Archive for cheaters

Oops! Republican: I never drew Fla. redistricting maps favoring GOP. You used my name!

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gerrymandering, redistricting via Doonesbury

Note: Headline corrected, changed.

One of the reasons it is so important to get out the vote in November is that Republicans have concocted redistricting maps to favor their party, making it nearly impossible for Democrats to win. Unless, somehow, by some miracle, Dem voter turnout is so huge that they can pull off a victory despite the gerrymandering.

That's how desperate the GOP is. They know they can't win on the issues, because they have no ideas, other than bashing President Obama, holding fake hearings on fake scandals, and obstructing every Democratic piece of legislation that comes their way. So they resort to dirty tricks like lying about redistricting.

As a friend of mine put it, "They put the mandering in gerrymandering."

gerrymander

ˈjerēˌmandər/

verb

manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class.

achieve (a result) by manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency.

"a total freedom to gerrymander the results they want"

Redistricting is one thing, but cheating outright (allegedly) is quite another. Now the GOP in Florida is in legal hot water.

Via the Miami Herald:

The trial over Florida’s redrawn congressional districts took a dramatic turn Thursday when the judge closed the courtroom to the public and a private citizen — whom legislators had commended for having drawn portions of the final congressional map — testified he did not draw any maps and that his name was used without his permission. [...]

The plaintiffs, a coalition of voters led by the League of Women Voters and seven Democratic-leaning individuals, accuse legislators of allowing political operatives to conduct a “shadow” redistricting process to benefit Republican incumbents and candidates in violation of the Fair District amendments to the Florida Constitution. [...]

Posada testified he never drew the map, never submitted it, and the Gmail account in his name that was used to submit the maps was not his. [...] John Devaney, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, argued that the Florida Supreme Court has said that any partisan bias nullifies the maps under the Fair District standards. “If it’s not this case, there will never be one,” he said.

P.S. and by the way, the mystery map maker was a former member of the Florida State University College Republicans. The GOP exploited a loyal member of their own party.

And that concludes today's episode of "Republicans Eating Their Own."

eating their own

gotv 3

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Charter schools, corporations cheat kids, spend millions on trips, strip clubs #CharterSchoolsWeek

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charter schools corporate

Charter schools are cheating our children. Brace yourselves: Over 100 million dollars meant for our kids have been misused, lost or stolen by charter operators and corporations. Why? Because there is no regulation. We all know how the GOP and corporate America hate regulations, and this is why.

Privatization gives greedy, corporate types all kinds of opportunities. For instance, the opportunity to use taxpayer funds meant for students; they're using that money, our money, to pay for house renovations, outings to strip clubs, and vacations to Atlantic City.

How in the world can we keep giving money to people (because we all know that corporations are people, my friend) who do this? How in the world can Americans keep supporting-- and voting for-- these pigs?

By the way, the report covers what "might just be the tip of the" proverbial iceberg, focusing on a mere fifteen of the forty-two states that have charter school laws.

Paul Rosenberg at Salon has the story:

While there are plenty of other troubling issues surrounding charter schools—from high rates of racial segregation, to their lackluster overall performance records, to questionable admission and expulsion practices—this report sets all those admittedly important issues aside to focus squarely on activity that appears it could be criminal, and arguably totally out of control. It does not even mention questions raised by sky-high salaries paid to some charter CEOs, such as 16 New York City charter school CEOs who earned more than the head of the city’s public school system in 2011-12. Crime, not greed, is the focus here. [...]

[The report] organized the abuse into six basic categories, each of which is treated in its own section:

• Charter operators using public funds illegally for personal gain;
• School revenue used to illegally support other charter operator businesses;
• Mismanagement that puts children in actual or potential danger;
• Charters illegally requesting public dollars for services not provided;
• Charter operators illegally inflating enrollment to boost revenues; and,
• Charter operators mismanaging public funds and schools.

Perhaps most disturbingly, under the first category, crooked charter school officials displayed a wide range of lavish, compulsive or tawdry tastes. Examples include:

• Joel Pourier, former CEO of Oh Day Aki Heart Charter School in Minnesota, who embezzled $1.38 million from 2003 to 2008. He used the money on houses, cars, and trips to strip clubs. Meanwhile, according to an article in the Star Tribune, the school “lacked funds for field trips, supplies, computers and textbooks.”

[...]

Others spent their stolen money on everything from a pair of jet skis for $18,000 to combined receipts of $228 for cigarettes and beer, to over $30,000 on personal items from Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, Coach and Tommy Hilfiger. But the real damage came from the theft of resources for children’s future.

No wonder Republicans are trying to do away with public schools. They're no fun!

