Showed Them the Money

by baldilocks

We always knew this.

When President Barack Obama was reelected in 2012, a Saudi tycoon and his business associate sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to the U.S. to help pay for the inaugural celebration and get a picture with the president, according to court documents and an analysis of campaign finance records by The Associated Press.

U.S. election law prohibits foreign nationals from making those sorts of political contributions. But the donations Sheikh Mohammed Al Rahbani tried to send to Obama’s inaugural committee were funneled through a seasoned straw donor, the records and the AP analysis show.

That intermediary, Imaad Zuberi, agreed this month to plead guilty to making illegal campaign contributions to several American political candidates on behalf of foreign nationals. He is also set to plead guilty to concealing his work as a foreign agent as he lobbied high-level U.S. government officials.

The prosecution by the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles is the latest in a string of cases that highlight the prevalence of banned foreign money in American politics and the often lax approach campaigns take in vetting contributions.

Zuberi, a jet-setting fundraiser and venture capitalist, has raised millions of dollars for Democrats and Republicans alike over the years. Prosecutors say he has worked on behalf of several foreigners, not just Rahbani. (…)

Zuberi’s case raises questions about the degree to which political committees vet donors. One campaign, not identified by name, accepted donations made in the name of one of Zuberi’s dead relatives, prosecutors said. Another political committee took donations from a person Zuberi invented.

Zuberi has been a big fundraiser for candidates of both parties, including candidate Donald Trump.

There’s a lot of funny money going around. I keep trying not to covet.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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The First Amendment under attack

The First Amendment should undergo significant changes, including jail time for hate speech and false news reports.

These findings come from a recent poll and analysis by the Campaign for Free Speech. See https://www.campaignforfreespeech.org/free-speech-under-dire-threat-polling-finds/

The organization found that 51% of Americans think the First Amendment is outdated and should be rewritten. 

The poll found that 48% believe “hate speech” should be illegal. (“Hate speech” is not defined but left up to the individual participant.) Of those, about half think the punishment for “hate speech” should include possible jail time, while the rest think it should just be a ticket and a fine. More millennials and Gen-Xers think hate speech should be made illegal—as do women, blacks, and Hispanics. The various regions in the United States think roughly the same.

The fundamental problem with regulating hate speech is who defines it? The courts have generally shied away from restricting hate speech because of that issue. The most important U.S. Supreme Court case that could be applied is Chaplinksy v. New Hampshire, a 1942 decision in which the court put forth the “fighting words” restriction on speech.

Chaplinsky was arrested for provocative statements made in the town square. While being transported to the local police station, he called the town marshal “a damned fascist and a racketeer.”

Justice Frank Murphy defined fighting words: “There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting, or ‘fighting’ words, those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality.”

But some legal scholars think the lower courts have defined fighting words in an inconsistent way, while others think the decision remains a threat to free speech.

Whatever the case, an arrest for using fighting words is a rarity. One happened a few years ago here in Philly when a local teacher got in a cop’s face and threatened him and his family.

An estimated 57% think that the government should be able to take action against newspapers and TV stations that publish content that is biased, inflammatory, or false. Only 35% disagree with the statement, with the rest undecided. Men and women poll about the same—as do various sections of the country. The only slight difference is that millennials rise to a level of 61%.

Surprisingly, in my view, the poll found that many think the government should impose jail time for those who publish fake news. A total of 56% said that journalists should only face a fine, but the other 46% said that actual jail time should be imposed on the offenders.

The implications of the poll seem obvious, but the ramifications not so much.

The poll does underline the antipathy of the public toward the media, and it comes from all age groups, geographic regions, income brackets, and races.

The media would be well served if they did not ignore the bitterness toward news organizations from just about every group.

Scarborough Booed, Allahpundit notes, Surber Waits, China Extracts and Jordan & the PLO Come Clean Under the Fedora

I have to give Joe Scarborough a lot of credit for taking a stance that is not popular with his new found friends on the World Series Booing Business:

Remember Joe wants Trump to lose in 2020 but’s he’s intellectually consistent here, and as a Baseball fan he knows it’s bad for the game.


