Thursday, May 26, 2016

Steve Israel Dubs #DebtTrapDebbie Wasserman Schultz A "Drama Queen" With Problems Of Her Own Making


Many Democrats are pushing to dump Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the head of the DNC where she has been the author of so much potentially catastrophic party disunity. Hillary dead-enders-- primarily women-first senators like Barbara Mikulski and Kirsten Gillibrand-- have rushed to Wasserman Schultz's defense. Yesterday, the execrable Steve Israel also weighed in for her, telling Chad Pergram of Fox News that although Wasserman Schultz is a drama queen responsible for her own problems, it's a mistake to think of her as the issue when "Democratic division is the issue" and that the whole brouhaha is "the consummate Beltway brawl." Israel, who beat Wasserman Schultz out for the chairmanship of the DCCC, is rumored to have been forced to retire from Congress for his incubatory role in a campaign finance scheme that has already led to the father of Rep. Ami Bera pleading guilty to several felony counts.

But when Israel claims it's not pertinent to focus on Wasserman Schultz, he may be correct about her personality-- no matter how grating most people find it to be-- but wrong about her actions, which are at the heart of Democratic disunity. Just yesterday the dynamic investigative duo at The Intercept, Lee Fang and Zaid Jilani, showed how she has continued filtering lobbyists back into the heart of the Democratic Party. Keep in mind that when Gallup did a survey asking Americans to rate professions, they found found lobbyists one of the only groups lower down the totem pole of respect than congressmembers.
Gallup's annual update on the honesty and ethical standards of people in various professions finds a new entry ranking at the bottom of the list. For the first time, Gallup asked the public to rate the honesty and ethical standards of lobbyists, and only 5% describe their ethics as "very high" or "high." ... As is typically the case, politicians do not fare that well, but local officeholders (20%) are rated better than state officeholders (12%) and congressmen (9%). In fact, congressmen rank above only lobbyists, car salesmen, and advertising practitioners this year.
And when people think about just exactly who the sewer congressmembers are, few rank more repulsively than Wasserman Schultz. Fang and Jilani pointed to how she's working hard to integrate lobbyists back into the power positions in the Democratic Party, something the vast majority of Democrats adamantly oppose.
Three professional influence peddlers, including a registered corporate lobbyist, have been chosen by Hillary Clinton and Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., to serve on the committee responsible for drafting the party’s platform.

The 15-member panel has six members chosen by Clinton, five chosen by Bernie Sanders and four chosen by Wasserman Schultz.

Wendy Sherman and Carol Browner, two of the representatives chosen by Clinton, work at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a “government affairs” firm that was created in 2009 through a merger with Madeleine Albright’s consulting company and Stonebridge International, a defense contractor lobbying shop.

The website for the company touts its ability to win favors and influence with government officials throughout the world on behalf of corporate clients, from shaping regulatory standards in the U.S. for a European automotive business to engaging “with the highest levels of the Saudi government.” H.P. Goldfield, vice president at the firm, is a registered lobbyist for the Saudi Arabian government.

The Albright Stonebridge Group did not respond to a request to provide a client list. But recent reports reveal that the firm has been tapped in recent months to work for Elliott Management, the hedge fund run by billionaire Paul Singer, one of the most prolific donors to Republican Super PACs.

Sherman, who took a hiatus from her work at Albright Stonebridge to work at the State Department, filed an ethics disclosure in 2011 that revealed many of her former clients, including Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Dow Chemical, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Wasserman Schultz appointed Howard Berman, a former congressman who now works at Covington & Burling as a lobbyist. Disclosures show he currently represents the Motion Picture Association of America, the trade group for the movie industry, on “intellectual property issues in trade agreements, bilateral investment treaties, copyright, and related legislation.”

The picks stand in contrast to the slate chosen by the Bernie Sanders campaign, which included environmentalist Bill McKibben, philosopher Cornel West, and Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.

Meanwhile, Wasserman Schultz is under siege back in South Florida, where a progressive reformer, Tim Canova, is giving her the contest of her life in a primary scheduled for August 30. She's never had a serious challenge in all her years as a congressmember. But the local media has begun to turn on her and there have been a constant low of reports about her relationships to shady private prison and pay day lending businesses, as well as to Big Sugar and right-wing groups that are hell-bent on sabotaging normalization of relations with Cuba. Yesterday the Miami Herald reported that her opportunism may have led to her softening her "principled" opposition to medical marijuana, although there have been rumors all week that her old nemeses, wealthy marijuana activist John Morgan, bribed her into submission.
In 2014, she opposed Florida’s constitutional amendment to allow medical marijuana — a rare position for a South Florida Democrat — that led to a spat between her and wealthy trial lawyer John Morgan, who bankrolled the amendment. A similar measure will appear on the ballot in November.

In the past, as a Democrat in a safe liberal district, Wasserman Schultz faced no political repercussions at the ballot box for taking a position out of step with her constituents. But criticism about her stances carry more weight this year because she faces a well-funded Democratic challenger: Tim Canova, who supports medical marijuana.

