March 21, 2011- On January 21, 2010, the US Supreme Court handed over what little was left of this nation's pretensions to democracy on a silver platter to the Big Banks and the US Chamber of Commerce. The case was titled Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission and the Court's decision removed all limits on corporate campaign contributions. Elections are now a sham proceeding at every level of the US government. The vast majority of the American people who no longer participate in the electoral charade are the smartest among us. The willfully ignorant and delusional still cling desperately to their faux-alternative Democratic politician or their Tea Party Republican politician with the tin-foil hat.
March 21, 2011- When we last checked in with Rep. Mike Pompeo (R) of Kansas, he was trying to kill a consumer-product-safety database, allowing Americans to go online and access free information about the safety records of household products. The measure was easily approved with bipartisan support, but the freshman Republican perceived it as anti-business.
After all, if consumers are made aware of potentially dangerous products, Americans might not buy them. How can the manufacturers of those products make a profit under conditions like that?
As it turned out, the Koch brothers were the ones who wanted the online consumer-product-safety database scuttled, and Pompeo was happy to do their bidding — he represents the district where Koch Industries is located, and the Koch brothers and their political action committee were his most generous campaign contributors.
The Washington Post had an interesting piece over the weekend, noting that Pompeo is now also trying to gut an EPA registry of greenhouse-gas polluters — another Koch Bros' goal — and has hired a former Koch Industries lawyer as his chief of staff.
March 21, 2011- Late last week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) spoke with conservative radio show host Jason Lewis about winning his union-busting fight. First, Lewis repeated the falsehood that Walker wasn’t against collective bargaining – a claim debunked by the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo. Walker then went on to discuss the state’s union-busting bill and budget bill, proclaiming that his approach is “truly progressive”:
LEWIS: Whenever you get into these debates, it’s always management versus labor. Big guy versus little guy. This really isn’t the case. This is about the bailout culture versus market incentives. Nobody’s against collective bargaining, not Scott Walker, not Jason Lewis. […] This is just the latest bailout and what the labor unions want, what the Democrats want after the bailouts of everybody else during the last couple years, including business, is a bailout of big labor.
March 19, 2011- According to Jessica Wisneski, Legislative and Campaign Director of Citizen Action of New York, New York State is in an ideal position to enact legislation for the public financing of statewide elections. And, given the crippling blow dealt to national campaign finance reform by Citizens United v. FEC, New York's precedent has the potential be a game-changer on a national scale.
March 20, 2011- Newly released emails reveal that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, a close Republican ally of anti-worker Gov. Scott Walker (R), erupted in rage at his colleague Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson during a contentious discussion early last year:
As the deeply divided state Supreme Court wrestled over whether to force one member off criminal cases last year, Justice David Prosser exploded at Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson behind closed doors, calling her a “bitch” and threatening to “destroy” her. […]
“In the context of this, I said, ‘You are a total bitch,’ ” Prosser said.
“I probably overreacted, but I think it was entirely warranted. … They (Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley) are masters at deliberately goading people into perhaps incautious statements. This is bullying and abuse of very, very long standing.”
-By Keith Olbermann
March 21, 2011- The ham-handed self-serving greediness playing out in the background of Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to make Wisconsin into the central battle zone in the Koch Brothers’ attempt to end collective bargaining in this country, roared to the forefront Sunday night when the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that the supposedly financially imperiled state had enough money to hire State Senator Randy Hopper’s mistress.
Valerie Cass, a former Republican legislative staffer, was hired Feb. 7 as a communications specialist with the state Department of Regulation and Licensing. She is being paid $20.35 per hour. The job is considered a temporary post.
A lot of things in Wisconsin – especially those pertaining to one of Governor Walker’s State Senate henchmen – appear to be temporary:
March 14, 2011- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has made no secret of his pro-business agenda since taking office in January. It comes as little surprise, then, that his 2010 campaign was backed largely by industries he now supports.
Data obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics from the Federal Elections Commission shows that Rubio was the largest recipient of Koch Industries campaign money for U.S. Senate races in 2010. He also received more money than anyone running for national office outside of Kansas, where Koch Industries is headquartered. Florida is home to a major Georgia-Pacific paper mill (Georgia-Pacific is a subsidiary of Koch Industries) that has been at the center of a major battle between Koch industries and environmental regulators.
Many of Rubio’s other campaign donors have connections to the Koch brothers. Some are more closely affiliated with the Kochs than others, but all those with ties are plugged into the national network of business leaders and anti-tax and anti-regulation advocates that Charles and David Koch have endeavored to build through conferences and think tanks.
America Blog: What’s the source of these anti-union measures? Meet ALEC, a right-wing group that writes state laws for Republicans
March 20, 2011- If it seems that all of this state-by-state union-stripping legislation is coordinated … that's because it is coordinated. Also pre-written, gift-wrapped and hand-delivered.
Meet ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a national right-wing group that writes "model" legislation for its members. Who are its members? Republican state legislators and private organizations (think ExxonMobil).
Because ALEC is very secretive, only members get to know who its members are, what goes on at meetings, and what legislation is being authored and pushed. But sometimes the light shines through, and sometimes they own up.
About the union-busting laws, ALEC owned up. The New York Times, in the (next-to-last) paragraph of this story, fingers ALEC as the anti-union coordinating group (my emphasis throughout):