Archive for cronyism

Another sweetheart deal: Donor "has complete access to #Christie, gets whatever he wants”

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sweetheart deal

Another day, another sweetheart deal between New Jersey Governor Chris "Who Moi?" Christie and one of his wealthy BFFs. This time it appears that the rules were changed only a couple of months before a land deal could be deemed eligible for funding. Guess who benefited? If you said a Christie crony, you would be correct.

Via The Guardian:

Chris Christie’s New Jersey administration awarded a $105.6m public subsidy to a property venture involving a close friend and financial backer of the governor, after state law was amended to enable the project to qualify for the money.

The venture, in one of the state’s poorest cities, appears potentially lucrative for the friend, Jon Hanson, a wealthy real estate tycoon who headed the fundraising operations for Christie's election campaigns, chairs a policy commission for the governor, and is a longstanding Republican donor. [...]

The site is located outside a city zone in which businesses were originally eligible for the state funding program. It did not appear to meet the usual requirements for creating jobs and future tax revenues that were placed on other projects that were seeking the funding. Yet a series of amendments were made to New Jersey law that made funding easier to obtain... Paterson’s mayor, Jeffery Jones, said he was concerned that Hanson’s firm, The Hampshire Companies, may have received a “special sweetheart deal”. He said: “Somebody wanted this thing done, and they got it done.”[...]

He has complete access to the governor,” another property mogul told the publication. “He just gets whatever he wants.

Per the Guardian, one of the EDA’s (economic development authority) board members is Hanson’s son-in-law and a senior executive at The Hampshire Companies. So is his wife, Deborah. She's Hanson’s daughter.

One hand washes the other, yet none are clean. Funny that.

More here. The last line is amusing.

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Chris Christie accused of interfering with New Jersey ethics agency

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ethics schmethics

Three former New Jersey Ethics Commission officials are accusing that stalwart of honesty and decency, Chris Christie, of messing with a state agency. A member of Christie’s staff-- an executive assistant who worked for Bill Stepien and Bridget Anne Kelly, just by the way-- "used her state email account to influence her county health department to handle some feral felines on her property." Allegedly. And that would be a no-no.

Yes, stray cats are now part of the Christie saga. The story picks up from there. NJ.com has the goods:

By the time it was over, the executive director of the ethics commission was out of a job at the request of the governor’s office, replaced by one of Christie’s own lawyers, who was later given a judgeship by the governor.

Now, three former commission officials, breaking four years of silence, are accusing the governor’s office of unprecedented interference with an agency set up to be free of political influence.

Christie, they say, pushed the agency commissioners to replace the executive director — at a time when she was investigating a member of his own staff — thus crossing a line no other governor had before.

What? Governor Ethics played political chess with jobs for cronies, because "the governor wants his own person"? Governor Heartbroken meddled in an ongoing investigation? Governor I Know Nothing... crossed a line? Who'da thunk it?

Did I mention that the person he wanted to kick out was a Democrat?

One former state senator and former Ethics Commission vice chairman, a Republican, said it was the first time a governor had "asked for the commission’s top investigator to be removed, or suggested his own candidate lead the agency."

Of course, Governor Who Moi? is denying everything, as he is wont to do.

Speaking of scandals, the AP is reporting that "a judge has given New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other defendants more time to file a response to two lawsuits related to lane closures at the George Washington Bridge."

Much more on the ethics complaint story here.

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"What is #Christie doing if not trying to control the free market?" He's protecting monopolies.

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chris christie tesla free marketImage via.

Oh that scamp New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, he says he is all about the free market. He's so supportive of a free market that he's doing whatever he can to stomp all over it in the name of "protecting consumers." Isn't that just like Governor "Heartbroken"? Always so concerned about his people; why, he's so concerned that they're still suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy due to his broken promises and (alleged) nefarious deeds.

Gee, when you think about it, his position is about as hypocritical as that of pro-forced birthers who demand that Big Government stay out of our lives as they force trans-vaginal ultrasounds up women without their permission while denying them the right to choose what to do with their own bodies. To protect "children." But they're not "children," they're zygotes and fetuses. But I digress.

Both are the kind of "protection" we can do without.

And with that, here is today's Los Angeles Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "The car dealers' racket," Opinion, March 17

So New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed a decision last week by the Motor Vehicle Commission to "protect consumers" and effectively kick Tesla out of the state by prohibiting it from selling its electric vehicles directly to consumers.

It appears, however, that the Christie administration is actually protecting long-established dealership monopolies.

Christie recently huffed, "We have an opportunity problem in this country because government is trying to control the free market." What is Christie doing if not trying to control the free market?

Another Christie talking point: "We need to talk about the fact that we're for a free-market society that allows your effort and your ingenuity to determine your success; not the cold, hard hand of government determining winners and losers."

I challenge Christie to come up with a better example of the free market at work than Tesla Motors, the first successful new American car company in more than half a century.

Linda Nicholes

Huntington Beach

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"Palin's populist bailout has grown into a financial and possible criminal disaster."

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A few things have popped up about former Half-Gov Barbie McLipSchmutz, like The FBI and the milkman: Got fraud?:

The Palin era dairy bailout seemed like such a bad idea back in 2007. Bailing out an industry that couldn't stand on it's own two feet. Appointing unqualified cronies to key positions and then allowing them to give away state agriculture loans without guarantees or proper collateral. But today, rumors are abound that the FBI has come knocking. [...]

