Archive for corruption

Gov. "Ultrasound" McDonnell probed, media mounts soap opera defense for him

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bob mcdonnell trans vag ultrasound probe

Media coverage of the Gov. Bob "Ultrasound" McDonnell corruption case could take a cue from the following excerpt from USA Today, and an even bigger one from The Rachel Maddow Show below:

RICHMOND, Va. — The key prosecution witness in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, took the stand Wednesday, saying there was no personal relationship between he and the couple.

Jonnie Williams, the wealthy businessman and former chief executive of Star Scientific, said he did not give the two initial checks to the McDonnell family because he thought he and the McDonnells were friends.

"This was a business relationship," he said about why he helped the McDonnell family. "I needed his help."

That's news. Unfortunately, however, that has not been the focus of the so-called "news" media when it comes to this story. Rachel Maddow zeroed right in on the How Do You Solve a Problem Like Media Coverage? issue in the following segment. We owe her our gratitude:

Maddow on "the salaciousness of the headlines":

The headlines are all like this... "Trial reveals governor's wife had 'crush' on CEO"...

The indictment-- the allegations from prosecutors-- those have been out there for months now. But now that we're having the trial... what has stolen the show about the defense is this designed-for-headlines assertion from the defense, that the McDonnell's marriage was broken, Maureen McDonnell had a "childlike crush" on this businessman who the McDonnells are accused of helping in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts...

But the defense strategy in the corruption trial of Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife is apparently going to be [about their marriage]... This is how they're going to try to keep the governor and his wife out of jail.

Bob McDonnell and Maureen McDonnell stand accused of accepting over $160,000 in gifts and cash from this wealthy CEO [Johnnie Williams] in exchange for providing official help from the state for the CEO's company. That's called corruption, right? "Give me something of personal value to me, and in exchange, I'll give you a little something from the government, the government in which I am an official." ...

So that strategy, the "she took everything" defense... is undercut by the fact that Bob McDonnell himself did things himself like ask this guy for a $70,000 loan for his real estate business... But that is their main defense strategy, the claim is basically that "she did it all, she's not a public official, so there's no public corruption. And, there couldn't be a... corrupt conspiracy between the two of them, because there was no "two of them."... It was just her "lovesick stupidity. He's actually kind of the victim here."... That's their legal strategy...

What does not make sense is the media helping them with it... It is being covered purely in a tabloid way... Purely through catty, sexist gossip [her shopping, her "crush"]... That framing is not only sexist and gross, it ignores the fact that Bob McDonnell himself was doing things like setting up meetings for this wealthy donor with top state health officials... They claim they have the evidence to prove it.

But if the Bob McDonnell defense is gonna be to blame it all on the "lovesick, emotionally erratic, Louis Vuitton-loving wife, they are so far doing a masterful job of injecting that storyline into the press and getting the press to mount their defense for them.

The press is bending over backwards to help the McDonnell legal defense... Attention news media! This is an overt strategy and you are helping one side of this legal case by advancing the strategic storyline for them, because you can't resist a tabloid soap opera tale.

You're being played! You're being played... by covering this as a tabloid story about a marriage, and not a crime blotter story about a corrupt governor.

bob mcdonnell probe johnnie williams

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Yes, Virginia … Governor McDonnell Found His Santa Claus

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Quick!

Who obviously kicked him to the curb this year in a very un-Clausy move.

The curb had cameras (2014 here). 

I've been enjoying the footage of the Fall of McDonnell, aka Governor Vagina Police,  all day. I did not know that Virginia encourages the antiquated, sexist 'crush' defense that incriminates your wife.

Idiots.
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Maddow had superb coverage, early. She always had a soft spot for Old McDonnell, Gov'nuh Invasive Ultrasound,  aggressively anathema to women in the other 49 states.

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Morning media today totally enjoyed divulging more and more dirt for Old McDonnell to bury himself in. Chuck Todd updated an eager audience on MSNBC, and continued to compare this bit of greed with a House of Cards season, video below.

