Wednesday, September 20, 2023

2 years in prison for ex-Congressman Buyer

Sorry, I have to note something else today other than former President Donald Trump or Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  Do you remember when Matt Taibbie testified before Congress about Twitter and C.I. reported on the hearing and said it was the worst hearing she had ever sat in on, even worse than when some Representative stormed out of the hearing and slammed a door?  I was there, at that hearing.  And I mention it because that drama queen is in the news.  Lauren Irwin (THE HILL) reports:

Former Rep. Stephen Buyer (R-Ind.), 64, was sentenced in New York to nearly two years in prison on Tuesday for insider trading. 

The nine-term former congressman was sentenced to 22 months in prison for trading inside information he learned as consultant ahead of two separate companies mergers. 

Wow.  The headline just said "former Congressman" and I clicked because I was curious as to who it could be?  Mr. Buyer.  As I remember it, it was a hearing related to the Iraq War and a reporter was giving testimony and answering questions and he was repeatedly interrupted by Mr. Buyer.  The journalist was a free lance journalist, I'm pretty sure, and the article he was referencing was one he had written for THE NATION.  I could be wrong but it seems like one of the other journalists present was Jeremy Scahill.  At any rate, Mr. Buyer was rude to the witness, cut him off repeatedly, and then delivered a high moment of drama I-can't-participate-in-this-hearing before marching to the exit and slamming the door behind him.  

Stephen Buyer Misappropriated Material Non-Public Information from His Former Consulting Clients, T-Mobile Corporation and Guidehouse

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that STEPHEN BUYER, a former Indiana Congressman, was sentenced today to 22 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.  BUYER was previously convicted following trial of four counts of securities fraud for engaging in two insider trading schemes.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Stephen Buyer was convicted by a jury of twice engaging in insider trading.  He abused positions of trust for illicit personal gain, and today he faced justice for those acts.  No insider trader is above the law, and we will continue to bring those who undermine the fairness and integrity of our markets to justice.”

According to the Indictment, evidence presented during trial, court documents, and statements made in open court:

In 2018 and 2019, BUYER engaged in two separate, but interrelated insider trading schemes to steal material non-public information that he obtained through consulting work and to place timely, profitable securities trades based on that stolen information.  First, in or about March and April 2018, BUYER purchased shares of Sprint Corporation (“Sprint”) ahead of the April 29, 2018, public announcement that T-Mobile US, Inc. (“T-Mobile”) and Sprint would merge in a deal valued at $26.5 billion.  Prior to the public announcement of the transaction by T-Mobile, executives at T-Mobile told a small, trusted group of consultants that they had retained to work on the deal, including BUYER, about the merger and directed them to keep the information confidential.  BUYER breached his duty of confidentiality to T-Mobile and misappropriated that information by purchasing shares of Sprint across several brokerage accounts, including his own accounts, an account held jointly with his cousin, and an account in the name of a close, personal friend.  Across these accounts, BUYER made more than $126,000 from the purchase and subsequent sale of Sprint stock after the merger was publicly announced. 

In or about June through August 2019, BUYER again engaged in insider trading, this time trading in shares of Navigant Consulting, Inc. (“Navigant”) ahead of Navigant’s acquisition by consulting and advisory firm Guidehouse.  As with his purchase of Sprint shares, BUYER learned through his consulting work for Guidehouse that Guidehouse intended to acquire Navigant and misappropriated that information by purchasing Navigant shares ahead of the public announcement of the acquisition.  BUYER purchased Navigant shares across several brokerage accounts, including accounts in his own name, joint accounts held with family members, and the account of the same close, personal friend whose account he used to trade Sprint shares.  In total, Buyer made more than $223,000 from his illegal Navigant trades.

BUYER testified at his March 2023 trial and provided false explanations for his Sprint and Navigant trading, which Judge Berman found at sentencing to constitute obstruction of justice.

*                *                *

In addition to his prison sentence, BUYER, 64, of Noblesville, Indiana, was ordered to pay more than $350,000 in forfeiture and restitution in an amount to be determined. 

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and also thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission for its assistance.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kiersten A. Fletcher and Margaret Graham are in charge of the prosecution.


Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Wednesday, September 20, 2023.  Senator Tommy Tuberville gets attention (not the kind he wanted),  Kuwait's not pleased with Iraq on the border issue, Moms For Bigotry are mocked online, the need to stand up to book banning, and much more.

