Category Archives: GOP Greed

Chomsky: Corporations and the Richest Americans Viscerally Oppose Common Good

Noam Chomsky

The Masters of Mankind want us to become the “stupid nation,” in the interests of their short-term gain — damn the consequences. ~ Chomsky

Alternet

Whether public education contributes to the Common Good depends, of course, on what kind of education it is, to whom it is available, and what we take to be the Common Good. There’s no need to tarry on the fact that these are highly contested matters, have been throughout history, and continue to be so today.

One of the great achievements of American democracy has been the introduction of mass public education, from children to advanced research universities. And in some respects that leadership position has been maintained. Unfortunately, not all. Public education is under serious attack, one component of the attack on any rational and humane concept of the Common Good, sometimes in ways that are not only shocking, but also spell disaster for the species.

All of this falls within the general assault on the population in the past generation, the so-called “neoliberal era.” I’ll return to these matters, of great significance and import.

Sometimes the attacks on education and on the Common Good are very closely linked. One current illustration is the “Environmental Literacy Improvement Act” that is being proposed to legislatures by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-funded lobby that designs legislation to serve the needs of the corporate sector and extreme wealth. This act mandates “balanced” teaching of climate science in K-12 classrooms.”

Read more here…

 

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Filed under GOP Greed, Public Education

Republicans still conflicted on who to blame for election failures

Gopasaur

In my opinion it was a combination of Tea Party hatriots, Mitt Romney’s cluelessness and the GOP’s stupidity, combined…

Daily Kos

The Republican Party is still hard at work figuring out why people seem to hate them, or at least why they’re not voting for them. Unfortunately, they can’t agree on what the problem is,which is hampering efforts to find a solution:

There’s a split between those who believe the party’s problem is cosmetic, those who believe it’s data-based and those who think it’s ideological and policy-based. Within those camps, there’s no common ground on what a better approach would look like.  […]The constant drama, a number of Republicans say, has denied the party writ large a chance to take stock amid calm. Still, the Republican National Committee is moving ahead with what Chairman Reince Priebus has at times called an “autopsy” into 2012.

The RNC efforts are just one of many, and it’s not clear the RNC opinion will hold any more weight than any of the others. The problem is that every individual group and consultancy has obvious reasons to declare that their version of what went wrong is the true one, and everyone else should therefore shut up and keep paying them money. Technophiles are convinced that the Romney campaign just needed to post more things to Twitter. Hard-right conservatives think the answer is to be more hard-right. Karl Rove knows that Karl Rove was right and should continue to be paid the big bucks, so he thinks the answer is to stop sending him candidates who so obviously suck. And every message strategist, everywhere, thinks the answer is in tweaking the messaging.

If there are any serious, credible attempts at self-reflection, however, I haven’t seen them. Yes, various party contrarians have muttered about the necessity of policy reforms and of the demographic hurdles facing the aging, perpetually cranky party; those individuals, however, are in no position to enact such reforms. Nobody is. (Even immigration reform, the supposed easiest fix for claiming a new, more inclusive base, has been stymied by the hostility of hard-right party ideologues; regardless of the much-ballyhooed breakthrough on the Senate side, Republican efforts on the issue look to be a rigged game.) Republican social policies remain captured by the hard-right base; economic policies are tied inextricably to the needs of the big donors that the party apparatus relies so very heavily on. All of this ties into our previous suspicion that the party has devolved into nothing but an elaborate grift, or at least that the party has no particular concept of the difference between true ideology and intentionally astroturfing, well, themselves. And yes, I mean that seriously.

Continue reading here…

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Filed under GOP Folly, GOP Greed, GOP Lies

The Future Of Political Donations In One Graphic?

Good Culture

Three years ago GOOD had the idea to plaster politicians’ financial sponsors all over their fancy suits, just like they do in NASCAR. With corporate money being such a huge part of the American political system—and with its influence set to get even bigger—it would help voters if our elected representatives were as transparent as possible about who’s backing them, and to what extent.

Reddit user crandyj1220 has followed our lead. Last week he uploaded to the social news site his own Nascar-ized politician, this one of our new Republican House speaker, John Boehner. An image like this isn’t all you need to make your decisions about a politician, of course, but it’s sure nice to know when these people are getting fat checks from tobacco companies and health insurance giants.

