising star in state politics, Florida is further up shit's creek with no paddle. They describe Murphy's (and Kander's) policies as "so bland, indeed, that they rely heavily on their youth to manufacture enthusiasm among voters. At the heart of their strategies is the idea that old order is corrupt and decrepit." Youth doesn't last forever; Bernie still has his policies at 75 years old. As far as ethics... maybe Kander can do what few politicians ever do and stay straight. Murphy is already one of the most corrupt Washington politicians, a veritable case study in what voters find disgusting and reprehensible about politics. I suspect Shephard and Reston didn't do enough homework on Murphy before writing their piece to get a passing grade from a high school civics teacher. Queens County boss and former New Dem head, Joe Crowley, is one of the most corrupt men to have ever served in Congress. Democratic members in Congress are being told that the next leader after Pelosi and Hoyer are gone will be either Crowley or Wasserman Schultz, also a New Dem and who may be even more corrupt than he is! If this is the best the Democrats can do for leadership, the party doesn't deserve to run Congress. Nor can Americans afford to let them. That's why so many millions of Americans just want to blow up the whole system and are willing to vote for a fascist pig like Trump.
They almost seemed more eager to get out the (DSCC) party line than giving their readers any insights into the face of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. "Even running neck-in-neck with Blunt," they assert, "Kander has shown that Democrats have a shot in the South if they rise above partisanship and engage in anti-establishment politics. His performance in Missouri will likely be seen as a blueprint for Democrats in the region and other conservative areas." But then they did get into the crux of the problem.
The problem for the Democratic Party is that, if these candidates begin to win, it will introduce new tensions to a congressional coalition that has grown accustomed to being more uniformly liberal. Kander is a throwback from the conservative wing of the Democratic Party—the so-called Blue Dogs who were all but flushed out of Congress in the revanchist backlash to President Barack Obama that began in the 2010 midterms. Their influence has been supplanted by the coalition Obama cobbled together: women, African-Americans, Latinos, and young voters, who together constitute the future of the Democratic Party at the national level. Blue Dog Democrats often frustrated the national party-- to say nothing of the left-- by refusing to tow the party line: Think of the unseemly deal-making that the Democrats had to undergo to get a single vote for Obamacare from Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson (which ended up being unnecessary anyway). Kander’s opposition to the Iran deal, to say nothing of his desire to work with far-right senators like Ernst and Cotton, suggest that he wouldn’t exactly be a rubber stamp for a Clinton White House. Of course, Kander is preferable to Blunt, just as Joe Manchin is preferable to any West Virginia Republican. The question is whether the Democrats, who have turned left over the last eight years, are capable of putting together a stable and coherent governing coalition, particularly in an institution like the Senate, which tilts power toward rural, conservative areas. But having a conflicted, raucous coalition may be preferable to the alternative. The Republican Party in the past decade has gone through a series of purges that have resulted in a homogenous, shrinking party obsessed with the purity of its members. And look where the GOP is now.
Patrick Murphy doesn't understand why cutting Social Security and Medicare is wrong; he's too dumb to understand
I often hear naive Democrats talk about how even a fake Democrat as reactionary and corrupt as Patrick Murphy is "better than a Republican" or, in this case, "better than Rubio." He will, after all, vote with the Democrats to confirm judges which Rubio will not do and he'll vote with the Democrats on other things as well. But, a Senator Murphy would mean that inside the Democratic party there is another force tugging it to the right, pushing Wall Street's agenda, closing down possibilities of serious progressive solutions to problems. Rubio, a Republican, isn't capable of impacting the Democratic Party that way. Blue Dog and New Dems (Murphy is a New Dem), drag the party brand into the toilet with him and make it more difficult for voters to see the difference between the two parties-- because the difference blurs for the sake of the politicians' own careers. American families get lost in the shuffle. I'd never vote for Patrick Murphy, even if it meant Rubio getting another term. As George Orwell famously said, "A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims... but accomplices."
Tony James Was A Great Guitarist In Generation X, But The Tony James In This Post Is A Bankster-For-Hillary
I was determined to start Sunday off with something uplifting. I mean it's Sunday. But it's a season infected by Trump. The best I could do was humor (above) and a couple of sardonic bits and pieces... like Trump's campaign CEO, Steve Bannon escalating the al-right's war against Paul Ryan. The goal is to deprive Ryan of the Speaker's gavel next year and to destroy his career. Breitbart isn't just asserting that Ryan is trying to help elect Hillary but that he "leads the pro-Islamic migration wing of the Republican party" and that he's sabotaging Trump.
