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Tag Archive: Special Interests


GOP Lawmaker Proposes Lifetime Lobbying Ban

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa) introduced legislation on Tuesday to prevent members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists after they leave office.

  Blum, a freshman lawmaker, argued his bill would help limit lobbyists’ influence on the legislative process so members of Congress won’t feel pressured to cater to their wishes for their own self-interest.

” This bill would finally close the revolving door between Congress and special interest groups, restoring integrity to our political system and ensuring that politicians focus on representing their constituents instead of catering to lobbying groups who offer a lucrative post-electoral career,” Blum said in a statement.

” This lifetime ban on lobbying is another step in that effort to make Congress more accountable to the people by reducing the incentive for our elected officials to use their position for their own personal gain,” Blum added.”

 

The Hill has more on this great first step in the fight for responsible government 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Demographics May Be Destiny — But Not One Political Direction

 

 

 

 

” Demography is destiny, we are often told, and rightly—up to a point. The American electorate is made up of multiple identifiable segments, defined in various ways, by race and ethnicity, by age cohort, by region and religiosity (or lack thereof), by economic status and interest.

  Over time, some segments become larger and some smaller. Some prove to be politically crucial, given the political alignments of the time. Others become irrelevant as they lose cohesion and identity.

  From the results of the 2008 presidential election, many pundits prophesied a bleak future for the Republican Party, and not implausibly.

  The exit poll showed that President Obama carried by overwhelming margins two demographic segments that were bound to become a larger share of the electorate over time.

  He carried Hispanics 67 to 31 percent, despite Republican opponent John McCain‘s support of comprehensive immigration legislation. Obama carried voters under 30–the so-called Millennial Generation –by 66 to 32 percent.

  But over time, Democrats’ hold on these groups has weakened. In Gallup polls, Obama’s job approval among Hispanics declined from 75 percent in 2012 to 52 in 2013 and among Millennials from 61 percent in 2012 to 46 percent in 2013.

  The recent Harvard Institute of Politics poll of Millennials showed Democrats with a big party identification edge among those over 25, but ahead of Republicans by only 41 to 38 percent among those 18 to 20.

  The older Millennials came of political age during the late George W. Bush years and were transfixed by the glamor of candidate Obama in 2008.”

 

 

Read the whole Examiner piece and see why the Dem’s celebration may be premature .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gee, I Wonder Why Unemployment Is So High

 

 

Cosby GIF

 

 

   The list at the link is just a small collection of ridiculously regulated trades that various state governments have instituted in the name of “protecting” the public , but which are really the result of lobbying efforts by private industry to protect/restrict their businesses , one example of which we highlight below . This is the power of government , picking winners and losers . Crony capitalism at work .

 

 

 

8. Makeup Artists

 

” Teaching someone how to put on makeup without a government permission slip is illegal in 36 states. Even worse, many of these states demand makeup artists get a cosmetologist or esthetician license, which covers many skills they don’t even use. For example, in Nevada, these entrepreneurs are forced to spend “700 hours in a classroom to learn about subjects that have nothing to do with makeup artistry, like how to cut hair, wax eyebrows and manicure nails.” The state’s restrictions are so strict they triggered a lawsuit.”

 

Read more about this protectionism in the guise of “public safety” at BuzzFeed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The US Is An Oligarchy, Study Concludes

 

 

Oligarchy-2

 

 

 

” The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country’s citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has concluded.

  The report, entitled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, used extensive policy data collected from between the years of 1981 and 2002 to empirically determine the state of the US political system.

  After sifting through nearly 1,800 US policies enacted in that period and comparing them to the expressed preferences of average Americans (50th percentile of income), affluent Americans (90th percentile) and large special interests groups, researchers concluded that the United States is dominated by its economic elite.

