NC Election Investigations and the Yard Sale at the 18th Hole

[NB: Not Marcy if you check the byline. /~Rayne]

Earlier this week a friend pointed me to an article in a local Raleigh, North Carolina news site. I knew there had been an investigation into the 9th Congressional district because of election fraud; absentee ballots had been picked up, altered, and changed for the benefit of a Republican candidate.

But I didn’t realize there was federal investigation in the same state looking into fraud related to the 2016 election and earlier. The shared article noted the State Board of Elections had instructed 32 county elections boards to voting histories, signed poll books and redacted ballots. The scope of the investigation covers multiple election cycles. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina (EDNC) subpoenaed elections records in August 2018.

Apparently the EDNC initially requested a much broader range of voting records for the same period from these counties. Since August the state attorney general has pushed back against the EDNC on behalf of the State Board of Elections. The May 3 request represented a substantially pared down number of records — under 900 records across 32 counties.

The counties involved in this request include Wake County in which capital city Raleigh is located.

U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon, a Trump appointee, appears to be focused on votes by non-citizens.

Of course — let’s indulge white nationalist dark urges and chase rare voter fraud while real fraud at much larger scale nearly seated a Republican in the House.

~ ~ ~
The EDNC’s investigation isn’t related to one in the 9th Congressional District along North Carolina’s southern border. A Republican political operative, hired in 2016 by then-candidate Mark Harris, committed election fraud by collecting, altering, or destroying absentee ballots. After investigation by the State Board of Elections, operative Leslie McCrae Dowless was indicted by the state for obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, and possession of absentee ballots.

The State Board of Elections refused to certify the election’s outcome and has now rescheduled a primary election for next Tuesday, May 14. Depending on the outcome of the primary race, the final election may be September 5.

Mark Harris said he will not be a candidate.

Rather amusing now because Harris thought there was voter fraud on the Democrats’ part, according to emails produced during the investigation.

~ ~ ~
When I went poking around to compare the two investigations, another interesting investigation popped up in my search results for “wral federal investigation raleigh.”

Not a lot was published about the case of Leonid Teyf, arrested last year in a murder-for-hire case. This is odd given the fact Teyf is Russian and a business crony of Yevgeny Prigozhin. You’ll recall Prigozhin, often referred to as ‘Putin’s chef’, was indicted along with the Internet Research Agency for their role in interfering with the 2016 general election.

North Carolina’s local news, The Daily Beast, and Maddow, and the Wall Street Journal covered this case in December last year and January this year after the feds conducted a raid on one of the most expensive residential addresses in North Carolina.

Do read the Daily Beast piece — it’s the most detailed. Maddow outlines how Teyf’s case was used as a means to collect information on the federal investigative process and the Special Counsel’s Office. Based on a protective order issued this week, it looks like the court is concerned that information is still being passed on.

You can find the court filings at Courtlistener under United States v. Teyf (5:18-cr-00452).

What interested me — besides the fact Teyf bought a MASSIVE home on the 18th hole of the North Ridge Country Club in Raleigh — is the timing of events here in the U.S.

2010 — Teyf came to the U.S., moving his family to North Carolina. He continued to work in Russia and traveled back and forth between the two countries through 2013.

2011 — Teyf and associates began activities chargeable under 18 USC 1957 – Engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity

2012 — 16,865 square foot 8-bedroom French Country mansion built for Dean and Wendy Painter in 2000 was listed in April at $4,850,000; it sold for $4.2 million in September. The Painter family said the buyers were Russian though the paperwork showed the buyer was New Market LLC.

2014 — Residence was listed for sale at $7.8 million, a price well above original purchase price. The owner was still listed as New Market LLC; the realty firm representing the seller posted a listing on a website in Russian and Arabic.

201X — A quit claim deed was executed transferring ownership of the residence to Leonid and Tatyana Teyf.

2018 — Seal indictment was filed November 8 against Leonid and Tatyana Teyf and Aleksander Timofeev.

2018 — Residence was raided by FBI on December 5.

2018 — Indictment was unsealed on December 12.

If you read The Daily Beast’s article, you’ll note that the kickbacks skimmed off Russian Federation contracts to military vendors didn’t result in prosecution by Russia.

One can only infer that Teyf came here with the implicit blessing of Russian leadership.