There are many embarrassments in the US Congress but certainly one of the worst is "Coach" Tommy Tuberville.  Marcia's covered the senator at her site repeatedly in posts such as "Tommy Tuberville is a crook and Marjorie Taylor Green is just insane," "Why does Tommy Tubberville hate American soldiers?," "Why is Senator Tuberville trying to destroy the US military?," "Why does Senator Tuberville hate the American military?,"  "Why does Tommy Tuberville hate the US military," . . .

A sample from Marcia's site:

Tommy Tuberville.  Remember him?  He ran for the US Senate out of Alabama even though it turns out he lied about residency -- his primary residency was and remains Florida.  And he's the loon who wants everyone to call him "coach" and not "senator."  Apparently, he has some heavy times vested with images of half-dressed boys and letting go of "coach" would be letting go of those memories.  And mainly, he's known for holding up US military appointments.  He continues to do that:

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) has been drawing a great deal of criticism from Democrats — as well as from Never Trump conservatives — for holding up military promotions as a way of speaking out against abortion policies on women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Some evangelical Christian fundamentalists, however, have praised Tuberville for promoting the "pro-life" cause.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Zej Moczydlowski is among Tuberville's critics. In a scathing op-ed published by Military Times on September 13, the medic stresses that the Alabama senator's actions are harmful to servicemembers.


It's time to talk again of Senator Tommy Tuberville.  You know, the liar who has permanent residence in Florida but ran for the US Senate from the state of Alabama?  He's been blocking all military nominations and promotions -- leaving the country at risk.  What's the reason for his petty tantrum?  He doesn't like that women in the military can get abortions.  Some might point out that it's really not his business.  Others might point out that 'coach' never served in the US military.  But while risking national security, Tommy is enriching his own pockets:

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) recently purchased up to $250,000 worth of stock in telecommunications technology company Qualcomm Inc., a federal defense contractor, while serving on the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services and actively blocking hundreds of military nominations and promotions, new congressional financial disclosures indicate.

Qualcomm and its subsidiaries have been the recipient of several dozen defense and homeland security contracts during the past two decades, according to federal contracting records reviewed by Raw Story.

So that's the con artist we're dealing with.   Monday, the VFW issued the following calling the senator out:

WASHINGTON – In a letter sent Sept. 18, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is calling on Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville to lift his hold on the routine promotion of military general and flag officers.

“The line in the sand for the VFW is simple:  Political disputes must be handled by politicians – not within the ranks of the all-volunteer force. Sen. Tuberville’s hold on these routine promotions has consequences up and down the active-duty force that will take years to fix,” said VFW Commander-in-Chief Duane Sarmiento. “By sending this letter, the VFW is making our voice very clear – this is not the way Congress should do business.”

As of today, the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps no longer have confirmed heads of their services, with hundreds of other routine uniformed promotions stalled behind them, due to Sen. Tuberville’s refusal to allow confirmations to proceed without unnecessary bureaucratic procedures. VFW members have shared their own experiences and frustrations with how the force is being affected, to include key leaders and staff holding multiple collateral positions, stalled decision-making in critical areas, as well as delayed family and staff relocations.

“One of the VFW’s top national security priorities is preserving the all-volunteer force,” said VFW Washington Office Executive Director Ryan Gallucci in the letter. “At a time of military recruiting challenges, the instability caused by this hold will have far-reaching consequences for the brave Americans who volunteer to serve in today’s military and those who may consider future military service.”

This is not the first letter sent by the VFW on the issue. In July, a letter demanding the confirmation of critical military positions was sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Later that same month, VFW members voted at the 2023 VFW National Convention in Phoenix, Ariz., that preserving the all-volunteer force was the 124-year-old organization’s top national security priority.

“The VFW called on the Senate to resolve this matter earlier this summer and now we call on you directly to end this hold before we set the very dangerous precedent of harming American service members as leverage in Washington political battles,” said Gallucci.

In a survey conducted Sept. 7 – 9, VFW members overwhelmingly voiced that political civilian leaders should be held accountable for disagreements over policy, that politicians should not be able to harm the troops over political disagreements, and that political decisions that harm the troops will affect the decisions of VFW members in upcoming elections. Last week, VFW members took to Capitol Hill, sharing the results of the survey with their legislators, many of whom echoed their concerns over the hold having a dire impact on national security.

