Archives for posts with tag: Bribe Bless the mainstream “News” media for their circumspection, but let’s call spades “spades” here, shall we, Gentle Reader? These are not “contributions”, they are BRIBES. BRIBES.The right-wingnut Teavangelical typhoon Johnnie Menard funneled at least a million and a half bribing bucks, in secret, to Scott Walker’s political operation. And he got what he paid for, too:

So a little more than three years ago, when Menard wanted to back Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — and help advance his pro-business agenda — he found the perfect way to do so without attracting any attention: He wrote more than $1.5 million in checks to a pro-Walker political advocacy group that pledged to keep its donors secret, three sources directly familiar with the transactions told Yahoo News.

Menard’s previously unreported six-figure contributions to the Wisconsin Club for Growth — a group that spent heavily to defend Walker during a bitter 2012 recall election — seem to have paid off for the businessman and his company. In the past two years, Menard’s company has been awarded up to $1.8 million in special tax credits from a state economic development corporation that Walker chairs, according to state records.

And in his five years in office, Walker’s appointees have sharply scaled back enforcement actions by the state Department of Natural Resources — a top Menard priority. The agency had repeatedly clashed with Menard and his company under previous governors over citations for violating state environmental laws and had levied a $1.7 million fine against Menard personally, as well as his company, for illegally dumping hazardous wastes.

This is why the Roberts Court is wrong about campaign funds and speech. It is why the “Republican” party has become a criminal enterprise. When secret money buys elections, it buys our government. One more time, loudly:

When secret money buys elections, it buys our government: it buys our executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

And when skeevy crooks like Menard buy the government, we the people LOSE our government. We have already lost it in Ohio, Wisconsin, and much of the rest of the nation.  We can take it back; by voting.  And by  being engaged, enraged citizens.

Or we can continue doing nothing, and lose it all. It’s our choice.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

Not much different than a fast-food drive-thru, really, except for the high price and the product. Due to an accidental bit of transparency, the list of prices charged for services provided by “Republican” whores governors has been posted online, and turns out it’s as cheap as the politicos themselves. Big business and their lackeys pay secretly for secret influence over government policy, and it’s a sweet deal for all involved (but not for the rest of us). From the NYT:

The documents, many of which the Republican officials have since removed from their website, showed that many of America’s most prominent companies, from Aetna to Walmart, had poured millions of dollars into the campaigns of Republican governors since 2008. One document listed 17 corporate “members” of the governors association’s secretive 501(c)(4), the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee, which is allowed to shield its supporters from the public.

“This is a classic example of how corporations are trying to use secret money, hidden from the American people, to buy influence, and how the governors association is selling it,” said Fred Wertheimer, the president of Democracy 21, a nonpartisan group that advocates more transparency and controls over political money.

One document states the benefits of a Governors Board membership, for a $50,000 annual contribution or a one-time donation of $100,000, saying it “offers the ability to bring their particular expertise to the political process while helping to support the Republican agenda.”

Board members received two tickets to “an exclusive breakfast with the Republican governors and members of their staff”; three tickets to the Governors Forums Series, where “a group of 5-8 governors discuss the best policy practices from around the country on a particular topic”; and a D.C. Discussion Breakfast Series, among other events. If they bump up to Cabinet Membership — $100,000 annually or a single payment of $200,000 — contributors also receive two invitations to “an exclusive Gubernatorial Dinner,” an “intimate gathering with the Republican governors and special Republican V.I.P. guests” at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington.

Got it, Gentle Reader? Bribery is so common, so endemic, so ordinary for “Republicans” that they provide their customers a handy little price guide to help them decide which product best suits their needs. Whether you favor the fast food or prostitution analogy, it’s a sad commentary on the party that selling their offices for money and giving the bribing bastards whatever they want is so common, so ordinary, such an accepted part of their way of doing “business” as to be reduced to a menu of products and prices.

When a party has become THAT corrupt, there’s no saving it. Time to throw the lot of them in jail for bribery and other corrupt acts, and start a new party to replace it.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

The march was impressive by any objective measure: people across the world held similar events, but none approached the size or intensity of the NYC protest. The media kinda-sorta reported on it in a desultory manner (if at all), as usually happens when Lefties do something significant (but let one Teabagger hold up a misspelled sign and it’s “breaking news” for days). So the questions of “what good did it do?” and “what next?” are very important today.

Sadly, because of the Infotainment industry’s biases and the general lack of mainstream political support for the climate change movement, the march itself may or may not have much of an impact at all. If it didn’t make a big impression on the nation, it won’t result in pressure on the politicos. And pressure on politicos was the point of the exercise.

This makes “what next?” an even bigger and better question. And the answer is plain and simple: VOTE. Vote at every election, on every race, every issue, every time.

Voting can make changes that the biggest marches cannot, the more so since politicians assume that you won’t do it. They ignore the electorate and focus on the big-money types who bribe our “public servants”: those bribing bastards ALWAYS participate in politics, because they know it is important.

If those 400,000 marchers would all show up at the polls, the outcome of any number of races in the 2014 election would be changed for the better. Deniers would lose and reality-based candidates would win. Legislation would be written to change the way we pollute.

Marches and civil disobedience are powerful tools to help effect change. But unless we take that same spirit and work ethic to the polls as well, nothing will change. Only when politicos are afraid of being voted out of office will they respond to the will of the people.

March. Then vote. But if you can only do one of the two, vote.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

And a pretty cheap rent, at that. For a mere $50,000.00, Ohio coal companies were able to wreck a man’s career and gain the ability to pollute at will. Pocket change for such a result. Yep, Kasich is a good buy as politicians go.

The back story: a competent and even-handed civil servant was enforcing the environmental laws on the fossil fuel industries. Said industries did not like that, so they bribed the Guv: Kasich then fired the man.

“The administrator who oversees the state’s efforts to protect streams, lakes and wetlands from pollution says he will resign in September, after the governor asked him to step down over disputes with the coal industry.

In an email sent to his staff yesterday and obtained by The Dispatch, George Elmaraghy, chief of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s division of surface water, wrote that the coal industry wants “permits that may have a negative impact on Ohio’s streams and wetlands and violate state and federal laws.

“Now, due to this situation, the governor’s office and the director have asked me to resign my position.”

Guess that’s how Kasich became a millionaire: fifty grand here, a hundred grand there, pretty soon you’re talking real money. Of course, if you are neither Kasich nor someone who bribes him, these “rental fees” add up to something far less attractive.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

Here is the story: John Kasich has accepted many thousands of dollars from private companies during his time in office, and those companies have reaped millions of dollars in return. Most of us would call that bribery. Most of us also assume that is illegal.

Right on the first, wrong on the second. Some Ohio legislators are introducing a bill that would make it illegal for a sitting governor to accept money from private firms.

So, if they are asking to make something illegal, it must be legal now. In all the nation, Ohio must surely be the only state in which slipping a Guv a hundred grand here and there is OK. No wonder Kasich left Wall Street to take this gig-he can get richer taking bribes than he ever could scamming people on securities and stocks.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

Today is yet another day of Federal Failure. Like Groundhog Day, Partisanship is resulting in repeated crises of its own manufacture, proving to everyone but the incurable lemmings among us that the political parties have destroyed our institutions, subverted our processes, stolen our money and generally put America on life support.

We were warned by some among the Founders that this might happen, President Washington among them. And it has indeed happened, as he foretold.

Don’t believe it? Name a governmental problem or crisis that does not have the word “partisan” associated therewith. Go on, we can wait all day. But here’s a bet that you can’t find one.

You can blame one party or the other, say that one is worse than the other, and you may be right. But the simple fact is: without parties, none of the crap that is used to manipulate us, rob us, divide us, and create manufactured crises would exist. The parties are the problem.

If each and every American would free their mind and renounce partisan affiliation, activities, and financial support, we could force the change that our nation, states, counties and localities deserve. This writer has been living so since 1976, and it has saved him much money while allowing votes for the best candidate, never mind the label attached.

If there was ever a day for Americans to wake up and smell the stench emitted by the corrupt, venal, disgusting and manipulative two-party system, today is it. Put your principles over your party. The nation you save might be your own.

Mr. B & C

In Mr. Blunt and Cranky’s July 3rd post, he said that foreign individuals and organizations were buying the loyalties (such as they are) of U.S. officials.    It was pointed out to him that there was no evidence that anyone without U.S. citizenship was listed in the story, and it was further posited that the B & C premise du jour was fatally flawed. That impression was entirely due to this blogger’s having had a bad writing day, and he accepts the forty lashes via keystrokes that he quite justifiably received.

Note that he does not consider the premise itself to be incorrect. There are a goodly number of examples of U.S. citizens who have made money overseas and then contributed large sums towards American election efforts, oftimes with the tacit or active support of their overseas employers. Google “Adelson Macao” for one representative case. So, even if you cannot prove that a specific Yen, Dinar, Pound, etc. from a personal or business account was converted to a Dollar to be part of a specific contribution to a campaign fund, we can see that these individuals and entities make money overseas and then contribute via channels various and sundry to American candidates.

Thus the “what”. But the “why” is always the more important bit. So, why do businesspeople and businesses spend money? Obvious answer: to earn a profit

For-profit businesses, foreign and domestic alike, exist to be profitable. Even socially-responsible for-profit businesses must make a profit if they are to do the “good works” to which they aspire. This means that handing out free money is unethical for a for-profit entity.  Understand this well: if a business spends money, it is ALWAYS looking for a return on its investment (ROI, in business jargon).

 American politicians provide a fantastic ROI for the savvy investor: a few tens of thousands of dollars can provide millions in return. Look at some of the no-longer-required tax breaks for oil companies, for instance: once justifiable due to market conditions, they are actually working against the overall market in the current day and age. But they remain in place because of campaign contributions (bribes, by any other name) that buy the votes of the politicians who receive these funds. Very profitable, sometimes a several-hundred-percent ROI or better.  Quite the good investment (for the investor, of course. For the rest of us, it can cause great financial pain).

So, back to Barclays U.K. and its apparently legal fundraising employees. What’s their ROI for being the ninth-largest source of funds (so far) to the Romney campaign? In a word, deregulation of its U.S. interests and trading partners.  Romney has pledged to roll back post-crash regulations, and Wall Street (and its international analogues) loves them some de-regulation. Bigger bucks can be made when no one is looking (or even allowed to look). Well worth finding a way to funnel money across the pond.

If we get hung up on technicalities, we run the risk of missing the big picture: that being the ever-increasing influence of financial globalization and economic interdependence on the conduct of American electoral politics and the related financials.

In fine: businesses are after profit. They are investing in Romney so as to make a profit. If he wins, the investors will make out like bandits. And many of the rest of us will wind up with what is called a “negative ROI”; AKA, our loss.

Mr. B & C