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By Dayne Sherman

Special to LouisianaVoice 

Louisiana is Ground Zero for political scandals. From U.S. Rep. Bill Jefferson’s “cold cash” saga to U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy’s unanswered allegations of payroll fraud at LSU, the state knows how to lead the country in at least one statistic: corruption.

One writer devised his own method of ranking states by corruption and guess who was number one?

Here’s a hint: http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/ranking-the-states-from-most-to-least-corrupt/

Even our new House Whip, Steve Scalise, who describes himself as “David Duke without the baggage,” has become an international disgrace for speaking to a neo-Nazi group 12 years ago while he was a state representative.

A quote attributed to Pericles 2400 years ago is still true: “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” Indeed, these political scandals are at the expense of Louisiana citizens. They matter. We pay the price for wayward politicians and their blinding ambition. This lust for power is equal only to their lust for “other things,” as Sen. David Vitter seems to be chief among sinners.

On Jan. 9, Louisiana House Speaker Chuck Kleckley came out like Clint Eastwood in a western flick, standing up tall to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s latest plan to cut $370 million from Louisiana higher education. He says he won’t back the budget plan. But let’s be clear-minded. Kleckley is Jindal’s paramour. He has done and will continue to do whatever the governor tells him to do or he’ll lose his speakership.

This is all political theater, a cruel PR scheme to help Kleckley win election as State Treasurer. Recall, Louisiana higher education has been cut by over $700 million since Jindal took office, the deepest cuts of any state in the country. Other states are investing in colleges and universities post-recession, and we are not.

Kleckley’s recently found courage when the state faces a $300 million deficit this year and 1.4 billion next fiscal year starting July 1, is a fake news story. Jindal’s conservative principles haven’t worked. On the contrary, they’ve been a disaster aided and abetted by lapdogs in the Legislature. Make no mistake, the greatest hypocrite among them is Kleckley.

The bayou budgetary apocalypse is coming. Get ready.

At the same time, President Obama has announced a truly bold new plan to give all Americans two years of free community college. Clearly, the best news of 2015.

Upon hearing this great news, a number of Louisiana’s college and university “leaders” (They’re paid to be leaders but are mostly sycophants in leisure suits.) began to question the details. Why aren’t they excited? Don’t educators want nothing more than to educate? Don’t they need students? Well, their master Jindal is against everything good—or bad—that Obama wants. The “leaders” answer to Jindal. These rascals served as cheerleaders for Jindal’s foolish WISE Fund, a mere pittance, but they became skeptics over the real deal.

How will we fund a community college education for all Americans? I’d say having ended two wars, one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan, will do it. We can save trillions by staying out of endless international conflicts. No need to raise taxes. Let’s just stop blowing up other countries and then rebuilding them on the taxpayers’ dime.

I believe nothing could be better for America and the world than investing in Americans. Jindal has shown through $700 million in cuts to Louisiana higher education, and another $370 million before he’s through, that he doesn’t believe investing in our state is good for his long-term political career.

Obama, on the other hand, believes investing in Americans is good for the country. Fortunately, Jindal will never be able to bring to the nation the disasters he’s brought to Louisiana. He’ll never be President.

[Dayne Sherman’s new novel is Zion. Signed first editions available from the author. His political blog is www.TalkAboutTheSouth.com.]

 

 

shoe_daily012215[1]

JINDAL’S CAMPAIGN (Thanks to Gary Brookins and Susie MacNelly, creators of SHOE):

Any effectiveness in bringing stories to our readers can be attributed not to any dogged pursuit of truth by LouisianaVoice (We are, after all, old and basically lazy), but to our readers who continue to feed valuable tips and documents to us.

One such example followed our publication of the Thursday story about the creation of the super PAC Believe Again on behalf of Gov. Bobby Jindal in an attempt to raise campaign cash for his efforts to secure the Republican nomination for president by former U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston, Chairman, and Treasurer Rolfe McCollister. McCollister is Baton Rouge’s defender of freedom of the press (Irony, folks: remember McCollister, the CEO of Louisiana Business, publisher of the Baton Rouge Business Report, was part of the LSU Board of Supervisors that fought efforts to gain access to the list of candidates for LSU president).

