Serial Sexual Harasser Sees Right-Wing Conspiracy
Hollywood big shot Harvey Weinstein took a hint from his good friend Hillary Clinton and blamed a vast right-wing conspiracy for a recent New York Times article detailing his long history as a serial sexual harasser. Hurt that his generous donations to Democratic politicians and payoffs to his victims weren't sufficient to suppress this information, the bloated movie mogul lamented that his reputation may have been "irretrievably damaged."
"The unfairness of it all just boggles my mind," Weinstein admitted. "Others have done far worse and come away smelling like a rose. Bill Clinton raped a woman and committed perjury, but is still admired enough to land half-million dollar speaking gigs. I never raped anyone. Why am I being singled out?"
A clue to Mr. Weinstein's anomalous fate may have been Hillary's offhand disparagement of his "measly $600,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation. Others have given much more. Harvey certainly had the means to give more. If he had I might not have suffered the injustice of being denied the presidency. Ironically, if I had won I could've pardoned Harvey and put this whole ugly episode behind us."
In a bid to placate the women he has offended and curry favor with the courts, Weinstein vowed to "channel my anger by driving the NRA out of business" and reminded everyone that he is "making a movie about Trump that is so damning that he will resign in disgrace." Whether either of these actions will deter lawyers in pursuit of monetary compensation for the aggrieved women Weinstein degraded seems doubtful.
In related news, Chelsea Clinton demanded that a court dismiss author Christopher Kimberley's plagiarism lawsuit against her. Kimberley alleges that a significant portion of her children's book She Persisted was based on content he shared with her publisher when he was attempting to sell his book idea. Clinton's lawyers asserted that "first, Kimberley's idea wasn't copyrighted. Second, our client's mother was the candidate that coined the phrase 'she persisted' during her recent unsuccessful run for the presidency. Third, the Clinton's are one of this country's foremost families. Their stature must supersede this little known writer's claim that his 2013 bid for a book deal entitles him to compensation. Fourth, even if his idea was stolen, the statute of limitations for this alleged crime ought to rule out any legal action at this late date."
Massacre in Vegas Spurs Gun Control Effort
Like clockwork, the murderous rampage in which a sniper shot more than 500 people, killing 58 of them, from a Las Vegas high-rise hotel last Sunday has inspired renewed calls for gun control legislation. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) called for "Republicans to join Democrats in order to pass legislation that will once-and-for-all disarm those who have no need for guns."
From what we know about the alleged shooter it seems unlikely that any gun legislation would be effective in deterring this type of crime. After all, murder is already illegal and carries the most severe penalties under existing laws. A person willing to violate the law against murder does not seem likely to be deterred by adding a weapons violation, especially when mass killers usually are killed in shootouts with law enforcement officers or commit suicide. Another inconvenient fact is that some of the places in the US with the strictest gun control laws and very low rates of National Rifle Association (NRA) membership have disproportionately high rates of gun violence.
Facts and logic did not dissuade Schumer from accusing the NRA with complicity in gun-related deaths. "The NRA has bought the votes of congressmen who oppose reining-in this evil organization," he argued. The Senator rebuffed "the right to bear arms" as "an obsolete concept. When the Second Amendment was adopted ordinary citizens needed firearms to hunt for food or to defend themselves when help was hours or days away. Well, everyone I know buys their food at a grocery store or restaurant. And with 911, help is only minutes away. The need for individuals to have personal arms just isn't there anymore."
Schumer hailed late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel as an example of how civilized people should behave. "He didn't go out and buy himself a bunch of guns," the Senator pointed out. "He just beefed up his armed security detail. Not only are the guns protecting Mr. Kimmel in the hands of trained professionals, he is also providing jobs for ex-military and retired police. I call that a win-win solution for America."
