Archive for the ‘Dark Money’ Category

Trump Nominates Folks From the Swamp

Monday, February 6th, 2017

15350456_1053079861470881_3683700321946841556_n - CopyPresident-elect Donald Trump does not have the traditional nominees of Washington insiders and donors to build out his Cabinet, but his transition team has spent the past several months quietly building a short list of millionaires and billionaires who could comprise one of the more eclectic controversial presidential Cabinets in history.

Here’s is President-elect Trump’s White House nominees to date:

Trump Chief Strategist

Bannon, 63, is perhaps Trump’s most controversial but unsurprising pick considering his counsel during the campaign. Bannon is a racists who took over the ultraconservative news site Breitbart. He’s a contentious pick for both Republicans and Democrats because of his anti-Semitic history and propagation of white supremacist beliefs. In the Summer of 2016, Bannon boasted to Mother Jones that he had transformed Breitbart into “a platform for the alt-right.” Bannon was also charged with domestic violence after reportedly attacking his now-ex-wife in 1996. He also takes pride in attracting the Christian Right to the alt-right movement.

Secretary of State

Bio: Rex W Tillerson is the Chairman and CEO of US oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil, having taken the company over in 2006. Tillerson, a native of Texas, has been with the company since 1975. The 64-year-old veteran oil executive has no government or diplomatic experience but he does have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Despite his lack of official government experience, Mr. Tillerson does have experience dealing with foreign governments, as Exxon Mobil operates in dozens of countries.

Attorney General

Bio: Jefferson B “Jeff” Sessions III currently serves as U.S. Senator from Alabama. Prior to his career in the U.S. Senate, Sessions was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, having been appointed by then-President Ronald Reagen. Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama in 1994 before being elected to the United States Senate in 1996. Thirty years ago a Republican Senate rejected his nomination as a federal judge because of allegations of racists history.

Secretary of Defense

Bio: General James Mattis is a 44-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Mattis brings with him a wealth of experience having served as commander of United States Central Command from August of 2010 to March of 2013, replacing General David Petraeus.

Mattis is beloved by the men who served under him, and earned the nickname “Warrior Monk” for a ferocious yet intellectual approach to leadership.

Secretary of Homeland Security

Bio: General Kelly is a distinguished military commander who is a widely respected by both his troops and Washington insiders.

With decades of experience leading U.S. Armed Forces, Kelly is a veteran of both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The retired general served as commander of United States Southern Command from November of 2012 until January of 2016.

Secretary of Treasury

Bio: Steven “Steve” Mnuchin is a successful banker. Prior to being tapped to lead the U.S. Treasury, Mnuchin was chief executive of Dune Capital Management, a privately owned hedge fund, and was a partner at Goldman-Sachs for 17-years. The 52-year-old former Goldman Sachs trader has spent most of his career on Wall Street. He supported Trump because he strongly supports gutting regulations on Wall Street.

Mnuchin served as the Trump campaign finance chairman.

Secretary of Labor

Bio: Andy Puzder is the chief executive of CKE Restaurants, which include the Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s chains.

Prior to his career as CEO, Puzder was a commercial trial lawyer in St. Louis. From 1978 through 1983, he was an associate at the law offices of St. Louis attorney Morris Shenker who he represented in various matters. In 1984 he moved to The Stolar Partnership in St. Louis and worked with Charles A Seigel, another St. Louis area trial attorney. Puzder has served as president and CEO of CKE since September 2000.

Hired an illegal immigrant in his home. Accused of spousal abuse. Does not support a working minimum wage.

Secretary of Commerce

Bio: Wilbur Ross is a successful American investor and business man. Ross is known as a “turnaround artist” who has acquired failing businesses and made them profitable. Known for buying ailing companies in manufacturing and coal to turn around (often through layoffs), Ross is the one of the country’s richest executives. He has been a Trump ally for decades.

Although a registered Democrat, Ross an early supporter of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Secretary of Energy

Bio: Rick Perry is the longest serving Governor in Texas history, having served as the state’s chief executive from 2000-2015.

Prior to serving as Governor, Perry was a member of the Texas House of Representatives, a capacity in which he served until 1991 when he was elected Texas agriculture commissioner. In 1999, Perry became Lt. Governor of Texas under George W. Bush, whom he succeeded when Bush was elected president.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Bio: Dr. Ben Carson is a retired neurosurgeon and GOP former presidential candidate.

At 33, Carson became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and earned fame for his groundbreaking work separating conjoined twins. In 2000, the Library of Congress selected Dr. Carson as one of its “Living Legends.” The following year, CNN and Time magazine named Dr. Carson as one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists. He has no government or experience that would justify the position he was nominated for but he is a Trump supporter.