McDonnell was rescued by the Falwell family, good ole' political religionists teaching their worst traits to generations of extreme religiosity  … shaping the Regressive Right Christian way.

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"Gov. McDonnell will add another dimension to the educational experience of Liberty students by teaching leadership,” bragged  Liberty President and Chief Christian on Campus, Jerry Falwell Jr., son of Jerry Sr.

 He achieved great success as governor in making Virginia one of the nation’s most business-friendly and fiscally sound states while getting people to work together for the common good. These experiences uniquely qualify him to teach our students about every aspect of serving in public office.

McDonnell was well received at Liberty, as you might expect!

Morning Joe Schmoe, absent Joe, and featuring Morning Mika, gave the McDonnell clan some early bird mockery with details that needed divulging.

transvaginal-probe

By now most Virginians should sensibly note that McAuliffe is a vast improvement over Old McDonnell. He's probably got that Vitamin Lothario, Jimmie Williams, banned from the region. The Washington Post ran this:

The federal government’s decision to use these deceitful tactics in order to prosecute a popular and successful Republican Governor immediately upon his leaving office is disgraceful, violates basic principles of justice, and is contemptuous of the citizens of Virginia who elected him,” McDonnell’s attorneys wrote.

screamnowjo0

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GOP Won't Vote To Protect Our Borders But They Do Vote To Protect Wall Street

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Wall Street

While the GOP is playing games of distraction with the lives of innocent children at our border, with phony IRS scandals perpetrated by Darrell Issa, and bogus Benghazi fantasies trashing human lives, the Republicans quietly used that to very quietly pass a bill which will impact all of us. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then the GOP has done its job of 'follow the shiny object' while they attack us and our financial and consumer protections.

While the GOP won't vote for money to protect our borders, it quietly found time to vote on a bill to protect Wall Street.

Raw Story:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill to slash funding for Wall Street oversight and revamp new agencies dedicated to cracking down on fraud against consumers and policing risks after the financial crisis.

The $21.3 billion funding bill, which covers appropriations for the 2015 fiscal year beginning Oct 1 for financial services and other areas of government, passed the House in a 228 to 195 vote along largely partisan lines.

Ask yourself this: why are Republicans protecting Wall Street over the US citizenry? They claim border security is a major concern. What about our financial security and our customer fraud protections?

It [the bill] would temporarily bar a group of regulators responsible for policing market risks from designating large non-bank companies as “systemically important” – so big that their failure would destabilize markets.

In lay terms, it would make them "Too big to fail, too big to jail." Is that really the GOP looking out for us? Can any Republican say, "Lehman Brothers?"

The legislation would also cut mail delivery on Saturdays. Along with that is another seemingly unrelated issue to the Wall Street funding bill. This piece of legislation would prevent the District of Columbia from using federal funds to pay for abortions [including incest and rape victims] and implement rules that decriminalize marijuana use. What's the connection to Wall Street oversight with these tag-ons? Is this a funding bill or some criminal bill? Maybe the only thing criminal about it is that it passed the GOP house.

So as not to make this sound too one-sided. The House Republicans in this spending bill did take a much needed stab at cutting the deficit with a partial spending off-set.

It includes a ban on using taxpayer funds to pay for oil paintings of government officials, including the president and members of Congress.

If that makes it through the Democratic senate (fat chance there), we'll finally have a cost saver we can all live with.

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Chris Christie Hits a Scum Bottom in Refusing to Hear Sandy Hook Victims

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Image: NewJersey.com

Poor little Chris Christie. Some of his most loyal following, the entire Morning Schmoe set at 30 Rock across the water in NYC, has finally given up and given in ... they can't support your callous treatment of the Sandy Hook families looking for common sense gun reform in the wake of their losses.

And of his declaration to veto any gun reform that comes across his desk.

A clear smarmy, sanz conscience Dicque Move that will haunt you if you do indeed attempt to run (or lope) for president in 2016, Christie.

For shame. If you have any. Footage courtesy New Jersey dot com.

Already in full possession of a well-earned 'bully' label, Chris has truly put himself past the pale this time. He refused to meet with the families of the shooting tragedy in neighboring Connecticut, saying he'd already heard their arguments.

