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Archive for the ‘Republicans acting badly’ Category

The other Chris Christie

Posted by Charles II on April 16, 2014

New Mexico, best known as the state which most Americans think is a province of Old Mexico, has produced possibly the only Republican politician capable of appealing to Hispanics: Governor Susanna Martinez, who keynoted the Mitt Romney coronation. Martinez has now made the news, and not in a good way. Andy Kroll, MoJo:

Despite numerous requests, the governor and her aides declined to comment for this piece. But previously unreleased audio recordings, text messages, and emails obtained by Mother Jones reveal a side of Martinez the public has rarely, if ever, seen. In private, Martinez can be nasty, juvenile, and vindictive. She appears ignorant about basic policy issues and has surrounded herself with a clique of advisers who are prone to a foxhole mentality.

As district attorney, Martinez displayed the kind of hard-driving tactics that would come to define her. She was known for demanding harsh penalties, and didn’t hesitate to lock up defendants awaiting trial. (In 2012, the county said that Martinez’s office was partially responsible for an incident in which a mentally ill man named Stephen Slevin was left in solitary confinement for nearly two years without trial, and later agreed to pay a $15.5 million settlement.)

Martinez struggled to stand out. Her fundraising was mediocre, and she lacked the wealth to self-finance like her main rival, a former Marine colonel and state party chairman named Allen Weh. Weh believed the job was his, according to an email McCleskey sent to campaign staffers, and at one point suggested Martinez was better suited for lieutenant governor. “What a narcissistic grandiose ‘tool’!” she replied.

But things began to turn around as major party figures from outside the state put their weight behind Martinez. In May 2010, Texas megadonor Bob Perry and his wife, Doylene, cut the first of several checks that would eventually total $450,000, making them her biggest individual donors by far. And then, on a Sunday morning just two weeks before the primary, Sarah Palin rolled into Albuquerque at the behest of the RGA. As “Start Me Up” pumped out of the hotel ballroom speakers, Palin walked onstage with Martinez and declared to a crowd of 1,300 screaming fans, “You have a winner right here.”

Listening to recordings of Martinez talking with her aides is like watching an episode of HBO’s Veep, with over-the-top backroom banter full of pique, self-regard, and vindictiveness. As Martinez and her campaign staff rewatched a recent televised debate, Martinez referred to Denish, her opponent, as “that little bitch.” After Denish noted that the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce had given her an award, McCleskey snapped, “That’s why we’re not meeting with those fuckers.”

In a September 2009 email mentioning one of Martinez’s 2010 primary opponents, a former state representative named Janice Arnold-Jones, McCleskey wrote: “I FUCKING HATE THAT BITCH!” And in yet another debate prep meeting, Kennicott mocked the language skills of Ben Luján, a former state House speaker and a political icon to New Mexico Latinos: “Somebody told me he’s absolutely eloquent in Spanish, but his English? He sounds like a retard.”

What had Yates especially concerned was the growing evidence of business as usual from a governor who’d campaigned as a good-government reformer. In late 2011, the state awarded a 25-year lease worth an estimated $1 billion to a company largely owned by a pair of major Martinez backers, the Downs at Albuquerque, to operate a racetrack and casino at the state fairgrounds. To hear critics tell it, the bidding was rigged: Martinez met with the donors privately during the campaign and again during the selection process. The governor-appointed bid committee was stacked with McCleskey allies, and leaked files show the Downs’ attorney emailing with administration staffers to secure votes on the fairgrounds commission. Andrea Goff, a former Martinez fundraiser, has said McCleskey pressured her to get her father-in-law, who served on the commission, to switch his vote. “Everything about the whole process was controlled by the governor’s office,” Charlotte Rode, a Martinez appointee to the commission, told me.

I thought the Nixon story made it clear that if you’re going to be a vindictive, grandiose psychopath, it’s wiser not to have a record of your private comments on tape. It remains to be seen whether her presidential aspirations have been dented as badly as Chris Christie’s, that other corrupt vindictive, juvenile ex-prosecutor.

Alex Pareene of Salon had a great comment:

I do not mean, in any way, to diminish the reporting of Kroll and Mother Jones, but it seems, from the outside, that this piece happened because someone with access to a lot of documents and recordings decided to send those documents and recordings to a venue that would make sure to post them in the most damaging and complete form possible. (The Times, for example, would’ve produced a similarly comprehensive profile with this material, but it would’ve been headlined something like “Unanswered Questions Linger Over Influence of Adviser to New Mexico Governor.”) That right there is a good indication that something is terribly wrong in the office of the governor of New Mexico: Vindictive behavior leads people to do things like leak all your shit to Mother Jones.

Posted in 2016, Republicans acting badly | 2 Comments »

DeLay Walks

Posted by Charles II on September 19, 2013

In one of the longest miscarriages of justice, a Texas appeals court decided that the evidence that Tom DeLay laundered corporate cash into Texas state campaigns was insufficient. He is a free man.

