Jury convicts in probation case


John J. O’Brien, the disgraced former Probation commissioner accused of corruption, and his top aide, Elizabeth Tavares, today were convicted of mail fraud, racketeering, and racketeering conspiracy by a US District Court jury, which found that they ran the state agency like a criminal enterprise.

Another third former official, William Burke III, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy but acquitted of mail fraud and racketeering.

The jury found that O’Brien and Tavares committed fraud and racketeering by hijacking their department’s hiring process to favor candidates who were sponsored by state legislators…. Defense attorneys had argued throughout the trial that O’Brien and his deputies did nothing illegal, that it was simply patronage. But the jury found that they committed fraud, by creating a rigged system to make it look like they were following department protocol.

So, there you have it, I guess.  There will probably be post-trial motions seeking to overturn the jury’s verdict, and almost certainly an appeal to the federal appeals court in Boston.  But for now, at least, guilty.

If the verdict holds up, is Bob DeLeo next?  Or does he remain an “unindicted coconspirator”?

Progressive Dems of Mass. (PDM) Endorses Healey for AG, Conroy for Treasurer

  - promoted by david

Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts (PDM) is proud to announce that we have voted to endorse Maura Healey for Attorney General and Tom Conroy for Treasurer.  These endorsements follow upon PDM’s endorsement of Don Berwick for Governor earlier this month.

We encourage all progressive activists to join us in working to elect these three impressive candidates.

PDM is a statewide network of grassroots activists and organizers, which has been working since 2003 to build progressive power in Massachusetts communities and government.  PDM’s endorsements are made by our sustaining members after careful review and open discussion.  Our process considers both the candidates’ commitment to progressive values and policies and their likely ability to provide effective leadership if elected.  We only endorse if two-thirds of those voting agree.

In the present process, both Maura Healey and Tom Conroy received the support of more than 80 percent of those participating in the voting.  In two highly competitive primaries, these tallies reflect extraordinary consensus among our active members about the strengths of these two candidates.

Market Basket Prediction Thread

This post is by striker57 - not sure why the system is showing the author incorrectly. It's a worthy topic of discussion and speculation. Ernie has helpfully linked to a court filing that supplies additional information. - promoted by david

The Board of Market Basket is meeting tomorrow morning (Friday, July 25th). MB workers plan a massive (and “final” (their word) rally to coincide with the meeting. So BMG, what will the Market Basket Board do? Reinstate Arthur T? Stand by their earlier decision? Fire more workers? Nothing at all?

What say you?

Trio for MA Lt. Gov. want it to play key roles

Bravo for Left Ahead. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Another lieutenant governor candidate, another expand-the-role advocate, what’s new? A lot, it turns out. Steve Kerrigan was the third of the three Dems who’ll be in the Sept. 9th primary who spoke with Left Ahead. He more than held his own.

We’ve had Leland Cheung and Mike Lake on as well, the trio on the Sept. 9th Dem primary ballot for the office. I’ll plug in their half-hour shows here. We can play FOX; you decide.

Each of the three (including Leland Cheung and Mike Lake) see the role of LG as crucial today and beyond. Each has a different slant on what the office should entail.

Scott Brown: You Really Can't Make this Stuff Up

Brings to mind inspiring memories of that other great Republican leader Michele Bachmann campaigning in New Hampshire. -Bob
- promoted by david

Scott Brown Tweets Pic Posing with DeLorean, Spells DeLorean Wrong


Scott Brown, New Hampshire candidate for U.S. Senate, tweeted out a photo of himself and a supporter with the supporter’s futuristic-looking, gull-winged DeLorean on Saturday. Yes, that’s the car from “Back to the Future.” And yes, he spelled the name of the car wrong.