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They didn't move him. He then defended his decision to snub them. Which was almost more heinous than the refusal. He feels "extraordinary sympathy" … but will still not give the Connecticut families five minutes of his valuable gubernatorial time.

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Here's how the Starbucks and Scarborough Round Table of Morning Jesters reacted - so imagine how offended the rest of us are!

Christie, no doubt you are going to get plenty of Progressive, Liberal, Gun Reform, Mom and Dem in General blowback on this one. Allow me to add my ten cents.

Pick-Favorite-Republican

 

Screw you and the very unlucky horse you rode in on, there is no excuse for that arrogant, hubris-filled and childish refusal to even deign to speak with the victims of such a nearby tragedy ... you have never disappointed when it comes to making scum decisions to further your own ends.

May this be one of your largest regrets, and there will be more than a few, Governor Christie. There will be far more than just a few.

gop disaster zone republicans

The Schmoe table took it up at the top of their second hour as well, this time with the superb Jon Meacham to add his fine historic opinions on gun safety and the absurdity of the availability of magazine clips; and Reverand Al Sharpton was on hand to be mystified by Christie's hypocrisy and Bully Boy behavior.

A colleague at Free Range Talk, MontanaHome, summed it up poifectly: "How about that wretched-sonofabitch-sorry-excuse-for-a-human-being Christie. Anybody catch his comments yesterday re: Sandy Hook?"

respect aretha

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Samson and De-Liar, Chris Christie Must Be Sweating Bullets

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qE2

So we are now up to three major scandales in the Chris Christie saga of defeat.

The reporting here on Bridgegate, SandyGate here and the most recent jump into the muck - Pulaski Skyway-Port AuthorityGate is worth a catch up on, but it was summarized well by New Jersey expert and Up on MSNBC host, Steve Kornacki.

It looks like it is David Samson's turn to start talking. He is definitely back in the nooz, and knee deep in subpoenas and the lofty calibre o' attorneys New Jersey and New York usually reserve for advisor capacity on Law and Order.

Have a gander. The discussion also includes some time with New York Times reporter and Christie expert Kate Zernike and Georgetown Law Prof. Paul Butler.

Grin wide with us, you know you want to.

Poster art courtesy our friend Mel Neuhaus, @acehanna54

Poster art courtesy our friend Mel Neuhaus, @acehanna54  Click to enlarge.

 

Kornacki was on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell to discuss, as well as to deliver a mighty fine summary on Thursday night. The weekend gave him extra time to get facts.

 

When there are District Attorney's on hand brandishing the Martin Act that Eliot Spitzer famously used to hammer Wall Street, Trenton must be getting a very nervous gastric-bypassed stomach.

Shouldn't one listen to the kind of heavy-hitter advisers an organization as 1%er wealthy and obscenely powerful as the Port Authority hires to advise against fraud?

hypocrite

And such a shame, the timing … The Big Boy Christie had a 'successful' trip to New Hamshire on his "What?!? MOI???!?" Tour.  [Knew those Live Free or Die phuquers next door were up to something, we can feel their Idjit Antics here in Vermont.]

No listening for The Christie.  He simply bulldozes on, while a massive brick wall is being built under and around him - hope he has his Humpty Dumpty uniform at the cleaners.

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Phone logs are now revealing Christie aide calls to the Port Authority with frequency and timing that bodes well for a Securities Fraud indictment.

This is when new-agey prayer comes in handy. Let's get Humpty Dumpty down off that wall of hubris, Trenton is about to Fall. And let there not be a 'buffer zone'.

knownothing

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Montana Rape Judge Does It Again

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rape Judge Todd Baugh

You might not recognize this jurist's face, or even his name, but you will most surely remember why he made the news about three months back. Take a good look. Need a hint? The punishment he meted out for a rapist? Remember now?  The assailant was a teacher. The victim was his 14 year old student and after the attack, she killed herself.

Okay, final clue:

The judge sentenced the teacher to one month in jail, arguing that the girl shared responsibility for her rape because she appeared “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as her teacher.

