Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Meet The Hand-Picked Garbage Pelosi And Hoyer Want To Turn The Democratic Party Over To


A case can be made that Joe Crowley is the most corrupt Democrat in Congress. Here at DWT we’ve been making that case for years. Pelosi and Hoyer were able to pull some strings for him when he was looking like a goner in front of the House Ethics Committee and do a prisoner exchange-- a whole pack of corrupt Republicans in return for Crowley.

Crowley is a Rahm-like bag man for the New Dems whose modus operandi is basically to go to corporate lobbyists and agree to get progressive legislation buried or watered down in return for the pay-offs that have led to inside-the-caucus political power for himself. I would describe him as a mini-Steny Hoyer without the charm. His lifetime ProgressivePunch crucial vote score is a mediocre 85.28 but it's his behind the scenes wheeling  and dealing that makes him such an odious character. In 1999 he was one of the movers and shakers on the Democratic side who backed ending Glass-Steagall for Wall Street. And, although that was one of the primary reasons for the collapse of the financial system and the ensuing catastrophe for the economy, Crowley hasn't blinked. The Finance Industry has rewarded him handsomely for selling out his Queens constituents in Woodside, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and College Point and the ones who live in neighborhoods in the East Bronx like Throggs Neck, Morris Park, Co-op City and Pelham Parkway, people who would never think of voting for a Republican-- but who, in effect-- get much of the same greed-and-selfishness agenda. Since he sold out his constituents in the debate over Glass-Steagall, the Finance Industry has funneled a hefty $6,238,679 (more than any other Democrat serving in the House) directly into his political career in the form of legalistic bribes. He's used that money to build up his own political power inside the Democratic Party, exactly what Wall Street wanted him to do with it.

In 2005 he was one of the reactionary paid-off Dems who voted with the Republicans for Bush’s anti-working family bankruptcy bill (written by Crowley’s lobbyist pals). Crowley, a Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, where he regularly undermines the interests of the 99%, is one of the few Democrats who was not subsequently defeated for reelection after crossing the aisle that day to vote with the GOP, with Wall Street and with the 1% against American working families. Instead he managed to worm his way into the House Leadership,m first as the Democrats' Chief Deputy Whip and a Vice-Chairman of the DCCC and now as the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus— and leader in waiting after Pelosi and Hoyer finally disappear.

The bill, whose purpose was to make it more difficult for consumers to file bankruptcy, was originated in the Senate and the lead sponsor was deranged Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley. It was co-sponsored by a gaggle of Republican corporate whores like Jim DeMint, Orrin Hatch, Jeff Sessions and David Vitter (who, during the debate, was talking on his cell phone with a high priced call girl about what color diapers he would be wearing that night) as well as by two of the sleaziest corporate Dems in the upper chamber, Ben Nelson and Tom Carper. The banksters spent millions in lobbying and bribes (campaign "contributions") and it was widely considered their greatest victory against the American people at the time.

Sleazy legislators like Crowley who supported it parroted the banksters' lies that passage would reduce losses to credit card companies, who would then pass on the savings in the form of lower interest rates. The first half was true; credit card company losses decreased. But the rates charged to customers not only didn't decrease, they increased while the insatiably greedy credit card company profits went through the roof, a cut of which was given to the corrupt Members of Congress (like Crowley).

Crowley was also on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and he was one of the 81 Democrats who voted to authorize Bush to attack Iraq. 126 Democrats (and 6 Republicans) voted against the unprovoked aggression, which turned out to be one of the worst and most costly foreign policy blinders in American history-- costly for the taxpayers, but very profitable for the arms industry, which, of course, has rewarded Crowley very nicely. With their biggest bucks reserved for Republicans, arms dealers have bestowed a tidy $213,939 on Crowley for his support of their business interests.

Crowley has never had a serious opponent for reelection and, in fact, he was selected congressman in a very sleazy backroom deal with his predecessor, Tom Manton, who announced his retirement after the filing deadline and then, as head of the Queens Democratic Party, handed Crowley, a former staffer and a crony, the Democratic nomination. Crowley doesn't live in Queens; he lives in Virginia with his family. He badly needs a primary from someone who does live in Queens (or the Bronx) and who is more than just a Democrat in name.