And he came here the same year that the Illegals Program spies were booted out of the country.

Teyf’s been here with Prigozhin’s implicit blessing, too.

He bought a huge house with a bullet- and fireproof safe room, bought several millions in art, cars, furnishings — all of this from $150 million obtained through kickbacks.

Mind you, the feds must have been watching him since it was federal personnel he tried to pay to kill the Russian housekeeper’s son who he believed was having an affair with his wife Tatyana.

But how closely were the feds watching what Teyf was doing if he was able to open 70 banking accounts with millions of dollars over the course of a couple years’ time?

What might Teyf have been doing for Prigozhin in the U.S.? And why was he located in North Carolina?

And on a golf course of all places — in the biggest house on the 18th hole. Might even be visible from space.

~ ~ ~
It was kind of a long trip to get to this question: how many other Russians are there like Leonid Teyf in the U.S., going about their business in plain view of the American public?

One other thing bothers me about this situation. If you come across local TV news video or one of the local news outlet’s articles about the raid, you’ll see someone quoted who looks like the average Joe who lives in a nice neighborhood. This person makes remarks to the effect that the folks at 6510 New Market Way were down to earth, they were good folks, even went to their yard sale.

Leonid Teyf maintains he doesn’t speak English. It’s been a point of contention during the court case. How does average Joe know Teyf is down to earth and good folk?

Why does average Joe, in December 2018, not feel at all suspicious about a Russian who can’t speak any English living just down the street in one of the state’s most expensive houses?

 

This is an open thread.

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87 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    I have family under foot this evening. Bear with me if there’s a boo-boo in this and I don’t get to it right away.

    I should post the background story of that house pre-Teyf. So sad.

  2. Herringbone says:

    Teyf definitely sounds like a thug, and the whole thing stinks to high heaven. But to address your final question, North Carolina—especially the urban centers—is a lot more diverse than many places in the South, in the same vein as south Florida and Atlanta. When I worked in the Triangle at a pharmaceutical company, there were two Russians on the staff. The western part of the state has a large community of White Russians. This spring, in particular, there’s been a gaggle of women walking around the park where my son’s soccer team practices: they speak to each other in Russian. Two Russian kids actually play on my son’s team. Their parents are friendly (and working class—not at all like Teyf), but they aren’t exactly fluent in English, though the moms do speak it better than the dads.

    In the suburban boom towns of the Triangle, too (places like Durham, Apex, and Chapel Hill) there are tons of arrivistes spending huge sums on golf course property. My in-laws love to tell the story of someone they knew who was just hanging out in his yard when a stranger came by, asked him how much he wanted for his house, and, when told it wasn’t for sale, just kept adding millions to the offer until the owner would have been a fool not to take the money for their McMansion.

    Put the two together, and yes, I can see a neighbor finding it unremarkable that a friendly Russian gentleman was wealthy enough to own a home on a golf course, and that the neighbor’s interactions with the mom and kids might be enough to cement them in his estimation as Good People who spoke passable English.

    If the family had been black, of course, it might have been a different story.

  3. P J Evans says:

    Personal opinion is that Russians who move their entire family and do a lot of traveling back and forth like that are probably associated with the Russian government or the Russian mafia – that’s a really pricey lifestyle, even without the golf-course house.
    (It reminds me of the young men and women from various Middle eastern countries who came to the US (officially) to study, back in the 70s (they tended to do as little work as possible in their classes), and were pretty obviously well off: jewelry, clothing, cars, all said they had Money and Connections. Not all from KSA, either: some were from Jordan or from (at that time our ally) Iran. The one from Egypt was much more circumspect: jeans and sport shirts, no conspicuous jewelry, and showing up on time for exams.)

    • P J Evans says:

      That mansion is the only one on New Market that’s that close to the golf course. And if you can’t see it from space, you can sure see it from the air. (Two big wings going out around the pool, behind the central section with the main entry. And, yes, a view of the golf course, clearly intentional.)

  4. OldTulsaDude says:

    In “How Democracies Die”, authors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt write about the effect of replacing neutral “referees” (of democracy, i.e., judges, law enforcement, intelligence, tax, and regulatory bodies) with partisans. We are seeing an attempt now at accomplishing this, and it involves more than Individual-1; it is a coordinated effort by the entire right side of politics to tilt the playing field in their favor forever.

