Conservative Down – Yet Another Con faces Criminal Charges

So far this week we have seen one Republican Governor indicted in Va for taking bribes…

A Republican Governor in New Jersey under Federal investigation, in what started as a case of political payback, and has now expanded to corruption charges, and even meetings with a purported Mafia Capo…

And now, one of the formerly shining voices of the right, Dines D’Souza being indicted for election fraud.

I mean…It’s only January, and you have two guys formerly touted as potential Presidential material, and a highly influential voice on the Christian Right potentially looking at jail time.

How bad is it? You even have Glen Beck apologizing!

This should be a TV reality show.

The latest conservative icon to face charges is Dinesh D’Souza. Author of “Illiberal Education“, the controversial “The End of Racism“, and the Anti-Obama hate Movie

2016: Obama’s America” which was a major hit with the racist conservative sector.

Dinesh D’Souza’s Series of Unfortunate Events

Author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza was indicted for encouraging fraudulent campaign donations—just the latest in a spiral that has all but sunk his career in the conservative movement.

Conservative author, filmmaker and provocateur Dinesh D’Souza was indicted Thursday on charges of using straw donors to make illegal contributions to a college classmate’s 2012 campaign.

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, accuses D’Souza of “willfully and knowingly” surpassing the $5,000 limit for individual campaign donations by directing others to donate to the campaign of Wendy Long, who unsuccessfully challenged New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012. According to the document, D’Souza and his then-wife, Dixie, each contributed $5,000 to Long’s campaign, and he reimbursed others for $20,000 he had encouraged them to donate.

D’Souza worked with Long on the infamousDartmouth Review, an edgy conservative newspaper at Dartmouth College known for launching smart young right-wingers to prominence. In 1990, the pairapologized for printing an anti-Semitic quote from Hitler’s Mein Kampf in an edition of the publication distributed on Yom Kippur—an antic typical of theReview’s ethos of deliberate provocation. Long went on to become an attorney at several conservative institutions, including the Claremont Institute. She made her first run for office in 2012, and lost in a landslide to Gillibrand, New York’s incumbent Democratic senator.

According to the New York Times], Long raised about $785,000 in the race, with D’Souza hosting one of her fundraisers. D’Souza’s lawyer denied any criminal intent in the apparent plot to reimburse donors to Long’s campaign, saying it was “at most … an act of misguided friendship.”

The indictment is just the latest in a tangle of personal and professional difficulties that swarmed around D’Souza at what was arguably the height of his success: the popularity of his 2012 anti-Obama documentary 2016: Obama’s America. The film, which was released in the summer of 2012 and became a slow-burn hit with conservatives in the run-up to the presidential election, earned over $33 million at the box office and was the highest-grossing documentary since 1982. But just a couple of months into the film’s promotion, D’Souza was out of a job: he resigned his lucrative position as president of the King’s College, a small evangelical Christian school in Manhattan, over reportsthat he was engaged to a 29-year-old woman while still being married to his wife of 20 years.

D’Souza’s departure from the King’s College was the symbolic end of his career in the institutional conservative movement, which had grown increasingly exasperated with his string of conspiratorial books that failed to live up to his reputation as a star of conservative scholarship. (One advanced the notion that America’s moral decadence led to 9/11; another launched the meme, which has long since become a political punch line, that Obama was a “Kenyan anti-colonialist.”) D’Souza’s tenure at the King’s College was fraught with conflict, as some faculty members viewed him as a name-brand hire who lacked appropriate academic credentials and who was more interested in his own money-making projects than in fundraising for the college.

The conflict came to a head in October, when the evangelical magazine Worldalleged that D’Souza had shared a hotel room with Denise Odie Joseph, a young woman who had written a fawning blog about about him, and introduced her as his fiancée despite still being married. The college had apparently been aware of D’Souza’s marital problems, but decided to end its relationship with him once news of the scandal engulfed the school.

Despite that flameout, D’Souza’s prospects seemed as bright as ever: his wildly successful documentary was one of the most profitable projects of his career, at least since his hagiographic biography of Ronald Reagan was published in 1999. D’Souza had discovered the lucrative business of hitting the sweet spots of the conservative movement with a mixture of Christian apologetics, celebration of conservative heroes, and paranoid attacks on liberals. Even if it was unlikely he would continue to be given quasi-scholarly positions in conservative institutions, the financial prospects of political propagandizing had never looked better.

But even the glow of his documentary’s success was interrupted by legal headaches. While the King’s College scandal was erupting, D’Souza was sued by Douglas Sain, the producer of 2016: Obama’s America. Sain alleged that D’Souza had mismanaged funds from the movie and kept his partners out of crucial decisions about the film’s marketing and distribution. A judge eventually threw out the suit, concluding that the charges “lacked specificity.”