While Schumer expressed outrage that the NRA would provide campaign contributions to legislators who oppose gun control he seemed unperturbed by Planned Parenthood donating to legislators who oppose abortion. Since 1973—the year the US Supreme Court created a universal right to abortion—there have been 1.5 million gun-related deaths vs. 55 million abortion-related deaths. Some of the gun-related deaths were accidental. Some were suicide. But all of the children killed by abortion were intentional homicide. Statistically, the votes "bought" to oppose abortion have taken a far greater toll on human lives than any votes "bought" by the NRA.
IRS Gives Contract to Equifax
Despite a hack of its database that exposed the personal information of 145 million of its customers, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) granted a no-bid $7.5 million contract to Equifax. Under the terms of the contract the company will handle the personal information of millions of taxpayers.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) called the contract "bad on so many levels. What kind of fool trusts a firm that has just experienced a huge data breach to handle more of the same kind of data? On top of this, the 'no-bid' process evades procurement guidelines calling for competitive bids from multiple firms. This is designed to ensure fairness and value for the taxpayers' dollars. The no-bid option is only there for instances where there is only one possible source for providing the services requested. That clearly isn't the case here."
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) concurred with Grassley's concerns, "the IRS lacks the cybersecurity needed to safeguard taxpayer information that most private corporations have. I would think that the demonstrated breach suffered by Equifax would make them, at least for the time being, an unqualified bidder. This deal smells."
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen characterized the Senators' fears as "overwrought. Our mission at the IRS is to maximize the revenue extracted from taxpayers. While we'd naturally prefer that personal data be secured from hackers it is not essential to our mission to achieve that level of security. We may have 'bent' the rules a bit with the no-bid contract, but I'd like to point out that this saved the IRS the trouble of having to scrutinize a bevy of competing firms and freed up internal resources to make them available for scrutinizing right-wing political groups seeking nonprofit status."
Lawyer Says Dems Ordered Falsification of Records
Democratic National Committee IT aide Imran Awan has been indicted for bank fraud and is suspected of pilfering computer equipment and selling classified materials to the highest bidders. Aaron Page, one of his lawyers says that his Democratic congressional employers told him to falsify records in order to conceal how they were spending public funds.
The alleged falsification scheme entailed bogus invoices showing a expensive equipment incorrectly inventoried at under $500 in value, but with an attached "service plan" to compensate the vendor for the full cost of the item. Later these items frequently disappeared because items listed as under $500 in value are not as closely watched.
One of Awan's employers, Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), discovered that $120,000 worth of equipment went missing from her office. Rather then report a theft, her chief of staff quietly filed papers erasing any record of the equipment from the office inventory. Clarke dismissed the controversy as "a minor matter. The government is a trillion dollars in the red every year. The total debt is twenty trillion. In that context, the fate of a piddling 120 thou is inconsequential. What we should be focusing on is the racism that is denying Colin Kaepernick his rightful place in the National Football League."
Judge Bars Cooperation with Commission on Election Integrity
Judge Tim Sulak, a Democrat who serves on the 353rd District Court located in Travis County, Texas filed a restraining order blocking the Secretary of State from turning over voter registration information to President Donald Trump's Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Texas law requires the Secretary of State to release the information to any person or organization that fills out the form, pays the fee and signs an affidavit certifying that the information will not be used for commercial purposes.
In his ruling Sulak maintained that "the entire Trump Administration is nothing more that a gigantic marketing campaign to sell the deranged rantings of a megalomaniac as the legitimate policies of a duly elected government. This is obviously a commercial purpose. As such, I judge the affidavit as false and forbid the Secretary of State from cooperating in anyway with the Trump criminal conspiracy."
Interestingly, the State of Texas has 12 counties in which there are more registered voters than there are adults. The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) notes that Texas is not unique in this regard. Their research found 248 counties in 24 states with similarly odd disparities.
Sulak insisted that "odd disparities don't prove election fraud. Until fraud is proven I can see no legitimate grounds for permitting our state to participate in Trump's witch hunt."