It’s stuff like this that makes it clear how corrupt our courts are. I would not be a bit surprised to learn that DeLay contributed to the campaigns of those appellate justices.

Posted in corruption, Republicans acting badly, The Plunderbund | 1 Comment »

“Journalists” for hire: Groundswell as the right’s brain

Posted by Charles II on August 5, 2013

This came out ten days ago, but I missed it. Fortunately, so far the “journalists” are people recognized as being flagrant partisans. But having anyone in media collaborating with politicians to message is remarkable. The involvement of Judicial Watch, a tax-exempt group, in strategy sessions, should land them in hot water with the IRS. And having the wife of a Supreme Court Justice in the middle of it is disgraceful.

David Corn, MoJo:

Believing they are losing the messaging war with progressives, a group of prominent conservatives in Washington—including the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and journalists from Breitbart News and the Washington Examiner—has been meeting privately since early this year to concoct talking points, coordinate messaging, and hatch plans for “a 30 front war seeking to fundamentally transform the nation,” according to documents obtained by Mother Jones.

Dubbed Groundswell, this coalition convenes weekly in the offices of Judicial Watch, the conservative legal watchdog group.

One of the influential conservatives guiding the group is Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a columnist for the Daily Caller and a tea party consultant and lobbyist. Other Groundswell members include John Bolton, the former UN ambassador; Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy; Ken Blackwell and Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council; Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch; Gayle Trotter, a fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum; Catherine Engelbrecht and Anita MonCrief of True the Vote; Allen West, the former GOP House member; Sue Myrick, also a former House GOPer; Diana Banister of the influential Shirley and Banister PR firm; and Max Pappas, a top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Several conservative journalists have enthusiastically participated in Groundswell’s deliberations. In March, Mark Tapscott, the executive editor of the conservative Washington Examiner…

At another Groundswell gathering, according to the minutes, the members decided to ask Breitbart‘s Stephen Bannon to arrange for his media organization “to get senators on the record regarding their support [or non-support]” of the filibuster that GOP Sens. Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz were threatening to mount against the gun control bill. This suggested that the Groundswellers thought they could task Breitbart News to pursue a story that would be strategically useful for the group.

Groundswell has forged a particularly close relationship with Breitbart.

Posted in activism, activist judges, Media machine, Republicans acting badly | 1 Comment »

All about the Benjamins: Indiana/Florida school chief cooked test scores for donor’s school

Posted by Charles II on July 29, 2013

Via Atrios. It’s Tom Lo Bianco, AP, so link only.

Christel DeHaan is a major GOP donor, giving $2.8M to GOPers, including $130K to Tony Bennett.
Tony Bennett was the head of Indiana schools, and is now head of Florida schools.
Christel DeHaan had a private academy, Christel House Academy in Indianapolis.
Test scores gave it a C because of bad algebra scores.
After a flurry of e-mails about how bad this would be for Christel House, the scoring system was changed.
Christel House got an A.

The one good thing is that Bennett is in Florida because he was defeated for office by teachers angered at his methods, who supported Glenda Ritz.

Maybe Bennett and Michael Berkland can get together for an alternate reality show.

Posted in corruption, Republicans acting badly, The Plunderbund | 3 Comments »

Boehner loses one

Posted by Charles II on June 20, 2013

Savage cuts to NSAP (Food Stamps) and international food aid in HR 1947 were voted down 234-195. You can see the vote here.

But they’ll be b-a-a-a-a-c-k.

If this happens enough times, maybe Republican leadership will figure out that being a–holes is not a good political strategy.

Democrats who chose to join forces with evil:

Barber, Barrow, Bera, Braley, Brownley, Bustos, Costa, Cuellar, Enyart, Farr, Garamendi, Garcia, Loebsack, McIntyre, McNerney, Murphy (FL), Owens, Peters, Peterson, Rahall, Schrader, Sinema, Vela, Walz.

I guess agribusiness is more important to them than the flood tide of hungry people.

Posted in Congress, poverty, Republicans acting badly, You're On Your Own-ership Society | 6 Comments »

Study: Media Fact-Checker Says Republicans Lie More

Posted by Charles II on May 30, 2013

Study: Media Fact-Checker Says Republicans Lie More (via Tom Kludt at TPM)

Gee. Ya think?

According to CMPA [George Mason Univ. Center for Media in the Public Interest] President Dr Robert Lichter, “While Republicans see a credibility gap in the Obama administration, PolitiFact rates Republicans as the less credible party.”

If George Mason University and Politifact say the GOP lies three times as often as Dems, it has to be ten times:

Some critics, such as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) and the Columbia Journalism Review, have criticized Lichter and the CMPA for holding a conservative bias of their own or for being funded by conservative foundations.

Possibly the Republican Establishment is coming to the conclusion that they might have jumped the shark.

Posted in liars, Republicans acting badly | 4 Comments »

Snark of the week award to Jon Stewart

Posted by Charles II on May 23, 2013

Peggy-Noonan-according-to-J

Jon Stewart sweeps the snark awards for this takedown of Peggy Noonan.

