state politics

Is Bush Using MD Atty. Gen. DiBiagio to Go After GOP's Future Political Opponents?
state politics

Ever since Bush's bosom buddy Robert Ehrlich stole the Maryland state governorship in 2002 and Repug Thomas Dibiagio was shortly thereafter confirmed as the state's attorney general, two main figures have become continuing targets of political harassment by Ehrlich and Dibiagio: former governor Paris Glendenning and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley. Why these two? Undoubtedly because both are widely expected to rise to importance in federal politics in the future. Now it is revealed that DiBiagio systematically abused his position to try to trump up charges against Paris Glendenning by pressuring another victim, Nathan Chapman. Btw: Guess who is going to be a major speaker at the GOP Convention? Ehrlich's second-in-command, Michael Steele.

Targeting Officials with Media/Justice Dept. Witch Hunts - a Bush System Clone in Maryland
state politics

Repug Gov. Bob Ehrlich of MD is a close Bush friend - not only that, he is an apt student of Bush tactics. Election fraud, for ex: his campaign workers spread fliers thru poor black neighborhoods giving the wrong day for voting and warning that no one with so much as a parking ticket has a right to vote).Now it seems he's been systematically using his Ashcroft-like attorney general Thomas Dibagio and the media to go after officials (nearly always Democrats). This story is revealing because it provides a look at the Bush modus operandi "in a microcosm." "For nearly three years Mr. DiBiagio has used the U.S. Attorney's Office primarily for political witch hunts and now we have damning evidence to prove what many have long suspected," says MD Democratic Party Chair Isiah Leggett. "Mr. DiBiagio must step down to restore the integrity of the U.S. attorney's office." And Ashcroft, too!

Nation's Governors Say Reality Just Doesn't Line Up with Bush's Claims of an 'Improving' Economy
state politics

USA Today: "The Bush administration's talk of a rebounding economy doesn't reflect what's going on in households around America, Democratic governors attending a policy conference said Saturday. Job and retirement worries, rising health care costs and higher tuition rates are eating at middle-class families, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack contended. As to administration officials' recent statements about the robust economy, "Well, I don't know where they're buying gas," said Vilsack, chairman of the Democratic Governors' Association. A spokesman for President Bush's re-election campaign countered that the governors had picked up "the doom-and-gloom mantra of the Kerry campaign." LOL! We'd rather be "doom and gloom" and living in reality than afflicted with "delusional optimism" - a feature of many psychotic conditions.

George 'Pay Your Pals Off' Bush Rams Through Hated Maryland Highway Boondoggle for Buddy Ehrlich
state politics

Bob Ehrlich, the GOP governor of Maryland who got his job through one of the most corrupt elections in Maryland's recent history, is (what a suprirse!) a frequent guest of the Bushes at Camp David. For 40 years, the majority of Marylanders have vehemently and persistently opposed the construction of a $3-billion highway connector that would devastate thousands of rural acreage, while saving commuters only a few minutes at best. Ehrlich, who places big contractors first and citizens second, wants the project. So now in true "pay off your friends off" style, Bush is ramming the boondoggle down Marylanders' throats by fast-tracking it. Once again, Bush and his pals win, while the American majority and the environment lose.

Appointed by Bob Ehrlich, Maryland's Police Superintendent is Indicted for Stealing from Police Fund
state politics

Republican Bob Ehrlich, who gained office with one of the worst instances of campaign fraud in Maryland's recent history, is a good pal of Bush (a regular Camp David visitor, in fact). Ehrlich appointed as the state's top law enforcement officer Ed Norris, formerly with the Baltimore City police. Now it comes out that Norris helped himself to several thousand dollars of cash from police coffers. Even more despicable, the fund he robbed to pay for posh hotel bills and wining and dining was intended for needy policemen.

GOP-Controlled Legislature: 'This is the 'Saddam Hussein' Rule of the Wisconsin Senate'
state politics

Steven Walters writes: "Days after an angry lawmaker ended a vote by yanking a microphone out of its stand, Republicans on Tuesday gave the Senate's presiding officer the unprecedented power to remove for a day any senator who creates a 'substantial' disturbance or disruption. 'This is the 'Saddam Hussein' rule of the Wisconsin Senate' said Sen. Russ Decker (D-Schofield) The Senate's 18-13 vote established a new code of conduct for the Senate. All Republicans backed the change; 13 Democrats voted against it... Democrats said the change made the Senate president the single most powerful presiding officer of any legislative house in the nation. They noted that he or she could change the outcome of potential one-vote margins by having a senator the president disagreed with escorted off the Senate floor."

