Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Republi-Con Fear Mongering

UPDATE: More on the old and unimproved right-wing fear-mongering media strategy for Obama. Read The New York Times, Fox News’s Mad, Apocalyptic, Tearful Rising Star.

And remember . . .

Be afraid, be very, very afraid, while the robber investment banks and financial institutions loot the treasury and buy FoxNews ads:

The purpose of terrorism is to terrify the target public.

Thanks to the Republi-cons and FoxNews, OBL has won.

How Do You Feel About the Economy?

The New York Times wants to know. You can enter the word that best describes your current mood.

I said I was disgusted.

Why, although you are not asked to explain your feeling, I'm disgusted because the banks (and other financial institutions) are robbing our future.

What did you say? And why?

What is Your Congressman's ROR?

UPDATE III: An update from my initial post in February. Congressman with ties to the PMA Group, AKA Murtha Men, may want to start worrying. The lobbying firm, one of the 10 biggest in Washington, and started by Paul Magliocchetti, a protégé of Representative John Murtha, is closing after prosecutors raided Magliocchetti's office and home last week. See The New York Times, Star Lobbyist Closes Shop Amid F.B.I. Inquiry.

UPDATE II: See The Seattle Times, The Favor Factory 2008, for a database of lawmakers, earmarks, and campaign giving.

It seems that our local Congressman's overall ROR was only 9,050% over five years. In 2008, Miller's total defense earmarks were $7,400,000 and his 2003-08 campaign contributions from earmark recipients was $81,750. However, his PMA ROR remains unchanged.

Is your Congressman a Murtha Man?

Read Congressional Quarterly, Firm with Murtha Ties Got Earmarks From Nearly One-Fourth of House.

Or read The New York Times, 104 Will Get You $300 Million:

"A lobbying powerhouse recently raided by federal agents has hurriedly gone out of business, but not before leaving a detailed blueprint of how the political money churn works in Congress. It was already clear that the PMA Group had heavy clout through Representative John Murtha and his powerful clique of defense appropriators. They, in turn, netted hefty campaign donations from PMA’s grateful roster of defense contractors.

But now, just as the firm implodes in the face of a growing scandal, new Congressional disclosure regulations are revealing the breathtaking breadth of PMA’s influence. The lobbying group — a revolving-door boîte created and run by staff alumni of the Murtha appropriations team — scored a singular coup last year. It convinced 104 different House members to add separate earmarks into the defense appropriations bill worth $300 million to PMA Group clients.

These same lawmakers who looked out for the PMA Group have received $1.8 million in campaign donations from the lobbying firm since 2001, according to an analysis of new disclosure filings by Congressional Quarterly and Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group.

Quid pro quo is the hardest of Congressional crimes to prove. But the new disclosure requirements — created by Democrats after the Republicans’ Jack Abramoff scandal — reveal the shameless back-scratching of lobbyist and lawmaker, tracking the flow of taxpayers’ funds to contractors and back as booty to lawmakers.

The raid on the PMA Group was part of an investigation into possible illicit campaign donations. Fast as PMA quit town, members of Congress have begun donating the lobbyists’ money to charity. Investigators should show the same diligence and enthusiasm following the full PMA money trail."

Then check to see if your congressman is on the list at Congressional Quarterly, Lobbying Firm's Capitol Hill Connections.

Our local Congressman, Jeff Miller, was one of the 104. He secured $3,800,000 in earmarks for clients of The PMA Group in the fiscal 2008 defense appropriations law, which was enacted in 2007. He has received $7,000 from PMA Group's political action committee or its employees since 2001. That is a rate of return (ROR) of over 54,285% over 6 years. Not bad for PMA.

(The actual ROR is probably much higher because there were likely earmarks made in other years. But why quibble whether it was a ROR of 54,000% or 55,000% or more, it is an great ROR for PMA in any case.)

But makes ya wonder why Congressman are so cheap.

UPDATE: It appears that my Senator, Bill Nelson, sold out to the Stanforn Financial Group for $45,000. As The New York Times reported "the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Robert Allen Stanford, the firm’s chief, of conducting 'a massive ongoing fraud' in the sale of about $8 billion of high-yielding certificates of deposit held in the firm’s bank in Antigua."

Is there no shame in Congress.