This is what our country has become: Barack vs. Romney, a fundraising competition. 2

I subscribe to both Obama and Romney’s campaign newsletters because I like to know what they are sending out to the masses.  I got this email from the Obama camp today.  All I can say is wow.  Remember that 94% of the time, the candidate with the most campaign money wins.  All sides of this should be ashamed.  Just sayin’.  This is not how democracy is supposed to work!

Also, I have to mention that the following mass email is mis-leading.  Not counting Super PAC’s, Barack has out raised Mitt in May $38 million to $22 million.  This is, indeed, a smaller margin of difference than in previous months, but still remains.  I also want to mention that I have received very similar emails from the Romney camp.  All I can say is that I miss Buddy Roemer!  Can anyone else hear our forefathers rolling over in their graves?

 

David —
I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have so far.
I’m not just talking about the super PACs and anonymous outside groups — I’m talking about the Romney campaign itself. Those outside groups just add even more to the underlying problem.
The Romney campaign raises more than we do, and the math isn’t hard to understand: Through the primaries, we raised almost three-quarters of our money from donors giving less than $1,000, while Mitt Romney’s campaign raised more than three-quarters of its money from individuals giving $1,000 or more.
And, again, that’s not including the massive outside spending by super PACs and front groups funneling up to an additional billion dollars into ads trashing me, you, and everything we believe in.
We can be outspent and still win — but we can’t be outspent 10 to 1 and still win.
More than 2.2 million Americans have already chipped in for us, and I’m so grateful for it. As we face this week’s fundraising deadline, can you make a donation of $3 or more today?
Every donation you make today automatically enters you to join Michelle and me for one of the last grassroots dinners of this campaign — today is your last chance to get your name in.
These dinners represent how we do things differently. My opponent spent this past weekend at a secretive retreat for the biggest donors to both his campaign and the super PACs that support him.
I’ve got other responsibilities I’m attending to.
Donate today to stand for our kind of politics:
https://donate.barackobama.com/June-Deadline
Thank you,
Barack

My Ideal President… Reply

We are headed towards a presidential election that will absolutely polarize the U.S.  You could not find two candidates that represent two more opposite sides of the spectrum.  You have President Barack Obama that is very much a liberal.  I do not use liberal as a derogative term here, but there is a very clear distinction in his politics.  He is on the side of larger government, higher taxes, and distribution of wealth.  Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is making a point to say that he will get rid of as much financial regulation as possible.  He is also proposing lowering taxes.  This is a very right-wing stance.

Now, what they say and what they do are two totally separate things.  I don’t know that Obama will really try to raise capital gains to 45% or if this is simply negotiation tactics to raise taxes in another way.  I don’t know that Romney will really try to repeal all bank regulations or if this is something he is saying to encourage money from wall street into his campaign coffers.

I wish there was a middle ground.  I wish that there was a candidate that said, “government is getting too big, but we need to avoid another financial meltdown in the future so I am going to bring back Glass-Steagall.  I understand that the unemployment numbers are absurd, and it isn’t all because of Bush and Europe.  I will do everything possible to encourage small business and never raise capital gains taxes.  Health insurance is essential to have for all Americans.  I will offer a public option that competes with the rest of the industry, but will not be required.  People can opt in, if you will.”

We are a strong country.  We can be both fiscally and socially responsible!  We need a candidate that will change campaign finance so that we can feel comfortable knowing our elected officials are working for us and not their campaign donors.  We need candidates that are more worried about their constituents than they are the “party.” You can argue yourself to death about the validity of a two-party system.  Whether it is healthy or not for our country, it shouldn’t be as important as the voters.  As of right now, it is.

Oh ya, and Wall Street is NOT the enemy.  We need to recognize that there were mistakes made that we can eliminate in the future and move on.  Demonizing people who make money helps no one.  We have to admit our own mistakes that brought upon the mortgage crisis/recession.  People knew and or should have known the mortgages they were taking out were bad ideas.  Blaming the banks is very much hypocritical.  When I purchased my house, my mortgage broker pushed a 1yr Arm on me.  Guess what, I said NO.  We all had that chance.

