Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Unions... You Gotta Love 'Em-- Well, Some Of Them


Watch the CBS-TV report above that insinuates-- especially for a passive viewer-- that Democratic SuperPACs run by unions are just doing the same thing Republican SuperPACs run by a handful of dangerous, predatory billionaire and multimillionaire sociopaths. It's incredibly, and typically, misleading. Shamefully misleading. "Unions have always been more partisan," mouths willing idiot Bob Biersack of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, "and so they will be as aggressive this year as they possibly can again this cycle in support of Democrats." They quote Karen White of the NEA, the nation's largest union. That struck a chord. I remember sitting in a meeting of progressive groups and we were debating how heavily to back Ilya Sheyman against Brad Schneider, the conservative Big Business-friendly Democrat the DC Establishment and Cook County Machine were backing. The NEA spokesperson chimed in that his union was backing Bob Dold, the Republican. And the NEA is hardly the only union that backs Republicans.

Some unions, in fact, lean very conservative and actually back Republicans a lot. Let's look at spending so far this year on one of the most right-wing, backward bunch of unions anywhere, the AFL-CIO's building trades unions. I noticed that whenever other progressive groups-- and other unions-- wanted to get behind a progressive candidate, the Building Trades fellas always vetoed it. Always doesn't mean 99%. Always means every single time; no exceptions. They seem to favor corrupt, conservative Democrats like Marty Chavez in Albuquerque but they have no problem backing hard core Republicans either.

So far this cycle, the AFL-CIO Building Trades unions have spent more on House Republicans than on House Democrats. They are working tirelessly to make sure that John Boehner and Eric Cantor control the agenda next year-- an agenda that seeks to enslave their members. You think I'm exaggerating? The numbers don't lie. They spent $103,500 on Republican candidates and $90,125 on Democrats so far this cycle. Their biggest single recipients so far have been:
Steven LaTourette (R-OH)- $8,000
Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)- $7,500
Jon Runyan (R-NJ)- $6,000
John Garamendi (D-CA)- $5,000
Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)- $4,500

Scary company for Garamendi! Other friends of the working man they've doled out cash to this cycle: Lou Barletta (R-PA), Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK), Bob Dold (R-IL), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Sam Graves (R-MO), Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm (R-Mob), Joe Heck (R-NV), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), David McKinley (R-WV), David Rivera (R-FL), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Mean Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Aaron Schock (R-IL), John Shimkus (R-IL), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Lee Terry (R-NE), Fred Upton (R-MI), Joe Walsh (R-IL)... and plenty others. I just wanted to end on the high note of Joe Walsh and to only include congressmembers who I recall off hand voting against the interests of working families on a regular basis.

Now that Labor's candidate, Thaddeus, has withdrawn from his reelection bid, I'm wondering if the unions will get behind Syed Taj, the Democratic nominee for the 11th CD. There are also a LaRouchie, a teabagger and a garden variety conservative Republican. Those Building and Trades guys are going to have so much to think about. I hope no one drives a nail through his hand. Oh, I forgot, the DC bureaucrats who make these boneheaded decisions don't go near a hammer or a nail. Anyway, you can help Syed Taj out here on our ActBlue page.

So while corporate media warns the country about how the unions are financing the Democrats and assuring everyone that the unions balance out the billionaire fascists and predators, Robert Reich penned a more realistic assessment this monring, , The Quiet Coup d'Etat. And the coup d'etat is against democracy itself.
JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, BP, Chevron, WalMart, and billionaires Charles and David Koch are launching a multi-million dollar TV ad Tuesday blasting President Obama over the national debt.

Actually, I don’t know who’s behind the ad, because there’s no way to know. And that’s a big problem.

The front group for the ad is Crossroads GPS, the sister organization to the super PAC American Crossroads, run by Republican political operative Karl Rove.

Because Crossroads GPS is a tax-exempt nonprofit group, it can spend unlimited money on politics-- and it doesn’t have to reveal where it gets the dough.

By law, all it has to do is spent most of the money on policy “issues,” which is a fig leaf for partisan politics.

Here’s what counts as an issue ad, as opposed to a partisan one: The narrator in the ad Crossroads GPS is launching solemnly intones: “In 2008, Barack Obama said, ‘We can’t mortgage our children’s future on a mountain of debt.’ Now he’s adding $4 billion in debt every day, borrowing from China for his spending. Every second, growing our debt faster than our economy,” he continues. “Tell Obama, stop the spending.”

This is a lie, by the way.

Obama isn’t adding to the debt every day. The debt is growing because of obligations entered into long ago, many under George W. Bush-- including two giant tax cuts that went mostly to the very wealthy that were supposed to be temporary and which are still going, courtesy of Republican blackmail over raising the debt limit.

In realty, government spending as a portion of GDP keeps dropping.

As I said, I don’t know who’s financing this lie but there’s good reason to think it’s some combination of Wall Street, big corporations, and the billionaire Koch brothers.

According to the inside-Washington Politico, the Koch brothers’ network alone is planning to spend $400 million over the next six months trying to defeat Obama, which is more than Senator John McCain spent on his entire 2008 campaign.

Big corporations and Wall Street are also secretly funneling big bucks into front groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that will use the money to air anti-Obama ads but keep their identities secret.

Looking at the all the anti-Obama super PACs and political fronts like Crossroads GPS, Politico estimates the anti-Obama forces (including the Romney campaign) will outspend Obama and pro-Obama groups by 2 to 1 over the next six months.

How can it be that big corporations and billionaires will be spending unlimited amounts shoving out lies like this one, without any accountability because no one will know where the money is coming from?

Blame a majority of the Supreme Court in its grotesque 2010 Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission decision-- as well as the IRS for lax enforcement that lets political front groups like Crossroads GPS or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce pretend they’re not political.

But you might also blame something deeper, more sinister.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist (you can’t have served in Washington and seriously believe more than two people can hold on to a big story without it leaking), but I fear that at least since 2010 we’ve been witnessing a quiet, slow-motion coup d’etat-- financed by a handful of billionaires, along with some big companies and Wall Street banks, all intent on repealing every bit of progressive legislation since the New Deal by telling Americans a few big lies, over and over.

I desperately hope I’m wrong, but all there’s growing evidence I may be right.

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At 2:15 PM, Anonymous torridjoe said...

That McCotter money was well spent, eh?

At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Occupy the Unions. Turn them democratic and liberal again. All of them. I work with a bunch of union guys and they love Faux News. They talk down about democracy, liberty, & anything that smacks of the why and wherefore of who they actually are - working class blue collar people. I do not understand how or why they bother to be in a union if they do not understand why it exists. Anti-union union workers. Truly Republican hypocrits is what they all are. Liars and cheats who have no morals or integrity. They might as well wear shirts that say "I joined the union so I could tear it apart from the inside and never believed anything about what a union stands for". Probably another 40 year plan by GOP to take out the unions from the inside.


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