05 February 2011

The Meal-Ticket Left

Generous campaign doners have historically been given easy Ambassadorial posts. Knowing full well that the DCM, or Deputy Chief of Mission is really doing they job, the State Department is used to putting up with a lot.

But one of Obama’s appointments really takes the cake.

The situation was so bad that the inspector general recommended that the State Department dispatch medical personnel to Luxembourg to test the stress levels of embassy employees. It said at least four staffers quit or sought transfers to Iraq and Afghanistan during her tenure, unusual steps for diplomats assigned to a modern, Western European capital.
Much as Pelosi, the spouse of a billionaire, first ran as “a Mom in tennis shoes”, Cynthia Stroum has also channeled a lot of that inept, imperious “don’t they know who I am” self-indulgent adolescent behavior that has grown to characterize the wheelers-and-dealers of the gauche-cavier.Nonetheless, even a press that find this kind of thing hilariously juice call this nightmare a “businesswoman and philanthropist”, when in fact she was a personal investor and political action committee boarding party type.

You would think that these Eva Peron wannabees would eventually realize that they they aren’t royalty, and that they aren’t playing out “Upstairs Downstairs” fantasies.
But the report paints a picture of a corrosive atmosphere at the small embassy, with the ambassador running roughshod over staff, threatening to read their e-mails, largely concerned about job-related perks and involved in improper purchases.
When you’re a lefty, politics doesn’t stop at the nation’s shores.

Protocol be damned: displaying campaign posters into the embassy

The complaints of cronyism, it seems, go back to 2009.
In recent years, Stroum has contributed $10,000 to Cantwell and an equal amount to Murray, as well as making four-figure donations to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina. She gave to the successful 2006 campaign of Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana.

Stroum was recently honored as a "Woman of Valor" at a closed-door Cantwell fundraising luncheon.

The Luxembourg embassy has long been used to reward political donors, but also to break barriers.
Barrier. Valor. Whatever. This is the kind of reception this barrier busting, “valorous” dark-pool-style private equity investor elicited:
As an American presently living in Luxembourg, I wonder why this country can never get an ambassador who is actually a diplomat? Granted, Luxembourg isn't France, but is it too much to ask to get someone who has passed the Foreign Service Exam, or who speaks French?
as well as the most logical of comments:
Stroum - a "Woman of Valor?" Only in a society that lacks any virtue. Such titles belong to individuals who risk their lives in order to save the lives of others - not people who shell out their political bribery money to prostituting politicians.
In fact the words success, generosity, understanding, understanding, hard work, success, and valor DO apply to the Stroum family name: her father
[...]he joined the Army Air Corps.But in the fall of 1941, months before the U.S. entered World War II, Mr. Stroum took a leave to attend a sister's wedding, and while he was gone, his squad shipped out to the Philippines. Mr. Stroum became a crew chief and flight engineer, and came to Seattle to ferry Boeing B-17 bombers throughout the nation.When he first arrived in Seattle, Mr. Stroum lived with the other aviators at the Sorrento Hotel. He met his future wife at the nearby Jewish USO center. They were married Aug. 9, 1942, and Mrs. Stroum paid for the $3 marriage license. They were the first couple married by Temple De Hirsch-Sinai's new rabbi Raphael Levine, who became one of Seattle's great religious leaders.Briefly living in Portland, he sold different items including auto parts.He settled in Seattle in the late 1940s and formed several sales companies to representing automotive- and radio-parts makers. In the mid-1950s he became an electronics distributor.He named his main company ALMAC/Stroum Electronics, combining the names of his wife, Althea, and his two daughters, Marsha and Cynthia.He also began distributing parts for Erna Jorgensen and Harry Schuck, who had founded Schuck's Auto Supply. In 1967, when the pair retired, Mr. Stroum bought their business with their help and oversaw expansion of the chain to seven stores.Stroum sold ALMAC in 1974 for some $2 million. He then made his first major charitable gift: $600,000 to the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. He sold Schuck's to Pay n' Save in 1984 for $70 million, beginning a new career of giving.
So it seems that it isn’t juts genius that seem to skip a generation.


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