D’Souza was last seen in an informercial for a friend’s artificial Christmas tree

Charter Failure and Corruption

Another conservative failure – privatization of schools.

The Charter “Movement” never was about better education for kids – it is all about lining folks pockets and destroying politically influential teacher’s unions.

So…when is someone going to step in and stop this criminal farce?

The truth about charter schools: Padded cells, corruption, lousy instruction and worse results

Imagine your 5-year-old boy went to a school where he was occasionally thrown in a padded cell and detained alone for stretches as long as 20 minutes.

Or you sent your kid to an elementary school where the children are made to sit on a bare floorin the classroom for days before they can “earn” their desks.

Or your kid went to a school where she spent hours parked in a cubicle in front of a computerwith a poorly trained teacher who has to monitor more than 100 other students.

Maybe you don’t have children or send them to private school? So how do you feel when you find out the local school that you pay for with your taxes is operating a scam that diverted millions of dollars through fake Medicaid billing?

Or the school used your tax dollars as “grants” to start up other profit-making enterprises … orpay lavish salaries – $300,000, $400,000 or more – to its administrators … or support a movement linked to a reclusive Turkish cleric being investigated for bribery and corruption.

Welcome to the world of charter schools.

Are there wonderful charter schools doing great things for kids? Probably. Are all these cumulative anecdotes an unfair representation of the value that charter schools can bring to some communities? Maybe.

But neither of those questions matters because of what the charter school movement has come to represent in the landscape of American education.

 

Charter schools have been relentlessly marketed to the American populace as a silver bullet for “failed” public schools, especially in poor urban communities of African-American and Latino/a students.

Politicians in both parties speak glowingly of these schools – which, by the way, their children seem never to attend.

Opening charter schools has become the latest fad for celebrities including athletes and rap stars.

Huge nationwide chains – called education management organizations (EMOs) – now run many of these charters. A recent study by the National Education Policy Center found, “Students across 35 states and the District of Columbia now attend schools managed by these non-government entities.” These for-profit and nonprofit EMOs – such as K12 Inc., National Heritage Academies, Charter Schools USA and KIPP – now account for nearly half of the students educated by charter schools.

Substantial, well-funded nationwide organizations have rapidly developed to lobby for these schools. One such organization, the Alliance for School Choice, recently received a $6 million gift from the Walton Foundation, of Wal-Mart fame.

Slick marketing campaigns have been rolled out in communities across the country to tout the coming of new charters.

The actual academic results of these schools seems to hardly anyone, despite report after reportshowing that these schools tend to do poorly on state and national tests and fail at providing equitable education to underserved students.

Yet lobbying for more of these schools continues unabated with more money funneled into the campaigns of politicians who support charters and more efforts to press state lawmakers to lift any provisions currently in place to regulate how these schools operate and are held accountable to the public. Continue reading

Reprobate Flim-Flam on Judcial Appointments

Each Senator has the privilege to submit to the President candidates to fill the Federal Bench in his or her State that they feel are qualified…

So why is it, Republicans are blocking the very same folks they nominated and President Obama placed in consideration for Senate approval?

Looks to me the now that the ridiculous abuse of the filibuster by the Rethugs has been curtailed – the next thing is the infamous “Blue Slip” allowing Senators to block appointments.

Of course it may be complete “mere coincidence” that both nominees are black… But then again…Not.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) one of two reprobate scumbags who is blocking their own judicial nominee, in this case, Jennifer May-Parker, even after recommending her to President Obama.

Richard Burr Blocks Judicial Nominee After Recommending Her To Obama

On Tuesday, the Obama administration confirmed it was pulling back a judicial nominee in Florida after it became apparent that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) would not allow a vote, even though the nominee was originally his own recommendation. But Rubio isn’t the only Republican senator holding up a judicial nominee he previously supported.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is also refusing to advance Jennifer May-Parker, a nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, though Burr previously put May-Parker forward for the post.

In a July 2009 letter to the White House, a copy of which was obtained by The Huffington Post, Burr recommended May-Parker for the slot and described her as having “the requisite qualifications to serve with distinction.”

Obama formally submitted her nomination to the Senate in June 2013. But May-Parker hasn’t moved since because Burr is withholding his “blue slip” to the Senate Judiciary Committee — a de-facto rule in the committee that allows a senator to advance or block a nominee for his or her home state. Fellow North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan (D) has submitted her blue slip.

Burr hasn’t said why he’s holding up May-Parker, and there is urgency to the delay: The North Carolina judicial seat, empty since 2005, is the longest-standing court vacancy in the country. May-Parker would also make history, if confirmed, as the first African-American district judge in the 44-county Eastern District.

A request for comment from Burr’s office was not returned.