    • Hops says:

      Back in the 1850s, the slave states managed to pack the Supreme Court with their judges, which culminated in the Dred Scott decision that a slave remains a slave even if taken to free states. That was intolerable to the free labor in the North. And the war came.

  5. Jenny says:

    Thanks Rayne. Wow -this post brings back old memories.
    Years ago I was an informant for the FBI about a Russian journalist I met. This individual was not a journalist, he was a Russian agent. He was here with his family. Russians were assigned in the U.S. always with a family. Less issues than sending a single Russian man.
    Like Teyf, his personal life was messy. So the line in The Daily Beast stood out to me, “Unfortunately for Teyf, his rather messy personal life put the kibosh on his plans.”

  6. Diviz says:

    Thank you for this, Rayne! Ever since Marcy was on Mueller She Wrote last year and talked about this, I’ve been wondering where the Teyf case went.

  7. Virginia Holder says:

    I encountered Russians chattering in russian, 2 summer’s ago, at TJMaxx &Fresh Market grocery store in line,in front of me. After they paid,left the checkout, I asked the clerk how often do you get Russians through here? She said what Russians? I answered those that just left the store….”Oh I thought they were French”.
    So, they are almost invisible to locals. This is Greenville SC

    • scribe says:

      Write down that failure to distinguish Russian from French to the general level of ignorance Americans have, when it comes to foreign languages.

      Rules of Construction: 1. If it sounds like an argument, it’s most likely Russian, Ukrainian, Polish or something Slavic, in that order. If they really get into an argument, that’s how you get a “messy personal life”.

      2. If it sounds like the Godfather Part II, it’s almost certainly Italian. But, beware, it might be Rumanian, which (also a Romance language, BTW) sounds surprisingly like Italian. A couple years back I worked on a project were the women in the row across from me were conversing constantly. It sounded like a bunch of Italian ladies working on a collective project – at the risk of stereotyping, like they were a sewing circle or putting up tomato paste – but it turned out they were speaking in Rumanian (about something entirely different).

      3. If it sounds like some German villain from a WWII movie, it probably is German.

      4. It sounds like the Swedish Chef (from the Muppet Show) it probably is. I dated a Swede for several years and that sing-songy character is really the way they speak. If it sounds that way but has a layer of “morose”, it’s probably Norwegian.

      5. French sounds like French. Pepe le Peu isn’t far off, though maybe a little more cultured than that.

      Sometimes it’s hard to tell. But sometimes, despite his claim to the contrary, “Mike” at the dog park isn’t Irish at all, something given away by the way Russians tend to drop the definite article when speaking English.

      On the other point, most Americans will consider someone a good, quiet neighbor if they keep to themselves, maybe wave when they pass you in the street, keep their dogs and kids in their yard, don’t have loud parties all night (unless they invite you, which immunizes them) and don’t pry into your affairs. Every serial killer, it seems, winds up being characterized by at lease one neighbor as a quiet guy who kept to himself and neither disturbed nor bothered anyone.

      • Mainmata says:

        I worked in Romania for a couple of years in the early ’90s after the demise of Ceaucescu. Romania was once a part of the Roman Empire. So Romanian includes a of Latin derivatives and also Slavic elements.

      • P J Evans says:

        Middle Eastern languages can sound like arguments (and so can Chinese and Tagalog).

  8. Joel Fisher says:

    Most of this was on Obama’s watch so it’s hard to blame Trump. Besides, he has the perfect alibi: he was busy laundering money for the Russians down in Florida.

  9. NVG says:

    Typos???

    county county

    The shared article noted the State Board of Elections had instructed 32 county county elections boards

    and

    A search for your “wral federal investigation raleigh.” has only two hits, both EmptyWheel. Is “wral” correct? Is it an abbreviation?

    • bmaz says:

      You come here, and with your first comment, bitch about typos?

      Seriously? What, are you Funk And Wagnall’s Dictionary or something?

    • Rayne says:

      First typo fixed.

      “wral” is the call sign for a Raleigh TV station; it was a link from their coverage my friend shared and I wanted to see what other coverage they had of the same story. Of course I got more than I expected.

      Thanks for your patience.

