Archive for it’s all about money

Elizabeth Warren's "growing clout could shift the caucus to the left"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

clout elizabeth warren

The Hill has a post about Senator Elizabeth Warren's "growing clout" that should make many a Progressive smile and nod. It may even send a thrill up some Democratic legs. Clout coming from the left can do that.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has emerged as one of the top fundraisers for Senate Democratic candidates in the midterm election campaign, filling a void left by the absence of Hillary Clinton.

Warren, who was elected to her first term in 2012, has already raised more than $2.3 million for Senate Democratic candidates this election cycle, according to her staff. She has also transferred $100,000 from her campaign account to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

She’s the biggest draw so far,” said a Senate Democratic campaign aide, referring to Warren’s knack for getting donors to open up their checkbooks.

Lets hope a few of the donors she appeals to have checkbooks the size of the Koch brothers'.

The article goes on about how, when it comes to fundraising, Hillary Clinton is "staying on the sidelines" these days, but Senator Clout is stepping up in a big way, which only "accentuates her influence." This is great news, because Dems badly need to keep the majority in the Senate, and that is exactly what Senator Warren aims to do.

Pretty impressive for a freshman, says The Hill. Even more impressive is her appeal to women voters, who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.

But this was my favorite sentence in the entire piece:

Democratic strategists and political experts say Warren’s growing clout could shift the caucus to the left, especially on economic and financial regulatory issues.

We need 100 more Elizabeth Warrens.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Charles Koch is a "greedy jerk": La Cucaracha

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

citizens united check republic billionaires Koch brothers dark money

A major advantage of having a Twitter pal like the wonderful Lalo Alcaraz (@LaloAlcaraz) is that he generously shares his work with us. In his comic strip today, Lalo zeroed in on one of the Koch brothers, Charles Koch. Only one, Lalo?

But Charles Koch is well worth a snarky strip devoted only to him, not to mention to his corporate billions dedicated to ultra-conservative causes. Thanks to the Supreme Court and their two disastrous decisions-- Citizens United and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission-- the door has opened wider to billionaires influencing (and by that I mean buying) elections, candidates, and votes. By increasing the role money plays in American politics, SCOTUS has once again chipped away at what's left of our democracy, allowing the wealthiest Americans the potential to determine election outcomes.

Despite those legal victories, the Koch brothers insolently play the victims, all the while pumping unlimited cash into the veins of anti-women's rights, anti-civil rights, anti-voting rights, anti-gay rights, and anti- workers' rights Republicans.

Of course, that doesn't mean we can't beat them. We did in 2012. Say it with me now: Get Out The Vote.

And with that, here's Lalo's latest:

la cucaracha Charles Koch

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Told ya so, frackers: Ohio geologists see link between fracking, sudden burst of earthquakes

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

frackers cartoon Clay Bennett

In a previous post, Frackers set sights on largest oil shale reservoir in US... near CA's San Andreas fault, I couldn't help but wonder how greedy Big Oil could ignore the terrorizing prospect of triggering the San Andreas Fault to erupt into The Big One. Apparently, the health of so many people and of our fragile environment means nothing to California frackers.

Did I just say "California frackers"? My bad. I meant Ohio frackers, too. Along with any other frackers, for that matter.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that in Ohio, geologists have found a connection between fracking and earthquakes. Clearly, they've been in contact with Captain Obvious. L.A. Times, previously:

"The process of reinjecting drilling fluids into the ground is thought by some to stimulate minor seismic activity around drilling pads, dubbed 'frackquakes.'"

Take it away, Captain Obvious:

obvious

Ohio geologists have found a probable connection between fracking and a sudden burst of mild earthquakes last month in a region that had never experienced a temblor until recently, according to a state report.

The quake report, which coincided with the state’s announcement of some of the nation’s strictest limits on fracking near faults, marked the strongest link to date between nerve-rattling shakes and hydraulic fracturing -- the process of firing water, sand and chemicals deep into the earth to eject oil and natural gas out of ancient rock.

Last month, Ohio indefinitely shut down Hilcorp Energy’s fracking operation near the Pennsylvania border after five earthquakes, including one magnitude-3 temblor that awoke many Ohioans from their sleep. [...]