Rubio had also been using his blue slip privilege to block the nomination of William Thomas. The irony was that Rubio had recommended Thomas to President Barack Obama in late 2012, for the long-vacant slot on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Rubio’s office insisted the senator’s change of heart on Thomas was based on questions about his “judicial temperament and his willingness to impose appropriate criminal sentences.” If he had been confirmed, Thomas would have made history as the first openly gay black man to serve as a federal judge.

Conservative Fraud – White Republican Pretends to be Black to Win Election

More dirty tricks from Rethugs…

A white conservative Republican decided he couldn’t win in a majority black district – so he decided to defraud the voters by pretending to be black. It isn’t clear from the articles how far this deception went in terms of presenting his position on issues – but his actions are certainly fraudulent…

If not criminal.

White guy wins after leading voters to believe he’s black

Dave Wilson chuckles as he talks about his unorthodox political campaign.

“I’d always said it was a long shot,” Wilson says. “No, I didn’t expect to win.”

Still, he figured he’d have fun running, because he was fed up with what he called “all the shenanigans” at the Houston Community College System. As a conservative white Republican running in a district whose voters are overwhelmingly black Democrats, the odds seemed overwhelmingly against him.

Then he came up with an idea, an advertising strategy that his opponent found “disgusting.” If a white guy didn’t have a chance in a mostly African-American district, Wilson would lead voters to think he’s black.

And it apparently worked. In one of the biggest political upsets in Houston politics this election season, Wilson — an anti-gay activist and former fringe candidate for mayor — emerged as the surprise winner over 24-year incumbent Bruce Austin. His razor thin margin of victory, only 26 votes, was almost certainly influenced by his racially tinged campaign.

“Every time a politician talks, he’s out there deceiving voters,” he says.

Wilson, a gleeful political troublemaker, printed direct mail pieces strongly implying that he’s black. His fliers were decorated with photographs of smiling African-American faces — which he readily admits he just lifted off websites — and captioned with the words “Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson.”

One of his mailers said he was “Endorsed by Ron Wilson,” which longtime Houston voters might easily interpret as a statement of support from a former state representative of the same name who’s also African-American. Fine print beneath the headline says “Ron Wilson and Dave Wilson are cousins,” a reference to one of Wilson’s relatives living in Iowa.

“He’s a nice cousin,” Wilson says, suppressing a laugh. “We played baseball in high school together. And he’s endorsed me.”

Austin tried to answer the mailer with his own fliers showing Wilson’s face, calling him a “right-wing hate monger” and saying he “advocated bringing back chain gangs to clean highways.” But the campaign clearly caught him off guard.

“I don’t think it’s good,” he said. “I don’t think it’s good for both democracy and the whole concept of fair play. But that was not his intent, apparently.”

Just how much a role Wilson’s mailers played in the campaign is unclear. Other incumbents running for re-election were forced into runoffs, perhaps because the community college system has come under intense criticism for insider business deals and spending money on overseas initiatives. And after 24 years in office, Austin’s name should have been somewhat familiar to his constituents.

“I suspect it’s more than just race,” says Bob Stein, the Rice University political scientist and KHOU analyst. “The Houston Community College was under some criticism for bad performance. And others on the board also had very serious challenges.”

Austin has said he plans to ask for a recount. But in an era of electronic voting, political analysts said Wilson’s victory will probably hold and send him into office for a six-year term.

History Repeats Itself In Florida’s Juvenile System

Wrote about the vicious Florida Juvenile System of past years a few months ago where Juveniles were abused and killed.

Seem that things haven’t gotten a whole bunch better. When Republicans “privatize” government…

This is what really goes on.

PRISONERS OF PROFIT: Florida’s Lax Oversight Enables Systemic Abuse At Private Youth Prisons

Youth Services International confronted a potentially expensive situation. It was early 2004, only three months into the private prison company’s $9.5 million contract to run Thompson Academy, a juvenile prison in Florida, and already the facility had become a scene of documented violence and neglect.

One guard had fractured an inmate’s elbow after the boy refused instructions to throw away a cup, according to incident reports. Another guard had slammed a boy’s head into the floor after an argument. The prison was infested with ants and cockroaches,toilets were frequently clogged and children reported finding bugsin their meager portions of food.

“From day one, it was hell,” said Jerry Blanton, a former monitor with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, who was then tasked with inspecting Thompson Academy.

Conditions appeared so foul and perilous that he told his supervisors that he “emphatically recommended that the facility be closed,”according to a memo about the discussions.

What happened next speaks to how Youth Services International has managed to forge a lucrative business running private juvenile prisons in Florida and 15 other states even amid mounting evidence of abuse. The company used connections with state officials to complain that Blanton was intimidating staff. Less than a week later, the state removed him as monitor of the facility. Two months after that, he was fired.