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs called on Ryan to step aside for his efforts to “undercut” Trump in his fight against Clinton. “[Paul Ryan] should have the character to step aside,” Dobbs said. “I don’t think he should survive this… This man shouldn’t be there.” “[Ryan] understands the consequences of what he does. If he undercuts Trump to the point that he loses the election, he’ll be responsible for the next three Supreme Court justices, [and] the direction of the country,” Dobbs said. “Ryan has no concept of his responsibility as Speaker… and his duty to the nation,” Dobbs added, noting that Ryan’s future has become “intertwined” with that of Hillary Clinton’s. “He is a laughing stock leader. He is a small man dressed up in a big job… Ryan should no more be Speaker of the House than Hillary Clinton should be President of the United States. And make no mistake, the future of those two are intertwined.”
Indeed, the Washington Post recently speculated about the future relationship of the could-be Clinton-Ryan Washington power couple. “Their relationship could become Washington’s most important in determining whether the federal government functions over the next four years,” the Washington Post wrote. Pat Caddell and others have observed that the revelation of the quiet alliance between the establishments of both parties-- praised by corporate media and denounced by grassroots conservatives and liberal progressives like Jill Stein-- may prove to be one of the most significant outcomes of the 2016 election and could prove ruinous for the Republican Party. As recent reports have highlighted, in a post-2016 political environment it remains unclear whether the Republican Party can maintain its current structure of being controlled by congressional leaders who represent the desires of the party’s donors but undermine the interests of its voters. ...“We are on the verge of seeing the Republican Party go the way of the Whigs,” Pat Caddell told Breitbart News exclusively. The Party is “at war with their voters. They are literally abandoning their own. The very base that has nominated Trump is a base that Paul Ryan can ill-afford to alienate, but on the other hand, he doesn’t believe in them. He does not believe what they believe… Having lost all of their citadels of strength, the party leaders have now abandoned all of their principles. Paul Ryan is in real trouble.”
Caddell explained that Paul Ryan is the “voice” of a Washington establishment that has “absolutely made clear” that it would prefer Clinton over Trump. “What you have is a Bush and Clinton dynasty. And the curtain has risen on the corruption that they’re all in the same game and that ultimately they’re allies. That’s what the American people have been revolting about. I fear that the establishment’s mind doesn’t even understand that that’s what the base is revolting against.”
Not funny enough for you? How about Chris Christie headed for federal prison? It's not like there are any sentient beings on the planet who didn't know he planned out the whole bridge closure debacle, but now it's being testified to under oath in open court. His deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, testified that she and Christie discussed the closure of the George Washington Bridge in advance and he gave the go-ahead.
At the same time, she testified that the governor himself sought to freeze out Steve Fulop after the Democrat was elected mayor of Jersey City. She told the jury she had planned a "mayor's day" meeting to bring together members of the administration with the incoming mayor, but the event was suddenly called off. Prosecutors have pointed to that cancellation as another example of the how the governor's Office of Intergovernmental Relations, which was headed by Kelly, systematically punished elected officials who would not endorse Christie. But Kelly said she had no idea why the event was dropped. She told the jury she was ordered by Kevin O'Dowd, the governor's chief of staff, to have each department call Fulop's office one-by-one and cancel. Christie, she said tearfully, later marched into the office and declared, "No one's entitled to a fucking meeting." She said the governor told her later to "continue to ice Fulop-- that no one was to talk to Fulop."
The Daily Newsreport could be read as an epitaph of whatever is left of the foul-mouthed Christie's political career.
The former aide to Gov. Chris Christie accused of creating a traffic nightmare on the George Washington Bridge broke down on the stand Friday as she described her boss lashing out at her. Bridget Anne Kelly said she was discussing the program for a press conference related to a fire in the Jersey Shore town of Seaside Heights when Christie exploded at her three years ago. “He had a water bottle in his hand and he said, 'What the fuck do you think I am? A fucking game show host," Kelly said, her voice cracking.
The governor then hurled the bottle at her, Kelly testified. “I moved out of the way and it hit my arm," the sobbing mother of four added. “You're afraid of the governor?" defense lawyer Michael Critchley asked her. "Yes, yes," she replied. The ugly incident took place in Sept. 2013 as the politically-motivated lane closures were underway.
Is it any wonder Trump preferred him to Pence as a running mate? But as Skip Kaltenheuser pointed out Friday night, not all the ugly corruption came from Trump and the GOP. He and they may be more horrible than Hillary and the Democratic establishment but... it's just a matter of degrees. They're monstrous as well, just not quite as monstrous. They know how not to cross the line the way Trumpanzee does.