      • Mgallopavo says:

        As a first post, I can’t resist expanding on a memory from life in Raleigh in the 1960’s. And it’s even somewhat on topic. So, for the historically minded…

        Jesse Helms leveraged his ascent and 30-year tenure in the US Senate via evening editorials at WRAL beginning in 1960. I personally recall midday broadcasts that took place right after a noon agriculture and such report that included feeder pig prices and Morehead City fish catch info. He was a political cartoon waiting to happen. And yet, he won the 1972 Senate contest against Nick Galifianakis, using Nixon coattails, but also in part by launching a veiled ‘not one of us’ smear of Galifianakis, whose parents were Greek immigrants. He became the first Republican Senator from NC in the 20th century. And the rest is race-baiting history. That said, I have heard many times that his office was particularly responsive to any constituent with a problem. Two sides of all politics is local.

        The WRAL website maintains its obit from 2008.

        https://www.wral.com/conservative-icon-jesse-helms-dead-at-86/1755723/

        And finally, there is this bit reflecting Jesse’s views of V Putin, suggesting he might not adopt a ‘good neighbor’ categorization for Teyf.

        https://www.wral.com/editorial-trump-putin-what-would-jesse-say-/17704747/

  10. Raven Eye says:

    I took a virtual stroll through the properties along the 18th hole on Wake County’s iMap application. I started with Briarpatch Lane because the irony would have been delicious. Alas, Briarpatch “Ts” into New Market Lane, which might have its own level of accuracy.

    I like it when structures like that are described as “single family”. Heated Area 16,867?

    • P J Evans says:

      I always wonder about the ones that are bigger than 3000 square feet – are they suitable for converting to apartments/condos/motels? (Some of the really fancy ones are bigger than 20K square feet. Who wants to live in a hotel with no services???)

      • Mooser says:

        I’ve always thought that many, many a McMansion, could be split at the plumbing core into a very comfortable duplex or triplex.

  11. K-spin says:

    I understand that what you’re saying is that the activity of this particular Russian is highly suspicious, but felt a little lost with the comments about readers seeing Russians /hearing Russian spoken in the community. Is it that uncommon that it’s a point of note? Is there a more general level of scrutiny about Russian immigrants than those from other countries?
    I’m not trying to ‘get at anything’ by asking – as an Australian, I am just trying to understand how US views of immigrant groups (Russians in this case) differ from what I see at home.

    • Bri2k says:

      In my U.S. city, there’s a long history of immigration from eastern Europe and Russia going back over a century so it wouldn’t faze me one bit. I grew up hearing all sorts of different languages as an everyday occurrence.

    • fpo says:

      “Is there a more general level of scrutiny about Russian immigrants than those from other countries?”

      No, I don’t think there is. Your average American in Anytown, USA would be hard pressed to even identify a Russian – as distinct from half a dozen other eastern European countries – on the basis of a conversation. And absent ‘extreme’ nationalistic views and/or personal biases, the average person appreciates the ‘America as melting pot’ concept. Younger generations have likely been raised in a more diverse community, and older generations either are, or may have parents who were, immigrants themselves. Offered with the caveat that in the current political climate, it may well appear that biases related to ethnicity, race, religion – etc. and so on – are everywhere and boiling over. We’re working on that.

    • Rayne says:

      Watch popular American TV shows some time — even snippets on YouTube — or watch our TV weather people. You’ll notice we have a ubiquitous middle American accent encouraged across the country. Some of this goes to our roots as a nation of immigrants who tried to blend in and become American. Australia is a nation of immigrants as well but you must admit the foundational waves of immigrants were English speakers and a fairly common Aussie accent arose from these roots.

      In more urban areas and locations with higher levels of education — like larger university towns — immigrants who retain their accents and native language will be more common here. But huge swaths of the US speak American. It’s not like Received Pronunciation in UK I’ll point out.

      With so much media coverage of the Russian interference in the 2016 election, it seems odd there isn’t a heightened awareness of Russians among us, even if most are here for purely innocent and innocuous reasons. It was problematic before 2010; at least one American academic interviewed about the Illegals Program spies couldn’t understand why one spy had a Russian accent but a Scottish last name (IIRC it was Scottish). Another neighbor couldn’t believe they were spies because one of the women had done such amazing things with the azaleas in their yard. ~smh~

      • P J Evans says:

        It’s not accent so much as grammar.
        (The people I worked with from the former Soviet Union were either Armenians or Muslims from outlying areas. I also knew people from Poland and Hungary.)

