Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 28, 2013
Today, Mother Jones readers were breathlessly told by Mariah Blake about a Hot! New! Development! in the twisted saga of Michele Bachmann:
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has quietly returned campaign contributions from an ex-con who lured investors for one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in US history—and on whose behalf the tea party lawmaker sought a presidential pardon. According to campaign finance reports, last quarter Bachmann’s campaign committee paid $14,000 to a bankruptcy trustee for Frank Vennes, a former North Dakota pawnshop owner who was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison for aiding and abetting fraud.
What she doesn’t mention is that Ken Avidor published this news back on June 16, a good four months before she did.
What she also doesn’t mention is that Avidor and the late great Karl Bremer are the persons who have done the most work on this story, a story she presents as if she had legworked it all herself. She doesn’t even mention their names.
UPDATE: Avidor reminds us that Our Miss Blake has done this sort of thing before, and even more blatantly:
You’d think jet-setting, East Coast reporters would have learned a lesson about plundering homegrown media in flyover country for content after Matt Taibbi got caught ripping off G.R. Anderson’s City Pages profiles of Michele Bachmann.
Now, The New Republic’s Mariah Blake thinks she can Google-up a whole bunch of articles by local reporters and cobble together a flawed, confusing, unfocused article.
The TNR cover claims the article tells the “untold story” of the Tom Petters Ponzi scheme – what horse crap!. That story was told by every major news outlet in the state, the news wires and national business news outlets. I covered the trial of Tom Petters for the City Pages and kept a blog titled Petters Info. I even won an SPJ award for my nightly video reports of the trial (sadly, swept away by Bradlee Dean’s You Tube take-down with only one remaining). Beth Hawkins wrote a long article for Minnesota Monthly in 2009 titled “Trust Me” and covered the trial for Bloomberg. There were many articles about Petters in the Strib, PiPress and on radio and TV. The trial and conviction of Tom Petters was one of the top Minnesota news stories of 2009 and the last decade. Untold? Really?
POSTSCRIPT: TNR left their fingerprints at the scene of the crime… They stole a photo without credit that appears on Karl Bremer’s Ripple in Stillwater blog and nowhere else. I was at the courthouse when Karl took that photo. It captures Vennes in full flight from reporters with Karl in pursuit. Karl ran after Vennes for several blocks snapping pictures of the fleeing felon. That’s the sort of effort real reporters put into getting a story.
Karl sued and settled with the New Republic for an undisclosed sum.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Frank Vennes, Ken Avidor, Mariah Blake, Michele Bachmann, Mother Jones | 4 Comments »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 21, 2013
From Jeff Kolb at the local conservative blog Look True North (hat tip to Dump Bachmann’s Ken Avidor), we hear that Michele Bachmann has a primary challenger — as yet unnamed, but known to be male.
Last year, Bachmann was riding high. Her 2010 outing saw her crush the well-funded Tarryl Clark by thirteen percentage points. She had an immense warchest and lots of media exposure from her showing in the 2012 presidential primaries, her congressional district had just had a Democratic stronghold removed from it, and she was set to outspend her Democratic opponent by a twelve-to-one margin.
And she very nearly lost, a fact which does not seem to have gone unnoticed by various local Republicans.
Last year, no one would have considered giving Bachmann a primary challenge. That was then, this is now.
Posted in Michele Bachmann, Uncategorized | Tagged: Michele Bachmann, primary challenge | 1 Comment »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 23, 2012
It’s been a good news, bad news kinda week so far for Michele Bachmann.
The good news: The Stillwater area, the most liberal part of her district, now is in another district thanks to redistricting — which means that she’s Congresswoman-for-Life, with the Wright County Megachurchers backing her. (Well, so long as they’re not too upset that she doesn’t want to live near them, being that she lives in the Stillwater area.)
The bad news: The Stillwater area is where her pet boondoggle, the planned $700 million replacement for a historic bridge that MnDOT says is safe and doesn’t need replacing, is slated to go — and now that area is in the CD of Betty McCollum, who has been opposed to the $700 million Boondoggle Bridge from the get-go.
As Karl Bremer says over at Ripple in Stillwater:
Bachmann’s marquee issue—the $700-million Boondoggle Bridge across the St. Croix River—will be null and void for her if she decides to run in the 6th CD, as the proposed new bridge site in Oak Park Heights, the City of Stillwater and the old Stillwater Lift Bridge are now in the 4th CD—McCollum’s district. That will leave the Star-Tribune and Pioneer Press newspaper editorialists, along with Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki and his cronies, looking like fools for chastising McCollum to stay out of the bridge debate because it’s not in her district. This scenario would clearly make the bridge debate McCollum’s issue and not Bachmann’s.
