Tag Archive: Koch Brothers

Christie outs Oliver as his puppet in secret Koch Bros. meeting we weren’t supposed to know about

News broke today of Gov. Chris Christie’s remarks – with audio – claiming he protected Sheila Oliver’s position as Speaker with the promise of GOP votes if she couldn’t get Democrats, in exchange for her support to post the Christie-Sweeney-Oliver pen-ben bill and shepherd votes. His remarks came at a meeting in Colorado Christie took pains to cover up – failing to disclose it, its hosts (far-right oil billionaire Koch brothers) or even his out-of-state travel that day. No matter which account you believe – if either – what we learned today confirms something is very wrong in the way decisions are made in New Jersey.  

The 4 hour-plus time lag before an Oliver denial of Christie’s story concerns me. If Christie’s story was bullshit, you’d expect her to say so immediately. First, Oliver’s late-day statement – a humdinger:

“The assertions that Gov. Christie has made, they are outright lies. Outright lies. I am beginning to wonder if Gov. Christie is mentally deranged,” Oliver said. “At no time did I ever, ever pick up the telephone, call Gov. Christie and ask him to quote ‘save my leadership.’ ” The governor was engaged in a chest-thumping vaudeville entertainment session in front of the Republican donors, she said. “I don’t expect to call him at all,” she said. “I think it’s disgraceful.”

Mentally deranged, she calls Christie. This story may unleash a war of words between the GOP governor and the Democratic Speaker, a breaking of the confederacy between them that has infuriated so many Democrats. And it may mean that the compliance Christie counts on from Oliver may be cracking as Oliver attempts to save herself from political embarrassment. Though, it’s impossible to miss that Oliver expended her energy distancing herself from political allegations from the Governor; she still hasn’t said anything worth reporting about her role pushing pen-ben, in defiance of core principles. The possibility that Oliver may now wiggle out from under Christie’s thumb and begin to lead as she was elected to do, keeps us from calling for her ouster from leadership.  

Real Americans and Fake Patriots

Ironically but not surprisingly, Sarah Palin and a good number of those on the right like to address their crowds, who have increasingly been playing dress-up as “patriots” (and not in the Tom Brady kind of way), as “Real Americans™”.  They talk about “the tree of liberty”, “patriotism” and any number of cherry picked or out-of-context quotes from the Founding Fathers or the Bible.  Yet when it comes to actions, what we see from her, Scott Garrett, Chris Christie, Eric Cantor, many on the right (and a growing number on the “left” as well) is just the opposite of what a “real American” is.

Real Americans don’t vote for $50 billion in Iraq “reconstruction” like Eric Cantor, Scott Garrett and so many Republicans did with no strings attached, yet demand more cuts here in America to help those in need after devastating earthquakes and hurricanes.

Fake Patriots like Chris Christie and so many Republicans talk about cutting Medicare and social security benefits for those who desperately need them, cloaking it as “reform”, while turning their nose up at raising the social security wage limit to address the most regressive tax in this country.

The Roots of Intransigence

Trying to reason with a Tea Partiers is like trying to get a Congressional Republican to compromise. It’s easier to teach pigs to fly.

MoveOn.org sponsored rallies today all across the country to bring attention to the irrevocable harm that the Republican Tea Party is imposing on mostly complacent Americans. One such event was held over the lunch hour today at the Mount Laurel office of ex-NFL offensive linesman and Tea Party darling, Congressman Jon Runyan.

I arrived at Runyan’s office at around 11:30, and there were about five people already gathered in the parking lot. One was a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the rest were members of the West Jersey Tea Party. (I’ve heard of North Jersey, South Jersey, and Central Jersey, but where the heck is West Jersey? But I digress.)

Cheer Up. Things Could be Worse

Last week was depressing. On Thursday night, I sat in the New Jersey State Assembly chamber for over 12 hours to witness Chris Christie’s greatest political victory in his disastrous reign as our governor.

No doubt, he will continue to brag about his “leadership” ability and the “bipartisan” support he got for the stripping of collective bargaining rights from state workers.

