There was an error in this gadget

Friday, July 30, 2010

A BAD AMERICAN!

My computer has just died, and it will be several weeks before my new one arrives. Until then, I will attempt to keep my posts going using a computer at the nearby public library. As I am limited there to 1 hr, 20 min usage max per time, that means I won't be visiting as many of your sites as often as I did before for a while, and it may be a day or two before you see me respond to your comments here. Thank you for your patience and understanding, my friends. I love you all! :-)
---------------------------------------------------------------

I have a cousin 13 or 14 years my senior who lives in a very conservative semi-rural town in a fairly red northern state. She land her friends and associates evidently see the world in a far different perspective than I do, as from time to time she forwards me what I consider to be offensive, viral emails she gets from them. Last week, she sent me this latest example, obviously composed by a blowhard redneck, bigot which I am reproducing below. I have copied and pasted the original accompanying photos and artwork too. The email itself with its original text is found in light, unbolded and unitalicized font, like this. The line-by-line replies to his statements which I inserted and sent back to my cousin appear in this bold, italicized font. I think this illustrates perfectly the biggest problem facing this country today: one group, the more primal conservatives, making lots of self-centered, myopic, shallow patriotic bluster, and the other, a more progressive and reasoned group, with a broader and more encompassing viewpoint, which takes into account and deals with what is needed by a far greater range of their fellow citizens. The email came forwarded to me under the title of "fw: you gotta love this guy!" I surely don't though....

This Guy Had The Guts To Put This On The Internet .
Praise God !!!


YES, I'M A BAD AMERICAN.

I am the Liberal-Progressives Worst Nightmare. That's obvious---you're a regressive, self-centered person only out for himself! I am an American. Not MY kind!
I am a Master Mason and believe in God. WHICH God? The loving and merciful one who taught us humility and compassion that I know, or the one of rifles, spite, self-centeredness, and macho vanity that YOU have created?
I ride Harley Davidson Motorcycles and believe in American products. Good. But they're not always the best, nor are they the only products in the world.
I believe the money I make belongs to me and my family, not some Liberal governmental functionary be it Democratic or Republican! Yes, you would, because all you think about is yourself. Jesus did NOT preach self-centeredness.
I'm in touch with my feelings and I like it that way!
I think owning a gun doesn't make you a killer, it makes you a smart American. SMART? Only if you're paranoid or cynical, or live in a very bad neighborhood. I'll remind you: Jesus never carried a gun, spear, or club, and he had enemies wherever he went.
I think being a minority does not make you noble or victimized, and does not entitle you to anything. Get over it! A predictably cruel, ignorant, and insensitive statement to make by one who has obviously never encountered real discrimination of any kind. I believe that if you are selling me a Big Mac, do it in English. Almost all do. I hope those in other countries make the same sneering demand of you if you are ever forced to migrate to their country and hold a low-paying job there. I believe everyone has a right to pray to his or her God when and where they want to. One of the few things we agree on. Of course, THIS EVEN APPLIES TO MUSLIMS, PAL!

My heroes are John Wayne, Babe Ruth, Roy Rogers, and Willie G. Davidson that makes the awesome Harley Davidson Motorcycles. Mine are Dr. Jonas Salk (inventor of the polio vaccine who DONATED it to science), Helen Keller (the deaf and blind woman who overcame her disabilities to become a successful author who inspired millions), John Paul II (who forgave his attempted assassin and who helped bring about the fall of communism WITHOUT raising an army or firing a shot), and FDR (whose economic programs created our huge middle class and lifted up millions, keeping them out of or lessening poverty to this very day). My heroes are FAR better than your heroes: none of mine were macho and mouthy, none of them had to fire a gun to get the job done or prove their "manhood", and all put the needs of others before their own wants.
I don't hate the rich. I don't pity the poor. But Jesus says you SHOULD pity and look after the poor! I know wrestling is fake and I don't waste my time watching or arguing about it.
I've never owned a slave, or was a slave, I haven't burned any witches or been persecuted by the Turks and neither have you!
So, shut up already.

I believe if you don't like the way things are here, go back to where you came from and change your own country! Then maybe YOU should leave THIS country, pal, because the America I know isn't as selfish, hateful, intolerant, or bullying as YOU are! This is AMERICA .We like it the way it is!
If you were born here and don't like it you are free to move to any Socialist country that will have you. F___ you, buster. YOU can move to some far-right, authoritarian military dictatorship where they tolerate no dissent and no diversity. You'd be much happier there than here.
I want to know exactly where the churches are that Reverend Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton preach, where they get their money, and why they are always part of the problem and never the solution. Why? Are you going to bomb them? As far as problems and solutions go, their identification of injustices and causes of poverty is hardly a problem, but rather a step toward a solution. Your selfish and insensitive rant here has solved none of these problems, and your bellicose attitude only further reinforces them.
Can I get an AMEN on that one? You won't get an amen from me on any of your nonsense!
I also think the cops have the right to pull you over if you're breaking the law, regardless of what color you are.
And, no, I don't mind having my face shown on my drivers license.
I think it's good.... And I'm proud that 'God' is written on my money.

I think if you are too stupid to know how a ballot works, I don't want you deciding who should be running the most powerful nation in the world for the next four years.
I dislike those people standing in the intersections trying to sell me stuff or trying to guilt me into making 'donations' to their cause. That's because you're so selfish and hateful. Get a Job and do your part!

I believe that it doesn't take a village to raise a child, it takes two parents. But it takes a village to have a community, and communities are civilized---an individualistic "I've got mine and to hell with you" attitude is NOT.
I believe 'illegal' is illegal no matter what the lawyers think.
I believe the American flag should be the only one allowed in AMERICA!

If this makes me a BAD American, then yes, I'm a BAD American. You're bad, that's for sure. Mean, too! If you are a BAD American too, please forward this to everyone you know. I wouldn't forward this piece of hateful and ignorant trash if I got paid $1 billion for doing so!
We want our country back! You never HAD the delusional country you describe, so you'll just have to be satisfied with the inclusive and compassionate one you live in today that was here all along!

We NEED GOD BACK IN OUR COUNTRY! PEOPLE LIKE YOU WON'T BE THE ONES PUTTING HIM THERE!

WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE, ONLY BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE! AND THE INTELLIGENT AND THE TOLERANT, PAL!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
I would have expected to see something like this come out of deepest, darkest backwoods Mississippi in the 1950s rather than freshly landing in my email inbox here in 2010. I just can't understand why anybody in their right mind would compose and circulate a spiteful, hateful, and narrow-minded email like this one today. Or why others would enthusiastically and mindlessly send it along to everyone in their address book, saying "Praise God" at its very top! Are these people THAT threatened by, or have their lives been THAT diminished by the presence of immigrants, minorities, and poor around them?. What good purpose does this serve? Does it promote harmony and further a cause beneficial to all? Does it create a spirit of teamwork, or aid job creation or infrastructure renewal we need so greatly right now? Hardly. All it does is allow a boastful, mean, and insecure person (and people evidently just like him) the chance to blow his own horn by belittling others who are not just like him. It is hardly an intelligent, enlightened, or Christian endeavor. The original composer of this is not a good American in the sense that Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, or Martin Luther King, Jr. were: men of great vision respectful of the rights of others and who fought for institutionalizing those rights equally among all men. No, the original composer of this email was obviously a small-minded and fearful man who lacked the vision to see beyond his own self-centered nose. He stoked the fires of bigotry and intolerance with this pathetically pointless effort. He was as shallow-minded and intolerant as any rabid conservative Tea Party activist. He is indeed an undesirable and "bad" American. So are those who blindly follow him, forwarding his trash and agreeing with him.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Who ERIC CANTOR REALLY Represents!

Since this is an election year and a very large number of Americans are still unemployed or underemployed, I continue my periodic posts profiling those in public office who are working in the interest of big business or special interest groups rather than for the well-being of the great majority of citizens. These officials are out of touch with average working Americans and speak only for the wealthy and privileged. Today, my focus will be on Virginia's 7th District conservative Republican Representative Eric Cantor, who also serves as the Republican House Minority Whip. All data in this post comes from a combination of three fabulous source websites: www.opensecrets.org (an arm of the Center for Responsive Politics), www.ontheissues.org, (a nonpartisan site dedicated to listing all candidates' voting records on a host of major issues) and www.themiddleclass.org (the nonpartisan Drum Major Institute for Public Policy's analyzation on legislation affecting the country's current and aspiring middle class).


As the current Republican Minority Whip, Eric Cantor has had a pretty darn easy job. His party peers have not proposed legislation of any real substance or detail in the past 3 years or so, and his main tasks have centered around being a mindless parrot for Minority Leader John Boehner and making certain that his fellow elephants follow each other in a circle tied together at the tail as they oppose President Obama on virtually everything he comes out in favor of. Mr. Cantor's disdain for the President last year led him to attend a Britney Spears concert rather than a presidential press conference. Now THERE'S a man with priorities! Mistaken ones, but priorities nonetheless. Oh well, yuppie boys will be yuppie boys, won't they? But, of course, that is not the most disturbing thing about Mr. Cantor. Rather, it is his voting record, very, very little of which has been in the interest of the majority of our citizenry. Just look at this sloppy trail of anti-worker, anti--middle class, pro-big money/big business trash Mr. Cantor has dumped before us:


Voted NO on $192B additional anti-recession stimulus spending. (Jul 2009)
Voted NO on modifying bankruptcy rules to avoid mortgage foreclosures. (Mar 2009)
Voted NO on additional $825 billion for economic recovery package. (Jan 2009)- guess he liked the recession he helped put us in!
Voted NO on monitoring TARP funds to ensure more mortgage relief. (Jan 2009)
Voted NO on $15B bailout for GM and Chrysler. (Dec 2008)
Voted NO on $60B stimulus package for jobs, infrastructure, & energy. (Sep 2008)
Voted NO on defining "energy emergency" on federal gas prices. (Jun 2008)- guess he wanted to protect the oil industry's $ per gallon gasoline!
Voted NO on revitalizing severely distressed public housing. (Jan 2008)
Voted NO on regulating the subprime mortgage industry. (Nov 2007)
Voted YES on restricting bankruptcy rules. (Jan 2004)


And Mr. Cantor has been no friend of alternative energy development or the environment, either:

Voted NO on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution. (Jun 2009)
Voted NO on tax credits for renewable electricity, with PAYGO offsets. (Sep 2008)
Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation. (May 2008)
Voted NO on tax incentives for renewable energy. (Feb 2008)
Voted NO on investing in homegrown biofuel. (Aug 2007)
Voted NO on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies. (Jan 2007)
Voted NO on keeping moratorium on drilling for oil offshore. (Jun 2006)
Voted YES on passage of the Bush Administration national energy policy. (Jun 2004)
Voted YES on implementing Bush-Cheney national energy policy. (Nov 2003)
Voted NO on raising CAFE standards; incentives for alternative fuels. (Aug 2001)
Voted NO on prohibiting oil drilling & development in ANWR. (Aug 2001)
Rated 0% by the CAF, indicating opposition to energy independence. (Dec 2006)
Voted NO on $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers program. (Jul 2009)
Voted NO on protecting free-roaming horses and burros. (Jul 2009)
Voted NO on increasing AMTRAK funding by adding $214M to $900M. (Jun 2006)
Voted YES on deauthorizing "critical habitat" for endangered species. (Sep 2005)
Voted YES on speeding up approval of forest thinning projects. (Nov 2003)
Rated 0% by the LCV, indicating anti-environment votes. (Dec 2003)



Voted NO on expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program. (Jan 2009)
Voted NO on overriding veto on expansion of Medicare. (Jul 2008)
Voted NO on giving mental health full equity with physical health. (Mar 2008)
Voted NO on Veto override: Extend SCHIP to cover 6M more kids. (Jan 2008)
Voted NO on adding 2 to 4 million children to SCHIP eligibility. (Oct 2007)
Voted NO on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Jan 2007)
Voted YES on denying non-emergency treatment for lack of Medicare co-pay. (Feb 2006)
Voted YES on limiting medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000 damages. (May 2004)
Voted NO on allowing reimportation of prescription drugs. (Jul 2003)
Voted YES on capping damages & setting time limits in medical lawsuits. (Mar 2003)
Rated 0% by APHA, indicating a anti-public health voting record. (Dec 2003)


Mr. Cantor has dropped a few other doozies on us too:

Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. (Nov 2007)
Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)
Rated 7% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
Rated 19% by the NAACP, indicating an anti-affirmative-action stance. (Dec 2006)


Ever the friend of the wealthy and corporate America, Cantor did them a big favor when he:

Voted NO on letting shareholders vote on executive compensation. (Jul 2009)
Voted YES on replacing illegal export tax breaks with $140B in new breaks. (Jun 2004)


Rated 100% by the US COC, indicating a pro-business voting record. (Dec 2003)
There's even more:

Voted NO on $40B for green public schools. (May 2009)
Voted NO on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects. (Nov 2007)
Rated 17% by the NEA, indicating anti-public education votes. (Dec 2003)

Voted NO on assisting workers who lose jobs due to globalization. (Oct 2007)
Voted YES on implementing CAFTA, Central America Free Trade. (Jul 2005)
Voted YES on implementing US-Australia Free Trade Agreement. (Jul 2004)
Voted YES on implementing US-Singapore free trade agreement. (Jul 2003)
Voted YES on implementing free trade agreement with Chile. (Jul 2003)
Voted NO on protecting whistleblowers from employer recrimination. (Mar 2007)


Voted NO on restricting employer interference in union organizing. (Mar 2007)
Voted NO on increasing minimum wage to $7.25. (Jan 2007)


Rated 0% by the ARA, indicating an anti-senior voting record. (Dec 2003)
Voted NO on extending AMT exemptions to avoid hitting middle-income. (Jun 2008)
Voted NO on paying for AMT relief by closing offshore business loopholes. (Dec 2007)
Voted YES on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends. (Dec 2005)
Voted YES on making the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Apr 2002)
Voted YES on eliminating the Estate Tax ("death tax"). (Apr 2001)


Voted NO on investigating Bush impeachment for lying about Iraq. (Jun 2008)
Voted YES on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date. (Jun 2006)
Voted NO on providing $70 million for Section 8 Housing vouchers. (Jun 2006)

------------------------------------------------------------------
Now what in the world would cause a man like Mr. Cantor to cast such a gigantic number of bad votes, or to earn himself a solid "F" ranking and a dismal 13% approval rating over at www.themiddleclass.org? Why would a man of his credentials VOTE AGAINST POOR CHILDREN, THE UNEMPLOYED, AND JOB CREATION? Could it be that he is so busy serving the interests of big money and insurance companies that he has no time for everyday, average citizens whose taxes fund his paycheck? Let's see who could be distracting him with large campaign contributions, shall we?


Top 5 Contributors, 2009-2010, Campaign Committee

Contributor /Total /Individuals /PACs

Comcast Corp $33,950 /$23,950 /$10,000
McGuireWoods LLP $28,050 /$23,050 /$5,000
Dominion Resources $25,600 $15,600 $10,000
Goldman Sachs $21,600 /$11,600 /$10,000
KKR & Co $21,600 /$21,600 /$0

Just as we thought...Mr. Cantor has influential big money friends on Wall Street...

