Republican Governors Association created another Shadowy PAC Supporting Baker

Won't it be interesting to see if the tired old "welfare" attack strategy does any good this time around? - promoted by david

As discovered by Bernstein in August, the Republican Governors Association (RCA) PAC created a fake front group to hide their money in supporting Charlie Baker. The Commonwealth Future PAC that you have been seeing on television with Beth Lindstrom which tries to sound like a Massachusetts group is really a front for national Republicans, checking the OCPF today, 99.7% of the money came from the RGA. Massachusetts Super PAC disclosure bill recently signed by Deval Patrick required that the top 5 donors be disclosed, at the time the PAC only had one donor, so they rounded up 4 people donate 5k each to make a top 5 and you know the rest of the 6+ million is from the RGA. Check the Correspondence tab for the letter informing the PAC of Mass law, it’s pretty funny.

More recently, the RGA created a second front group called the American Comeback Comm Massachusetts Independent Expenditure PAC and you guessed it, it has nothing to do with Massachusetts. At this point the sole donation was from the RGA which was put towards mailers for Charlie Baker.

We’ve seen the attack ads, but if you are wondering what they define as a Support ad for Baker, they defined this one as Support:

This is an attack group.

So why are they hiding, setting up front organizations to hide their money, well if you didn’t know the RGA is mainly funded by the inner bowels of Republican sleaze, Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson as their top donors. Their 2014 election cycle top donors also include Harold Simmons of Contran Corp and Bob Perry of Perry Homes, if those names sound familiar they created the Swift Boat Vets.

If Charlie Baker wants to talk about issues facing the commonwealth, the real commonwealth, not his fake Massachusetts PAC groups, he needs to take control and either denounce the attack ads or own them. If he wants to stand with the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and the Swift boaters then own them and stop this charade. That’s not a governor we want or deserve.

Joke Revue: Markey To Try Submitting Rejected Bill To Canadian Parliament

Bumped, for glory. - promoted by Bob_Neer


Senator To Try Submitting Rejected Bill To Canadian Parliament






WASHINGTON—Disappointed after a bill he had been working on for years failed to advance through Congress, Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) informed reporters Tuesday that he had decided to submit his rejected legislation to the Canadian Parliament. “Obviously, it’s not my first-choice legislative body, but they’re still a pretty good group of lawmakers and I’d be proud to have them approve my resolution,” said Markey, who admitted that his bill would affect fewer people if passed in Ottawa, but “at least [he’d] be getting it out there.” “It’s a legitimate, respectable governmental branch, and I’d rather see this bill become law in Canada than have it just sit here, unenacted, in my desk drawer. To be honest, trying to get this thing onto the floor of the U.S. Senate probably wasn’t a very realistic goal in the first place.” At press time, sources reported the senator was trimming down several long provisions in the bill and giving it a splashier title in hopes that the Texas state legislature might vote it into law.

From the great NYC climate march:


Colorado School Board Votes to Ban Students

ARVADA, Colo. (The Borowitz Report) — A conservative school board in Arvada, Colorado, that earlier purged its history curriculum of materials it deemed unpatriotic has voted to ban students from its schools for espousing similarly objectionable views.

“At the end of the day, it would be the height of hypocrisy to ban unpatriotic books from our schools but allow unpatriotic students to attend them,” Harland Dorrinson, a spokesman for the school board, said. “This was a very easy call for us.”

Cheney: “No Fair” That Obama Gets to Bomb Syria

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—In a Thursday appearance on the Fox News Channel, former Vice-President Dick Cheney said that it was “no fair” that President Obama gets to bomb Syria.

“I’m envious as hell,” he told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “That was on my bucket list.”

Asked if he had any advice for the President on bombing Syria, Cheney said, “Just enjoy it. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

The former Vice-President struck a philosophical note at the conclusion of his interview with Hannity. “Look, I had a good run,” he said. “I got to bomb Afghanistan, and I got to do it to Iraq—twice. But to see someone finally get to bomb Syria and it’s not me? I’d be lying if I said that didn’t hurt like hell.”