That’s why her vote related to medical marijuana last week has drawn some attention.

On May 19, Wasserman Schultz joined all but five Democrats in voting in favor of an amendment to allow military veterans’ access to state medical marijuana programs, as first reported by A directive currently prohibits Veterans Administration doctors from filling out forms for state medical marijuana programs or discussing the use of medical marijuana with patients.

...In 2014, Wasserman Schultz voted against a similar congressional amendment. At the time, her spokesman said she wanted to wait for the results of a study approved by the federal government to look at marijuana’s potential effects on post-traumatic stress disorder.

But that study hasn’t even started yet. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies said it expects to start the study once it receives the medical marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, according to an article in Science Explorer posted on MAPS website. The organization plans to study the effects of smoking marijuana on 76 veterans with PTSD.

In a January interview with the New York Times she appeared to suggest that marijuana is a gateway drug:

“I don’t oppose the use of medical marijuana. I just don’t think we should legalize more mind-altering substances if we want to make it less likely that people travel down the path toward using drugs. We have had a resurgence of drug use instead of a decline. There is a huge heroin epidemic.”

Supporters of the 2016 amendment-- including Morgan, who is again spearheading it-- hope that a larger Democratic turnout during the presidential election year will lead to passage.

Morgan said he might invest dollars in an effort to oust Wasserman Schultz.

“I am exploring how to form a PAC to specifically inform her district about her record,” Morgan said.

Morgan’s feud with Wasserman Schultz over medical marijuana escalated when Politico reported in 2015 that Morgan said she offered to change her position if Morgan stopped bashing her-- which she denied in an interview with the Sun Sentinel
If you'd like to help Tim Canova get his message out so he can replace Wasserman Schultz in Congress please consider contributing to his grassroots campaign here:
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At 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernie's my biggest political hero currently. That is my only bonafide. I understand the corporate and neocon establishment background of Hillary to be clearly less desirable than Bernie's single-minded dedication to fairness and true democracy, including economic democracy. But regarding Carol Browner and Wendy Sherman, you're just tarring these two nominees of hers with abandon and out of frustration if not outright anger. These two nominees are not perfect, especially Sherman, but they've done important political work in the past in very non-corporate and non-neocon ways and that are politically progressive in nature. Like I said, nobody's perfect including these two, but don't risk letting your crucial credibility be strained by Hillary hatred. And "Clinton dead-enders"? Do you really believe she will lose? Or just concerned she might? Here are some wikipedia entries for Browner and Sherman.

From the Carol Browner wikipedia page:
-- In 1983, she moved to Washington, D.C. and worked as associate director for the national Citizen Action group, a grassroots lobbying organization that was active in environmental issues.[3][6]
-- From 1988 to 1991, Browner worked as legislative director for Senator Al Gore,[1] and became known as a Gore protégé.[13][14] She helped prepare amendments to the Clean Air Act[12] and managed Gore's legislative staff.[9]
-- Browner [as Florida's Secretary of Environmental Regulation] pushed for the halting of construction of new hazardous waste plants and municipal waste incinerators, on the grounds that health and environment consequences were insufficiently known.[13] She pleased environmentalists by persuading Chiles, who had become governor, to negotiate a settlement to a federal lawsuit regarding damage to Everglades National Park and forcing the Florida sugar industry to bear much of the $1 billion cost.
-- Browner [as Bill Clinton's EPA Director] When the Republican Party took control of Congress after the 1994 U.S. elections, took the lead for the Clinton administration in successfully fighting efforts by the Republicans, especially in the House of Representatives, to amend the Clean Water Act[25][26] and to roll back other environmental regulations.[27]
-- Also as Clinton's EPA Director [for 8 years]: Perhaps Browner's biggest triumph[14] came in 1997, when she convinced Clinton to support a stringent tightening of the Clean Air Act's National Ambient Air Quality Standards regarding permissible levels of the ground-level ozone that makes up smog and the fine airborne particulate matter that makes up soot.[36][37

From the Wendy Sherman wikipedia page:
-- Originally a social worker, Sherman began her career working to help battered women and the urban poor.[7] As part of the neighborhood movement, she worked as a social activist, alongside activists like Geno Baroni and Arthur Naparstek on problems related to low-income housing.[8]
-- Sherman was an EARLY president of Emily's List when it was choosing women candidates who were actually from the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, long BEFORE it became the thorn in the side to progressive candidates, which your readers understand all too well it has long since become.
-- Sherman was the LEAD NEGOTIATOR for President Barack Obama's nuclear treaty with IRAN directly under Obama. Here's the wiki quote: On September 21, 2011, she was appointed to the position of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton.[10] In this capacity, Sherman has led the US team during six negotiating rounds between Iran and six world powers about Tehran's nuclear program.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger VG said...


You should take this up with Fang and Jilani at The Intercept. Those are their words that Howie quoted. Both are excellent investigative reporters. You are missing the point by scolding Howie.


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