Allahpundit made two good points concerning this story as well

The overlap between MAGA Nation and the sort of people who can afford a ticket to a World Series game in Washington D.C. is small… …virtually all Nats fans are lobbyists, journalists, lawyers, or politicians/staffers, he should treat their contempt as a badge of honor.

Or as Mollie Hemmingway put it:

Of course the media will spin it differently but what else is new?


Don Surber has officially announced that despite my suggestion after Sunday’s booing was rewarded by a Houston blowout he is not yet willing to put the Washington Nationals on the list. As he put it:

Until they’re destroyed, no Trumpenfreude.

That’s actually very fair. This is in fact baseball and as the last three games demonstrated the game isn’t over till that final out. Washington is a good team with an excellent pitching staff and a third baseman who is the closest thing to Brooks Robinson I’ve seen in decades. Furthermore Verlander who is pitching tonight is in my opinion a first ballot Hall of Fame quality pitcher he is vulnerable to the long ball and the Nationals certainly have the bats to exploit it.

Of course Houston is no slouch in the pitching department and has an even better offense than Washington. The Yankees would have been a better matchup for the Nats but as I said it’s not over yet. Interesting fact, if the Nats pull it off it will be the 1st seven game World Series in baseball where the home team didn’t win a single game.


It takes little bravery to boo Donald Trump and apparently too much for anyone in the NBA other than Shaq to boo China but unlike Trump there are actual great reasons to boo China, Here is another one:

Having hepatitis C may very well have saved Jennifer Zeng’s life.
In February 2000, she was arrested for being a Falun Gong practitioner and interrogated intensely about her medical history at a Labor Camp in 
China’s Da Xing County, she said. Zeng’s blood was drawn and she told them she had hepatitis C before she took up the spiritual practice.

“Twelve days later, my (cellmate) died as a result of forced feeding,” Zeng told Fox News. “Having hepatitis C might have unqualified me as an organ donor.”
It’s the stuff of nightmares. And it has been buried from public view, hard to prove, and shrouded beneath the cloak of silence for almost two decades.
But anecdotes and evidence are slowly bubbling to the surface that the organs of members of marginalized groups detained in Chinese prisons and labor camps are unwillingly harvested. Most affected is a spiritual minority, the Falun Gong, who have been persecuted for adhering to a Buddhist-centric religious philosophy grounded in meditation and compassion.

This is what people who are actually Hitler do, but to point this out would shatter too many narratives.


Finally there was something that took place last week which was narrative shattering that I meant to write about but didn’t get a chance. It concerned the narrative of Israel as an oppressive state whose neighbors only want to live in peace with the Jews. Well not really with…

The President of the Jordanian Bar Association, Mazen Irshaidat, confirmed that there is no land registered in the Land Department with the names of Jews in the areas of Baqoura and Ghamir.

These are the areas on the border with Israel that Jordan leased out to Israel for 25 years in the peace treaty. There have apparently been rumors that Jews had bought lands in those areas.

Irshaidat told the Jordan 24 site that it is unacceptable to have lands owned by the Zionists or Jews in that area, and he confirmed that he could not find any Jewish names in the list of landowners in those areas.

Remember Jordan is a state that is not only considered moderate but has made peace with Israel. yet they felt the need to assure their citizens that no Jew owns land there. Why it’s almost as if the narratives like the Palestinian desire for a two state solution…

Two states, he says, was merely a concession to the international community, but it is not a Palestinian desire. The entire land is solely theirs, and Jews have no rights there.

This is not usually said in English. Usually in English the Palestinians claim they want to live in peace with Israel. But now they are officially admitting that they never even wanted that; their real desire (as polls have shown) is to have a single Arab state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, and the two state idea was merely a stage towards that end.

…is just a myth.

Does anyone note the irony that this statement made in English at a public forum by the PLO’s UN rep was made in the city of Berlin?