October 2010 Archives

Just in case you were wondering who has a stake in the outcomes of this election, what do you think they will expect after giving such an incredible amount of money as we are seeing in this election?

Prop 23 kills California's energy law, which is triggering so many "clean energy" startups that are competing with the giant oil companies.  Prop 26 kills the state's ability to impose fees on polluters.


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There are a number things the public "knows" as we head into the election that are just false. If people elect leaders based on false information, the things those leaders do in office will not be what the public expects or needs.

Here are eight of the biggest myths that are out there:

1) President Obama tripled the deficit.
Reality: Bush's last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama's first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.


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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture I am also a Fellow with CAF.

Are the Main Street Tea Party members getting "played" by Wall Street and big-corporate billionaires? There is a big, big, big difference between what the regular members and the big-money funders expect. If Tea Party candidates get elected will they do what their supporters want, or what their Wall Street and big-corporation funders demand?

What Tea Party Members Want

I just finished a week driving around Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia attending and writing about the "Keep It Made In America" Town Hall meetings. At these meetings and on the road I had occasion to talk to self-identified members of "Tea Party" groups. My conversations tell me,and polling confirms, that the regular day-to-day Tea Party supporters want government to stop job outsourcing and help American manufacturers. And even more than that they really don't like trade agreements like NAFTA. In fact some go so far as to say that NAFTA and the WTO violate our country's sovereignty. And even more than that they hate Bush's bailout of Wall Street (but have been told Obama did it).

What Tea Party Funders Want

At the same time I saw and heard ad after ad after ad after ad that backed Tea Party-type candidates, that were paid for by the Chamber of Commerce and other front groups for Wall Street and the big multinational monopolist corporations that live off of "free trade" and have been closing factories and outsourcing jobs. And the Tea Party was originally set up by and is largely funded and maintained by front groups for this same crowd.

Here is just one example of how much the Tea Party is funded by these front groups: In Oregon one Wall Street hedge fund manager is spending up to $1 million (pocket change) on a front group to elect a Tea Party candidate and unseat a Congressman who didn't do his bidding and sponsored a couple of Wall Street reform bills. Do you think the Main Street Tea Party members in Oregon expect their Tea Party candidate to support or oppose measures that further enrich Wall Street hedge fund managers? I'll give you three guesses and the answers are Main Street, Main Street and Not Wall Street. Do you think the Tea Party candidate will dare? I'll give you one guess.

Will Tea Party Members Or Funders Win Out?

So the regular Tea Party people hate NAFTA and "free trade" agreement, Wall Street bailouts, want a stop to job outsourcing and want help for American manufacturing -- but the people behind them and funding their ads do not. What will happen if these candidates get into office? Will they stick with their Tea Party supporters from Main Street, or will the be beholden to the big-money behind their campaigns? As Upton Sinclair said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

This is a very, very serious problem. The "crowd" instincts of regular people are usually pretty good and even in the Tea Parties they understand the damage that "free trade," Wall Street, big-corporate interests and the rest of the "free enterprise" crowd have done to the country. But the big money is steering them away from the solutions that their collective gut tells them are right.

Serious Consequences

The financial crisis that Obama inherited has not really gone away. The unsustainable trade deficit that has been growing since Reagan is draining our economy. The huge budget deficit that Bush left behind -- caused by tax cuts and military spending increases -- has not gone away. Global warming has certainly not gone away. All of these problems are still there. We may be headed into a trade war, we need to rebalance the global economy, the rest of the world is jumping on the Green Insustrial Revolution and we are not -- but we can't even begin to have a reasonable conversation about it because the entrenched wealthy interests are able to purchase the megaphone, microphone and amplification system that let's people hear the arguments.

I say yes, the Main Street supporters of the Tea Party are getting played. What I want to know is, what will they do if the Tea Party candidates get elected, and then support "free trade' and Wall Street and all of that? Will go even further to the right, or will they start to figure it out?


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Political spending has been completely transformed by the Supreme Court's decision to open the floodgates of corporate spending in elections.  So far this year more than $200 million has flooded in, with much of the spending yet to come.  The Sunlight Foundation, in Court rulings change elections, independent spending dwarfs party spending in midterm, writes,

According to data obtained from the Federal Election Commission, fifty-nine percent of all outside spending on independent expenditures has come from non-party aligned groups while only forty-one percent comes from the party committees. This is a dramatic change from the 2006 midterms (as of October 19, 2006) when party committees accounted for eighty-two percent of all outside spending on independent expenditures and non-party aligned committees accounted for eighteen percent.