The Democrats SHOULD be class warriors

We should be guided by what works. But whether the link supports the quotation is debatable. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Harold Meyerson has another excellent, albeit long, think piece in the American Prospect that is worth reading in it’s entirety. The thrust of the argument is well known. FDR was, like a certain other recent President, supported by big business and brought in largely as a result of the disastrous predecessor he had. Over time though, he realized these tepid remedies weren’t actually putting people back to work. He then, unlike a certain recent President, pushed through the largest expansion of government assistance, government jobs, and government regulation ever passed before or since (with maybe the exception of The Great Society). And FDR was unafraid to call out his opposition for the class war they were waging. As Meyerson notes:

On the election’s eve, secure in the knowledge that he was about to win an overwhelming victory, Roosevelt struck back. In an address, broadcast on national radio, to a screaming crowd at Madison Square Garden, FDR singled out “business and financial monopoly, speculation, [and] reckless banking” as enemies of social peace. “Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob,” he continued. “Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred. I should like to have it said of my first administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second administration that in it these forces met their master.”

He goes on to note that no Democrat, before or since, had to contend with a similar economic situation, and could enjoy the Fordist/New Deal consensus for the next four decades. Then came Reagan, the rise of the Reagan Democrat, and the cultural divisions that tore a party apart-a party still largely defined by that economic consensus.

I had a great day in Brockton - and I'm going back tomorrow.

An interesting discussion about grassroots activism in the comments. There will be plenty more events like these between now and the election. A MassDems calendar is here. John Walsh is the Executive Director of Governor Patrick's Together PAC and former chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Will you join me and some local Brockton folks — and Juliette Kayyem, and Brendan Ryan, and Larry Carpman, and Matt Patton, and Kevin Franck, and Natalie Boyle, and Emily Zendt, and Howard Cutter, and (I hope) my son Coleman? If Brockton isn’t convenient for you, sign up here to join over 200 active Democrats at another location. But I have to say, I think Brockton will be the most fun. :)

On the #DemDoors, we’re beginning the conversation with voters who will be crucial for our wins in November and we are starting to lay the foundation for an effective GOTV push — which begins in just about 100 days by the way. These are voters who are likely to vote for Democrats, but might (based on past voting patterns) miss a vote in non-presidential years. I’m sure you are reading about the crucial need to turn out these voters in races around the country and the same dynamic will be in play here at home too.

MassDems Chairman Tom McGee and his team have been focused on this and they have been preparing a plan for months. Already, we are benefiting from having Senator Ed Markey at the top of the ticket including his campaign field team led by Carl Nilsson and Chelsie Oullette and the full commitment of supporters of Democratic members of congress in each district. We’re starting early and we need your help tomorrow and on two other “Weekends of Action” in August.

For those who are fully committed to campaigns in the middle of a primary contest, I wouldn’t ask you to take away a single day from your work there. What I would ask is that you consider adding just a couple hours for this important work.

Grossman TV Ad

Yeah, I agree with this assessment. - promoted by david

Steve Grossman just released a new TV ad that goes after Coakley (a bit).

It opens with “Who do you trust to grow our economy as Governor? A career prosecutor? Or a proven jobs creator?”

I think it’s fine, but utterly forgettable. It won’t turn anyone off, but I doubt it will attract too many voters.

Also, someone might want to tell the Grossman campaign that the Massachusetts unemployment rate is 5.5%. The lowest it has been since August 2008.

Through MIT's Nuclear Goggles

MIT does have its own nuclear reactor in Cambridge, after all. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Switzerland came to the Boston area a week or so ago. There was a conversation with one of the political leaders of the country, Doris Leuthard, Councillor of the Swiss Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications, at MIT on “Future Energy Supply and Security in Switzerland” and the next day a seminar on Watt d’Or, the Swiss award for the best energy projects in the country (http://www.bfe.admin.ch/org/00483/00638/?lang=en), at Northeastern University to celebrate the opening of an exhibit that will stay up at Northeastern’s International Village until September.

A Pit In My Stomach

Couldn't agree more. And, on this topic, check out the "reasonable" independent MA-Gov candidate Jeff McCormick's statement on this topic. He opposes Governor Patrick's action because
the world is filled with many people who suffer from hunger, terror, war and injustice. Massachusetts can not be the savior for all of those people.
No, we can't. But if we can save some of them, surely that is what we should do. - promoted by david

We all have these chemicals in our heads that can take control without warning. A good spontaneous joke makes you immediately laugh. Reading BMG gets the ole angry molecules swimming around up there. Anger is far the largest motivator of comments and posts on here. Read something and boom!, there it goes. Think sports to try and take your mind off it.

Then there’s disappointment. Not the due-to-illness—the-role-of-Maria-Von-Trapp-will-not-be-played-by-Miss-Andrews-this-evening-but-instead-her-understuder-Mary-Szczbinski-will-perform-in-her-absence-disappointment.

I mean the real kind. The visceral kind. The I-can’t-believe-my-girlfriend-is-dating-the-entire-foorball-team-disappointment.

Disappointed not at a situation but in people.

The kind of disappointment that causes you take a step back and question your own perceptions.

The kind of disappointment that leaves a big pit in your stomach.

The kind of disappointment I feel when reading the words of few MA elected officials, residents, and even Howie Carr – can you believe it, I even thought Howie Carr, the guy that sent his kids to Catholic school, would not have made something of this – yelling because a few hundred children with no money, no friends, no family, and nowhere to go will be housed, fed, clothed, entertained, schooled as much as possible, and hidden for less than a year at zero cost to the community or the state inside a secured military base somewhere near them.

Polling the Governor's Race

A nice piece of context. Bumped, for glory. - promoted by Bob_Neer

The most recent polling of the governor’s race was done by the Boston Globe.

Several things are notable:

  1. Elizabeth Warren (55/39 +16) and Deval Patrick (54/41 +13) are our second and third most favorably viewed office holders, but the most favorably viewed is Martha Coakley (54/36 +18).
  2. 72% of those polled didn’t recognize Don Berwick.
  3. Polling for the Democratic Primary shows it split 53%/17%/5% for Coakley, Grossman, and Berwick.
  4. During the period from June 15 to July, support for Coakley strengthened slightly and support for the other two candidates declined, for example, support for Berwick shrank from 8% to 5%.

At this point, the Democratic Primary does not look like much of a race.

Bastien Challenges Flanagan to Sign People's Pledge Banning Special Interest Donations in Race

A trend emerges? - promoted by Bob_Neer

The post by Bastien begins here [Ed.]:

Campaign reform is an issue we can all get behind. Until Beacon Hill stops limiting transparency and conducting the people’s work behind closed doors, we need to ensure that special interest groups and PACs are not having an unfair and outsized manipulation of the process. The line between legislators being informed by groups on issues they care about, and the appearance or outright establishing of quid pro quos and buying of legislators is being obscured by the lack of transparency on Beacon Hill. If the debate was out in the open, one could judge whether someone was in a group’s pocket or not. When it’s behind closed doors, the public is shut out about knowing what their elected officials are really saying or supporting.

Former State Representative Richard Bastien sent the below letter to his opponent Jen Flanagan asking her to agree to join with him in banning outside special interest donations in the race for State Senate. Tell Jen Flanagan to sign the People’s Pledge and keep special interest and lobbyist money out of candidate’s campaign accounts.

July 17, 2014
Flanagan Committee
Leominster MA 01453

Dear Jennifer,
As someone who believes that heavy outside special interest spending in campaigns, particularly since the Citizens United ruling can lead to the appearance of putting the needs of special interests above the needs of the citizens of our district, I ask you my fellow candidate, Jennifer Flanagan, to join me in agreeing to ban all campaign donations from lobbyists, PACS, Corporations, Unions, and special interest groups from our campaigns in the 2014 election for State Senate in the Worcester and Middlesex district. I believe that we can set a new standard that can show the Commonwealth and the nation that elections should be decided by the people, not by how much special interest groups can give to a candidate or candidates.

In the interest of reaching that agreement, I have attached a signed Pledge, modeled on the agreement between Senator Elizabeth Warren and Former Senator Scott Brown from the 2012 United States Senate campaign. If you agree to it, please sign yourself. With our shared commitment to banning special interest spending in this race and your record and mine as candidates and legislators in support of Clean Elections, I am confident we will have a signed Pledge in a matter of days.