Twitter Updates for 2009-10-20

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Charlie Rangel to Puerto Rico: Wouldn’t it be a shame if something happened to your grandmother

Several weeks ago, the Washington Times reported that Puerto Rico has turned on the contributions also. What’s going on?
The answer is that Charlie Rangel is holding Puerto Rican grandmothers hostage (via Medicare payments) to protect his rum buddies.
First, let’s start with the Washington Times. There’s a lot of Puerto Rican money going into Rangel coffers:

Donors in Puerto Rico poured $36,600 into Mr. Rangel’s war chest, an amount surpassed only by the $138,400 from donors in his home state of New York.

In four of the five previous years, the Virgin Islands ranked in the top 10 sources for contributions to Mr. Rangel. Puerto Rico didn’t make the list in any of those years.

Contributions to Mr. Rangel from the Virgin Islands totaled more than $167,00 between 1999 and 2008. More than half of that – $84,800 – was given during the 2007-08 election cycle, just as the islands sealed the deal to relocate Captain Morgan and give the liquor company about $2.7 billion in tax credits and other subsidies over 30 years.

The Times notes that there are two bills, a bill that extends a system that gives Diageo and other rum companies more subsidy per unit rum than it takes to produce it (supported by the Virgin Islands), or one that ends the subsidy system (supported by Puerto Rico).
Sounds like a boring, good ole’ corporate smackdown, right? Wrong.
You see, there’s another issue in play. Puerto Rico gets much lower Medicare reimbursements than the rest of the country. Pushing this is a top priority. There have been promises that this would come as part of any health care reform bill.
So Charlie Rangel has opened up a new front on the Puerto Ricans. Or, really, on their grandmas. He has told several people now that if Puerto Rico doesn’t stop pushing for changes to the rum laws (that help his buddies), he will not address the Puerto Rican Medicare situation.
In other words, Charlie Rangel is holding Puerto Rican grandmas hostage for his rum-running buddies. An interesting inversion of the historical pattern.

Twitter Updates for 2009-10-16

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Guilty Plea in New Jersey Absentee Ballot Case

In three weeks, the people of New Jersey go to the polls to elect a new Governor, among other offices. A new poll out today shows that the race could be very close, and we could be headed for a recount. This is a clear case in which every vote will count.

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That’s why it is so interesting to note that yesterday Ronald Harris, a Democratic campaign worker from Atlantic City, plead guilty to “third-degree conspiracy to commit absentee ballot fraud,” according to New Jersey Newsroom. Looks like he’s talking too:

In pleading guilty, Harris admitted that he conspired with others involved in Small’s mayoral campaign to submit false documents related to the procurement, casting, or tabulation of messenger absentee ballots in the primary.

The indictment reads like directions for how to steal an election that comes down to one vote. For example, open up absentee ballots and destroy the ones that aren’t for your candidate. Again, from the NJ Newsroom:

They allegedly picked up sealed absentee ballots from voters, unsealed them and, if they were votes for mayoral candidates other than Small, destroyed them, thereby disenfranchising those voters. If they were votes for Small, they allegedly resealed them and submitted them as votes.

In a state as notoriously corrupt as New Jersey, what are the odds that every vote will be counted on election day? Not likely if Mr. Harris’s buddies are running get-out-the-vote for Jon Corzine …

Twitter Updates for 2009-10-13

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