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The Chumph Criminal Cartel – “The fish rots from the head”

The number of Chumph appointees and staffers now either indicted, going to be indicted, accused, and under investigation has reached historic proportions.

The Chumph and his acolytes are criminals.

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“The fish rots from the head”: a historian on the unique corruption of Trump’s White House

“Politicians lie, but this is different.” 

“Politicians lie, but this is different,” says a historian who studies presidential history and estimates the Trump administration easily ranks among the most corrupt in American history.

Robert Dallek is a presidential historian and the author of several books, including his latest about FDR titled Franklin Roosevelt: A Political Life. Writing recently for the Guardian, Dallek lamented the “disaster” that is the Trump presidency but also reminded readers that American democracy is surprisingly resilient and has survived far worse.

Despite Trump’s promises to “drain the swamp,” the first year of his administration has been plagued by resignationsinvestigations, and scandals. Dallek estimates that historical examples of corruption, like that of the Warren G. Harding administration, don’t hold a candle to how Trump and his people have conducted themselves in the White House.

History will judge Trump, and it will not be kind.

I spoke with Dallek about the history of corruption in American presidential politics and why he sees the Trump administration as “a low point in our history.” What makes Trump exceptionally dangerous, Dallek argues, is how effortlessly he lies and what kind of tone he has set in this White House.

“The fish rots from the head,” he told me, “and the stench of this administration starts at the very top.”

Our conversation, lightly edited for clarity, appears below.

Sean Illing

You’ve studied a lot of presidents and White Houses. Is the corruption and the lying in this administration unique in your mind?

Robert Dallek

This administration is a low point in our history. We’ve been through scandals before, going as far back as the Grant administration in the 19th century and the Harding administration in the early 20th century. Presidents have been accused of bribery and shady gift-giving. So it’s not entirely unique to see scandals subsume a White House.

But the shamelessness of this administration, the dishonesty, the total indifference to facts, is something I haven’t seen before — at least not this blatant. I think it’s demoralized people and made them even more cynical about politics.

Sean Illing

Is this the most dishonest administration you’ve ever seen or studied?

Robert Dallek

The short answer is yes. Politicians lie, but this is different. I suppose if you wanted to be generous, you might say this is the least effective and trustworthy administration since Warren G. Harding, whose administration was overwhelmed by the Teapot Dome scandal in 1921, in which Harding’s secretary of the interior leased Navy petroleum reserves in Wyoming and California to private oil companies at incredibly low rates without a competitive bidding process. That was a massive scandal, one of the biggest we’ve seen at the level of politics.

There are other examples, of course. Most obviously, there’s Nixon and Watergate, which was a watershed moment in American political history. Ulysses S. Grant’s reputation as a Civil War general was shattered by the Whiskey Ring scandal in 1875, in which Treasury officials basically stole tax dollars from alcohol distillers. Other presidents, like Bill Clinton, have lied shamelessly as well.

Still, I think what we’re seeing right now will, eventually, rise above these examples, with the possible exception of Watergate. But a lot of this depends on the outcome of the Russia investigation. If it goes the way it appears to be going, it will exceed even Watergate.

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Sean Illing

Do administrations tend to pay a political price when they deceive and overstep in this way?

Robert Dallek

Typically they do. Look at Trump’s numbers right now. For a president in the first year of his term to have never achieved 50 percent approval rating is something of a political disaster. I mean, Franklin Roosevelt never saw his approval rating dip below 50 percent during his 12-year presidency. Truman’s popularity slipped to 32 percent near the end of this administration due to the stalemate in Korea. Nixon’s support collapsed and went down to 25 percent during Watergate.

But Trump has been historically unpopular since the day he took office, in part because of how dishonestly he conducted himself during the campaign. What we’re seeing now is very ugly and, I think, very corrupting to our political system.

Sean Illing

How so?

Robert Dallek

Well, our system depends upon something like a consensus, something like majority rule. But now we have a president who outright lies about … everything. He lies about the number of votes he received, about the size of his inauguration crowd, about his own achievements, about Muslims cheering in the streets after 9/11, and so on. He lies about basic observable facts.

I think the cumulative effect of all this lying is to make people deeply cynical about our entire system, and that’s very corrupting.

Sean Illing

What, exactly, is so unique about this administration in terms of the corruption and the graft?

Robert Dallek

Obviously the examples of corruption are numerous: Trump refused to divest from his business interests; there are questions about whether he’s violating the emoluments clause by running Trump International Hotel in DC; there’s the indictment of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort; there’s the looming indictment of his former national security adviser Michael FlynnJared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, failed to disclose $1 billion in loans connected to his real estate company; and of course several of his Cabinet heads are being investigated for profligate travel expenses.

But here’s what I think is unique: Often you see a lot of corruption result from a lack of oversight, but I think this administration is quite different in that Trump really sets the tone for all this. He encourages it, really. The fish rots from the head, and the stench of this administration starts at the very top.

Sean Illing

In what ways does he set the tone?

Robert Dallek

Trump is the head of government, and people know they can get away with things. Look at all the incidents of corruption I just laid out, and that’s not even close to a complete list. Like Nixon, Trump has created a culture in his administration in which people feel comfortable with corruption. Trump himself has shown a complete indifference to democratic norms, to rule of law, and that sends a pretty clear signal to the people beneath him.

Again, Trump’s lying is a big facilitator of all this corruption. This is a guy who will look right into the camera and lie without any hesitation at all. It’s hard to overstate what kind of tone that sets in an administration; it makes everyone more comfortable when they lie, when they deceive, when they cover things up…

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The “Cops” on Faux (and Backing the Chumph) – Many Have Ethical or Criminal Histories

As I have noted before, a lot of the “cops” who appear on Faux News and other right wing media – themselves have criminal histories.

Paul Babeu, David Clarke and Joe Arpaio on police ta

David Clarke has been accused of covering up a deputy’s misdeeds while Joe Arpaio has been called ‘unrepentantly lawless’. Meet the prominent officers who want the businessman in the Oval Office

As chairman of Donald Trump’s “Florida law enforcement coalition” and one of the Trump campaign’s official pilots, Vincent Caldara is doubly devoted to the Republican presidential nominee and his pledge to crack down on criminality.

A former police officer in New York and Miami, Caldara told supporters at a recent gathering in Florida that he had been flying vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence “from coast to coast to make sure we get the law and order message out to every single person that will be voting on November 8th”.

Caldara is simultaneously fighting claims that he is a lawbreaker himself.

The 55-year-old pilot is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, after he allegedly drove a vehicle at another person repeatedly in Pompano Beach in July last year. According to court records, the victim, whose name is withheld, was treated in hospital for leg and back injuries. Caldara has pleaded not guilty.

In a separate case, Caldara is accused of severely injuring a woman in June 2014 by recklessly driving into her with his Harley Davidson motorcycle in Fort Lauderdale. The woman is suing Caldara and seeking a jury trial. According to court records, officials have been unable to find Caldara to serve him with a summons.

Caldara and spokespeople for Trump’s campaign did not respond to several requests for comment.

The accusations of wrongdoing against Caldara are only the latest in an eclectic series of claims leveled at law enforcement figures who have publicly endorsed Trump’s campaign for the White House.

Amid a spike in crime in some US cities, Trump on Friday received the endorsement of the national Fraternal Order of Police union, whose president, Chuck Canterbury, said: “Our members believe he will make America safe again”.

But dark spots on the records of some of Trump’s most prominent police backers challenge the credibility of his claim to be the “law and order candidate”. In July, a coalition of dozens of police chiefs and prosecutors pleaded with the Republican nominee to abandon his draconian ideas and embrace contemporary policing theory and criminal justice reform.

Here, the Guardian reviews some of the allegations made against a half-dozen lawmen who have lent their support to Trump’s presidential campaign:

David Clarke

Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, has been Trump’s most visible ally among serving police. Although a registered Democrat, Clarke, 60, accused Hillary Clinton’s campaign of “embracing criminality” after mothers of African Americans killed by police appeared onstage at the Democratic National Convention.

Clarke.

But Clarke has been accused of violating rules and regulations himself since being elected in 2002. After one of his deputies broke a woman’s neck by crashing his vehicle into her car, Clarke was alleged to have overseen an attempted cover-up that involved framing the woman for drunk driving.

The victim, Tanya Weyker, sued Clarke, several deputies and county authorities in state and federal court in 2014 for compensation and civil rights violations. She said Clarke and his officers continued pursuing charges against her for months even after they knew video evidence showed the officer was at fault.

“Clarke was personally involved in the conspiracy to continue with the baseless prosecution of [Weyker],” the federal lawsuit said, “or, at the very least, was deliberately and recklessly indifferent to his subordinates’ unconstitutional actions and related misconduct.” Clarke and the officers denied the allegations.

An attorney for Weyker, Drew DeVinney, said Weyker settled her state lawsuit for the state-capped maximum $250,000 in compensation, and then settled the federal lawsuit for more than $95,000 for civil rights violations and attorneys’ fees.

Clarke has also come under criticism from within his own ranks. In 2010, deputy Richard Graber, a senior official in the Milwaukee deputies’ union, alleged that Clarke aggressively confronted him, called him a “sick fuck” and threatened to “come after him” for questioning an order that deputies must work mandatory overtime after the high-profile death of a local child.

