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Posts Tagged ‘drug cartel’



Starbuck vs. The Empress; Oligarchs On Wisconsin

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

There are any number of garden-variety, Beltway sages and seers ready and willing (if not able) to opine  on the 2012 presidential campaign — but  only Calbuzz offers prognostication on what concerns our readers most: the 2018 Democratic nomination race for  governor.

Sticking to their previous prognosis that a second-term Governor Gandalf will still be doing pull-ups at 80 (as well as their prediction that California Republicans by then will be scarcer than snowy plovers), our Department of Logarithmic Forecasting and Necromantic Foreboding confirms that the  intraparty gubernatorial brawl between Attorney General Kamala Harris and Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom will be the key race to watch that year.

“We can predict a Harris-Newsom contest with a 98.6% level of confidence,” said our public opinion research chief, Marc DiCassare. “We further forecast that the state deficit at that point will be $4.65 trillion.”

Today, Calbuzz presents the first in an occasional series of special reports updating the race between Lieutenant Starbuck and the Empress of River City. At a time when the electorate is  beginning to form its crucial first impression, we examine how they are introducing themselves to Californians, based mostly on a hard-hitting analysis of the constant stream of press releases churned out by their taxpayer-financed flacks.

January 18:

Harris: Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Settlement on Comcast- NBC Merger with Protections for Consumers, Competition and Innovation

“Settlement gives California authority to provide oversight on $30 billion telecommunications joint venture.”

Newsom:Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom Launches Statewide Discussion on California’s Higher Education System

“Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the launch of a statewide higher education listening tour and an online campaign that will engage Californians in a public dialogue, seeking their feedback and suggestions on issues relating to the state’s higher education system.”

February 2 – 3

Harris:Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Establishes California Foreclosure Relief Fund with $6.5 Million Settlement from Former Countrywide Financial Executives

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced a $6.5 million settlement of a predatory lending case against Angelo Mozilo and David Sambol, former officers of Countrywide Financial Corporation. Attorney General Harris announced the settlement money will be used to establish an innovative statewide California Foreclosure Crisis Relief Fund to combat the effects of California’s high rates of foreclosure and mortgage delinquency.”

Newsom:Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom Issues Statement on Lunar New Year

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom issued the following statement today regarding Lunar New Year:

‘To everyone across California and the world who is celebrating the arrival of the Lunar New Year today, Jennifer and I want to extend our best wishes for a prosperous and healthy Year of the Rabbit.’”

Feb. 14-16

Harris:Harris: Suspects Arrested in Murder-for-Hire Plot Commissioned by Mexican Drug Cartel

PALMDALE – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced the arrest today of three suspects in a foiled murder-for-hire plot commissioned by a Tijuana drug cartel.”

Newsom: Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom Sends Letter to Joint Legislative Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture in Support of the Marine Life Protection Act.”

February 21-22

Harris:Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Supports Port of Los Angeles Program to Reduce Air Pollution and Cancer Risk

LOS ANGELES – Seeking environmental justice for all Californians, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case in support of efforts by the Port of Los Angeles to reduce air pollution through its Clean Trucks program.”

Newsom: “Apple dish: A spy in Manhattan tells us he ran across Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom last weekend shopping for ties in the men’s department at the swank Bergdorf Goodman store.

Newsom’s office confirms the couple did take a “private trip” back East last week for the screening of Jennifer’s new documentary, “Miss Representation.” They also attended a showing of new designers at New York’s semiannual Fashion Week.” (h/t Matier and Ross).

Astute analysis: At this point, it’s not really a fair fight.

Not only does the AG have, you know, an actual job, but her public story is largely being told by the wily James A. Finefrock III, chief flack for the Department of Justice and a battle-hardened veteran of the throwback Chron-Ex War of Words; Starbuck’s pub shop meanwhile thinks it’s a cool idea to e-blast a press release wishing everyone Gung Hay Fat Choy.

(Calbuzz training tip for the young ‘uns:  carefully study this video of your guy’s famous interview with our old friend Hank Plante, then make Gavin start doing everything exactly the opposite).

Round 1 bottom line: Harris +4.

On Wisconsin: There are exactly two words to describe the sickening spectacle of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s vicious move against  public employees in the Cheesehead State: Union Busting.

Walker is one of the favorite, lickspittle running dogs of the Koch Brothers, the greedhead polluters and social Darwinists who are the most visible players in the ultra-rich, right-wing effort to make oligarchy the law of the land in the U.S.

