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The ring around Scott Walker

I wonder if anyone’s going to make a deal and spill the beans on Walker:

Three individuals – including a former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker – were charged Thursday with felonies as part of the ongoing John Doe investigation into Walker staffers.

Tim Russell, a longtime Walker campaign and county staffer, was charged with two felonies and one misdemeanor count of embezzlement. One source said the charges are tied to Operation Freedom, an annual military appreciation day held at the zoo.

In 2010, Walker’s county administration had asked prosecutors to investigate what had happened to $11,000 raised in 2007 for the event.

Russell’s attorney, Michael Maistelman, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Also charged Thursday was Brian Pierick, Russell’s longtime partner and a staffer at the state Department of Public Instruction, and Kevin Kavanaugh, Walker’s appointee to the Milwaukee County Veteran Service Commission.

Kavanaugh is charged with five felonies for theft and fraudulent writings by a corporate officer. He was the treasurer of the Milwaukee Purple Heart chapter at the time of the dispute over the $11,000 for Operation Freedom.

Pierick, 48, was charged with two felony counts for child enticement. He is an office operations assistant at DPI dealing with education for homeless children and youth, according to the agency’s website.

Walker spokesman Chris Schrimpf had no immediate comment on the news but said the office would provide one later in the day.

“We’re still looking at it,” he said.

Russell, who was housing director for Walker at the county, is facing Class G and Class I felonies. A class G felony carries a fine of up to $25,000 and up to 10 years in prison or both. A class I felony carries a fine of up to $10,000 and up to three and a half years in prison or both.

In August 2010, authorities seized Russell’s county computer just weeks before the gubernatorial primary.

Told ya

Louis Freeh is a bagman for the establishment. He was hired to cover up, not investigate.

The last hurrah

If I still lived there, I would have gone to his wake – just to make sure he was dead. This GOP boss successfully kept democracy out of the county, and corruption in the drivers seat for a very long time.

“He was for people, not against people, and that is a model for all of us to live by,” O’Brien said. “We need leaders today who stand up for the little guy.”

Oh, the lies people tell about dead people…


Journalists have finally figured out what it would mean for internet privacy, and are speaking out.

We bring good things to life

Don’t be silly, everyone knows the housing crash was caused by brown people getting mortgages from Fannie and Freddie! Why would they try to pin blame on a nice multinational corp like GE?

For General Electric Co., hawking subprime mortgages was a long way from making light bulbs and jet engines.

That didn’t stop the industrial giant from jumping into the subprime business in 2004, lending blue-chip respectability to the market for risky home loans by paying roughly half a billion dollars to buy California-based WMC Mortgage Corp.

What GE got in the bargain, former WMC employees say, was a place where erstwhile shoe salesmen, ex-strippers and even a former porn actress could sign on as sales reps and make big money pushing home loans. WMC’s top salespeople earned a million dollars a year or more and lived fast, swigging $1,000 bottles of Cristal and wheeling around in $100,000 Ferraris and Bentleys.

In pursuit of these riches and perks, several ex-employees claim, many WMC sales staffers embraced fraud as a tool for pushing through loans that borrowers couldn’t afford.

Dave Riedel, a former compliance manager at WMC, says sales reps intent on putting up big numbers used falsified paperwork, bogus income documentation and other tricks to get loans approved and sold off to Wall Street investors.

One WMC official, Riedel claims, went so far as to declare: “Fraud pays.”

How well did GE address WMC’s fraud problems?

GE says it did plenty to deal with the issue. Some ex-employees counter that GE officials didn’t do enough to rein in illicit practices, despite warnings from Riedel and other whistleblowers inside the lender. GE dispatched emissaries to look into the problem, the ex-employees say, but their efforts were too little, too late.

“They sent in people we thought were going to bring us back in the right direction,” Victor Argueta, a former risk analyst at WMC, says. “But it just never happened.”

Everytime you go away

It was a snowy night and I sat in my car, listening to this. Back in 1985, I thought this song was the essence of heartbreak. Programmed drums, cheesy syn – how crappy could you get? Yet the timeless lyrics, written by Mr. Daryl Hall, have lingered on lo, these many years. Paul Young:

Death and Costco

From the Reformed Broker.

‘Stop Stop’


I just want to add that Mac McClelland is the Mother Jones reporter who did such amazing work on the Gulf oil spill, and she’s doing the same outstanding job with the Burmese rebels. Should be worth a listen!

8 pm eastern | 5 pm pacific |Virtually Speaking A-Z: This week in liberalism. | Stuart Zechman and Jay Ackroyd“Cognitive Dissonance and modern liberalism” . Follow @bobblespeak @Stuart_Zechman @JayAckroyd Listen live on BTR. Beginning midnight Friday, listen here.

9 pm eastern | 6 pm pacific |Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd |Jay talks with Mac McClelland about For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question an “intimate account of McClelland’s time among Burmese rebels.” Follow @MacMcClelland Listen live and later on BTR.


“My vagina is not a whiny little pussy.”

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