Arianna vs. the Terminator -- The Offspring of a Nazi
state politics

Salon reports: "In a telephone call with Salon, [chief Democratic spokesman Bob] Mulholland mocked [Arianna] Huffington's evolving political allegiances, riffed on Arnold's alleged penchant for groping women who aren't his wife, then took time to note that Schwarzenegger's father was a member of the Nazi Party during World War II. 'That stuff can be hard for any family,' Mulholland said of the dirt he was dishing on Schwarzenegger. But he said it in a tone that suggested something less than heartfelt sympathy for the Schwarzenegger clan, and he didn't come close to apologizing. 'Schwarzenegger has got to ask himself, 'Do I put myself in the election, take all the abuse and lose?'' Mulholland said. 'I served in Vietnam, Gray Davis served in Vietnam, and we're not going to be replaced by somebody whose dad was in the Nazi army." Unfortunately, the White House was stolen by the grandson of a Nazi financier.

FEC Postpones Decision that Could Affect Issa's Role in Recall Drive
state politics

Copley News service reports: "The Federal Election Commission on Thursday postponed until next week a vote that might suggest the outcome of an FEC complaint that Rep. Darrell Issa broke the law while raising money to recall Gov. Gray Davis. The commission -- the arbiter of federal campaign law -- appears split on whether an Arizona congressman who wants to raise money for a state ballot measure should follow a new federal law that is stricter than Arizona law. From today's Union-Tribune: Vote may weigh on Issa role in recall The case involving Rep. Jeff Flake, a Republican, has strong similarities to Issa's situation. The Vista Republican runs a committee that's raising money to place a recall of the Democratic governor on the California ballot... An FEC complaint filed by a Davis ally claims Issa broke the law because his Rescue California committee, the driving force behind the recall, took money from Issa's real estate company, as well as several donations larger than $2,000."

Leader of Recall Davis Effort, Darrell Issa Arrested Twice for Illegal Weapons, In Addition to Car Theft Charge
state politics

The San Francisco Chronicle reports: "Rep. Darrell Issa, within months of leaving Army service in the early 1970s, was arrested twice on illegal-weapons charges, including an incident in Michigan that led to a misdemeanor gun conviction, The Chronicle has learned. Issa's weapons arrests, when he was an ex-GI and college student, have come under new scrutiny as the millionaire San Diego County Republican attempts to oust Gov. Gray Davis in an unprecedented recall campaign. Issa's $1 million in donations have fueled the recall's momentum... Months before the Michigan incident, however, Issa was involved in another incident. Court records on file in Issa's hometown of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, show that in March 1972, one month after getting out of the Army, Issa was arrested on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and auto theft."

Leader of Recall Davis Effort, Darryl Issa was Charged in San Jose Auto Theft
state politics

The San Francisco Chronicle reports: "Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, the driving force behind the effort to recall Gov. Gray Davis, was prosecuted with his brother in San Jose in 1980 for allegedly faking the theft of Issa's Mercedes Benz sedan and selling it to a car dealer for $16,000, according to court records. Issa, in a phone interview with The Chronicle Tuesday, blamed his brother for the car theft, which was detailed in documents on file in Santa Clara County Superior Court and which has never been made public. 'I do not steal,' Issa said. The second-term San Diego area congressman has pumped $1 million into the campaign to recall Davis and has declared he will run for governor should the recall qualify for the ballot this year. Issa's previous political campaigns have been roiled by allegations that twice -- once while a student in his hometown of Cleveland and once while a soldier in Pennsylvania -- he also was involved in car thefts."

Rightwing Effort to Recall Gray Davis Likely to Reach the Ballot
state politics

AP reports: "A recall campaign against Gov. Gray Davis backed by $800,000 from a conservative congressman seems poised to reach the ballot, and that possibility already has politicians scrambling. With Rep. Darrell Issa's money funding an army of paid signature gatherers, supporters claim to have 700,000 of the 900,000 signatures they must obtain by Sept. 2 to put the measure on the ballot. The most likely date for such an election would be March 2004. If supporters can gather the signatures by mid-July, however, they would have a shot at getting a special election scheduled in the fall... Many Republicans fear the recall could backfire and leave them worse off in a state where Democrats already control every statewide office and both houses of the Legislature."

Leader of Effort to Recall Gray Davis Accused of Soft Money Violations
state politics

NY Times reports: "A California congressman leading an effort to recall Gov. Gray Davis is caught in his own controversy, facing accusations that he has financed the effort with 'soft money' checks, in violation of the new federal campaign finance law. Supporters of Mr. Davis say Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of Vista, has solicited the donations despite the ban on federal officeholders' raising soft money. The money is being used to finance Rescue California, a committee that is paying for the effort to obtain the 900,000 signatures needed to force a special election in which voters would decide on recalling Mr. Davis, a Democrat."