Top 5 Industries, 2009-2010, Campaign Committee

Industry /Total /Individuals /PACs

Securities & Investment $361,400 /$274,150 /$87,250
Real Estate $266,347 /$222,447 /$43,900
Retired $189,375 /$189,/375 $0
Insurance $169,950 /$69,500 /$100,450
Lawyers/Law Firms $164,500 $130,500 $34,000

Top 5 Contributors, 2009-2010, Leadership PAC

Contributor /Total /Individuals /PACs

Altria Group $42,250 /$32,250 /$10,000
SAC Capital Advisors $31,500 $31,500 $0
NorPAC $26,020 $26,020 $0
Paulson & Co $22,750 $22,750 $0
Blackstone Group $21,700 /$19,200 /$2,500

Top 5 Industries, 2009-2010, Leadership PAC

Industry /Total /Individuals /PACs

Securities & Investment $240,600 /$172,600 /$68,000
Insurance $181,250 /$16,250 /$165,000
Real Estate $113,500 /$69,500 /$44,000
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $105,500 /$8,250 /$97,250
Lobbyists $85,900 $80,900 $5,000


SUMMARY: The votes and the campaign contributions do not lie. Eric Cantor is sitting in Congress, collecting a nice public paycheck, doing the bidding of big private Wall Street banks who are NOT acting in the public's best interests! In June 2003, crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff persuaded then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay to organize a letter, co-signed by then-Speaker Hastert, then-Whip Roy Blunt, and then-Deputy Whip Eric Cantor, that endorsed a view of gambling law benefitting Mr. Abramoff's client, the Louisiana Coushatta, by blocking gambling competition by another tribe. Cantor is a purely partisan political hack. He is one of the Republican Party's top fundraisers, ruthlessly striving to return the GOP to congressional control so it can once again plague us with more deregulation and more tax cuts for the wealthy. Should the Republicans return to power this fall, Cantor is perfectly perched on the House Ways and Means Committee, and would play a heavy hand in giving us another round of Bush-style tax cuts. Like many in Congress today, Cantor belongs in a private boardroom drawing a fat private salary, not on the public payroll fleecing the taxpayers for the benefit of the rich.

WHO ERIC CANTOR REALLY REPRESENTS: NOT YOU, Virginia 7th District voter, unless you are all Wall Street bankers, insurance company or other big business CEOs! If you are an average middle or working class American (the overwhelming majority of the country), this guy is NOT looking out for YOU! His voting record, as well as the company he keeps, make him one of your worst enemies in Comgress.

REIC CANTOR SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE AND TAKEN OFF OF THE PUBLIC PAYROLL. PLEASE DO THAT FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY, VIRGINIA 7th DISTRICT VOTERS!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Who JOE BARTON REALLY Represents!

This being an election year, I am periodically posting profiles of U.S. Representatives and Senators who have an obvious disconnect with the overwhelming majority of us citizens who aren't rich, have low or average-paying jobs or are unemployed, and who aren't far-right extremists or ultra-conservative religious right fundamentalist fanatics. These Congresspersons do not understand and are completely out of touch with average citizens. They are wholly bought out by big corporations and special interests, are thoroughly partisan ideologues, and do not deserve re-election or to continue on the public payroll. I am spotlighting where these aloof officials get their campaign money from to show who they are beholden to and whose interests they are actually serving. All data presented here can be found at the website www.opensecrets.org (supplied by the Center for Responsive Politics), or www.themiddleclass.org, or www.ontheissues,org. Today's segment will focus on conservative Republican Representative Joe Barton of the 6th Congressional District in Texas.

There are many reasons Mr. Barton should not be re-elected. As you will see, it has become obvious that his idea of "public service" is to vote for and defend the interests of big business, especially big oil, rather than those of regular working people or innocent civilians whose lives have been disrupted by those big businesses. His recent statement comparing President Obama's demand that oil giant BP set up a $20 billion esxrow fund to help the victims of its record oil spill as a "shakedown" is abundant proof of this. It also shows how little sensitivity and compassion this man has toward those in dire need. The Middle Class.org gives him a poor 29% approval rating, meaning that he votes overwhelmingly against the interests of the majority of the population to favor big business and the wealthy elite. Let's take a closer look at this guy to see who he's TRULY serving.

BP and its PACs have contributed $22,800 to Barton over his nearly 26-year Congressional career, the records show. This total includes contributions ranging from $500 in Barton's first race in 1984, up to a $5,000 contribution for his 2006 re-election campaign. The most recent contribution was $1,000 in December 2009, according to the subscription-only CQ MoneyLine's contribution records. Surprise you? It shouldn't. Below is a listing of the top 5 industries and contributors which have donated heavily to Mr. Barton's political campaigns, courtesy of the Center for Responsive Politics.

Top 5 Industries, 1989 - 2010
Industry /Total /Individxuals /PACs

Oil & Gas $1,459,030 $549,593 $909,437
Electric Utilities $1,367,985 $137,350 $1,230,635
Health Professionals $1,102,804 $430,264 $672,540
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $802,738 $77,206 $725,532
Lawyers/Law Firms $561,415 $269,602 $291,813

Source of Funds
Individual Contributions $6,643,019 (39%)
PAC Contributions $8,840,463 (51%)
Candidate self-financing $2,000 (0%)
Other $1,753,412 (10%)

NOTE: All the numbers on this page are for the 1989 - 2010 election cycles and based on Federal Election Commission data available electronically on July 17, 2010 (for Fundraising totals, Source of Funds and Total Raised vs Average) and on June 13, 2010 for Top Contributors and Industries. ("Help! The numbers don't add up...")


Top 5 Contributors, 1989 - 2010
Contributor /Total /Individuals /PACs

Anadarko Petroleum $146,500 /$90,000 /$56,500
Lockheed Martin $109,550 /$11,250 /$98,300
RRI Energy$97,109 $16,350 $80,759
AT&T Inc $94,559 /$13,775 /$80,784
Energy Future Holdings Corp $83,650 /$42,650 /$41,000

Mr. Barton has a long history of voting to protect the oil industry from regulation and competition. He has consistently voted on the wrong side of dozens of issues, especially those directly affecting working people and the middle class. Reading his voting record is like reading a long pro-big business, anti-worker/consumer/environment litany:

Voted NO on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution. (Jun 2009)
Voted NO on tax credits for renewable electricity, with PAYGO offsets. (Sep 2008)
Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation. (May 2008)
Voted NO on tax incentives for renewable energy. (Feb 2008)
Voted NO on investing in homegrown biofuel. (Aug 2007)
Voted NO on criminalizing oil cartels like OPEC. (May 2007)
Voted NO on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies. (Jan 2007)
Voted NO on keeping moratorium on drilling for oil offshore. (Jun 2006)
Voted YES on authorizing construction of new oil refineries. (Oct 2005)
Voted YES on passage of the Bush Administration national energy policy. (Jun 2004)
Voted YES on implementing Bush-Cheney national energy policy. (Nov 2003)
Voted NO on raising CAFE standards; incentives for alternative fuels. (Aug 2001)
Voted NO on prohibiting oil drilling & development in ANWR. (Aug 2001)
Voted NO on starting implementation of Kyoto Protocol. (Jun 2000)
Rated 0% by the CAF, indicating opposition to energy independence. (Dec 2006)
Voted NO on $192B additional anti-recession stimulus spending. (Jul 2009)
Voted NO on modifying bankruptcy rules to avoid mortgage foreclosures. (Mar 2009)
Voted NO on additional $825 billion for economic recovery package. (Jan 2009)
Voted NO on monitoring TARP funds to ensure more mortgage relief. (Jan 2009)
Voted NO on $60B stimulus package for jobs, infrastructure, & energy. (Sep 2008)
Voted NO on defining "energy emergency" on federal gas prices. (Jun 2008)
Voted NO on revitalizing severely distressed public housing. (Jan 2008)

Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. (Nov 2007)
Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)

Voted NO on letting shareholders vote on executive compensation. (Jul 2009)
Voted NO on allowing stockholder voting on executive compensation. (Apr 2007)

Voted NO on $40B for green public schools. (May 2009)
Voted NO on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects. (Nov 2007)
Voted NO on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges. (Mar 2006)

Voted YES on giving federal aid only to schools allowing voluntary prayer. (Mar 1994)
Rated 17% by the NEA, indicating anti-public education votes. (Dec 2003)

Voted NO on assisting workers who lose jobs due to globalization. (Oct 2007)
Voted NO on expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program. (Jan 2009)
Voted NO on allowing reimportation of prescription drugs. (Jul 2003)
Voted NO on increasing minimum wage to $7.25. (Jan 2007)
Voted NO on extending AMT exemptions to avoid hitting middle-income. (Jun 2008)
Voted NO on paying for AMT relief by closing offshore business loopholes. (Dec 2007)
Voted YES on making the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Apr 2002)
Voted YES on $99 B economic stimulus: capital gains & income tax cuts. (Oct 2001)
Voted YES on eliminating the Estate Tax ("death tax"). (Apr 2001)
Voted NO on investigating Bush impeachment for lying about Iraq. (Jun 2008)


SUMMARY: Joe Barton holds the seat once held by Phil Gramm, the notorious conservative Republican who pushed for and got the deregulation of Wall Street banks which led to the economic meltdown we currently find ourselves in. Like Gramm, Barton is a proponent of further deregulation, failed "free trade" economic policies, and more and permanent tax breaks for the rich. He ranks first among members of the House of Representatives for the most contributions received from the oil and gas industry, and number five among all members of Congress. His largest corporate contributor, Anadarko Petroleum, owns a 25 percent share in the Macondo Prospect, the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Like most conservatives, he scoffs at the idea of global warming and resists any attempt by the federal government to develop alternate forms of energy other than oil and gas. In 2009, he made the ridiculous and Bachmann-esque claim that using up wind with wind power would cause global warming. Like Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Virginia Foxx, and a number of other conservative Republicans, he makes rash, baseless statements like that without any solid empirical evidence to back them up. His criticism of the President's attempt to get BP to pay for the economic damage it caused Gulf of Mexico residents is unforgivable and indefensible. Irresponsibility of that nature, plus his appalling voting record against working and middle-class people, make him unworthy of holding office any longer.


WHO JOE BARTON REALLY REPRESENTS: NOT YOU, Texas 6th District voters, unless you are tall remendously wealthy and don't care about the majority of your countrymen, or are a large multi-national oil company. This guy is a shill for big oil and big money, and has never consistently delivered for the overwhelming majority of Americans. This guy belongs on a private oil company's board of directors, NOT on the public payroll doing the bidding of private business. PLEASE do the country a huge favor and retire this man from government permanently, voters of the 6th District in Texas!

--------------------------------------------------------------------
UP NEXT: Who ERIC CANTOR REALLY Represents!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

OUR UNHEALTHY OBSESSION WITH THE MILITARY

A special thanks goes out to Jerry Critter over at Critter's Crap(http://critterscrap.blogspot.com) for the graph below and for having inspired this piece.

Upon leaving office in January, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, himself a career military man, warned us about the rise of a dangerous military/industrial complex. He thought it unwise for the country to have too cozy a relationship between arms manifacturers and the military, or for military adventurism and huge military xpenditures to become institutionaized as an accepted and permanent norm in American life.

Regrettably, the country did not heed his warning.


As this graph clearly shows, our current spending on the military vastly outranks and dwarfs that of every other major country on the planet. From weapons manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grunman, and Boeing, to parasitical supply and mercenary security groups like Halliburton and Xe (formerly Blackwater), our government has embarked on an unsustaunable and insane program of gigantic military expenditure. The time has come for us to take a serious look at what we are doing and what we have become.

Below is a chart showing expenditures among our top 100 defense contractors in 2009 (for reasons of brevity, only the top 10 are shown here. You can see the full table at www.governmentexecutive.com). You'll note that we spent a whopping $377,545, 789, 635 among these contractors, and that did not include pay for our troops or for the hugely bloated Pentagon. That's right---the figure was $377.5 BILLION! That's more than $1 BILLION for every man, woman, and child in the country! Read this and weep, people:

Total Purchases: $377,545,789,635

Rank /Parent Company /Total DoD /Air Force /Army /Navy

1 Lockheed Martin Corp. $30,051,930,697 /$13,402,513,986 /$4,673,579,372 /$9,994,571,537
2 Northrop Grumman Corp. 23,493,816,066 /5,479,989,076 /6,716,656,907 /10,105,473,396
3 Boeing Co. 23,337,676,385 /7,794,047,338 /5,731,974,349 /7,748,677,940
4 BAE Systems 16,280,496,923 /828,059,801 /10,089,734,594 /4,804,129,315
5 General Dynamics Corp. 14,438,355,290 /1,214,774,012 /6,405,315,050 /6,483,123,733
6 Raytheon Co. 14,219,207,207 /2,253,498,433 /5,355,002,065 /5,065,679,797
7 United Technologies Corp. 8,300,866,917 /1,523,796,618 /4,688,709,458 /1,815,768,432
8 L-3 Communications Holdings 6,708,092,019 /2,351,444,344 /2,609,680,934 /1,002,989,257
9 KBR Inc. 5,997,147,425 /0 /5,967,705,203 /21,562,825
10 Navistar International Corp. 4,755,920,575 /0 /1,050,487,191 /3,661,537,716

QUESTION: Now what if even 4 or 5 of these companies had devoted themselves to producing more fuel-efficient engines, or items that would help modernize our infrastructure, as opposed to making only products designed to kill and maim people outside of our borders?

We have become a nation obsessed with the military. Signs of its glorification are everywhere, and have been for years. Seldom a week goes by that I don't get an email or two extolling the good deeds and bravery of our soldiers and telling me to pray for them. The words "support our troops overseas!" are repeated like a mantra. Seventh inning stretches at major league baseball games are often devoted to specific troopers being recognized and praised, and then leading a chorus of "God Bless America." An entire cable/satellite television network devotes its entire programming to past wars as well as past and future military equipment, and even glamorizing certain branches of the military, like Navy SEALS and the Marines. Country music has produced a number of nationalistic songs reinforcing the errant notion that we are the only country that really matters in the world and that we are inherently correct and good in all that we do, not to merntion being unquestioningly the very best. It is almost as though we are subtly and continually being sold war, the military, and nationalism, and I do not believe that to be a healthy thing.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld deliberately lied and sold us into an unnecessary and bloody war in Iraq. They tried to sell us the notion that pre-emptive war was normal and honorable and that torture was permissable and advisable. Even worse, they rewarded corporate campaign supporters with gigantic lucrative non-bid contracts at taxpayer expense to supply our troops in that war. In the process, thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians were brutally murdered, and the war itself was turned into a profit-center bonanza for private American companies. Cheney, in particular, yet all of his neocon followers as well, are pressing for military intervention in Iran, trying to keep us perpetually at war all across the globe. This is insane and immoral as well.

There was nothing glorious or glamorous about that.

The sole reason for war is legitimate defense. It is NOT to be conducted primarily for profit or bravado or to reward political friends and campaign contributors.


The following is a table of the top 15 countries with the highest military expenditure for 2009 published in the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Yearbook 2010 using current market exchange rates in current (2009) US dollars.[3]

Rank Country 2009 Spending ($ b.) Share of 2008 GDP (%) World Share (%)
— World Total 1531 2.7 100
1 United States 661 4.3 43
2 China 100 2.0 6.6
3 France 63.9 2.3 4.2
4 United Kingdom 58.3 2.5 3.8
5 Russia 53.3 3.5 3.5
6 Japan 51.0 0.9 3.3
7 Germany 45.6 1.3 3.0
8 Saudi Arabiab 41.3 8.2 2.7
9 India 36.3 2.6 2.4
10 Italy 35.8 1.7 2.3
11 Brazil 26.1 1.5 1.7
12 South Korea 24.1 2.8 1.6
13 Canada 19.2 1.3 1.3
14 Australia 19.0 1.8 1.2
15 Spain 18.3 1.2 1.2

The amount we spend on our military is ridiculously excessive. Don't get me wrong: I very much appreciate the supreme sacrifice many of our fallen soldiers have made to ensure the continuation of our freedom. And I do support the hardship and sacrifice those currently overseas are going through on our behalf. But at the same time, I am ashamed at the immorality of our being the world's biggest arms merchant, and the fact that these expenditures are being made nonstop even as our infrastructure crumbles, millions are unemployed or underemployed,domestic hunger and poverty is rising, and our overall quality of life is dropping for many. In light of these events, such vast expenditures cannot be justified.