A few days ago the Village Voice ran a feature onCrowley’s rise to power, and about the progressive young Democrat finally challenging him in a primary battle. Ross Barkan:
In the summer of 1998, Tom Manton of Queens shocked the city’s insular political world by announcing his retirement from Congress. Manton, 65, had petitioned to get on the ballot and showed all signs of wanting to run for another term. Aging politicians in his shoes usually said publically, much earlier in the primary process, they weren’t running again and endorsed a favored successor. Even in machine-driven New York, this was how the game was played.

But Manton, the chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party, was a county leader par excellence. He wasn’t about to allow something like democracy to break out in his borough. By waiting so late to make his announcement, Manton ensured only one elected official could compete in the Democratic primary to replace him. Since petitions had already been circulated, a candidate needed to be picked by a committee within the Queens Democratic Party that, of course, Manton exercised absolute control over. The committee met secretly, not allowing other elected officials to submit their names for consideration.

By 11 o’clock on the morning of July 22nd, 36-year-old Joe Crowley, the newly-minted Democratic nominee, was on his way to Congress. Politicians in Queens were aghast.

“Had I known about the meeting, I would have put my name in,” a Queens city councilman named Walter McCaffrey complained to the New York Times. “Having been one of the people who helped elect Tom, and having been his chief of staff, it is a disappointment.”

Manton didn’t care. Crowley, then an assemblyman, was his protégé, and he would eventually hand over the Queens Democratic machine to a man he treated like a son. When Manton died of cancer in 2006, Crowley became county leader. Not content to just rule the roost in Queens, Crowley climbed his party’s ranks in Washington. Today, he is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the fourth-highest ranking position in the Democratic leadership. He is whispered about as one potential successor to Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader.

Before Crowley can get on with his ladder-climbing, he needs to do something somewhat unfamiliar: run a campaign. For the first time since at least 2004, he will be forced to compete in a primary in the overwhelmingly Democratic district spanning northern Queens and a chunk of the eastern Bronx. Since Republican victories are all but impossible, the primary is where the action is-- and where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 27-year-old former organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign, hopes to pull off her historic upset.

“What Joe Crowley represents is the floodgate between Wall Street and the United States government. He’s the clearing house, he takes millions and millions of dollars in funding from them,” Ocasio-Cortez told the Voice. “We see how he’s come to power locally-- it’s totally undemocratic, machine-run, dynastic. He’s trying to spread this same model on the federal level.”

Ocasio-Cortez, attacking Crowley from the left, is just one of about a dozen candidates running on the slate of Brand New Congress, a political action committee founded by former Sanders staffers to elect more progressive members of Congress. She is the only member of Brand New Congress running from New York. A resident of the Bronx neighborhood of Parkchester, Ocasio-Cortez organized Sanders’ campaign in the South Bronx-- Hillary Clinton, heavily favored in New York City, won the Bronx handily-- and started thinking seriously about running for Congress after Donald Trump’s election. She learned quickly that people usually didn’t even contemplate running against Crowley, let alone start an actual campaign.

“A lot of progressive groups are coming out of the woodwork. They’ve been trying to find a challenger to Crowley for years,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It’s literally political suicide for anyone with a semblance of a political career.”

While the Sanders wing of the party has derided much of the Democratic establishment as too beholden to the status quo, it’s hard to find a congressman more representative of that establishment than Crowley. The Blackstone Group is his second most prolific donor. Bank of America, Verizon, and Tishman Speyer, the powerful New York real estate developer, round out the top 20. He was an unflinching Hillary Clinton ally. Like many in his party, he supported the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. (His campaign argues that his donor list aligns with many other liberal Democrats, including Pelosi.)

Ocasio-Cortez’s platform-- built around campaign finance reform, renewable energy investment, and massive infrastructure spending amounting to a “new” New Deal-- is short on local specifics, something Crowley’s campaign is happy to point out. Crowley’s own record in D.C., for the most part, is that of a conventional Democrat. He was a loyal supporter of Barack Obama’s agenda, for example.