  The peer-reviewed study, which will be taught at these universities in September, says: “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

  Researchers concluded that US government policies rarely align with the the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favour special interests and lobbying organizations: “When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Public Service Announcement From The Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition

 

 

The Top Five Special Interest Groups That Lobby Against Medical Marijuana

 

 

 

 

For some simple facts to back up the assertion on the poster above the reader is invited to check out this link .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Turns Out The ‘Evil’ Koch Bros Are Only The 59th Biggest Donors In American Politics. Can You Guess Who Is Number One?

 

 

 

” Charles and David Koch are the two most evil people in American politics, right? We know that because Jane Mayer proved it with her landmark “Covert Operations” tour de liberal force in 2010.

  Well, it turns out that Mayer’s aim was off just a little, by like 58 slots on the all-time biggest donors in American politics list, as compiled by OpenSecrets.org.

  OpenSecrets.org tallied the top donors in federal elections between 1989 and 2014. Koch Industries — privately owned by the Evil Koch Bros — is on the list, to be sure, but doesn’t appear until the 59th slot, with $18 million in donations, 90 percent of which went to Republicans.

  So who occupies the 58 spots ahead of the Evil Koch Bros? Six of the top 10 are … wait for it … unions. They gave more than $278 million, with most of it going to Democrats.

  These are familiar names: AFSCME ($60.6 million), NEA ($53.5 million), IBEW ($44.4 million), UAW ($41.6 million), Carpenters & Joiners ($39.2 million) and SEIU ($38.3 million).

  In other words, the six biggest union donors in American politics gave 15 times more to mostly Democrats than the Evil Koch Bros.”

 

 

    Below is the complete list from Open Secrets by way of the Center For Responsive Politics of the 156 biggest political campaign donor organizations . It should come as little surprise that the lion’s share of the contributions go to the party of “the little people” , yes , the Democrats . The union organizations are highlighted in red .

   Just a cursory glance below is more than enough to open the reader’s eyes as to which party is the party of “special interests” media meme’s not withstanding . For gosh sakes , the American Postal Workers Union gave nearly as much as the Koch brothers . 

 

 

Top All-Time Donors, 1989-2014

LEGEND:   Republican    Democrat    On the fence


 
  