[Bradley Birkenfeld's] revelations enabled the US Treasury to recover $15 billion in back taxes, fines and penalties. They also put in motion international investigations of offshore banking's many misdeeds, and juiced up reformers seeking tougher oversight. Impacts on Swiss private banks-- there are scads of such banks, all shapes and sizes-- include a 2013 tax treaty facilitating the exchange of tax data between countries. This put a hitch in Switzerland's offshore tax haven status that vacuumed money. And plenty of dirt. Alas, though trickier, Birkenfeld says the multitude of nefarious practices requiring secret accounts still have plenty of global options. Thing is, what the US reaped was a fraction of what could have been garnered had the massive tax evasion been fully brought to heel. That failure only increases the debt load every American carries. Why the lack of DOJ prosecutorial enthusiasm against tax cheats and their enabler bankers? I don't want to step on too many nuggets, but Secretary of State Clinton stepped in to do the negotiations with UBS. She required UBS to disclose only 4,700 out of 19,000 illegal account holders. Birkenfeld's curious, as we all might be, as to who made the selection and how, and why the names were never made public. Why was the fine so inadequate compared to long-term profits, and why did DOJ so carelessly offer undeclared account holders anonymity and repeated amnesties? Who are these titans of favoritism? Will the real masters of the universe please stand up? It brings to mind proposals for excessively reduced corporate taxes for repatriating money sloshing around abroad, but I digress. In Washington's small world of startling coincidence, before the negotiated deal UBS only contributed sixty grand to the Clinton Foundation. Afterwards, notes Birkenfeld, it went up by a factor of ten. UBS also partnered with the Foundation providing a low-interest thirty-two million dollar loan for a Foundation program. And President Clinton, the First, earned over a million and a half dollars "for a series of fireside chats with the bank's Wealth Management Chief Executive, Bob McCann...Bill Clinton's biggest payday since leaving the office of the Presidency." ...Birkenfeld reckons Americans are on the hook for a trillion dollars escaping off-shore, so they ought be making demands.
Elizabeth Schulte observed what many of us are seeing, namely that Trump's horror show is hiding what could be a rotten Democratic agenda. "Each time the Trump campaign lurches and careens to the right," she wrote, "it takes the heat off the Clinton campaign to defend its candidate's agenda." She then takes a break from the regularly scheduled Trump train wreck to talk about what Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party have up their sleeves: an immigration agenda that doesn't do much to change the status quo; a cozy relationship with the banksters; and gradual, incremental gutting of all the hopes and dreams Bernie painted for the electorate. David Sirota has been on this beat for a long time-- and for all the right reasons. Last week he warned of shenanigans that could prove horrifying for American families that have nothing whatsoever to do with Trump.
While Hillary Clinton has spent the presidential campaign saying as little as possible about her ties to Wall Street, the executive who some observers say could be her Treasury Secretary has been openly promoting a plan to give financial firms control of hundreds of billions of dollars in retirement savings. The executive is Tony James, president of the Blackstone Group. The investment colossus is most famous in politics for its Republican CEO likening an Obama tax plan to a Nazi invasion. James, though, is a longtime Democrat-- and one of Clinton’s top fundraisers. The billionaire sculpted the retirement initiative with a prominent labor economist whose work is supported by another investment mogul who is a big Clinton donor. The proposal has received bipartisan praise from prominent economic thinkers, and James says that Clinton’s top aides are warming to the idea. It is a plan that proponents say could help millions of Americans-- but could also enrich another constituency: the hedge fund and private equity industries that Blackstone dominates and that have donated millions to support Clinton’s presidential bid. The proposal would require workers and employers to put a percentage of payroll into individual retirement accounts “to be invested well in pooled plans run by professional investment managers,” as James put it. In other words, individual voluntary 401(k)s would be replaced by a single national system, and much of the mandated savings would flow to Wall Street, where companies like Blackstone could earn big fees off the assets. And because of a gap in federal anti-corruption rules, there would be little to prevent the biggest investment contracts from being awarded to the biggest presidential campaign donors.