They “believe the sand and water injected into the well during the hydraulic fracturing process may have increased pressure on an unknown microfault in the area,” the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said in a statement about the Poland, Ohio, operation.

You just know what frackers will do with the "unknown" word. How did former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld mangle it again? Oh yes:

And how did Hilcorp Energy mangle the truth again? Oh yes. They said they are “fully committed to public safety and acting in a manner consistent with being a good corporate citizen.” Because, hey, corporations are people, too, and they're the best corporate citizens EVER.

Sorry, Hilcorp, but you're no "citizen," but you are a disgrace. Hate to say we environmentally-aware types told you so about that whole "frackquake" thing, but well, we told you so. And don't get us started on climate change, the fracking chemicals that contaminate groundwater, and drought.

Speaking of which, if you've never seen Josh Fox's "Gasland," now's your chance. Our own lwdgrfx posted the entire video here.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

"Only intensive push in next 15 years can stave off climate change disaster"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

The New York Times has an unnerving article about a United Nations report that "only an intensive worldwide push over the next 15 years can stave off" a potential climate change disaster later this century:

The report did find some reasons for cautious optimism. The costs of renewable energy like wind and solar power are now falling so fast that their deployment on a large scale is becoming practical, the report said. In fact, extensive use of renewable energy is already starting in countries such as Denmark and Germany, and to a lesser degree in some American states, including California, Iowa and Texas. [...]

Yet the report found that the emissions problem is still outrunning the will to tackle it, with global emissions rising almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century than in the last decades of the 20th century.

That was posted today. Yesterday, MSNBC's Alex Witt interviewed  John Fiege, the director and producer of "Above All Else," a documentary about lives affected by the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline project. Juxtaposing these two reports in one post-- one on impending climate change disaster and the other on a short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting-- should be a wake-up call. But will it be?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Witt: If completed, the [Keystone XL] pipeline could stretch 2,000 miles from the oil fields of Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast. Deep in the heart of Texas, a group of rural land owners and student activists came together in an unlikely union to protest the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The property owners claim they were manipulated into signing over their land to TransCanada. The energy company for its part is saying the pipeline is a job creator that will ensure North America's energy independence. What happened next is chronicled in a new documentary titled "Above All Else."...

Fiege: The companies building the pipeline were surprised to see such strong opposition from people who lived there. The thing in east Texas, they don't like a foreign company coming in and taking their property and they know how to fight back so it is an interesting conflict...

The folks who signed, as they learned more about what the Keystone XL pipeline is, and that its whole purpose is to transport tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, they didn't know that when they signed the agreement. They also didn't know that the company did not have the permits it needed to build the pipeline. So they felt like they were manipulated and lied to...

You know, another example of an oil project touted as being "state of the art, cutting edge" was the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf Coast that BP ran that exploded. We've heard this over and over again, where oil companies claim they're using state of the art technology-- they probably are-- but we see this over and over again that this infrastructure is not safe. ...

That's one of the main stories the film tells. If you're an individual, if you're an American and you want to fight back against this and you object to a foreign corporation taking your land and you want to do something about climate change, you are putting yourself at great peril and you're going to be crushed by these enormous corporate powers that have emerged and really taken an outsized, you know, section of power and wealth in our society. I think one thing this film chronicles is really a wake-up call for folks in the middle of the country and the reddest parts of red states who don't think this is a good system to have and feel completely disempowered.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Soros is no Koch brother

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Soros is no Koch brother, close up

Those on the right love to compare the Kochtopus to George Soros. Yes, both the Koch brothers (scroll) and George Soros are wealthy individuals who donate to the party and candidates of their choice. They're allowed to by law, even more so under the most recent (and terrible) Supreme Court decision.  But that's where the comparison should end.

Which brings us to today's Los Angeles Times letter to the editor about the difference between these "big spenders":

Re "Big spenders," Letters, April 8

One letter writer asserts that exposing the Koch brothers' financial involvement in various conservative causes is mudslinging. He claims their political spending is no different than that of major Democratic donors such as George Soros and unions.

What the writer fails to acknowledge is that the Kochs fund a web of foundations and organizations created by and for themselves to promote their own views. Their political groups are given populist-sounding names — such as Americans for Prosperity — that distract from their real purpose, which is to protect the Kochs' extraordinary personal fortune.

And, but for their wealth, many of these organizations would either cease to exist or lack real political clout.

In comparison, when Soros and unions make political donations, they do not take extraordinary lengths to hide their involvement. We know to whom they gave and how much. The same cannot be said for the Kochs.

That is the difference.

Robert J. Switzer

West Hollywood

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Dems outraise GOP in March. Too bad about those SCOTUS rulings.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

money in politics citizens united corporations outraise

Democrats outraise Republicans! Big headline! Lots of thumbs up on Twitter in response to the headline! Boyoboy! We're rolling in dough, we're raking in the big bucks! We'll show those Republicans, yes we will! Go Dems! Outraise again! Keep it up! We did it! We beat our rivals!

To which I ask, so what?

After the appalling Supreme Court decision that favors billionaires, the decision that extends the influence of big money on elections... brought to us by SCOTUS's previous Citizens United ruling, this is only mildly good news. The truckloads of money shelled out by super PACS, the Koch brothers, and the Sheldon Adelsons on the right make these numbers look like lunch money.

Roll Call:

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee outraised its Republican counterpart in March, ending the month with more than $22 million in cash on hand for the competitive midterms.

Both the DSCC and the National Republican Senatorial Committee said they posted their best fundraising months of the cycle in March.

Democrats raised $8.1 million in March, which is $21 million more than the NRSC. Plus, the DSCC paid off its 2012 debt. Republicans hauled in $6.4 million and have $15.9 million available to them. They also paid off their debt from 2012.

But Republicans have a huge advantage now that the Supreme Court has French kissed Adelson and the Kochs.

You know the solution, though, right? Say it with me now:

vote  turnout  gotv

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Frackers set sights on largest oil shale reservoir in US... near CA's San Andreas fault

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

oil shale Monterey CA fracking Big Oil

California is trying to solve a riddle: how to tap into the largest oil shale reservoir in the United States, one that covers 1,750 square miles, roughly from Bakersfield to Fresno. I'm trying to solve a different riddle: How greedy Big Oil can ignore the terrorizing prospect of triggering The Big One, the health of so many people and of our fragile environment.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting on a gigantic oil trove that's trapped in San Joaquin Valley's Monterey Shale formation, 15 billion barrels, to be exact. While drilling and fracking could be a huge bonanza for oil companies and create a boom that could transform California's economy, the consequences could do just the opposite. "The process of reinjecting drilling fluids into the ground is thought by some to stimulate minor seismic activity around drilling pads, dubbed 'frackquakes.'" Yes, what California needs to kick start a thriving economy is a San Andreas "frackquake."

So far nobody has figured out an affordable way to extract the dirty, polluting fossil fuel. Good.

But that doesn't mean they haven't spent millions and millions of dollars trying. And, as the Times reports, "Oil companies are now paying farmers for their water rights, land and, in some cases, buying their homes outright to get at the reserves that might lie underneath."

Across the southern San Joaquin Valley, oil exploration sites have popped up in agricultural fields and on government land, driven by the hope that technological advances in oil extraction — primarily hydraulic fracturing and acidization — can help provide access to deep and lucrative oil reserves. [...]

The implications are profound, touching on public health, water use, water quality and the loss of agricultural land. The subsequent transformation also would alter the lives of families living in the resolutely rural communities dotting the valley.

For Tom Frantz, a retired teacher and third-generation farmer, the exploratory drilling is already too much.

"This is prime farmland and they have drilled between 200 and 300 wells in the last 10 years in the Monterey Shale," Frantz said. "Every one took out an acre or two of farmland. Every one has used hundreds of thousands of gallons of water. Each one has contributed to our air pollution. Each one has had spills on the ground of different chemicals and crude oil. Each one is emitting methane as we speak. If this thing happens and there are thousands and thousands of wells — that's scary because an accident is bound to happen," he said.

What may be great for California's economy could just as easily destroy it, along with the lives of its residents. Thankfully, the jury is still out on how this can be done profitably. Leave the damned oil shale reservoir alone. Money isn't everything. Life (as the hypocritical Drill Baby Drillers love to tell us) is.

More here.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare