You Could Say That a Vote for Republicans is a Vote Against American Jobs

Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the NAM, Danny Roderick, president and CEO of Westinghouse Electric Co., and Pierre Paul Oneid, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer at Holtec International Corp. speak Friday at a roundtable discussion on the Export-Import Bank. - Justine Coyne
Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the NAM, Danny Roderick, president and CEO of Westinghouse Electric Co., and Pierre Paul Oneid, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer at Holtec International Corp. speak Friday at a roundtable discussion on the Export-Import Bank.
– Justine Coyne

If you’re like me, you may have little to no understanding or appreciation for something called the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank.

The Pittsburgh Business Times published a good article today titled, Roderick, NAM urge action on Export-Import Bank. I recommend reading it.

Here’s an excellent description of the Ex-Im:

In 2013, the Ex-Im bank supported $37 billion in exports that helped to sustain 200,000 U.S. jobs at 3,400 companies, according to Jay Timmons, president and CEO of NAM.

And it’s not just the big companies like Westinghouse that benefit from the program: About 90 percent of Ex-Im bank transactions in 2013 benefited small business, according to NAM.

Seems like a good thing, right?

So, why would Republicans and libertarians – including the Koch brothers and Koch-backed groups like The Heritage Foundation and Club For Growth – want to kill it?

I highly recommend a June 27th article in Bloomberg titled,How the U.S. Ex-Im Bank Landed on Republicans’ Death Row.”

This excerpt kind of says it all:

“Ex-Im represents both a policy and political target because it’s do-able,” said Diane Katz, a Heritage research fellow. “We’re not trying to take down the Federal Reserve here. We’re starting with an agency that is ripe.”

On the surface, the 80-year-old bank isn’t an obvious target. Rather than costing taxpayers money, it regularly returns a profit to the Treasury — more than $3.4 billion since 2005. The bank says its programs generated about 2 percent of the $2.3 trillion the U.S. exported last year.

….At least five groups opposing the bank’s renewal, including Concerned Veterans for America and the 60 Plus Association, received nearly all of their funding over an 18-month period ending in December 2012 from the Kochs’ political network — a total of $47.4 million, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics researcher Robert Maguire. Another group, Americans for Prosperity, founded by the Kochs in 2004, is also lobbying against the bank.

To all my fellow middle class and ordinary Americans still identifying with the GOP, the tea party, and with libertarian principles, when will you come to grips with reality?

A vote for Republicans – and a misguided and misinformed belief in libertarian mythology like the Invisible Hand of free markets – is a vote against American companies, American jobs, and a vote and belief system that goes against your own economic self-interest.

Will there ever be enough evidence to convince you?

 

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The Tea Party and Move On: Finding Common Ground? No, Not Where It Matters

This was an interesting conversation. (The audio kicks in correctly at 1:30, so be patient)

First, I applaud the idea of not losing sight of the fact that we’re all human beings. As National Tea Party Patriots co-founder and Citizens for Self Governance founder, Mark Meckler, points out toward the end of the conversation, we shouldn’t objectify each other. I agree, and I humbly admit that I need to keep reminding myself about that.

He and Joan Blades, the co-founder of MoveOn and MomsRising.org, say they agree that there’s common ground on the PROBLEM of crony capitalism.

Unfortunately, it seems that we can add the SOLUTION of campaign finance reform to the list of things that are NOT common ground.

If you don’t want to listen to the whole discussion, go to the 38:50 mark. Listen to the question asked plus the one that follows. Listen to what Meckler says in response to both.

He says that he, like Lawrence Lessig, wants an Article V convention to amend the Constitution. He says he wants it, however, for completely different reasons than Lessig.

Meckler blames crony capitalism not on the people, corporations, and organizations buying our government today. He blames it on the size of government. He posits that private money is basically being driven by self-interest. He says they are motivated to corrupt government because government is so big and so ubiquitous that private money can hardly be blamed for wanting to influence it. This becomes especially apparent when the conversation turns to his belief in the “rational actor theory” and to a basic investment and business principle: return on investment.

He says (and I’m paraphrasing) that if we just shrink government – and I assume he means primarily the federal government – that we’ll see less corruption because the incentives for big money interests to funnel millions and even billions of dollars into the coffers of our elected officials will be diminished because the returns will be smaller.

