Tag: email

Donald Trump implicated in Scott Walker corruption scandal in Wisconsin

A recent leak of documents from the John Doe II investigation into allegations that Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) illegally coordinated with outside political groups (most notably the Wisconsin chapter of the right-wing group Club for Growth), has, yet again, shown that the Walker Administration in Wisconsin is grotesquely corrupt. You can view the documents here, and the British newspaper The Guardian has a special feature on the document release here.

As evidenced by the leaked documents, the corruption trail is so deep in Wisconsin, it leads right up to the individual that the Republican Party nominated for President of the United States in this year’s presidential election, Donald Trump.

According to a recently leaked email, Walker was scheduled to meet with Donald Trump at 725 Fifth Avenue in New York City on the afternoon of April 3, 2012. 725 Fifth Avenue is the street address of Trump Tower, the headquarters of Donald Trump’s business empire. At the time, Walker was facing a recall attempt against him, with the recall election scheduled for June of that year (Walker went on to survive the recall attempt against him).

On the exact same day that Walker was scheduled to meet with Trump, Trump wrote a check, a photocopy of which was recently leaked, for $15,000. The check was not written either to Scott Walker personally or to Friends of Scott Walker, Walker’s official gubernatorial campaign committee, but instead to “Wisconsin Club for Growth Inc.”. Wisconsin Club for Growth is an outside political group that has spent millions of dollars supporting Republican political efforts in Wisconsin.

I don’t think for one second that Wisconsin Club for Growth receiving a check from Trump on the same day Walker met with Trump is merely a coincidence. In fact, the document leak, at a minimum, suggests that Trump has been an active player in Republican corruption in Wisconsin.

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In 2011 email, Bruce Rauner made false, racist claim about Chicago public school teachers

In a 2011 email to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other people seeking to dismantle the Chicago public school system, Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner claimed that half of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers are “virtually illiterate”.

Not only is that an absurdly false claim about public K-12 teachers in our state’s largest city, it’s also a flagrantly racist one.

According to the CPS website, 50.3% of CPS teachers are white, and the race/ethnicity of 1.7% of CPS teachers is unknown. That means that 48% of CPS teachers are of a known ethnic minority. I’m very convinced that Rauner was referring to non-white CPS teachers as “virtually illiterate”.

The latest email release from Rahm’s administration in Chicago has proven that Rauner is a total racist who thinks that minority teachers are illiterate, and that the Rahm-Rauner agenda to destroy public education in Illinois is motivated by racism. The truth of the matter is that public school teachers in Illinois, whether it be in Chicago or another part of our great state, are intelligent, functionally literate, and do a great job of educating our state’s children.

Donald Trump violates U.S. federal election laws by sending fundraising emails to foreign politicians

Current and/or former elected officials in no fewer than six foreign countries have received campaign fundraising emails from the campaign of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican Party nominee for President of the United States. The countries in which current and/or former elected officials have received fundraising solicitations from Trump include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom. In at least one case, a former head of government of a foreign country received a fundraising solicitation from Trump.

Trump has only recently started using emails to solicit campaign donations, and it first became clear that the Trump campaign’s email list had serious flaws when Katherine Clark, a member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party, received a Trump email, despite the fact that Clark is a known supporter of the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. However, no laws were violated by Trump when his campaign sent an fundraising solicitation to Clark, because Clark is a United States citizen.

However, numerous current and former members of parliament in at least six foreign countries have clearly indicated that the Trump campaign has sent fundraising solicitations to individuals who are not United States citizens. Under the federal election laws of the United States, it is illegal for an American presidential candidate to solicit campaign donations from individuals who are not United States citizens.

At least two members of the Australian House of Representatives, Tim Watts and Joanne Ryan, reported via Twitter that they had received emails from the Trump campaign asking for campaign donations:

Both Watts and Ryan are members of the Australian Labour Party.

In case you are wondering who the former head of government who received a Trump campaign fundraising email is, it is former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, who was the last member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, which is now defunct, to serve as prime minister:

The fact that the Trump campaign tried to sell the Brooklyn Bridge, which is not owned by Trump, to Campbell for a big discount proves that the Trump campaign is completely incompetent.

Ida Auken, a member of the Danish Parliament, also received a fundraising email from Trump:

Auken is a member of the Danish Social Liberal Party.

Anders Adlercreutz, a member of the Parliament of Finland, confirmed to Josh Marshall of the American political website Talking Points Memo that members of the Finnish Parliament have received Trump fundraising emails:

Adlercreutz is a member of the Swedish People’s Party of Finland.

