Tag Archives: Republican

NC Fracking – Legal by Mistake

If fracking is harmless to water, perhaps we should make coffee with the chemical concoction that is injected into the earth and serve it at the RNC, they shouldn’t object – according to them the chemicals are harmless.

Another case of “gotcha” politics has played out in the North Carolina legislature. In a late night vote that “took her by surprise”, a veteran Democratic lawmaker, Becky Carney of Charlotte, accidentally gave Republicans the vote they needed to override the Governor’s veto of fracking legislation. Even though seconds after Congresswoman Carney pushed the incorrect button, she attempted frantically to change her vote to the one of her true intention, House Speaker Thom Tillis would not recognize the legislator’s requests for recognition and a switch of the vote – something typically granted by leadership when a request is made. Tillis says he is “comfortable” with the process, according to the N&O article on the late night vote.

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Sharing our Marbles

How to Get the Rich to Share The Marbles is the title of an article by Johnathan Haidt, psychology professor, printed in the New York Times in February. It explains the psychology around “sharing the spoils” behavior. I’m jumping right to the punch with this quote from the article, then I’ll work backward explaining how we got here:

If the Democrats really want to get moral psychology working for them, I suggest that they focus less on distributive fairness — which is about whether everyone got what they deserved — and more on procedural fairness—which is about whether honest, open and impartial procedures were used to decide who got what. If there’s a problem with the ultra-rich, it’s not that they have too much wealth, it’s that they bought laws that made it easy for them to gain and keep so much more wealth in recent decades. Continue reading

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Vulture Capitalism described by Capitalists

Think Progress put this out a couple of days ago. I agree that the election should be about what companies like Bain Capital and CEOs like Romney are doing to the American Dream. It is not pretty.

Here are the top 10 comments about Bain from Romney’s Republican rivals:

1. “The idea that you’ve got private equity companies that come in and take companies apart so they can make profits and have people lose their jobs, that’s not what the Republican Party’s about.” — Rick Perry [New York Times, 1/12/12]

2. “The Bain model is to go in at a very low price, borrow an immense amount of money, pay Bain an immense amount of money and leave. I’ll let you decide if that’s really good capitalism. I think that’s exploitation.” — Newt Gingrich [New York Times, 1/17/12]

3. “Instead of trying to work with them to try to find a way to keep the jobs and to get them back on their feet, it’s all about how much money can we make, how quick can we make it, and then get out of town and find the next carcass to feed upon” — Rick Perry [National Journal, 1/10/12]

4. “We find it pretty hard to justify rich people figuring out clever legal ways to loot a company, leaving behind 1,700 families without a job.” — Newt Gingrich [Globe and Mail, 1/9/12]

5. “Now, I have no doubt Mitt Romney was worried about pink slips — whether he was going to have enough of them to hand out because his company, Bain Capital, of all the jobs that they killed” — Rick Perry [New York Times, 1/9/12]

6) “He claims he created 100,000 jobs. The Washington Post, two days ago, reported in their fact check column that he gets three Pinocchios. Now, a Pinocchio is what you get from The Post if you’re not telling the truth.” — Newt Gingrich [1/13/12, NBC News]

7. “There is something inherently wrong when getting rich off failure and sticking it to someone else is how you do your business, and I happen to think that’s indefensible” — Rick Perry [National Journal, 1/10/12]

8. “If Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years, then I would be glad to then listen to him” — Newt Gingrich [Mediaite, 12/14/11]

9. “If you’re a victim of Bain Capital’s downsizing, it’s the ultimate insult for Mitt Romney to come to South Carolina and tell you he feels your pain, because he caused it.” — Rick Perry [New York Times, 1/8/12]

10. “They’re vultures that sitting out there on the tree limb waiting for the company to get sick and then they swoop in, they eat the carcass. They leave with that and they leave the skeleton” — Rick Perry [National Journal, 1/10/12]

Thanks for doing the research Think Progress.

 

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TED and the Question of “Job Creators” as “The Creator”

TED is kind of a big deal these days. The format is pretty simple, you get X amount of time to talk (from 5 to 18 minutes I believe, depending on the event and venue), you have to beat out other presenters to get that space, you have an audience, they film it, and you may or may not become an internet sensation because you were so brilliant in your concise and exciting presentation. It costs money to sit in the audience, and those on the stage are very “staged” – very rehearsed, made up, props ready, everything just so so that the spotlight is on whatever edutainment is about to knock our socks off. Well, sit down, there is a rumble of discontent among those following TED talks.

Nick Hanauer is a venture capitalist that did a short TED talk which can be found here. His man point was that taxing the rich benefits most people in a society (including the rich), and that the meme of the rich as “job creators” is completely false, it belongs to the buying power of the middle class.  This idea isn’t brand spankin’ new, but it is short and simple to understand. News organizations in the MSM pick up Frank Luntz’s “job creator” meme and attach it to the wealthy without skipping a beat. It is refreshing to have someone call out this new invented and presumed correct term, and actually call it into question – something our daily news rarely does. Hanauer didn’t just call out the term “job creator” as being attributed to the wrong class of people, he also called out the language – “creator”. I agree with Hanauer, the word “creator” is in there for a very real reason – it harkens to the Creator and gives a nod to the wealthy class that they are god like or god approved, in their benevolence to the rest of us. Continue reading

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Shocker: Lobbyists and Politicians in Bed Together – Literally

Lobbyists want something from legislators, in turn legislators want something in return.

North Carolina Speaker of the House, Thom Tillis, was awarded ALEC‘s award for “legislator of the year” in 2011. He is a leader pushing Amendment One – a proposition that would add discrimination as NC’s only amendment to its constitution by outlawing any legal coupling except marriage between a man and woman – in order to protect the “sanctity of marriage”. He has done some redistricting in attempts to squelch the strong progressive voice that comes out of Asheville, the largest city in Western North Carolina. He also has watched his fellow Republican legislator – Tim Moffitt -find a problem with Asheville’s water where there is none, create a committee to address the invented problem, and is pushing to take control of it’s water system away from the city without reimbursement. Thom Tillis has a housemate that is was also his Chief of Staff, Charles Thomas. Both men are married but share an apartment while serving in the capital, Raleigh.

The North Carolina Home Builders Association has had a pretty good run since Tom became Speaker of the House. This from the newsobserver.com:

Lisa Martin, the home builders association’s director of government affairs, wrote to its membership after last year’s legislative session and highlighted a long list of bills the association helped pass, amend or stop.

The association said it led efforts to enact sweeping regulatory reform and changes to workers’ comp laws. The association also said it was successful in repealing a measure that had allowed counties to hold voter referenda to enact a new tax on land transfers; voters in two dozen elections across the state had rejected the taxes in recent years.

In some instances, Martin credited legislative leadership for its help.

Still, Martin wrote that it had been “the most successful session on record” for the home builders and that its lobbyists were a reason…

“The secret of NCHBA’s success … has been and always will be the leadership of its Executive Committee, the hard work of our lobbying team, the support of our members, and the invaluable help from legislators who support the home building industry,” Martin wrote.

She said it is important for the association to guard against future harmful policies and laws, and encouraged members to give money to the association’s political action committee. It gave $277,600 to candidates in 2009-10, making it one of the top sources of campaign funding in the state.

“We must also ensure that our champions and friends in the General Assembly remain in office and assume positions of leadership and responsibility,” she wrote.

The statement’s are pretty blasé considering that they are from a special interest group with lobbyists. Then there is the news that Tom Tillis’ Chief of Staff has been having an affair with one of the Home Builder’s Association’s lobbyists, Jessica Hayes. This arrangement is hardly shocking, but illustrates the influence big money has on politics and has very real ramifications for the people being governed.

Thom’s former Chief of Staff, Charles Thomas recently resigned because of an admitted affair with a lobbyist from the N.C. Home Builders Association. Shortly thereafter, another of Tillis’s staff, Amy Hobbs,  resigned due to an affair with a lobbyist. Ms. Hobbs was formerly employed by McGuire Woods, a consulting firm that pushes statewide privatization of public resources and lobbies for Koch Industries. McGuire Woods is a strong ALEC supporter.

Tillis denies that he knew anything about any of the inappropriate relationships of his staff even though some of the intimate times happened in his own apartment with his longtime friend and housemate.

Confused yet? Me too. It’s like a pile of icky political spaghetti, but here’s the recap:

Tillis is in bed with ALEC – figuratively.

Thomas is in bed with Hayes at the NC HBA – literally.

Hobbs is in bed with ALEC and McGuire Woods and Koch Industries- figuratively.

Hobbs is in bed with Plunkett – literally.

Thomas lives with Tillis – literally.

Tillis denies knowledge of anything untoward – literally.

Moffit and Thomas live in Western North Carolina – literally.

McGuire Woods would love to have public resources privatized.

Republican leadership is in bed with fracking.

Moffitt denies wanting to privatize Asheville’s water, but can’t guarantee anything.

Moffitt is in bed with ALEC and McGuire Woods and Koch Industries – figuratively.

Fracking is much cheaper and easier if a water system is owned outright.

Fracking may be coming soon to North Carolina.

The biggest Republican led campaign across North Carolina right now is about saving “the sanctity of marriage” by codifying an Amendment that is nothing but blatant fear and discrimination of the GLBT community.

Due to our campaign laws that insure non-stop political campaigning, the staff of legislators often have more knowledge and power over specific issues than the legislators themselves.

I have a headache like I was just forced to watch a bad soap opera. My apologies. Nothing illegal has been found, investigations are being requested, but folks, this is the status quo of our political situation right now – and it is by no means limited to the Republican party. The money has got to get out of politics or any semblance of democracy will be a faint memory. Simply on a moral principle, this seems to be a tangled very undemocratic web – whether it is or not is almost beside the question because perception is part of politics. If our leaders can’t be trusted to govern the people, not just please corporate interests, than calling the government a democracy is a misnomer.

The values of good democratic governance include transparency, accountability, and the onus to recuse oneself if you cannot complete your duties in a forthright, citizen driven manner. Republican or Democratic. Our system is broken because this is just one of the many, many soap operas that play out across each state and saturates our Capitol.  We, the citizens, must pay attention, speak up and talk about it with our friends. Change for the better is in our hands, not the politicians.

Thanks to Davyne Dial for helping me with this one, and read more about Asheville’s water issue here.

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