As you look at the figures below, remember that they not only represent each nation's security, but also are buying DEATH for many innocents.

Rank Country Military expenditure, 2009, % of GDP, 2008

1 United States 663,255,000,000 4.3%
2 China 98,800,000,000 2.0%
3 United Kingdom 69,271,000,000 2.5%
4 France 67,316,000,000 2.3%
5 Russian Federation 61,000,000,000 3.5%
6 Germany 48,022,000,000 1.3%
7 Japan 46,859,000,000 0.9%
8 Saudi Arabia 39,257,000,000 8.2%
9 Italy 37,427,000,000 1.7%
10 India 36,600,000,000 2.6%
11 South Korea 27,130,000,000 2.8%
12 Brazil 27,124,000,000 1.5%
13 Canada 20,564,000,000 1.3%
14 Australia 20,109,000,000 1.8%
15 Spain 19,409,000,000 1.2%
16 Turkey 19,009,000,000 2.2%
17 Israel 14,309,000,000 7.0%
18 Greece 13,917,000,000 3.6%
19 United Arab Emirates 13,052,000,000a 5.9%a
20 Netherlands 12,642,000,000 1.4%
21 Poland 10,860,000,000 2.0%
22 Colombia 10,055,000,000 3.7%
23 Republic of China (Taiwan) 9,866,000,000 2.1%
24 Iran 9,174,000,000b 2.7%
25 Singapore 7,966,000,000 4.1


We are spending ridiculously high amounts on producing death and destruction across the globe. We are not only blowing this money on armaments, but just as we are doing in the areas of oil and health care, our failure to stand up and raise cain about it enables a very small elite to prosper tremendously on the suffering of others. Yes, the defense industry provides a great number of good-paying American jobs. But it is blood money, and it would be far better if a portion of this investment were to go toward producing goods for green technology, our infrastructure, or the agricultural or medical fields instead. For we have fueled not only a mega-industry of death, but also a culture of militarism that will make it very easy to become involved in yet another illegal and aggressive pre-emptive military fiasco elsewhere down the line. It is indeed just and necessary for us to respect and protect the lives of our troops who are in harm's way, but it is also time for us to look for new alternatives other than rifles, tanks, and bombs to be profitable growth areas for the economy. end to end our excessive and unhealthy obsession with the military!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
UP NEXT: Who JOE BARTON REALLY Represents!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

FRACTURES IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
- Winston Churchill -


One week ago, on July 7, ultra-conservative pundit Ann Coulter wrote a piece calling for the resignations of Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney (and by inference, her father, DICK) from the Republican Party. While her column was full of the usual hysterical hyperbole about liberals and the Democratic Party, I was struck by how such a widely-followed conservative commentator went after her fellow Republicans, and such notable ones at that.

For Bill Kristol and the Cheneys have long held esteemed positions in what the Republican Party has become: a bastion of rabid neoconservative ideologues, intent on using pre-emptive military action, perpetual war, and even torture to force the rest of the world into forming U.S.-style governments at gunpoint.


The very next day, conservative Republicans Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan took up the discussion and sided with Coulter on Joe's MSNBC-TV Morning Joe show. Said Scarborough, "[this] may be beginning of the Republican Party finding itself on foreign policy...there is a conservative wing of the Republican Party that believes we shouldn't be the party of endless wars...the entire policy went wildly off track when the United States' government decided that they were going to rebuild Afghanistan and when they decided we were going to engage in counter-insurgency instead of counter-terrorism. We'd better come home sooner rather than later, because the current course...is disastrous. The Republican Party HAS been the party of permanent war, total war, since George W. Bush's 2nd inaugural. When George Bush said that he and the Republican Party would 'end tyranny across the globe,' he promised to export democracy. It was dangerous then and it's dangerous now that Barack Obama seems to be doubling down on it in Afghanistan."


Buchanan offered this observation: "The neoconservatives, basically William Kristol, [Charles] Krauthammer and others say he's [RNC Chairman Michael Steele] has got to go [for saying that Afghanistan is Obama's war]; McCain and Lindsey Graham pounded him terribly. Ann Coulter came out and said some of the things that some others have said on this set...is that he's got a perfect right to raise the issue of Afghanistan...the debate should not be shut down and shut off by firing this guy for simply raising the issue."

Scarborough went on to raise the point that"...Bill Kristol does not own the Republican Party---his idea of endless wars, of neoconservatism...the Republican Party has lost its way, and it seems that Ann Coulter now joins forces with Ron Paul, Pat [Buchanan], myself, and quite a few other conservatives who are very concerned about the Republican Party being the party of endless war...whether we're going to continue promoting Wilsonian values across the globe when our own country is in desperate need of rebuilding."

That's quite a rebuke to the warmongering, torture-advocating Cheneys, who, along with fellow war criminals Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, and all the mindless parrots over at Fox "News" like Charles Krauthammer, turned us into a militaristic and aggressive nation and have completely dominated our foreign policy for the past decade. Perhaps this does finally repudiate the arrogant, aborrant, and aberrent neocon stranglehold that has been placed on the GOP for so long. Clearly, it represents a schism within the GOP establishment, as does the current Tea Party phenomenon. The conservative movement, which in varying degrees defines and controls BOTH the GOP proper and the Tea Party, has basically nothing of substance to offer this country today. The loud calls to "take this country back" do not clearly define FROM where TO where. The advocacy of a return to deregulation and free market policies is a proven recipe for failure, and, very recently, nearly destroyed our economy completely. The trend toward more corporate power is also a suicidal step toward economic slavery for all but the wealthy. And a return to aggressive, pre-emptive military action across the globe will not only bankrupt the country financially, but may very well involve us in a war of mass destruction in which we all lose. The conservative stances on nearly every issue embrace past failures, and that simply won't do for a country which needs and deserves far better! So I don't know for sure how all this will shake out. The old, tired elephant is very slow-moving, not that bright anymore, and has become very stinky, so I don't know how palatable their supposed resurgence will turn out to be beyond this fall's election. But, as of this writing, it is quite encouraging and entertaining to see all of these fractures developing within the conservative movement and the Republican Party!
---------------------------------------------------------------------
UP NEXT: OUR UNHEALTHY OBSESSION WITH THE MILITARY

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Who MICHELE BACHMANN REALLY Represents!

This being an election year, I am periodically posting profiles of U.S. Representatives and Senators who have an obvious disconnect with the overwhelming majority of us citizens who aren't rich, have low or average-paying jobs or are unemployed, and who aren't far-right extremists or ultra-conservative religious right fundamentalist fanatics. These Congresspersons do not understand and are completely out of touch with average citizens. They are wholly bought out by big corporations and special interests, are thoroughly partisan ideologues, and do not deserve re-election or to continue on the public payroll. I am spotlighting where these aloof officials get their campaign money from to show who they are beholden to and whose interests they are actually serving. All data presented here can be found at the website www.opensecrets.org (supplied by the Center .for Responsive Politics), or www.themiddleclass.org. Today's segment will focus on ultra-conservative teabagger and Republican Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota's 6th District.


Top 20 Contributors to Bachmann's Campaign Committee

Rank /Contributor /Total / from Individuals / from PACs

1 Starkey Laboratories $13,600 $13,600 $0
2 Hubbard Broadcasting $13,150 $13,150 $0
3 ACA International $10,000 $0 $10,000
3 Citizens United $10,000 $0 $10,000
3 Longhorn PAC $10,000 $0 $10,000
6 Rothschild Capital Management $9,800 $9,800 $0
7 Dart Transit $9,600 $9,600 $0
7 Johnstone Supply $9,600 $9,600 $0
7 Strom Engineering $9,600 $9,600 $0
7 Upsher-Smith Laboratories $9,600 $9,600 $0
11 Panther Arms $9,500 $9,500 $0
12 Crown Iron Works $9,200 $9,200 $0
13 Fairview Hospital $9,000 $9,000 $0
14 National Electrical Contractors Assn $8,000 $0 $8,000
15 National Beer Wholesalers Assn $7,500 $0 $7,500
16 Marquette Financial Companies $7,200 $7,200 $0
16 Slumberland $7,200 $7,200 $0
16 Uline Inc $7,200 $7,200 $0
19 PricewaterhouseCoopers $6,750 $250 $6,500
20 Halp $6,400 $6,400 $0

FYI: Hubbard Broadcasting is KSTP TV channel 5, the local privately-owned ABC affiliate, and KSTP-AM 1500 radio, which covers the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. ACA International is a trade group composed of credit and collection companies, creditors, and debt buyers. Fairview Hospital is a network of Twin Cities hospitals.