Americans Who Have Not Read a Single Article About Syria Strongly Support Bombing It

WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Borowitz Report) — In a positive development for the U.S.-led campaign of air strikes in Syria, a new poll indicates strong, broad-based support for the mission among people who have yet to read a news article about Syria.

According to the poll, released on Tuesday, the bombing campaign got a thumbs-up from people who had no information about Syria’s civil war, including its duration, the parties involved, and what a Sunni is.

Daniel Kurtzman:

“President Obama is facing criticism over an incident yesterday where he was holding a cup of coffee in his hand, and then used that same hand to salute a Marine. Though with all that’s going on in the world, I’m surprised he didn’t salute with a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and a cigarette in the other.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Many of the leaders and assistants to the leaders from around the world were in attendance at the U.N. Climate Summit. They say this was arguably the most high-profile, significant meeting that will in no way change anything whatsoever.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“The White House has re-evaluated its security and today they announced they’ll start locking the front door. They’re also going to start asking who’s there when someone knocks.” –Conan O’Brien

“That’s right, Joe Biden referred to Asia as the ‘Orient,’ and also offended Jewish people. Which means he’s one “pull my finger” away from being my grandpa on Thanksgiving.” –Jimmy Fallon

MA Taskforce Report Tells Schoolkids: Inform, Conform, and Trust the Police

- promoted by Bob_Neer

Cross-posted at Digital Fourth

"La Cucaracha", August 26, 2013, by Lalo Alcaraz

“La Cucaracha”, August 26, 2013, by Lalo Alcaraz

Following on from the Sandy Hook school shooting, the “Massachusetts Task Force on School Safety and Security” released a report in July. As you’d expect from a report written with plenty of police input and none from the civil liberties community, it recommends changes that are highly intrusive, probably ineffective, definitely expensive, and likely to benefit police more than they benefit students.

Of course, that’s not how it’s being reported. Local papers, including my own Belmont Citizen-Herald, are portentously explaining how this is all “for the kids” and will “keep them safe” (I’d link to their exhaustive coverage, but it’s not up yet).

The most important thing to understand regarding school shootings is that school districts can’t prevent them. I wish they could, but they can’t. School shootings happen far too much in the US, largely because we spend too little on mental health services and allow, as a matter of constitutional principle, broad access to guns. School shootings also tend to happen more in rural and suburban districts where the schools are pretty much the only place that will grab the attention of the whole community.

Nothing school districts can do will change these things. However, in fear that they ought to be doing something, it’s very possible for school districts to misdirect funds better spent on education, and impose inappropriate systems of surveillance and control.

Let’s look anew, with a critical eye, at what the Patrick administration is suggesting.

The polling is all over the place

As you know, I’m generally a fan of polling.  I think it works pretty well, at least when done by experienced, non-partisan outfits, and as we get close enough to election day that the upcoming elections creep into the consciousness of the “average voter,” it does indeed supply a decent snapshot of where things stand.

That said, the current polling in Massachusetts is weirdly all over the place.  Consider the last two polls of the statewide races, conducted within a couple of days of each other.

WBUR/MassINC (502 likely voters, Sept. 16-21, MOE +/- 4.4%)
Governor: Coakley 46%, Baker 36% (C +10)
Casino repeal: No 51%, Yes 41% (No +10)

Globe/SocialSphere (400 likely voters, Sept 21-23, MOE +/- 4.9%)
Governor: Coakley 38%, Baker 40% (C -2)
Casino repeal: No 48%, Yes 44% (No +4)

A 12-point swing to Charlie Baker over the few days in which those two polls were taken, and in which not much of note happened in the Governor’s race?  I don’t think so.  Someone’s methodology, or likely voter screen, or something, is falling down on the job.  Or at least one of those polls is an outlier.

Regardless of which poll is “right,” of course, that doesn’t change your job.  Your job is to help your candidate win.  We’ve updated our Act Blue page so that you can easily help out financially – the button at the top left corner of the page will remain there through election day for your convenience.  Even better, of course, is for you to hit the streets for the candidate(s) and/or cause(s) of your choice.

They say this year could be a low turnout, relatively low interest election.  If that’s so, your ability to influence the results as a person who will vote, and who is in fact interested, will be that much greater.  Don’t waste the opportunity.