Koch Industries, a Wichita-based energy and manufacturing conglomerate run by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, operates a foundation that finances political advocacy groups, but tax law protects those groups from having to disclose much about what they do and who contributes.

[. . .] The participants included some of the nation's wealthiest families and biggest names in finance: private equity and hedge fund executives like John Childs, Cliff Asness, Steve Schwarzman and Ken Griffin; Phil Anschutz, the entertainment and media mogul ranked by Forbes as the 34th-richest person in the country; Rich DeVos, the co-founder of Amway; Steve Bechtel of the giant construction firm; and Kenneth Langone of Home Depot.

So the billionaires are gathering to influence our elections even more.  Great.  This is significant because Koch Industries funds much of what is known as the "Tea Parties."  They also are funding "global warming deniers" and initiatives like California's Prop. 23.  Here is the Wall Street Journal, in Koch Industries Shifts on Tea Party,

"Five years ago my brother Charles and I provided the funds to start the Americans for Prosperity," Koch says, "and its beyond my wildest dreams how AFP has grown into this enormous organization of hundreds of thousands of Americans from all walks of life standing up and fighting for the economic freedoms that have made our nation the most prosperous society in history."


I have been driving through Ohio and Pennsylvania for the last week, writing about a series of town hall meetings called the "Keep It Made In America Tour."  Listening to the car radio and watching TV I have to tell you I have never seen ANYTHING like it. one after another there are nasty smear ads, all with the same wording but from different groups with anonymous donors, which means corporations and billionaires.  The flood of this stuff is beyond belief and obviously it is having its effect.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich writes in The Perfect Storm,

It's a perfect storm. And I'm not talking about the impending dangers facing Democrats. I'm talking about the dangers facing our democracy.

[. . .] We're losing our democracy to a different system. It's called plutocracy.


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Another anonymous corporate-funded front group, this one called Latinos For Reform, is running ads in Spanish telling people not to vote!  This is one more example of voter suppression.

According to the SF Chronicle,

Published reports indicate that the ads are the work of Robert Desposada, a Republican political consultant, former Republican National Committee director of Hispanic affairs and pundit on the Spanish language TV network Univision.

"That message has to be denounced, its got to be thrown out," President of the Hispanics in Politics organization, Fernando Romero told KTNV.

"To ask a community, any community to silence their voice as a way to resolve or react during a time when their voice is most needed, is what makes all this reprehensible," Luis Valera of UNLV's Government Relations said, according to KTNV's report.




In 2008, Latinos for Reform aired ads "alleging that Obama puts African Americans before Latinos and Africa before Latin America."

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The election is being flooded with corporate money, and much of it is anonymous, coming through groups such as Karl Rove's American Crossroads that is set up as a "charity" in order to prevent disclosure of donors.  The Chamber of Commerce is also refusing to disclose who is donating, not even whether foreign companies are helping fund the ad blitz. 

According to Media Matters, Right-Wing Groups Have Now Aired 60,000+ TV Ads Since Aug. 1,


The Chamber of Commerce spent at least $9.8 million to run fully 4,706 ads in just one week, meaning it eclipsed Americans for Prosperity (another apparent dropout from the big-money class). The Chamber reported even more spending ($10.7 million) to the FEC, but $949,886 of that spending appeared to be double-reported. Either way, the business lobby dropped a CEO's salary to influence our elections in just a few days. Makes you wonder what they're expecting in return.

The other big-bucks story is more complicated. The innocent-sounding Commission for Hope, Growth and Prosperity -- a 501(c)4* founded by GOP operative Scott Reed -- has posted a startling 

2,153 ads since late September. We don't know how much money they spent doing it, because Reed's group has yet to report a cent of spending to the FEC...

Do voters care?  According to the Greg Sargent, blogging at Washington PostYes, voters do care about secret cash funding elections!