I wrote a letter to my local Senator Maria Cantwell… She replied. Reply

I don’t know that she actually read my letter.  It could have been a staffer that attached this custom response and sent it back, but I have to say that I have sent letters to other Senators and Congressmen.  This is the first response I have received that had anything to do with my letter.  I appreciate the fact that someone read the letter and had a legit response.  Here you go:

Dear Mr. Meyers,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

In 2007, Citizens United, a non-profit advocacy group, sued the Federal Election Commission to prevent it from enforcing certain provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA). Among other things, the BCRA prevents corporations and labor unions from directly funding communications expressly advocating election or defeat of a federal candidate. In addition, corporations and unions are prohibited from funding “electioneering communications” 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election.

One of my proudest achievements as your Senator was enacting the first meaningful campaign finance reform legislation in decades – the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. That legislation was a critical breakthrough in the long battle to rein in campaign spending, to make improvements in the way politics is conducted, and to make government more responsive to our citizens. It passed through Congress with overwhelming majorities, sending a clear signal of our intent to prevent special interest money from overwhelming our electoral process. I disagree with the Supreme Court’s holding the corporations should be granted the same rights as individual citizens and I worry that this ruling will open the door to a flood of corporate spending that will drown out the voices of everyday Americans.

On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court announced its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that these restrictions constitute a “ban on speech” in violation of the First Amendment. In effect, the ruling invalidates these provisions of the BCRA and overturns over 100 years of Supreme Court case law limiting the ability of corporations and unions to influence federal elections.

I believe that public financing is the best way to ensure that candidates can focus on the issues important to voters rather than raising money from special interests. Such an approach would help transform campaigns from negative attacks into substantive debates and government decision-making from a process influenced by money to one determined by ideas.

Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 33 on December 8, 2011. This resolution would propose an amendment to the Constitution that would reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The resolution would reaffirm the authority of Congress and the states to regulate corporations and to set limits on all election contributions and expenditures. This resolution has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, where it awaits further review. In order for the proposed amendment to the Constitution to be ratified, it would require the support of two-thirds of each House of Congress and ratification by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states. If enacted, this resolution would amend the Constitution to limit the number of terms that a member of Congress may serve. The proposed term limits in the House of Representatives would be three terms and two terms in the Senate.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

Sincerely, Maria Cantwell United States Senator
For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov/contact/

Shame on U.S. Reply

As we close in on Memorial day, my mind drifts to images to two soldiers dug into a fox hole sharing a lucky strike.  One has a bit of a Bronxified Italian accent, the other has a the diction of a news reporter.  They talk about the girls from back home they want to take to a drive-in picture show.  For the moment there doesn’t seem to be any immediate danger of a Nazi soldier sneaking up on them even though you can hear the shells landing in the not-too-far-off distance.  Later the conversation drifts to the Yankees and Joe DiMaggio.  Neither one of them are old enough to buy a beer, but both enjoy another cigarette.

Almost every ten years we go to war.  Men and women die; we remain free.  I don’t mean free as in, I’m not an in shackles free, but something much more than just that.  I can wake up on Sunday and go to any kind of church I want.  At the beginning of the work week, I can mop floors or study at the university of my choice.  If I feel disenchanted with the government, I can voice my opinion at the top of my lungs, and go out to vote.  I can blog about it, update my Facebook status, or shoot out a tweet.  Bottom line, as long as I am not stepping on someone else’s rights, I can do just about any damn thing I like.

These freedoms have been paid for with blood, someones son, daughter, husband, wife, grandson, lover, etc. There are no words to explain the gratitude, just an understanding of what it has taken to get here.  The problem is that we are not holding up our end of the bargain.  Soldiers have died on our behalf to uphold our freedoms and we are allowing a failing government to ruin what our forefathers intended us.  Our nation has become bought and sold.  Our lawmakers campaign and fundraise the vast majority of their political lives.  While in office they fight for the people who put them there, their campaign donors.