Today the end is near, and the story line continues to highlight how Palin's populist bailout has grown into a financial and possible criminal disaster. [...]

Even putting the Creamery's blatant mismanagement, the BAC's brutal cronyism, and the resulting financial losses aside, there are strong signals from insiders that the FBI still has much to say.

At the end of the day, the Palin era dairy bailout will stand the test of time as a very costly and very ill conceived attempt at government subsidized crony cow capitalism.

And with that, here are today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re “Hey GOP, take the Palin cure,” Opinion, Nov. 18

I couldn't tell whether Allen was going for high satire or was sincere in her jaw-dropping recommendation to the GOP that it nominate Palin in 2016.

I'll be the first to admit that we live in a time in which reality and perception are often muddled, and in which “uninformed” — or perhaps more accurately “misinformed” — people vote based on 30-second TV spots. However, I like to believe that more people than not give some thought to their votes.

When Allen listed Palin's attributes as a potential presidential candidate, there was one glaring oversight: her lack of intellectual rigor. Surely most voters could pick up on that.

Julia Springer

Summerland

 ***

I would like to inform Allen that my circle of friends jumped the fence and did the unthinkable: We voted for President Obama in 2008 for no other reason than that we found Palin unprepared and unqualified to run for vice president.

Further, we questioned John McCain's sanity when he made such a choice.

Palin is not what the Republican Party needs, and if this is all we have to offer for the next election, we should fold up our tent and step aside.

As for Palin being the new Ronald Reagan, give me a break. She can't get smart enough or live long enough for such a title.

Lori Graham

Los Angeles

 ***

When I saw this piece by Allen, initially I assumed it was a joke. After reading it, I can only pray that Allen is able to persuade her party to run Palin in 2016. I cannot imagine a bigger gift to us progressives.

As a woman, I find it horrifying that Allen suggests Palin would win over Hillary Rodham Clinton because “looks count in politics.”

I guess that is the biggest difference currently between Democrats and Republicans: Democrats value intellect and ability; Republicans value “hotness” and apparently very low IQs.

So, go Charlotte Allen! Run Sarah Palin and give us the White House for at least another four years.

Maggie Bialack

Woodland Hills

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Audio- Limbaugh: Obama Is A "Dangerous President," An "Angry ... Crony Capitalist With A Huge Chip On His Shoulder"

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Via MM.

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"Rick Perry has enjoyed lavish perks & travel, mostly funded by a group of deep-pocketed supporters"

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Via

We already know Rick Perry is as corrupt as they come, practices "crony capitalism", and is happy to accept big donations in exchange for big favors.

The more we learn, the more we Dems want to keep him out of the White House. Then again, we're equally nauseous at the prospect of a President Romney. But back to the French Cuff Cowpoke and his pattern and practice of pay-to-play.

How tea baggers can continue to support someone who is so indebted to Big Biz/Big Corps is beyond me. Oh wait. Tea baggers are also indebted to Big Corps.

Via Politico:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s humble origins and down home straight talk are central to his political identity, but for years Perry has enjoyed lavish perks and travel — mostly funded by a group of deep-pocketed supporters — that are allowed under his state’s lax ethics and campaign rules.

Some of the same Texas donors who have funded Perry's political rise also have footed the bills for Perry and his family to jet around the world, stay in luxury hotels and resorts, vacation in tony Colorado ski towns, attend all manner of sporting events and concerts, and to maintain, entertain -- and even pay the cable bill -- at the 4,600-square-foot mansion with a heated pool that taxpayers are renting for him at a cost of about $8,500 a month.

And that’s to say nothing of the wide range of sometimes-expensive gifts Perry has accepted over the years, including 22 pairs of cowboy boots, Stetson hats, belt buckles, cuff links and at least nine hunting trips.

Nine hunting trips? Clearly, he was never accompanied by Dick Cheney, since he doesn't appear to have any obvious facial scarring.

Craig McDonald, director of the liberal watchdog group Texans for Public Justice:

"[H]e has favors that he can give them, including policy, legislation, appointments, state grants and tax subsidies.”

Maybe Ricky could use some of that money to improve his "withering" health care system.

You can read much more about this here.

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If the Buck Stops at the Top, Scott Walker is Responsible for the Death of 15-year-old

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Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal, Mark Karlin, with permission:

It was June of 2010 and Jerald Kellner, 15-years-old, was on his way to Miwaukee's "Summerfest" when he was killed by a slab of falling concrete in a parking garage poorly maintained by Milwaukee County.

Scott Walker, then the long-term chief executive of Milwaukee County, indignantly denied that he was responsible for not maintaining the safety of county buildings.  [...]

According to "The Daily Reporter," a Wisconsin paper that covers the construction industry, an October 2010 report by the Milwaukee County Department of Audit, the county, under Walker, was not systematically overseeing the maintenance of county buildings and property [...]

Of the neglect of public safety under the Walker Milwaukee County Administration, the Milwaukee County Audit director was frank:

[...] “We don’t really do preventative maintenance,” Heer said. “We wait till things are really bad and need major repairs.” (Bolded by BuzzFlash at Truthout.)

[...]

[T]his is managerial neglect -- under the guise of saving taxpayer dollars -- that could be deadly to the citizens of Wisconsin.

Much more here.

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