Thompson remained open, and Youth Services International retained its contract to operate it. In the nine years since, the company has won an additional eight contracts in Florida, bringing 4,100 more youths through its facilities, according to state records. All the while, complaints of abuse and neglect have remained constant.

Florida leads the nation in placing state prisons in the hands of private, profit-making companies. In recent years, the state has privatized the entirety of its $183 million juvenile commitment system — the nation’s third-largest, trailing only California and Texas. Florida not only relies on private contractors to self-report escapes and incidents of violence and abuse, but the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice routinely awards contracts to private prison operators without scrutinizing their records, a Huffington Post investigation has found.

“We thought DJJ was going to be our biggest ally,” said Gordon Weekes, the chief juvenile public defender in Broward County, who has for years complained to the state about conditions inside two YSI prisons there. “They turned out to be the ally of the corporations, and the ally of the system.”

Florida’s permissive oversight has allowed Youth Services International to essentially game the system since entering the state more than a decade ago. Despite contractual requirements that the company report serious incidents at its facilities, YSI routinely fails to document problems, sanitizes those reports it does submit and pressures inmates to withhold evidence of mistreatment, according to interviews with 14 former YSI employees.

“The state is not doing enough,” said Wanda Williams, a former staffer at YSI’s Palm Beach Juvenile Correctional Facility, who quit in 2010 after growing disgusted with the violence and squalid conditions she saw inside the prison. “Because if they were, that place should have been shut down by now.”

Executives at YSI declined requests for interviews made over the last four months. In an emailed response to questions, Senior Vice President Jesse Williams said the company’s juvenile prisons are some of the best in Florida. He added that the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice rigorously inspects the facilities.

“The DJJ has a very meticulous monitoring system,” he said. “There are numerous announced and unannounced visits to each facility to check for quality assurance and contract compliance, and we do very well in our reviews.”

Williams denied that the company fails to report serious incidents to the state. “Our policy is to report everything,” he said. “In fact, we communicate to our employees that if there are any doubts about whether it is a reportable incident to go ahead and notify DJJ.”

Senior officials at the Department of Juvenile Justice declined interview requests. The agency refused to discuss specific details of HuffPost’s findings, though a spokeswoman issued a statement asserting the department is committed to ensuring that youth in its system “remain safe and are given every opportunity to thrive.” She said contract oversight is one of the agency’s top priorities.

“With 100 percent of the agency’s residential services provided through contractors, the contract selection and renewal process is paramount to our success,” said the spokeswoman, Meghan Speakes Collins, in an email.

Since 2011, when Republican Gov. Rick Scott took office in Florida, the department has “revamped” its review of contractors, she added, by engaging in deeper statistical analysis of trends such as high staff turnover and the number of altercations between staff and youth.

YSI is a subsidiary of a bigger company operating a number of facilities in  predominately Red States. From another investigation of their facilities in Texas -

Kirkham goes on to write, quote, “In 2001, an 18-year-old committed to a Texas boot camp operated by one of Slattery’s previous companies, Correctional Services Corp., came down with pneumonia and pleaded to see a doctor as he struggled to breathe. Guards accused the teen of faking it and forced him to do pushups in his own vomit, according to Texas law enforcement reports. After nine days of medical neglect, he died.

That same year, auditors in Maryland found that staff at one of Slattery’s juvenile facilities coaxed inmates to fight on Saturday mornings as a way to settle disputes from earlier in the week. In recent years, the company has failed to report riots, assaults and claims of sexual abuse at its juvenile prisons in Florida, according to a review of state records and accounts from former employees and inmates.

Nearly 40 percent of the nation’s juvenile delinquents are today committed to private facilities, according to the most recent federal data from 2011, up from about 33 percent twelve years earlier.

Over the past two decades, more than 40,000 boys and girls in 16 states have gone through one of Slattery’s prisons, boot camps or detention centers, according to a Huffington Post analysis of juvenile facility data.

Out of more than 300 institutions surveyed, a YSI detention center in Georgia had the highest rate of youth alleging sexual assaults in the country, according to a recent report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

A YSI facility in Palm Beach County had the highest rate of reported sexual assaults out of 36 facilities reviewed in Florida, the Bureau of Justice Statistics report found….

 

What Some Stars sound Like without Auto-Tune

One of the biggest frauds perpetrated on the listening public is Auto-tune and Voice-Over used in live concerts to make the artist sound a good as the studio. This video presents the actual sound track from the microphone during a Britney Spears performance. Judge the girls chops for yourself…

Now, no one has ever accused Britney of having a voice…Rapidly declining good looks and nice gams… But not pipes.