Here is a listing of the Political Action Committees (by industry) who have donated heavily to Ms. Bachmann's 2010 campaign.

Total PAC Money for 2010: $254,227
Number of Contributions: 188


Agribusiness $10,000
Communications/Electronics $9,500
Construction $15,000
Defense $1,000
Energy & Natural Resources $7,000
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate $83,500
Health $19,400
Lawyers & Lobbyists $2,000
Transportation $6,500
Misc Business $25,000
Ideological/Single-Issue $75,327

Based on Federal Election Commission data available electronically on Sunday, June 13, 2010.
2009 - 2010 Cycle PAC Contribution Breakdown
Business $178,900 (70%)
Labor $0 (0%)
Ideological/Single Issue $75,327 (30%)
Based on Federal Election Commission data available electronically on Sunday, June 13, 2010
--------------------------------------------------
from the July 7, 2010 edition of the blog DUMP MICHELE BACHMANN:

"The Minnesota Chapter of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association took in a total of $1.54 million in contributions from 2005-2009 and claims to have distributed $1.06 million of that to needy veterans and other charitable causes in those same years. Yet the organization, whose founder, Bobby Thompson, donated $10,000 to Michele Bachmann’s campaign committee last April, dissolved in 2009 without explanation just as a nationwide investigation of the group by the St. Petersburg (FL) Times was getting started.

As a result of the paper’s investigation, Thompson, who is listed as the Minnesota chapter’s CFO, has disappeared from his Tampa residence, leaving no forwarding address. Thompson’s last known whereabouts was at Bachmann’s high-roller fundraiser with Sarah Palin in Minneapolis April 7 where he made his $10,000 donation to Bachmann, leading some to believe that he may be on the lam in Minnesota.

The U.S. Navy Veterans Association has been shut down by states attorneys general in Hawaii, New Mexico and Ohio. Investigations into the group are underway in Florida, Missouri and Virginia. And U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) has asked the IRS to begin an investigation into the organization..."


So what do we see here? A strong concentration of money coming from out of her district and out of her state far-right ideological groups, insurance, finance and investment groups (the Wall Street, Chamber of Commerce crowd), and credit/collection/debt buyers. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, she is currently the 21st largest recipient of the 435 members in the United States House of Representatives for contributions from the insurance industry, which consists of health, life, property and car insurance companies. Not really groups representing typical, average workers or the common, everyday citizen. Next, we'll show a list of votes Bachmann has made that were not in the best interests of middle class citizens and instead favored big business or the far-right.

Bachmann has earned a "D" (13%) approval rating with The Middle Class.org for her dismal voting record which favors the wealthy and big business and is against the interests of the majority of the population, the middle class. Here is documented evidence of that poor voting record.

2009

Bill /Her Vote /Supportive of the Middle Class?


H.AMDT. 534 TO H.R. 4173
Amendment #534 (Mortgage "Cramdown" Amendment) to Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009

TOPICS: Consumers, Debt & Bankruptcy, Housing, Mortgage lending, Personal bankruptcy /NAY/NO
H.R. 4173
Wall Street Accountability and Consumer Protection Act

TOPICS: Consumers, Corporate Accountability, Corporate bankruptcy, Corporate taxes, Credit cards, Debt & Bankruptcy, Deceptive advertising and marketing, Executive compensation, Financial literacy, Government Accountability, Housing, Mortgage lending, Payday loans, Personal bankruptcy, Refund Anticipation Loans, Shareholder rights, Student loans, Tax Fairness NAY/NO
H.R. 3962
Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2009

TOPICS: Consumers, Corporate Accountability, Health Care, HMOs and insurance companies, Hospitals, Medicaid, Medical research, Medicare, Prescription drugs, Public health, SCHIP, Tax Fairness, Universal health care NAY/NO
H.R. 3639
Expedited CARD Reform for Consumers Act of 2009

TOPICS: Consumers, Credit cards, Debt & Bankruptcy NAY/NO
H.R. 3548
Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009 - House Version

TOPICS: Economic stimulus, Unemployment, Workplace & Job Creation NAY/NO
H.R. 3269
Corporate and Financial Institution Compensation Fairness Act of 2009

TOPICS: Corporate Accountability, Executive compensation, Shareholder rights NAY/NO
H.R. 3221
Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009

TOPICS: College tuition, Community college, Debt & Bankruptcy, Education, Job training, Pell Grants, Preschool, Student loans NAY/NO
H.R. 2847
Jobs for Main Street Act of 2009

TOPICS: Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Child care, Community college, Economic stimulus, Education, Efficient technology, Elementary school, Energy & Environment, Government Accountability, Green buildings, Green jobs, Health Care, High school, Housing, Job training, Layoffs, Medicaid, Middle school, Public employment, Public housing, Public infrastructure, Teachers, Unemployment, Workplace & Job Creation NAY/NO
H.R. 2454
American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009

TOPICS: Consumers, Education, Efficient technology, Energy & Environment, Energy conservation, Global warming, Green buildings, Green jobs, Job training, Pollution, Renewable fuels NAY/NO
H.R. 1728
Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2009

TOPICS: Consumers, Debt & Bankruptcy, Housing, Mortgage lending NAY/NO
H.R. 1664
Pay for Performance Act of 2009

TOPICS: Corporate Accountability, Executive compensation NAY/NO
H.R. 1586
A Bill To Impose An Additional Tax On Bonuses Received From TARP Recipients of 2009
TOPICS: Corporate Accountability, Executive compensation, Tax Fairness NAY/NO

H.R. 1106
Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009
TOPICS: Consumers, Debt & Bankruptcy, Housing, Mortgage lending, Personal bankruptcy NAY/NO


The list goes on and on and on and on. Bachmann CONSISTENTLY votes against individuals and those in need and instead votes FOR big business and the wealthy...


Like all ultra-conservative, far-right teabaggers and Republicans, Michele Bachmann is irrationally paranoid about the power of the federal government and President Obama. She is a strong proponent of free market economics, the type which have produced numerous corporate scandals over the past 2 decades as well as the current economic mess we face. She is also a firm supporter of deregulation and a very, very limited role for government. This has led her to make numerous crazy statements over time which most normal people with common sense recognize as illofical tidbits of pure insanity. Here are some of her gems over the years:


(Reharding government regulation of BP during the current Gulf of Mexico oil spill) "They have to lift the liability cap...But if I was the head of BP, I would let the signal get out there - 'We're not going to be chumps, and we're not going to be fleeced.' And they shouldn't be. They shouldn't have to be fleeced and make chumps to have to pay for perpetual unemployment and all the rest - they've got to be legitimate claims...The other thing we have to remember is that Obama loves to make evil whatever company it is that he wants to get more power from. He makes them evil, and what we've got to ask ourselves is: Do we really want to be paying $9 for a gallon of gas? Because that could be the final result of this." She also described the President's $20 billion BP escrow fund as being designed to "redistribute wealth," as if it were an unjust act meant to punish an undeserving big corporation and hand all its assets over to undeserving poor Gulf residents!

"I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out under another, then under another Democrat president, Jimmy Carter. I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it's an interesting coincidence." -Rep. Michele Bachmann, on the 1976 Swine Flu outbreak that occurred when Republican Gerald Ford was President, NOT during Carter's term.