= Between 40% and 59% to both parties
= Leans Dem/Repub (60%-69%)
= Strongly Dem/Repub (70%-89%)
= Solidly Dem/Repub (over 90%)
Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% as money can be given to third party
candidates or outside spending groups and PACs not affiliated with either party.
Rank Organization Total ’89-’12 Dem % Repub % Tilt
1 ActBlue $97,192,340 99% 0%    
2 American Fedn of State, County & Municipal Employees $60,667,379 81% 1%   
3 AT&T Inc $56,449,317 41% 57%
4 National Education Assn $53,594,488 61% 4%
5 National Assn of Realtors $51,207,902 44% 47%
6 Goldman Sachs $44,847,951 53% 44%
7 Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $44,478,789 92% 1%    
8 United Auto Workers $41,667,858 71% 0%   
9 Carpenters & Joiners Union $39,260,371 74% 9%   
10 Service Employees International Union $38,395,690 84% 2%   
11 Laborers Union $37,494,010 85% 7%   
12 American Federation of Teachers $36,713,325 89% 0%   
13 Communications Workers of America $36,188,135 86% 0%   
14 Teamsters Union $36,123,209 88% 5%   
15 JPMorgan Chase & Co $34,527,277 48% 51%
16 United Food & Commercial Workers Union $33,756,550 86% 0%   
17 United Parcel Service $32,214,128 35% 64%
18 Citigroup Inc $32,198,122 48% 50%
19 National Auto Dealers Assn $31,818,910 31% 68%
20 Machinists & Aerospace Workers Union $31,313,097 98% 1%    
21 EMILY’s List $31,267,654 98% 0%    
22 American Bankers Assn $31,135,202 36% 63%
23 AFL-CIO $30,938,977 61% 3%
24 American Medical Assn $29,990,879 40% 59%
25 Microsoft Corp $29,245,015 55% 43%
26 National Beer Wholesalers Assn $28,976,510 35% 64%
27 Blue Cross/Blue Shield $28,491,678 36% 63%
28 General Electric $27,741,628 47% 51%
29 National Assn of Home Builders $27,509,880 34% 65%
30 Lockheed Martin $27,246,173 42% 57%
31 Bank of America $26,822,749 41% 57%
32 National Assn of Letter Carriers $26,106,359 84% 9%   
33 Morgan Stanley $26,074,770 42% 56%
34 Verizon Communications $25,490,499 40% 59%
35 Deloitte LLP $24,979,333 35% 63%
36 Time Warner $24,463,922 72% 25%   
37 Newsweb Corp $24,387,371 41% 0%
38 Credit Union National Assn $24,056,155 47% 51%
39 Plumbers & Pipefitters Union $23,886,248 85% 4%   
40 Altria Group $23,750,298 28% 70%   
41 Ernst & Young $23,114,243 42% 57%
42 Operating Engineers Union $23,036,848 82% 14%   
43 International Assn of Fire Fighters $22,963,260 79% 16%   
44 American Hospital Assn $22,909,326 52% 46%
45 PricewaterhouseCoopers $22,461,596 35% 64%
46 Sheet Metal Workers Union $22,372,978 95% 2%    
47 American Dental Assn $21,791,508 44% 54%
48 Boeing Co $21,502,737 46% 52%
49 UBS AG $21,354,742 40% 58%
50 Comcast Corp $20,603,390 57% 42%
51 AFLAC Inc $19,822,809 43% 56%
52 National Rifle Assn $19,771,191 17% 82%   
53 Pfizer Inc $19,699,869 35% 64%
54 Northrop Grumman $19,633,964 42% 57%
55 Union Pacific Corp $19,617,968 27% 72%   
56 Air Line Pilots Assn $19,538,047 83% 16%   
57 Honeywell International $19,447,557 44% 54%
58 Natl Assn/Insurance & Financial Advisors $19,305,624 41% 58%
59 Koch Industries $18,083,948 8% 90%    
60 American Postal Workers Union $17,957,308 86% 2%   
61 American Assn for Justice $17,581,358 80% 3%   
62 FedEx Corp $17,506,083 39% 60%
63 Ironworkers Union $17,386,345 92% 6%    
64 Club for Growth $17,271,352 0% 95%    
65 Credit Suisse Group $17,191,340 41% 57%
66 United Transportation Union $17,096,750 87% 11%   
67 New York Life Insurance $16,898,487 49% 50%
68 Raytheon Co $16,864,289 44% 55%
69 National Rural Electric Cooperative Assn $16,552,363 47% 52%
70 General Dynamics $16,549,202 46% 53%
71 Akin, Gump et al $16,463,510 61% 37%
72 United Steelworkers $16,426,444 99% 0%    
73 American Institute of CPAs $15,952,635 41% 58%
74 National Air Traffic Controllers Assn $15,883,050 77% 20%   
75 Chevron $15,826,864 19% 64%