The poll finds that two thirds of registered voters, or 66 percent, are aware that outside groups are behind some of the ads they're seeing. This makes sense, since the issue has dominated the media amid the battle over the huge ad onslaught against Dems funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's groups.

What's more, an overwhelming 84 percent say they have a "right to know" who's bankrolling the ads. And crucially, the poll also found that the issue is resonant when linked to the economy. A majority, 53 percent, are less likely to think a candidate who is backed by "anonymous groups" can be trusted to "improve economic conditions" for them or their families. People don't believe these groups are looking out for their interests.

The question is, can the public even learn about this, while filtering through the thousands and thousands of anonymous corporate ads?



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You may be hearing story after story about the flood of corporate money showing up in elections this year.  I recently posted a preliminary look at where the corporate money is going supporting or opposing to our upcoming ballot initiatives.  That was preliminary, before the real flood of last-minute corporate cash showed up. I'll be updating those numbers.


The Sacramento Bee's Capital Alert blog had a post Monday, FPPC: Big money flowing to ballot measure campaigns 

Committees for and against the ballot measures have raised more than $84.25 million in contributions of $100,000 or more since the beginning of the year, according to an analysis released today by the Fair Political Practices Commission.

The most active big-money fundraisers were the campaigns surrounding Proposition 24, which would repeal corporate tax benefits approved by the Legislature, and Proposition 23, which would suspend the state's greenhouse gas reduction law until the unemployment rate drops.

That is a lot of money.  It buys a lot of ads that say a lot of things.  Those things they say are very, very well-crafted by the highest-paid professionals that money can buy, designed to sway people to vote the way the big-money wants them to vote.  The question voters need to ask themselves is, "What do they expect for their money?"

Seriously, does anyone believe that these giant corporations are putting millions and millions (and millions and millions and millions) of dollars into these campaigns because they are in any way interested in helping voters come to conclusions that benefit the public?  But the well-funded campaigns are very good at keeping people from wondering about these questions.  Instead they try to distract us, divert us, throw smoke in our eyes, make us afraid, mane us angry, make us hate someone, make us think the world is about to end ... And the result is that the public is distracted, diverted, blinded, afraid, hateful and thinks the world is about to end.

Follow the money, don't be distracted, and ask yourself, "What do they expect for their money?"


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This is a survey looking at where the corporate money is going in California's 2010 November ballot initiatives.  All figures are from Sept. 17, 2010 and will be updated.  Due to reporting rules many contributions are not yet on the record.


Proposition 19, Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010

There is not a lot of corporate money involved in the marijuana initiative.  The beer and wine distributors have put up $10K to oppose the initiative.

On the supporting side: Credo, formerly Working Assets, campaign filings do not show any amounts as of Sept 17.  (Credo engages in political activity that supports the expressed wishes of their customers.)

Opposition to the measure:  CALIF BEER & BEVERAGE DISTRIBUTORS STATE ISSUES $10,000

 

Proposition 20, Congressional Redistricting

This initiative is largely financed by one individual, Charles T. Munger, Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffet's company).  The financing is individual, not from the company.

 

Proposition 21, Vehicle License Fee for Parks

On the opposing side: CALIFORNIANS AGAINST CAR TAXES, NO ON PROPOSITION 21 - none of the contributions are reported yet.

 

Proposition 22, Ban on State Borrowing from Local Governments

Campaign filings do not show any corporate amounts as of Sept 17.

 

Proposition 23, Suspend AB 32, the Global Warming Act of 2006

**There is heavy corporate involvement in favor of this initiative.**

The corporate money, specifically oil company money, is heavily involved in support of this initiative.  In fact, it is fair to say that this initiative is almost entirely financed by oil company money, some of it in ways attempting to mask that involvement.

 

Support

ADAM SMITH FOUNDATION $498,000 (This is a front-group for oil-company donations.)

