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#Menendez : Are you pondering what I’m pondering?

Sweet Sue alerted me to the investigation of Senator Robert Melendez on corruption charges and asked me what I thought about it, being a former resident of NJ (I guess that qualifies me as a resident expert on this here blog).

So, here goes:

I’ve got no idea.

However, that never stops me from speculating.

As I said to Sue in the comments, I never quite understood NJ politics even when I dipped my toe into them at the local level. It seems to me that, especially at the US Congressional level, congressmen and senators are appointed, not elected. I say congressmen because for nearly 2 decades, there hasn’t been one woman elected to the US Congressional delegation from NJ- on either side. Nope, not one. You’d think that a state as dense as New Jersey, and I mean that sincerely, there would be at least one woman among the 8,938,175 residents who has the capability to be appointed, er, elected to Congress to represent the state. But try as they might, the political machines of both parties have failed to find even one in the entire state. It must be like trying to find Cinderella in a whole kingdom full of 4.5 million ugly stepsisters. But NJ is chockfull of Prince Charmings?? What are the chances?

I take that back, they found ONE in 2006. Her name was Linda Stender. She was a state assembly woman and former mayor who ran for a seat in NJ-07 and lost by a smidgen (something like 3000 votes). She ran again in 2008 and should have been a shoo-in but the state Democratic party, which had united behind Barack Obama, and promptly gave away our primary votes to him at the convention in Denver, decided not to back Stender very vigorously. In fact, I think the party kind of stabbed her in the back. So, she lost again to some Republican dude who probably spends his time in Washington golfing.

By the way, someone owes the NJ volunteers who phone banked and canvassed for Hillary and Stender an apology for wasting our time. Those are many solid weekends of our lives that we won’t get back. Why not just dispense with the silly notion that a primary vote or congressional election in New Jersey has any meaning? Think of all the money the state party will save taxpayers if they just admit up front that voting has no impact on who gets elected. Just divvy up the state districts by party, appoint some dude to be the representative and be done with it. It’s more efficient and honest. Wait, that’s the way it’s done currently. Why not be upfront about it?

But I digress.

Back to Menendez. When Chris Christie was merely a US Attorney, he badgered Menendez with a bogus investigation just before Menendez was appointed to serve out Jon Corzine’s senate term. It was something along the lines of Menendez using a personal address nefariously or writing it off on his taxes or some silly BS. In other words, it was a nuisance investigation from a blowhard political appointee US Attorney who would later become the notorious Chris Christie. It all came to nothing.

This investigation into the corrupt Senator Bob Menendez seems equally sketchy. So, a Florida doctor set Menendez up with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic? What are the chances? There’s a bit more on bribes and payments but it all seems pretty vague. It reminds me of the charges against Charlie Rangel that tied him up in knots and sidelined him when he was Chairman of the Ways and Means committee. He was probably one of the most powerful men in Washington at the time he was investigated and forced to spend time and loads of money defending himself. In the end, I think he was censured for shoddy paperwork. Gosh, we could all be censured for that.  But the whole point was to defang him at a time when he was at his political zenith.

So, I asked myself, “Self, what committees is Robert Menendez on?” And then Self toddled off and did a Google search on that question. Here is the answer:

Menendez is on the Banking, Housing and Urban AffairsFinance and Foreign Relations committees.

Hmmm, if I were to guess, one of these committees is going to have a vote or number of votes on something that is very important to someone(s). There are a number of tasty possibilities. Finance?  Health Care?  Consumer protection?  It could be any one of a number of special interest groups. We shouldn’t assume that the current justice system isn’t on their payroll. Remember how well the justice system investigated the bankers with their sternly worded letters? No? Go read that book by Neil Barofsky. This is the Obama administration going after Menendez. He must not be toeing some line. What could it be, what could it be?

Just a guess. But then, it doesn’t take much to set my tinfoil antenna twitching these days. Note that if Menendez is forced to resign, Chris Christie gets to appoint his replacement, I think. Isn’t that special?