Our veterans and those that we have lost did not fight to protect the corporatocracy of USA, they are fighting for the U.S.A. and our democratic values we are slowly, but surely, losing.  We owe it to them to research the people we vote for.  A thirty-second commercial does nothing to tell you about a candidate.  Look up their voting record.  Write a letter to your local congressman or woman about the stupidity of campaign finance and existence of Super PACs.  Do something to hold up our end of the deal we made with our sons, daughters, husbands, and mothers that fight for our rights!

Natural Gas exhonerates Speculators! 1

Ok, I have conversed with many via twitter that think speculators are the devil.  While I agree, as a speculator, that they are a part of the problem, I disagree that they drive price.  Instead, speculators only carry the momentum that is already pushed upon it by outside factors.  I am excited to point out the latest example of speculators being neutral when it comes to price.  Natural Gas is a commodity that is played just like oil.  There are a hundred different ways to play this commodity, but the most important point is that it is at multi-year lows.  Has demand gone down? No, but supply has gone up.  Due to fracking (no comment on the legitimacy of this process here) they are finding it under every rock in the U.S.  I exaggerate this on purpose.  Because the notion that it is everywhere is speculation.  Speculators are getting out of the trade because of an assumed over-supply.  They are correct!  This lowers the price to unheard of levels.  It is almost a 1/3 the price is was in 2010.  Where are the Senators now?  Why aren’t they out congratulating us?..  Hypocrites!

The major difference between Natural Gas and Gas at the pumps is that there are more factors for gas at the pump.  When it comes to gas, we are far more subject to feuding countries that supply it, and profit lines of major refiners here in the U.S.  Remember that it is Oil that is speculated, not the price of gas at the pump.  Big oil companies are profiting huge on the difference between the price of oil per barrel and what they can get at the pump.  Here is what I mean: Last April price of light sweet crude was $125 per barrel and oil companies were still able to make a good profit at $3.25 per gallon.  Now that oil is only $103 per barrel, they are able to charge over $4.10 at the pumps.  This isn’t speculation, but profit.

The GOP Conspiracy 1

Before I begin, I must be very clear that I am not a conspiracy theorist kind of guy nor an anti-Republican!  Therefore, it is an internal struggle to put this out there, but after several months of introspection I feel it is time.  The Republican Party seems to have conspired to keep Buddy Roemer out of the race for president.  He would never come out and say it because it opens him up for an all out attack from the party.  He would then have an even smaller chance to win an election.

What are the facts?

Buddy Roemer has all the experience you would want for a commander-in-chief.  At Harvard, he earned a BS in Economics and later an MBA in Finance.  From 1981 to 1988 he served as a Congressman.  From 1988 to 1992 he served as Louisiana’s Governor.  While there he cut the unemployment rate in half, reformed their campaign finance laws, and balanced the state’s budget.  I don’t mention this to get readers to vote for him, but to show how qualified he is to have been a candidate.  The problem isn’t what he has done, it is what he hasn’t: He has never accepted Super PAC, or special interest money.  Matter of fact, this has been his platform to get elected.  The fact that he doesn’t accept this money makes him an enemy of the state, if you will.

Imagine running Buddy out there when his platform of campaign finance reform and getting SuperPAC’s out of politics could make your party look bad, as a whole.  Fox News network, a GOP slanted news network, hasn’t even hinted that Buddy Roemer exists.  He was left out of all debates.  Why you might ask?  At first they told him he wouldn’t be allowed in the debates until he officially signed on as a candidate.  That makes perfect sense until you realize that several others hadn’t that they allowed in debates.  So, Buddy officially announces his running.  Then they told him that he had to have at least 2% of the votes of a given state to qualify.  Again, you might think that this is a fair request.  We cannot have everybody and their brother in a debate, but you have to know that when they required this from Buddy, John Huntsman, Michelle Bachmann, and Rick Perry didn’t have 2% yet they were invited into these debates.  Despite the hypocrisy of the situation, Buddy attained the 2%.  Then they said he had to have 5% of the votes.  At this time only Perry and Bachmann didn’t have the 4% but they were allowed in the debates.  Matter of fact, Buddy was ahead of both of them in the polls.  You still saw no mention of his existence on Fox News and he wasn’t allowed into the debates.  Buddy Roemer was working hard to get the 4%, and then they dropped the bomb.  They told him that he had to have a minimum amount of money raised for his campaign to get in the debates that was far beyond what he had raised to that point.  This, they knew, went directly against his platform.  He will not accept more than $100 per campaign donation.