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Filed under GOP Fundraising, GOP Greed

The last-minute budget deal: What gets cut?

I have no doubt that the Republicans won their standoff with Obama on Friday night.  I also have no doubt that the POTUS’ re-election efforts will not be as easy as it was nearly four years ago.

Rachel Maddow illustrates an excellent point in this video.  Please view it if at all possible.

(Starting at 5:04 you can view the section I’m talking about, but the entire segment is worth watching!)

The Week

Congress settled on $38.5 billion in spending reductions late Friday, mere hours before the government would have shut down. Endangered wolves are on the chopping block. What else?

[...]

High-speed rail
President Obama agreed to a $1.5 billion cut on a policy close to his heart, says Sam Stein at The Huffington Post: The planned national high-speed rail system. This represents a “major hit to one of the president’s favorite transportation priorities,” and only strengthens critics’ suspicion that high speed rail is a “pie-in-the-sky policy.”

Endangered wolves 
Wolves in Idaho and Montana will be removed from the endangered species list as part of the budget deal on the environment. While that’s “bad news for the northern Rockies,” says Glenn Hurowitz at The Huffington Post, the Democrats fared slightly better on environmental funding as a whole. The EPA’s funding was cut by $1.49 billion, not the $3 billion originally proposed by Republicans, and the agency will continue to regulate carbon emissions.

The United Nations
The bill cuts $377 million from the U.S. contribution to the United Nations. That may not seem like a significant number in the big picture, says Howard LaFranchi at The Christian Science Monitor, but it will have a marked effect on the U.N. The U.S. contributes nearly a quarter of the U.N.’s total budget, and Obama is requesting $3.5 billion for the U.N. in his 2012 budget. A “wall of Republican resistance” is likely to spur further cuts to U.N. spending.

Abortions in Washington, D.C.
Planned Parenthood may have been spared, but the GOP did manage to end taxpayer-funded abortions in the District of Columbia. The Mayor of Washington D.C., Vincent Gray, was arrested Monday on the streets of the capitol during a protest against the provision.

Summer school Pell Grants
On education, the president’s “Race to the Top” initiative was left unscathed, but the Pell Grant program will be trimmed. Scrapping summer school grants and preventing students from using two Pell grant awards simultaneously will save $493 million this year, and more than $35 billion over the next decade.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program
The government will save $3.5 billion by scrapping bonus payments to states that successfully enroll large numbers of previously-ininsured children in Medicaid. Republicans were unsuccessful in pushing for an end to all funding for President Obama’s signature health care reform law.

The Joint Strike Fighter jet
The Pentagon is one of the few government departments that did not see an overall funding reduction — in fact, it will receive a $5 billion increase — but the bill does slash $4.2 billion in military earmarks, including funds for the Joint Strike Fighter jet engine that would have been built in John Boehner’s Ohio district.

 

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Filed under GOP, GOP Budget Cuts, GOP Greed

Money flows to top House Republicans

This shouldn’t surprise anyone.  Remember it was John Boehner who distributed tobbacco lobby checks to his collegues on the House floor in 2006.

Washington Post Politics

The new Republican leaders in the House have received millions of dollars in fresh contributions from banks, health insurers and other major business interests, which are pressing for broad reversals of Democratic policies that affect corporations, according to disclosure records and interviews.

Much of that money flowed to the GOP chairmen overseeing banking, energy and other key committees, who will play a central role in setting the House agenda over the next two years.

The impetus behind such largess is simple: Many companies and industry groups hope that House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) and other Republicans will succeed in rolling back Democratic policies they find objectionable, including environmental and Wall Street regulations.

GOP lawmakers took their first step in that direction Wednesday by voting to repeal President Obama‘s health-care reform law. Major health-care firms and their employees gave Republican leaders at least $5 million over the past two years, including well over $2 million to Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), according to a Washington Post analysis of contribution data.

The surge in donations to Republicans underscores the extent of the business community’s unhappiness with Democrats and Obama, who could face serious difficulties raising corporate donations for his 2012 reelection bid. The president has made efforts in recent months to improve relations with the business community, including hiring William M. Daley, a former commerce secretary and J.P. Morgan Chase executive, as his new chief of staff.    More…

 

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Filed under GOP, GOP Corruption, GOP Greed, GOP Hubris, GOP Hypocrisy

Mario Piperni: Deficits, Frauds and Peacocks

Mario Piperni’s graphic artistry is simply amazing!  On his blog he writes:

Ezra Klein makes the distinction between deficit hawks and deficit frauds.

The deficit frauds are the folks who use deficits for short-term political gain: This year, they’ve mainly been Republicans who opposed unemployment benefits because they’d add $56 billion to the deficit but demanded tax cuts that would add $4 trillion to the deficit. And they’ve been empowered not by Peterson’s money or even the climate in Washington, but by the fact that people get very anxious about the deficit when the economy slows, as it’s a number that they think helps explain the economic problems even as it mainly tracks them, and because a misplaced analogy to the European debt crises has made our deficit look scarier than it actually is.

Matt Yglesias prefers referring to deficit frauds as deficit peacocks.  That works for me.

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Filed under GOP, GOP Agenda, GOP Greed, GOP Hubris, Mario Piperni

Dems outraged as GOP blocks 9/11 responders’ health bill

Raw Story

Senate Republicans on Thursday derailed a bill to aid people who got sick after exposure to dust from the World Trade Center’s collapse in the Sept. 11 attack.

Supporters were three votes short of the 60 needed to proceed to debate and a final vote on the bill that would have provided as much as $7.4 billion in health care and compensation to 9/11 responders and survivors. The bill failed on a test vote, 57-42.

Fifty-seven Democrats voted for the bill and 41 Republicans opposed it. Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, switched his vote to ‘no’ at the last moment, a parliamentary move that allows him to bring the measure up again for a vote.

The New York Times reports:

Republicans have been raising concerns about how to pay for the $7.4 billion measure, while Democrats, led by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York, have argued that the nation had a moral obligation to assist those who put their lives at risk during rescue operations at ground zero….

In a statement, [New York City Mayor Michael] Bloomberg chastised Senate Republicans for their “wrong-headed political strategy” and called on them to allow the bill to come to the floor for a vote. “The attacks of 9/11 were attacks on America,” he said, “and we have a collective responsibility to care for the heroes — from all 50 states — who answered the call of duty, saved lives, and helped our nation recover.”

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Filed under GOP Agenda, GOP Corruption, GOP Greed, GOP Hubris, GOP Obstructionism

NOTHING FOR THE LITTLE GUY – Bailouts Are For Banks: Unemployed People Get Zilch

As Nancy Pelosi pointed out yesterday in a press conference, the GOP want tax cuts for the top 2% money-makers in the country.  The cost would be about $700 Billion because the Republicans want to add the cost of those tax cuts to the deficit.  Yet…they have told the Dems that the $18 Billion cost of helping the unemployed can only be passed if it’s paid for in advance.  In other words the Dems can’t add $18 Billion to the budget, but the Republicans insist on adding the $700 Billion for tax cuts to their cronies be added to the deficit.

What I don’t understand is why aren’t the Dems shouting from the roof tops  and on every news outlet that the GOP does not want to help the middle class but advocates soley for the rich?

Huffington Post

In Washington, the agenda has long since moved on from bailing out megabanks to figuring out how to stop paying for things that regular people need — luxuries like health care, retirement benefits and unemployment insurance.

In the suburbs of Denver, Anthony Roebuck and his family find themselves confronting an action list that seems cruelly divorced from the proceedings in the nation’s capital: They have to figure out how to keep the heat on through the Colorado winter now that his unemployment check has run out.

The latest extension of emergency unemployment benefits expired on Tuesday, as a dysfunctional Congress let the deadline go without striking a deal to keep the money flowing. That put Roebuck — who drew his last check on Monday — among the two million or so unemployed Americans facing the imminent loss of their benefits between now and the end of the year.

A sheet metal worker by trade, Roebuck, 44, is accustomed to earning his own way through the force of his hands. Since May, he and his family have subsisted on his wife’s paycheck from her job as a university administrator, plus a nearly $500 weekly unemployment check.

They slashed away at their grocery bill, cutting out non-essentials such as the fried snacks favored by his 15-year-old son. They traded in their late-model Jeep Cherokee for an elderly Dodge sedan. They quit going to church on Sunday to save the gas money required to get there.

Now, the math is set to get uglier still, as they contemplate how to run the household minus his unemployment check — a situation that seems not only impossible but also unfair.

How could there have been so many billions for Wall Street, so much room to lower taxes for people with golf memberships and country houses, yet a $500-a-week check to help him pay the rent while he looks for another job suddenly threatens to bankrupt the nation?

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Filed under Economic Inequality, Economy, GOP, GOP Agenda, GOP Corruption, GOP Folly, GOP Greed, GOP Hubris, GOP Hypocrisy, Unemployment, Unemployment Benefits, Unemployment Rate

Jon Kyl Reaps $200 MILLION In Pork Just Days After Senate Republicans Voted To Ban Earmarks

Jon Kyl

Image via Wikipedia

So much for Sen. Kyl (R-AZ) “renouncing earmarks”…

Senate Republicans’ ban on earmarks – money included in a bill by a lawmaker to benefit a home-state project or interest – was short-lived.

Only three days after GOP senators and senators-elect renounced earmarks, Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, the No. 2 Senate Republican, got himself a whopping $200 million to settle an Arizona Indian tribe’s water rights claim against the government.

Kyl slipped the measure into a larger bill sought by President Barack Obama and passed by the Senate on Friday to settle claims by black farmers and American Indians against the federal government. Kyl’s office insists the measure is not an earmark, and the House didn’t deem it one when it considered a version earlier this year.

But it meets the know-it-when-you-see-it test, critics say. Under Senate rules, an earmark is a spending item inserted “primarily at the request of a senator” that goes “to an entity, or (is) targeted to a specific state.”

Earmarking allows lawmakers to steer federal spending to pet projects in their states and districts. Earmarks take many forms, including road projects, improvements to home district military bases, sewer projects, economic development projects. A key trait is that they are projects that haven’t been sought by the administration in power.

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Filed under Earmarks Hypocrisy, GOP, GOP Corruption, GOP Greed, GOP Hubris, GOP Hypocrisy, Sen. Jon Kyl

Tom DeLay Guilty of Money Laudering

Tom Delay

Image via Wikipedia

The “Hammer” has been hammered by a jury of his peers in Austin, Texas…

Huffington Post

Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay – once one of the most powerful and feared Republicans in Congress – was convicted Wednesday on charges he illegally funneled corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002.

Jurors deliberated for 19 hours before returning guilty verdicts against DeLay on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces up to life in prison on the money laundering charge.

Prosecutors said DeLay, who once held the No. 2 job in the House of Representatives and whose heavy-handed style earned him the nickname “the Hammer,” used his political action committee to illegally channel $190,000 in corporate donations into 2002 Texas legislative races through a money swap.

DeLay and his attorneys maintained the former Houston-area congressman did nothing wrong as no corporate funds went to Texas candidates and the money swap was legal.

The verdict came after a three-week trial in which prosecutors presented more than 30 witnesses and volumes of e-mails and other documents. DeLay’s attorneys presented five witnesses.

Prosecutors said DeLay conspired with two associates, John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, to use his Texas-based PAC to send $190,000 in corporate money to an arm of the Washington-based Republican National Committee, or RNC. The RNC then sent the same amount to seven Texas House candidates. Under Texas law, corporate money can’t go directly to political campaigns.

Prosecutors claim the money helped Republicans take control of the Texas House. That enabled the GOP majority to push through a Delay-engineered congressional redistricting plan that sent more Texas Republicans to Congress in 2004 – and strengthened DeLay’s political power.

DeLay’s attorneys argued the money swap resulted in the seven candidates getting donations from individuals, which they could legally use in Texas.

They also said DeLay only lent his name to the PAC and had little involvement in how it was run. Prosecutors, who presented mostly circumstantial evidence, didn’t prove he committed a crime, they said.

Continue reading here…

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Filed under GOP, GOP Corruption, GOP Greed, GOP Hubris, Tom Delay