Jeb Bush Counts on Hoodwinking Women Voters with a Phony Sales Pitch
state politics

Jeb Bush thinks that he can hoodwink women into handing him the Florida election by feeding them bogus poll results, stuffing his campaign with figurehead women, and bragging about how many women he appointed to the FLA government. Yep, it's true, to court the female vote, Jeb DID appoint more women. As Democrats.com has reported, one of them is said to be Jeb's "close, personal friend." Another one helped him rig an election, and the others make embarrassingly less money for the same jobs done by males (for example, Judge Kathleen Kearney makes $113,000/year while her male successor, also a Bush appointee, gets $150,000). In addition, at a recent fundraiser photo op with "women supporters from all walks of life," nearly all were Jeb appointees, relatives, or GOP lobbyists. Real representative, eh? Course you also won't hear Jeb mention that FLA was recently ranked NUMBER ONE as the worst state in which to be poor and female.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend Pledges to Expand Maryland's Ballistic Fingerprinting Program
state politics

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend this week pledged to work to expand Maryland's ballistic fingerprinting program to include legal assault and automatic weapons. The D.C. area sniper investigation has been unable to compare shell casings from the crimes because the state's database does not include those weapons now. Maryland is one of just two states to have a ballistic fingerprinting program, thanks to the Glendenning (Gov)-Townsend team. By contrast, Townsend's opponent, Bob Ehrlich, an ivy league hothouse chickenhawk who voted FOR the Bush W-ar resolution, has been so pro-gun-owner rights in his voting pattern he'd make Charlton Heston nervous.

In Shrub's Backyard, Texans Say 'No!' to Exploitive Corporate Development
state politics

Rapid growth in Austin, TX has led to the same problems of corporate exploitation endured elsewhere: Wal-Marts and Home Depots moving in just long enough to trash a huge site, then moving on to gobble up better sites, leaving the damage behind; strip malls in place of green spaces, no safe place for kids to play, etc. But the suburb of Georgetown refused to be just another corporate brownfield. In just two election cycles (1999 and 2000), voters swept the pro-developer reps out of office. The ousted pro-corproate folks and their claques are are now sniping with ridiculous melodrama from the sidelines, accusing smart growth leaders of being anti-Mexican, foodstamp and Wal-Mart kids. What's anti-Mexican, anti-kid, or anti-poor person about a safe, clean, NONCORPORATE environment you can be proud to call home? Or not settling for $6/hr jobs (as offered by most corporate chains).

Republicans Can Dish It Out, But Whine Like Spoiled Brats When They Have to Take It
state politics

In Georgia, the Democrats had their chance to play the "redistricting" game and when they did, they made sure the new districts included the maximum number of Democratic districts. That's politics, folks! Not only that, but a game perfected by the Republicans. State Senate minority leader Eric Johnson (R) growled sourly that the new districts were "conceived in the dark, by thugs and cowards," while Sen Bill Stepherns (R) melodramatically claimed it was "the worst case of gerrymandering in U.S. history!" With their usual slimey style, the Republicans are fighting back by trying to create a rift between white and black Democrats. Just like the corporations whose butts they regularly kiss, the GOPers would rather spend their energy on discrediting the opposition than earning support honestly.

The Truth About New Jersey: Whitman's Much-touted Record Is Much Ado About Nothing
state politics

We keep hearing about what great efforts "Christie Todd" made toward cleaning up NJ's embattled environment, which is notorious as one of the foulest in the US, especially northern NJ. The latest stats show that whatever she did was too little and/or too late. For example, there is NOWHERE in the state where ground ozone levels are rated better than "unhealthy." In the Jersey City area, cancer-causing agents in the air are 400 times higher than protective limits. In many areas, the tap water is undrinkable. Meanwhile, industry lobbyist dollars still do a lot of talking in the state. During the last gubernatorial election cycle, the chemical, drug, and power industries spent over $7 million on candidates. That amount is expected to be higher this time. It looks like the PR about Whitman's work in NJ is like the PR about Bush's job in TX: Lies, all lies.

Colorado County Shows Nightmare Results of Looking to the Right to Solve Society's Problems
state politics

What is happening in Costilla County, Colorado shows what can happen when voters try to "clean up" their county's (or nation's) act by swinging too far to the right. Instead of making the county a safer place, the new Sheriff, John Mestas (who ran on a "take back the county" platform) is everyone's worst law enforcement nightmare come true. Now citizens are stalked, bullied, intimated, and falsely arrested on a regular basis. When 32 out of 50 residents complained in a public meeting, nothing was done - in fact, the situation escalated. Now law suits are beginning to mount up - like the the one filed by a 73-year-old bank customer who was forced to lie face down in the street in handcuffs for a long period of time because the bank's silent alarm accidently went off. Sounds like the U.S., under Bush, is headed in the same direction as Costillas County.

Sneak Attack by GOP on Oklahoma House Speaker Larry Adair Foiled
state politics

In a classic example of dirty politics, Republican Fred Morgan of Oklahoma City, possibly hoping to take advantage of the emotional turmoil prevailing in OK City as the McVeigh issue drags on, staged a surprise coup against Democratic House Speaker Larry Adair. However, Morgan, who was angered by recent House redistricting, miscalculated and failed to win the needed 51 votes. Remember these two names in the next primary, OK Dems: Mike Ervin and Ron Langmacher - they are Dems who voted WITH Morgan. Bet you could find some more honest Democratic candidates!