Sunday, January 29, 2012

Restore our Future: A Closer Look at Contributors to Mitt Romney’s Super PAC

By Nomad

When the Supreme Court handed down its historic decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission on January 21, 2010, some legal analysts and political commentators warned that it would, in effect, open the floodgates for unlimited campaign contributions from corporations. Others championed the decision as a victory for free speech.

Democratic congressman from central Florida, Alan Grayson, said that following this decision, “only huge corporations have any constitutional rights... They have the right to bribe, the right to buy elections, the right to reward their elected toadies, and the right to punish the elected representatives who take a stab at doing what's right.”

Richard Hasen, writing for Slate, put it this way:
Today the court struck down decades-old limits on corporate and union spending in elections (including judicial elections) and opened up our political system to a money free-for-all.
...the Court overturned long-standing precedent, ruling that banning corporations from using money from their general treasuries for express advocacy was an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment political free speech rights. The majority opinion also struck down the electioneering communications rule as it applies to corporations. As a result, corporations and unions may now spend as much as they want on independent expenditures, in a way that could help the candidate of their choice, right up until Election Day.
As the presidential election of 2012 looms, all of us will be able to watch with our own eyes the impact of this decision. Even now the signs are ominous. Let’s take a closer look at one candidate, Mitt Romney, examining his source of campaign funding and a few of his top name contributors.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Gramm: The Dark and Disturbing Friends of Rick Perry 4/4

by Nomad
A Close look at Wendy Gramm
In this the final part of my investigation into the Gramms, I’d like to deal with Wendy’s relationship with Rick Perry and another influential power broker.

The Mercatus Center
As if Wendy Gramm’s role in the Enron scandal wasn’t enough to qualify her as one of the notable villians in a saga filled with some pretty odious characters, she’d really only just begun. After her jaunt through the world of academia and through the infested jungle of the private sector, Wendy now found herself stepping back into academia (or something very much like it).

If Phil Gramm represents one side of corruption, then some might claim his wife to be an example of a newer but far more insidious indirect kind.

Koch Industries- along with other corporations have developed a long term strategy to use think-tanks, paired with prestigious universities, to give support - with studies and surveys and expert opinions- to their agenda. In exchange, the universities benefit from large-dollar corporate support.
The Mercatus Center of George Mason University, where Wendy Gramm is a director of the “regulatory studies program”, is a case in point.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Gramm: The Dark and Disturbing Friends of Rick Perry: 3/4

by Nomad
In this the third in the series, I want to take a moment to examine the life and deeds of the wife of Phil Gramm, Wendy Lee Gramm. I think you will find it- for want of a better word- breathtaking, but not in a good way.

Getting Started

Under normal circumstances, the wife of a senator would hardly be worth a second glance. However, Dr. Wendy Lee Gramm is no ordinary wife of no ordinary senator. As a study of modern politics, in all its corruption and ambition, perky Wendy Gramm is a fair enough study in her own right.

First, let’s cover the early history, collected from various sources.
Wendy Gramm’s Korean grandfather immigrated to Hawaii as a sugar plantation laborer. Like her grandfather, Wendy’s father had originally started out as a laborer in the sugar fields. According to the story, he selected his bride from a series of photos of Korean women and sent her money to join him in Hawaii. He married in 1939 at age 25.

During the Depression, he left Hawaii for a university in Indiana where he earned an engineering degree. He later returned to Hawaii and found a job at a sugar processing plant where he eventually worked his way to the top of the company, later becoming a vice-president of a sugar company.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Gramm: The Dark and Disturbing Friends of Rick Perry 2/4

  by Nomad

To Return to Part One
In part two of this four-part series, we will continue to look at Phil Gramm, mentor to Rick Perry, presidential candidate. At this point, we shall continue with Gramm's career following his retirement from the Senate.

Gramm at UBS
When Phil Gramm announced on September 4 2001 that he would retire at the end of his term in 2003, his retirement speech was filled with self-congratulatory flatulence.
Remarkably, the things I came to Washington to do are done. Now, I know that no victory is ever final...I will leave the Senate in 15 months, being very proud that I came, and extraordinarily proud in what I've done while I've been here... But I feel comfortable with this decision. I believe I'm making the right decision for me, for the 20 million people I represent, and for the things I believe in.
Despite the fact that he spoke to reporters with “his voice cracking and his tears filling red-rimmed eye,” he had no intention of spending his autumnal years, tending his garden and painting landscapes. In fact, he was about to begin a new career, one that would surpass all his other accomplishments from the past.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Gramm- The Dark and Disturbing Friends of Rick Perry: 1/4

 by Nomad

The four-part saga of power couple Phil and Wendy Gramm requires both a seat belt and an airbag. Their careers span both the political and business world, generally working in tandem to maximized their personal wealth.

Bad Company

George Washington once said, “Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” 

While this might have been true in Washington’s day, as advice for the modern politician, it is hardly practical. In Texas politics, a rising star has to associate with a lot of unsavory types, with a lot of money and political clout, the right connections etc. 

Yet, Governor Rick Perry’s association with Mr. and Mrs. Gramm is much more than a casual acquaintance. If Perry’s close relationship is anything to go by, Rick must not esteem his reputation at all.

Joseph Allbaugh- The Dark and Disturbing Friends of Rick Perry

by Nomad

The career of Joseph Allbaugh is one of those journalist's treasure troves. This post is a little long but offers more thrills of discovery than any Indiana Jones film.

I saw this announcement the other day.
October 24th, 2011 - Texas Gov. Rick Perry added substantial political firepower to his presidential campaign Monday by hiring several seasoned GOP operatives. The Perry team announced Monday that Joe Allbaugh, who managed George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, would be joining the campaign. "I am honored to have these experienced professionals joining our growing campaign team," Perry said in a statement. "These experienced advisors will play an instrumental role in helping me share my vision to get America working again with the nation, and I am proud to have their support as our campaign expands."
If anybody needed any more proof that Texas Governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry is a clone (wearing a wrinkly mask and a crisp wig) of former Texas Governor and President George W. Bush, then this latest news is it.

In response to the news above, and out of a sense of patriotic duty, I decided to take a closer look at this new addition to the Perry family and see what I could learn. You probably may not be too surprised to find out that Allbaugh doesn’t pass the “smell” test.
Not one bit.