One of our sharp-eyed readers noticed that we also ran a copy of a Jindal tweet about another of his organizations, www.standuptowashington.com and took it upon himself to try and see who owned the web domain (“not that we don’t already know,” he added).

The domain name itself, he said, was purchased through a company called Domains by Proxy,” a service that allows purchasers to obtain domains anonymously. “All information is hidden, so I pinged the domain and got the address: 50.56.48.143,” our reader said.

Now, of course, we have no clue what those numbers mean, but apparently he did.

“After that, I ran a search to see what other sites might be neighboring that one on the web server, and it turns out there are 62 domain names sharing that IP (internet provider) address.”

Our reader provided a list of the 62 domain names and we attempted to call each of the addresses and found that many were just purchased and held but no actual web page ever created (a common practice for those attempting to secure all similar-sounding names either in hopes of selling them or to protect a like-sounding web page they intend to use).

Besides the blank pages, we found a few that appeared to be legitimate and addressing such topics as health care, tax reform and one belonging to Warner Cable.

But we also found one belonging to OnMessage, the Virginia political consulting firm that has received more than $5 million in consulting fees from Jindal since 2007 and for which Jindal’s former campaign manager and chief of staff now works.

Also on the list was www.americanext.org, which is one of several non-profits created by Jindal to suck up donor contributions.

Several web page addresses were registered in the name of Florida Gov. Rick Scott for whom three of Jindal’s former campaign workers and former appointees now work. Known as the “Louisiana Mafia” in Florida, Melissa Sellers and husband and wife Frank and Meghan Collins figured in the rift over the Florida state police commissioner’s refusal to provide transportation in state vehicles for Scott campaign workers.

Only three of the 10 domain addresses owned by Scott were functional. Two were English and Spanish versions of the same page thanking Florida voters for returning Scott to office last fall. The other was simply www.letsgettowork.net.

Another was one belonging to unsuccessful U.S. Senate candidate Shane Osborne in which he thanked Nebraska voters who supported his failed candidacy.

One web address quickly became the subject of speculation. The web address www.believeinlouisiana.com is a “527” non-profit political organization launched by Jindal on Jan. 18, 2008, only days after he was inaugurated for his first term.

LouisianaVoice has published an extensive list of contributors to Believe in Louisiana who combined to pour more than $2.4 million into the organization, which reported spending $2.2 million, much of that to Teepell and OnMessage. http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/527/fresh-start-louisiana.asp

McCollister and David Roberts of Prairieville were listed by Louisiana Secretary corporate records as directors and its agent was David Woolridge, Jr., of the Baton Rouge law firm Roedel, Parsons, Koch, Blache, Balhoff & McCollister. Records reflect that the last annual report filed was in 2014 and that the organization is no longer in good standing.

Its web page pretty much reflected the same thing. Unlike times past when it was easily accessible, when we clicked on the web address this time, we got only a blank page.

Its fund balance, if it actually had one (the contributions and expenditures we cited were a couple of years old), were probably shifted into either www.standuptowashington.com or Jindal’s newest fund-raising ploy, www.believeagain.com.

One thing is abundantly evident (or should we say “absolutely”?) is the same tired old names keep bobbing to the surface every time Jindal floats a new .com.

But the presence of Livingston is a curious one. Jindal once worked for Livingston when the latter was in Congress. That was before Livingston was tabbed as the next House Speaker, only to resign in the wake of revelations he’d had an extra-marital affair even as the House was bringing impeachment charges against President Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Livingston has moved on to form an influential lobbying office in Washington, so it’s somewhat perplexing as to why he would become involved in a campaign that had gotten “absolutely” no traction.

Meanwhile, back in Baton Rouge, the state’s financial condition continues to spiral out of control. Jindal is in town only to attend his prayer meeting at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on the LSU campus tomorrow and then he’ll be off again, probably back to Iowa to court his tiny cadre of supporters.

As Jindal turns his attention more and more to the GOP president nomination, higher education is facing cuts of up to $370 million and on Thursday, we learned that the Department of Health and Hospitals may undergo mid-year cuts of $700 million.