Charlie Baker Dismisses Female Reporter Calls Her Sweetheart

Not a good move on Baker's part. In the video, Sacchetti seems less than thrilled by the exchange. (David). UPDATE: Jessica Heslam slams Baker in the Herald: "Charlie Baker just can’t get it right when it comes to women." And Yvonne Abraham in the Globe: "Oh no, Charlie Baker, not again!" Maybe there will be enough "angry white guys" to elect this Republican, in the words of Lindsay Graham. Or maybe not. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Fox 25 Reporter Sharman Sacchetti had a follow up interview with Charlie Baker on the actions of the NFL on domestic violence. Baker initially was quoted when asked about whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should be fired:

If we fired everybody every time we got into one of these situations, I don’t know, I would like to see more data and more information

Well, with no additional data surfacing Charlie Baker did an about face and said Goodell should be fired a few days later after an uproar over his remarks. Sacchetti called Baker out and asked if this was politically motivated:

When FOX 25′s Political Reporter Sharman Sacchetti asked Baker at a “Women for Charlie Event” last week whether or not NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should be fired, he paused and said he needed more data.

For days the Coakley campaign hammered him and said she didn’t need more information. Then she used his comments to boost her record on domestic violence. Tuesday, days later, Baker does an about-face and Sacchetti asked him if it was politically convenient to say that Goodell should be fired at this point.

Sacchetti then inquires about Baker’s media shakeup and asks if this means that negative ads might be coming. Baker’s response?

“Okay this is going to be the last one, sweetheart.”

See full clip here

Just completely dismisses Sacchetti to the point where she needed to speak up and challenge him on his remarks. That’s never a situation that a professional should be in. But it tells a lot about Charlie Baker as a person.

The liberal case against expanding the bottle bill

A position is stated, and defended. - promoted by david

Back in the ’90s when the bottle bill expansion was being considered, I was all for it. However, my graying hair serves as a reminder this isn’t the ’90s anymore. As a staunch liberal, I find myself unable to support Question 2 on the November Massachusetts ballot. Here’s my reasons why:

1. Dated solution

The bottle bill was designed to create a recycling mechanism when no alternatives existed. Now many of us have single stream recycling or pay as you throw programs in the cities/towns where we live. I’m a Brookline resident. We’ve got single stream and I can’t remember the last time I saw someone redeeming cans or bottles at the supermarket. People just eat the 5 cents on their soda and beer containers because it’s easier to do it in their homes than carry containers back to the market. A big part of being liberal is embracing change.

2. Regressive tax

No way around this one. I can afford not to care about 5-10 cents on a container. It’s petty to charge me that money when I’m recycling anyway, but the money is small enough that I don’t feel a pinch. However, those at the bottom of the economic scale are going feel this in their pocketbook. I can rationalize the charge for soda and beer containers as being a bit of a sin tax, but for water or juice? That’s regressive any way you cut it.

3. Recycling disincentive

Lower wage earners and immigrant populations recycle the least, even when they live in places with single stream programs. Expanding the bottle bill would give the people who have to care about reclaiming that money one more reason not to use the municipal recycling program they already don’t use enough.

4. Health

The expanded version actually would make struggling families less likely to make healthy choices in their shopping. It costs more to drink real juice as opposed to sugar water. Even a lot of supposed juices are just sugar water with a splash of juice thrown in and they tend to be the less expensive ones. Anyway, adding cost to the sticker price of healthier choices is going to create fewer people making those healthier choices. That’s bad public policy.

5. Biodegradable containers

This is the one that really baffles me. Yes, we should be recycling beverage containers (including dairy and baby formula, which are excluded from the expansion). However, why aren’t we putting beverages in biodegradable containers? Seriously, any percentage of our plastic containers ending up in landfills or heading out to sea to form a floating garbage mini-continent is a bad percentage. The problem isn’t that we aren’t sufficiently leveraging our bureaucracy, it’s that we need to stop putting beverages in plastic containers. The liberal solution here shouldn’t be to nudge the recycling needle, it should be to meet the crisis head on.

In short, it’s a dated, regressive measure likely with negative unintended consequences and we really should be after much bigger megillahs. To me, it feels like this is an item from some old checklist we really should have updated.

Open, Accessible Government that Works for People

From your next Treasurer. Thanks for posting here! - promoted by david

Taxpayers expect elected officials to spend every dime of their money wisely, and they deserve nothing less. Disciplined, commonsense reforms of our budget and legislative processes will better inform policymakers and restore trust in the people they represent.

Creating widespread economic opportunity for Massachusetts families will require sound fiscal management. That means understanding in tangible, concrete terms the challenges we face today, the solutions we will need tomorrow, and the costs we will incur in the years ahead. Below is one of several proposals that I will introduce in the coming weeks as I explain my policy platform to voters across the Commonwealth.

Click here to read a PDF of the plan, “Open, Accessible Government that Works for People.”

-Establish a non-partisan legislative fiscal agency to analyze the state budget and new legislation that will affect spending.

-Develop multi-year budget forecasts to project revenue and spending ahead of the upcoming budget, encouraging policymakers to consider future financial challenges as they plan for the upcoming year.

-Require “clawback” provisions for any corporate tax break, establishing a detailed set of performance metrics tied to job creation and economic development.

-Bring state government up to speed with modern technology, using the Internet and social media to make state budget proposals user-friendly for citizens to view and understand.

First pro-casino TV ad hits the airwaves; doesn't mention casinos

Today’s Globe reports that the pro-casino, anti-repeal forces have released their first TV ad.  It is focused entirely on the economic benefits to the city of Springfield that a casino supposedly will provide, and per the Globe will run in both Boston and western MA TV markets.

Also of interest, though unsurprising, is the list of the top 5 contributors to the ballot committee opposing repeal (officially called “Coalition to Protect Mass Jobs”):

Massachusetts AFL-CIO, Painters Union District Council 35, Springfield Chamber of Commerce, MGM Resorts International, Penn National Gaming

Here it is.  Note the absence of the word “casino,” “gambling,” “gaming,” or anything else on what the issue in question 3 actually is.

Report from the People's Climate March

Awesome: I was among an estimated 310,000 final count 400,000 people in NYC yesterday, taking the streets to call attention to the ongoing catastrophe that is climate change, and to show power, numbers and commitment. That was one long line, stretching from 81st and Central Park West down to 34th and 11th, with a jaunt eastward to 6th between 59th and 42nd Streets. I am told that the folks at the front of the line finished the march at about the time that those of us at the back of the line even got started.



The energy was joyous; the crowd was diverse in age; and somewhat so in ethnicity. I was wearing a coat and tie and brought my “I’M A CLIMATE DAD” sign, both of which invited curious comment from other marchers. But this way, I met and talked to a number of folks: the young man with a gentle voice and hipster beard, with the sign saying “I’m walking for MY NIECE”; two veterans of the Climate Ride, wearing their bike shirts (man I want to do the NYC -> DC Ride someday – next year!); a young woman from western Alberta, who lamented how difficult it was to get people involved, even at the epicenter of the Keystone XL controversy; oh, and I got interviewed by an LA filmmaker, asking what I thought of all these Millennial youngsters. Too funny. Lesson: If you want to stand out at a protest rally, wear a suit.

I gather that this event has been mostly ignored by the TV network news, as if we needed more evidence how pathetic and useless they are. NPR gave the march and the UN climate meeting reasonably thorough treatment this morning. My cousin in Nebraska said she’d heard nothing of the march, to which I’m not surprised. Thank goodness for social media, I suppose.

But the march is not merely intended for the UN conferees, or the media. It’s for the marchers to see each other, to recognize that many individuals bear this weight on their consciences, and that we are there for each other. (This was the great revelation of lefty political blogging in the dark years of the mid-2000′s as well.) And indeed, climate has to be brought out of the shadows, out of its niche, as it were. It is a profoundly unsettling topic; I found myself agreeing with this HuffPo contributor that climate is a “conversation killer” that mostly makes people want to think about something else. I understand and empathize with that reaction, which I even get from some the most “enlightened”, progressive folks I know. In my self-consciousness I’ve suspected that talking about it gives one the air of an earnest, well-meaning eccentric, to whom one might smile indulgently and say, “Well of course it’s important, but the issue of the moment is really XYZ.” Hell, I don’t want to think about it either.