The ugly truth is virtually no one can maintain the breath control and pitch required to sing like Ella Fitzgerald while doing an aerobics routine. Meaning all of these high energy dance performances passing for concerts are conducted using voice over. Meaning if you are paying $200 to see some of these performers – that is exactly all you are getting. What you see on the stage is an attractive woman dancing in her underwear. What you hear was recorded in a studio -perhaps years ago – perhaps, but not necessarily by the artist who is dancing (Milli Vanilli ring a bell, anyone?).

Which leaves the question… Et Tu Beyonce?

Tammy Duckworth Hammers a Fraud!

At least the woman progressives are being real in terms of standing up for their principles. In this one, during a Congressional Hearing on companies which benefit from Small Business Set Asides for disabled Veterans (In tax hack Darrel Issa’s Committee no less), Tammy unloads on a guy who has fraudulently represented himself as a disabled vet to take advantage of the program…

 

Another Kwame – Another Fraud

Kwame Brown – Orange Jumpsuit Politician of the Week Award

Small Government is corrupt government. One of the reasons conservatives so love that small government is the opportunity it provides for corruption.

Washington, DC’s city government has a long history and culture of corruption.  Many of the black contractors in the region won’t even consider making sales calls on the DC Government because of internal corruption.

From former Mayor Marion Berry to the current Kwame, this corruption has reached into the highest levels of the DC Government, forming a virtual boat anchor around the necks of the citizenry and the city’s ability to provide services.

The amazing part is that the stakes in the corruption, unlike other big cities – are so small. I’m not real sure this is the type of case Federal prosecutors ought to be chasing, though – as there seems to me to be a lot bigger fish to fry than some moron lying about his income on a loan application. Going after Kwame on this is a bit…

Overboard.

Speaking of boat anchors – Borrowing $50k for a 38′ boat? Obviously he was maxxed out on his Mercedes payment (Kwame had a reputation for driving expensive cars). If he had to borrow $50k for that size boat – he couldn’t afford it anyway. Boats in that size come with 300-600 gallon gas tanks – meaning a fill up for half a tank, which is where most prudent boaters fill – is $750 – $1,500. That doesn’t count $2-3000 a year in slip fees, $1,500 in winterization costs, and normal repairs and maintenance…

It had to be a used boat, because the last time I went to the Annapolis Boar Show, you couldn’t buy the steering wheel on a quality boat in that class for $50k. And I have known guys who spent that much on the electronics package and fishing gear on their boats.

And with the mortgage industry fraud and theft by bank of depositor funds though overdraft and other manipulated fees…

I’m not sure Kwame’s crime rises above theft of stolen money from a thief who stole the money in the first place.

Not to excuse Kwame – But…

I Don’t understand why these prosecutors aren’t putting the real thieves in jail.

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown resigns after he is charged with bank fraud

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown resigned from his seat Wednesday night, hours after he was charged with bank fraud, plunging the city government into a leadership crisis.

“Because of the great respect that I have for the institution that is the Council of the District of Columbia, I have chosen the only honorable course in submitting my resignation at this time,” Brown wrote in a letter to the council secretary. “I simply will not hold this body, and its important work hostage to the resolution of my personal indiscretions.”

Earlier in the day, prosecutors filed a three-page charging document in the District’s federal court accusing Brown (D) of falsifying records in applications to obtain a home loan and to buy a $50,000 powerboat. Brown inflated his income by “tens of thousands of dollars” in the two-year scheme that started in August 2005, federal prosecutors wrote.

Brown, dogged for months by an investigation into his personal finances and his 2008 campaign for a council seat, is scheduled to attend a plea hearing Friday before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon. Bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, but under federal sentencing guidelines, Brown will face far less potential punishment.

The disclosure of the charges set off a frenzy of activity at the District’s John A. Wilson Building, including a hastily scheduled closed-door council meeting in Brown’s office.

Brown, 41, submitted his resignation quietly, in a letter delivered privately. He refused to address a platoon of reporters as he left his council offices about 4 p.m.

A politician who speaks of himself in the third person, has compared himself to President John F. Kennedy and has a love affair with expensive cars, Brown flashed a large grin as he shoved his way through the scrum and tried to ignore reporters’ shouted questions.

“I will have a comment tomorrow,” said Brown, who as recently as last week said that he was not “worried one bit” about an intensifying federal probe into his finances and a previous city campaign.

The charges against Brown came in a “criminal information,” a document that can be filed only with the defendant’s consent and which signals that a plea deal has been reached. Officials familiar with the case said that prosecutors and Brown’s attorney have been discussing the plea deal for weeks.

“Thank you,” he told reporters as he tried to get to his car. “No comment as of now. I appreciate you for waiting in this hallway all this time. I don’t have a comment.”

On Wednesday night, well after Brown had left the Wilson Building, city workers removed his nameplate from his office door, leaving only the word “Chairman” near Room 504…

Brown is the second council member this year to be charged with a federal crime. Last month, former council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D) was sentenced to 38 months in prison after pleading guilty to stealing more than $350,000 from city taxpayers.