Secretary of Education

Bio: Betsy DeVos is the chairwoman of American Federation for Children which, according to the organization’s website seeks “to improve our nation’s K-12 education by advancing systemic and sustainable public policy that empowers parents, particularly those in low-income families, to choose the education they determine is best for their children.”

She has never held a public office or served in government. DeVos, 58, earned a name for herself in Michigan as an activist against public schooling. Critics contend that Trump picked DeVos because her family members, billionaire heirs to the scandalized Amway corporation, are long-time donors (200 million) to the Republican party. DeVos has also championed a push for voucher programs that funnel tax dollars away from public school into private schools or schools with religious foundations.

Secretary of Health and Human Services

Bio:Congressman Tom Price has represented Georgia’s 6th congressional district since 2005.

Before serving in the House of Representatives, Price was an orthopedic surgeon. Price has been instrumental in crafting legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), and implementing such legislation would likely be amongst his first tasks as Secretary of Health and Human Services. He was chosen solely to dismantle ObamaCare.

Secretary of Transportation
Bio: Before being chosen to serve as Donald Trump’s Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao served as Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush from 2001 through 2009, the first Asian-American woman to serve in a Cabinet position.

Chao has been married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell since 1993.

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Romneyism: Decline of the American Middle Class

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

At a time when universal deceit overshadows the truth as a radical idea and self-indulgence and greed serve as God to many people, is Romneyism the new political religion of the conservative right? Romneyism is the belief system that was embraced with the rise of Mitt Romney as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party. The main thrust of Romneyism is simply the belief system that value and virtue is void of a moral compass or core values. Any lie will do!

Romneyism gave rise in the election of 2012 where candidate Mitt Romney easily swayed from opinion to opinion, boldly portrayed with six major issue changes where he swayed from one opposed position to another with no remorse or regret. He has been for and against more issues than can be easily explained and the basis of this immoral lack of values appeared wildly popular and effective with the conservative faithful. If Romney felt uneasy by his contradictory views, he showed no evidence of being so. His [flip flop] views were simply explained away as that his views have evolved. Voter’s opinion to this lack of a moral compass was disturbingly seen as unimportant.

It took a secretly filmed video of Romney and a quote for voters’ to get a glimpse of the real Mitt Romney, a glimpse they did not like. The Quote: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it — that that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. … [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The coldness of his comment speaks volumes about the real disturbing facts in regards to his immoral beliefs [Romneyism]. His swaying on issues did not mean he has no core values at all. He is simply not concerned with the policy issues [values] that are on the table (or should be) in a Presidential campaign with middle class people. Any lie will do!

Mitt Romney’s [Romneyism] values [or lack thereof] are really frightening. A first core value is his understanding of [his God] capitalism and the importance of making a profit; this is his number one value. If doing so means sending American business [jobs] overseas, that is a side benefit. If doing cost jobs, well that’s just too bad for the persons who lost theirs in this process, just as long as he makes a profit in the process. If doing so means killing the American car industry – so be it.

A second core value for Romneyism, as he referenced without regret in the GOP primaries, is that “corporations are people” (to which he added “my friend,” even though most corporations are not very friendly). That position has many scary meanings and far reaching implications for the structure and function of the U.S. economy, which he believes, can be bought and sold with dark [Citizens United] money. When he toured a foreign sweat shop and was impressed with the oppression and fear of the beleaguered workers – this was the real Romney.

A third core value for Romneyism, is that if the profit-makers [job creators] for American capitalism can’t make their profits the traditional ways, then creative ventures like investing in and/or organizing the bankruptcies of other businesses, or replacing public education with a private profit based version, or taking a significant chunk of operating funds out of the health care system to support profit-making by the private insurance industry is simply good business, the benefits for the rich outweigh the benefits of the masses [middle class and poor]. This new form of trickle-down economics explains the decline of the American middle class as corporate America drains the middle class of resources.

Fourth, is his kingly belief that “his kind of people” is the people who should rule, for their own benefit and for the welfare of everyone else [the peasants]. And they [he] are, by nature of their positions [wealth], entitled to a wide variety of benefits that the majorities are not. Yes indeed, he does believe in certain “entitlements.” They are just not the entitlements that benefit the majority of Americans. He supports corporate welfare.

The growing popularity of greed and growing emphasis on self-indulgence is a dangerous phenomenon and important basis for the principles of Romneyism. Societal structure will not survive when its people loose compassion for others. Romneyism feeds off society when its people’s concerns turns from the welfare of all to the welfare of “self”. Many of the progressive causes, which benefit all in society, require a loyalty to [the whole] society and devotion to community by its people.

When the focus of people turn inward, unions die, wages drop, benefits are slashed and Romneyism flourishes. It is much easier to slash education, walk by a homeless person, support cuts in social safety nets when you care about no one but yourself. This behavior is the foundation of the current conservative movement in America. Recently, before Romney officially redrew from the 2016 race, it was shocking to see Mr. Romney talk about running a 2016 race for president based on a focus on the poor and an anti-poverty crusade.