76 Anheuser-Busch $15,612,613 48% 51%
77 Reynolds American $15,574,198 22% 77%   
78 Exxon Mobil $15,220,537 13% 85%   
79 KPMG LLP $15,112,328 34% 65%
80 National Cable & Telecommunications Assn $15,048,560 47% 51%
81 DLA Piper $14,902,117 68% 31%
82 Merrill Lynch $14,865,217 37% 62%
83 Wal-Mart Stores $14,851,004 32% 67%
84 GlaxoSmithKline $14,625,493 30% 69%
85 CSX Corp $14,118,661 34% 65%
86 Walt Disney Co $14,104,107 68% 30%
87 News Corp $13,917,083 58% 41%
88 American Financial Group $13,910,355 15% 73%   
89 Indep Insurance Agents & Brokers/America $13,731,200 34% 64%
90 American Health Care Assn $13,727,858 51% 48%
91 Wells Fargo $13,639,116 36% 61%
92 Associated Builders & Contractors $13,577,082 1% 98%    
93 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance $13,565,554 38% 60%
94 University of California $13,552,056 89% 9%   
95 American Crystal Sugar $13,309,209 61% 37%
96 WPP Group $13,257,197 53% 45%
97 American Society of Anesthesiologists $13,166,537 41% 58%
98 Prudential Financial $13,051,316 49% 50%
99 Southern Co $12,973,439 29% 70%   
100 National Restaurant Assn $12,605,181 16% 83%   
101 Securities Industry & Financial Mkt Assn $12,438,248 40% 59%
102 Human Rights Campaign $12,148,422 89% 8%   
103 MetLife Inc $12,038,047 51% 47%
104 American Optometric Assn $12,034,433 57% 42%
105 Home Depot $11,900,495 25% 74%   
106 American Academy of Ophthalmology $11,895,708 50% 49%
107 Natl Active & Retired Fed Employees Assn $11,802,200 78% 21%   
108 Saban Capital Group $11,683,172 89% 0%   
109 Eli Lilly & Co $11,651,455 31% 67%
110 United Technologies $11,577,894 45% 52%
111 General Motors $11,281,497 38% 60%
112 Associated General Contractors $11,198,897 14% 85%   
113 Painters & Allied Trades Union $11,081,080 85% 12%   
114 National Assn of Broadcasters $11,051,822 44% 55%
115 American Maritime Officers $11,019,831 46% 53%
116 UST Inc $10,930,093 22% 77%   
117 Ford Motor Co $10,739,089 38% 60%
118 Skadden, Arps et al $10,700,094 77% 22%   
119 BellSouth Corp $10,680,784 43% 56%
120 AIG $10,548,621 49% 50%
121 Seafarers International Union $10,449,415 83% 15%   
122 Exelon Corp $10,448,670 43% 56%
123 National Cmte to Preserve Social Security & Medicare $10,391,306 82% 17%   
124 Independent Community Bankers of America $10,367,285 42% 57%
125 Amway/Alticor Inc $10,312,313 0% 97%    
126 Freddie Mac $10,294,709 43% 56%
127 MBNA Corp $10,282,913 16% 83%   
128 Patton Boggs LLP $10,134,606 71% 27%   
129 American Airlines $10,071,131 43% 55%
130 American Trucking Assns $9,975,648 27% 72%   
131 American Physical Therapy Assn $9,795,983 49% 50%
132 Lehman Brothers $9,729,764 52% 46%
133 Blackstone Group $9,658,975 46% 51%
134 National Fedn of Independent Business $9,616,283 6% 93%    
135 Greenberg Traurig LLP $9,546,903 62% 37%
136 Transport Workers Union $9,531,899 95% 4%    
137 American Council of Life Insurers $9,454,728 38% 61%
138 Amalgamated Transit Union $9,453,918 93% 6%    
139 Harvard University $9,436,590 87% 12%   
140 Archer Daniels Midland $9,394,067 42% 57%
141 Aircraft Owners & Pilots Assn $9,337,413 43% 56%
142 Fannie Mae $9,140,977 53% 46%
143 National Rural Letter Carriers Assn $9,021,100 71% 28%   
144 Wachovia Corp $8,575,944 30% 69%
145 National Cmte for an Effective Congress $8,447,690 99% 0%    
146 Interpublic Group $8,286,183 66% 32%
147 Marine Engineers Beneficial Assn $8,155,379 73% 25%   
148 Bristol-Myers Squibb $7,926,699 23% 76%   
149 MCI Inc $7,659,226 45% 54%
150 Bear Stearns $7,280,973 55% 43%
151 BP $6,843,520 30% 69%
152 Enron Corp $6,544,528 28% 71%   
153 Andersen $6,267,045 37% 62%
154 Vivendi $6,037,717 60% 33%
155 MGM Resorts International $5,831,055 45% 47%
156 Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp $5,089,791 39% 60%
Based on data released by the FEC on December 16, 2013.

