Archive for October, 2011

Fraud, Waste and Abuse

 

The White House has been defending, and defending, and claiming, and defending that the President’s current Magical Misery Bus tour, like the last Magical Misery Bus tour, is not about campaigning for re-election. Nope, this is all about the President’s Jobs plan, which seems to no longer exist. That’s right folks, according to the White House, the President is justified to use your tax-payer dollars for this “tour” and not pay for it himself out of his campaign coffers.

So, when you see him holding babies, it’s not campaigning, it’s reconnecting with the youth that he has saddled with tremendous debt. Or when you see him glad-handing the crowds, he’s not campaigning, he’s making himself available to citizenry of the nation. His presence in presidential battleground states is merely coincidental. His partisan rhetoric challenging his political opponents and his juxtaposition of his policies against the GOP presidential primary field is not remotely related the campaign and his re-election efforts. Nothing to see here folks, this is business as usual.

Of course, someone forgot to send the Vice President the memo saying eway reaay otnay niay ampaigncay odemay (for those pig latin impaired, that’s we are not in campaign mode).

 Are we campaigning? Yes! We are campaigning to change this environment.Joe Biden

 Let’s face it folks, this is the epitome of dishonesty. Of course he’s campaigning. It’s blatantly obvious he’s campaigning . But what does this say about him? More importantly, what does it say about his attitude towards you and the nation? This tour and the comments of the President vis a vis this tour clearly demonstrate that he thinks:

1) You are an idiot too stupid to recognize an obvious lie when you see it;

 2) You are so gullible that you’ll believe any excuse that denies reality;

 3) Your taxpayer money is his money, whether you like it or not, and he can do whatever he wants with it;

 It is but another example of how this Administration is guilty of Fraud, Waste and Abuse. From “betting” tax dollars on failing business ventures, to lying to Congress over criminal misconduct, to exercising judicial prejudice in not prosecuting clear voter intimidation. This Administration has been fundamentally and categorically dishonest with the American people. This is but another case in point.

Obama’s bus tour costing taxpayers thousands

If Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain or any of the other presidential challengers were to embark on a three-day bus trip like the one now underway by President Obama, it would cost their campaigns tens of thousands of dollars. Perhaps more.

They would have to pay a variety of expenses, including:

  • air travel to their first destination
  • leasing of one or more buses appropriate to the journey
  • rental for halls or meeting rooms for their candidates’ appearances
  • the cost of lodging and meals for their candidate and staff

But not the Obama campaign. The White House declared that Mr. Obama’s three-day trip through North Carolina and Virginia are official events and not campaign appearances, even though the two states are known to be political objectives of his re-election bid.

So Mr. Obama’s expenses are borne by taxpayers, including:

  • the pro-rated costs of his flights aboard Marine One and Air Force One that brought him to his first stop yesterday in Asheville, NC
  • the two buses used by him and his staff, owned and operated by the United States Secret Service
  • costs associated with setting up speech sites including microphones, speakers, amplifiers, teleprompters and TV lights
  • lodging and meals for the president and his political staff

It’s an advantage enjoyed by every incumbent president seeking re-election — and a disadvantage endured by his challengers. And though the White House has said the trip is not political, Mr. Obama has repeatedly used his speeches to take Republicans to task for opposing the provisions of his jobs bill.

 

Dems and the OWS Movement

NFL Teams Play Political Football

Originally posted at opensecrets.org

 

 

NFL Teams Play Political Football

 

Updated 10/13 to provide additional methodological notes.

After months of lockout trepidation and another summer of the sports doldrums, the National Football League is back in full force. Americans can again look forward to weekly Sunday afternoon football oases and the fantasy football leagues that stave off office boredom in between them.

A new year means a fresh start for teams like the Houston Texans. Not only is the NFL’s newest team the favorite to win its division for the first time, the team ranks as the most politically active since January 2009, according to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Texans can thank their owner and founder, energy executive Robert McNair, for that.

McNair has donated $215,200 of his estimated $1.4 billion net worth to political causes since January 2009, almost strictly to Republicans. That pushes the Texans to a team total of $293,100 in political contributions from its players, executives and coaches.

That is more than enough to outdo the No. 2 team, the San Diego Chargers, whose players and executives gave $171,500 to federal politicians and committees since January 2009, according to the Center’s research. The majority of that sum came from the Spanos family, which includes the owner, the president and the chief executive officer.

Meanwhile, the New York Jets ranked third among the most politically active NFL teams, at $147,850 in contributions, according to the Center’s research.

Most of this came from Jets owner Woody Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune. Johnson has given $130,550 since January 2009, according to the Center’s research, the second most of anyone associated with the NFL. Like McNair, almost all of Johnson’s generosity benefited Republicans.

Players and executives of the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins have also given more than $100,000 to federal candidates and committees since January 2009, according to the Center’s analysis. No other teams cracked that mark.

Overall, the teams that favored Republicans most with their campaign cash included the Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs,  Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers and the Baltimore Ravens, all of which donated at least 70 percent of their contributions to the GOP.
 
Meanwhile, the teams that favored Democrats most with their political donations included the Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints, all of which donated at least 70 percent of their political contributions to Democrats.

In all, NFL players, owners and executives, along with their spouses, contributed a total of at least $1.4 million to federal candidates and political committees since January 2009, according to the Center’s research, with about two-thirds of that money aiding Republicans.

That sum includes only money to candidates and party-affiliated political committees. It does not include money to nonpartisan political action committees.

According to the Center’s analysis, eight of the 10 biggest NFL-related political donors, all owners, also make the list of the 10 biggest contributors to Republicans.

Some of these men have given large amounts to each party, such as Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, Indianapolis Colts owner James Irsay and the San Diego Chargers’ owner Alex Spanos.

But most lean heavily Republican with their money like McNair, Johnson, and the Arizona Cardinals’ Bidwell family.

Only New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who’s overseen three Super Bowl-winning teams, has heavily favored Democrats and given enough to make the top 10 contributors list. Of the $33,600 he has contributed since 2009, only $4,800 went to Republicans.

Seattle Seahawks owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen comes close to Kraft’s level of Democratic generosity. He’s given every cent of his $36,000 in contributions since 2009 to Democratic causes.

Here is the list of the top 10 individual NFL-related political donors since January 2009. These figures include all contributions to federal candidates, parties and political action committees, including nonpartisan groups. Percentages to Democrats and Republicans are based only on partisan contributions:
Here is the list of the top 10 individual NFL-related political donors who have given the most money to Republicans since January 2009. These figures include all contributions to federal candidates, parties and political action committees, including nonpartisan groups. Percentages to Democrats and Republicans are based only on partisan contributions:
And here is the list of the top 10 individual NFL-related political donors who have given the most money to Democrats since January 2009. These figures include all contributions to federal candidates, parties and political action committees, including nonpartisan groups. Percentages to Democrats and Republicans are based only on partisan contributions:
A few players also managed to hang with the Allen and Kraft in terms of contributions to Democratic causes: namely, Bengals safety Gibril Wilson, who contributed $15,000, exclusively to Democrats, and Dhani Jones, the former Bengals linebacker and current free agent who also hosts his own Travel Channel show, who has given $25,200 since January 2009, strictly to Democrats.

But for the most part NFL players, despite an average salary of $1.9 million, make up relatively little of the NFL-related political contributions.

Some other notable players who’ve contributed to federal candidates since 2009 include:

  • Peyton Manning, the quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, who donated $5,000 to Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).
  • Julius Peppers, a defensive end for the Chicago Bears, who donated $2,400 to Kevin Powell, a Democratic candidate in New York’s 10th Congressional District.
  • Brett Favre, the now-retired, long-time quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, donated $2,400 to Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), who lost in November. (Favre’s wife Deanna also donated $2,400 to Taylor’s unsuccessful campaign.)

Then there’s the NFL and the NFL Players Association, both of which play the Washington game, spending thousands each year lobbying the federal government.

As is often the case in business versus labor battles, the NFL, the business side, has had the deeper pockets. During the first six months of 2011, the league has spent $820,000 on lobbying versus the players union’s $120,000.

But last year, as the two butted heads and a lockout loomed, they spent record levels on lobbying.

The players union appealed to Congress to intervene and both sides lobbied on issues such as federal antitrust laws and the league’s television and equipment contracts.

All that added up to big lobbying bills: the NFL spent $1.4 million and the NFLPA $450,000 in 2010 — more than either group had spent in any previous year.

To further advance its interest, last year the NFL spread the money around like a prolific offense using its political action committee, Gridiron PAC.

The PAC, which was formed in 2008, donated more than $505,000 to federal candidates during the 2010 election cycle after not spending a dime in 2008. Of that sum, 59 percent benefited Democrats and 41 percent aided Republicans. Overall, 98 House candidates and 31 Senate candidates received money from the NFL’s PAC during the 2010 election cycle.

Powerful legislators, such as then-House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) were among the politicians to receive the legal maximum in terms of donations.

The PAC also sent a $30,000 a piece to the Democratic and Republican senatorial campaign committees and $20,000 a piece to the Democratic and Republican congressional campaign committees, according to the Center’s research.

This election cycle, the Gridiron PAC is continuing to spend at significant levels.

During the first six months of 2011, the PAC donated $168,500 to federal candidates, including $10,000 to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) — who has so far been the only candidate to receive the $10,000 legal maximum from the group.

The NFL’s PAC has also so far donated $15,000 a piece to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, National Republican Campaign Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Center for Responsive Politics senior researcher Doug Weber contributed to this report.

 

There is No Tea in this Strange Brew

So I was listening to the Tuesday morning re-run of the O’Rielly Factor, which was being guest hosted by Laura Ingram, and she had on a couple ladies discussing the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters. One of her guests was a woman by the name of Erica Payne who essentially said that the Tea Party and the OWS crowd were much closer than they appear. The Tea Party’s anger at the bank bailouts fits well with the OWS’s anger at Wall Street. She went on to say that the two need to come together as they are really allies in their overall anger at corporate greed.

Then, while going through my morning routine of catching up on news and commentary from the blogosphere, I see that my friend Rutherford posted a comment saying essentially the same thing. So, it would seem the talking points have gone around and the left , in an effort to attach some legitimacy to this crowd, is looking to co-opt the Tea Party to do it.

It has really been amazing to watch this progression of liberal talking points with regards to both the Tea Party and the OWS movement. First we saw the Tea Party vilified with every nasty rhetorical comment possible, most notably racist. The we saw liberals come out and call the OWS movement the real “Tea Party”. Now, we’re seeing liberals come out and say that the Tea Party and the OWS are really just the same thing. Rutherford’s mea culpa on blasting the Tea Party right before attempting to tie the two together just goes to show how desperate the left is to find something that will genuinely connect with the American people.

So, let us put to bed this foolish notion that somehow, the Tea Party and the OWS movement are two peas from the same pod.

Ideas matter: The ideological differences between the two groups could not be more stark or divergent. The Tea Party is focused on a return to our Founding Documents and the premise espoused by the Fo0unding Fathers of a limited government. It isn’t calling for the abandonment of the system, rather, it is a call for the return to the original system.

OWS is not calling for a return to the founding documents nor are they interested in fixing the system. Their intent, as demonstrated repeatedly through their signs, their rhetoric and their associates is revolution for revolutions sake. The left has tried to defend the OWS movement from itself by claiming that they are being taken advantage of by outside groups. Unfortunately for the left, this has been proven false by none other than the OWS movement itself. Where the Tea Party shouted down external agitators trying to take over the movement, the OWS movement has embraced their “external” agitators. The Communist Party USA, community organizers like ACORN and the Unions have been involved in this from the beginning.

Conduct Unbecoming: The most that was seen from the Tea Party was a passionate debate with politicians who were not representing the people. The Tea Party took this to the street to demonstrate popular support for politicians to listen to their constituents. The Tea Party took advantage of Congressional Town Halls to confront these politicians and voice their displeasure. It has been documented, several times, the difference between a Tea Party event and a leftist event: cleanliness. More importantly, the Tea Party demonstrates a love of country and a true appreciation of the rights and freedoms that we have.

This is markedly NOT a position of the OWS movement. I don’t have to point out that leftists are pigs and leave a trail of debris behind them wherever they go. No, there a more fundamental issues at hand here that separate the OWS movement from the Tea Party:

Now, Rutherford and his compadres on the left will say that this is an unfair representation of the OWS movement. I completely disagree. I think this is a perfect representation of the OWS movement, and I think this for a very simple reason: you are whose company you keep.

No matter how hard you look, you are not going to find Tea Party members flying the Soviet flag. In fact, the only time you will see the Hammer & Sickle at a Tea Party event is when the Tea Party is demonstrating the similarities between the current Administration and its socialist policies. Likewise, you will not see the Communist Party USA at ANY Tea Party event.
 

Nor will you find folks wandering around in an East German military uniform.

And as for conduct, when was the last time that you saw Tea Party members getting a tutorial on how to pick police hand-cuffs? Even the Hitler posters at the Tea Party events were not Tea Party, they were from the leftist group Larouche.

Who Really Owns this Movement?: The left has worked very hard to call the Tea Party an artificial grass-roots movement, and I mean really hard.

From Michael Moore to Howard Dean to President Obama, there has been a consistent effort to call the Tea Party Astroturf. Well, the Tea Party has demonstrated, repeatedly and to the chagrin of many in the GOP, the authenticity of the Tea Party- November 2010 being the greatest example.
That authenticity is in serious question when it comes to the OWS movement.

Interestingly, but certainly not all that surprising, there has been exposures of folks being paid to protest in DC. We have the Unions throwing down tremendous amounts of cash, personnel and resources. Is the movement one that has simply been co-opted by others? Possible, but doubtful. To be co-opted, you would have to have issues with the occupiers of the occupiers. The problem is that the Occupiers don’t mind the communists, the anarchists or the union thugs. Why? Because they are one in the same. There is no conflict between these groups because there is no conflict in their ideas and goals.

Unlike the Tea Party, this is not about saving the nation- it’s about fundamentally transforming it into something else. We’ve heard this before:

To think that these groups are not tied together at the hip is naiveté to the core. Don’t believe me?

PETITION: I Stand with #OccupyWallStreet

Protestors are assembling in New York and around the country to let billionaires, big oil and big bankers know that we’re not going to let the richest 1% force draconian economic policies and massive cuts to crucial programs on Main Street Americans.

Out-of-touch Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he is “increasingly concerned by the growing mobs.” Mobs? That must be what Republicans refer to as the middle class, or maybe the millions of unemployed Americans across the country.

As Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters, “The message of the American people is that no longer will the recklessness of some on Wall Street cause massive joblessness on Main Street…”

Help us send a message straight to Eric Cantor, Speaker Boehner, and the rest of reckless Republican leadership in Congress:

Sign our petition right now and help us reach 100,000 strong standing with #OccupyWallStreet protestors across the country >>

This is an email from the DCCC’s executive director Robby Mook. The link at the bottom of the email goes to the DCCC website. The Dems are all in. They need this to be authentic, they need this to be real, they need this to motivate their base and show up in November 2012. Their efforts are Machiavelian, and they will stoop to any level to keep power.

So, the next time you’re considering who and what the OWS movement is, keep this little nugget tucked away in your mind.

Can You Spot Nancy Pelosi?

OWS- OMG!!!

“Occupy Wall Street is the new Tea Party man …. get used to it. And yes, they share with the Tea Party that same lack of leadership and focus. One difference — they’re not ginned up by Dick Armey, Glenn Beck and Fox News. They’re the real deal. And you oughta be damn glad they’re making Wall Street fat cats a wee bit uncomfortable.” – Rutherford Lawson

Ahhhh, no.

Frankly, I’m use to Rutherford saying stupid things. I’ve only known him since Obama came to office and since that time, the litany of moronic commentary in defense of the pResident and liberalism in general has been epic. It has been so bad, in Fact, that Rutherford has really stopped trying to defend Obama altogether, which is what made this comment so interesting- this is the first sign of life coming from him in months.

Of course, it is understandable why. Rutherford believes that Obama has been a failure because he didn’t go left enough, ignoring the resounding collapse of the multiple of leftist policies enacted by the Socialist-in-Chief. Here, Rutherford thinks he sees the antidote, the cure, the something that can be the counter to the Tea Party. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you Rutherford, but no, this is not the counter.

First off, the Tea Party promotes a return to our Founding Documents. It is the embracing of our ideals and a return to the premise that made this nation great. As the video clearly shows, the hippies on Wall Street are talking about destroying everything and coming up with something new, though they admit that they have no solutions, nor are they really interested in solutions. They are anarchists.

Secondly, we regularly vote with our ballots, but more often, we vote with our wallets. If these folks are so opposed to Wall Street, then take your money out. And please, don’t try to tell me these folks don’t have money in the street, the o0nly reason the Wall Street movement is gaining numbers right now is because the Unions are starting to show. Unions…hmmmmm…they wouldn’t happen to have a dollar or two in the street…

Which brings us to the unions. The incestuous relationship between this Administration and unions is well documented. In Wisconsin alone, 75% to 80% of the Federal Stimulus went to Public Employee unions. Like the Crysler and GM bailouts, which violated sum 100 years of bankruptcy law, the Administration didn’t let a crisis go to waste and used it to enrich and empower their allies, the unions.

So, where does the Administration stand on this Wall Street thing? Well, you can rest assured, they are in the same boat as ole Rutherford. Desperate for a distraction and more importantly, desperate for something to reinvigorate a base that has lost hope in their change. The Administration has made the political calculus that they will live or die on the class warfare meme. They see this as something of an affirmation of that, which is a faulty read. These are professional protestors.

Well, I bring you Occupy Wall Street:

[kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/451373/1499184&tbid=380708&p=1011&height=384&width=320]

There is no comparison between OWS and the Tea Party movement. Attempts to do so are desperate and intellectually dishonest. In a word: liberal.