Archive for scandal – Page 2

"Voters need to keep the source of scandal -mongering in mind when they're at the polls"

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The VA scandal is real, and it's disturbing as hell. Nobody disputes that. On the bright side (*sarcasm*), Fox News contributor Ben Carson went so far as to call the VA scandal "a gift from God." What a guy, what. a. guy.

But there is more to the VA mess than playing the blame game. Scape-goating won't fix the problem, because the problem is systemic. So, while the GOP insists on exploiting what's left of their Benghazi!!!! and IRS smears as "scandals," they have proven not to be. The Veterans Affairs story, on the other hand, is, but it involves a number of components.

For example, via HuffPo: 41 Republican Senators Voted Against a Landmark Veterans Bill in February, Today They Blame the VA.

Here are some additional takes on "Another Obama scandal? Consider the source" via today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

It would be hard to disagree with Cathleen Decker's assertion that the Obama White House has an image of "one mess after another." It's largely composed of anything that will stick to the shovels of those digging for dirt, from tea party enemies to Fox News to House Republicans who sense danger for their party. ("VA crisis echoes Obamacare's stumbles: 'Drip, drip, drip,'" May 24)

Voters need to keep the source of the scandal-mongering in mind when they're at the polls. Having a Democratic-controlled Congress would be a big step back to collegial debate without shutdowns, intentional distortions and false scandals.

Jules Brenner

Hollywood

***

If a detailed, accurate evaluation of the current problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals is carried out, my guess is that it will show that the VA has had to shoulder huge additional responsibilities because of aging veterans and new ones from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, all of whom clearly deserve all that they have been promised. But the funding to fulfill those promises has been grossly inadequate.

We need to learn who is responsible. If it is the result of Congress failing to fund services, then those members responsible need to accept the blame.

Gertrude Barden

Porter Ranch

***

I am an older veteran who has only recently needed help. I found that the wait time for appointments has been as quick as with my private doctors, and the help at the VA clinic in South L.A. has been both friendly and professional.

If I had to find fault, it would be with the coffee — it's a little strong for my taste.

Oliver Eugene Thomas

Pasadena

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Judge who ended #Walker probe attended junkets financed by Kochs (VIDEO)

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A judge is supposed to be impartial. A judge, well, judges, and so he or she must be fair and dispassionate. A judge should not feel pressured or indebted to any party while rendering a decision. He or she should only rely on evidence presented.

So, when reports surfaced that the judge who halted the Walker "John Doe" criminal investigation attended all-expenses paid "judicial junkets," that raised a few eyebrows. Why?

Those little "junkets" were funded by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and other ideological and corporate interests. And by now, it's common knowledge that Walker and the Kochs are BFF. Well, Walker and the Kochs' wallets are BFF, because nothing defines friendship like corporate cash.

Did I mention that same judge has an assistant who is married to a Walker campaign lawyer?

Chris Hayes covered the corrupt judge story on "All In" last night. PR Watch wrote it up a few days ago:

On May 6, federal District Court Judge Rudolph Randa blocked an ongoing John Doe criminal probe into allegedly illegal coordination between nonprofit groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth, which spent $9.1 million on electoral ads during Wisconsin's recall elections, and the recall campaigns of Governor Scott Walker and state senators. John Doe investigations are similar to grand jury investigations, and Wisconsin Club for Growth -- and its director, Eric O'Keefe, a longtime compatriot of the Koch brothers -- asked the federal court to stop the probe, alleging it violated their "free speech" rights.

Judge Randa sided with O'Keefe, and also ordered prosecutors to destroy all evidence gathered in the investigation, an extraordinary edict in a criminal case made even more astounding by the fact that it came in the context of a preliminary injunction. The Seventh Circuit has blocked this part of his ruling; an appeal of the remainder of his decision is pending.

An analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that Judge Randa attended privately-funded, all-expenses-paid judicial seminars put on by George Mason University in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012, according to publicly-available financial disclosure forms. (The 2013 disclosure form has been requested but has not yet been publicly posted).

The George Mason University seminars are bankrolled by a long list of right-wing foundations, like Koch, Bradley, and the Searle Freedom Trust, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and corporations like BP, Exxon Mobil, and Dow Chemical.

Much more at the link.

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Fox News contributor Ben Carson: VA scandal "is a gift from God." (VIDEO)

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Above is a Media Matters video of what retired neurosurgeon and Fox News [sic] contributor, Dr. Ben Carson, said (out loud) on one of their broadcasts. He was being interviewed about the Veterans Affairs scandal involving the hospital backlogs when he made his thoughtless comments. Apparently the "doctor" has very little self-awareness and even less professionalism.

Short version: He exploited a simply terrible situation to bash Obamacare in the name of his god. Surprisingly, Ben Carson made no mention of-- BENGHAZI!!!!!! He must have been sleep-deprived or suffered a(nother) mental lapse to have omitted something as relevant as BENGHAZI!!!!!! from the conversation.

For Carson to have made such an egregious error should have resulted in Fox giving him the boot. He clearly failed to fall in line and regurgitate their default talking point. He committed the ultimate sin, especially at such an opportune time.

Ben Carson:

"I think what’s happening with the veterans is a gift from God to show us what happens when you take layers and layers of bureaucracy and place them between the patients and the health care provider. And if we can’t get it right, with the relatively small number of veterans, how in the world are you going to do it with the entire population?... You guys [politicians] are servants, you're not rulers.”

His god is kinda twisted. And by his god, I mean Carson.

How Pollyanna of him to play his warped version of the Glad Game as the rest of the nation registers shock, sorrow, and outrage. And how unfortunate for him and ClusterFox that his rosy outlook on the deaths and deception of veterans was aired for all to witness.