        • Mainmata says:

          I worked off and on during the ’90s in the Russian Far East. Aside from dropping the definite article when speaking English, Russians have distinctive accent that is noticeable different fro Eastern Europe (where I also worked). I have never had any difficulty recognizing spoken Russian but I also recognize that I have a very different work experience from most Americans.

      • Herringbone says:

        I’ll repeat: living next to a Russian in the Triangle area of North Carolina would seem unremarkable. And all these man-on-the-street responses are obviously going to be filtered for the human interest angle: I think “I had no idea” makes for a more relatable story than “sure, I’m suspicious of Russians, but who isn’t these days?”

        Plus, how many interviews of folks living next to a serial killer include people saying, “oh, yes, I knew he was a psycho, but I never bothered calling the police”?

        • P J Evans says:

          There was one guy where I worked, back in the late 80s, where we wouldn’t have been surprised if he had turned out to be a serial killer. (He was very strange, and his social skills were pretty close to non-existent. I understand much of it was on his parents.)

        • Rayne says:

          I heard you the first time. A Russian in the Durham NC area? Sure, if they are working for IBM or another tech company in the computing ecosystem. Not a guy who owns and runs a fishing fleet in Russia living in Raleigh.

          I’ve owned/own a home in a golf course adjacent neighborhood, been a member of their course clubs and neighborhood associations. Neighbors in the gated community knew who worked for which company/health care/research facility; they knew whose house went into foreclosure after the crash; knew whose kids went to which schools. The only thing to come out about the Teyfs is that they were down to earth (in spite of not speaking English) and they had a yard sale (which seems quite odd for a pricey neighborhood – they don’t permit them in mine).

          Seems utterly bizarre that nobody noticed the one guy who didn’t appear to play golf, didn’t speak English, didn’t work locally, who owned a house so big it rivaled the North Ridge Country Club’s club house.

          • Herringbone says:

            I think the central questions you raise about the Teyf case are good ones: how many more of these oligarch sleepers are out there? And given what we know about Russian organized crime and the counterintelligence aspects of the Mueller investigation, how could Teyf have flown under the radar for so long?

            I’m just quibbling with your side-point (in what is itself a side-point in an excellent post about the politicization of a federal voter fraud investigation) about the neighbors’ cluelessness.

            No, most people are not immediately suspicious of Russians qua Russians—even wealthy ones—regardless of what they do and don’t know about them. And even if some neighbors were suspicious, the ecosystem of local news would militate against them confessing those suspicions for the camera. I guess I just don’t see what’s wrong with that.

  12. Niels Jensen says:

    With a phased array of microphones hidden in a laptop bag you can eavesdrop at 100-200m range according to ampflab marketing. Placing microphones discretely around the face of that house it might be quite possible to cover the adjoining 500 by 500 m area of golf course. I suspect the feds would be on that by now, if they set him up in a sting.

    In general, even noisy places might be eavesdropped if the adversary can place an array of microphones.

  13. jaango says:

    One of these days, my fellow democrats are going to address voter suppression, as evidenced in a variety of state and local elections, and where “mandatory voting” with the one exception, that being ‘under medical care’, is appropriately addressed. Of course, this ‘mandatory voting’ schematic will be implemented the by largest cohort among progressives, that being Latinos and Native Americans.

    And if my fellow Democrats effectively addressed voter suppression, the GOP would have to rebrand itself as the National Independent Party, or the NIP’S. while nibbling at the Progressive Agenda.

    And whom among the Democratic candidates seeking the ‘nomination’ has Mandatory Voting much higher on America’s Agenda of Unmet Needs, given that the former and current Senators are not Progressive, as evidenced by the Latino’s “purity test” that being no Senate Progressive Caucus and the attendant Senate Progressive Caucus Foundation, charged with crafting the national agenda and the fundraising vehicle for the Progressive Perspective.

    • Rayne says:

      You’ve fallen into the trap. What have YOU done to eliminate voter suppression in your state? Do you know how the GOP has and is suppressing the vote in your neighborhood?

      I’m sick of people talking about Democrats as if they are a separate, external monolith when the truth is that people who vote consistently for Democratic candidates are themselves The Democrats. The problem is they think their role is done once they finish voting.