But wait a minute, what about the interview that aired the day after he clinched the Republican nomination, in 2012, when he remarked, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” Or the week after the election, when Mr. Romney blamed the loss on “gifts” Obama promised to minorities if they voted for him. And in early 2016, he briefly flirted with the idea of running on an anti-poverty campaign – blasting President Obama for widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

One must remember, Romney’s embrace of the poor is just the most recent example of the Romney [flip flop] doctrine. The truth does not matter because deception is the seed that sows/reaps the conservative harvest. The Golden Rule of Romneyism – Any lie will do!

Koch Political Industries: The GOP’s Shadow Party

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

ImageProxyiiiThe Koch brothers have poured millions of dollars into controlling the turnout in state elections and they have gained control of a political party in the process.

They have also expanded their activities in the area of messaging, polling, medial buying, election law and their political operation exceeds that of the Republican National Committee (RNC) in many important areas.

They also control several for-profit companies and their party infrastructure funds and controls Americans for Prosperity, youth voter outreach groups and a Latino outreach group in several states. This gives Republicans. in Koch controlled states, support of two parties [the RNC and the Koch shadow party]. This unholy alliance has allowed the Koch brothers to buy legislatures in many states including Tennessee. As the acquire state legislatures they impose laws crafted by ALEC.

This is what Democracy faces in America. The sad news is elections are now bought and sold by the Koch bothers [dark money]. They have bought legislatures and congressman but can they buy the presidency?

Clinton Calls Out GOP on Voter Suppression

Friday, June 5th, 2015

559953_545779358786752_100427983_nTexas – Yesterday, in a major speech on voting rights, Hillary Clinton denounced Republican efforts on voter suppression. She laid out a far-reaching vision for expanding access to the ballot box for all Americans.

Clinton, the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, talked about voter suppression and called out by name several of her potential 2016 rivals for taking actions that restricted voter participation. She discussed Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, and Chris Christie and their supporting/imposing restrictive voting policies. She said, “Republicans should stop fearmongering about a phantom epidemic of voter fraud.”

As demographic trends have shifted toward an increase in Democratic voting, Republican voter suppression tactics have increased in an effort to slow it down and/or stop it. Republicans have a long history of voter suppression tactics. As dark money bought elections putting Republicans in charge of state legislations, and in the face of losing five of the last six majorities in presidential elections, Republicans have used these victories to impose a variety of voter suppression laws.

Speaking at Texas Southern University in Houston, Clinton called for every American to be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18. She also backs a nationwide standard of at least 20 days of early voting. She urged Congress to pass legislation strengthening the Voting Rights Act, which was gravely weakened by a 2013 Supreme Court ruling. And she slammed restrictive voter suppression laws imposed by the GOP in North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin, Texas, and Ohio.

Hillary said, “We have a responsibility to say clearly and directly what’s really going on in our country, because what is happening is a sweeping effort to dis-empower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people from one end of our country to the other.”
She continued by saying, “What is happening is a sweeping effort to dis-empower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people from one end of our country to the other.” Hillary Clinton put the GOP on notice that further efforts to make voter suppression will be used to motivate Democrats and increase Democratic turnout.

She is the first presidential candidate to discuss in detail the massive voter suppression/discrimination that has surged in “red” states since the Voting Rights Act was gutted in 2013.

Noting that approximately one third of all Americans aren’t registered to vote, Clinton called for sweeping modernization of the registration process – universal automatic voter registration, in which every citizen is automatically registered when they turn 18. Oregon passed such a law earlier this year, and several other states, including California, are considering doing the same.

Clinton said she believed, “this would have a profound impact on our elections and our democracy.”

She also called for 20 days of nationwide early voting; including evening and weekend voting should be implemented to help those who work or have family commitments.

North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Ohio [all Republican-controlled states] have cut their early voting periods, North Carolina and Ohio have also eliminated same-day voter registration. And a third of all states (most in the south) offer no early voting at all.

Clinton also bashed the Supreme Court for weakening the Voting Rights Act. She said, “We need a Supreme Court that cares more about protecting the right to vote of a person to vote than the right of a corporation to buy an election,”

Voting is the cornerstone of our nation’s democracy and voter suppression laws by Republicans are dismantling our nation’s democracy.

Dead [Red] to the Roots

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

art-gop-fascism-posterAt a time when demographics show a trend toward a growing numbers of Democratic majorities in America, in Tennessee, Republicans have concocted a scheme to turn everyone into Republicans. The scheme is not based on logic, facts or sound legislation, but it is important to remember those things don’t matter to Republicans.