...Rather than funneling the hundreds of billions of dollars of new tax revenue into expanding Social Security benefits, as many Democratic lawmakers have called for, James proposed something different: A decade after George W. Bush’s failed attempt to divert Social Security revenue into private retirement accounts, the Blackstone president outlined a plan to create individual retirement accounts, some of whose assets would be managed by private financial firms. ...Critics see James’ proposal as an effort by a politically connected private equity mogul to present a Wall Street-enriching scheme as a social good-- at a moment when his own firm has faced lower profits, and at a generally challenging time for the alternative investments industry. That industry relies on investments from state and local pension systems, which over the last decade have invested billions in alternatives in hopes of reaping above-market returns in exchange for higher fees. Recently, though, regulators, pension trustees, investment experts and academics have questioned whether retiree savings should be invested with firms like Blackstone in the first place. Some pensions are pulling out their money. Other pension systems have been turned into 401(k)-style plans, which are difficult for the alternative investment industry to break into because of federal laws that discourage those plans from buying into riskier, illiquid investments. In the face of these challenges, James’ proposal could provide a government-mandated flow of money from workers’ paychecks into the high-fee alternative investment industry. “This new plan depends on sweeping government mandates, the appropriation of trillions of dollars from the private sector that is then handed over to zillionaire investment managers who make no guarantees about rates of returns or discounted fees,” said South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis, a Republican who serves on his state’s pension investment council, which contracts with Blackstone. “The only guaranteed benefit I see in this plan is one for wealthy money managers and their cronies. Wall Streeters reading this plan will understand, without having specifically been told, that having Hillary Clinton and the federal government use its power to aggregate the existing and future retirement funds of working Americans and entrust it to them is the Holy Grail of finance.” Chris Tobe, a Democrat who advises institutional investors and who served on Kentucky’s pension board, put it just as bluntly: “James’ plan is a deliberate attempt to get around federal protections for retirees because alternative investments are not generally allowed in the 401(k) world. This is about making Blackstone and other private equity firms even richer than they already are.” Clinton has cast herself as skeptical of the “shadow banking” world that Blackstone operates in, and she has said she wants to close a loophole that lets private equity managers pay a lower tax rate than most other workers. Yet for all of Clinton’s tough talk against Wall Street, James and others associated with Blackstone have been among her biggest fundraisers, and during a recent cocktail party in Washington D.C. to promote the plan, James said he was optimistic that a Clinton win could make his proposal a reality. “What the election would mean for our plan: Yes, we’ve spent a fair amount of time with a number of Hillary’s policy advisors. So far they have been very encouraging about the plan,” he told the assembled crowd. “I am hopeful she’ll grab this issue once elected, and run with it. I think the signals are warm on that.”
Sirota also introduces his readers to Queens County boss and former New Dem chief, Joe Crowley, a glad-handing congressman who specializes in Wall Street corruption. He's slithered into position as the only House Dem seriously challenging the odious Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the post-Pelosi/post-Hoyer party leader-- the Speaker track. Either of them leading the Democratic Party is absolution repulsive. Sirota mentioned in passing that James' proposal "touts legislation from House Democratic Vice-Chairman Joe Crowley that would direct many employers to open individual retirement accounts for their employees. Crowley's office has promoted the initiative as one that would have the new accounts invest retiree savings in "a limited number of low-fee index fund options." However, the bill includes a provision that would give federal officials latitude to potentially invest the new money in alternative investments. Blackstone donors are collectively the third largest donor to Crowley during his congressional career, and Crowley has raised more than $1.6 million from donors in the securities and investment industry, according to CRP." Uplifting, right? This is what the Democratic Party has degenerated into. How do we fight back and derail this catastrophe? Electing committed progressive reformers like Zephyr Teachout, Pramila Jayapal, Tom Wakely, Paul Clements is a sure first step. Here:
The UK Agrees To Pardon Dead Gay People, But NOT Living Gay People-- What About Gay Zombies?
Here in America, Republican closet case-- door half ajar-- is back on Instagram. "After relinquishing his seat, Schock’s once very active social media accounts went completely dark. He stopped posting daily updates about his life on Twitter or sharing half-naked pictures of himself on Instagram. He also stopped posing shirtless on Men’s magazine covers, making public appearances, or granting interviews to media outlets. In fact, one of the only times Schock has been seen in recent months was back in April when he was spotted sipping a fruity cocktail by candlelight with an attractive male companion at a romantic D.C. waterfront restaurant. Other than that, he and his turquoise belt have been totally M.I.A. Until now. On Tuesday, Mr. Schock made his hotly anticipated return to Instagram after 83 long weeks away." Another crackpot Republican, Peter LaBarbera, head of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, hasn't commented yet. He's been too concerned worrying that "the Homosexual/Transgender revolution and how it is crushing religious freedom and endangering our youth. Poor thing! And this kind of primitive psychosis isn't limited to the U.S.