Dominican chicky-babes and political favors for Florida doctors just doesn’t seem plausible. He’d have to be the slowest Democrat on the planet after witnessing what happened to Charlie Rangel, Eliott Spitzer and the Big Dawg. That’s not to say that it didn’t happen. After all, we’re talking about New Jersey, which has a reputation to maintain. But I’d like to see solid, incontrovertible, un-doctored proof, not vague innuendos.

Or fuggedabouddit.

PostScript: Germany just approved legislation that would mandate a quota of 30% women on corporate boards. Translating this into NJ politics, at least 30% of the legislative districts should have women from both parties running for office next time. Pick any four of the 12 NJ districts, find two women, one from each party, and elect some female reps forpetessakes. This all male dominated delegation thing is embarrassing.

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Charlie Rangel walks out of ethics hearing


Politico:

Complaining bitterly that he was denied the right to have an attorney present, an emotional Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) walked out of his highly publicized public ethics trial Monday morning, an unexpected twist in the ethics inquiry has tarnished Rangel’s four-decade congressional career.

The ethics panel, after an unexpected 40-minute private session, rejected Rangel’s request to delay the trial and went ahead anyway. The witness chair where Rangel was supposed to sit was empty, a dramatic sign of Rangel’s refusal to participate.

With Rangel gone – foregoing the 10 hours he was granted to defend himself – the committee moved very quickly through the case and spent just 80 minutes reviewing the allegations before retiring to decide whether it would approve a “motion for summary judgment.”

If that motion is approved the Rangel trial is esentially over, just several hours after beginning.

But it hasn’t been without fireworks. Rangel asked for more time to get a lawyer and then walked out. His request was later denied.

“The committee has decided not to continue this matter,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who is overseeing the trial, said in turning down Rangel’s demand for more time.

“We recognize that Mr. Rangel does not intend to participate. It is his right not to participate.”

Maybe it’s just me but something stinks here, and it’s not the Representative from Harlem.

What’s the urgency? Rangel was just reelected, and if he’s not afraid of the incoming GOP majority then why should the Ethics Committee care?

The worst thing that they can do to him (now or later) is expulsion. The outgoing and incoming Governors of New York are both Democrats, and Rangel’s seat won’t be going to a Republican if there is a special election.

Are they worried that a GOP-led Ethics Committee won’t be harsh enough?




Sunday: Talking SLOOOWWLY to the media

It took me a couple minutes after I first heard the “symbolic vote” meme to figure out what was wrong with it. I have a million different thoughts in my mind at any one time and I have to admit that it took longer than it should have for Hypergraphia to run it through the logic processor in my mind.  But here is what finally popped out:

If it is just a symbolic vote, then why the f%*) is Obama’s campaign team working overtime to intimidate, woo, deceive and invalidate Hillary Clinton’s delegates?

Yeah, mull that over in your head David Shuster.  I don’t think you’re really that dumb.  You just play a blustering, overly aggressive moron on TV.  It’s a nice gig you’ve got going there, spending your evenings manipulating the perception of the average middle aged white guy who cringes at the thought of wimmin in the driver’s seat.

Come on, can’t you guys do better than this?  Obama didn’t have a fricking choice in the matter.  He’s not even the presumptive nominee and you *KNOW* this, DA-VID.  When MI and FL are returned to full strength, as every sentient person knew would have to happen before convention time, the numbers needed to snag that title change and he’s no more presumptive than Hillary.  Neither one of them can win without superdelegates and it’s beginning to sound like Obama’s losing ground with them too. By the way, when they start circulating reports of the snub Obama’s organization gave them about their role at the convention, it means they want to make Obama “unlikeable”.  Two reports is a trend, three reports is a correlation.  I’d say Obama is in a heap of trouble.

Of course you’ve got the bigger billboard and can get your falsified, bullying, totally illogical version of the story out better than I can set the record straight.  But pretty soon, the non-blogger dudes are going to wake up and wonder why it is that a guy who presumably has the whole thing sewn up is pulling out all of the stops to poach every last damn delegate he can get in any dirty, low, underhanded way he can get away with.  I smell fear.

And don’t even get me started on how he won more votes than she did.  The guy couldn’t win CA, NY, NJ, MI, FL, PA, OH, TX or MA.  He’s a predetermined failure for the presidency against McCain.  I know it, she knows it and YOU know it.  The question is, why are you so determined that John Q Public doesn’t know it?