This sounds to me like he’s exonerating Big Money. He seems to be saying that the government is just too big and too tempting a place not to “invest” in because the returns from those investments are just too attractive to resist.

That is a stunning position to take. It strikes me as blaming the victim instead of the criminal, and it reveals how Meckler presumably distinguishes between right and wrong.

Meckler also says that reforming campaign finance laws is futile. He says the money will just go further underground. So like David Brooks, Meckler doesn’t see the need to reform our campaign finance laws. And while he doesn’t make the distinction, one must conclude that Meckler thinks it’s futile regardless of the size of government.

Which brings me to the question I struggle with endlessly when it comes to finding common ground.

It’s what I call “the morning after” quandary. Now that we have common ground on the PROBLEM, what about the SOLUTION?

Let’s assume for a minute that everyone agrees that crony capitalism is a problem – the problem – that needs to be solved. Great. We now have common ground from which to work.

Now let’s assume we agree that the required action is to get 2/3 of the states to call for an Article V convention to amend the Constitution. We’re not at the solution yet, mind you, but we’ve agreed on an action.

Now here’s where principles, purposes, and goals begin to diverge.

People like Lawrence Lessig (and Move To Amend, Wolf-PAC, I, and lots of others) want to amend the Constitution to reverse Citizens United and McCutcheon in order to get big money and its corrupting influence out of government no matter the size of government.

Lessig (along with Represent.Us and lots of us) also want to significantly reform campaign finance laws through legislation like the American Anti-Corruption Act.

Mark Meckler disagrees. He says so himself.

So, we all work together to get to an Article V convention only to find ourselves in opposition as to what amendments are needed. Some of us want to take the corrupting money out of government, while others want to shrink government and its role in overseeing and regulating how that money is made.

It’s the morning after.

How am I supposed to consider Meckler an ally if we’re this far apart? Hasn’t there been enough conversation and debate yet to come to conclusions with certainty on both the problems and the solutions?

Meckler disagrees with Lessig. That’s his prerogative. Perhaps the question to ask is, “Which of them knows more about the fundamentals of the problems and which one of them has the solutions that will benefit the most Americans?”

They both can’t be right when they’re this far apart.

Joan Blades deserves only our admiration and respect for her approach and her work. She’s an inspiration. But, I’m getting more than a little tired of the left always being the ones who must listen and who must keep moving to the right just to try to find some kind of center or common ground. It’s time for the right to move to their left.

Bernie Sanders recently reminded us about just how radical the right and the GOP have become since the days when Charles Koch was a Libertarian vice presidential candidate who criticized Ronald Reagan for being too liberal. The dangerous ideas and ideology espoused back then have evolved into mainstream conservative and Republican dogma.

Meckler strikes me as simply a kinder, gentler face on it, and I hope people will see and understand that.

Agreeing on the problem is great, but it isn’t enough. There also has to be agreement on how to solve the problem; otherwise, the cure could easily end up being worse than the disease.

As for open dialog and civility, I’d be glad to have a living room conversation with Mark Meckler. He seems from the video to be a nice enough guy. I’d be happy to sit on his deck, have some wine, and look out over his neighbor’s vineyard.

Until the invitation arrives, I’ll just keep doing what I can to support people like Lawrence Lessig who are far more qualified to understand the problems and to know how to solve them than Mark Meckler.

5 reasons why the American people can’t stand the Republican party

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

“The Republican party often has people scratching their heads and it’s not just “liberals” who are doing it. With The Republican party splitting into multiple factions, the once proud political party has been thrown into disarray Here are five reasons why the American people can’t stand the Grand Old Party.”

Greg Russak‘s insight:

I’m curious to know if supporters and/or members of the GOP reading this agree that the party is "splitting into multiple factions" and that "the once proud political party has been thrown into disarray."

 

I’d also like to know if anyone can prove any of the 5 points to be factually incorrect.

See on www.examiner.com

GOP is literally killing its base

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

Slashing food stamps will decrease the life expectancy of poor rural whites, many of whom put Republicans in office

Greg Russak‘s insight:

"The late journalist Joe Bageant (a self-described “redneck leftist” and author of the 2008 bookDeer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches From America’s Class War) had a lot to say about white poverty and the fact that the GOP, with its emphasis on culture war issues, has convinced many older whites to vote against their own economic interests."

