Find what you read here interesting? Amusing? Irritating? Subscribe. It’s free. Thanks.
Bexar County and Texas Red are up to their collective eyeballs in military money of all stripes—just ask their lapdogs in the state legislature and U.S. Congress. These “elected representatives” of the lapdogs are usually all too ready to receive praise for brining jobs to their area. The other shoe dropping is that it also brings millions to the contractors compared to the chump change workers make on the deal. Still I suppose some income is better than no income.
Up to now there’s been no requirement that government contractors disclose political contributions. Much of that income goes to the hand that feeds them, no doubt.This is really no different than the Citizens United ruling allowing anonymous contributions by corporations. On both counts that is both wrong and inimical to what the majority insist is our “democracy.”
An open society should be just that—an open society. When monied elements within that society are allowed to keep secret what they are doing as they have all along then we might as well be living in a Middle Eastern country where even if the information is kept secret—you have a pretty good idea who has the money but are powerless to do anything about it.
Money and Democracy Update
Issue #49 • February 18, 2011
“Money and Democracy Update” is Public Citizen’s weekly e-newsletter about the intersection of money and politics. It is part of our ongoing campaign to track the results of—and ultimately overturn—the U.S. Supreme Court’s reckless decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows for-profit corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to support or attack political candidates. We’ll update you regularly with select news stories and blog posts, legislative developments and ways to get involved.
Stunning Statistics of the Week:
- Eleven: Number of days until The Story of Citizens United is released. A trailer for the eight-minute short, created by The Story of Stuff Project, is available here.
Obama should fix the FEC (the operative word being “should”)
The Obama administration should seize the opportunity afforded by the expiration of terms for five commissioners on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to break the deadlock that has immobilized the agency over the past few years, Public Citizen told the president in a letter today.
Speaking of the Federal Election Commission …
Three Republican members of the commission want to give corporations even more sway over elections. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations may spend as much money as they want to influence elections, but they are still prohibited from helping candidates raise money. Now, these FEC commissioners say that should change.
Clinton fundraisers indicted
Two fundraisers for two of Hillary Clinton’s campaigns have been indicted for improperly reimbursing donors. The two men helped raise money for Clinton’s Senate run in 2006 and her presidential campaign in 2008. The total amount involved is $186,600.
You got Citizens United? We got Progressives United!
Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) is launching a new group designed to be an answer to Citizens United, the conservative organization that brought the Citizens United case to the Supreme Court. The new group will combat corporate influence over politics, work to overturn the Citizens United decision and, if all works as planned, launch a new progressive movement.
Pelosi calls for law to require government contractors to disclose contributions
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling for legislation that would prevent the government from entering into contracts with companies that do not disclose their political contributions. Pelosi said we need such a law because of last year’s Citizens United decision. In fact, such a measure was introduced as an amendment to the 2011 spending bill but failed.
Newt Gingrichpoised to rake in bucks for a presidential run
If Newt Gingrich decides to run for president, he already has a powerful fundraising operation in place.Gingrich’s advocacy organization, American Solutions, is the largest money-making machine of its kind in the country, according to The Washington Post, collecting more than $52 million in its first four years.
New campaign finance rule for New York state judges
Judges in New York state soon will no longer be able to hear cases brought by lawyers or involving people who donated $2,500 or more to their campaigns in the past two years. A new rule being enacted by the state court system will affect about 700 trial-level judges. Scheduled to take effect after a 60-day comment period, it is considered one of the most restrictive in the country.
Visit www.DontGetRolled.org to learn more!
Don’t lose sight of the fact that during the last presidential campaign then Senator Barack Obama and then Senator Hillary Clinton were the top recipients of contributions from the military-industrial complex as far as we can tell.
No doubt you’ve noticed we’re still in both Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and on and on because as I often point out there’s never any money to do anything for our fellow Americans or for the well-being of our nation but there’s always money to invade another non-threatening but also not kow-towing country of brown people.
Oh and by the way, the gifted and talented estimate the 2012 presidential election will cost $1B dollars. Really? Why should our elections cost us anything beyond expense of non-advertising, non-television overhead? Commercials created, paid and approved by the candidate are essentially of message of either; vote for me I’m great or don’t vote for the other candidate they’re dirt bags. And most of the time the ad is bulls—t distorting facts and reality. Where’s the value added in that?
From Texas Red: a cratered landscape of prisons, deplorable apartheid public education, lack of healthcare and politicians and majority population intent on keeping it that way…
The Texas Observer
In our morning Hot List for day 39 of the Lege, we’re following the start of the redistricting fight and recapping the sonogram bill’s passage through the Senate yesterday. Two of Rick Perry’s emergency items have now passed the Senate. And sanctuary cities may be next on the agenda.