As a result, Buddy Roemer has dropped out of the GOP race and decided to run as an Independent via the American’s Elect process.  Although I’m voting for Governor Roemer and love his platform of Campaign Finance Reform, this is not my point.  I hate the fact that politics has come to this.  Republicans snubbed one of their own because he was a threat to their pocket-book.  Democrats would have done the same thing if the situation was reversed.  It is a bi-partisan problem.  They will do anything they can to “keep the money in.”  This is why we, as a Republic, have to fight our own apathy and do something about it.  We have to support someone like Buddy.  Even if you don’t plan on voting for him, you should want a man like him in upcoming presidential debates.  His take on money in government shouldn’t be silenced or big corporations will continue to own our democracy.  We have to get the money out, and supporting people like Buddy is a way of going about it.

 

 

 

Apathy vs. misdirection: Winner kills the Republic 1

Misdirection is a form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing in order to distract its attention from another.  Apathy is a lack of enthusiasm or energy, lack of interest in anything, or the absence of any wish to do anything.

You have political ADD, prove me wrong and read the entire article.

I was watching a GOP debate in Florida a few months back.  Newt Gingrich had been taking heat from Mitt Romney because of his payments from Freddie Mac for his “historian” expertise.  Mitt was calling him out as an unregistered lobbyist without using the words.  Being that they were in Florida made it extremely poignant because of their high foreclosure rate.  Many people in the audience and in the state are/were profoundly affected by the economic crisis and inclined to hate big banks such as Freddie Mac.  Newt, came prepared, so he thought.  He attacked back.  Gingrich said Romney had personal holdings in “a part of Goldman Sachs that was explicitly foreclosing on Floridians.” He did; it’s called a blind trust. A blind trust is  a trust managed by third-party: a legal arrangement in which a trustee manages funds for the benefit of somebody who has no knowledge of the specific management actions taken by the trustee.  Assuming Newt had done his homework, he already knew this.

Why do I even point this out? It is a game of misdirection.  Government officials of all types are pointing out flaws on the other side to distract us from the big picture.  Democrats are turning the Treyvon Martin shooting into a political debate.  It shouldn’t be a debate of Republican versus Democrat.  It should simply be about convicting a murderer.  Republicans are doing everything in their power to bring down “Obama Care.”  They have turned it into a life-style choice.  Instead of the benefits of this program, they are looking at the fact that traditional medicare generally covers some sort of birth control.  “Why should I have to pay for this person’s sex-life?”  It shouldn’t be a question about paying for a sex-life, but instead about the logistics of paying for a nationwide health plan.  Debate that to death instead of trying to distract us from real issues like the fact that millions are without.  They have a very good argument when it comes to funding it, why not stick to that?  It’s not sexy enough!  They have to have multiple bullets in their distraction roulette game in the hope that one of them will hit their mark.  Democrats have, in turn, turned the Republican raised issue about paying for someone elses birth control with tax money into a “war on women.”  It is a beautiful spin making Republicans look rather sexist.  No matter how you look at it, it is a spin game.  Everything is to distract us from issues they don’t want in the headlines.