Did Crooked Lawyers and a Judge Steal Rosa Park’s Endowment?

One of the things which have really escalated in the past few years has been the cost of Lawyers. Believe me, I’m in the middle of a lawsuit right now, paying from $375 – $575 an hour for Lawyers. One of the things which has happened in this country is to make it financially impossible for many individuals and small companies to pursue legal remedies – meaning a further tilting of the playing field in the favor of the wealthy.

One of the issues I expect to surface in the next few years is accountability for Lawyers, as the system of capitalistic competition seems to have (once again) failed at controlling costs.

Attorney: Judge, 2 lawyers conspired to drain civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks’ estate of cash

An attorney claims a judge and two lawyers involved in a long-running dispute over civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks’ estate conspired to drain the estate’s cash.

Attorney Stephen G. Cohen said in court papers Tuesday that Wayne County Probate Judge Freddie Burton Jr. conspired with John Chase Jr. and Melvin Jefferson Jr. to rack up more than $507,000 in mostly unnecessary legal fees. Cohen claims the estate is $88,000 in debt.

Jefferson told The Detroit News the court action was a “great fabrication.” Burton declined to comment to the Detroit Free Press. An email seeking comment was sent Thursday to Chase.

A hearing is May 22.

Parks left almost all her estate to the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute, which Cohen represents. Relatives challenged Parks’ will after her 2005 death.

Uncle Ruckus Cain

Uncle Ruckus has been a very busy man the past few weeks, in his 8 minutes of fame as a “leader” of the Republican President wannabe herd…

So here is a” cainipption”,  three issues in one post.

This one has Cain stuffing his own pockets with campaign money, not dissimilar to the way Michael Steele paid himself during his runs in his home state of Maryland…

Cain Used Campaign Funds to Buy Autobiography From His Company

Republican presidential contender Herman Cain used campaign funds to buy his own books from his motivational speaking company, Federal Election Commission records show.

Although his autobiography was published by a division of Simon & Schuster Inc., Cain paid Stockbridge, Georgia-based T.H.E New Voice Inc. $36,511 for books. His campaign spent $4 million through Sept. 30, including more than $64,000 paid to his motivational speaking company for airfare, lodging and supplies, as well as the books.

“They are buying my books and my pamphlets,” Cain said in an interview in between appearances in Arizona yesterday. “The campaign is buying them from T.H.E New Voice.”…

The books are being given away to supporters to help Cain acquaint them with his life story, part of his “unconventional approach” to his candidacy, he said, adding that his campaign has seen a $2 million windfall in donations in the last two weeks after a surge in the polls.

The FEC has let campaigns buy candidates’ books as long as they don’t profit by the sale. In 2001, the commission said the campaign committee of then-Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania could buy the lawmaker’s autobiography to give to donors, provided the he didn’t receive royalties or count those books in calculations of future payments. The FEC issued a similar ruling in 2004 concerning Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, an independent…

Another 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, faced ethics issues over a $4.5 million book advance he was offered in 1994 from a publishing unit of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., shortly before becoming House speaker. Amid criticism from lawmakers from both parties, Gingrich agreed to forgo the advance and just take royalties.

On news that Mr. Cain is a long time Koch sucker…

Herman Cain: ‘I’m Very Proud Of The Relationship That I Have With The Koch Brothers’

I know the Koch Brothers. The Koch Brothers helped to start to an organization called Americans for Prosperity. And I did some speaking when they were starting that organization, and I’m very proud of the relationship that I have with the Koch Brothers, as well as Americans for Prosperity. I have also attended some of their seminars and have found them very informative. So I don’t have a close relationship with the Koch Brothers, but I know them and I respect them, and they know me and respect me.

This one is ripping through the conservative blogsphere. Martin Bashir is drawing more than a little ire from the white right for this one (Follow the link to see the video) -

Bashir: Cain Doesn’t Want To Be “Associated With African-Americans”

MARTIN BASHIR, HOST: Mr. Cain was supposed to attend the dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial on Sunday. I like many people watched it, was moved by it, but he failed to attend. Now there’s been some surprise at his absence. But being honest, isn’t this consistent for a man who really doesn’t want to be overtly associated with African-Americans…

MICHAEL STEELE: Oh no, that’s…

BASHIR: and certainly not a man as dangerous as the greatest civil rights leader in the history of the country? He doesn’t want to be associated with those…

MICHAEL STEELE: No, come on, no, I reject that and on his behalf resent that.

BASHIR: You do?

STEELE: Yeah, because I know first off, you know…

BASHIR: But this is a man, Michael, who says racism virtually doesn’t exist.

Come on down, Herman… And get your award!