It will be very interesting to see what positive spin Jindal will try to put on that turn of events. No doubt, he’ll attempt to take credit for reducing the size of government and cutting unnecessary expenses—all while chasing the Islamic hordes out of Europe.

 

“The governor is the top law enforcement official in this state. He is the only one that can order this assist with the state police to come down here. And we need it. We need it very badly.”

—Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, commenting Wednesday on the irony of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s call to arms against Islamic “terrorists” in so-called “no-go” zones in England and France when he is not allowing state police to assist local authorities in fighting what Cannizzaro called “urban terrorists” in New Orleans. A recent survey ranked Louisiana’s violent crime rate as the worst in the nation.

There is a company called 24/7 Wall St. which publishes more than 30 articles per day, many of them about economic trends such as automobile models or long established stores that won’t be around much longer, or even the most and least popular beers in America.

The company is not an investment advisor despite the presence of “Wall St.” in its name and its editors do not own securities in companies that they write about. When other writers do have positions in companies, that fact is disclosed in their articles.

Another regular feature of 24/7 Wall St. is its regular rankings of states in everything from obesity to poverty rates to educational achievement to employment to median income.

Invariably, Louisiana finds itself at or near the bottom in these rankings, often held out of the worst ranking by neighboring Mississippi.

A couple of recent surveys released by 24/7 Wall St. were on the worst run states in America,, the most violent states, states with the best and worst schools and on states where the middle class is dying. A sampling of the rankings that include Louisiana:

  • 6th worst run state in America: With the nations’ 4th largest budget deficit and the 17th highest debt per capita ($4,045), the 8th lowest median household income ($42,944) and the 3rd highest percentage of its citizens living below the poverty line (19.9 percent), there wasn’t much room for our political leaders to brag. Still, that did not seem to stop Gov. Bobby Jindal from trying to put a positive spin on the state economic condition.
  • The most violent state in the U.S.: Finally, a survey that ranks Louisiana as number 1—but alas, it’s the wrong list. Despite having the highest incarceration rate per 100,000 population (867) in a nation with the highest incarceration in the world (686—giving Louisiana the dubious distinction of having the highest incarceration rate in the world), Our murder rate, 11.2 killings per 100,000 population is worst in the country and violent crime rate exclusive of murder of 537.8 per 100,000 population is 8th most in the nation even though we have the highest number of police officers per 100,000 (542.8). The total cost of violent crime in Louisiana is nearly $10 billion, or about 40 percent of the state budget. On Wednesday, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, Jr., was critical of Jindal’s histrionics about the so-call “no-go” zones in England and France where non-Muslims are said to be afraid to enter. Cannizzaro said the fact that law enforcement officials in England and France refrain from entering certain Islamic neighborhoods in favor of letting “the residents police their own” is not so different from the situation in New Orleans. He said Jindal, instead of trying to curry favor among supporters with his anti-Islamic rhetoric, should give consideration to staying in Louisiana and addressing Louisiana’s “urban terrorists.”

http://www.wafb.com/story/27905246/orleans-da-blasts-jindal-says-urban-terrorists-in-his-own-backyard

  • 8th worst school system in America: Despite having the 19th highest per-pupil spending in the nation ($12,375), Louisiana has the 5th lowest high school graduation rate (72 percent versus the national rate of 81 percent) and the second lowest percentage (20.8 percent) of 8th graders proficient in math or reading. The report said that 11th and 12th grade students in Louisiana were among the least likely to excel on Advance Placement tests. These factors combined to give Louisiana a state score of 68.5 percent, or an overall grade of D+.
  • 6th worst middle income growth (-4.9 percent, as in a negative growth): The shrinkage of Louisiana’s middle class was surpassed only by Washington State (-5.0 percent), Rhode Island (-5.6 percent), Maine (-5.8 percent), Vermont (-5.0 percent), and California (-6.9 percent). The reason you don’t see Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee on this list is because the income disparity was not as great. Louisiana uncharacteristically (for a poor state) somehow made the list as the gap between the very rich and the middle class continued to widen.

Despite this plethora of negatives, we have a governor who has gone from gallivanting all over the nation spreading misrepresentations about all his wonderful accomplishments as governor to taking his message abroad and spewing hysterical rhetoric on topics about which he is woefully unqualified to speak.

