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Archive for June 4th, 2012

Definitely re-elect

Posted by Charles II on June 4, 2012

Mary Bottari, PRWatch (via t/o)

So far the investigators have charged six people with 15 felonies; one person, who turned himself in to prosecutors, was convicted on two counts:

* Timothy Russell (former deputy chief of staff to Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker) was charged with two felonies, and one misdemeanor related to embezzlement of donations intended for Wisconsin veterans in a special fund, which was created at Walker’s direction. The money was used by Russell and his partner, Brian Pierick, to take a few vacations. Read the criminal complaint here.

* Brian Pierick (partner of Timothy Russell): charged with two felonies involving child solicitation. It appears Russell’s phone records led to Pierick and a nasty story about two men soliciting a 17-year old minor for sex. Read the criminal complaint here.

* Kevin Kavanaugh (appointed by Walker as a county veterans’ official): charged with five felonies related to embezzlement from the veterans fund. Kavanaugh appears to have been raiding the funds separately from Russell. Read the criminal complaint here.

* Kelly Rindfleisch (former deputy chief of staff to then-Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker): charged with four felonies relating to campaign fundraising while on the county payroll. Rindfleisch’s worked on a secret wifi system in her office just steps away from Walker’s office. Rindfleisch continued to work for Walker’s campaign until she was charged. Read the criminal complaint here.

* Darlene Wink (former aide to then-Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker): pled guilty to two unclassified misdemeanors as part of a deal that she made with the prosecutors relating to working on campaign fundraising while on the county payroll. Winks office was down a short hallway from Walker’s. Read the complaint here.

* William Gardner (President and CEO of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad): Gardner pled guilty to felony violations of Wisconsin’s election campaign laws in April of 2011. Gardner tried to convince prosecutors that his $50,000 in illegal contributions to Walker, which he funneled through his employees and a girlfriend, was an innocent mistake, except he had done the same thing the previous year. Read the criminal complaint here.

So far, 13 people have been granted immunity in the case, but not Walker according to court records

In addition to this, Walker has been dishonest and ineffectual. Yet he still leads in the polls, thanks to independents being split.

What is wrong with half of Wisconsin voters?

The Barrett campaign alleges there are voter suppression squads operating in Wisconsin.

I have to say, the failure of DPW and Tom Barrett to raise sufficient funds is disheartening. As Rachel Maddow pointed out, if the middle class were sufficiently energized to put up ten or twenty bucks, they could match the billionaires.

Posted in corruption, Election Day | 8 Comments »

The latest corruption extravaganza

Posted by Charles II on June 4, 2012

Public Citizen has correctly labeled Susan Collins’ bill S. 1100 an invitation to contractor corruption. The bill says right up front that its purpose is:

To amend title 41, United States Code, to prohibit inserting politics into the Federal acquisition process by prohibiting the submission of political contribution information as a condition of receiving a Federal contract.

Now, we know about the sewer of secret campaign finance that Citizens United opened up. But because federal contractors have to disclose how they are influencing the political process, that ruling doesn’t cover them.

They’re already free to give campaign finance bribes to people who will be voting whether or not to give them money. What they want is freedom from disclosure of that corrupt nexus.

You can take action here.

Posted in Republicans acting badly, Senate, The Plunderbund | Comments Off on The latest corruption extravaganza

If the Fed bails out the markets this time, they are fools

Posted by Charles II on June 4, 2012

It’s definitely look out below time in the stock market. And that’s a good thing! The S&P was in a minibubble, outracing other markets. Now it looks to print -1%, with Asia down 2%.

The stock market does not produce anything useful. It does serve to allow companies to raise money that they could not raise from bank financing. This is valuable for small companies who can’t borrow at the bank. But with interest rates low, big companies would be fools to issue equity instead of getting loans. The only important thing that a rising stock market accomplishes is that it enable the upper middle class/lower upper class to spend extra: to take a vacation or buy a Mercedes. These things actually do produce jobs, so a swiftly rising market is useful in the early stages of recovery.

In the real world, whole countries are suffering recessions. A few are insolvent. The stock market of those countries should not be rising in that environment. The US is doing ok, but the economy is soft. Europe is a disaster. Asia does most of its net trade with the US and Europe. There has been a stock swoon every summer since the crash for reasons that probably have to do with data artifacts more than real economic developments. And each time the Fed has responded to the whiners in the privileged classes with quantitative easing.

The whiners are back. If the Fed does QE it this time, they are fools. The market is roughly fairly valued based on present earnings. If, as seems likely, the world will re-enter a mild recession in 2013-14, then it’s overvalued. By 10% 0r 20% perhaps. Not by 50%. QE to raise asset prices will not fix the problem. The problem is that people need work, raises, better benefits. The problem is that the political system seems to be incapable of providing jobs, good wages, benefits.

Posted in economy, stock market | Comments Off on If the Fed bails out the markets this time, they are fools

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