Archive for Attorney General

Trump Doctrine: Olly olly oxen free

Muse for a moment on candidate Donald Trump’s preemptive slurs. Every opponent from any party got a toxic nickname. The overused term irony is apt here. In particular, he repeatedly called his Dem foe corrupt Hillary.

Even before he became POTUS, Trump’s business and legal dealings, ploys and questionable activities made it far too plain who was corrupt here. Smearing another does not absolve him.

Suddenly, as attention-getting as DT’s admitted or accused sexual misdeeds, his stiffing partners and contractors, his blatant self-dealing and conflicts of interest may be the sins of his version of the best and brightest. His cabinet and lower lackeys one after another drop out, are forced out, or operate under clouds worthy of Joe Btfsplk.

Pic Note: From an Al Capp strip via wikipedia. Fair use.

Several dropped out when they were proven dishonorable and liars. A surprising number of candidates seemed to know trouble when it called and did not risk taking a DT job.

Free Passes

More intriguing are the hide-and-see crew. They may hear that kids’ call olly olly oxen free and return without fear of being tagged (or put on trial). The current administration, as you might expect of any corrupt regime, is not shy about giving minions a free pass.

Already called back to base has been Kellyanne Conway. The nominal senior adviser will not face any charges for her egregious shilling of DT’s daughter Ivanka’s clothing line on national TV. The WH Counsel’s Office gave the free pass, claiming her clear violation of federal law was inadvertent.

This indeed is one of the principal definitions of corrupt. Promoting products to benefit the POTUS or his family is illegal for good reason. Doing so is corrupt.

Most recently up in the shame docket is AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. In sworn oral and written testimony to Congress and the FBI, he averred that he had no contact with Russian government officials during DT’s campaign. In fact, we know now that he had multiple meetings with the Russian ambassador and likely several phone conversations with other officials. Now he claims that they didn’t discuss campaign matters.

Do Laws Matter?

Prima facie it appears he violated campaign law, committed perjury several times and perhaps was even treasonous. Can his pro-active (a.k.a. defensive in DT’s case) pardon, like President Gerald Ford’s of disgraced POTUS Richard Milhous Nixon, lag far behind?

Dems in Congress scream for Sessions to resign. Even some Republicans who have any moral and patriotic fibers in their personal covering left are muttering for Sessions to recuse himself from any discussion or action of investigation of DT’s Russian connections.

Here’s betting DT stonewalls this. He’ll claim Sessions is fine and should continue as is. Of course, the rational world then immediately wonders

  • What the hell happened in the election
  • How pervasive and powerful was Russian interference and influence
  • What does Donny hide-my-taxes owe to Russians
  • Was DT blackmailed by Russians
  • Did Sessions act as pimp for DT and Putin politically

If DT calls Sessions home free, that could be a serious error. With the corrupt appointees clinging to free base, all eyes will be on DT. How corrupt was and is he?

The game is afoot, but it’s not as simple as hide and seek.

 

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Four Questions for MA Voters

bwak

MA, thanks to the legislative gods, is not at the head of ballot initiatives. That onerous crown still belongs to CA. There, virtually any crackpot with a loony fetish can get it on the statewide ballot, given enough petition signatures. Here at least, all proposals go through that process, then a stringent screen by the Attorney General for legal stuff like constitutionality, and then legislative action in one or two sessions.

For fun, look at the AG’s filings here and Ballotopedia’s who-made-the-cut table.

Eventually the laggard Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office will mail a booklet to registered voters listing the details of the four questions on November’s sheet. I’m a warden at a Boston polling place and I suspect that 90% or more of voters won’t read the booklet and arrive ignorant.

Pity, there are some goodies that made the cut. I deal with:

Q1: Expanding slot machine gaming.

Q2: Charter School Expansion.

Q3: Conditions for farm animals.

Q4: Legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana.

I give an example or two of what didn’t make the ballot and why.