The Iceland Monitor has reported that Katrín Jakobsdóttir, a member of the Icelandic Parliament, was one of at least three members of the Icelandic Parliament to receive campaign fundraising emails from Trump. Jakobsdóttir is the leader of the Icelandic Left-Green Alliance.

However, the strongest critic of the Trump fundraising emails to foreign politicians is Natalie McGarry, a member of the British House of Commons from the Glasgow area in Scotland. After receiving a fundraising email from Donald Trump, Jr., who was acting on behalf of his dad’s presidential campaign, McGarry wrote a response to the younger Trump in which she strongly criticized the elder Trump’s hateful, bigoted rhetoric and told the younger Trump that she hoped that American voters “reject your father fundamentally at the ballot box”. McGarry is not a member of any political party, although she was a member of the Scottish National Party until 2015. An online friend of mine posted to her social media page McGarry’s letter to the younger Trump, and it has been shared online over 1,700 times:

None of the foreign elected officials donated any money to Trump, to the best of my knowledge.

Donald Trump has proven that his presidential campaign is absolutely incompetent when it comes to operating an email list, and he has broken the law by attempting to solicit campaign donations from foreign politicians.

Joni Ernst sends virtually blank response to constituent’s request not to block SCOTUS appointment

Sometime in the immediate future, President Barack Obama will appoint someone to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) created by the death of Antonin Scalia.

One of the many Republican U.S. Senators who support obstructing anyone that the president appoints to the Supreme Court is Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA). Many of Ernst’s constituents in Iowa are not happy at all that Ernst wants the U.S. Senate to neglect its duty to either confirm or reject whoever the president appoints to SCOTUS, and one of them is Maggie White, who is a civil rights attorney from Iowa’s largest city, Des Moines. When White emailed Ernst’s office about Ernst and her fellow Senate Republicans wanting to do absolutely nothing in regards to the president’s SCOTUS pick, White did a very important civic duty by contacting Ernst’s office about the matter. Here’s how Ernst responded to White:

Joni Ernst sent one of her constituents a virtually blank response to a message that one of her constituents sent to her! By “virtually blank response”, I mean that Ernst’s response to Maggie White’s message contained a letterhead, a salutation, and a closing, not a body. The body of the email, which there is none in this particular email, is where Ernst’s response to White’s message would have been.

The U.S. Constitution is clear. The president must appoint a new SCOTUS justice, the Senate must either confirm or reject that appointment. For the Senate to not even conduct a confirmation process amounts to the Senate neglecting its Constitutional duty of advice and consent. It doesn’t take a lawyer to figure that out.

Bernie Sanders strongly criticizes Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric

From Bernie himself, via a recent campaign email:

I want to say a few things about Donald Trump and specifically about his comments tonight that we should ban all Muslims from coming to the United States, even American Muslims returning home from overseas.

It’s fun for the political media to treat Donald Trump like he’s the lead character in a soap opera or the star player on a baseball team. But the truth is his language is dangerous, especially as it empowers his supporters to act out against Muslims, Latinos, and African-Americans.

Poll after poll shows that I am the candidate best suited to take on Donald Trump and every other Republican running for president.

With multiple opinion polls showing Bernie being the most electable Democratic presidential candidate in hypothetical matchups against Trump, it’s clear that we need to do everything possible to help Bernie to win the Democratic nomination. One thing you can do is vote for Bernie Sanders in the Democracy for America (DfA) online poll. Should Bernie get at least two-thirds of the vote in the online poll, DfA will endorse Bernie.

My thoughts about the first Democratic presidential debate

Having watched last night’s Democratic presidential debate, I’ll begin by saying that I believe that Bernie Sanders won the debate, with Martin O’Malley having the second-best performance, followed by Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee.

My thoughts about Bernie Sanders’s performance

The Good – He upstaged Hillary Clinton on an issue directly affecting HRC (the private email server “scandal” that has been concocted by the GOP). He also defended himself very well, especially on gun safety and on the Veterans’ Affairs health system scandal.

The Bad – He mentioned his campaign website twice during the debate.

My thoughts about Martin O’Malley’s performance

The Good – He came across as the strongest candidate on gun safety, invoking the story of a family who lost one of their own in the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre.

The Bad – He tried to defend his zero-tolerance policing policy from his tenure as Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, which was one of several factors that have led to distrust between the police and the public in Baltimore.

My thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s performance

The Good – She came across as very professional during the debate without coming across as scripted or boring. She also cracked a joke at a very inappropriate remark from lead moderator Anderson Cooper about her bathroom usage.

