Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bipartisanship-- The Bad Kind


Yesterday I went upstairs to put on my shoes and socks and there was that Ku Klux Klan guy from Louisiana, Republican House Whip Scalise, yapping away on MSNBC about President Obama threatening to veto the "bipartisan Defense appropriations bill" that had gone through the wonderful bipartisan committee process led by Chairman Thornberry. Military families and pay raises and helping our allies (the fascist gang that's taken over in Ukraine) defend themselves... The bill did get through Thornberry's House Armed Services Committee, which has 36 Republicans and 27 Democrats and it did pass the full House, 270-156 on October 1. As for "bipartisan"... well, 146 Democrats voted against it. And the 37 Democrats who voted in favor were mostly Blue Dogs and New Dems who vote with the GOP on most things anyway, the Kyrsten Sinemas, Henry Cuellars, Gwen Grahams, Pete Aguilars, Collin Petersons, Cheri Bustoses, Jim Costas, Kathleen Rices, Sean Patrick Maloneys, Ann Kusters, Denny Hecks, Ann Kirkpatricks, John Delaneys, Patrick Murphys... all the worst Republican-lite garbage from the Democratic side of the aisle.

And the 10 Republicans who crossed the aisle in the other direction and voted with the Democrats against this $612 billion monstrosity of a GOP bill? Walter Jones, the second most senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, and a batch of libertarian-leaning Republicans like Justin Amash (R-MI), Johnny Duncan (R-TN), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

Adam Smith (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Committee, encouraged President Obama to veto the mess (which he did today):
The President has said he will veto the defense bill because it is bad for national security. I agree with his assessment.

This bill misuses the Overseas Contingency Operation fund to evade the congressionally mandated budget caps and is itself a political game. Defense Secretary Carter has said the funding scheme outlined in this bill fails to provide a stable, multi-year budget on which defense planning is necessarily based.  In his words, it provides a “road to nowhere.” That is not the kind of defense bill our troops need. Signing a bad bill does not make us safer.

We can’t give our troops the tools needed to fight our aggressors using this kind of budgeting gimmick. We must eliminate sequestration and enact a long-term, comprehensive budget deal.

If passed, the President should veto this bill, and Congress should fix it. That is what is good for national security.
Obama and most Democrats are concerned that by endorsing the Republican workaround to the sequester for defense spending, they will give Republican lawmakers an excuse not to address the dysfunctional limits in their entirety when Congress gets around to finally negotiating a full budget in December. As Smith said, "too many in the Republican Party don’t care about spending other than defense... If we let defense out of jail, give it all of this money... that makes it even that much more difficult to do anything about the budget caps on the other appropriations bills." And that's just fine with Republicans disguised as Democrats like Blue Dog Cheri Bustos (IL) and New Dem Patrick Murphy (FL).

