Sunday, September 23, 2018

Which Legislators Visited Cranford and Noble's Luxury Accommodations?

By now it is well known that multiple state legislators received bribes and gifts for voting to give certain people access to Medicaid Expansion Money. Some of them have been indicted. Some convicted. But how could a handful of legislators pull of the theft of funds meant for poor sick people on the scale that went on in Arkansas? It seems like a lot more would have to be involved, at least on the fringes. Maybe a few sponsored the bills, and altered the appropriations, but many more had to be induced to vote right and not ask any pesky questions.

It turns out that the plea bargain of Kieth Noble states that the scam "charity" gave things of value to
"numerous" public officials in exchange for their official actions benefiting the "charity". And one of those things was "use of Charity's luxury/recreational real estate." Below is a pic from Noble's plea agreement....

I think the media covered the near-million dollar house Rusty Cranford had in Florida but did you know that the management firm which controlled this "non-profit" also had luxury real estate right here in Arkansas? Carroll County to be exact. Here is one of their places, now for sale...

Pretty fancy diggs. The price has been reduced to $950,000 so it won't last long! But the question I'd like answered, and I do hope that some real media in this state steps up and asks each legislator, is "what legislators have had use of this real estate for them or members of their family?" Might as well ask about the Florida place too, but my guess is that a lot of state legislators and/or their relatives have visited this Carroll County Address. I think we have a right to know who, and a real media would be anxious to go ask.

I can cross one name off the list for them right now. I asked State Senator Bryan King of Green Forest if he had ever been there. He said absolutely not and no one even told him about the place even though it was in the same county he lived in. He added this dynamite quote: "Medicaid entities have been backing up the brinks truck to DHS and have hauled off hundreds of millions of dollars . Legislators were on the take and others help protect their payoffs and bribes."

King was one of the honest ones so his fellow legislators must have not bothered to tell him about all the parties their were having there. Of course King won't be in the State Senate much longer because the Governor and the Republican establishment rallied round Bob Ballinger and ran King off- I think for asking too many probing questions about where state money was going. Which of you professional reporters want to ask Bob Ballinger if he has ever been there? What about the rest of them?

I think people have a right to know, before the election in less than two months, just how deep the rot runs. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Other Side of Fake News - Propping Up Asa Hutchinson

Not all "Fake News" is made up of baseless attacks against anyone who really wants to reform a deeply corrupt system. The other side of the "Fake News" coin is how the establishment media gives unrelenting positive coverage to establishment politicians and seldom or never sticks a microphone in their face and asks the hard questions.

It didn't used to be like this. There was a time the media hired cynics as reporters. The kind of people that would hound anyone. Some of them were just cantankerous people by nature, but that made for a good reporter if one expects the press to really be a "watch dog" of our Republic.

Well the "watch dogs" have been replaced by affable and uncritical "lap dogs" now, at least when it comes to coverage of safe establishment politicians. Andrew DeMillo is an excellent example of the new breed and the "coverage" they give. He's no "watch dog". He just wants to be friendly to his master and get fed- stories. He was almost a sycophant when he was covering Mike Beebe. Now he is doing the same for Gov. Asa Hutchinson. And this is the kind of "reporting'" his bosses, the people who run the paper, want or else he would not have been in this job for so long.

This is how Asa Hutchinson, and Tim Griffin and some others too for that matter, keeps a high approval rating. It's easy when the major media send to the masses a highly sanitized version of your performance that is only tenuously connected to reality. We are, according to DeMillo and the Demozette, ruled by paragons of virtue and wisdom, yet somehow the government which they administer has been infested with rot and corruption under their watch! They media's response to this truth is to double-down on cover-up mode and make great pains to separate them from the parts that have gone bad. There is no demand for accountability at the top, as an actual watch dog media would do.

As a specific example I would like to deconstruct this recent article from DeMillo on our beloved (by him) Governor.
"Arkansas may be the middle of Trump country, but the state’s GOP belongs to Asa Hutchinson"
Rah! Rah! Goooooo Team!

"It also shows how little intraparty fights on issues like health care, tax cuts and social issues have affected his popularity" 

Due to the huge volume of positive press coverage which guys like him give to guys like Hutchinson and Griffin et al. That is, they are making the news and then reporting what they themselves created as a spontaneous reaction of the population. This re-enforces the "reality" that they synthesized rather than reports something which would have been so absent their constant propaganda.

"But there are still obstacles that could complicate Hutchinson’s re-election bid.A number of ex-legislators have been implicated in corruption cases, and an ex-senator was convicted in a kickback scheme involving state funds. While Hutchinson hasn’t been a figure in any those cases, there’s always a risk of his suffering from broad attacks against state government in the upcoming campaign."

Aw gee Andrew, how do you write a paragraph like that without mentioning that the Governor's nephew was one of the legislators "implicated" in corruption, prompting his resignation from the State Senate? Or for that matter, there was an earlier paragraph which pointed out that Hutchinson won an "indirect" victory when Bob Ballinger defeated Hutchinson-critic Bryan King in a Republican Senate Primary. That paragraph understated the matter. Hutchinson and the establishment was "all in" on unseating King, who was asking too many hard questions about where the money went. Ballinger won the primary, but Hutchinson-backed Ballinger is one of those who have been tied to corruption cases, here and here, though so far without indictment. Hutchinson's former Chief of Staff was also implicated.

His paragraph was obviously written to distance Hutchinson from the corruption which blossomed all around him. That takes some very compliant acrobatics especially in the same article whose them is how the GOP in Arkansas is Hutchinson's party now! It's his party, but somehow he has no responsibility for the corruption that is oozing from it!

"He could also face questions about whether his top campaign promise — an $180 million tax cut for the state’s top earners — would come at the expense of other needs in the state. Hutchinson said he opposed one idea floated by lawmakers to raise the grocery tax after it faced backlash from Democrats and Republicans alike."

What really happened is that he ran for governor in 2006 on the promise of repealing the state's tax on groceries, but after getting elected in 2014 he did nothing, counting on the fact that the state's lap-dog media would provide him plenty of cover and never mention it again- DeMillo's article being a case in point. For another view of Hutchinson's position on the proposed increase in the grocery tax see this article from Conduit for Action. Their version is that Hutchinson was forced to finally come out against it when his primary opponent Jan Morgan kept calling him out on it. If you read that article it is amazing how much different it sounds that what was written above.

In conclusion, Fake News has two dimensions. One is the constant attempt to discredit any candidate or movement which could threaten the establishment and prevent the people who are feeding off the system to lose access to your money. The other dimension is the astounding effort to prop up men and women who will keep that system rolling smoothly until the last drop of life has been drained from the host. Hutchinson, and Griffin, are two examples.