Buckle up the Fiscal Cliff is guaranteed. Reply

I’m so proud that Patty Murray, House Democrat, and Maria Cantwell, Senate Democrat, are from Washington state.  Both have made comments this week stating that we would be better off going over the “fiscal cliff.” This kind of thinking is what made this country great.  We should never compromise with the “other” party.  Instead of compromise we should self-inflict credit down-grades, and avoid balancing a budget until we get sufficient leverage over the other party.  Why pay our bills anyway?  We’re America.  People will always buy our debt; where else are they going to go… Japan?  Hell the people who vote our Congress, President, and Senate in will only suffer a little bit from their unwillingness to do the job.  I mean, why solve such an important issue?  They can always go on vacation and push it further out.  It’s not as if, voters pay their salary. Oh wait.  If you can sift through the massive amount of sarcasm, follow me.

Let me be clear, it is NOT the point of this piece of this article to put down Democrats.  These two ladies have been the only law-makers that have made comments implying that it would be beneficial to jump off said cliff.  We all know that both sides are equally stubborn.  If you have ever had a question about where the House and Senate’s loyalties lie, this should make it VERY clear.  Instead of tirelessly working on a Grand Bargain that can lead to avoiding this problem, they are holding strong to their donors’ wishes.  This has nothing to do with voters.  If it did, they would get this solved.  Instead special interests, lobbyists, and large donors have their loyalties.  No one is willing to bend for fear that they will not have the flood of donations after all is said and done.  Bottom line, all they care about is being re-elected.  This fact looms largest: 94% of the time the winner of an election is the candidate that raised the most campaign money.  So in essence they know they will win yours/my vote if they spend enough money on the campaign.  The only way to do so is to keep their campaign donors, lobbyists, and special interests happy.

 

 

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.

 

Profit, not speculation, driving gas prices! Reply

One year ago Crude oil was $120 per barrel and never broke $3.25 at the pump. Currently, Crude Oil is resting at $102 per barrel and the average price at the pump is over $4.00.  Therefore, since April 2011, oil companies are saving $20 a barrel while gas prices have risen 23%. This equals a profit increase of 40%.  Real demand has been very steady, so we have to assume that prices are merely profit based.

Several Senators and Congressmen and women have come out to attack “rampid speculation.” Senator Bernie Sanders has gained popularity just for his stance against Wall Street on this issue.  Sanders is sponsoring the End Excessive Oil Speculation Now Act.  Now I don’t see any problem with this idea, but they are so far off the point here.  It is like Papa Bear getting mad at Mamma Bear because Goldilocks ate Baby Bear’s breakfast.

Speculation does have a piece of the blame here, but it is minute compared to the almighty profit of big oil companies.  Also, speculation drives the price down just as much as it drives the price up.  The major fault with speculation is that it swings the prices more dramatically than it would otherwise be.  For example, at the end of 2008 we thought the financial world was collapsing.  Because everything in speculation is anticipation, speculators figured that demand would diminish further than it actually had.  This assumption led to the price of oil to fall to $32 a barrel.  In actuality, it had dropped, but only minimally in the grand scheme of things.  Within a year, prices had gotten back to $80 a barrel.  At that price, everyone was pretty happy.  You see, $80 is the breaking point for big oil companies to make money.  They were returning to big profits and we were still under $3.00 per gallon at the pump… a far cry from being over the $4.00 we were seeing in the summer of 2008.

Exxon Mobile, a company I love, makes 17 billion dollars a year before taxes.  Knowing that they are losing money in Natural Gas, where do you think they are getting record profits?

 

Blatant attempt to buy legislation by AT&T other corps. Reply

This is definitely a gotcha piece in my opinion.  In 2011 AT&T sought to merge/acquire T-Mobile.  Cingular/AT&T is already the largest phone carrier.  The FCC denied the merger due to anti-compete laws.  The FCC did this to ensure that AT&T couldn’t create a monopoly in the cell phone arena.  Instead of taking this FCC ruling laying down, they are now trying to purchase legislation to limit the FCC’s rule over them.  They have enlisted Representative Greg Walden, Republican of Oregon, to do their dirty work.  I say enlisted but I really mean bought him off.  Yes I said it.  They directly donated $11k to his campaign.  This is three times their average donation to any elected official. T-Mobile kicked in another 10k as they are a beneficiary here. They wanted something special from this man.

He is returning the favor.  He has submitted to congress H.R. 3309: Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012.  This bill, if passed, would significantly reduce the power of the FCC to block anti-competitive mergers from taking place.  I’m sorry but this sounds like a cellular version of Glass-Steagall Act.  I understand that the ramifications aren’t nearly as dangerous as the repealing of Glass-Steagall, but think about the long-term effects something like this could garner.  AT&T could buy up any competition that gets in their way.  This may be a small thing, but if the competition is gone, what’s to stop them from charging whatever they want?  There is a reason for these anti-compete laws.

Let’s forget about the ramifications of AT&T being able to purchase T-Mobile for a second and focus on the REAL problem here.  Are we really ok with a company that doesn’t agree with laws just donating to a congressman’s campaign so that they can change the laws in their favor?  Is this not blatant purchase of laws.  Hell, let’s take it a step further.  It is government for sale.

Meanwhile Lobbyist Paul Unger is to be mentioned.  He has donated 10k to Mr. Walden because he represents Comcast and NCTA.  Both are donors to Walden; Comcast donated as much as $30k this election cycle.  Time Warner Communications $15k.  Do you see where I’m going here?  Everyone that has skin in this game is donating big to Representative Unger.  One might say, “they are just of the belief that Greg Walden is of similar political thought.”  If that was the case, they would have been donating him in the last election cycle.  Only AT&T was a donor of his last cycle.

He is being PAID to fight the FCC.  This will probably not pass the Senate, but I am worried that we will forget the fact that this is Pay4Play.