Lauren French, a spokeswoman for Crowley’s campaign, argued the Queens boss has proven his progressive bona fides. “Joe has been a top supporter of Democrats for years-- raising funds to boost Democrats into congressional seats, local office, and build state parties,” French said. “Joe has been instrumental in turning red seats blue, insuring there are more votes at all levels of government for immigrant and LGBT rights, affordable health care, Wall Street regulation, and creating better, high-paying jobs for all.”

Where Ocasio-Cortez and others can find much greater fault is in Crowley’s backyard, where his county machine keeps a tight grip on power and enriches his bosom buddies at the expense of everyone else. The day-to-day operations of the Queens party have remained in the hands of a trio of Crowley and Manton-aligned lawyers for three decades.

These men-- Gerard Sweeney, Michael Reich and Frank Bolz-- have a law firm that has earned millions in Surrogate’s Court, where the estates of people who die without wills are processed, and from representing banks foreclosing on people’s homes. The judicial system in Queens is effectively under Crowley’s control, since no one becomes a judge or receives a court appointment without staying in the county organization’s good graces. A scandal cloud now looms: Scott Kaufman, Crowley’s campaign treasurer, is facing a state probe for possible violations of court rules regarding lucrative appointments he received.

It was Sweeney, Reich and Bolz’s profiting off the foreclosure crisis that particularly galled Ocasio-Cortez, who lost her father to cancer at a young age. “My mom was running a single parent household,” she said. “She was cleaning homes, driving buses, and in the wake of the financial crisis and losing my father, we were on the brink of losing our home to foreclosure.”

Crowley’s spokeswoman didn’t offer any comment on the role Sweeney, Reich and Bolz have played, or the probe into Kaufman.

“Joe is proud of his tenure as chairman of the Queens Democratic Party,” she said. “He has worked hard to promote and expand diversity on the bench and within the party.”
Goal Thermometer About a month ago, Blue America started helping Alexandria Ocasio to raise campaign funds on a Blue America ActBlue page dedicated to the brave souls who take on the task of primarying entrenched corrupt Democratic incumbents like Crowley. It’s the only way we’re ever going to get rid of this crook and prevent him from poisoning whatever is left of the Democratic Party and making it completely synonymous with the corruption, careerism and greed that is at the center of his entire miserable career.

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At 6:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lose Crowley from the house and you get Crowley as next head of the DNC.
And wall street, war street and the rest of the big donors can easily find someone else. Can Blue America "primary" 190 of them including Pelose, hoyer, cliburn? How about in the senate? Can they primary 45 more?

Blue America would have an easier task to just split from the corruption and start funding Is in selected races, like Crowley's. The goal should be to form that 3rd party to represent the 99.9% and know that it'll be 12 years, minimum, for a foothold to be achieved with these nearly sub-sentient voters who can't think their way out of a room with open doors.

And maybe, just maybe voters will prove just too goddamn stupid to fix. But maybe, just maybe, they will surprise you. You'll never know until you try.

But if you never try, nothing will ever change.

At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Republicans formed in 1854, attained majority status in the Northern states by 1858, and won the Presidency in 1860. All without television, cell phones, or social media.

If it were to really take 12 years to form a viable party, then We the People would be better off emigrating to another land, because by 12 years from now there will be nothing left to save. "[T]hese nearly sub-sentient voters who can't think their way out of a room with open doors" would see to that like they have since Saint Ronnie promoted Foggy Bottom to a shining city on an inverted hill.

At 7:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:27, but you also validate my thesis.

1) no land will take that emigration, so moot point. Were this not true, I'd have already fled.
2) if there will be nothing left to save in 12 years, should we TRY to form up a viable left party, there will also be nothing left to save in 12 years (or less) as we vainly try to transform "our" hapless, feckless, corrupt right-wing party back into a viable left party.

So which will it be. Will we watch it atrophy into nothing as we faithfully march into the ovens or will we try to fix it and either succeed or fail?

Me? I say try.

Sadly, lefty americans are, at best, barely sentient. And the vast majority (you, dwt...) are still happy to keep marching into the ovens believing that the fire will go out before we get in.


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