Herman Cain Black Conservative Tea Party Supporter of the Year Award

Formal Complaint to Judiciary Committee Filed Against Clarence Thomas

At least some folks are beginning to get serious on Capitol Hill.  Tommie Clarence’s “Pay for Justice” scheme may well be unraveling fast…

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Democrats, demand ethics probe of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

A group of liberal Democrats, led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, will formally ask theHouse Judiciary Committee today to investigate “ethical lapses” by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

At issue is Thomas’ failure to report “at least $1.6 million” in earnings by his wife Virginia for her work at the conservative Heritage Foundation between 2003 and 2007. Virginia Thomas has been one of the most vocal critics of the federal health care law. The Supreme Court will hear a case this term determining the law’s constitutionality.

The letter also asked the committee to examine “air travel and yacht stays and other gifts from wealthy supporters.”

“Reports of potential ethical lapses by Justice Thomas’s actions give rise to concerns about conflicts of interest undermining appellants’ rights of due process and also raise substantive questions about Justice Thomas’s ability to retain his seat,” said the letter, which was written by Blumenauer and will be delivered today.

“We urge that your committee hold hearings regarding the nature of these questions, their factual basis, and their potential to undermine the public’s trust in the Supreme Court,” it says.

During a news conference Wednesday, Blumenauer also said a similar letter will be sent to the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee in coming days.

“Nobody is unaccountable in our system of government and we need to take steps to make sure this is always the case,” he said. “These are fundamental questions about the administration justice and it doesn’t necessarily need to be partisan to make sure there are rules of the road for the Supreme Court.”

In January, Thomas eventually amended several years of financial disclosures he is required by law to file after media reports raised questions about the omission. Simultaneously he released letters saying his wife’s income was “inadvertently omitted due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions.”…

“Rogue Trader” Takes Down UBS for $2 Billion

Talk about a major screw up! How is that if you are $.25 overdrawn the bank jumps all over your case…

And a 31 Year Old Trader with less than 5 years experience gets to play with billions of dollars unchecked?

It doesn’t appear (at least in what has been announced publicly so far) that this guy stole money – it may well be that he got nailed chasing a bad investment loss with increasingly risky (and thus higher paying) investments which didn’t work.

Rogue trades cost UBS $2bn

kweku adoboli

Kweku Adoboli

LONDON police have arrested Kweku Adoboli over alleged rogue trading that has cost Swiss banking giant UBS an estimated $US2 billion ($A1.95 billion).

Mr Adoboli, 31, worked in the bank’s exchange-traded funds business and was arrested yesterday.

Police, who declined to confirm the trader’s identity, said: ”A 31-year-old man was arrested at 3.30am in central London on suspicion of fraud by abuse of position. He remains in custody.”

Records from the City regulator suggest Mr Adoboli joined UBS as a trainee in March 2006. He was hired after studying at the University of Nottingham.

The Zurich-based bank suffered a near-10 per cent share-price fall after it revealed the loss could push it into the red this quarter. UBS, which dominates the Australian investment banking market, announced the loss just before the Swiss stock exchange opened.

UBS said it was still trying to get to the bottom of the matter, which was announced on the third anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

It refused to elaborate but in an internal memo to staff, the executive committee of UBS revealed it only uncovered the incident on Wednesday.

”The matter is still being investigated, but UBS’s current estimate of the loss on the trades is in the range of $US2 billion,” UBS said.

”It is possible that this could lead UBS to report a loss for the third quarter of 2011.”

 

Take Back the Land

Recently departed Jazz Musician Gill Scott Heron’s seminal piece was a song called “Winter in America”. I think Gill Scott saw the destruction of the American Dream years before it reached the crisis point.

Something is really, really wrong here – and other than a few intrepid groups like “Take Back the Land” – there doesn’t seem to be anyone in power doing a damn thing about it.

The right wing in this country is spending a lot of time defending the banks, the major corporations, and the rich by foisting one Trojan Horse issue after another upon the public airwaves.

A $15 a year tax break isn’t going to save you from being foreclosed on your house.

Protesters ‘Liberate’ Foreclosed Homes

protesters foreclosuresWhen Virginia Henry bought her boarded-up and abandoned Rochester, N.Y., home in December 2007, she saw potential where others were blind to it. The house, a short sale, became her home to live in and care for, she said. She plopped down her $20,000 and filed her paperwork for a loan program that would pay the balance — $43,000 — to rehabilitate the property.

But what followed was a series of unanswered calls and letters to Bank of America, Henry says, eventually culminating in her arrest Friday for a charge of trespassing on her own front lawn. The arrest, like much of this story, is the source of a dispute. Henry asserts police officers shoved her to the ground during the arrest, police claim she fainted from the intense heat. She has a court date for the trespassing charge July 28.

