Sunday, February 14, 2016

Conservatives Are Corrupt By Nature And By Ideology-- Whether Republicans OR Democrats


TPP shill Ami Bera

Corrupt conservatives-- often recruited or at least heavily supported-- by the DCCC are constantly betraying progressive values in return for campaign contributions. Few are as bad as New Dems Patrick Murphy, Sean Patrick Maloney and Gregory Meeks. But another aisle-crossing New Dem, Ami Bera, has supported job-killing trade pacts once too many times and the local Democratic Party in the suburbs east of Sacramento have denied him the Democratic Party pre-endorsement and several major labor unions have announced they will not endorse him and have cut off funding to him. Alas, though, he has no primary opponent and the DCCC has pledged to stand by him, despite a consistent record of voting with the GOP. In 2014 the DCCC spent $4,654,796 to save his worthless hide. Nancy Pelosi's House Majority PAC spent another $1,203,057. He scraped by with by a nose-- 92,521 to 91,066, one of the closest races in the nation. California has 5 conservative Democratic Members of Congress besides Bera who deserve to be primaried and retired: Julia Brownley (New Dem), Pete Aguilar (New Dem), Scott Peters (New Dem), Raul Ruiz and Jim Costa (Blue Dog). Each of them has been graded "F" by ProgressivePunch.

But California's problem with corrupt conservatives doesn't start with Congress. It starts with the den of corruption in Sacramento. In fact, many of California's worst Members of Congress learned how to see so bad while serving (or self-serving) in Sacramento. This cycle, the single most corrupt Sacramento legislator, Isadore Hall, is being heavily pushed by the Democratic Party establishment, including the same unions out to defeat Bera, for a House seat against a proven progressive woman, Nanette Barragán.

This week, Taryn Luna, writing for the Sacramento Bee explained exactly how corrupt conservatives defeat any bills the Chamber of Commerce doesn't like. "Every spring the California Chamber of Commerce introduces its so-called 'job killer' list," she wrote, "a handpicked collection of bills the group says will reduce jobs and deter companies from doing business in the state. Critics of the long-standing lobbying practice call the list little more than a marketing campaign carried out on behalf of big business. One thing is certain: You don’t want your bill to be on it."
Only 47 of 650 bills labeled job killers have become law since the list debuted in 1997, according to the chamber’s tally. The history is archived in a section labeled “The Graveyard” on a website devoted to the issue, Many of the bills never reach a formal vote and instead die off at the author’s discretion, lacking support.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a San Diego Democrat who boasts a rare 2-0 winning record against the chamber, considers it a badge of honor when business interests attack her bills. A self-described supporter of workers’ rights, Gonzalez said it proves that she’s doing her job.

Gonzalez introduced a bill in 2014 to provide workers with three days of paid sick leave a year. AB 1522 made the job killers list because it increased the employer mandate, according to the chamber.

The bill was one of three labeled job killers that passed in 2014, but was removed from the list 12 days before it was signed into law... Gonzalez said the chamber took the bill off the list to keep its bill-killing record intact.
In the late 1990s Pete Wilson helped destroy the California Republican Party as a real contender and the Chamber started depending more and more on easily corruptible right-wing Democrats (like Hall). Blockheads in the media label the corrupt conservatives "moderates," but it's a terrible use of the word. A trio of Bee reporters wrote relatively cogently about Sacramento's corrupt conservaDems-- with the stupidly applied "moderate" appellation-- in September. "On the final day of the session Friday, Democrats who dominate the California Assembly labored to pass a watered-down measure expanding the state’s unpaid family leave policy. They were at least eight votes short, with stiff resistance from business-friendly moderates in their party. Senate Bill 406 had been a major target for the California Chamber of Commerce, which placed the measure on its list of 'job killer' legislation. Earlier, it had been weakened in the Assembly to reduce the number of businesses to which it would apply." The lobbyist-controlled right-wing Democrats have joined with the GOP to defeat an increase in the minimum wage, as well as bills to protect consumers, a bill to protect minors from tobacco products, bills to disadvantage unions and bills to prevent pollution and ameliorate Climate Change. The corrupt rightists also introduce lobbyist-written bills into the Democratic caucus. Who needs Republicans?
Today many liberal lawmakers credit the chamber for developing an effective tactic to draw attention to its opposition, but question whether the list has any real impact on jobs.

“When you call something a job killer, my goodness, in one second you’ve got someone’s attention,” said Sen. Jackson. “You’ve hit on a chord. People don’t want their jobs being killed. They don’t want public policy to be destructive of jobs. It’s a very simple, but frankly not a very accurate, characterization.”

A year ago Jackson introduced a bill to give workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid family sick leave. SB 406 would allow employees to retain their jobs and take unpaid time off to care for their newborn, or themselves or a close relative with a serious health issue.

Jackson’s bill made the job killer list because the chamber said it increased costs, risk of litigation and created less conformity with federal law. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed SB 406, highlighting some of the same concerns as the chamber.

One of the worst of the corrupt conservatives in Sacramento is San Bernadino County Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown. The Sierra Club has called her out for taking $18,300 from Big Oil and then backing their toxic agenda. This year they assigned her a failing grade-- 67%, tied for 3rd worst in the legislature. Clean Water Action graded her a D, normally a grade Republicans get, not Democrats. Blue America has endorsed Eloise Reyes, a progressive, against her, as have the AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, the Sierra Club, Congressman Xavier Becerra and the most trusted of the members of the state legislature, Sen. Tony Mendoza.

What progressives are doing with Bera-- withholding endorsements and money might defeat him, though probably not-- is sending a message. It's not really an effective way to change the corrupt conservatives' behavior, especially not while the same groups are supporting a character like Isadore Hall, who is even worse than Bera (and Brown). However, recruiting and backing Eloise Reyes and helping her beat Brown... that's the perfect vehicle for a message and I don't have any doubt that several of the worst members of the state legislature will get the point. If you'd like to contribute to Eloise's campaign, by the way, you can do so here.

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