Note to John Q, when it comes to the Obama campaign and the DNC, pay attention to what they *do*, not what they say.

One more thing, David: You may have heard of factional in-fighting but that’s just because you are seeing a division that doesn’t exist.  There are many, many flavors of PUMA out there and we’ve all pulled together to form one coalition called Just Say No Deal.  So, for example, we are Conflucians and PUMAs and we are also part of Just Say No Deal.  It’s an economy of scale thing so we don’t duplicate our efforts.  Not really a very difficult concept.

Fundraising continues today.  PUMAPac’s goal for today is $6000.  All those who have contributed can pat yourselves on the back and go have a picnic.  Everyone else, step up and donate a $10 spot or a yuppie foodstamp.  You can make your donation here.   Little bits were all it took for us to make $4980 yesterday.  Of course, if you can spare more, Murphy will be eternally grateful.  If your checkbook is emty but your inkjet printer is not, Murphy has a whole list of action items you can do this weekend that will be just as effective.  You can also make a donation to Just Say No Deal who is organizing events at the media center.    It can be done.  Thank you very much for your support of our outreach efforts in Denver.  Let’s reset the counter, Carol!

Thursday: Ya’ gives gives em books and gives em books

but all they do is chew on the covers.

The party elders must have their way. Now there is rumor that Charlie Rangel has decided to throw in the towel. Well, Congressman Rangel, I know what you think you are trying to accomplish. You *think* that if she bows out gracefully and her supporters realize they no longer have a choice that somehow we will come to accept this and transfer our loyalties to Senator Obama and all will be ticketyboo by November.

And who can blame the idiots in charge for thinking this? It’s been true of nearly every other primary that they’ve ever experienced. But they don’t realize that this one is different. And here is why:

  • Senator Obama has practiced scorched earth warfare against half of his own party. Even James Clyburn is getting in on the act. We’re not racists and we’re not immature and we really resent this crap. What we are is 18 million people that the Democrats have decided to cut loose but still need our votes. Insulting us is not the best way to get them.
  • We are witnesses to a very flagrant and public vote rigging scheme. It started by dampening Hillary’s momentum by taking her wins in Florida and Michigan away, continued to a seriously corrupt vote count in Gary, Indiana and finished with that travesty at the RBC meeting last Saturday. Telling people to suck it up and vote is unbelievable chutzpah.
  • Hillary is the stronger, more experienced candidate and we;ve known all along that the media and Republicans would like nothing so much as to sideline her-permanently. They are gleeful and incredulous that we would actually fall for it.

Getting Hillary to drop out and forcing her to humiliate herself by campaigning for Obama is not going to work Our anger must be acknowledged. We can’t be hustled without a resolution to what is important to us. We must have an accounting for why it was so important to dump Hillary and leave us open to the possibility of losing in the fall.

The problem we have with Obama is much bigger than Hillary is able to fix because she is not responsible for it. Our anger is directed to Mr. Obama and the party itself. We know that the Republicans are no good but right now, our prospects with either party are pretty bleak. The Republicans just want to win; the Democrats are more interested in committing political suicide by jettisoning its base and lecturing *US* about race.

If you guys want party unity, there is only one way to get it: Let’s go to Denver and have a fair fight on the convention floor. Let’s stop the bleeding of the superdelegates to Obama like cowardly rats abandoning a ship that isn’t even close to sinking. We have to witness for ourselves that she lost legitimately and that Obama has won legitimately. Otherwise, you will be in danger of suffering another sobering defeat this fall.

By the way, I can’t find any recent examples where a candidate has not won the majority of the large D and swing states and won the election. The last candidate who failed to capture the majority of them in the primaries was Jimmy Carter in 1980. He lost the popular vote by 10% and lost the Electoral College by 90% to Ronald Reagan. The final EV tally was a humiliating 489 for Reagan to 49 for Carter. Just 10% could swing this election to McCain.

Now you may resume chewing on the covers.

(gits)

bringiton at Corrente says Hillary Clinton should continue her campaign