Sure, now you got it. And he sentenced the rapist to what ended up being less than a month in jail.

Well, seems justice by this justice hasn't really become any saner since that debacle of jurisprudence. Judge Baugh recently heard a case of vandalism. Evidently shooting out windows with a BB gun is far more significant and heinous than rape.

Raw Story:

District Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced 21-year-old Brandon Turell to 10 years in prison, with five of those years suspended, and ordered him to pay about $13,600 in restitution, reported the Billings Gazette.

What happens next though puts the frosting on the cake. The judge gives the vandalism perp 10 years, suspends five of them, and caps it with a large fine.  Then he lectures the convicted fast food service worker on how he should get a better (higher paying)  job so he can pay back the victims quickly.

Wait, how's he going to pay back the victims quickly if he's doing 5 years in jail? If he can suspend the rapist's sentence down to a month, and he's so concerned about the victims getting restitution, then why not let this man free to work to pay off the victims?

And it gets a cherry on top of the frosting on this delicious cake.

Burger King Whopper

The judge asked Turell, who bonded out of jail about 18 months ago, what he had done to pay back his victims, and Turell said he had been working at Burger King.

“Why can’t you get a real job?” Baugh asked.

Turell said he made $9.50 an hour working at the fast food restaurant, and Baugh again suggested he get a “real job” that paid better.

A real job? Is this judge serious? $9.50/hr is two bucks above minimum wage. If he doesn't think making that kind of money is real money, then what does that say about the minimum wage?

This jurist is totally out of whack with the real world. Justice in this judge's hands is a dangerous thing. Rapists go free. Rape victims are disposable (the girl victim is dead). But vandalism victims are sacrosanct.

Oh, and how stupid is it to order someone to pay for the damages they caused, then take away their only way to pay the victims back by jailing the criminal for 5 years? I don't know how much they pay prisoners in Montana, but I gotta believe they pay a lot less for punching out license plates than they do for serving a Whopper with fries at the King.

Pity the fools who live in Montana if this is their version of justice.

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Bridge-it Loves Christie

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Pulaski Skyway Bridge Pulaski Skyway Bridge

What is it with boys and their toys? They just won't leave them alone sometimes. They have a fascination that they can't give up -- until they break them.

And NJ Governor Chris Christie may just have crossed that bridge too far.

Now comes another bridge scandal. No, really. Another bridge scandal. You just gotta love this guy, Christie. He doubles down when he thinks he can get away with something. He's determined to leave no bridge unturned.

Here's the latest from the Daily Beast:

The New York Times reported Tuesday that the Manhattan district attorney and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Christie's office for lobbying the Port Authority to divert $1.8 billion away from a canceled rail-tunnel project and towards repairing the Pulaski Skyway bridge. Pulaski is a state bridge, outside of the Port Authority's purview. The Christie administration recast the bridge as an access road to the Lincoln Tunnel (they're not connected) in order to justify using Port Authority funds. The move is under scrutiny for potentially defrauding bond holders. Under the Martin Act, prosecutors could bring felony charges without proving intent to defraud. The SEC could also take civil action.

What's it all mean? Fraud.

Christie, who boasted he could balance the state's budget in his reelection stump speeches, couldn't. So he diverted funds from a public source, the billion dollar rail-tunnel project. Christie cancelled the project which was already underway then took the unspent funds and used them for repairs that were not authorized. He did it by claiming the bridge was an access road.

A bridge became an access road? Okay, that's stretching it, but we'll move on.

He then claimed this "access road" connected to the Lincoln Tunnel. It does NOT  lead or connect in any way, shape or form to the Lincoln Tunnel. That's like saying the Bridge over the River Kwai connected Burma with London.

So, just when you thought it was safe to return to New Jersey, think again. You may be following road signs from Trenton to New York City and end up in Pennsylvania thanks to Gov. Christie and his new road connection designations.

But if you want to speak to him, you better do it quickly. He may be moving his office to the New Jersey State Department of Corrections.

Looks like he's gonna have a bit more 'splainin' to do, Lucy.

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