      We got into this mess because the most the average American will bother to do in terms of civic engagement is vote once every four years. Nearly half the public can’t be bothered to do that much. And those who identify as Democrats or Democratic voters never show up at local party meeting to find out how they can help with causes like eliminating voter suppression.

      Your “Latinx purity test” wouldn’t be a thing if more Latinx showed up and became part of the party. Occupy the party. That’s how Latinx end up with party chairs with last names like Perez.

      • Bri2k says:

        You reminded me that we’ve got a primary coming up in 10 days. I’ll be there with bells on. This one’s an opportunity to toss a sitting DA and put someone in there more attuned to the needs of those who aren’t so well off. Much obliged for this and a fantastic bit of sleuthing that I think makes a nice bookend to the golf course/money laundering series you’ve been working on.

      • jaango says:

        Rayne,

        I am still awaiting your appropriate question.

        Being fluent in the two domestic languages of Yaqui and Apache, I am also fluent in two foreign languages, that being Spanish and English. Consequently, I am prepared to ‘answer’ the non-begging question of “When does Spanish and English become a domestic language?:”

        And as a political activist, I, probably, have been an “activist” far longer than you have been alive. Hell, I have even managed a campaign for elective office, and yet, my ‘candidate’ much preferred drinking beer and singing out-of-tune songs on a broken down guitar, during my scheduled fundraising efforts. Needless to say but I will, he’s was a lousy singer and even worse campaigner. And I did this given that he was viewed as a fellow dedicated activist, and yet where none of my fellow activists would touch him with a ten foot pole. As such, he was viewed as another in a long line of “Trumpudos,” and where the Talking Stick was widely shared, but my candidate felt that he didn’t have to share. Think Donald Trump.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Ignoring which languages you claim to speak, yours is not an especially unusual background among commentators on this site.

          Management have their hands full operating and maintaining this site. They do it with admirable professionalism that is considerably above the norm. Combining that with an absence of advertisements makes this site virtually unique. That’s a delicate perch to hold on to.

          With that as background, I would venture that you can ask management all the questions you want. Demanding or expecting an answer to your specific question would be neither realistic nor neighborly.

  14. harpie says:

    Thanks, Rayne! I always learn a lot from from reading here at emptywheel!
    […even IF it usually gives me a bad case of agida…]

  15. fpo says:

    Lest you think the Dems have lost their collective way and all hope is lost, lend an ear to Stacey Abrams, speaking here on the (sorry) state of US foreign relations and the role of diversity in international affairs. Ms. Abrams, former candidate for Georgia Governor in 2018, gets it. And yeah, Georgians should be kicking themselves.

    [ https://www.c-span.org/video/?460602-1/stacey-abrams-speaks-council-foreign-relations ]

    C-span coverage of Council on Foreign Affairs, runs about 1hr.

    • harpie says:

      Abrams is amazing! After the election fiasco in Georgia, she did this:
      Abrams plans suit to seek cure to problems in Georgia’s voting process
      https://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/abrams-plans-suit-seek-cure-problems-georgia-voting-process/ehIFe2HDu4QIEhySpBDxNN/ Nov 17, 2018

      […] The goal of the suit, which is still being finalized, will be to lay bare the state’s voter registration and elections system and dissect why and how the issues occurred.
      Abrams said the lawsuit, which will fall under the umbrella of a new organization called Fair Fight Georgia, will look toward improving the state’s election system prior to municipal elections in 2019 and the 2020 presidential election. Fair Fight may also push for legislative changes at the Capitol, and Abrams said it will hold the state accountable for running elections fairly. […]
      “It is insufficient to say there is a problem and then exonerate yourself from having to do anything about it because you didn’t get the result you wanted,” she said. “My job since my parents raised me has been to see a problem, find a solution and then be responsible for the execution of that solution. And that is what I’ going to do.” […]

    • harpie says:

      Abrams delivered Dem response to SOTU this year:
      https://twitter.com/TeamPelosi/status/1092993357943578624
      7:48 PM – 5 Feb 2019

      Stacey Abrams: “Let’s be clear: voter suppression is real. From making it harder to register and stay on the rolls to moving and closing polling places to rejecting lawful ballots, we can no longer ignore these threats to democracy.” #SOTU

      This is how she responded to an article by Francis Fukuyama about “identity politics”:
      https://twitter.com/StanfordCDDRL/status/1092566288910606336
      3:31 PM – 4 Feb 2019

      “The marginalized did not create identity politics: their identities have been forced on them by dominant groups, and politics is the most effective method of revolt,” [link]

      • bmaz says:

        To both FPO and Harpie, Stacey Abrams is seriously great. And has quite a future ahead, wherever she decides to take it.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        I hoped she would run for the Senate seat from Georgia, but I have the feeling that there has been conversation with someone about her being a VP running mate.

        While she would be a huge asset on a ticket, I would rather see her burnish her own cv by spending some time in the Senate.

  16. jaango says:

    Today’s Democratic “base” is not of the progressive movement, and thusly, today’s Democratic, writ large is focused on is ‘globalism’ versus ‘nationalism.’ Consequently, white collar crime in today’s politics is widely representative and as toxic politics.

    And as a long-lived Democrat, long of tooth and grey of beard, I have and continue to ‘acdtive’ in Democratic circles. And yet, when I look at the now receding “educational platforms” on the internet, these non-paying jobs, will continue to demonstrate that the old-fashioned meme of the “Fourth Estate should be left to the Fourth Estate.” And that continues to pose a serious problem for the Latino Perspective.

  17. K-spin says:

    Apologies all, but my second ‘speaking as an australian’ serious question of the day: what is the actual basis for opposing compulsory voting in the US?
    Sure, many people here may feel frustrated by that responsibility from time to time, but we also have a sense that that responsibility works both ways
    i.e. if I (as a citizen) am obliged to vote, you (the governing body) are also obliged to provide me with the means to do so. Full stop.

    • P J Evans says:

      We have one party that seems to believe that only white people (preferably male and owning property) should be allowed to vote. They don’t like early voting, longer voting hours, or things like mail-in and absentee ballots, either. And they especially don’t like putting polling places where people who aren’t white (or are students or working during the day) can easily get to them.

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      The Republican party has a history starting in 1877 of disenfranchising black Americans in exchange for power.

      • P J Evans says:

        Though back then they were the good guys. (Before JFK, the Dems were the bad guys: in favor of segregation and Jim Crow.)

        • K-spin says:

          I hear what you’re saying, but aren’t these all reasons for legislating for compulsory voting?

          • bmaz says:

            Dunno about compulsory voting, but would certainly like to see automatic (or nearly so) registration and voting day a national holiday, with very liberal early and mail voting too.

            • P J Evans says:

              Oh yeah.
              And secure voting machines, where they’re used, with paper tracking and receipts, so the votes can be audited/recounted – though I’d rather see paper voting. (I’m used to “Ink-A-Dot”, which is easy to use, but not easy to tell what’s been voted for/against, if you don’t have a copy of the ballot for that precinct.)
              Permanent voting locations as schools/libraries/fire stations would also help – whichever one is in the precinct, if there are any of those. Empty storefronts could be used, too. Churches, if they have a room that’s accessible and large enough.

              • bmaz says:

                My precinct has optical scan machines. The ballot selections have two arrows pointing at each other with a gap >Candidate Whoever< and whichever one you want to vote for, you fill in the gap between the arrows. I know it is not perfect, but I have always trusted it, and still do. In the digital age, nothing is perfect. But at least there can be hard copy ballots, as we have in this precinct just in case. Seems like the least we can do. And, frankly, I usually do mine by vote by mail for maybe the last few elections. And the elections officials give you a way to confirm your vote was, indeed, counted.

        • OldTulsaDude says:

          Yes, especially the southern Democrats, who agreed to the 1877 compromise that installed Republican Rutherford as president in exchange for removal of federal troops from Louisiana and South Carolina.

    • Bri2k says:

      I was taught the reason we don’t have compulsory voting here in the U.S. is that not voting is also considered a right as it’s both a political/free speech issue. My understanding of the constitution is that we’re guaranteed basic rights but not compelled to use them. I hope that helps. I’ve had a fondness for Australians ever since my father spoke so highly about those he met during W.W. II.

  18. Hops says:

    Does anyone know how Congress would go about fining people for contempt? If they don’t want to arrest people, how do they enforce paying a fine? Given a GoFundMe campaign, people could even pay the fine and not care.