I watched as assembly members I like and admire, people like Lou Greenwald, Pam Lampitt, and Herb Conaway, voted to affirm the path taken not only by Chris Christie, but also Scott Walker, Rick Scott, Rick Snyder, and others of their ilk.

Koch Brothers Come to Jersey, Love Christie

Over at APP.com, statehouse reporter Jason Method has posted this must-read article titled “Report: NJ Not Free State.”

It describes a new report which states that New Jersey is one of the “least free” states in the country. That’s right, New Jersey – you are prisoners of government, with your licensed contractors, helmet laws, smoking bans and lack of marriage equality. (Sarcasm does not apply to the last item in that list.)  Not to mention:

New Jersey should also roll back spending on low-income school districts and use the savings to roll back income, property and cigarette taxes

Woah! And who would issue such a “report”? Well this one comes from the Mercatus Center – a non-profit organization whose board includes Tea Party maestro Charles Koch, as well as Richard Fink, executive vice-president of Koch Industries.

You’re thinking “Eww! Gross! Keep them, their report, and their creepy ideas out of New Jersey!” But it’s too late, because Koch emissaries have already been here, no less in recent days and right under our noses. Of course, everyone was so focused on Coptergate that little has been said about the wealthy Iowa donors who waited patiently at Drunthwacket for the governor to land in his sky chariot. Yet you’d think New Jerseyans would be interested to know that one of them was Koch Brothers business partner Bruce Rastetter.

Rastetter is a major GOP contributor who, for example, wants to eliminate preschool, and youth tobacco prevention programs. He also provided seed money for a secretive organization called the American Future Fund. While shielding its donors’ identities, AFF spends millions of dollars working to defeat Democrat candidates. And their leadership has plenty of experience in that field – counted among their accomplishments are the Swift Boat Veterans and Willie Horton television ads. As you’d expect, such a shadowy group has been the subject of various complaints, and has been accused multiple times of violating Federal election law.  In short, AFF is widely acknowledged as representing wealthy Republicans, who want to get other wealthy Republicans into elected office.

And Rastetter was only one of the guys on that plane from Iowa.

Christie pulls New Jersey out of RGGI

Well, it’s official. Gov. Chris Christie has pulled the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), handing a big gift to the right-wing base that gives governors like him the big money, like the kind that powers Americans for Prosperity, which has made dismantling the 10 Northeast state compact one of its prime objectives. That’s AFP, whose New Jersey leader Steve Lonegan was Christie’s GOP primary opponent for governor, whose Tea Party followers spent most of Christie’s first year kvetching he wasn’t conservative enough, AFP, front group for oil and coal interests, largely underwritten by the Koch Brothers, billionaires David and Charles. Kinda people rising GOP stars need. Dig it.

paul sarlo IS AFP
WTF sign is Sarlo standing behind?

Sarlo: Inclined to blame Christie alone for all this? Think again. When he became the first Democrat to support AFP’s anti-RGGI efforts, Sen. Paul Sarlo gave Christie’s decision some Democratic cover. Yes, that’s Sarlo behind the sign: I Am AFP!

Christie’s had just a craptastic week – sagging poll numbers at home (you know, where it counts), a star-turn robo-call for the GOP loser in hot race NY-26, a Supreme Court ruling that undercuts his whole education zeitgeist. Worse, even reporters who used to be dazzled by him are beginning to report on his excesses, and his whole bluster and bullshit act is beginning to wear (except, apparently in Iowa). I’m sure he wants to get you talking about something else, anything but all that.

Dummies: This is an intelligent governor who nonetheless plays to the dummy chunk of his base by going along with the claim that there’s insufficient proof of human-caused global climate change (yay, let’s burn fuel and make our pals richer). Rutgers scientists even gave him a quiet science lesson. Sierra Club is apoplectic, roaring out with a 1432-word press release I won’t recount here (not posted at their site yet). But it makes a pretty good case that Christie’s choosing to make things easier for corporate polluters and the coal industry at the expense of your health. And that it has created (or saved) jobs, cut emissions and is supported by the state’s major utilities. Christie’s already raided $65 million from RGGI, money meant to support clean energy programs, diverted to the budget deficit.

