Monday 06-21-2010 2:45pm PT
Rhode Island Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, just after Rep. Joe Barton's "off the wall" apology to BP, laid out how deeply "corporate tentacles" have reached into our regulatory agencies in Congress. He said, "The scope, the extent, the insidious nature of corporate influence in regulatory agencies of government--this question of regulatory capture--is something we should attend to here. It is the lesson, and it raises the question beyond the Minerals Management Service: How far does this corporate influence reach into our agencies of government? The wealth of the international corporate world is staggering. The five biggest oil companies just this quarter posted profits of $23 billion--that is a 23 with 12 zeroes behind it--in just one quarter." And now that the Supreme Court has ruled that these foreign companies have full human rights under the First Amendment here in the USA, they're free to drop billions into the upcoming or 2012 elections. Meet your new government - corporate rule.
Welcome to the Land of the Landed Gentry
Wednesday 06-09-2010 3:14pm PT
Ben Smith with Politico reported that a White House official called to tell him, "Organized labor just flushed $10 million down the toilet on a pointless exercise." in trying to beat Blanche Lincoln, Obama's candidate, in Arkansas. AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale responded, that, "labor isn't an arm of the Democratic Party," pointing out that they represent working people, period, and so will continue to support candidates who support working people over monopoly corporate interests. While trashing organized labor, the White House also just gave billionaires 25 billion by letting the estate tax lapse for 2010. A Texas pipeline tycoon, Dan L. Duncan, who died recently could be the first American billionaire to pass his fortune to his children and grandchildren tax-free. Forbes magazine estimated his worth at $9 billion and he would have been subject to a federal tax of at least 45 percent. Instead, because Congress allowed the tax to lapse for one year and gave all estates a free pass ...nada. Welcome to the land of the landed gentry and the multigenerational dynasty. Not exactly what the Founders envisioned.
Arkansas Senator Blanch Lincoln (D) grabbed a narrow victory in a hard-fought campaign from Lt. Governor Bill Halter. Many credit President Clinton's and President Obama's campaigning for her as the reason for her win, which means the idea that this is a "win for women" is pretty easily set aside. More often, Lincoln's victory by the same margin the polls showed she'd lose by is being called a win for the establishment, but that's only true if "establishment" means transnational monopoly corporations and big money. And apparently the Obama White House, with their call to Politico's Ben Stein trashing organized labor, is signaling just that. Similarly, Whitman's and Fiorino's wins aren't wins for women, but wins for millionaires and billionaires.
These Marxist Governors...
Thursday 06-03-2010 5:13pm PT
BP CEO Tony Hayward told the Financial Times that it now is looking like BP did not have all the equipment it needed to stop the leak from its Macondo well in the Gulf after the oil explosion six weeks ago. Hayward said, "What is undoubtedly true is that we did not have the tools you would want in your tool-kit," and added it was "an entirely fair criticism" to say BP was not fully prepared. Meanwhile, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) has asked President Obama to to restart deepwater drilling soon, and at the same time Gov. Bob Riley (R-AL) is pointing fingers at the Coast Guard for not protecting Alabama's barrier islands from oil. Charlie Crist (R-FL) has asked that Florida's commercial fishing industry be declared a disaster. This is a fascinating spectacle, with five Gulf coast Republican governors now torn between the big bucks the oil company gives them, their proclamations that they hate "big government," and their demands that "the federal government" declare emergencies - making them eligible for big government federal funds that they used to call welfare - and for "big government" to do more to protect their states. These Marxist governors - that's Marxist as in the Marx Brothers because they can't get anything straight - hate federal money and help when it goes to working people as unemployment compensation or to children as school funding or AFDC payments, but love federal money when it comes to their offices in the form of emergency funds so they can pass it out and look like they're doing something. They love tax breaks for the oil industry like the oil depletion allowance and for hedge fund billionaires like the Bush tax cuts that cut most billionaires' income tax rates to a maximum 15%, but freak out when there isn't federal tax money to pay for the resources necessary to protect their states from the oil companies they keep inviting in. It's bizarre enough to even cause Limbaugh to stutter.
Like the tobacco executives - BP won't see jail or handcuffs....
Wednesday 06-02-2010 3:30pm PT
The Obama administration announced yesterday that it has started civil and criminal investigations into the volcanic oil spill in the Gulf. AG Eric Holder says he will "prosecute to the fullest extent of the law" any people or companies that have broken the law. BP's market value plummeted $21.1 billion yesterday as the Florida panhandle is bracing for oil slick expected to hit shore today. The oil slick arrival coincides with the Panhandle's summer tourism season. While the White House is sounding tough about a criminal investigation, former prosecutors and other experts on environmental law suggest that BP executives probably won't see the slammer or wear handcuffs, but perhaps just pay some fines out of their multimillion dollar salaries. Like the tobacco executives who lied to congress then flew back to their private yachts on their private jets, the BP, Halliburton, and Transocean executives who each blamed the other for the homicides in the Gulf have already walked out of Congress as free men, back to their own private jets and private mansions. The giant pharmaceutical company Pfizer, for example, recently pled guilty to a huge felony and paid over a billion dollars - the biggest criminal fine in history - for taking actions that probably led to the death of people because of the illegal mis-marketing of drugs. But no Pfizer executives went to jail. If you're Martha Stewart and you support Democrats and you do a small-time crime, you hit the slammer; if you're an oil or drug billionaire and you kill people and destroy the world, you get to fly home to a private island while your company pays a fine that it gets from consumers by raising prices. Meanwhile, the Republican Five crazies on the Supreme Court say that if you're an average criminal - as opposed to billionaire criminals who have entire law teams to shield them - you must know the law before you can be protected from the police keeping you up to for twenty or thirty hours for prolonged interrogations, even if you're innocent.
The real villains here are the sucker Conservadems.....
Tuesday 06-01-2010 3:56pm PT
On Thursday, Democrats on the House floor were debating the jobs bill and what to do about the vote being several days late, when word came through to the House that the Senate had adjourned and left for Memorial Day break. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said, "People were astounded. I mean stunned. We're in the midst of this debate and trying to find a path to doing the right thing and the Senate went out on recess? Without addressing these issues?" According to data from the Department of Labor at the end of the week, 19,400 people will be stop getting help, and by the end of the following week, this number will climb to 323,400. The following week is 903,000 and by the end of the month, 1.2 million. While Republican obstruction is an obvious part of this, the real villains here are the sucker Conservadems that call themselves deficit hawks.
Back in the 70s a Republican strategist named Jude Wanniski came up with what he called the two Santa Claus theory: when Republican are in power they should cut taxes, spend like drunken sailors and put it all on the national credit card - without ever mentioning a word about the deficit they were creating. This allows Republicans to be the tax cutting Santa Claus and the spending/stimulus Santa Claus. The minute Democrats get into power Republican then use every media at their disposal - from the Wall Street Journal editorials to Sunday News shows to speeches on the floor of Congress - to hysterically scream about the deficit and how important it is to cut spending immediately.
If they can get a few sucker conservative leaning Democrats to go along with them, then the Republicans are remembered as Santa Claus while the Democrats take all the heat for cutting benefits and entitlement programs and other spending. They dare not mention raising taxes because that would make them a double anti-Santa Claus' and they're already the spending cutting anti-Santa Claus. In this case the Blue-Dog Dems and a few others in the party who call themselves deficit hawks have stepped right into the Wanniski trap.
If they don't wake up soon, expect to see more anger at the Democrats and more Republican victories in November.