    • Bri2k says:

      Until others more knowledgeable chime in, I’ve been reading that Congress can collect those fines through salary garnishment and property liens. I don’t know if or when they’ve ever fined anyone for contempt. The only cases I’ve heard about were when they actually held someone (in a hotel room, not the fabled capitol “jail” that’s really an unused crypt).

      • bmaz says:

        Hi Bri2k, any chance you have links to where you saw that? I am not sure of the mechanism as to where such garnishment or liens would be viable, but don’t know. Would love to see the argument that it is viable. Thanks if you do!

        • Bri2k says:

          I thought Rachel Maddow had a guest that mentioned it and it was fodder for discussion over on Talking Points Memo. Apologies for not having a link handy. If I can remember which story yesterday on TPM had the discussion, I’ll post back.

        • Bri2k says:

          I did a little searching and it must’ve been Adam Schiff on Rachel Maddow Thursday night per the quote from this Reuters story:

          “Schiff talked about reviving inherent contempt and imposing fines on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC on Thursday. He said such a step by Congress “may be even quicker than the impeachment proceeding or the court proceeding.”

          link: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-congress-contempt/us-house-could-slap-25000-per-day-contempt-fines-on-trump-advisers-democrat-idUSKCN1SG23U

          I think anything beyond that is speculation as it’s never been done and they may need to pass an additional law to make it happen.

          • bmaz says:

            Ah, thank you! Interesting. It has been done before, but not since 1935 or so. And it is hard to see how it would work now. The only enforcement mechanism is through the House Sergeant at Arms, at least that I am aware of. Not sure how he is going to arrest cabinet members that have Secret Service protective details, much less fine them. These are exciting times though, who knows!

  19. Stew says:

    Phenotypically, Trump presents as normal
    But
    A bio-geneticist friend of mine has characterized him as ‘atypical Kleinfelter’s Syndrome’
    She cites his small hands and feet, gynecomastia, limited speech and reasoning abilities as
    evidence for her claim.
    Kleinfelter’s occurs randomly and only kayroytipic testing can confirm its presence.

  20. Tom says:

    Twice this morning on “Face the Nation”, Margaret Brennan let Kevin McCarthy get away with saying there was “no collusion and no obstruction” involving Trump, the Russians, and the Mueller investigation. But she did point out the inconsistency of the GOP in declaring “case closed” on the Russia investigation at the same time as they want Bill Barr to examine its origins–oranges?–(i.e., in the Deep State). Ms. Brennan also interviewed Robert Gates, who said that voters should consider the age factor in selecting a President. Speaking for himself, he said that at his age (75), he finds there is a loss of energy and a decline in intellectual acuity which, he thinks, would adversely affect a person’s ability to handle the responsibilities of the Presidency.

    • P J Evans says:

      I’m only 68, and I’m to the point where I want someone else to deal with the crap, because I’m tired of dealing with all of it myself. (I don’t know how people over the age of 90 manage.)

      • Tom says:

        I’ll turn 68 in July and I know EXACTLY what you mean. Time to take a relax and smell the coffee, roses, cow farts, or whatever.

  21. renfro says:

    Well, well,,,money laundering as spread from NY and LA real estate to Raleigh.
    NY just passed additional laws regarding responsibility of developers, agents, bankers etc .holding them responsible if they don’t do due diligence on large cash purchases

  22. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Holy sh!t, Rayne — look right here — minute 31:00 of Velshi and Ruhle, talking about Trump’s conversations as a form of market manipulation. Tweets are the icing on the dreck.

    The comments on your earlier thread about this general topic are closed, so please forgive my leaving this here.

    Worth watching.
    And hats off to Velshi and Ruhle for this segment. This topic seems like the kind of thing that Lawrence O’Donnell, former Senate Finance staffer, would relish sinking his teeth into. Here’s hoping…!

    I hope this topic gets a lot more discussion.

    • Rayne says:

      Sadly, I can’t open that YouTube link. There had been another mention during a different program about the potential for market manipulation; I wish I’d made note of it at the time but I was pretty busy.

      I don’t have much faith any regulatory body will look into this since they are all captured under Trump. I also don’t know whether existing laws and regulations offer adequate protections. Thanks for sharing, glad you caught it on MSNBC.

Comments are closed.