The plan focuses on electing more Republicans in county and judicial positions. Is the plan a logical counter response to growing demographic changes and unpopular Republican Ideology or a Supermajority Legislation gone amuck?

Republicans believe deceptive actions to entrench their supermajority status will erode bipartisan efforts in elections at the local level. The recent effort by Ron Ramsey to recall three Tennessee Supreme Court Justices failed miserably with Tennesseans voting overwhelmingly to retain the Judges. Ramsey attempted to use dark money to defeat the Supreme Court Justices.

Thanks to dark money, not the “dead [red] to the roots” program, Republicans have enjoyed great electoral success that built a supermajority Republican Legislature, elect a Republican governor, two Republican U.S. Senators and seven of the state’s nine U.S. House seats.

The GOP, through dark money, has enjoyed huge success in fundraising compared to Democrats.

The TNGOP false claims that Tennesseans want the success we’ve seen at the state level brought to the local level is an illusion. The TNGOP also falsely claim that Tennesseans are tired of Democrats and [liberals] who have mismanaged taxpayer funds and failed to provide the service Tennesseans expect and deserve while they [the TNGOP] dismantle the very services and protections that help Tennessee families. Mismanaged taxpayer funds language is code words for providing funds for public education, food stamps, unemployment compensation and other public assistance that the TNGOP feverishly works to dismantle in Tennessee.

Tennessee Democrats are quick to point out that the majority of Tennesseans are not content with imposing TNGOP Tea Party agenda and ALEC legislation through the state’s backwoods Legislation. Republicans are now intent on pushing their brand of rigidity and extremism, at the expense of the common good of the people, onto local governments and government services.

Republican claims that “dead [red] to the roots” has resulted in growth of the TNGOP is an empty illusion, especially when you look at their efforts to “make it harder for Tennesseans to vote,” such as requiring photo identification to cast a ballot. Preventing every Tennessean the right to vote does not indicate that the “dead [red] to the roots” effort is a successful program that has turned everyone into mindless [zombie] Republicans, it simply points out voter suppression and other tactics to prevent voter’s full access to voting by the TNGOP helps the TNGOP to suppress the Democratic vote.

Any tactic that makes it harder for Tennesseans to exercise their constitutional right to vote is wrong and unpatriotic. It is outrageous to claim such tactics {dark money buying elections and voter suppression] are proof that “dead [red] to the roots” is a successful program or anything other than dirty politics gone astray. Tennessee was recently voted the most politically corrupt state for good reason. Last year Tennessee was voted the worst state legislation.

WILL DARK MONEY HELP TNGOP TURN THE TN SUPREME COUNT INTO A PARTISAN POLITICAL POSITION?

Friday, May 16th, 2014

150px-Business_moneyNow that Tennessee Republicans have captured the executive and legislative branches of state government, they are going after the top tier of the judicial branch — the state Supreme Court.

Their target is three Democratic state Supreme Court justices that will be on the Aug. 7 ballot to be retained or not by voters. Tennesseans are going to be exposed to an advertising campaign blitz by dark money, this summer, telling them to reject the justices.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, will be playing a key role in the political move, to make the Tennessee Supreme Court a partisan affair, in the retention election.

Business leaders, across the state, are interested in this project, as Tennessee Republicans continue to sell out the welfare of middle class Tennesseans and business leaders will be the beneficiaries of this political sell out. This is an orchestrated plan, by Republicans, not to retain the three Democrat Supreme Court judges.”

The three Democratic justices seeking retention are Cornelia Clark from Middle Tennessee and two East Tennessee justices, Chief Justice Gary Wade of Sevierville and Sharon Lee of Madisonville.

In April, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, told the Kingsport Times-News that he will play an “informative role” in the August retention election for three state Supreme Court judges, all Democrats, who will be seeking new eight-year terms.

There’s been much talk about an anti-Supreme campaign and supporters of the three justices are taking it seriously. Five prominent attorneys — Lew Conner, Frank Drowota, Robert Echols, Hal Hardin and Aubrey Harwell sent a letter to fellow lawyers urging attendance at the May 14 fundraiser, two days ago, for the three Supreme Court justices. In the letter, they pointed to “credible information” indicating more than $1 million in out-of-state “dark money” will be spent attacking the judges.

In 2010, control for the Tennessee Legislation was flipped in a landslide victory by Republicans after 2.5 million dollars of “dark money” flooded the last the last two days, basically allowing the Republicans to buy control of the state government.

In 2010, across the United States, State Legislations were bought and sold to the GOP by a flood of “dark money”. The landmark ruling by the activist conservative Supreme Court of the US opened the door to this wholesale selling of elections across the nation when the ruled in favor of Citizens United against the Federal Election Commission.

Will our democracy drown in a sea of “dark money”?