Valero $1,050,000

HOLLY CORPORATION $25,000

PLACID REFINING COMPANY LLC $9,995

STAN BOYETT & SON INC. DBA BOYETT PETROLEUM $25,000

AMERICAN COALITION FOR CLEAN COAL ELECTRICITY $5000

TESORO COMPANIES, $525,000

OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CORP. $300,000

THE TERMO COMPANY $5,000

ROBINSON OIL CORPORATION $25,000

BREITBURN OPERATING LP $20,000

E & B NATURAL RESOURCES MGMT.CORP $5,000

AMERICAN ENERGY OPERATIONS INC $5,000

NATIONAL PETROCHEMICAL & REFINERS ASSOCIATION $100,000

CALIFORNIA TRUCKING ASSOCIATION $50,000

BERRY PETROLEUM COMPANY 25000

NAFTEX OPERATING CO. 5000

CAMINOL MANAGEMENT CO. $25,000

MURRAY ENERGY CORPORATION $30,000

VENOCO, INC. $10,000

WORLD OIL CORP. $100,000

TOWER ENERGY GROUP $100,000

SOUTHERN COUNTIES OIL CO. DBA TOTAL ENERGY PRODUCTS $50,000

LUMBER ASSOCIATION OF CALIFORNIA & NEVADA PAC $5,000

NO NEW TAXES, A PROJECT OF THE HOWARD JARVIS TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION $100,001

JACO OIL CO. $10,000

 

I will do deeper research to try to trace where the money came from for NO NEW TAXES, A PROJECT OF THE HOWARD JARVIS TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION $100,001

CALIFORNIANS FOR PAYCHECK PROTECTION $25,000

PROTECT PROP. 13, A PROJECT OF THE HOWARD JARVIS TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION $49,000

CALIFORNIANS FOR PROPERTY RIGHTS PROTECTION $5,213.91

 

Oppose: Credo

CANNON POWER GROUP AND ITS AFFILIATE BAJA WIND, LLC $25K

I will conduct additional research to try to learn if companies are funding GREEN TECH ACTION FUND $500K and DMB ASSOCIATES, INC. AND AFFILIATES $80K

 

I will also try to trace if corporate donations are involved with CLEAN ECONOMY NETWORK NO ON 23 ACTION FUND, SUPPORTED BY CLEAN TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES, RENEWABLE ENERGY ENTREPRENEURS, AND CONCERNED CITIZENS $75K

 

 

Proposition 24, Repeal of Corporate Tax Breaks

**There is heavy corporate involvement in opposition to this initiative.**

Corporate money opposed:

Johnson & Johnson $750K

CBS Outdoor and Affiliates $1M

PFIZER INC. $100K

GE $1.2M

ALLERGAN, INC $20K

AMGEN $350K

VIACOM $950K

TIME WARNER $1.1M

FOX $725K

Walt Disney $1M

CISCO $1.1M

Qualcomm $100K

Medtronic $25K

Genetech $1.1M

Abbott Labs $100K

HP $100K

Intel $75K

 

 

Proposition 25 Majority Vote for Legislature to Pass the Budget

**There is heavy corporate involvement in opposition to this initiative.**

Big corporate donations opposing.  Multiple donations as indicated.

NEW MAJORITY CALIFORNIA PAC $100K

Chevron $250K $250:

Miller Coors $175K $100K $26K $24K $25K

SMALL BUSINESS ACTION COMMITTEE PAC $500K  $800K

PROTECT PROP 13, A PROJECT OF THE HOWARD JARVIS TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION $79,674

 

WINE INSTITUTE $100K $25K $25K $25K

 

INSURANCE BROKERS AND AGENTS ISSUES PAC (IBAIPAC), SPONSORED BY IBA WEST, INC. $50K

 

CALIFORNIA BEER & BEVERAGE DISTRIBUTORS ISSUES PAC $K

 

CALIFORNIA RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION ISSUES PAC $50K

 

CALIFORNIA BEER & BEVERAGE DISTRIBUTORS ISSUES PAC $50K $25K

 

CALIFORNIA RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION ISSUES PAC $25K

 

CROWN IMPORTS LLC $58K $20K

 

CALIFORNIA AMERICAN COUNCIL OF ENGINEERING COMPANIES ISSUES FUND (CA ACEC ISSUES FUND) $15K

 

WATSON LAND COMPANY $10K

 

CALIFORNIA BUSINESS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE, SPONSORED BY THE CALIFORNIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (AKA CALBUSPAC) $235K $120K $100K $325K $215K $75K $75K $125K $50K $100K

 

SAFEWAY INC. $20K 10K

 

DIAGEO NORTH AMERICA, INC. (Guinness, Smirnoff, Johnie Walker, Jose Cuervo ...) $25K