Not content that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans have grabbed nearly 25% of its wealth, thanks to decades of tax cuts for the wealthy and increasingly profitable banks and global corporations, the Kochs and their cadre now aggressively blame middle class workers for the Wall Street-triggered recession and, in the process, are pushing to destroy the last vestiges of trade unionism and all that it implies, as Paul Krugman notes:

In principle, every American citizen has an equal say in our political process. In practice, of course, some of us are more equal than others. Billionaires can field armies of lobbyists; they can finance think tanks that put the desired spin on policy issues; they can funnel cash to politicians with sympathetic views (as the Koch brothers did in the case of Mr. Walker). On paper, we’re a one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, we’re more than a bit of an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate.

Given this reality, it’s important to have institutions that can act as counterweights to the power of big money. And unions are among the most important of these institutions.

You don’t have to love unions, you don’t have to believe that their policy positions are always right, to recognize that they’re among the few influential players in our political system representing the interests of middle- and working-class Americans, as opposed to the wealthy. Indeed, if America has become more oligarchic and less democratic over the last 30 years — which it has — that’s to an important extent due to the decline of private-sector unions.

And now Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to get rid of public-sector unions, too.

More recommended reading: Gene Robinson and Ezra Klein in the Washpost.

Polling footnote: Rasmussen’s at it again, loading up its polling to support the Republican position on the debate over collective bargaining by public employees. Best evidence from impartial and also from Democratic connected pollsters finds that about six in 10 voters in Wisconsin and throughout the country reject the drive to do away with this fundamental labor right.

Foxy Brown Probes Drugs, Michael Jackson Docs

Friday, August 28th, 2009

jerryfoxUpdate 4 p.m. Attorney General and wannabe governor Jerry Brown announced Friday that agents from his office will conduct “an independent investigation” of doctors involved in the LAPD’s ongoing probe of Michael Jackson’s death. With the county coroner having ruled Jackson’s death a homicide, Brown said members of the AG’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement would pursue leads in the case, most likely involving prescription drugs and anesthesia administered to Jackson shortly before his death.

It is the second high-profile criminal matter that Brown has stepped into in recent days.

Calbuzz pleads guilty. . . To writing about Jerry Brown way more as a candidate for governor than as California’s Attorney General.

But when we saw that Crusty the General’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, working with the Imperial County Narcotic Task Force, Imperial County District Attorney Otero, and Imperial County Sheriff Raymond Loera, had seized 550 pounds of cocaine and marijuana and indicted 16 people – “dealing a body blow to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel” – we had to take note.

Not so much of the bust – although that was pretty impressive. But of the groovy name of the joint investigation: “Operation Silver Fox.”

Calbuzz is not making this up. (BNE coined the name, we’re told.) This is what you might call perceptual synchronicity – a perfect harmonic convergence of moniker and monikee, of label and labeled. And it gave the Silver Fox himself a chance to brag.

“This notorious cartel smuggled massive quantities of cocaine and marijuana into Southern California, fueling addiction and violence across the nation,” Brown said. “Through a very dangerous and courageous undercover operation, the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and Imperial County Narcotic Task Force has dealt a body blow to this syndicate and seized hundreds of pounds of narcotics.”

According to Jerry’s press release:

“Initiated in January 2009, the investigation found that the Mexican cartel smuggled drugs into Southern California-often through the Calexico ports of entry using vehicles equipped with hidden compartments-and would subsequently distribute the drugs to buyers in cities throughout the United States and Canada.

“The 8-month investigation included more than 100 surveillance operations (carried out in Bell Gardens, Calexico, Colton, Fontana, Los Angeles, Ontario, Pacoima, Rialto, Riverside and San Diego), 30 undercover meetings and the execution of 6 search warrants. The operations resulted in the seizure of: 420 pounds of cocaine and 136 pound
s of marijuana, with a combined street value of more than $19 million; $1.7 million in U.S. currency; and 9 firearms, including 7 handguns and 2 assault rifles.”

They forgot to add:  “And, we got to give it a really cool name.”

stevepointing

It’s On: Accusing Meg Whitman of a “secret smear campaign,” Steve Poizner threw up a new, “myth-busting” web site Thursday, trying to counter a mash-up attack video, quietly shopped to the media by eMeg’s press secretary, that hits him on the issue of early release for felons.