The reason for his chronic absenteeism from the job for which he was elected—governor of Louisiana? He harbors a desperate, obsessive desire to be president, to do to the nation what he has done to Louisiana for the past seven years. To that end, he either is delusional, an insufferable egomaniac, or he has advisers like Timmy Teepell and Rolfe McCollister whispering in his ear that he is true presidential timber in the mold of Lincoln or Reagan—or all of the above. It didn’t help that columnist Michelle Malkin and Rash Limburger began building up for the ultimate fall way back in 2008.

So now, flush with his bold stand against the evils of Islam and emboldened by all that success in pulling Louisiana out of the doldrums of economic and cultural ruin he has given the go-ahead for the creation of Believe Again, a super PAC created to attract big money and to boost his flagging image in the already crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/bobbys-believers-conservatives-launch-draft-jindal-pac/article/2559070

Organizers of Believe Again are former U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston, chairman, and McCollister, treasurer. Timmy Teepell, Jindal’s campaign manager in his 2011 gubernatorial re-election campaign, apparently is odd man out in favor of Washington Republican operative Brad Todd as the PAC’s primary consultant.

While federal election laws bar Jindal from being directly associated with Believe Again or coordinating directly with Believe Again, that didn’t stop Jindal from sending out a tweet plugging the new super PAC created on his behalf—and most likely, at his direction:

  • “Sign our petition to demand liberals stop their shameless attacks against Conservatives,” the tweet said. (Just as Teepell had done in an email blast on Wednesday, Jindal lower-cased the “l” in liberals but capitalized “Conservatives.”)

Jindal also attached a YouTube link to the super PAC:image001

But at the bottom of the tweet was the disclaimer that the message was “not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.” image002

(CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE)

Moreover, the super PAC’s web page contained a prominent photo of Jindal but no other potential candidates. http://www.standuptowashington.com/

Super PACs, unlike leadership PACs, are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of funds, thanks to the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

The Washington Examiner noted that Jindal’s supporters believe his record of achieving conservative reform is what voters and campaign contributors are looking for in a candidate.

“Republican voters are tired of empty rhetoric from the same old politicians,” said Livingston. “They want a full-spectrum conservative who has the courage and bandwidth to make large scale reforms. If Gov. Jindal runs, he will be the kind of candidate who makes Republicans able to believe again,” he said.

But those supporters may be overlooking a key fact: there’s a world of difference between “conservative reform” and real achievement. Jindal’s conservative reform agenda has done precious little toward solving ever-increasing budget deficits, solving a soaring crime rate, improving education, lifting Louisiana citizens out of choking poverty or improving low income citizens’ access to health care.

Oh, there is one last ongoing survey in which Louisiana ranks dead last:

Jindal consistently holds down the anchor position among Republican presidential aspirants in poll after poll, trailing even Sarah Palin.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and his advisers are clamoring for damage control in the wake of his idiotic speech in London on Monday but this one could be a tough hill to climb.

In case you’ve been in a cave the past few days, Jindal spoke to a conservative group, the Henry Jackson Society, claiming the existence of “no-go zones” throughout England and France into which non-Muslims are afraid to venture because of what are apparent roving gangs of Islamic thugs just itching to assault any non-believer.

The only problem with his histrionics is that they weren’t true and his source for the information, Faux News, had even retracted its original claim to that effect on four separate occasions prior to Jindal’s speech during what was billed as an industrial recruiting tour.

Never one to admit his error in the face of overwhelming evidence, Jindal repeated his claim to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer while standing outside Parliament.

A wave of public criticism quickly mounted here in Louisiana with much of the criticism pointing out that as governor of Louisiana, Jindal should be home tending the store instead of trying to interject himself into an international debate in which he is pitifully unqualified to participate. http://theadvocate.com/news/opinion/11384992-123/our-views-bobby-jindal-shows

But now Jindal’s supporters, which are considerably thinner in ranks than a mere three years ago, have come to his rescue.

Timmy Teepell, Jindal’s personal political guru, came charging in on his white horse this morning in an email blast on which we somehow managed to get included. (We don’t dare give our email address lest they delete us from their mailing list. Besides, we’d rather imagine them going through that email list in a frantic attempt to determine which address is ours.)