” Feel free to distribute or cite this material, but please credit the Center for Responsive Politics. For permission to reprint for commercial uses, such as textbooks, contact the Center “

 

 

 

The Washington Examiner has more on the lies of the left and their media acolytes .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Cracked

 

 

” Every time we hear someone complaining about wasted tax dollars, we usually just roll our eyes and get back to whatever pantsless activity we were attempting to engage in. But, you know, it turns out those people kind of have a point. We asked our readers to find us the biggest waste of time, money, and resources and gave $200 to the most appalling …”

Imagine that . The State Dept spends nearly two thirds of a million dollars for Facebook likes . There is plenty more waste to be seen here .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Department Of Black Justice Issues Discipline Rules For Teachers: Black Students Must Be Let Off The Hook

 

 

 

 

 

” The Obama administration is issuing new recommendations on classroom discipline that seek to end the apparent disparities in how students of different races are punished for violating school rules.

  Civil rights advocates have long said that a “school-to-prison” pipeline stems from overly zealous school discipline policies targeting black and Hispanic students that bring them out of school and into the court system.

  Attorney General Eric Holder said the problem often stems from well intentioned “zero-tolerance” policies that too often inject the criminal justice system into the resolution of problems. Zero tolerance policies, a tool that became popular in the 1990s, often spell out uniform and swift punishment for offenses such as truancy, smoking or carrying a weapon. Violators can lose classroom time or become saddled with a criminal record.

“ Ordinary troublemaking can sometimes provoke responses that are overly severe, including out of school suspensions, expulsions and even referral to law enforcement and then you end up with kids that end up in police precincts instead of the principal’s office,” Holder said.”

 

 

HT/Ulsterman Report

 

 

 

 

 

As White House Makes Final Push On TPP, Congress Slams On The Brakes

 

 

 

 

” Things are heating up around the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the trade agreement among many of the Pacific Rim countries that has tremendous problems. The US has been pushing very, very hard to get the deal signed and delivered by the end of the year. US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that he still believes an agreement can be made by the end of the year.”

 

     As the Obama administration tries to do an end run around Congress to rush this secret agreement through before the end of the year some in Washington have made known that they are not happy with being kept in the dark and are unwilling to give up their treaty approval authority and they have vowed to fight back .

 

 

” Of course, there are a number of indications that with some of the massive gaps between negotiating positions that still remain that it may be difficult to hammer out an agreement in time. But… it also might not matter much, because Congress may be slamming the brakes on the whole process. We just noted that a very large number of folks in Congress have told the White House that they’re very uncomfortable giving the USTR “trade promotion authority” or “fast track authority,” which would effectively have Congress giving up its Constitutionally defined role as the sole governmental branch that can “regulate commerce with foreign nations.” 

 

 

 

” In effect, without trade promotion authority, the USTR is negotiating without any real mandate. That is, the agreement itself is somewhat meaningless, because the USTR has no ability to commit the US to anything. Only Congress can do that, and it appears Congress is skeptical about giving up its Constitutional powers to the USTR — and, given what’s been seen in the leaked versions of the TPP (oh yeah, and the very fact that it had to be leaked in the first place) — it seems Congress has some very good reasons to be wary of the USTR having any more power than it currently does.”

 

 

    This bill is cronyism at it’s worst and even more despicable is the fact that the majority of Republicans seem perfectly willing to allow President Obama and the USTR to sign away our rights and that the Democrats in congress are the ones that are the defenders of our rights . For shame .

   Remember that this bill has provisions it it that will allow the government to take control over patents , copyrights , the internet and a host of other creative avenues all done under the greatest cloud of secrecy . When we have to depend on Steny Hoyer and the Democrats to protect our internet rights and other commercial freedoms from the Republicans in congress it should come as no surprise why Republican approval is in the toilet

 

 

TPP MUST BE STOPPED 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sessions: Let’s Face It, This Immigration Bill Is Beyond Repair

 

 

 

 

 