"I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out: Are they pro-America or anti-America?" -Rep. Michelle Bachmann, calling for a new McCarthyism, on the MSNBC TV show "Hardball with Chris Matthews.", Oct. 2008


"I don't know where they're going to get all this money because we're running out of rich people in this country." - (accusing the Obama administration of plotting to divert money from Republican to Democratic districts and planning to tax the wealthy to fund the windfalls, Feb. 2009) That's right, Michele---protect the rich at all costs, no matter how badly they fleece the poor or the middle class!


In March 2009, Bachmann gave an interview to the Northern Alliance Radio Network and promoted two forums she was hosting the next month in St. Cloud and Woodbury, MN, regarding President Obama's proposed cap and trade tax policy to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Bachmann stated she wanted Minnesotans "armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back." She also mentioned that Thomas Jefferson had said that "having a revolution every now and then is a good thing." According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, her quote went viral across the internet. Bachmann's office quickly clarified that she was speaking metaphorically, meaning "armed with knowledge." Then why didn't she say that in the first place?

"If we took away the minimum wage - if conceivably it was gone - we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level." I propose that Michele Bachmann be put on minimum wage, and then FIRED.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Michele Bachmann is an impulsive and irrational person with delusional and paranoid fears about our government doing away with rich people. Her constant pattern of making rash, poorly thought-out statements followed by dishonest claims of having been misquoted or misunderstood is strong evidence of poor and incomplete rationalization, a most undesirable quality in a person of her responsibility. She makes public pronouncements in support of huge greedy corporations, claims loudly to be a devout Christian, but condemns any government aid for the poor or for victims of corporate excesses and greed. She advocates insurrection against the federal government. She is blatantly and unapologetically biased toward the wealthy and against the ordinary citizen. She is highly unstable.

WHO DOES BACHMANN REALLY REPRESENT? NOT YOU, American worker, retiree, or Minnesota 6th District resident! This woman is a shill for wealthy corporations, insurance companies, and big banks, and puts their interests and well-being far in front of your own! Think about it, folks: Michele Bachmann currently sits on the House Committee on Financial Services (aka the House Banking Committee). If the Republicans gain a numerical edge in this fall's election, is she the person we want to be overseeing her buddies in the insurance and banking industries? SHUDDER THE THOUGHT!

This woman is an embarrassment to her party, her district, her state, and her country. She should be retired immediately and permanently from Congress and the public payroll. PLEASE do that for us, Minnesota 6th District voters!
------------------------------------------------------------------------
UP NEXT: FRACTURES IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Who JOHN BOEHNER REALLY Represents!

Throughout May of 2009, I did a six-part installment which listed the occupational background of every single Congressperson and Senator, to show how few of them had come from poor or modest backgrounds, and why that explained their obvious disconnect with average working people. This being an election year, I thought I would begin an ongoing intermittent series on Representatives and Senators up for re-election this fall who do not at all understand and are completely out of touch with average American citizens, who are completely bought out by big corporations and special interests, who are hopelessly partisan and self-serving, and who are not worthy of being re-elected or continuing on the public payroll. Each segment in this series will be titled "Who (NAME) REALLY Represents!" In each post I will document where the bulk of each person's support and campaign contributions are coming from, so you will be able to see exactly who they are actually beholden to and serving, rather than the people of their district or state. All data is available on the website www.opensecrets.org and is supplied by the Center for Responsible Politics, or from the Center for Public Integrity, from filings made by each candidate with the Federal Elections Commission. The first subject in this series will be Ohio 8th District Representative and Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner.


Top Contributors to Boehner's Campaign Committee:

Rank /Contributor /Total /from Individuals /from PACs

1 American Financial Group $38,900 /$38,900 /$0
2 American Electric Power $21,950 /$11,950 /$10,000
3 AK Steel $19,900 $/9,900 /$10,000
4 Blue Cross/Blue Shield $15,000 /$0 /$15,000
5 FMR Corp $12,300 /$2,300 /$10,000
6 Walt Disney Co $12,000 /$7,000 /$5,000
7 Cooper Farms $11,500 /$11,500 /$0
8 New York Life Insurance $11,000 /$1,000 /$10,000
9 Amgen Inc $10,500 /$500 /$10,000
10 ACA International $10,000 /$0 American Assn of Orthopaedic /$10,000
10 Altria Group $10,000 /$0 /$10,
10 American Maritime Officers $10,000000
10 American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Anheuser-Busch InBev $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Associated Builders & Contractors $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Boeing Co $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 California Dairies Inc $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 CME Group $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 College of American Pathologists $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 CSX Corp $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Darden Restaurants $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Home Depot $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 International Assn of Fire Fighters $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Jacobs Engineering Group $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Lockheed Martin $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 McKesson Corp $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Metlife Inc $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 National Thoroughbred Racing Assn $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Nationwide $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Norfolk Southern $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Southern Co $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Swisher International $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 United Parcel Service $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 US Bancorp $10,000 /$0 /$10,000
10 Women's Alliance for Israel $10,000 /$0 /$10,000

Here is a listing of the Political Action Committees (by industry) who have donated heavily to Mr. Boehner:

Total PAC Money for 2010: $1,411,490
Number of Contributions: 589


2009-2010

Agribusiness $111,500
Communications/Electronics $97,600
Construction $61,000
Defense $46,500
Energy & Natural Resources $139,500
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate $356,390
Health $236,750
Lawyers & Lobbyists $35,600
Transportation $71,000
Misc Business $191,750
Labor $32,000
Ideological/Single-Issue $27,900
Other $4,000

Based on Federal Election Commission data available electronically on Sunday, June 13, 2010.
2009 - 2010 Cycle PAC Contribution Breakdown
Business $1,347,590 (96%)
Labor $32,000 (2%)
Ideological/Single Issue $27,900 (2%)

Based on Federal Election Commission data available electronically on Sunday, June 13, 2010.

Top 10 Political Action Committee Donors (through June 9, 2010, according to the Center for Public Integrity):