“Critics have said our survey seemed loaded, but to the VFW, the choice is straightforward:  Can politicians use uniformed service members and military families as leverage in political disputes? In the context of the all-volunteer force, the VFW says no,” said Gallucci when asked about the survey. “To promote the effective civilian control of our military, our nation has been very deliberate to frame the all-volunteer military as a non-partisan and trusted institution that transcends party politics.”

VFW members have also expressed their worries Sen. Tuberville’s hold on the confirmation process will not only affect those whose promotions are currently stalled, but also compel emerging leaders to leave the military for more suitable civilian opportunities.

“It’s easy to look at this issue and think that only generals are affected, but the military doesn’t just hire generals off the street,” said Sarmiento. “Generals start at the bottom and choose to grow in the military, just like everyone else who wears the uniform. If you’re a major, a captain, or an ensign today, are you sticking around to see if this happens to you to?”

The survey was completed by more than 7,000 VFW members representing every state and overseas territory where VFW members reside. Complete survey results are: 

  • Who should be held accountable for disagreements over policies in Washington, D.C.?
    • Political Civilian Leaders:  87%
    • Uniformed Service Members:  13%
  • Do you believe politicians should be able to harm the troops over political disagreements?
    • No:  91%
    • Yes:  9%
  • Will political decisions that harm the troops affect your decisions in upcoming elections?
    • Yes:  90%
    • No:  10%

“The world is still a dangerous place and brave Americans remain stationed around the world, intent on keeping these dangers far from our shores. This is why the VFW is calling on you to stop this dangerous game,” Gallucci concluded in the letter. “Games may belong on the football field, but not in halls of the U.S. Senate.”

He's been called out by many, including the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.  But the VFW letter does appear to have him unnerved.  Patrick Darrington (ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER) notes:

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, is causing division inside the Republican party and more criticism from military personnel as he continues his blockade of military nominations in protest of the Department of Defense’s abortion policy.

According to Politico, Tuberville’s hold has upset Republican congress members, particularly Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, a former Navy SEAL Officer. Crenshaw texted his allies that he is “at a point where I’m going to tear apart (if asked) coach/Senator/non-veteran Tuberville for personally attacking service members who have spent almost 30 years serving our country.”

Crenshaw also said that Tuberville’s actions are having “worsening consequences.” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said that Tuberville is “paralyzing the Department of Defense,” and creating a “national security issue.”

“The idea that one man in the Senate can hold this up for months — I understand maybe promotions, but nominations? — is paralyzing the Department of Defense,” McCaul said. “I think that is a national security problem and a national security issue.”

When not objecting to abortions the 'coach' objects to poetry so we need to note this from deep into Darrington's article:

“We’ve got people doing poems on aircraft carriers over the loudspeaker,” Tuberville said on the Ingraham Angle. “It is absolutely insane the direction we’re headed in our military.”
The Star-Spangled Banner our national anthem was originally written as a poem by Francis-Scott Key.

And the criticism is only increasing.  Martin Pengelly (GUARDIAN) reports:

A liberal group representing US military veterans took aim at Tommy Tuberville, the Alabama Republican senator holding up officer promotions in a protest over abortion, but also at party leaders who have not forced him to stand down, calling them “traitors” and warning: “Tight lips could sink ships.”
Presented in the style of a second world war propaganda film, a short ad from Vote Vets bemoans “an un-American assault on our military” by a “so-called American senator singlehandedly stop[ping] hundreds of military leaders from taking command”.

Turning to Iraq,  where recently the country's corrupt Supreme Court (they have so much in common with the US) overturned the the treaty regarding the maritime border between Iraq and Kuwait.  Over the weekend, THE ARAB TIMES reports:

The Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Arab World Affairs, Ambassador Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al-Bakr, held a meeting today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ headquarters with Ambassador Al-Manhal Al-Safi, who serves as the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to Kuwait.

During this meeting, Ambassador Al-Bakr formally delivered Kuwait’s protest memorandum.

The protest was lodged by the State of Kuwait in response to the content of a recent ruling issued by the Federal Supreme Court of the Republic of Iraq.