“Clarke’s profanity-ridden rant included yelling, pointing, and calling Graber ‘waste,’ an ‘organizational terrorist,’ a ‘fucker,’ and a ‘cancer to the agency’,” according to an appeals court filing. Clarke denied most of Graber’s account of their confrontation. A federal appeals court said Clarke’s behavior amounted to an “adverse employment action” but rejected an allegation from Graber that the mistreatment was because of his union activity.

Inspector Edward Bailey, a spokesman for Clarke, declined to comment. “This county office does not involve itself in the current presidential race in any capacity,” he said in an email.

Paul Babeu

Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Arizona, enthusiastically supports Trump’s anti-immigration stance and campaign pledge to build a wall along the US border with Mexico. Babeu is also running as a Republican for a seat in the US House of Representatives and has made border security a key plank of his campaign.

Babeu promises voters on his website that he will tackle the “hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants pouring across our southern borders”, warning that at present, “possible terrorists with military training, deliberate plans and lots of money can cross the border”.

In 2012, Jose Orozco, a Mexican man and ex-boyfriend of Babeu who worked for the sheriff’s election campaign, alleged that he was threatened with deportation by an aide to Babeu when he refused to sign an agreement not to publicly disclose the relationship. Orozco’s attorney said she was told Orozco’s US visa had expired, making him undocumented. Babeu denied Orozco’s allegations. An inquiry by the Arizona attorney general concluded that he committed no criminal violation.

Babeu.

Babeu has also faced allegations made public by his sisterthat as headmaster and executive director of a boarding school for troubled teenagers in Massachusetts, he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student. Babeu, who led the controversial DeSisto School in West Stockbridge between 1999 and 2001, responded by publishing his sister’s mental health history.

The former student, Joshua Geyer, has not disputed that he had a relationship with Babeu, but insisted that it was not “inappropriate”. This week, a spokesman for Babeu sent the Guardian a letter purportedly from Geyer that said he and Babeu had no sexual relationship at all. Asked twice whether Babeu himself denied that the relationship took place, the spokesman did not respond.

State authorities pursued DeSisto for operating illegally without a state license. Over the years, the school became notorious for its severe punishment system, and was investigated repeatedly for allegations of abuse and mistreatment of students. It has since closed.

The Babeu spokesman, Barrett Marson, said in an email: “Paul was in charge of the business operations at the school. He never had any control over student discipline or instruction. He was in charge of ensuring there was food and bathroom supplies and things like that. But Paul was never investigated nor had any knowledge of any alleged abuse at the school while he was employed there.”…More Here

 

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Orange Jumpsuit Politician of the Month – Denny Hastert, Former Speaker of the House

Took long enough to nail this scumbag. Seems that justice moves a lot slower for the white right, and more than likely he will be sentenced to having his knuckles rapped, and to spend 6 months at home with his mistress (or boy in this case)…This scumbag was one of the major Republican leaders, and ultimately stood 3rd in line from the President in succession. He wanted to impeach Clinton for a blow job by Monica…While he was diddling underage High School boys in the locker room.

Your Congress “Cracked”

Dennis Hastert Pleads Guilty In Hush-Money Case

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert has pleaded guilty in a hush-money case, in a deal with prosecutors that calls for him to serve up to six months in prison.

Hastert pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

The plea marks the fall from grace of a politician who rose from obscurity in rural Illinois to become second in the line of succession to the presidency.

An indictment issued in May says the 73-year-old Republican agreed to pay someone referred to only as “Individual A” $3.5 million to hide past misconduct by Hastert.

The Associated Press and other media have cited anonymous sources in reporting the payments were to conceal claims of sexual misconduct.

Black kid gets 5 years for stealing a $2.00 Candy Bar…”Outstanding” member of the white right gets maybe 6 months, and probably 5 months of “home rest” for stealing enough money to pay $3.5 million to cover up the rest of what he stole.

COme on down and get your Orange Jumpsuit Politician of the Month,  Award Denny!

 

Taking Measurement for Alvin Green For That Award...

Taking Measurement for Denny Hastert For That Award…

 

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Orange Jumpsuit Garlic Thieves?

This intrepid team of crooks swiped several truckloads of …Garlic! Now, I have to believe short of a Vampire infestation in the local town – stealing a truckload of freshly harvested Garlic is about as stupid as it gets…

These guys get BTx3’s – “Orange Jumpsuit of the Week Award”!