The issue that neither Republicans or Democrats want to focus on is campaign finance reform.  What?  You might say that is a huge leap.  You’re right, but hear me out for a moment.  Nothing in government is left untouched by the almighty dollar.  It is campaign dollars that push, manipulate, stall, and even write legislation.  The amount of money it takes to win an election these days is crazy, and it is getting crazier!  To keep their jobs, and their standing within their respective political parties is pushing politicians to continually fundraise.  Literally, they spend 30-60% of their time trying to put money in the war chest.  If you think that campaign donors expect nothing for their money, you are sadly mistaken.  Just looking at earmarks, there are hundreds of examples where donors are getting earmarks.  Matter of fact, I find it hard to find where an earmark didn’t benefit a campaign donor, or someone who spent millions lobbying and the lobbyist contributed to an earmarks sponsor.

If you think it is just earmarks just look at Greg Walden, Republican Congressman, who just introduced the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012.  This act would significantly reduce the FCC’s ability to govern big media companies.  He receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from the very media companies that would benefit from this legislation.

Here is where the apathy comes in.  Your eyes have probably rolled back into your head and I’ve lost your attention.  I was talking to a buddy of mine about this stuff the other day and he said, “that’s just business as usual.”  It killed me! It is only business as usual because we allow it to happen.  We allow them to distract us with topics unrelated to their pay for play government.  We didn’t do this, but it is our job to collectively stand up and say no.  It isn’t ok to sell legislation to your biggest campaign donors.  We need to take our ADD medicine and stay on point.  We need campaign finance reform more importantly than any thing else.  Once real reform is done, we can focus on other important issues.  That way they are not tainted with corporate dollars.

 

Newt’s Super PAC “uncoordinated” Reply

There are several different kinds of PAC’s (political action committee).  You have your connected PAC, un-connected PAC, Super PAC, and Leadership PAC’s.  They all boil down to one thing: raising and then throwing money at a particular issue or political campaign.  For the purposes of this article, I will focus on the campaign type of PAC.  In theory they are an avenue for people of like mind to support their favorite runner in a campaign.  The thought behind this is that it is a form of free speech.  “By donating my money to this Super PAC that supports (insert potential candidate here) I am voicing my support for him or her.”  Leadership PAC’s are very similar but they allow for spending on “non campaign costs” and the party or elected official can start this up themselves.  They can spend said money on traveling, paying administration staff, and setting up the party for which they fundraise.  So, a presidential runner might have a leadership pack to pay for everything not directly related to campaigning and a Super PAC that pays for all advertising.  The major difference is that they are not supposed to coordinate with their Super PAC.

Lets examine the idea of “coordination.” The Webster’s dictionary defines “coordination” as 1. the act of coordinating, 2. the harmonious functioning of parts for effective results.  So to put it in political terms.  A politician is not allowed to speak with his Super PAC to achieve a common goal of ultimately winning an election.  Let’s take that a step further.  Would showing up to a Super PAC fundraiser be coordination?  As the law is defined, it is.  Also, have you ever heard the end of a political commercial where they say something along the lines of, “PAID FOR BY WINNING OUR FUTURE, WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTENTS OF THIS MESSAGE, NOT AUTHORIZED BY ANY CANDIDATE OR CANDIDATE’S COMMITTEE. WWW.WINNINGOURFUTURE.COM.” This is at the end of a commercial attacking Mitt Romney for his Bain Capitol involvement.  The committee is supporting Newt Gingrich by attacking Romney.  It is their “free speech.”  It is run by Becky Burkett and Ricky Tyler. Tyler is his former Press Secretary and Becky Burkett was his Chief Development officer for his 527 called American Solutions for Winning our Future. 527’s aren’t allowed to expressly campaign for one candidate or against another.  Weird how their names are virtually identical.  In the above picture you will see Newt with his staff.  Two feet behind him is Ricky Tyler, but they are NOT coordinating.  That would be absolutely wrong, not to say illegal.  I would never imply that Newt’s staff includes a manager of his Super PAC.  I could be held liable for slander so I will not imply that he would do such a thing.  I’m sure that Tyler just happened to walk into Newt’s staff office accidentally.  While there, he didn’t speak to Newt about where his campaign was going or what messages he was trying to get across.  They certainly didn’t discuss that they should put out more commercials attacking Mitt Romney about Bain Capitol.  Again, that would be illegal and unethical.