I could have done without the Peggy Noonan is like your mother when… part. But his rendition of Iran-Contra? Priceless.

Posted in Jon Stewart, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples | Comments Off

Ornstein’s swan song: GOP sucks

Posted by Charles II on April 16, 2013

20 years too late, Norm Ornstein sees the light, The Hill

There are no more moderate or liberal Republicans — the Sherwood Boehlerts, John Porters, Amo Houghtons and Michael N. Castles are long gone. What now passes for a moderate would have been considered a bedrock conservative in the early 1990s.

The House GOP has veered sharply, even drastically, to the right from what already was a pretty rightist center of gravity.

But more important has been the attitudinal change. Respect for the institution of Congress — much less for the framers’ vision of policymaking through deliberation, debate and an effort to find common ground, or at least grounds for compromise — has been replaced by obduracy, contempt for compromise and a level of demonization of the other side, starting with the president.

The ‘wingers are just doing what their masters tell them to do. Wreck government so that corporations and the wealthy can rule.

Posted in conservativism, corruption, Republicans acting badly | 1 Comment »

Gambling mogul Adelson’s wife used non-profit for political donations/Story retracted by Truthout (updated x 3)

Posted by Charles II on January 18, 2013

Update, 1/31/13. I have received an e-mail from Dina Rasor of Truthout stating that this story has been “retracted.” I asked to have a statement I could link to at Truthout to close this issue. I have not yet received a response. She informs me that Truthout published a retraction but only kept it up for one day. However, our readers should be aware that apparently Truthout does not stand behind the statement that political contributions came from the Adelson Clinic [added: or The Las Vegas Sands Corporation]. Therefore, there is no reason to think that the philanthropic mission of the clinic was compromised or that any laws or regulations are broken.
______________________________________________

Danny Weil, t/o

According to Opensecrets.org, The Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse Treatment and Research was the fourth largest contributor to right-wing political action committees (PACs), political parties and outside spending groups in the nation in 2012; the organization contributed over $24 million to these groups.

Online news site, influenceexplorer.com reported in 2012 that Dr. Miriam Adelson and the Adelson Clinic contributed $22.5 million to the following political actions committees: $12.5 million to Winning Our Future, $5 million to Restore Our Future, $ 2.5 million to Young Guns Action Fund, and $2.5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund.

Although the clinic is a stated non-profit organization, it makes massive contributions to conservative political groups that raise questions about its philanthropic mission.

Mrs. Adelson and the Clinic have declined to respond to inquiries about how a non-profit could be a political funding vehicle.
_____________
As discussed in comments below, the story has disappeared from Truthout’s archive. An attempt to contact Truthout has gone unanswered.

As also discussed in comments, OpenSecrets.org does indeed list The Adelson Drug Clinic as the source of millions of dollars of contributions. However, looking at the OpenSecrets data in more detail, I am persuaded that this is a misreading of the data. OpenSecrets lists $24,086,600 of contributions for the 2012 cycle. It indicates that these came from individuals, not from PACs. A search by individual for Adelson, Miriam of Nevada comes up with $42,122,900 in contributions. It looks as if the first query aggregates by organization. So it seems likely to me that Truthout mis-read the OpenSecrets data.

Naturally, this can’t be regarded as fully resolved until Truthout issues a correction or re-affirms the story. And the main thrust of the story–that one individual can pour tens of millions of dollars into political campaigns, thereby making a mockery of American democracy– stands. Regrettably, it is entirely legal for the political process to be corrupted in this manner, or so says the Supreme Court. That doesn’t make it right.

I’ll continue to follow this and add information as it becomes available.
_______________
Update, 1/29: I have again contacted Truthout. As far as I can tell, they have not yet issued a retraction or correction. If and when they do, or when they respond to my inquiry, I will add that information.

Posted in Republicans acting badly | 7 Comments »

Anti-democratic and proud of it: the GOP boasts about holding House despite getting fewer votes

Posted by Charles II on January 15, 2013

Via MaddowBlog, the Republican State Leadership Committee brags about how unpopular the GOP is:

Farther down-ballot, aggregated numbers show voters pulled the lever for Republicans only 49 percent of the time in congressional races, suggesting that 2012 could have been a repeat of 2008, when voters gave control of the White House and both chambers of Congress to Democrats.

But, as we see today, that was not the case. Instead, Republicans enjoy a 33-seat margin in the U.S. House seated yesterday in the 113th Congress, having endured Democratic successes atop the ticket and over one million more votes cast for Democratic House candidates than Republicans.

all components of a successful congressional race, including recruitment, message development and resource allocation, rest on the congressional district lines, and this was an area where Republicans had an unquestioned advantage.

Through clever gerrymandering, they also held state houses in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

And, according to Rachel, they are going to use their control of the state houses to make all presidentially-blue states split their electoral college votes. If they had been able to do this in 2012, Mitt Romney would have had an electoral college landslide.

Sounds like a winning strategy, ruling people against their will. Right up until the revolution, of course.

Posted in 2016, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer | 6 Comments »

 
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