It's documented now, Doc Carson. Be proud.

By the way, this is the guy who also said, "Obamacare is the worse thing since slavery."

H/t: TPM

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Matt Mowers, ex- #Christie aide, contradicts his boss on wooing mayor #Bridgegate

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Former aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Matt Mowers, had a thing or two to say about a thing or two about Bridgegate. Remember Bridgegate? The scandal that rocked Christie's thuggy, nasty little world? The scandal that is currently being pushed aside in favor of Benghazi and Brainghazi and ThisGhazi and ThatGhazi? Matt Mowers testified for seven-- count 'em, seven!-- hours in front of the the legislative committee investigating the lane closings.

Matt Mowers did something else, too: He contradicted his boss. Ruh-roh. Anyone else out there suddenly have the word "retribution" pop into their mind?

Rachel Maddow covered the story during her election coverage last night, and noted that Bridgegate is not getting much attention these days, despite the fact that things are heating up. Watch the video above for her interview with John Wisniewski, the New Jersey Dem who is leading the investigation.

The New York Times has more:

The administration of Gov. Chris Christie worked to cultivate Fort Lee’s mayor for at least a year and a half before lanes were closed at the George Washington Bridge in an act of political retribution, according to testimony from a former aide to the governor on Tuesday.

The description of the efforts to woo the mayor seemed to run contrary to the governor’s statement after the lane closings exploded into a scandal in January that Mayor Mark Sokolich had never been on his “radar screen.”

So why in the world did Team Christie put lives at risk by closing down the lanes to the bridge?

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Boehner tweets pic of Benghazi Committee. So where's the photo of the fundraising letter?

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Republicans are so darned proud of their new Benghazi Committee that they could just burst. They were climbing all over each other to be included. Well, now, thanks to the Twitter Machine, we get to see exactly who won the Big Benghazi Committee Prize:

I tweeted my response: Got a pic of the fundraising letter? Boehner's costly and time-consuming witch hunt at the expense of four dead Americans, highlighting the GOP's blatant disregard for the deaths of four Americans, is appalling. Here are more tweets reacting to his Benghazi!!!! Ad that he'll likely robotically ignore (as he did questions about the fundraising) or never read:

From 2008:

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) is standing by the remarks he made yesterday that the Obamas are part of an “elitist-class…that thinks that they’re uppity.” According to the AP, Westmoreland says that he was unaware that the word was offensive...

Here are a few more Moments of Outrage:

David Spellman left out "exploitation" movie billboard. Moving on:

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WI judge who halted John Doe lawsuit has assistant married to Walker campaign lawyer

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Recently, a WI judge put a stop to the Scott Walker-infused John Doe investigation:

The John Doe investigation into possible illegal coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and several conservative groups has once again been halted after a federal judge on Thursday dismissed as “frivolous” an interim appeal by the prosecutors in the case.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa issued the decision less than a day after the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago stayed an earlier ruling ending the secret investigation.

Turns out that Steven Biskupic, a former U.S. attorney who is representing "a party in the secretive John Doe probe," is married to Cary Biskupic. Cary happens to work for WI Judge Rudolph Randa.

Conflict of interest much? Then again, questionable activities, hypocrisy, and legal problems are not atypical in Walker World.

Via the Wisconsin State Journal:

An assistant to the federal judge who ordered a halt to the state’s secret investigation into possible illegal campaign coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative groups is married to a lawyer for Walker’s campaign — which could be grounds for a judge to step down from a case. [...]

Walker’s campaign paid Biskupic’s law firm $86,000 last year, according to a recent campaign finance report. Walker’s campaign is also one of the targets in the John Doe probe, according to court filings.

According to the federal Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees, employees working for federal judges should not perform any official duties in any matter in which a spouse has an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.

Of course, with the way things often go in Walker World, this too may slither under the radar and be allowed to stand.

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Ex-Christie aide: Gov's self-exoneration chock full o' holes (ENTIRE VIDEO)

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Bridgegate Christina Renna ex-Christie aide testifies

Video h/t: BlueJersey.com

ADDED: Here is the entire testimony via NJTV News:

UPDATE:

Original post:

Talking Points Memo is reporting on the testimony of an ex-Christie aide, Christina Renna, given to the New Jersey legislative committee investigating Bridgegate. She worked in the governor's Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) under both Bill Stepien and Bridget Kelly. Among her sworn statements were a few choice words about the slut-shaming gossip sheet whitewash in which Legal Team Christie cleared their client.

Here are a few of those words out of the very mouth of the very ex-Christie aide:

"'Mandatory directive' were not my words," Renna said. "If you notice, they are not in quotation marks. That was Gibson Dunn's words. That was their characterization. They are never words I would have used. I would never use 'mandatory directive,' except in one incident which we can circle back to. They were not my words." Weinberg asked Renna whether she had a chance to correct Gibson Dunn's characterization of her interview before it was released publicly. Renna replied that she had not been given the opportunity.

Christie's legal team had summarized it this way:

Renna believed Stepien kept track of mayors who were not in favor with IGA, but Renna was not privy to that process. But IGA staff would receive mandatory directives along the lines of “do not rush to return this mayor’s phone call.” Renna recalled an IGA staffer asking Renna, “Can we get a list of hands-off mayors?” Renna remembered responding, “You know we won’t get it, and it would change daily anyway.”

Randy M. Mastro, the Team Christie lawyer who led the internal "investigation" of Bridgegate, did say that his exoneration paper was his understanding, his recap, of the interviews he held. But if even an ex-Christie aide is poking holes in Mastro's findings, then it's further confirmation that the "report" was nothing more than a paper sieve. full of holesMore details at the link.

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