 

FARMERS INSURANCE GROUP $25K

 

ANHEUSER-BUSCH COMPANIES, INC. $100K  $25K

 

BROWN-FORMAN CORPORATION (Jack Daniels, Fetzer, Korbel, Southern Comfort ...) $35K

DISTILLED SPIRITS COUNCIL $20K

AERA ENERGY LLC $150K

CONOCOPHILLIPS $25K

 

Note - I will be digging into which companies are funding NEW MAJORITY CALIFORNIA PAC, SMALL BUSINESS ACTION COMMITTEE PAC, CALIFORNIA BUSINESS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE, SPONSORED BY THE CALIFORNIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (AKA CALBUSPAC) and front-group others.

 

Proposition 26 Supermajority Vote to Pass New Taxes and Fees (2010)

This initiative is the flip side of proposition 25, and the money in opposition to 25 is in favor of 26.  Additionally:

CALIFORNIA BUSINESS PAC, SPONSORED BY THE CALIFORNIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (CALBUSPAC)  $135K $140K $240K

 

Proposition 27 Eliminate Redistricting Commission

The opposition to this is financed by Charles Munger and his wife.

Charles Munger millions & Munger's wife, millions  -- See Prop 20

Also:

SMALL BUSINESS ACTION COMMITTEE PAC $20K

CA BUSINESS PAC,SPONSORED BY CA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (AKA CALBUSPAC) $10K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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We are about to have a election where we have the possibility of putting back into power the very people who created the problems that we are trying to fix. We let these same people dig us into this hole over a period of about 14 years (their so-called "Contract With America" which was really a contract ON America). What was their finished product? It was a recession that almost collapsed our nation's economy and almost drove the entire world into collapse as well.

We voted and asked Democrats to fix the problems created by 14 years of failed conservative philosophy and when they weren't able to fix the entire mess in less than two years, we are considering letting the same people who created the mess back into power.........to do what???????  Do we think they will fix the mess they created in 14 years of failed so-called "free market economics" which let corporations run rampant in pursuit of profits; which led to the housing market collapse and the Wall Street collapse? To the BP oil disaster? To the out-sourcing of millions of American jobs to China and other low-wage countries? To the greatest accumulation of wealth into the hands of the fewest Americans in our nation's history? To the greatest increase in children living in poverty since the Great Depression (which was caused by another Republican named Herbert Hoover)?

Conservatives scream about "less government" (except when they are telling us that we can't control our own reproductive decisions), that we should ignore science and go back to 19th century beliefs about evolution and the planet while ignoring fossil fuel's impact on our climate. And what are their solutions? Nothing but the same old, same old. Less taxes, more freedom, less government. Wow!

Look what that has led to:

The rich are getting richer and spending less and less on building the infrastructure and on the education the next generations will need if they hope to have the same chances of success that our generation has had. It has led to the continued out-sourcing of jobs to countries that put lead and toxins in the products we then receive back from them. It has led to oil companies growing and exploring without any checks on whether they're recklessly endangering our resources, food supplies, home-grown jobs - like BP and God-only knows which of the other oil companies that take no responsibility for the pollution and degradation they create in pursuit of their profit and CEO's embarrassing compensation.

Is this what we really want? Do we really want leaders who are so wacky that they talk about masturbation as adultery, dabble in witchcraft, want to destroy social security and Medicare and take away all the consumer protections from dangerous product creation and food distribution?

I think not. So what is the answer???? Don't put the inmates in charge of the asylum. Give the Democrats a little more time to fix the problems the Republicans have created and if they have the chance---meaning they don't get stonewalled at every turn by the "Just say NO" politics of the disloyal opposition, then try another approach.

Let's give this president a chance to turn the country around and give our representatives the backbone to do the right thing. They need to know that we've got their backs and if anything, want them to be MORE daring, MORE creative, MORE visionary in their thinking and their policies! We shouldn't and can't afford to go backwards. Remember when the people lead, the leaders will follow. Time to vote! It is time for Americans to wake up and try to move forward, not backward.

It's not about the taxes, it's about the future.  It's about the economy, education and the environment. Based upon what we've seen over the past decade, who do you think has the better ideas to protect those?


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This page is an archive of entries from October 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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