The Bad – She twice invoked the fact that she’s a woman during the debate. She also gave weak answers on a number of issues, most notably marijuana legalization and financial regulation.

My thoughts about Jim Webb’s performance

The Good – He used his wife’s story on immigration very well.

The Bad – He used the NRA’s talking points on guns.

My thoughts about Lincoln Chafee’s performance

The Good – Nothing about his debate performance was especially good.

The Bad – He blamed his father’s death on his vote for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in the late 1990’s. Furthermore, he made an odd remark comparing himself to a block of granite at one point in the debate.

The big winners (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

The Democratic Party – All in all, the debate was a great showing that Democrats can have an intelligent, civil discussion about actual political issues between candidates representing various factions of the party.

Civic engagement – CNN’s telecast of the debate received the most viewers of any Democratic presidential primary/caucus debate in television history.

The internet – For the first time since the 1960 presidential general election debates, there appears to be a major disconnect between two media platforms on debate performance. In 1960, it was between radio (whose listeners viewed Richard Nixon as the debate winner) and television (whose viewers viewed John F. Kennedy as the debate winner). This time, it’s between television (which has been trying to spin a Hillary Clinton debate victory) and the internet (most people on social media view Bernie Sanders as the debate victor). I’d expect the newer platform (in this case, the internet) to come out on top.

The big losers (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

Anderson Cooper – Cooper, CNN’s lead moderator for the debate, tried to use his position to smear Bernie Sanders on a number of GOP talking points against him and failed, and he also made a very inappropriate remark about Hillary Clinton’s bathroom usage after one of the commercial breaks.

The mainstream media – See my remarks about the internet being a big winner above.

Mike Huckabee – Huckabee, one of many Republican presidential candidates, took to Twitter during the debate and made downright racist remarks about Korean people while attacking Bernie Sanders.

Joe Biden – With Hillary Clinton giving a strong enough debate performance to calm down those in the establishment who were fretting about Hillary, and Bernie Sanders solidifying the progressive base of the party, there’s not really a path to victory for Biden if he were to enter the race for the Democratic nomination.

Debate fairness – CNN shut out Lawrence Lessig from participating in the debate despite the fact that Lessig is a Democratic candidate for president.

Bernie Sanders gives apparent response to Mark Pocan attacks without mentioning Pocan by name

Earlier today, Bernie Sanders sent out an email, in which he stated that his campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination isn’t about Bernie Sanders himself:

As you know, we launched our campaign almost five months ago and we’re doing very well so far. We’ve seen leads in Iowa and New Hampshire, and continue to gain ground in states across the country.

And while we will never raise as much money as our opponents who receive huge donations from wealthy individuals and super PACs, I have been amazed by the outpouring of grassroots financial support that we have secured. In just a few months, we have received almost 1 million individual contributions online. Incredibly, these donations average less than $30 per contribution. In other words, while my opponents hold fundraising events in which a handful of millionaires make huge contributions, we are gaining extraordinary support with modest contributions coming from the working families and middle class of our country.

That’s what my politics is all about. That’s what I want to do throughout this campaign. And I want to thank all of you for your support.

Let me be very clear. As I have mentioned before and will mention again and again, this campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It’s about putting together a grassroots movement of Americans who stand up and say: “Enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.”

(emphasis mine)

The rest of Sanders’s email lists key parts of his campaign platform, such as making higher education truly affordable, rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, reducing wealth inequality, making America less dependent on dirty fossil fuels, and ending systemic racism in the law enforcement and criminal justice systems.

Although Sanders didn’t mention U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) by name anywhere in the email, the email appears to be a response to recent attacks by Pocan, in which Pocan publicly dissed Sanders by referring to him as a “75-year-old socialist” (Sanders is actually 74 years old, although Sanders will be 75 on the date of the general election for president next year) and proceeded to bash progressives in the Democratic Party for supporting Sanders based on his “populist message”.

While Democratic insiders don’t seem to understand this, Bernie Sanders has spent his entire political career fighting to make America a better place to live. Every political campaign that Bernie has taken on has been about the people, not about himself.

Don’t let new polls fool you…Team Hillary is growing even more scared of Bernie Sanders

While the corporate media is touting new polling showing an apparent slight boost of support for Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary and her allies are acting like they’re behind, and that Bernie Sanders is their main opposition.

Recently, Robby Mook, Hillary’s campaign manager, sent out an email which didn’t mention Bernie by name, but tried to tie Bernie to Karl Rove, whose right-wing political operation has been running paid ads in New Hampshire attacking Hillary over her use of a private email server for government business when she was U.S. Secretary of State. Part of the email was quoted by education blogger Peter Greene; you can find the partial Hillary email here in a blog post that’s primarily about Hillary’s right-wing, teacher-bashing education agenda.