In the U.K., Parliament is coping with how to cope with men who were once convicted on buggery charges from before buggery became completely legal. The Conservatives have agreed to pardon 40,000 dead men convicted of same-sex sex-- like Oscar Wilde, I assume-- but not men who are still living. The crazy right-wing Justice Minister, Sam Gyimah, filibustered a bill by John Nicholson, a Scottish Nationalist Party MP, that pardons the living. The Guardian is helping hold the Conservatives' feet to the fire, pointing out that Gyimah "has scuppered the progress of a new law to pardon all gay and bisexual men in England and Wales historically convicted of sexual offences that are no longer criminal. The legislation, put forward by John Nicolson of the SNP, failed to pass to its next stage in the House of Commons after an emotional debate that brought former Labour minister Chris Bryant close to tears." Something tells me Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, wouldn't agree with either side in this debate.
Nicolson’s bill would have given an automatic pardon to men convicted under the obsolete laws relating to gross indecency with other men. It would go further than an amendment to the policing and crime bill proposed by the government, which only pardons the thousands of men who are already dead, while the living will have to apply to the Home Office to get their convictions overturned. However, Sam Gyimah, a justice minister, ensured the bill could not go forward on Friday because he spoke for so long that it ran out of time. He argued that the bill did not give strong enough protections against men being accidentally pardoned for sex with a minor or non-consensual sex. An attempt by the SNP to force a vote was unsuccessful because there were not the requisite 100 MPs in the House of Commons. Debate on the bill is set to resume on 16 December but it is unlikely to progress without the support of the government. ...[O]ut of the 65,000 men convicted under the abolished laws, about 15,000 are still alive and will have to go through an administrative process in order to obtain a pardon. Bryant, the former shadow leader of the House of Commons, fought back tears in parliament as he said it was not good enough for the government to automatically pardon those who are deceased while requiring the living to apply to the Home Office. “Why on earth would you want to write to the home secretary and say, ‘Please can I be pardoned’?” he asked. “Why on earth would you want to go through a process all over again? Why on earth would you want someone to analyse whether or not you were guilty at all way back when?” Speaking in parliament, Bryant recalled a group of gay and bisexual MPs who opposed the appeasement of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, but were bullied by the government of the day and branded the “glamour boys.” He said they and others should receive “something that feels like an apology.” ...Wes Streeting, a Labour MP, shouted “outrageous” as Gyimah made his arguments and later tweeted that the minister had “come to work to block a bill to deliver justice for people imprisoned and chemically castrated for being gay-- what a guy.”
Nicolson said his bill would “provide a blanket pardon for any gay man convicted of a crime which is no longer a crime.” “The meaning of that is patently obvious,” he said. “If the crime for which you were convicted is still a crime, by definition you are not pardoned,” he said. “So let nobody be confused about that. The aim of this simple measure is, I hope, obvious. “The pardon confers no immediate advantage except this: it will, I hope, bring closure to those men who have had those monstrous, unfair criminal convictions for decades.”
Dear Dave Brat: Warning: Being Trump's Boy Is Bad For Your Health-- Guest Post By James Newton
Dave Brat and the Donald. "I'll tell ya, this guy."
"Noooo... this guy." Thick as thieves, those two
It seems that standing too close to Donald Trump can have an adverse effect on one's brains. To wit, our man Dave Brat. Dave Brat was recently interviewed by the Chesterfield (VA) Observer (“Your community newspaper since 1995” ), and a couple things stand out, and they kind of make me worry about him. Seriously. First, this quote from the incumbent representative of the VA-07th:
It’s one of the extreme ironies of politics-- if you look at my opponent’s website, it’s full of totally ideological attacks against me, none of which are factual. There is no rational discussion of policy issues.
