Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Herschel Walker’s End Run Around Finance Laws

May 8, 2023

Herschel Walker's End Run Around Finance Laws

Former Georgia Bulldog, New Jersey General, and The Apprentice TV loser Herschel Walker told lots of lies during his failed MAGA senate campaign, but his secret lie to a billionaire donor was worth over half a million dollars and, possibly, a federal conviction for wire fraud.

Instead of transferring the payments to his senatorial campaign fund, Walker asked Montana billionaire Dennis Washington to wire $535,200 directly to his private company, HR Talent, LLC. Mr. Washington did so, thinking this was a legitimate political contribution. Not so.

The hidden ball trick is legal in football, but not in campaign finance, or any kind of finance, except maybe organized crime. The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has asked the referees, The Federal Election Commission (about the campaign donation violation and Attorney General Garland (about the wire fraud issue), and it sure looks like a personal foul by Herschel Walker.

More:

“Emails Reveal ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Herschel Walker Money Scandal,” Roger Sollenberger, Daily Beast

“Emails show Herschel Walker nicked billionaire Dennis Washington for $500K,” Zoë Buchli, Missoulian

“Report: Herschel Walker’s Very Embarrassing Campaign May Have Also Committed Wire Fraud,” Caleb Ecarma, Vanity Fair

Top image: 1984 Topps bubblegum card. The New Jersey Generals team owner was Donald Trump

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DeSantis Finds Trump a Running Mate

April 28, 2023

DeSantis Finds Trump a Running Mate

While Republicans are historically known for their support of business, Florida’s GOP Governor Ron DeSantis is locked in battle with his state’s largest employer, Disney World. Disney spoke out against the DeSantis-encouraged laws meddling in women’s health and persecuting sexual minorities. In retaliation for these corporate views, Mr. DeSantis targeted the mechanism used to develop and maintain Disney’s huge Cental Florida resort since 1967. That testy move could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for more than $1 billion.

After Disney dodged the DeSantis development-takeover ploy, the governor threated to put tolls on roads leading to Disney World and build an adjacent state prison. Why would Ron Desantis persist in this vendetta? The Yale- and Harvard-educated governor is running for president as a populist culture warror.

Picking a fight with drag queens is one thing; taking on a $203 billion company is quite another. Disney now is suing DeSantis in federal court for retaliating against the company as punishment for Disney’s constitutionally protected speech. By most accounts, Disney is likely to prevail.

Enter Donald Trump, current frontrunner in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Ron DeSantis is obviously set to formally enter the fray after his symbolic world tour. As far the The Donald is concerned, the enemy of his enemy is his friend. Expect to see him leave Mar-a-Lago for an Orlando mouse-hugging daytrip soon.

Fun Fact:  Ron DeSantis got married at Disney World in 2009.

More:

“Donald Trump posts scorched-earth rant against Ron ‘DeSanctus,’ blasts gov’s ‘political stunt’ against Disney,” Mark Moore, New York Post

“Trump attacks DeSantis by suggesting Disney could leave Florida because of the governor,” Antonio Fins, Palm Beach Post

“Man vs. Mouse: Ron DeSantis Finds Taking On Disney Is a Dicey Business,” Charles Homans, New York Times

“The feud between Ron DeSantis and Disney, explained,” Nicole Narea, Ian Millhiser, and Alex Abad-Santos, Vox

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Tech Companies Profit From Your Anger

March 21, 2023

Sarah Silverman discusses how the business model of social media and cable TV is stoking American’s anger, outrage, and division, one person at a time. She does it on cable TV, of course.

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George Santos (R, NY-3)

January 24, 2023

The Honorable George Santos (R, NY-3)

Republican Congressman George Santos (AKA Anthony Zabrovsky, Anthony Devolder, George Devolder and Kitara Ravache) of New York’s 3th District is now a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology (because he lied about developing carbon capture technology), and the House Committee on Small Business (because he lied about his business experience). At least he’s not on the Ethics Committee.

If you’re keeping score at home, George Santos lied about his: high school, college, ever going to college, volleyball prowess, grad school, religion, race, family history, work history, finances, owning 13 real estate properties, knee replacements, his yacht brokerage, appearing on Hanna Montana, developing carbon capture technology, film acting, losing employees in the Pulse nightclub shooting, getting mugged, being a drag queen, having a brain tumor, running a pet rescue charity, past marital status, getting COVID, and his own mother’s death. More is sure to come.

But as Jon Stewart observes: “The thing we have to be careful of, and I always caution myself on this and I ran into this trouble with Trump, is we cannot mistake absurdity for lack of danger, because it takes people with no shame to do shameful things.”