Indeed. And, as it turns out, Bachmann is indeed going to run in the Sixth, even though she now lives in the Fourth.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: $700 million Stillwater Bridge plan, Betty McCollum, Boondoggle Bridge, Michele Bachmann | 5 Comments »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 28, 2011
Right after he appeared with Bachmann at a 4 o’clock afternoon campaign stop in Indianola, state senator Kent Sorenson, Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chair, defects to the Ron Paul campaign.
This is fantastically good news for Ron Paul. If he can Hoover up even a quarter of Bachmann’s Iowa supporters, he beats Romney easily. Mitt’s going to have to go into fricking overdrive now — I expect to see him dump another $10 million in ads in the next few days.
Here’s the press release announcing this news: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Iowa, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul | 5 Comments »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 17, 2011
From the November 13, 2006 StarTribune:
New members did their work behind closed doors, learning how to get their offices up and running, prepare their budgets, use franking privileges and how to keep abreast of complicated ethics rules.
“My No. 1 goal is to not go to jail,” [Michele] Bachmann said, chuckling.
Ironic, that she’d say that. Especially with the trial of Frank Vennes scheduled for February of next year.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Frank Vennes, Michele Bachmann, Minnesota | 1 Comment »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 13, 2011
Republican bigwigs fear a Michele Bachmann candidacy almost more than they fear taxing the rich.
This was shown yet again by FOX News mainstay Bill O’Reilly’s adversarial treatment of Bachmann when she was on his show Monday night:
Bachmann refused to directly address any of O’Reilly’s tough questions, prompting the visibly frustrated conservative host to role his eyes, audibly sigh, and finally laugh in Bachmann’s face when she invoked her “titanium spine.” Noting that the Republican leadership understands the need to raise the debt limit, O’Reilly chided Bachmann, saying, “You are the renegade here.”
Whoa! Not only is he ripping into Bachmann, he’s also telling FOX viewers that the debt ceiling must be raised. Guess Boehner and McConnell, on orders from the Wall Streeters who will be hurt first and worst in event of a default, have asked FOX to both try to explain fiscal reality to teabaggers thus far sheltered from it AND to try and hamstring Bachmann before she achieves her goal of becoming the next Tom DeLay: a powerbroker with access to the wallets of the religious right and thus the ability to run primary candidates against Republicans she doesn’t like.
(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)
Posted in 2012, Michele Bachmann, Minnesota | Tagged: 2012, Bill O'Reilly, debt ceiling, Michele Bachmann, Republicans | 1 Comment »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 3, 2011
Once again, Ken Avidor comes through with the goods.
In this case, the goods involve a trial audio recording and transcript. The recording and transcript (from which the above YouTube is excerpted) document Ponzi schemer Tom Petters, in a September 8, 2008 conversation with Deanna Coleman (who he didn’t know was recording the conversation as the government had already nabbed her), saying that Frank Vennes, longtime Petters associate and friendly with Michele Bachmann, Norm Coleman and Tim Pawlenty, had told him in August 2008 that he, Tom Petters, was going down but that Vennes was “going to get a pardon next year”:
Now, why would Vetters think that? Probably because Michele Bachmann had already written to then-President Bush asking him to pardon Vetters:
KARL BREMER: Frank Vennes, Jr., was one of her largest contributors in 2006. He’s a convicted money launderer. He did time in federal prison in Sandstone Prison in northern Minnesota. And upon his release, he became involved in Tom Petters. And if you are familiar with the Petters Ponzi scheme, about a $3.5 billion Ponzi scheme that operated in Minnesota, Frank Vennes steered primarily evangelical Christian groups to invest with Tom Petters. And he became implicated in the Petters scandal in 2008. But that was after Michele Bachmann had written a recommendation for pardon for Frank Vennes. Vennes and his family and his personal lawyer have given Bachmann tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Vennes also contributed heavily to another Minnesota presidential candidate, Tim Pawlenty, and the state Republican Party. And Vennes got letters of recommendation from Tim Pawlenty, or recommendations for a pardon from Pawlenty, from Norm Coleman, former U.S. senator from Minnesota, and from Bachmann.