“No matter how desperate the liberal press appears, their assaults on Conservative leaders rarely shock me,” he said in the opening paragraph of his little missive. (Yep, he lower-cased liberal and capitalized conservative. That GED of his is really kicking ass.)

“But even I was taken aback when CNN disregarded its own reporting in an attempt to smear Bobby Jindal.” (Apparently Teepell thinks so highly of himself, he considers Bobby as some sort of subordinate and refuses to use the title of Governor when speaking or writing about him; it’s just “Bobby.”)

“We both know many members of the press have their own agenda—but this is beyond the pale,” he said.

“This came about after Bobby Jindal (there he goes again with the “Bobby”) spoke out about so-called “no-go” zones throughout Europe. The locals use this designation because non-Muslims know not to go there, or else they will be subject to harassment by groups of hardline Muslim thugs.”

Teepell said a CNN reporter (that would be Wolf Blitzer, Timmy) “blasted” Jindal and claimed the zones didn’t exist.

Well, we watched that interview and at no time did Blitzer claim the non-existence of the “no-go” zones; he merely noted that the claim (by Faux News) had been retracted and even discredited by the British prime minister. But then Teepell said this: He should have taken the time to watch this CNN report that Red State was able to find – the reporters own network reported on this problem more than a year ago.

Well, Timmy, we did. And while the report did indeed allude to roving groups of Muslim “morality police” who would set upon drunks or women who were wearing dresses deemed by the groups as inappropriate, it could hardly be said anyone could have felt physically threatened.

What we saw were what the CNN report specifically referred to on more than one occasion as “small groups” of Muslims doing little more than preaching their beliefs in much the same manner in which we have witnessed street preachers in downtown Baton Rouge or even on a busy street corner (actually the intersection of the two business thoroughfares, LA. 16 and U.S. 190) berating sinners and fornicators and warning them to repent or face eternal damnation. Between the street preachers right here at home and what we saw on that CNN report, we could discern very little difference in tactics.

In fact, what we saw the Muslim “thugs” doing was far less offensive than what we’ve heard and seen of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, or that Baptist preacher up in Alabama a few years ago who actually compiled a list (really, we’re not making this up) of the individuals in his county who were going to hell.

But what really puzzles us is that Teepell, in addition to being Jindal’s one-time campaign manager and later his chief of staff, eventually became head of the Southern office of OnMessage, the outfit from the Washington, D.C., area to which Jindal has paid some $5 million in campaign expenses.

In paying all that money to Teepell and his organization, one would think that Jindal would expect a little more than just pulling up some obscure report by Red State http://www.redstate.com/ to support his claim.

But Timmy wasn’t through. Oh, no.

After he posted the link to the CNN story which did more for Blitzer’s credibility than Jindal’s, he had this to say:

“Do me a favor—show your support for the Conservative (there’s that capital “C” again) movement by standing with the Stand up to Washington PAC. Your donation of $5 will go a long way in the fight to reclaim America.”

“P.S. After you donate, forward this message to your conservative friends—they need to know what is really going on.

“Timmy Teepell

Senior Advisor, Stand up to Washington PAC

About that last comment, Timmy: We couldn’t agree more. They do need to know what is “really going on” about the denial of equal pay for women, about generous tax breaks for the wealthy while the rest of us are required to pay our taxes, about the lucrative defense contracts for campaign contributors, privatizing governmental agencies and services to the enrichment of contributors, about removing the restrictions on Wall Street banks, thus paving the way for another economic collapse possibly worse than 2008, about an out of control Supreme Court, about Republican’s blocking an increase in the minimum wage while corporate CEOs reap tens of millions in salary and perks.

We could go on, but you get the idea, Timmy. Or maybe you don’t. But yes, your “Conservative friends” really do need to know what is going on.

And, Timmy, since you are a “senior advisor” to the Stand up for America PAC, perhaps you could explain this for us:

How is it that the Stand up for America PAC web page has the disclaimer at the bottom that says, “Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee” when there is a photo (a very dominant one at that) of only one candidate—Gov. Bobby Jindal—smack dab in the middle of that page?

http://www.standuptowashington.com/

Could you explain that to us? Huh? Could you, please?

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