Seriously, Congressman? Here is Eileen Bedell, your opponent, on the issues. You may not like her stances, and that’s ok-- disagreement bears solutions, after all-- but to call what is on her website “irrational” is a real head-scratcher. It’s insulting, in fact, and shows instead, by your reaction, that you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about it. Out of touch, much? Here, I’ll make this easy for you. Below is a section from Ms. Bedell’s issues page. You think this is irrational? That this is an ideological attack on you? That there aren’t facts here? You sir, are, quite honestly, wrong. And if anyone is making attacks, it’s your clearly ad hominen smear of Ms. Bedell. [By the way, since hanging with the Donald has clearly made you ... less sharp (and studies show it can because I know these people are smarter than what they show here … and then they started following Donald. Ipso facto, Q.E.D., proximity to Trump makes you dumber.)-- an ad hominem attack is when you attack the person and not their policies, which is what you just did in that quote. If that’s still too hard for you to understand, just look to your buddy in the picture, he’s really good at those kinds of things. Anyway, back to Ms. Bedell’s website]
Make Congress Work Again Congress exists to ensure that United States citizens are represented fairly and responsibly in government affairs. For citizens to enjoy the vast benefits of this great nation, Congress must pass laws and approve budgets. Making government work doesn’t mean always voting “NO” or shutting down the entire government by blocking critical funding bills. For 7th district citizens it is imperative that their representative responds to their concerns and vote in the best interest of the nation. Often, important issues have many sides and Congressional representatives must be prepared to at least understand and listen to well reasoned arguments from opposing parties. For example, economic expansion is demonstrably and intrinsically linked with job creation, job training, and improved education. Eileen has the proven ability to bring parties with different goals to a mutually agreeable resolution. Eileen is committed to voting in the best interest of all Americans and not allowing her personal interests or the interests of small fringe groups to derail progress. Eileen is committed to making Congress work for everyone.
Yah, real irrational that. Wait a second. Are you actually making some veiled reference, some signaling codeword, appealing to sexists in the world, to people who still think women are irrational? Are you seriously that sexist? I mean, hate-mongers are really careful about what language they put in the press these days so maybe you know something we don’t. Oh, and by the way, in case you didn’t notice, she doesn’t even mention you. Anywhere. So it’s nice that you think everything is about you, but yah, what she is doing is, quite honestly, discussing some things that actually happened (those are called “facts”), and yes, you happened to be there and saying “No,” (as usual) but it’s not just about you, buddy. As Eileen says, she is committed to making Congress work for everyone. Ah wait, you go on:
It’s like I have to live up to the Sermon on the Mount, but the other side can yell and scream and then say we need to have civility in our politics. It makes you scratch your head.
Let’s let that marinate for a second, because this one needs to be appreciated. You said, and I’m paraphrasing here-- we can go right back to the quote if need be but I’m pretty sure this is fair. Ready? You said that the OTHER SIDE is yelling and screaming. THE OTHER SIDE? I am incredulous. I am aghast and agog. I am stupefied. I am stunned. Are you outside your mind? Do do you realize who you are supporting, working for, and taking contributions from in terms of the Presidential race? Here let me help you: Donald Trump. Donald Trump, who, with your help, has humiliated Americans is a way not seen from a politician ever? Donald Trump, who, with your help, raised the level of hatefulness in this country? Donald Trump, who, with your help, has made every single American look like idiots to the world? Donald Trump, a man who, with your help, has done nothing but yell and scream and lie and belittle and mock and bully us all for over a year now. Yah, that Trump. And then you have the temerity to accuse the other side of yelling and screaming? Oh, sweet irony, thy name is Dave Brat. Wait a second, it’s not-- it can’t be, can it? Again? Nooo, say it ain’t, Dave-o. Are you once again implying that women only discuss through yelling and screaming? I ask again: Are you seriously that sexist? Is that an appeal to your base or something? Do you and the Donald sit around and swap locker room stories? Do you really have so little respect for women that everything you hear them say is a yell or a scream? Do you think they are incapable of controlling themselves? Hey-- lookit that, you kind of do think that and you want to make choices for them. How chivalrous. Meanwhile, back in the real world, why don’t you actually take a look at what Ms. Bedell has said, supra (that means, “above,” in case you get lost), or elsewhere on her website. You call that yelling and screaming? Good grief, as a fellow professor, I feel sorry for your students. What can they even write or talk about without offending your obviously thin-skinned sensibilities? Do you force them all to just regurgitate some loopy Ayn Rand? Yelling and screaming. Right. For your information, since you seem to be completely clueless, Ms. Bedell happens to be a member of Phi Beta Kappa and of the Virginia State Bar, not to mention a small-business owner, mother and spouse. What did you do today, Congressman? Oh, wait, you’re not done yet! I can’t believe it.
Brat, however, said he’s open to having a debate or candidate forum “if we can talk constructively about issues."
So, what is it about Ms. Bedell that says that she doesn’t want to talk constructively on the issues? What evidence do you have? Where do you get that from? Oh, right, we figured this out already-- it’s because you don’t think women can think constructively, period. Oh wait, we can’t find out, because you won’t show up to talk about issues and policy with Ms. Bedell. Why? Because you are doing things like going to New York to promote and sell your book. Which you wrote during your first two years of Congress. Instead of, y’know, doing that congressional stuff that you were elected to do. You’re a real pip, you know that? In the meantime, your opponent (and please, say her name with me. She’s not he-who-must-not-be-named, for goodness sake. It’ll make you feel better, I promise:), Eileen Bedell, was at this candidate forum, answering questions. See that empty chair there? That’s where you were supposed to sit. See who was there? Ms. Bedell. And ask anyone there, I guarantee no one will say there was yelling and screaming, and probably constructive talk about the issues, too. But no, you're too busy for your constituents.