From Redistricting Fights to the Sonogram Bill
Day 39 of the 82nd Texas Legislature
The much anticipated census numbers are finally in and the redistricting fandango can now begin. Meanwhile, another one of Gov. Rick Perry’s emergency items is a step closer to becoming law
Slave-state legacy, segregation and poverty in Texas…
Elections: King Street Patriots: right-wing enforcers of Texas Red’s slave state legacy
Perry: Cuts for Thee But None For Me
From Dewhurst-Care to Sonograms
2. No Sacred Cows?!
Gov. Rick Perry has been singing the same tune since his campaign and into the session—Texas must tighten its belt to deal with the budget crisis. He’s told lawmakers not to consider raising taxes or using the Rainy Day Fund. But while the proposed widespread budget cuts are causing panic, the Governor’s Office asked the Senate Finance Committee for an $81.5 million in funding for things like business incentive programs. Perry’s approach may not fly with the lawmakers who have seen what the budget cuts would do to most Texans.
America’s Open Arms
Texas Democrats dubbed the killer bees did this some 40 years ago….
WISCONSIN DEMS FLEE STATE AHEAD OF UNION VOTE-With a vote scheduled in the Wisconsin legislature today on a bill that would strip state employees of their collective bargaining rights, Senate Democrats hightailed it out of the state as tens of thousands of protesters occupied the state’s version of Tahrir Square. While Republicans have a 19-14 majority in that chamber, they need at least one Democrat present to proceed.This action led the Republican-run body to force lawmakers to check in on Foursquare every few hours dispatch police to retrieve the at-large (in the other sense) legislators. “Today they checked out, and I’m not sure where they’re at,” said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. “This is the ultimate shutdown, what we’re seeing today.” [AP] huffingtonpost.com
UPDATE: Reports indicate they’re camped out at the Best Western Clock Tower Resort in Rockford, Illinois.
Solidarity forever/ Solidarity forever/ Solidarity forever/
For the union complimentary continental breakfast and coffee makes us strong!
Today in “ironic tweets”:@GovWalker: Senate Democrats should show up to work – like other WI taxpayers did today.
Today in “awesome tweets”:@ufcw: Winning the internet – Wisconsin Democratic State Senator tells @govwalker she’ll “brb” – http://on.fb.me/fhW7JS
Gates: Prospect Very Low That Guantanamo Closes
The IRS does the same thing just not to the dirtbags in DC or Wall Street
Education Department Bureaucracy Keeps Disabled Borrowers in Debt
Scott Creighton of Tampa, Fla., is having his Social Security disability checks garnisheed by the Education Department to pay down his debt on student loans. Seriously disabled borrowers are entitled to get federal student loans forgiven, but the program for deciding whether they qualify is opaque, dysfunctional and redundant. (Brian Blanco/ProPublica)
Loan Mod Program Left Homeowner’s Fate in Hands of Dysfunctional Industry
On paper, the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, was supposed to address one of the main roadblocks to modifying loans: The banks handling most mortgages often have little incentive to avoid a home going into foreclosure since they don’t actually lose money when that happens.
That’s because mortgage servicers, the largest of which are the nation’s largest banks, don’t own the vast majority of the loans they handle. So, they don’t bear the loss if the loan goes to foreclosure. In fact, servicers often make money from foreclosure fees.
“Foreclosure is the path of least resistance inside a servicing shop, because once it goes into that mode, all of the costs are essentially borne by third parties,” said Horne.
COMCAST MAKES AL JAZEERA PRINT OUT AND DELIVER EMAILS PRESSING COMCAST TO CARRY AL JAZEERA – Comcast may be the only corporation capable of such a thing: The cable company asked Al Jazeera English to stop inviting people to send them emails demanding that they carry the channel. Thus far, roughly 25,000 people had done so. But Comcast, according to an AJE official, wouldn’t give AJE a general email address to send one to and we can attest it is IMPOSSIBLE to find one online. So Comcast asked AJE to print out all future emails — 12,699 of them. So they did. Comcast and AJE will meet next week to discuss putting the channel on the air and AJE plans to bring the boxes with them, Jimmy Stewart-style. Here’s a photo of two AJE employees sorting the boxes. [PHOTO] huffingonpost.com
america and americans are ardent supporters of freedoms–just not here.
The Anti-Immigrant Mistake.mp4
A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn
The Conscience of a Liberal
Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, and the Economics of Growth and Prosperity
Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer–and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class
Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future
Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream
Bill Moyers on Plutonomy
only ralph has the stones to say it…
Time to Topple Corporate Dictators