How did he get elected in the first place? By telling Democratic and Republican voters in his district what each wanted to hear. As Bill Maher puts it: “He is the first one to realize that since we are all in our hermetically sealed media bubbles, now you can pretend to be everything to voters in both parties.”

The Republican majority is so slim that GOP members are reluctant to pressure Mr. Santos into resigning from the House. His district could easily elect a Democrat to replace him, so he’ll stay until the federal, state, Nassau County, Queens, and/or Brazilian courts catch up with him.

More:

“Rep. George Santos Appears to Have Ripped Off His Former Boss’s Resume in Crafting His Backstory,” Virginia Chamlee, People

“George Santos’ backers include a migrant smuggler, a big Trump donor and the cousin of a sanctioned Russian oligarch,” Clare Hymes and Graham Kates, CBS News

“Another Santos Money Mystery: He Struck a Curious Business Deal With a Veteran GOP Operative,” Noah Lanard and David Corn, Mother Jones

“Campaigns Linked To Santos Left Donors Feeling Ripped Off After Questionable Credit Card Charges,” Hunter Walker and Josh Kovensky, TPM

Update:

“Scientists Welcome ‘Astronaut,’ ‘Nobel Winner’ George Santos To House Science Committee,” Chris D’Angelo, HuffPost

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Image by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com. Download a copy hereNote: Politifact hasn’t yet fact-checked George Santo’s statements. Maybe it’s too overwhelming.

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The Honorable George Santos (R, NY-3)

January 17, 2023

The Honorable George Santos (R, NY-3)

Outside of Hollywood, you’d think doing business with someone who is using an assumed name would raise concerns, but it didn’t. As a result, George Santos, AKA Anthony Zabrovsky, Anthony Devolder, Kitara Ravache, and George Devolder (of dubious investment firm Harbor City Capital) is now the newly-sworn-in Republican Congressman representing New York’s 3th District.

After he was elected, Rep. Devolder Zabrovsky Ravache Santos admitted to embellishing his résumé, but it’s all embellishment, no résumé. He lied about his: high school, college, ever going to college, volleyball prowess, grad school, religion, family history, work history, finances, owning 13 real estate properties, developing carbon capture technology, losing employees in the Pulse nightclub shooting, running a pet rescue charity, past marital status, and his own mother’s death. Other dirty shoes will probably drop.

George Santos makes Herschel Walker look like the very soul of probity. He should be an embarrassment to Congressional Republicans, but they are noted for lack of shame, and their majority is so slim they’re reluctant to pressure Mr. Santos into resigning from the House. His district could easily elect a Democrat to replace him, so he’ll stay until the federal, state, Nassau County, Queens, and/or Brazilian courts catch up with him.

Months before the election, some of George Santos’ falsehoods were uncovered by the local North Shore Leader newspaper, and some lies were known to Republican consultants. These red flags were ignored in the heat of the campaign.

New York Magazine calls George Santos “The Luckiest Liar in Politics.” If you want to congratulate him on his fabrication-based good fortune, send cards to: The Honorable George Santos, 1117 Longworth House Office Building, Washington DC, 20515-3203 or call him at 202-225-3335.

Constituent well-wishers may prefer to contact his District Office in Queens: 242-09 Northern Boulevard, Douglaston, NY 11363 (phone 718-631-0400).

Rep. Santos doesn’t have a public email address, but his Chief of Staff does.

Want George Santos to attend your new waste disposal service’s ribbon-cutting or your nephew’s bar mitzvah? Use this handy contact form.

Update:

George Santos has been appointed to two House committees. He will sit on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology (because he lied about developing carbon capture technology), and the House Committee on Small Business (because he lied about his business experience).

More:

“Keeping track of all of NY Rep.-elect George Santos’ lies, from his education to charity falsehoods,” Bruce Golding, New York Post

“Rep. George Santos Appears to Have Ripped Off His Former Boss’s Resume in Crafting His Backstory,” Virginia Chamlee, People

“George Santos’ backers include a migrant smuggler, a big Trump donor and the cousin of a sanctioned Russian oligarch,” Clare Hymes and Graham Kates, CBS News

“Another Santos Money Mystery: He Struck a Curious Business Deal With a Veteran GOP Operative,” Noah Lanard and David Corn, Mother Jones

“Campaigns Linked To Santos Left Donors Feeling Ripped Off After Questionable Credit Card Charges,” Hunter Walker and Josh Kovensky, TPM

 

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Image by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com. Download a copy hereNote: Politifact hasn’t yet fact-checked George Santo’s statements. Maybe it’s too overwhelming.

