By Doug Porter
: a thick, slippery liquid
: a very bad, unpleasant, or dishonest person
(from Merriam Webster.com)
The word “slime” came to mind as I reviewed the day’s news media, so that’s my theme du jour.
Today’s stories include an amazing document submitted in the government’s campaign contribution case against José Susumo Azano Matsura, rock throwing TV ads via a man formerly known as Turd Blossom and the ultimate in concern trolling by a political consultant posing as a small businessman.
A story in UT-San Diego discloses the contents of a prosecutorial motion responding to demands for information by defense attorneys for the Mexican millionaire at the heart of an illegal campaign contributions scheme alleging a setup, likely at the behest of utility behemoth Sempra Energy.
The Feds build a convincing case in that document as to how Azano made it on to their radar, and the millionaire’s tussle with the energy company over a liquefied natural gas plant in Ensenada was just one piece of the puzzle.
What is revealed in the prosecutors’ arguments is an ongoing series of events leading to investigations by various government agencies dating back to 1996 in connection with drug smuggling, money laundering and threats. None of these investigations apparently resulted in a prosecutable case.
The current allegations against Azano say he was behind a scheme to secretly funnel about $600,000 to local election campaigns. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, former Mayor Bob Filner and Representative Juan Vargas have all been implicated but not charged in the investigation.
Here are few snippets from the UT-San Diego story:
Azano attracted the attention of U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigators in 1997, when agents received a tip that a person was living illegally in the United States. The investigation revealed that the person was using the same social security number, business address and bank accounts of Elizabeth Lugo Martinez, who was receiving mail at Azano’s address, court records state. A confidential informant also noted that Azano was responsible for smuggling in large loads of cocaine into the U.S., the records state, citing the homeland security report…
…Azano entered the picture again in 2011 when a squabble between an Ensenada landowner and Sempra Energy heated up over a liquefied natural gas plant. Azano had agreed to finance the landowner’s legal fight. Investigators said they were able to connect Azano to a so-called emissary of the landowner, who threatened a Sempra attorney with harm.
In 2012, attention turned to Azano’s financial activity, which various private banking institutions independently noted as unusual, the court filing states. A task force including homeland security, San Diego police and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service probed his finances, finding activity that appeared consistent with money laundering and evading taxes, the document says.
While the motion reveals much of the government’s knowledge about Azano, there are tantalizing omissions where prosecutors deny defense attorneys’ specific demands. Many of the instances involve promises that information will be disclosed as it becomes necessary. Other denials, like the one in response to a demand for information about US Attorney Laura Duffy’s recusal from the case, were deemed irrelevant.
Peters, DeMaio Agree: Turd Blossom’s Ads Are Bad
Well–as they say in the South–hush my puppies. Congressman Scott Peters and challenger Carl DeMaio agree on something.
Both candidates in the highly contentious and tight race for California’s 52nd congressional seat are condemning a national attack ad set to hit San Diego airwaves Tuesday.
The ad calls out Rep. Scott Peters and highlights his fiscal voting record.
Peters’ opponent, Carl DeMaio, says he is not behind it. DeMaio told Team 10 those behind the ad are what is wrong with American politics.
Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit organization with more than $100 million in anonymous funding has paid more than $700,000 for broadcast ads running through August 28th attacking Rep. Peters, saying he’s behind “Washington’s out of control spending.”
Crossroads GPS, a tax-exempt, 501(c)(4) arm of the Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads, is reserving $3.1 million of TV commercial airtime in five Democratic-held congressional districts. Each of the districts represent prime pickup opportunities for Republicans, who are tying to build on their 17-seat House majority.
DeMaio denied knowing about the ad buy, telling 10News “Not only did I not know about this ad, I wish these national groups on both sides would go away.”
Peters responded to the ad buy, telling the Times of San Diego:
“People like Karl Rove and Carl DeMaio stand on the sidelines and throw rocks and lay blame and fail to do the hard work of building consensus,” Peters said. “We’ve got too much of that in Washington, too much divisiveness. We need answers and that’s not what Karl Rove or Carl DeMaio are bringing.
Rove is known in Washington circles as a political hatchet-man.
Here’s the Wikipedia entry for Rove’s nickname:
“Turd Blossom” (or Sand Turd) is a Texan term for a flower which grows from a pile of cow dung. As Turd Blossom, the term has gained notoriety in the United States as a sobriquet that was reportedly assigned by former U.S. PresidentGeorge W. Bush as a term of endearment for his former chief political advisor, Karl Rove.
The Concern Troll Referendum Starts
Since I’m publishing definitions today, here’s one for concern troll, from the Urban Dictionary:
A person who posts on a blog thread, in the guise of “concern,” to disrupt dialogue or undermine morale by pointing out that posters and/or the site may be getting themselves in trouble, usually with an authority or power. They point out problems that don’t really exist. The intent is to derail, stifle, control, the dialogue. It is viewed as insincere and condescending.
Concern trolling describes a political technique and is at the heart of the campaign being run by political operative Jason Roe to suspend the City Council ordinance raising the minimum wage and providing earned sick days for San Diego workers.
Here’s the story, framed just as Roe would like, as put forth by KUSI-TV
… The six Democrat members of the City Council decided to raise the minimum wage by city ordinance rather than going to the voters, claiming 63% of San Diegans support it.
“If that’s the case, why don’t they want to see this put on the ballot?” Queried Jason Roe of the Small Business Coalition.
If that’s the case, why bother having a City Council? Why not just let Chamber CEO Jerry Sanders and UT-San Diego publisher Doug Manchester rule by decree?
Oh, and listen to the “concern” of Roe and his imaginary Small Business Coalition about gathering signatures:
What worries the Business Coalition is a repeat of the harassing and bullying of voters at signature gathering locations in the past.
“We will be watching closely,” continued Roe. “We will make sure to get videos and photos of this harassment; I don’t need to convince anyone that it occurs because we’ve seen it before – this tactic that they’ve employed.”
Funny, what I remember about past signature efforts were the documented lies told by paid signature gatherers employed by the very same company being used in this campaign.
From the Reader:
The Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association’s petition drive to overturn the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update was steeped in lies and false representations, ruled Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp at today’s court hearing…
…In her judgement, Trapp found that the association purposely provided false information to signature gatherers, claiming the Navy would leave San Diego in addition to 46,000 jobs and $14 billion dollars, if the community plan was approved. This despite passionate pleas from attorney for the Environmental Health Coalition, Marco Gonzalez.
“The court agrees that 50,000 voters were duped into signing something,” Gonzalez told the judge, before asking that she order the city to wait until November to put it on the ballot, after all the details could be fleshed out.
Unfortunately the judge also ruled that the standard for disqualifying a signature gathering campaign was so high as to prevent her from negating the measure for the June elections.
So it is true that Raise Up San Diego will be shadowing Roe’s minions. They hope to persuade voters not to sign. But let’s be clear about who’s got the past history here.
On This Day: 1939 – The National Bowling Association was founded in Detroit. It was the first bowling association in the U.S. for African-Americans. 1977 – Voyager 2 was launched by the United States. The spacecraft was carrying a 12 inch copper phonograph record containing greetings in dozens of languages, samples of music and sounds of nature. 1986 – Deranged relief postal service carrier Patrick “Crazy Pat” Henry Sherrill shot and killed 14 coworkers, and wounds another six, before killing himself at an Edmond, Okla., postal facility. Supervisors had ignored warning signs of Sherrill’s instability, investigators later found; the shootings came a day after he had been reprimanded for poor work. The incident inspired the objectionable term “going postal”
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