I find it downright laughable that Hillary’s allies are now trying to tie Bernie to someone as odious as Karl Rove, who represents the kind of right-wing big money people and political establishment that Bernie has made a name for himself railing against. Bernie’s political philosophy is virtually the opposite of that of Rove, and Bernie would never coordinate with any kind of outside groups, much less right-wing political groups that push a political agenda that Bernie is staunchly opposed to. In fact, Mook implied that Bernie was illegally coordinating with Rove and his political operation, which is an absolutely absurd suggestion. Hillary’s allies know that Hillary can’t win on the issues, so they’re resorting to asinine smears and false political attacks against Bernie.

I can’t wait to see Bernie Sanders crush Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential debates.

Bernie Sanders stands up for Planned Parenthood and calls for expanding funding for women’s health care

While reducing rampant income inequality and ending the culture of big-money politics in this country are two of the main causes of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, he’s also a staunch supporter for reproductive rights. In a recent fundraising email, Bernie called for increasing funding for women’s health care, not defunding women’s health care like what the far-right Republicans who control Congress and are running for president want to do:

Let me tell you what I believe: we need to be spending a lot more money on women’s health care. We need to be investing in organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide absolutely essential health services for women, particularly in low-income communities.

And Americans need a president who knows women in this nation deserve a whole lot more than $3 a person for health care.

Regarding Bernie’s claim about spending $3/woman on women’s reproductive health care, that’s a reference to Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush complaining about spending “half a billion dollars for women’s health issues”. If the U.S. spent $500,000,000 annually on women’s reproductive health care (I’m not sure what the actual figure is, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were close to that figure), that would translate to, rounded to the nearest cent, $3.19 per woman, since there were 156,964,212 women (50.8% of total U.S. population) in the United States as of the 2010 U.S. Census. Rounded to the nearest whole dollar ($3.19 rounded to nearest whole dollar is $3), Bernie’s claim is correct.

It’s common sense to increase funding and access to reproductive health care. Reproductive health care organizations like Planned Parenthood provide a wide array of reproductive health care services designed to prevent abortions and stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. In fact, Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health services to men, in addition to reproductive health services to women.

The push by Republicans and right-wing smear artists to defund reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood have had disastrous consequences in Indiana, where a Republican-led push to defund Planned Parenthood resulted in an HIV outbreak in Southern Indiana. This is one of many reasons why we need more public funding, not less, for reproductive health care.

Are Democratic donors only interested in sabotaging political campaigns?

Niko Elmaleh, a New York City real estate developer who has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats in recent years, bragged in an email to Democratic National Committee (DNC) Treasurer Andy Tobias and Democracy for America (DfA) Chairman Jim Dean about a plan to sabotage the Democratic presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton by having Elizabeth Warren run for the Democratic presidential nomination, only to later drop out of the race after Warren had upstaged Hillary’s campaign:

In his April 3, 2015, email to the small group, Mr. Elmaleh refers to his concern that a lack of a meaningful primary opponent will result in a stale and complacent candidate. He writes, “I think we should seriously consider as an excellent way to keep Hilary fresh in the public eye; Elizabeth Warren should run against her.”

Later in the email he reveals that after an appropriate “show” has been staged, Ms. Warren would be expected to bow out, having strengthened Ms. Clinton as a candidate. “If we can put on a ‘show’ featuring two of the most prominent progressives who are women, it will focus the attention of the bulk of voters on us.”

He then proceeds to land a few glancing blows on the other side’s candidates: “The Republicans’ show is a comic circus and would not compete with ours. Of course, this has to be carefully managed so that Warren can gracefully withdraw after performing this vital task. I don’t think she can win yet (although she could in the future).”

If I were running for public office, I would never take Niko Elmaleh’s money. All Elmaleh wants to do is start trouble within the Democratic Party and cost our party critical elections. While there have been numerous past instances of Democrats upstaging other Democrats who are running for public office (usually in the form of a superb and/or well-remembered speech at the Democratic National Convention or some other political gathering), this is the first time I can recall a Democratic donor being involved in a concerted scheme to sabotage someone’s political campaign by having another candidate upstage him or her. Sadly, the Democratic establishment thinks that grassroots activists are the ones who are causing trouble in the party, when, in reality, their own kind of people is causing a ton of trouble in the party.

If you want a progressive who is sick and tired of big-money political games and is interested in running a real campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, please encourage Bernie Sanders to run for president.