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Insurreição no Brasil

January 11, 2023

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so The Donald must be thrilled that devotees of the “Trump of the Tropics” in Brazil mirrored the US January 6th insurrectionists, storming the Jetson-esque government buildings of Brasilia, falsely claiming the country’s presidential election had been stolen. The similarity with January 6th is no coincidence: MAGA Rasputin Steve Bannon and Trump cultist Jason Miller had advised Bolsenaro on election denialism.

After the Brazilian insurrectionists trashed the futuristic courts, legislature, presidential offices and mansion, 1500 were arrested, and await trial. At the time of the riots, rightwing ex-president Jair Bolsonaro was in that US home of retired fascists, Florida. He had traveled there before his successor was inaugurated, on a diplomatic visa. Now that he is no longer in office, that visa is no longer valid, and he is subject to expulsion and extradition.

More:

“The violent attack on Brazil’s government was months in the making. Here’s what you need to know,” Rob Picheta, CNN

 

“Brazil’s ‘Trump of the Tropics’ Stoked Riots—Then He Fled to Florida,” Emily Green and Roberta Fortuna, Vice

“Brazil: The code word used to invite protesters to a riot,” Hannah Gelbart, Juliana Gragnani and Ricardo Senra, BBC News

“America’s Trumpist export to Brazil: Election denialism,” Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

“Brazil’s failed coup is the poison flower of the Trump-Bolsonaro symbiosis,” Julian Borger, The Guardian

“Bannon on Brazil riots: ‘I’m not backing off 1 inch,’” Meridith McGraw, Politico

Update:

“Brazil’s Supreme Court to investigate Bolsonaro over January 8 attacks,” By Mia Alberti and Marcia Reverdosa, CNN

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Title via Google Ttanslate. Video: Channel 4 (UK)

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House Speaker Votes Continue

January 6, 2023

House Speaker Votes Continue

Several trolls in the so-called House Freedom Caucus have paralyzed the U.S. House of Representatives all week, blocking election of a presiding Speaker. The umpteenth round of voting will occur tonight, January 6th at 10 PM EST.

Update:

After 14 ballots, the House again failed to elect a Speaker. On this date two years ago, terrorists failed to disrupt Congress. Today, the terrorists inside the House did just that.

The House began voting for the 15th time at 11:50 PM.

New:

Early on Saturday, Kevin McCarthy was elected to the Office of Speaker of the House, or what’s left of it.

More:

“The ‘spoiler caucus’ is creating chaos,” David Winston, Roll Call

“The Chaos Caucus Is Now In Charge,” Michelle Cottle, New York Times

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Image (based on paraphrase of UT football coach Darrell Royal) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,NotionsCapital.com

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Election Day, November 8, 2022

November 8, 2022

Election Day, November 8, 2022

If you haven’t already voted by mail, go to your local polling place. If you recieved a mail-in ballot but didn’t get around to sending it in yet, go to your state election board website to check the rules; see if you can mail it at a post office (to get today’s postmark) or put in a ballot dropbox near you. 22 states will accept mail-in ballots postmarked by today. Later, you’ll be able to track your mail-in or provisional ballot.

This is not a test. It counts. Vote.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.

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School Book Bans Are Rising

September 28, 2022

School Book Bans Are Rising

“From July 2021 to June 2022, PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans lists 2,532 instances of individual books being banned, affecting 1,648 unique book titles.

The 1,648 titles are by 1,261 different authors, 290 illustrators, and 18 translators, impacting the literary, scholarly, and creative work of 1,553 people altogether.”

— “Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools,” Jonathan Friedman and Nadine Farid Johnson, PEN America

“While book bans have long been a part of America’s education fabric, the Pen report suggests they are now driven less by the complaints of individual parents and more by organized, ideological groups and overt pressure from politicians.

About 40% of the book bans in the past year have been connected to political pressure or legislation designed to restrict and reshape teaching, the report estimates.”

— “‘Rapid acceleration’ in US school book censorship leads to 2,500 bans in a year.” Oliver Milman, The Guardian

More:

“Who’s Behind the Escalating Push to Ban Books? A New Report Has Answers,” Eesha Pendharkar, Education Week

“Over 1,600 Books Were Banned During the Past School Year,” Ella Feldman, Smithsonian Magazine

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Photo: Fairy Godmother-Childrens Books & Toys, 319 7th Street SE, Washington DC. Get a copy here. Credit; Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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The White Evangelicals Rethinking Their Politics

September 7, 2022

In the 2020 election, 84 percent of White Evangelicals voted for habitual liar, golf cheat, and serial adulterer Donald Trump because he was the GOP candidate. Astoundingly, according to a survey, many Trump supporters began identifying as evangelical during his presidency — he brought them to Jesus. At least superficially.

But some devout evangelicals, raised in conservative GOP households, say that their political views became more liberal as they immersed themselves deeper into their faith. A FiveThirtyEight video by Tony Chow.

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