It gets better:
I haven’t seen a lot of energy from the other side,” he said. “I’m all over the district, and I haven’t seen her anywhere. There’s a question of whether she’s running a campaign to win or it’s just a ‘Hit Dave’ thing.”
One, sir, maybe you haven’t seen her anywhere because, oh, I don’t know, you’re the one not showing up? Or two, sir, it could be that your memory is going (more of the Trump effect?) because here you and Ms. Bedell are together, at a picnic it would seem.
For the record, that forum you missed was held at Diversity Richmond. Apparently the University of Richmond is holding a forum as well, next week. Oh, right, you can’t go. Again. Seriously, what do you do all day? Oh, right, we covered that, too-- you write books. [For the record, all but one or two other districts in VA have held or will hold forums/debates, and no one yelled or screamed there, either.] I hope you don’t miss the irony of this, Congressman-- the fact that you are dodging debates during this campaign? Or did you forget what you said two years ago? Here, again, I’ll help you out:
“The people of Virginia have a right to hear from both candidates on the issues,” Brat said in a statement Friday. “Expensive television ads and slick mail pieces are not enough. The people want to hear from the candidates themselves, and a debate is the perfect format to assess the ideas and candidates face to face."
For once, Congressman, we agree. Too bad you're a hypocrite. But at least you'll have Donnie. On November 8th, Vote for Eileen Bedell, Democrat for VA-7th District.
Vote for Sanity. Vote for progress. Vote for principles. Lawyer, Small-business owner, mother, spouse. Let's elect some people who live in the real world for a change. Eileen Bedell for the Virginia 7th District. For more information or to contribute to Eileen’s campaign AND to help vote out Dave Brat, just click below: WEBSITE FACEBOOK TWITTER CONTRIBUTE
Yes, Rubio Is A Dangerous Little Worm, But Supporting Patrick Murphy Is Just As Damaging To The Country-- There Is No Lesser Evil In This Race
Obama was in Miami Thursday, lying to low-info Democratic voters in order to paint Patrick Murphy-- a Republican masquerading as a quasi-Democrat-- as some kind of a progressive. Murphy doesn't have a progressive bone in his body and when he got to Congress, he immediately joined the New Dems and ran up one of the worst voting records of any Democrat in the House, voting with the GOP countless times, even once to remove Obama from the Keystone XL Pipeline decision-making, once to condemn Obama for the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap and once to set up the witch hunt against Hillary Clinton via the so-called Benghazi Committee. But Murphy's slimy financial backers are promising big bucks to Obama's Presidential Library Committee if he can get the hapless and undeserving Murphy into the Senate. Pretty scummy, huh? That's establishment politics. As you may recall, that last May we started looking into the family of Saudi billionaire Nasser Al-Rashid, one of the most powerful advisors to the Saudi royal family. Nasser gave between a million and 5 million dollars to the Bill Clinton Presidential Library Fund. His 4 sons have been very strategically funding the career of Patrick Murphy and the careers of sleazy congressmembers like Wasserman Schultz, Steve Israel, Ami Bera, Joe Garcia, Alcee Hastings and other members with notoriously corrupt reputations, willing to sign on to Team Murphy. Yesterday Brent Scher, writing for right-wing mouthpiece, the Washington Free Beacon, brought up Murphy's Saudi connections. "Florida Democrat Patrick Murphy’s political coordination," he wrote, "with a wealthy Saudi Arabian who has been accused of orchestrating an illegal straw donor scheme to support Murphy began prior to Murphy’s official entrance into politics." Abraham Al-Rashid went to a private prep school in New Jersey, the Lawrenceville School, and the Saudi family worked hard for years to get the simpleminded and drunken Murphy into Congress and onto the House Intelligence Committee. And the Saudis started before Murphy even ran for office.