Yesterday, the US State Dept issued a statement ("The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states.") and this is the section on Iraq and Kuwait:

The Ministers stressed the importance of Iraq’s commitment to Kuwait’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and respect for international conventions and UN resolutions, especially UNSC Resolution 833 regarding the demarcation of the Kuwait-Iraq boundary.  They called for the complete demarcation of the Kuwait-Iraq maritime boundary beyond boundary point 162 and called on the Government of Iraq to expeditiously resolve the domestic legal status of the 2012 Kuwait-Iraq Agreement to regulate maritime navigation in Khor Abdullah and ensure that the agreement remains in force.  The Ministers renewed their support for UNSC Resolution 2107 (2013) regarding the transfer of the file related to repatriation of all Kuwaitis, including missing Kuwaitis, and return of Kuwaiti property, including the national archives, to the UN Mission to Iraq (UNAMI), and expressed their hope that Iraq will continue to cooperate to ensure progress in this file.  They called on Iraq and the UN to exert maximum efforts to reach a resolution of all the issues involved.

Meanwhile the hate group in the US, Moms for Liberty (actually Moms for Bigotry) is being mocked everywhere and it even has a website dedicated to mocking it.   Kate Briquelet (THE DAILY BEAST) reports:

When ex-South Park writer Toby Morton set out to lampoon Moms for Liberty with a parody website this summer, he expected to receive hate mail.

On Morton’s, visitors are greeted with swastikas encircling the “parental rights” juggernaut’s logo, a leadership page that boasts Hercules actor turned conservative pundit Kevin Sorbo as their minivan driver, and a listing of items the moms have “banned for fun” including the board game Sorry. “Those who are taught to say ‘sorry’ are weak,” the fake site for the far-right group declares. “NEVER apologize for your actions because your actions are probably warranted if you’re white.”

“I told myself that I never want to lose the original idea of why I started these websites, which was to make myself laugh and to troll people who deserve to be trolled,” said Morton, who has also crafted spoof sites for Republicans including Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, taking advantage of politicians who fail to snag all domains with their monikers.

But Morton didn’t anticipate how serious this project could be. Fans sent Morton a barrage of messages detailing how Moms for Liberty (M4L) was altering their school boards and more than a few tips about its particularly egregious members, who call themselves “joyful warriors.”

Funded and aligned with right-wing donors and organizations like the Leadership Institute, M4L has been at the forefront of a national movement to ban books (or even yearbooks) containing race, gender, LGBTQ themes, and sexual content. The group’s second annual summit in July attracted mass protests and campaign stops from presidential candidates including Donald Trump, DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Nikki Haley.

For Morton, what started as comic relief is morphing into a fundraising campaign, one that will create pages for each state. “My plan is to disrupt this hate group for as long as possible with billboards, pamphlets, background information and other tactics,” Morton said. “They have no interest in truly educating children and would rather actively prevent them from learning the true history of our country. I have a lot of support around the country so I’ll continue updating my website about this group in each state so people are fully aware.”

Moms For Bigotry are also Moms For Idiocy because only fringe-minded freaks support censorship.  Tipper Gore learned that the hard way.  The ACLU notes:

Ideas are powerful. That’s why intellectual freedom is protected by the First Amendments — and it's also why sometimes governments try to suppress them.  

For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has fought to make sure Americans have the right to read what they want. Despite our many victories, there are still misguided attempt to ban books. The American Library Association keeps track — some of the most frequently challenged books from 2015 include the best seller Fifty Shades of Grey along with Fun Home and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (both of which were turned into Tony Award-winning Broadway shows, by the way).

But you can’t keep a good book down. See the menu below for more on those “dangerous” collections of words.

PEN noted earlier this year:

Again, and again, the movement to ban books is driven by a vocal minority demanding censorship. At the same time, a 2022 poll found that over 70% of parents oppose book banning. Yet the bans continue. Many public school districts find themselves in a bind. They face threats and political pressure, along with parental fears and anxieties surrounding the books on their school shelves. School Boards, administrators, teachers, and librarians are told in some cases to “err on the side of caution” in the books they make available. Too often, they do just that.

These efforts to chill speech are part of the ongoing nationwide “Ed Scare” — a campaign to foment anxiety and anger with the goal of suppressing free expression in public education. As book bans escalate, coupled with the proliferation of legislative efforts to restrict teaching about topics such as race, gender, American history, and LGBTQ+ identities, the freedom to read, learn, and think continues to be undermined for students.