What am I getting at here?  Super PAC’s are simply an avenue to dump unlimited amounts of money on a campaign.  There is no way of proving coordination unless we tap their phones.  Is Newt any worse than the other candidates?  No, he is playing the game in front of him.  It’s time to change the game.  The only free speech is that coming from the candidates.  The only difference is that they can get untapped donations to voice their political agenda.  You might say, so what… It’s free speech.  Is it really?  Understand that campaign donors are being rewarded for their donations.  As these donations get bigger, so do the favors they expect in return.  Just look at what donations of $2500 to $5000 are getting donors: http://thelobbyisteffect.com/2012/02/28/earmarks-are-a-microcosm-of-how-government-works/   Casino owner Sheldon Adelson has donated untold millions towards Gingrich’s election bid.  Does anyone really think he wants nothing in return? It goes the same for all the Presidential candidates.  Our government is for sale and the price is only getting bigger.  Money is NOT speech.

94% chance that Barack Obama will win election. Reply

94% of the time, the winner of presidential, congressional, or senate elections are won by the runner who has raised the most money for their respective election bids.  This is not a piece that discusses the merit of Obama being a two-term president.  This article is to discuss the absurdity of this fact.  Do we as a nation accept this?  Is it ok that the fate of our nation’s elected officials depends on their ability to raise campaign funding?  Also, are we ok with the fact that the money being raised has become so utterly ridiculous?  Barack is pushing $140million dollars in funds raised by his campaign as of the last reporting date.  Mitt Romney looks like he is on his way to securing the GOP nomination and is coming in second in fund-raising.  Weird how that works.  The leading candidate for the GOP has raised the most within that competition?   He is pushing $64million and starting to feel comfortable with his lead.  Now, it is obvious that as GOP candidates start dropping out of the running much of the money that has yet to be raised will funnel to that candidate or candidates still remaining.  They will push higher up the ladder, but if you look at combined totals for the entire GOP race, they still don’t come close to Obama’s totals.

As a nation we are becoming more and more frustrated with the fact that corporations are controlling legislation.  Companies are now considered people.  Super PAC’s allow for unlimited fund donations.  If there is only a 6% chance that your favorite candidate has if he is not the leading fundraiser, what would compel you to vote?  Consider a guy like Buddy Roemer for a second.  Those of you who do not know who he is, you are in the majority.  He has taken the road less traveled.  He only accepts donations of $100… no more.  He will not accept Super PAC’s in his name.  He is a former Governor of Louisiana and Congressman.  His qualifications are impressive yet he got absolutely no love from the GOP.  He was running as a Republican but couldn’t get in a single debate.  I’ll let you decide if it was a “conspiracy,” or not but you should know that he was beating both Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry while they were still in the running and they were allowed in the debates.  Are we really saying that a guy who stands against Big Money contributions isn’t even allowed in the game?

It just further alienates the voting public.  The vast majority of America does not contribute to campaigns and they, sure as hell, are not going to donate the amount of money that makes a real difference in a $140 million campaign.   If you are a supporter of Obama, this should infuriate you just as much as the guy who supports a GOP candidate.  Why?  Obama ran in 2008 campaign on the platform that he would end Lobbyist influence in government.  To date, he is the leading beneficiary of Lobbyist bundling.  This means a lobbyist comes to him with a pile of donation checks in “bundles.” You may believe in his ability to change for what you want, but you cannot agree with the idea that this is good for our country.  In no way is it helpful that lobbyists gain more control of our politicians by encouraging this type of campaign funding.

Bottom line: If you are not voting for Obama, you have less than 6% chance of being happy.  Worse yet, if several of the GOP candidates hold on to the very end, you have less of a chance that the money will be funneled into your favorite’s campaign, ie. less chance of catching Obama in funds raised.  I am NOT anti Obama, Newt, Mitt, Rick, or Paul, but I am very against the idea of vast amounts of money deciding the election.  There is no other way to look at it, our country is very much for sale.  Good luck Republic.