Along the same lines of phony-baloney bipartisanship, the banksters are again looking for more taxpayer handouts and the most crooked Members of Congress are the ones pushing for them. This time it's an attempt by big recipients of campaign donations urging congressional leadership to not end federal dividend payments to banks. Sounds like TARP, Jr! Although 103 Republicans signed on to a letter from two bank shills-- Republican Bill Huizenga and New Dem Bill Foster-- what's really ugly about this is that so did 47 Democrats! Worst of the crooked Members pushing hardest for the predatory banksters. The dollar amounts are what each candidate took in legalized bribes from the banksters last year only (starting with the 2 chief sponsors of the letter):
Bill Huizenga (R-MI- $540,180)
Bill Foster (New Dem-IL- $478,450)
Scott Garrett (R-NJ- $1,172,579)
Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL- $1,130,150)
Steve Stivers (R-OH- $1,046,181)
Ed Royce (R-CA- $999,718)
Robert Dold (R-IL- $864,500)
Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY- $834,947)
Kathleen Rice (New Dem-NY- $757,717)
Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA- $751,485)
Sean Duffy (R-WI- $747,554)
Erik Paulsen (R-MN- $743,350)
Andy Barr (R-KY- $738,173)
Ed Perlmutter (New Dem-CO- $711,230)
Pete Sessions (R-TX- $702,380)
John Carney (New Dem-DE- $621,378)
Carolyn Maloney (New Dem-NY- $588,800)
Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ- $552,253)
Mick Mulvaney (R-SC- $525,010)
Gregory Meeks (New Dem-NY- $512,733)
Terri Sewell (New Dem-AL- $501,602)
Farmer Fincher (R-TN- $493,244)
Rodney Davis (R-IL- $435,680)
Denny Heck (New Dem-WA- $429,989)
Lord Charles Boustany (R-LA- $410,947)
Stevan Pearce (R-NM- $328,625)
David Jolly (R-FL- $316,524)
Ann Kuster (New Dem-NH- $310,601)
Gwen Graham (Blue Dog-FL- $308,962)
Mia Love (R-UT- $290,798)
Michael McCaul (R-TX- $283,384)
Carlos Curbelo (R-FL- $264,428)
Bruce Poliquin (R-ME- $254,650)
Frank Guinta (R-NH- $229,400)
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA- $225,350)
Tom Cole (R-OK- $208,900)
Pete Aguilar (New Dem-CA- $204,596)
Tim Walberg (R-MI- $190,640)
Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN- $166,150)
David Valadao (R-CA- $163,900)
David Schweikert (R-AZ- $163,150)
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR- $153,733)
David Brat (R-VA- $117,640)
Steve Womack (R-OK- $111,875)
Rod Blum (R-IA- $101,386)
This is what Bernie is talking about when he rails against a campaign finance system that rigs the entire economy towards the wealthy. All these Wall Street shills above-- whether Republicans like Scott Garrett and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Republican-lite fake Democrats like Patrick Murphy and Kyrsten Sinema-- are taking huge sums of money, year after year after year, from special interests to serve their needs at the direct expense of ordinary working Americans. No Republican will ever fix this and neither will Hillary Clinton (just as Bill Clinton didn't and Barack Obama didn't). Only Bernie doesn't take money from these crooked banksters and from the corporate predators who are always offering legalized bribes to politicians. Scooping up campaign cash-- a part of the epidemic of ugly careerism that plagues our political system-- is the number one priority for most of the members of Congress. But Bernie isn't that way and has never been that way. This is how he responded when pharmaceutical predator Martin Shkreli tried to bribe him recently:
A Wall Street hedge fund manager named Martin Shkreli decided that he could make a lot of money off a life-saving drug for AIDS patients and other sick people by jacking the price from $13.50 per tablet to $750. Sick people be damned.

I started a congressional investigation into his price gouging. Shkreli promised to reduce the price, though he hasn't done so yet.

But Martin Shkreli was angry. He didn't like that I criticized him, so he tried to get a private meeting with me. And he thought the best way to do that was by donating $2,700 to our campaign.

That may be how other campaigns work. Not ours. We are taking Martin Shkreli's $2,700 donation and are giving it straight to an AIDS clinic in Washington, DC.

...The economic and political systems of this country are stacked against ordinary Americans. The rich get richer and use their wealth to buy elections and legislation.

Saying to Wall Street and the drug companies and the rest of the billionaire class, "please, do the right thing" while taking their money to fund your campaign is both naive and ultimately ineffective.

If we’re serious about creating jobs and health care for all, and addressing climate change and the needs of our children and the elderly, we must be serious about campaign finance reform.
If you'd like to contribute to Bernie's campaign-- and to the campaigns of any of the progressive candidates who have endorsed him, you can do that here... and long as their are no special interest strings attached!

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At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Campaign finance reform was rated the most important issue by voters throughout most of the 1990's, but all we got was this lousy BCRA - McCain-Feingold, now overcome by the Supreme Court, which sees no threat to democracy, because they are concerned with democracy's form and care nothing for its substance.

Unfortunately, most campaign money goes to the two groups most needed to fix it and least likely to do anything about it: the media, that needs to publicize this legal bribery but receives most of the dirty campaign money, and incumbent politicians, who need to vote in reform but have prospered under the corrupt system as it exists. Checkmate


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