See on www.salon.com

A Plea to Ordinary Republicans

Here’s a peek into how our elected officials were working for us last week…….or not.

Toomey Email 2

We all know now how Toomey and the rest of the Senate voted. The Republican junior senator from Pennsylvania voted to send our government into default.

We all know now that 144 House members – all Republicans – did the same.

For those of you who were – and who still are – cheering the ideas of government shutdowns and defaults, perhaps it would be useful to bring the discussion down to a more local and personal level. Perhaps you should consider this reality: Even the staffers who were furloughed by Mr. Toomey are people.

They are people just like you, and your vote for people like Toomey and the 144 House Republicans is, for all practical purposes, a vote to put more Americans out of work. Americans who have chosen to work FOR YOU as civil servants.

Yes, there’s waste, fraud, and abuse in government just as there is in every large organization. Attacking the problem with broad cleaves like sequestration and the abject lunacy of shutdowns and defaults is not how to address those challenges. That’s simplistic and, frankly, juvenile thinking.

My plea to ordinary Republicans is this. Is there any hope that you will rise up and take your party back from the extremists in the tea party who claim to be patriots but who really are corporatists?

UncleSamWantsYouIs there any hope that ordinary Republicans will finally wake up to the fact that a vote for people like Toomey, Tom Corbett, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, and any so-called tea party Republican is actually a vote to DESTROY OUR DEMOCRACY and to PUT MORE OF OUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS, and FELLOW AMERICANS OUT OF WORK?

Joe Scarborough makes a very telling observation along these lines in a Politico Opinion Column on Oct 18:

…Republicans were licking their wounds around this time last year after being blindsided by a presidential election whose outcome they should have seen coming a mile away. But ignorance was bliss as conservative politicians and talkers pushed bogus polls and political fairy tales to angry voters who were once again on the losing side of history. Media outlets that released polls showing President Obama winning were attacked as biased and conservatives who warned of Romney’s weaknesses were rhetorically burned at the stake as heretics.

So, to ordinary Republicans – my fellow Americans – I ask these questions:

Are you going to allow your fellow Republicans to continue to go unchallenged in their insistence that reality is something different for Republicans?

Are you going to keep believing and perpetuating the false and failed ideology (it doesn’t deserve the moniker of ‘policy’) of trickle down economics?

Are you going to stop watching, listening, and repeating the lies from fraudulent news sources that operate based on agendas that work against you and America?

Are you going to accept the truth that the Tea Party is a corporatist movement, NOT a grass roots movements?

This is on you, Republicans. Independents and Democrats can’t change your party. Only you can do that.

When you ordinary Republicans stay home during primaries, when you stay all too silent at times like this while people like Cruz try to turn our system of governance into a sham, and when you allow your Grand Old Party to be usurped by big money masquerading as a grass roots movement, well, this is on you.

I hope that you ordinary Republicans will work to end the support – yours and your fellow Republicans’ – for the dangerous ideology of Tea Party corporatists. They are the real Tea Party; groups like The Heritage Foundation, the Senate Conservatives Fund, the Club For Growth, and their ilk. They don’t care about you or ordinary Americans. Their only mission is to lie to enough Americans to get them to vote for people who, once in elected office, will pass legislation to further corporatize America.

I believe that the Republican Party is populated by a majority of intelligent, well-meaning people. I hope that this majority will seize this opportunity to start pushing back against the extremists in their party now, in a big way, and in big numbers.

I’d like to offer a few nonpartisan ways you can do precisely that right now.

I truly hope that you will, and that you will spread the word to your fellow Republicans.

Move To Amend
You can sign the petition to overturn Citizens United because money is not speech and corporations are not people.
https://movetoamend.org/ and http://movetoamend.nationbuilder.com/petition

American Anti-Corruption Act
Citizen-sponsored nonpartisan legislation that transforms how elections are financed, how lobbyists influence politics, and how political money is disclosed
Details at http://anticorruptionact.org/ and here to become a Citizen Co-Sponsor http://unitedrepublic.actionkit.com/event/cosponsor/9815/

Coffee Party USA
A grass roots, nonpartisan group that encourages inclusive, civil, fact-based, solution-oriented dialogue, online and in public places.
Coffee Party USA no longer has my support or endorsement. Click here if you’re curious as to why that is, and please drop me a Comment if you see any links to them on this site I may have missed.