When Vennes was implicated in the Petters scandal in 2008, Bachmann withdrew her letter of support for a pardon, and she gave back a portion of the money that Vennes had donated to her campaign. Just in April of this year, Vennes was actually indicted in the Petters scandal, and he’s scheduled to go to trial later this year, which could make for an uncomfortable time for Michele Bachmann, because in her letter of support for a pardon, she indicated she had a very close personal relationship with Frank Vennes and was quite familiar with his personal finances. She has, of course, never returned my calls regarding Frank Vennes, and she’s really never explained fully her relationship with this convicted money launderer.
Vennes’ trial is set to start roundabout the time the GOP primary season begins in earnest. (By the way: Republicans are trying to deflect this scandal by pointing out that Vetters gave money to Amy Klobuchar as well as to Norm, Timmy and Michele. What they don’t point out is that, unlike Norm, Timmy and especially Michele, Amy Klobuchar didn’t work to get Vetters pardoned.)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Amy Klobuchar, Frank Vennes, Michele Bachmann, Minnesota, Norm Coleman, Ponzi scheme, tim pawlenty, Tom Petters | 4 Comments »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 29, 2011
Even as the same conservatives who cheered on Neal Boortz for saying that then-congresswoman Cynthia McKinney “looks like a ghetto slut”, “an explosion at a Brillo pad factory”, and “like Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence” have now suddenly and loudly rediscovered their moral compass by having Laura Ingraham, who Ed Schultz called a “right-wing slut”, complain about Schultz on FOX to accused sexual harasser Bill “Falafel” O’Reilly, we find the local conservatives and Republican operatives who have for years gladly and frequently associated with rabid anti-gay bigot preacher Bradlee Dean are now practicing saying “Bradlee Who?” with a straight face.
Thanks to the efforts of Ken Avidor, who has been documenting Bradlee Dean, his good friend Michele Bachmann, and several other local far-right looney tunes for the better part of a decade, I can now treat you to the varying ways in which local right-wing blogger and radio personality Mitch Berg has described Bradlee Dean over the years.
As noted in the screen shot above of a recent Tweet by Mr. Berg, who you may remember from an earlier posting, he’s been one of the many prominent Republicans practicing their “Bradlee Who?” routine lately. Yet Mr. Avidor was kind enough to point me in the direction of Mitch Berg’s postings over the years concerning Bradlee Dean at Berg’s “Shot in the Dark” blog, postings that belie this posture. Follow me over the hump for visual and textual documentation: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Bradlee Dean, Bradlee Dean bill, Mary Kiffmeyer, Michele Bachmann, Mitch Berg, Republicans | 4 Comments »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 23, 2011
– Earlier this year, I mentioned Bluestem Prairie’s breaking the story of a certain repeat sex offender, Jeremy Giefer, who seemed to be getting astonishingly gentle treatment from various prominent “law and order” Republicans such as Tony Cornish. Well, guess what? The Twin Cities media doesn’t seem to be much interested, but as BSP’s Sally Jo Sorensen reports, the DC-based The Politico has picked up on it:
Pawlenty’s pardon problem involves Jeremy Geifer, who had been convicted in a statutory rape case involving a 14-year-old girl he later married. Geifer had been described by everyone in his life as a model of reform, which eventually led to a 2008 pardon by a three-person board led by Pawlenty.
But late last year, Geifer was accused of sexually assaulting another underage girl more than 250 times. Pawlenty moved swiftly, asking for a probe into whether Geifer lied on his pardon application and pushing to close down a day care run by his wife.
What Politico chose not to mention: The latest alleged victim of Giefer’s is none other than his own teenage daughter, the very person he fathered off of the 14-year-old girl he married.
– Speaking of local journalists breaking stories, Karl Bremer, of the blog Ripple in Stillwater, just got one heckuvan atta-boy:
The Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has informed me that I won a Page One Award for “Best Use of Public Records” for my series on “Minnesota and the Man Known as ‘Bobby Thompson.’” They won’t reveal whether it was 1st, 2nd or 3rd place until the annual awards banquet June 7.
‘Bobby Thompson’ is the assumed name (probably one of many) of the notorious scammer and Michele Bachmann pal behind the fake charity known as the “U.S. Navy Veterans Association”.
– Speaking of Page One Awards, City Pages’ Nick Pinto was nominated for one for his followup work on the Giefer story mentioned above, the one Sally Jo Sorensen broke at BSP.
(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)
Posted in blogs and blogging, heroes, heroines, media, Minnesota, real journalism | Tagged: Bobby Thompson, Jeremy Giefer, Michele Bachmann, tim pawlenty, Tony Cornish, U.S. Navy Veterans Association | Comments Off