The video, which is here, juxtaposes a clip of Poizner in 2004, when he was running for the Assembly, with audio tape from an interview he did this week with “John and Ken,” hosts of a conservative talk show in L.A. As a legislative candidate, Poizner said it’s reasonable for the state to grant early release to non-violent felons; as a candidate for governor, the Insurance Commish says that it’s a “terrible, terrible idea” and tries to make like John Wayne.

Whitman flack Sarah Pompei sent the video as an attachment to an (as yet) unidentified reporter on Wednesday. Below a subject line reading “Not for attribution” Pompei wrote “Here’s the video I was telling you about over the phone.” At which point the reporter appears to have forwarded it to Poizner flack Jarrod Agen; he smartly splashed Pompei’s email on Poizner’s new web site, under a big honking headline that reads “Meg’s Smear Campaign.”

“Attacks are fine but make them above board,” Agen told Calbuzz. “Whitman’s avoiding debates and interviews, then has this secret campaign going on, which she doesn’t want linked back to her.”

Pompei shrugged off the “secret smear” charge, noting in an email that “this is a very common practice in media relations,” then turned the attack back on Poizner: “Does our opponent really believe he can freely crisscross the state making statements that are completely at odds with his own record – and it wouldn’t be reported.?”

Armed with this set of facts, the Calbuzz Department of Justice and Janitorial Services issues this considered opinion:

1. The attack on Poizner over early release is totally legit, as were Pompei’s actions in pushing it out, but she loses major style points for getting busted on her email.

2. Agen did nice work in moving quickly in trying to make eMeg’s sneaky M.O. the issue instead of Poizner’s flip-flop on early release* but loses minor style points for hyperventilating rhetoric.

3. Props to both of them for not snitching out the reporter.

4. The abiding issue is that Her Megness is still ducking and hiding instead of coming out into the arena and playing the game. If she wants to accuse Poizner of being a flip-flopping weenie, fine, but have the stones to stand up and say it, instead of hiring Inspector Clouseau to plant the evidence.

*For the record, Poizner’s web site explains his change of position this way: “Since he first ran for the State Assembly in 2003, Steve Poizner has learned more about the serious problems facing California’s prisons, and believes that short-term fixes like the early release of inmates from state prisons cannot fundamentally solve our state’s corrections crisis.”

carlyglamourParis, Brit…and Carly? Back when she was, um, leading Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina briefly basked in the adoration of the nation’s business press, which dubbed her a “Celebrity CEO.” Now limbering up for a U.S. Senate run, Hurricane Carly, in a serendipitous turnabout, has hired on Strategic Perceptions Inc., the campaign media consultants who produced the famous “Celebrity” ad for John McCain in last year’s presidential race.

The McCain ad, which is here,  was produced by SPI chief Fred Davis, who performed a lovely work of political ju-jitsu, tagging Barack Obama as “the biggest celebrity in the world,” while juxtaposing images of his rock-star trip to Europe with those of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

Davis says on his web site that “the spot surpassed one million YouTube views in just 24 hours and instantly changed the national dialogue in that race.” And “The Battle for America 2008,” the terrific, newly published recap of the campaign pretty much affirms that analysis:

“The ad was mocked as petty, a diversion and the latest example of how far McCain had strayed from the kind of campaign he ran either years earlier,” write Washposters Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson. “And yet the commercial worked: It put McCain on offense and, despite the public’s apparent dismissal of the ad, threw the Obama team off its stride.”

Now that Carly the Celebrity is the client, it will be interesting to see what kind of Ju-Jitsu II move Davis devises to inoculate Fiorina against the same kind of charge he used to great effect against Obama. As they like to say over at Fortune magazine,  “flexibility is the key to survival.”

More on Hurricane Herself: The always readable Michael Hiltzik offers a full airing of the “I, Carly” issue in the By God L.A. Times, while a Central Coast Calbuzz correspondent repcalbuzzartorts that the excerpt of her new novel in Dr. H’s column the other day reminds him of the famous line from comic sci-fi writer Douglas Adams: “She looked cool and in charge, and if she could fool herself, she could fool anybody.”

Oh, can’t we open our presents now? As the countdown hits 24 hours, anticipation is building to fever pitch in advance of the big announcement of the Calbuzz New Deal.  See this space Saturday for full details.