Campaign finance records indicate that Murphy and al-Rashid made political donations in tandem as part of an effort to gain favor with prominent Florida Democrats whose support Murphy needed to launch his political career. The large donations to Florida Democrats occurred early in 2011 after Murphy hired a political consultant to map out a congressional run. On January 20 and January 21, 2011, Murphy and his father each contributed $2,400 to Sen. Bill Nelson (D., Fla.). Budman, al-Rashid’s wife, made an identical $2,400 contribution to Nelson on January 20, with “homemaker” listed as her occupation on the report. A week later, on January 27, Murphy and his father each contributed $4,800 to Florida Rep. Ted Deutch (D.). Al-Rashid and Budman made identical $4,800 contributions to Deutch that day. The following week, on February 2, Murphy contributed $4,800 to Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.). Al-Rashid and Budman also donated the maximum to Wasserman Schultz that day. Wasserman Schultz benefited from additional $2,400 contributions from al-Rashid’s two brothers, Mohammed al-Rashid [who uses the fake name "Moose" when he makes many contributions] of Los Angeles, California, and Salman al-Rashid of Austin, Texas. In a single week in February, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee received $30,000 from Ibraham al-Rashid, $3,500 from Mohammed al-Rashid [Moose], $2,500 from Salmon al-Rashid, and $2,000 from Murphy. The Senate Leadership Fund, which filed the straw donor complaint that is now being reviewed by the Federal Election Committee, said in a statement to the Free Beacon that the coordinated donations are further evidence that Murphy was aware of al-Rashid’s straw donor operation. “Patrick Murphy may try and separate himself from the apparent straw donor scheme that helped launch his political career, but this new revelation seems to show he was 100 percent involved with that political money laundering scam,” said Ian Prior, a spokesman for the group. The complaint laid out evidence that a network of donors was contributing the maximum allowed amount of money to both Murphy and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (D.) on behalf of al-Rashid. Al-Rashid is the son of a Saudi Arabian billionaire who has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. The complaint identified a number of donors in Pennsylvania who were related to al-Rashid through Budman who made large contributions to Murphy and Crist on nearly identical dates as al-Rashid himself. The complaint also pointed out large contributions to Murphy and Crist from a woman who was listed as a “property manager” but has since been identified as Ibrahim al-Rashid’s “cleaning lady.” Murphy’s spending to law firms that specialize in congressional investigations spiked following the FEC complaint, though the exact reason for the increase remains unclear. Budman left al-Rashid in February 2014 after she told police that he “grabbed her by the wrist, struck her about the head and face with a closed fist then threw her to the ground” during an altercation at their Miami home. The Murphy campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the donations. Attempts to reach Budman and members of her family were unsuccessful. Murphy has attempted to distance himself from al-Rashid since his assault on Budman. “There is no excuse for domestic violence,” Murphy said earlier this year. “Both Morgan and Ibrahim have been long time friends and supporters of mine. Morgan even worked on my first campaign.” “This incident is personal for me,” Murphy said. “I was heartbroken when I found out, and I condemn Ibrahim’s inexcusable actions. Over the past year I have prayed for Morgan and her family to find healing.” Republicans have called on Murphy to donate $100,000 to charities that address domestic violence to offset the money that al-Rashid gave to liberal super PACs that support him.
We've reported on al-Rashid's connection to Patrick Murphy before. But this is the first we've seen of the donation scheme that started as long ago as five-plus years to keep Murphy climbing the ladder to candidacy.
...Here's how the contributions flowed to prominent Dems:
• Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, 2011: Murphy and his father each contributed $2,400 to Democratic Sen. Nelson. Budman, al-Rashid’s wife, made an identical $2,400 contribution to Nelson on Jan. 20, with “homemaker” listed as her occupation on the report. • Jan. 27, one week later: Murphy and his father each contributed $4,800 to Florida Rep. Ted Deutch, D. Al-Rashid and Budman made identical $4,800 contributions to Deutch that same day. • Feb.2, the very next week: Murphy contributed $4,800 to Wasserman Schultz, D. Al-Rashid and Budman also donated the maximum to Wasserman Schultz that day. • Wasserman Schultz benefited from additional $2,400 contributions from al-Rashid’s two brothers, Mohammed al-Rashid of Los Angeles, Calif. and Salman al-Rashid of Austin, Texas.
In a single week in February, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said "thank you very much" to $30,000 from Ibraham al-Rashid, $3,500 from Mohammed al-Rashid, $2,500 from Salmon al-Rashid, and $2,000 from Murphy.
Both pieces left out that the al-Rashids illegally provided thousands of dollars to their servants and in-laws to also contribute to Murphy's campaigns and SuperPACs, something that could land them and Murphy in prison. I've taken out formal complaints against Murphy and his financiers with the Department of Justice and we'll let you know as they wend their way slowly through the judicial system.