Below, PEN America updates its tally and analysis of book bans during the first half of the 2022-2023 school year, from July to December 2022. This research builds on PEN America’s 2022 report, Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools, which covered book bans from July 2021 to June 2022.

Key Findings: 

  • During the first half of the 2022-23 school year PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans lists 1,477 instances of individual books banned, affecting 874 unique titles, an increase of 28 percent compared to the prior six months, January – June 2022. That is more instances of book banning than recorded in either the first or second half of the 2021-22 school year. Over this six-month timeline, the total instances of book bans affected over 800 titles; this equates to over 100 titles removed from student access each month.


  • This school year, instances of book bans are most prevalent in Texas, Florida, Missouri, Utah, and South Carolina. These bans are driven by a confluence of local actors and state-level policy. The implications of bans in these five states are far-reaching, as policies and practices are modeled and replicated across the country.


  • Overwhelmingly, book banners continue to target stories by and about people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. In this six-month period, 30% of the unique titles banned are books about race, racism, or feature characters of color. Meanwhile, 26% of unique titles banned have LGBTQ+ characters or themes.


  • Due to cases where long lists of books are removed for further investigation, bans this school year are increasingly affecting a wider swath of titles, including those that portray violence and abuse (44%), discuss topics of health and wellbeing (38%), and cover death and grief (30%). This illuminates how censorship impacts a wide array of books, particularly as school districts respond to vague legislation by removing large numbers of books prior to any formal review.


  • The process behind book challenges and bans is evolving. During the 2021-22 school year, parent-led groups coordinated to advance book censorship. These groups pressured  districts to remove books without following their own policies, even in some cases, removing books without reading them. That trend has continued in the 2022-23 school year, but it has also been supercharged by a new source of pressure: state legislation. School districts in many states are reacting to new laws that dictate the types of books that can even be in schools, or what kinds of policies they have to follow to add new books and review their collections.


  • Books are more frequently labeled “pornographic” or “indecent.” Dozens of books were targeted for removal in the 2021-22 school year on the basis that they contained sexual content. But since last summer, this framing has become an increasing focus of activists and politicians to justify removing books that do not remotely fit the well-established legal and colloquial definitions of “pornography.” Rhetoric about “porn in schools” has also been advanced as justification for the passage or introduction of new state laws, some of which would bar any books with sexual content and could easily sweep up a wide swath of literature and health-related content.


  • The full impact of the book ban movement is greater than can be counted, as “wholesale bans” are restricting access to untold numbers of books in classrooms and school libraries. This school year, numerous states enacted “wholesale bans” in which entire classrooms and school libraries have been suspended, closed, or emptied of books, either permanently or temporarily. This is largely because teachers and librarians in several states have been directed to catalog entire collections for public scrutiny within short timeframes, under threat of punishment from new, vague laws. These “wholesale bans,” have involved the culling of books that were previously available to students, in ways that are impossible to track or quantify.

I’m an English teacher. 

That’s what I told myself and others for five years as I began working to make my community and state a better, more equitable place to live. Even after founding the Missouri Equity Education Partnership, I spoke in front of our state legislators and pronounced that I was “just an English teacher.”

It took me five years to arrive at the understanding that although teaching gave me some essential tools that prepared me for this work, I am an organizer. My driving purpose has been to teach and empower others to step into their role as organizers, too. As part of my work with Unite Against Book Bans, I hope to encourage others to embrace this potential in themselves.

When people tell me that they don’t know if they can be an organizer, I ask if they have the ability to do any of the following:

  • Create goals 
  • Think about action steps to achieve those goals 
  • Work with others collaboratively toward a common goal
  • Explain directions well to others
  • Accept constructive feedback
  • Collect and analyze data
  • Think critically about complex issues

Many times, their answer is yes to enough of those traits that they begin realizing they can use those skills to effectuate change in their communities. At this challenging point in our history, individuals willing to step up and use these skills are exactly what we need. We must address the challenges we face—not just book bans but anti diversity, equity, and inclusion policies; attempts to whitewash history; anti-LGBTQ+ laws; the removal of reproductive rights and affirmative action; and so much more. We need more people working together to ensure the future of our democracy. We need YOU.

So the next time you are faced with book bans— or anything else that will negatively impact your family, friends, and neighbors— remember that you have all that you need to become an organizer and advocate. Don’t forget to visit the Unite Against Book Bans Action Toolkit for resources to support your efforts.

The following sites updated: