Forbes

Gingrich: Elections ‘rigged’ for the rich

Former U.S. House Speaker and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said elections are rigged for the wealthy.

What surprises me about Newt Gingrich’s statement is the fact that a politician on Gingrich’s level would admit that the election is rigged for the rich…period.

Alanta Journal Constitution

Elections are “rigged” for the rich, according to former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich, talking to the Rev. Al Sharpton on the minister’s MSNBC television show Tuesday, said campaign finance rules should be changed to allow any American to donate any amount of after-tax personal income they want to give a candidate as long as the donation is reported “every night on the Internet.”

Gingrich, who sought the GOP nomination before dropping out of the race last month, was asked about his Florida primary loss to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney just after beating Romney in South Carolina. Sharpton suggested Gingrich would have won Florida had Romney not outspent him by millions of dollars and if Gingrich had not been the target of relentless attack ads.

Gingrich agreed with Sharpton and used New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as an example of how difficult it is to win elections in which a very wealthy person is a rival. He said Bloomberg, a billionaire, has spent “an extraordinary amount of personal money to buy the mayor’s office for the third time.”

“It’s very hard to compete with a billionaire if they get to spend all the money they want and the middle-class candidate’s raising money in $2,500 units,” Gingrich told Sharpton. “So, I think the current system is rigged, frankly, in favor of the wealthy.” Individuals are limited to $2,500 donations in federal campaigns.

The former Georgia congressman said reforming how campaigns are financed would help reduce negative attack ads and increase accountability.

“You would have more accountability and middle-class candidates could balance off rich candidates,” Gingrich told Sharpton.

According to Bankrate.com, an analysis of Gingrich’s latest financial disclosure forms shows his net worth (excluding his primary home) is between $6.7 million and $30.1 million.

Last month, Forbes magazine placed Gingrich, a former congressman from Georgia, at the top of its list of “America’s Most Indebted Politicians,” saying he left the GOP race for the White House on May 2 owing campaign consultants and vendors $4.3 million.

Forbes said more than $1 million of the debt was for private jet service and $271,775.58 was to Gingrich himself for travel expenses.

Scott Walker Using $100 Million Of Taxpayer Money To Fight Off Recall?

Scott Walker on February 18, 2011Stating it clearly and concisely, Scott Walker is a crook, period.

Forbes

As Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker heads into the final stretch in his effort to hang onto his job, he is finding it increasingly more difficult to make his case honestly— or without using huge sums of taxpayer money to sway voters.

While life would likely have been easier for the Governor had collective bargaining remained the key issue of the campaign, now that the election has become largely about Walker’s record on job creation, the polls reveal that things are becoming increasingly more difficult for Scott Walker. Wisconsin currently competes with Nevada for the dubious title of worst job creator in the nation, resulting in the polls tightening into a dead heat,  leaving the Governor with reason to be worried.

In the effort to move withering public opinion in his direction, the Governor has embarked on a campaign strategy highly dependent upon finding someone else to blame for the poor economic performance of his state. In the process, Walker has resorted to committing a huge amount of taxpayer money to aid in his political survival, while mounting a campaign that—to anyone paying attention—only serves to highlight his own failures over the past decade.

Not surprisingly, the ‘someone’ chosen by Walker to play the role of scapegoat is his recall election opponent, Mayor Tom Barrett of city of Milwaukee—a city with some of the most difficult poverty problems in the nation.

The effort kicked off ten days ago when, after fifteen months in the Governor’s chair where Walker has consistently cried poverty in the state budget as the rational for his many controversial moves, the Governor miraculously came up with $100 million to fund economic development in Milwaukee’s poorest areas—money Walker claims will come from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Board.

Even more surprising is the astonishing resemblance between the Walker scheme and the series of measures put forth by President Obama as the Governor’s proposal involves reoccupying foreclosed and vacant properties while making loans and venture capital money available to small businesses and industrial developers.

Of course, Scott Walker had been a vocal opponent of such proposals when uttered by the President.

Continue reading here…

Perry On Whether His Tax Plan Gives Millions In Tax Breaks To The Rich: ‘I Don’t Care About That’

Typical Rick Perry GOP response…

Think Progress

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) today became the latest GOP presidential hopeful to release a tax plan, as he tries to catch up in the polls, some of which even have him trailing former Speaker Newt Gingrich and libertarian favorite Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). The plan, as Perry has been explaining, revolves around a 20 percent flat tax.

Perry’s flat tax was designed with the help of billionaire media mogul Steve Forbes, who ran twice for president, unsuccessfully, on a flat tax plan. As we noted yesterday, Forbes’ plan would have provided a $1.9 billion tax cutfor…Steve Forbes.

Perry’s plan is slightly different that Forbes’ flat tax of a decade ago, as it has a higher rate and preserves some popular deductions. But, like with all flat tax plans, Perry’s plan would give the rich a huge tax cut, since it drops their rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and exempts their investment income from taxation at all. When CNBC’s John Harwood asked Perry today why — in an era of massive income inequality — the rich should be given a tax break worth “hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of dollars,” Perry replied, “but I don’t care about that”:

HARWOOD: Dividends, capital gains, interest income taxes would provide a huge tax cut for wealthy people in this country. Given what’s happened with income inequality, why is that a good idea?

PERRY: We’re trying to get this country working again. And that’s what I focus on. As a matter of fact, as we looked and as we talked and as we went through what are the ways to really get incentives to those who are going to risk their capital to create the jobs. [...] Those that want to get into the class warfare and talk about ‘oh my goodness,’ there are going to be some folks here who make more money out of this or have access to more money, I’ll let them do that. I’m worried about that man or woman sitting around the coffee table tonight or in their kitchen talking about how are we going to get to work, how are we going to have the dignity to take care of our family. This plan does that. And it also is a tax cut across the board, it doesn’t make any difference what strata you’re in. It gives a tax cut across the board.

HARWOOD: But for those at the top, it is hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of dollars for them.

PERRY: But I don’t care about that. What I care about is them having the dollars to invest in their companies.

Former pizza magnate Herman Cain and former Govs. Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Jon Huntsman(R-UT) have all laid out tax plans that give huge tax breaks to the wealthy, while claiming that they want to help the middle-class. It seems that Perry is now finally hopping on that train.

Related articles

Murdoch Using Drone Aircraft to Spy on U.S. SERIOUSLY Updated x3 (Daily Kos)

The audacity of this  person!  How many laws does Rupert Murdoch have to break before he is thrown in jail?

Daily Kos

Breaking from Keith Olbermann‘s Countdown on CurrentTV:
(UPDATE 1: video of segment now viewable at bottom of diary)

The FAA is investigating Murdoch for flying a drone with a camera on it..

Forbes magazine reporting it. Using it to look at natural disasters among other things. They fly too low and are illegal.

Forbes also reporting that an ex-airforce official worked with Murdoch to make a drone that could capture cell phone signals, unlocked wi-fi signals, etc. Holy effing crap – Rupert thinks he’s his own airforce! Smug bastard – kind makes me think of Borat going, “King of the castle! King of the castle!”

Bastard.

I will post the Forbes link the moment I find it

Here’s the link to the Forbes article:

http://blogs.forbes.com/…

a small excerpt:

The News Corp’s The Daily has a drone that it’s sent out a few times, as noted by The Observer.  After The Daily broadcast some incredible footage of Alabama after it was devastated by storms, UAS Vision reported that The Daily owns a MicroDrone MD4-1000. The Daily sent it out again in June to bring back video from Minot, North Dakota after intense flooding there. (Total non-sequitur: Drones can hack cell phones now, you know.)Taking footage for news-gathering purposes seemed like a commercial use of a drone, which is a no-no, as I understand it. I followed up with the FAA asking if News Corp was one of the companies with an experimental certificate. The inquiry got lobbed to the FAA’s legal department…

“We are examining The Daily’s use of a small unmanned aircraft to see if it was in accordance with FAA policies,” said Les Dorr in an email today. A Daily spokesperson has not yet responded to an inquiry about ownership and licensing of the company’s drone.

UPDATE 1:

Many thanks to Diogenes2008 for the Countdown clip:

UPDATE 2:

A bit more on the law regarding private drones from G2geek in the comments:

Private drones are ILLEGAL in the US. This I know from reading articles about entrepreneurs and hobbyists who want to experiment with drones and remotely-piloted aircraft:There is a very narrow category open for experimentation, but it’s not even wide enough to allow the hobbyists and entrepreneurs to get into the game.  Basically all it allows are the kinds of model airplanes you can operate from the ground while being able to see them at all times.   Nothing more.

If Murdoch and his minions are doing anything more than what hobbyists are already doing with RC model aircraft, he’s in deep doodoo up to his evil eyeballs.  

UPDATE 2.5

A HUGE thanks to Keith Olbermann and Forbes Magazine for breaking this story.

UPDATE 3:
Photo of German-made drone Forbes says Murdoch deployed in the US:
microdrone
(h/t Flint for finding the company’s website)

Related articles

Birthers Sue Esquire for $285M

Keep in mind that the Esquire article was pure satire. 

(I wonder if Jonathan Swift was sued for his marvelous and satirical essay from 1729 called A Modest Proposal?  I doubt it.)

Satire is a common literary form of constructive criticism using wit as it’s primary weapon. (Wiki)

 The Onion is a great source for political satire on a regular basis. I don’t see them getting sued.

Corsi and Farah appear to be facing an uphill battle in the ongoing question and the  interpretation of: Just what is free speech? 

The Daily Beast

President Obama’s birth certificate is out but the birthers aren’t going away: Two prominent birthers are suing Esquire magazine for defamation and damaged business interests.

The complaint by Joseph Farah, editor of WorldNetDaily, and Jerome Corsi, author of Where’s the Birth Certificate? stems from an Esquire parody, headlined “BREAKING! Jerome Corsi’s Birther Book Pulled From Shelves!”

The magazine published the article on its website after President Obama released his birth certificate; many people, however, took it for straight news and the site had to add a note beginning “We committed satire this morning.”

In a statement to Forbes, Esquire notes that the article was marked “humor” and that satire is “an age-old and completely legitimate form of expression.”

Read it at Forbes

How Donald Trump Trashed His Brand

Donald Trump is nothing more than a grifter, a carnival Barker an opportunist  and a very stupid man with an enormous ego and very thin skin.

Running for President was never in Donald Trump’s plan, but neither was making a giant joke of himself and his brand…

The Daily Beast

Exclusive data reveal that while The Donald garnered $260 million in free publicity during his six-week presidential fling, most of it was negative. Randall Lane on why that hurts Trump, Inc.

Donald Trump bowed out of the 2012 presidential race yesterday, explaining that “business is my greatest passion.” But the billionaire hasn’t been a businessman in the classic sense that he portrays himself on his reality show—the captain of industry who risks his own money to create businesses and jobs—for years. Rather, he’s become a brand.

Instead of borrowing money to build real estate (a strategy that led him into several bankruptcies), for the past five years he’s been slapping his name on other people’s buildings, from Honolulu to Dubai, and taking a cut. And he’s taken that concept to pretty much everything: Trump vodka, Trump suits, Trump water, Trump chocolates, Trump golf, Trump (online) University, etc. Forbes, capitalism’s scorekeeper, has even affixed a stand-alone value to the Trump brand: $200 million. The Donald claims it’s more like $3 billion.

All of which made his now-aborted presidential ambitions more than just a sideshow or rich man’s whimsy. In branding, publicity is oxygen, and over the past few weeks, Trump sucked up the entire atmosphere. The Daily Beast contracted with General Sentiment, a leading consumer research company, which tracks every article, online mention and tweet, and assigns each a media value depending on content and reach. The total was staggering. In the past six weeks, Trump garnered himself $259.4 million worth of free publicity.

Continue reading…

GOP To Propose Obamacare For Seniors

Forbes

Despite the Republican propensity to compare the Affordable Care Act to something akin to the antichrist, word is that GOP budget leader, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), will propose a dramatic change in the Medicare program that will closely mirror the key features of Obamacare – only for seniors.

The proposal would do away with (for everyone presently under 55 years of age) the current single payer government system for senior medical care and replace it with a program whereby seniors would choose private health insurance coverage from a menu of approved private health insurers. The government would subsidize the program by giving seniors a voucher to be used in purchasing coverage, the amount of such payment to be defined according to need.

Does any of this sound familiar?

While the terminology may be different, it seems particularly reasonable to assume that the word “menu” is code for “health care exchange”.  And while the word “voucher” plays well with the GOP base, it is really no different from the subsidies the ACA will pay to those under 65 who purchase health insurance.

Unfortunately, while Ryan has emulated a number of features from the ACA, he’s forgotten to make the adjustments the law makes to actually ensure that health care is more accessible to beneficiaries rather than more profitable to health insurance companies.

Making private insurance work for the younger demographics is far easier than trying to make it work for the elderly due to the most basic tenet of health insurance – the insurance pool must be balanced by having 80 healthy people in the pool to pay for every 20 who are ill.

Given that most Americans 65 and older are a walking pre-existing medical condition, it is difficult to imagine how functioning insurance pools can be constructed from a universe filled with these people. It is equally hard to see how health insurers could offer such a plan without severely restricting the benefits offered or, in the alternative, charging very large premiums – unless the government is prepared to put large enough subsidy checks in the pockets of the insurers to cover the extra costs.

Robert Reich on the Super Rich Getting Richer While Everyone Else Gets Poorer

Robert Reich

Image via Wikipedia

Robert Reich is the man whom I hope President Obama chooses to replace Larry Summers who is head of the White House’s National Economic Council, a position created by former President Bill Clinton during his presidency.

Robert Reich was then President Clinton’s Secretary of Labor.  Reich would be the ideal person to replace Summers.  Robert Reich is a progressive and knows his economics.  Obama decided to surround himself with a Wall Street alumni economic team.  I honestly hope that Reich and/or Paul Krugman will be called in to turn our economy around, to benefit “the people” and not Wall Street.

America Blog

At least we have a White House that understands the problem since he’s a Democrat and not just another run of the mill corporatist who is part of the problem. More from Robert Reich.

The super-rich got even wealthier this year, and yet most of them are paying even fewer taxes to support the eduction, job training, and job creation of the rest of us. According to Forbes magazine’s annual survey, just released, the combined net worth of the 400 richest Americans climbed 8% this year, to $1.37 trillion. Wealth rose for 217 members of the list, while 85 saw a decline.

For example, Charles and David Koch, the energy magnates who are pouring vast sums of money into Republican coffers and sponsoring tea partiers all over America, each gained $5.5 billion of wealth over the past year. Each is now worth $21.5 billion.

Wall Street continued to dominate the list; 109 of the richest 400 are in finance or investments.

From another survey we learn that the 25 top hedge-fund managers got an average of $1 billion each, but paid an average of 17 percent in taxes (because so much of their income is considered capital gains, taxed at 15 percent thanks to the Bush tax cuts).