If you’re like most of my precinct’s voters what you want is the word. I can’t say on election day, but my call, just for you, is N, N, Y and Y.

icon for podpress  2016 MA Ballot Questions [29:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MA AG on Changing Opioid Culture

Maura Healey, the MA Attorney General, joined me for a quick show on her efforts to reverse the addition and deaths of opioids. She reminded me that she promised this as a priority two years ago when she was running for office. She’s on it.

Last week, I covered the new prescription drug law. You can hear that here.

Listen in as she talks about her office’s multifaceted approach of education and enforcement. This is serious stuff with daily deaths and addition everywhere in the commonwealth. She looks at the US having 5% of the world’s population consuming 80% of the opioids. She has plans and policies to change that.

icon for podpress  MA AG on opioids [16:50m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Healey on Opioids

MA Attorney General Maura Healey joins me Monday, May 2nd at 3 PM Eastern for a quick session on opioids. The crisis is very real, very deadly.

We’ll talk last month’s new law designed to help. The chief law enforcer will tell us what that means and how far it gets us.

I’ll drill down a bit into the role of doctors and pharmacists in this mess.

If you can listen live, catch us then at by clicking here. Otherwise, get her show on demand back here, at that URL or on our iTunes page.

Podcast Eve Note: I shall run an intro show Saturday, April 23 at 1:30 AM (click here to listen live). I intend to discuss my own, non-addicted medically based experience as a foretaste of the Healey show.

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MA Without the Usual Suspects Podcast

Mild apology up front, as our service cut off the podcast just at 30 minutes with no grace. We were still holding forth, but there’s some beef in the bun. Ryan and Mike looked to the strong possibility that Boston mayor may not run and the term-limit certainty that the governor can’t.

We never got to speculating about a possible special election for US Senate if John Kerry gets sucked into an Obama cabinet post.

We had plenty to consider and pontificate about with possible replacements for Mayor Tom Menino and Gov. Deval Patrick. Ryan’s hoping for a Boston dark horse, but Mike figures on a city councilor. They name names. Likewise for governor, we went through some prime suspects and wild cards.

Listen in as we play what-if and who.

icon for podpress  MA Usual Suspects [30:04m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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How Dirty MA? Podcast

We rolled around in the mud a bit. While this is the state that developed gerrymandering and has numerous corrupt politicians, like James Michael Curley, among its favorite sons, we wondered how dirty are we? Other states have their own scandals, as does Congress. Right now though MA seems right down with the worse.

For example, three of our last four House Speakers were guilty or presently charged with various corruption offenses. The last, Sal DiMasi, resigned and faces a federal trial. Noted and beloved state Senator, Dianne Wilkerson, and Boston City Councilor, Chuck Turner, were convicted of corruption in federal court and face sentencing. Just over the weekend, a well respected county sheriff and former legislator, James DiPaola, appeared headed for corruption charges and killed himself.

Truth be told, we here are like many states in liking to think that such goings on go on somewhere else.

Ryan and Mike kicked the corruption can up and down the hall for a half hour. We noted such discrepancies  as Congressional folk getting fines or reprimands and less prominent pols falling into federal stings and headed for prison.

We traced the sordid history of the short lived campaign-finance and public financing law that followed a 1998 ballot initiative. The legislature gutted it, effectively killing it, with the 2003 budget. They claimed we couldn’t afford public financing.

Instead we have most of our MA pols constantly fund raising for biennial elections. The need for and reality of constant cash has been a serious corruption factor. Likewise, MA in general and Boston in particular have dirty liquor licensing of uneven application and over restriction, leading to high costs, scarcity and a drive to bribe. We discussed these and other factors that need reform.

Ryan puts faith in the next round of the governor’s ethics reform. Mike would like to see the AG, auditor and governor’s offices identify corrupting factors and propose reforms for them. Plus, we agreed that much more open meetings would preclude the types of backdoor deals that lead to no-bid contracts and payoffs.

It’s a short show. Listen in as we ID issues and propose some solutions.

icon for podpress  How Dirty MA? [35:30m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Grace Ross Podcast

Of course, we spoke of AG Martha Coakley and of the Tea Party and of Israel. Today’s guest was Grace Ross, after all.

We were just Grace and Mike, but we covered her analysis of the recent election, which led to many topics. While a professional and relentless activist, she has run for MA Governor twice — first as the Green-Rainbow nominee and recently in an effort to get on the Democratic ticket. She chomps and nibbles at the powers through advocacy, filing (often successful) legislation, and sometimes running for office.

She helped found the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending. Her principal economic and political positions are available in her book Main St. $marts.

Listen in as she speaks of:

  • The vastly misunderstood and best champion at the state level against major corporate interests run amok (Martha Coakley)
  • How she was smeared as an anti-Semite in 2006 for poorly worded Green-Rainbow platform statements
  • The worst of the Bush 2 legacy — “We fear our neighbors now.”
  • How the energy ridden recently by the Tea Party is not right wing, rather populist energy
  • The commitment to the revolutionary spirit alive and well in MA
  • More than ever, we need real people, not sexy campaigners, running for office
  • Populist candidates having a shot at office if they do enough groundwork between major elections

We spent some time on how in the recent election, the GOP did well in General Court and some local elections and were shut out of statewide races. She admits she has “a bunch of friends who are Republican elected officials” and that she misses “the traditional Republican candidates we had in Massachusetts.” She thinks too many of the Dems and Republicans here do not identify with ordinary citizens, who are concerned with jobs, mortgages, education and such.

Listen in as she explains what she sees as ways for them to present concrete examples of alternatives.

icon for podpress  Grace Ross [60:02m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MA Elections Picks Podcast

The Left Ahead! trio rarely endorses candidates. However, each of us often does so individually at our main blogs. Look to Ryan’s Take and Left in Lowell, and Mike already has listed his statewide picks for offices and ballot questions at Marry in Massachusetts.

We ran through some trends in the last two weeks of the campaigns, including the oddment of the GOP nominee for governor pushing internal polls claiming he was winning. There was also the appearance of the mystery man of state government, the non-debating Secretary Bill Galvin. Mike has a promise of a DVD of his sudden manifestation, as recorded by the Whitman Hanson Community Access TV (not available online). He’ll report then it arrives. Galvin was in Hanson at a forum when he knew his opponents were engaged in mutual political agon on stage in Newton.

We (Ryan and Mike today) detailed our individual picks for candidates and positions on the three statewide ballot questions.

icon for podpress  Players and Picks [55:59m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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SSM Under the Gavel Podcast

The trepidation of numerous LGBT groups for federal-court action on same-sex marriage is moot now. Our MA attorney general’s office argued against the DOMA section as hurting legally marriage homosexual couples from here. The big news has been the just wrapped-up California trial charging that the Prop 8 override of SSM there was unconstitutionally discriminatory.

Ryan and Mike kicked around  the perils and promise of court action and the possibilities of the case.

icon for podpress  SSM under the gavel [43:58m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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How Hardy the Party Podcast

John WalshJohn Walsh, chair of the MA Democratic Party, brought both is insights and optimism to the podcast. While it might have been a day for many progressives to mourn yesterday’s Senate seat loss, he’d have none of it.

Instead, listen in while he describes the types and levels of community organizing he’ll foster for the 2010 gubernatorial contest and then the 2012 rematch when the U.S. Senate seat lost in the special election comes for the full campaign cycle.

We had a full team of three commenting and questioning. For his part, Walsh ranged from specific predictions of two state senate seat pickups this year to how to move progressives into open and contested slots.

He didn’t dwell on whether the Dem efforts did the traditional campaign strategies well or poorly. He’s not concerned with doing things that aren’t effective better.

Likewise, he doesn’t have much patience with GOP claims that this loss meant a trend for Dems. Instead he drew the analogy of them after each storm (election) in a rubber life raft. After reach election, a few more of them fall overboard. Rather than save those, the remaining are delighted that they are still there. Dems aren’t and won’t be like that.

Listen in as Walsh describes his visions and strategies for the next two election cycles.

icon for podpress  How Hardy the Party [60:05m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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