But merely that it doesn’t swallow us all at once, or that it doesn’t possess a malevolent human face with a nasty cruel mustache, does not mean that action is not pressing. The window of opportunity for us to stave off even greater catastrophe is vanishingly small, not just in geoscientific terms but in human political terms. To say it’s not urgent is like being content that only your first floor flooded, but the second floor is still dry; or that you can ignore your diabetes because you’ve still got one working kidney.

The march gives us something a bit more hopeful to talk about — itself. We hear not just the footsteps of the climate threat, but our own footsteps on the street. It sounded good.

PS: And now, #floodwallstreet is a thing:


Coverup on Charlie Baker and Chris Christie "Pay-to-Play" Investigation?

A nice little bit of business. - promoted by Bob_Neer

One thing we’ve learned from Charlie Baker and the Paul Loscocco fiasco of his last campaign is that he’s not afraid of backroom shenanigans.

Fortune magazine is reporting that New Jersey has quietly sold their investment in the General Catalyst Partners fund which was being investigated by New Jersey’s state Auditor.

The New Jersey Division of Investments has quietly sold its stake in a venture capital fund managed by General Catalyst Partners, following allegations of impropriety related to a political contribution from General Catalyst “executive-in-residence” and current Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker.

So why is this interesting?

It remains unclear if the sale negates public release of the auditor’s report.

Seems pretty convenient, huh?

But not to worry, Charlie Baker is all about transparency.

A spokeswoman for General Catalyst declined to comment, except to say that the firm has been cooperating with New Jersey. A NJ Treasury spokesman declined comment, while a Baker campaign spokesman has not yet returned a request for comment.

The NFL gained tax-exempt status as a nonprofit in 1944. They pay their CEO 44 mln ...

Is is absurd that the CEO of a non-profit can earn $44 million and the organization can be tax exempt. - promoted by Bob_Neer


The NFL gained tax-exempt status as a nonprofit in 1944. A designation in the tax code — 501(c)(6) — enables the league to function like a trade organization. The league office is not required to pay taxes but individual teams are.

Roger Goodell makes 44 mln a year . There is no way the NFL should have a non profit status. Coakley should be a leader and sue the NFL for the portion of taxes due to Mass.



Globe and Herald take different approach to reporting story of missing Afghan soldiers

As you may have heard, three officers from the Afghan army who were participating in training exercises at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod have not been seen since Saturday evening, when they were last known to be at a mall in Hyannis.  It’s not a trivial story, and it’s right for people to pay attention.

That said, I find the reporting at the Globe and Herald instructive.  Each paper reports the basic facts; each includes some facts that the other omits.  Let’s compare.  The facts omitted by the other paper are in bold.


The search continues this morning for three Afghan National Army soldiers who went missing from a training exercise at Joint Base Cape Cod.

Major Jan Mohammad Arash, Captain Mohammad Nasir Askarzada, and Captain Noorullah Aminyar were last seen at the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis on Saturday evening, according to Colonel James Sahady, a Massachusetts National Guard spokesman.

“I am told that they pose no immediate threat,” Sahady said by telephone Sunday night. “They are all senior-ranked soldiers that were allowed to come here.”

Sahady said this morning that the men all had valid visas and passports and were free to come and go from the base. Sahady said that further comment could be coming soon from US Central Command.


Three Afghanistan National Army officers were reported missing from an international military training exercise at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod after they disappeared without explanation.

Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, Capt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada and Capt. Noorullah Aminyar were all last seen at Cape Cod Mall on Saturday, the day they were reported missing, said Massachusetts National Guard Col. James Sahady.

“There is no indication that they pose any threat to the public,” Sahady said. In Afghanistan, shootings of American soldiers by rogue Afghan soldiers has been an ongoing problem. Last month, Maj. Gen. Harold Greene was killed by an Afghan soldier in an attack that wounded several other NATO and Afghan soldiers.

Just though that was worthy of note.  Certainly, we all hope that this episode ends without incident.