Cops Nab Thieves —With 9.5 Tons of Garlic

It’s a heist that didn’t exactly require sniffing dogs: Austrian police stopped three overloaded and sagging vans about to cross into Hungary from Austria today and found them packed to the roof with allegedly stolen garlic—about 9.5 tons of the pungent cargo. After questioning the five men—all Romanian nationals—in the vehicles they charged them on suspicion of receiving stolen goods.

Police say the garlic apparently came from Spain and estimate its value at $37,500. The Austrian Press Agency cites one officer as saying it was clear what the vans were carrying even before their doors were opened. “All three vehicles really stunk like garlic,” he says.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Orange Jumsuit Politicians

 

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America…Sold Down the River on Debt Deal

Thanks President Obama – for selling America down the river…

Again.

All bow down at the altar of conservative intransigence.

What next? You going to cave on bringing back slavery?

To Escape Chaos, a Terrible Deal

There is little to like about the tentative agreement between Congressional leaders and the White House except that it happened at all. The deal would avert a catastrophic government default, immediately and probably through the end of 2012. The rest of it is a nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists. It will hurt programs for the middle class and poor, and hinder an economic recovery.

It is not yet set in stone, and there may still be time to make it better. But in the end, most Democrats will have no choice but to swallow their fury, accept the deal, and, we hope, fight harder the next time.

For weeks, ever since House Republicans said they would not raise the nation’s debt ceiling without huge spending cuts, Democrats have held out for a few basic principles. There must be new tax revenues in the mix so that the wealthy bear a share of the burden and Medicare cannot be affected.

Those principles were discarded to get a deal that cuts about $2.5 trillion from the deficit over a decade. The first $900 billion to a trillion will come directly from domestic discretionary programs (about a third of it from the Pentagon) and will include no new revenues. The next $1.5 trillion will be determined by a “supercommittee” of 12 lawmakers that could recommend revenues, but is unlikely to do so since half its members will be Republicans…

This for you, President Obama. Buy your own damn gold frame…

Official President Obama Yellowback Donkey Award

 

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Did Faux News Also Tap Phones in America? New Allegations…

The real question about the Rupert Murdoch media empire is whether the News of the World phone hacking scandal was a “one off” crime by a few bad folks…

Or whether it was the sort of illicit activity supported and promoted throughout the media empire by the senior management.

This report is about claims by a former Faux News Executive who claims that Faux News secretly financed, organized, and operated the same sort of back room secret operation committing illicit and illegal invasions of personal privacy through phone tapping, hacking, and other nefarious methods.

Of course about now, you have to figure most of the staff of this operation are on fast flights to Siberia for extended “vacations”…

But there still should be enough tracks here for sophisticated cyber-sleuths to check the veracity of the accusations.

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News ran ‘black ops’ department, former executive claims

Dan Cooper, who helped launch Fox News as managing editor in 1996, said that a “brain room” carried out “counter intelligence” on the channel’s enemies from its New York headquarters.

He was threatened after it found out he spoke to a reporter, he claimed.

Another former senior executive said the channel ran a spying network on staff, reading their emails and making them “feel they were being watched”.

The channel, which has come under pressure amid allegations that outlets owned by Mr Murdoch might have attempted to hack the voicemail messages of September 11 victims, firmly denies all the allegations.

Mr Cooper, who left Fox News soon after its launch, provided a quote for a 1997 article about Roger Ailes, Fox News’s president, by the journalist David Brock in New York magazine.

The quote was not going to be attributed to him, but he alleges that before the article was published, Mr Cooper’s agent received a telephone call from Mr Ailes threatening to withdraw Fox’s business from all his clients.

“There are only two possible ways Ailes found out,” Mr Cooper said. “Either Brock told him or they got hold of Brock’s phone records and saw I spoke to him.”

He first alleged that the records were obtained by researchers in the “brain room” in 2005 in an article on his website about the launch of the channel.

“Most people thought it was simply the research department of Fox News,” he wrote. “I knew it also housed a counter intelligence and black ops office. So accessing phone records was easy pie.”

Mr Cooper said yesterday that he helped to design the high-security unit. “It was staffed by 15 researchers and had a guard at the door. No one working there would engage in conversation.”…

Another former Fox News senior executive, who did not wish to be named, said staff were forced to operate under conditions reminiscent of “Russia at the height of the Soviet era”.

“There is a paranoid atmosphere and they feel they are being watched,” said the former executive. “I have no doubt they are spying on emails to ensure no one is leaking to outside media.

“There is a unit of spies that reports up to the boss about who was talking to whom. A lot of people are scared that they’re going to get sidelined or even that they’re going to get killed.”…

 

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2011 in Faux News

 

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Republican Candidates – Another One Bites the Dust

The best political comedy this year may well be the fleet of Republicans “running” for office hitting the wall…

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2011 in Stupid Republican Tricks

 

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