RGGi is a first-of-its-kind initiative, and threats to it are national enviro news. NRDC just posted this poll that shows New Jerseyans will probably think their governor’s headed in the wrong direction – increasingly.  

Menendez Talks to POLITICO

Senator Bob Menendez sat down for an interview with POLITICO recently, and here’s that video. Menendez ran the Senate’s 2010 campaign strategy, a year we lost 6 seats. Part of what he talks about here is the rise of corporate spending on the right, post Citizens United, particularly the fueling of tea party candidates by the Koch brothers. Overall, Menendez says he tracked $70 million in corporate spending against Senate Democrats. He calls it “a corruption of our election system,” that absent a constitutional solution, should require greater disclosure and transparency in spending.

Menendez also has strong advice for 2012 candidates, to seize the debate over gas prices, the budget and federal spending, offering a well-framed debate that resonates with most Americans simplistic cries of things like “Drill, baby, drill.” That’s a particularly attractive piece of advice as we approach the 1-year anniversary of BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion and the massive oil spill that dirtied the Gulf of Mexico. Menendez is against allowing an expansion of offshore drilling – both our senators are – and has an idea how Democrats can respond legislatively to the BP oil spill disaster. “Use it or lose it,” Menendez says: legislation that would essentially penalize companies that do not produce on drilling leases they have already been granted.

Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity Counter-Rally Tomorrow in Trenton

A few days ago, we ran a purely satirical post claiming that Chris Christie was going to hold a counter-rally tomorrow at the state house, with other GOP electeds who want to turn the clock back on labor’s right of collective bargaining.

Some of you took it seriously, and we had to run in and post “snark” warnings on it, just to set the record straight. Now today, we get word that there will be a counter-rally. Joey wasn’t seeing into the future; it’s not Christie, but the man who sits at Christie’s right shoulder, telling him always that he’s not right enough. Steve Lonegan, Christie’s GOP primary opponent, and now NJ Director of Americans for Prosperity, a “conservative” “activist” group that is stronger in this state than almost anywhere else. I put those two terms in quote marks because AFP is not conservative, it’s right-wing, and it’s not activist in the way you’re used to thinking; AFP is of course a front group, with massive financial backing from the Koch brothers. Same guys who put considerable power behind the election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Same guys slapped an anti-union tv ad up in that state designed to turn support back to the Governor.

Actually, as these state house and capitol building rallies spread all over the country, counter-rallies, where they’ve been held, have been anemic by comparison. Wonder what tomorrow will bring.  

My View of What Went Wrong

Yes, this gets to New Jersey, and to Christie – toward the end. The phenomenon of a Christie or a Scott Walker, who go down so easy for the business class, doesn’t just “happen”. This post is one writer’s view of the preamble.

– promoted by Rosi

The economy is a tenuous thing and so easily bruised and broken. We are teetering on a very terrifying edge and the right wing pro-corporate press and message machine is spending billions all over the country to push us over.

Between the manufactured news we see repeated on Fox News, with Rush Limbaugh and around the clock and right wing business interests paying for political ads and skewed polls, it gets harder and harder to hear the truth between the lies.

There was a time in this country that many communities lived in and under the control of what became known as “Company Towns”. It seems that there is a calculated and concerted effort to return to that model of economic oppression for the whole of the country.

It wasn’t unusual for a company to take ownership of an industry specific area and build a fiscal slave system on it. The premise was pretty simple, control the jobs and access to the money and you control the community. Now we have governors looking to the new “Company Store” owners for guidance and support in their efforts to kill off the last vestiges of labor rights and collective bargaining.

Between 1945 and 1975, the country enjoyed a period of pro-union, pro-labor middle class growth and prosperity, where a single income could buy a home, send a couple kids to college and afford a family a vacation once or twice a year. This period was considered America’s “Golden age”. We made what we used, what we bought what we needed from local businesses and had pride in our jobs and country.

Then something changed.