” Washington is bickering over whether the Cornyn amendment to the Gang of Eight framework is a deal-breaking and onerous “poison pill,” or a totally inadequate “Trojan horse.”  The New York Times published a piece pondering that exact question on Friday.  It quoted Chuck Schumer panning the plan as a “nonstarter” and “deal-killer,” without specifying a single policy flaw.  How does any of this go “too far”?  One Republican Senator is having none of this entire show.  Alabama’s Jeff Sessions released a blistering statement Sunday morning preemptively rejecting any “cosmetic fixes” to the legislation (hyperlinks and emphasis his):

When the Gang of Eight first announced their immigration bill they declared it was the toughest enforcement plan in history. They declared enforcement would come before legalization. And they declared that anyone who suggested otherwise didn’t know what they were talking about. Now the bill has been reviewed and there can be no dispute: it weakens current lawundermines future enforcement and puts amnesty—not enforcement—first. So new promises of amendment ‘fixes’ to save the bill should be viewed with great skepticism: every time, on every issue, the promises have not matched with reality. They promised back taxes—but the requirement isn’t there; they promised tight restrictions on welfare benefits—but state and local benefits, as well as tax credits,will be available immediately and federal welfare access is granted to millions of illegal immigrants starting in five years; they promised to protect workers—but this bill would devastate workers by tripling the number of legal immigrants over the next decade and doubling the number of guest workers.

No small cosmetic fix can save this bill, with so many provisions clearly authored by special interests whose chief desires are lower wages and amnesty—rather than a lawful, rational system of immigration. As the ICE officers’ association warned: ‘instead of cracking down on the Administration’s abuse of powerS. 744 places unprecedented new restrictions on interior enforcement—making the current situation much worse and much more hazardous. It is as if S. 744 were explicitly written to handcuff law enforcement officials—binding their hands while giving virtually unchecked authority to executive branch officials to prevent future removals, including removals of criminal aliens.’ And as the USCIS adjudications officers warned: ‘the legislation was written with special interests—producing a bill that makes the current system worse, not better. S. 744 will damage public safety and national security and should be opposed by lawmakers.’ It’s time for the Gang of Eight to start being straight with the American public.” “

Morning Bell: A Bumper Crop of Food Stamps

 

” Where do food stamps come from?” 

 

Cartoon by Glenn Foden

 

 

” They come from taxpayers—certainly not from family farms. Yet the “farm” bill, a recurring subsidy-fest in Congress, is actually 80 percent food stamps and other government nutrition programs.

It has become the norm that Congress lumps billions—even trillions—of dollars in taxpayer-funded programs together into huge bills. This allows them to sneak in plenty of special-interest pork.”

 

 

 

Illustration by Glenn Foden

 

 

 

 

Amnesty Opposition Grows

 

 

 

” The National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council (USCIS Council) says the legislation fails to address its top concerns about the current system, including the pressure on USCIS officers to approve visa applications without thorough review and the bureaucratic barricades that prevent them from coordinating with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials.

Sources say it is highly unusual for the USCIS Council to weigh in publicly on legislation.

Like the ICE Council, the USCIS Council was not consulted in the crafting of the Gang of Eight’s legislation,” wrote USCIS Council president Kenneth Palinkas in a statement. “Instead, the legislation was written with special interestsproducing a bill that makes the current system worse, not better. S. 744 will damage public safety and national security and should be opposed by lawmakers.”

“The legislation will provide legal status to millions of visa overstays while failing to provide for necessary in-person interviews,” said Palinkas “We need immigration reform that works. This legislation, sadly, will not.” “

 

 

 

 

” You know, I am starting to wonder who Democrats think of as “Americans”. I mean, like mainstream Americans who care about the economy, and jobs, and education, and world affairs, and important stuff like that.

image

  Because, according to Democrats, women aren’t in that category. Nor are black people. Or Latinos. Or gay people. Or the poor. Or anyone else that belongs to some “group” defined by the Democrats. The only
remaining people are white males who aren’t in poverty. And that kind of explains why things like jobs and the economy and such don’t seem that important to the
Democrats, because those aren’t the issues that their assigned groups care about… ”

HT/IMAO