October 2010 Archives
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:
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.
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?
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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.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...
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
Do voters care? According to the Greg Sargent, blogging at Washington Post, Yes, 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.
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.
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.
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.
ADAM SMITH FOUNDATION $498,000 (This is a front-group for oil-company donations.)
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
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
ALLERGAN, INC $20K
TIME WARNER $1.1M
Walt Disney $1M
Abbott Labs $100K
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
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
SMALL BUSINESS ACTION COMMITTEE PAC $20K
CA BUSINESS PAC,SPONSORED BY CA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (AKA CALBUSPAC) $10K
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?