The facts of the short sale are also at issue. The bank has told Henry that the short sale never closed and that the house at 5 Appleton St. — with all her worldly possessions trapped inside — is no longer hers. A Bank of America spokeswoman, Jumana Bauwens, said she would investigate the claims.

“This is my home,” Henry told AOL Real Estate in a phone interview after the arrest. “How can I be trespassing in my own home?”

Protesters Step In
Continue reading

Bachman and Steve King (R-Ia) Attack Black Farmers

First – black people were better off under slavery. Now – black farmers are frauds, and ill deserving of “Reparations” for generations of discriminatory practices by the US Agriculture Department which all too often cost them their livelihoods and farms while subsidizing white farmers to the tune of hundreds of billions, if not several trillion…

We already knew Steve King is a bigot – turns out Bachman is “one” too.

You got your mule - now you want a loan to buy a tractor?

Bachmann: Settlement with black farmers would be better used for Missouri River flooding

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann pointed to one program in particular Monday when talking about wasteful government spending: a multibillion dollar settlement paid to black farmers, who claim the federal government discriminated against them for decades in awarding loans and other aid.

The issue came up after Bachmann and Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa toured flooded areas along the Missouri River. During a news conference, they fielded a question about whether farmers affected by the flooding also should be worried by proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture cuts.

The two responded by criticizing a 1999 settlement in what is known as the Pigford case, after the original plaintiff, North Carolina farmer Timothy Pigford. Late last year, President Barack Obama signed legislation authorizing a new, nearly $1.2 billion settlement for people who were denied payments in the earlier one because they missed deadlines for filing.

King has likened the Pigford settlement to “modern-day reparations” for African-Americans. He said Monday a large percentage of the settlement “was just paid out in fraudulent claims” and criticized the Obama administration’s plan to resolve separate lawsuits filed by Hispanic and female farmers.

“That’s another at least $1.3 billion,” King said “I’d like to apply that money to the people that are under water right now.”

Bachmann seconded King’s criticism, saying, “When money is diverted to inefficient projects, like the Pigford project, where there seems to be proof-positive of fraud, we can’t afford $2 billion in potentially fraudulent claims when that money can be used to benefit the people along the Mississippi River and the Missouri River.”

John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, which represented black farmers in the Pigford settlement, called the criticism unfair.

“Why continue to take from those people who haven’t taken part in federal programs equally and give to another group of farmers who have taken part in federal programs?” Boyd asked. “I think taking resources from a group of people who have been historically denied any relief at the Department of Agriculture is a bad idea. For the flood victims that deserve redress … they should provide those people with relief, too.”

Boyd said he and others worked to put anti-fraud provisions in the legislation signed last year. They require each claim of discrimination to be judged individually to determine its merit _ a process that Boyd said has not yet even begun.

“We worked with Republicans … to get those issues addressed,” he said. “Even after we got them addressed, Ms. Bachmann and Mr. King have continued to look at black farmers in a very negative way.

More Dirty Money – Did Madoff Pay Off SEC Lawyers?

Former SEC General Counsel David M. Becker, Accused of profiting from Madoff Scheme to Look the Other Way

Yet another story of dirty money making it’s way into the hands of the folks who are supposed to protect our system. Not sure how you prosecute these guys when you have bought judges on the Supreme Court who also are taking bribes. Seems to me that level of corruption brings down the whole system.

Irving Picard hits Securities and Exchange Commission’s top lawyer with Bernie Madoff lawsuit

The family of the top lawyer at the Securities and Exchange Commission invested with Bernie Madoff and earned more than $1.5 million in ill-gained profits, according to trustee Irving Picard, who has named the lawyer, David M. Becker, as a defendant in a clawback lawsuit, a Daily News investigation has found.

The apparent conflict of interest raises significant questions about the watchdog commission’s failure to stop Madoff and his $65 billion Ponzi scheme, despite repeated red flags and investigations into his operations.

Becker, 63, who is leaving his post as general counsel and senior policy director of the SEC in five days to return to the private sector, has never publicly disclosed his family’s ties to Madoff. He and his two brothers, who are also defendants in the suit, were named executors of their mother’s estate, which included a Madoff account, after her death in 2004. They liquidated the account in 2005, withdrawing $2,042,845, and are being sued as co-executors of the estate and individually.

David Becker was the SEC’s general counsel from 2000-2002 and again from 2009 until this month. He joined the agency in 1998 as deputy general counsel.

A spokesman for the SEC, John Nester, confirmed Tuesday that Becker received the complaint several days ago.

“He had no involvement with his parents’ financial affairs, and no recollection of his parents’ account with Madoff prior to his mother’s death and subsequent liquidation of the account,” Nester said on behalf of Becker.

 

 

 

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