1. AT&T Inc.$240,105 AT&T Inc. tops the list of all-time givers among PACs, with at least $240,105 from its corporate PACs and the PACs for companies, such as Ameritech, BellSouth, and Cingular, that are now part of the telecommunications giant. Though the company is active on a range of issues, a major recent concern was its 2008 fight over the legality of the George W. Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Boehner was a strong supporter of amnesty for companies — including AT&T — that were being sued for aiding the administration’s anti-terrorism surveillance, blasting Congressional opponents for “leaving companies who assisted our government after 9/11 exposed to frivolous and costly lawsuits simply to line the pockets of the Democratic leadership’s trial lawyer allies.” With his support, legislation was enacted in 2008 to grant immunity to AT&T and other companies. AT&T did not return calls seeking comment.
2. CME Group$225,850 In second place, with $225,850 or more in donations, is the CME Group, which includes the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade. Boehner has opposed Democratic efforts to institute a per-transaction fee on financial transactions, including futures. The Center for Public Integrity’s 2005 Power Trips investigation revealed that Boehner was the recipient of six trips from CME Group subsidiaries. Trips such as these were later made illegal. A CME spokeswoman told the Center it does “not comment on our lobbying efforts.”
3. Bank of America Corp. $207,000 Bank of America Corp. (BoA) ranks third among donors to Boehner with no less than $207,000, which includes the bank’s political action committee, along with PACs for now-merged former institutions like Bank of Boston, Countrywide, Fleet, Merrill Lynch, MBNA, NationsBank, and Shawmut. Since 2008, BoA has received at least $45 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds, which have since been repaid. Boehner joined just 90 other House Republicans to help enact the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which created TARP, and opposed the later TARP Reform and Accountability Act, a bill to tighten oversight for TARP recipients which passed the House, but stalled in the Senate. BoA did not return calls seeking a comment.
4. Altria Group Inc.$181,959 Click here to read moreBoehner’s fourth largest PAC, with at least $181,959, is the Altria Group Inc., parent of the Philip Morris family of tobacco companies. Despite his general support for Altria’s agenda, Boehner split with the company on a recent key vote and instead joined most other tobacco companies in opposing giving the Food and Drug Administration oversight of tobacco. The bill, signed into law in January, was opposed by critics who feared its restrictions would give Altria a competitive advantage. Bruce Gates, himself Boehner’s top individual donor and Altria’s senior vice president of government affairs, told the Center that he was unsurprised the company’s PAC made the top ten, as the firm maintains one of the nation’s largest corporate PACs. “It’s a big part of our political interest as a company to have a political system that recognizes individual responsibility, personal freedoms, and commitment to a strong business climate,” he explained, noting that Boehner’s record has been generally consistent with those tenets.
5. United Parcel Service Inc.$165,750 In fifth place, with at least $165,750 in donations, is United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), including contributions from the PAC for the now-merged Overnite Corp. Boehner has a long history of opposing new workplace requirements that would cost employers money, especially in regard to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In 1995, OSHA said that it had received more complaints about UPS than any other company since 1972, and UPS has since spent heavily lobbying on labor issues. In his one-time role as chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Boehner was particularly active in working against OSHA’s proposed ergonomics standard, which deals directly with stress disorders caused by repetitive motions and lifting — an issue with obvious impact on the shipping giant. After a 10-year battle, the standard went into place in January 2001; in March of that year, the House and Senate voted to overturn the rule, and the repeal became one of the first items signed by President George W. Bush. Before voting for the repeal, Boehner issued a statement calling OSHA’s approach “neither feasible nor desirable.” UPS also hired longtime Boehner aide Greg Maurer as a lobbyist in 2009. Malcolm Berkley, a UPS spokesman, told the Center the firm’s PAC supports candidates “who share our beliefs in fair competition, free enterprise, and global trade.” He said there was no connection between the PAC’s activities and Maurer’s hiring.
6. Reynolds American Inc.$158,500 Sixth place on the list belongs to tobacco giant Reynolds American Inc., with a minimum of $158,500 donated to Boehner. Many of those checks that Boehner famously passed out on the House floor were from Brown & Williamson Tobacco, which later merged into Reynolds American. Boehner was one of the 102 representatives to vote against 2008’s Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which would have given the FDA oversight over tobacco; the legislation was opposed by almost all the major tobacco companies at the time, including Reynolds. Boehner described the bill as a “boneheaded idea" but was unable to stop it. Although the 2008 version died in the Senate, the bill passed in 2009 and was signed into law by President Obama last June. Once again, Boehner voted against it. A 2006 Center investigation revealed that Boehner had flown on the Reynolds corporate jet on 15 occasions between June 2001 and September 2005, reimbursing the company more than $11,000 for the privilege. At the time, a spokesman for Boehner’s PAC defended the controversial flights — since banned by the House — noting “Logistically, to get him from point A to point B and not be dictated by the commercial airlines in terms of departure time is a much more efficient way to travel.” A company spokesman defended the service as “critical for us to be able to defend our industry and product.” Reynolds did not return calls for comment for this story.
7. JPMorgan Chase & Co.$154,925 Click here to read moreWith at least $154,925 in donations, seventh place goes to JPMorgan Chase & Co., including the corporate PACs connected with the many former companies that now make up the global financial services giant such as Bank One, Chemical Bank, Providian, and Washington Mutual. As minority leader, Boehner was key to the 2008 enactment of the $700 billion TARP program, which was intended to bail out the sector amidst the economic meltdown. JPMorgan received at least $25 billion in TARP funds, though it has since paid back the money. Through a spokeswoman, JPMorgan declined to comment.
8. American Maritime Officers$150,500 The eighth-most generous PAC was American Maritime Officers, the largest union of merchant marine officers, with at least $150,500 in contributions. Among the group’s principal legislative interests are full funding for the Maritime Security Program (which supports a core fleet of U.S. ships that could be used in times of war and national emergencies), continued support for shipbuilding loan and mortgage guarantees, and funding of sealift ships, which are used for ocean transportation of government equipment and supplies. The lone labor union to crack Boehner’s top ten, and the rare labor union that backs Republicans and Democrats roughly equally, AMO’s support of Boehner paid off at least once, when the generally pro-business Boehner voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, which included the Maritime Security Act of 2003 and reauthorization for the Maritime Security Program through 2015. Originally part of the AFL-CIO, the AMO withdrew from the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association in 1994 and lost its AFL-CIO charter, although the group works with other unions through the Maritime Trades Department of the AFL-CIO. The AMO has had its share of legal problems in recent years; the union’s former president and former secretary-treasurer were both convicted in 2007 for a variety of offenses, including racketeering conspiracy and mail fraud in a scandal involving illegal campaign contributions to political candidates. AMO did not return calls for comment.
9. FedEx Corp.$143,350 Click here to read moreNinth place belongs to shipping giant FedEx Corp., with a minimum of $143,350 in donations to Boehner’s committees. In 1996, FedEx flooded Congress with money and lobbyists in an attempt to attach a provision to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) reauthorization bill that would exempt FedEx from falling under the National Labor Relations Act; the provision would have made it harder for FedEx employees to unionize. After a three-day debate, the bill came out in the shipper’s favor. Boehner, then the House GOP Conference Chairman, backed the revised bill and praised the conference report in a floor speech for “furthering many projects that need to be done to improve the Nation's airports.” He voted against the 2009 House version of the FAA reauthorization, which would remove the controversial provision. The bill is currently stalled in the Senate and FedEx continues to fight to preserve the rule. FedEx did not return calls for comment.
10. Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association$142,390 Click here to read moreIn tenth place with at least $142,390 in contributions: the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), a financial trade organization that represents banks, securities firms, and asset management companies nationwide. The group drafted a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Boehner opposing the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, the House’s main vehicle to reform financial regulation, arguing that “certain provisions will have a negative impact on the operation of the financial markets.” SIFMA said the bill would undermine U.S. credit markets, and “significantly reduce the capital available for lending.” Boehner voted against it, and was largely critical of the financial reform efforts, deriding them as the work of “punk staffers” and urging members of the American Bankers Association to “stand up for yourselves” against reform efforts. SIFMA sent another letter to House leadership in opposition of the Commodity Markets Transparency and Accountability Act of 2008; Boehner voted against that legislation as well. Both bills passed the House but stalled in the Senate. SIFMA did not return calls for comment.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
SUMMARY: John Boehner's mistaken priorities, according to Washington insiders, seem to revolve around keeping himself perpetually tan, drinking, golfing, and partying. News commentator Joe Scarborough, himself a conservative Republican and a former House member, has even observed,

"I hear it on the Hill, I'm sure you hear it on the Hill all the time, it's not reported," Scarborough said to a guest from Politico on a recent Morning Joe show on MSNBC. "But so many Republicans tell me that this is a guy that is not the hardest worker in the world."

"After five o'clock, six o'clock at night, he's disengaged -- at best," Scarborough continued. "You can see him around town. He does not have, let's say, the work hours of Newt Gingrich. ... Every Republican I talk to says that John Boehner, by five or six at night, you can see him at bars."


Boehner is the man who recently compared President Obama's financial reform efforts to "using a nuclear weapon to kill an ant." Sounds like distorted alcoholic thinking to me. There have also been reports of a number of crying episodes on the actual House floor, usually at or near the end of the day.

AND THIS IS THE MAN WHO WOULD BECOME SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE IF REPUBLICANS WERE TO REGAIN NUMERICAL CONTROL? God forbid!

To that list of mistaken Boehner priorities I would also add : seeing to it that wealthy corporations become even wealthier, no matter what the cost in jobs, safety, or worker wages. As you can see, Mr. Boehner has been well endowed with monies from defense contractors, the banking, and the insurance industries. The same Wall Street moguls who nearly drove us into another depression absolutely love the guy. He is a long time champion of deregulation and free-market economics, policies which have gotten us into our current economic mess. There is a huge amount of out of state and out of his district money which has found its way into his campaign coffers. This man is a walking billboard for the necessity of immediate campaign finance reform!

WHO BOEHNER REALLY REPRESENTS: NOT YOU, American worker or Ohio 8th District resident! This man is a shill for wealthy corporations and Wall Street bankers. He should be immediately and permanently retired. PLEASE do that for us, Ohio 8th District voters!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
UP NEXT: Who MICHELE BACHMANN REALLY Represents!