More at Salon.

charter schools privatization corruption

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Military spouses, fearing loss of benefits, stay mum about sexual misconduct of husbands

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military spouses wife toughest job

Military spouses have it tough enough, what with worrying if their husband or wife will come home in one piece or even in a box. But military spouses of cheating husbands have been under additional pressure to keep quiet about the extra-curricular activities of their lawfully wedded philanderers. Why? Because if they dare expose the betrayal, they could lose "a lifetime of military benefits if their husbands were dismissed from the Army."

"You're advised to keep your mouth shut and let him retire because you could lose everything."

And so adultery and other sex-related military crimes went unreported. This is tragic.

The Los Angeles Times has an eye-opening report about women finally demanding that their families be protected if their cheating husband is punished harshly for misconduct:

Fear of losing benefits keeps many military wives from exposing sexual misconduct or other offenses committed by their husbands, say many of those familiar with the military criminal justice system. [Kris] Johnson kept quiet about her husband, Col. James H. Johnson III, while he carried on an affair with an Iraqi woman while deployed to that country.

But when Col. Johnson moved his mistress into his military quarters in Italy, his wife turned him in — painfully aware that she and her two children might be cut off from benefits as a result... In both the Johnson and [Rebecca] Sinclair cases, court concerns that dismissing the officers would also punish their families helps explain the relatively light sentences.

As a result of wives campaigning for changes, Congress is requiring the Pentagon to consider "transitional benefits." A study will begin in May. Yes, a study. But it is a step in the right direction. And it's about time. Since 2000, more than 19,000 service members were booted from the military for sexual misconduct. That meant no health or dental care, military IDs, or housing for military spouses and their children. How's that for family values?

Kris Johnson, who urged a petition to Congress for the changes, said her husband, Brig. Gen. Sinclair, and other senior officers felt invincible. "When they had their zippers unzipped," she said, "they weren't' thinking of their families."

Yes, it's highly unlikely that they take their wives and kids into account mid-shtup.

Prosecutors told her that her husband was kept in the Army to protect benefits for her and her children.

Johnson said she supported her husband's career for 25 years, constantly moving and enduring multiple deployments while caring for two children. Like many military spouses, she was unable to build her own career; she relied instead on military benefits...

She finally turned her husband in after enduring his living arrangements with his mistress, the woman who was also by his side when he socialized with fellow officers. Hence the adjective "invincible"... or as I like to call it, sleazy, vile, despicable, and shameless.

You can see why these military spouses were up to here with losing a lifetime of benefits because of these bottom feeders. Let's hope the Pentagon "study" next month produces real results real fast.

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If Corporations Are People Too, Why Do They Get Taxed Differently Than People?

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We the Corporations

Perhaps the easiest way to put the argument to bed as to whether or not "corporations are people, too, my friend," is to pass a clarification law stipulating that corporations are in deed people. (I know, it's crazy and we know they aren't, but let's for a moment say they are.) What would the next step be?

Well, for starters, we would have no, repeat no, federal deficit and individual taxes would drop precipitously. Why? Because PEOPLE don't get the advantages and tax loopholes of the Federal Corporate Tax Rate that allows them to skate on their tax obligations to this country. They would just pay the federal individual tax payer rate, like all of us "people," which they will then be.

Gone would be all those corporate write-offs, jets, yachts, huge parties and outings. Those huge offices and off-shore holding accounts. We could say bye-bye to tax credits for sending business overseas. If individuals don't get those benefits, either will the new "individuals." Oh, and too big to fail? That's gonna be gone too as no individual is too big to fail.

So what are we talking about when when we start saying that corporations are people too? We're talking about the entire rehauling of big business and a simplification of the tax laws. When they start paying their individual taxes they can start enjoying the individual freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution.

If they want free speech they won't need Citizen's United. As people, they will have that. If they want freedom of religious beliefs as in the two cases approaching the Supreme Court, then as individuals they will have that. But with those rights, come restrictions and penalties -- including jail and fines for abuses.

Think about how quickly the national debt would turn into a surplus (promoting tax rebates and lower individual rates) if corporations paid their "people" tax rates, not corporate tax rates. In 2012, the following companies paid either ZERO federal taxes or actually got REBATES from the government - Wall Street Journal:

tax avoidance corporations

  • General Motors
  • Verizon
  • Ceasar's Palace
  • Prudential Insurance
  • Ameren
  • Lear Jets
  • American Airlines
  • JC Penny
  • Boeing
  • General Electric

Think about it for a moment. Is something wrong with this picture? Why should companies have all the benefits that people have, but not the responsibilities? People pay their fair share in order to enjoy a fair voice and be protected under the laws.

So big companies, you want to be treated like people, act like it.

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