Saturday, June 6, 2015

#FeelTheBernHeat starts in AL06

Is Congress broke, or is it not broke?

That is the question I tried to get Gary Palmer to answer last year, and he wouldn't answer. See Just answer the question, Gary Palmer.

I have not let up.

On Thursday, I sent Congressman Palmer this letter: Rep. Palmer: Do you #FeelTheBernHeat?

I sent the letter by means of this tweet:

What do you think?

Do you think Congress is broke? Do you think Congressman Palmer should answer and say what he thinks?

Congressman Palmer won't answer just for me.

If you want Congressman Palmer to answer, I recommend you help make Congressman Palmer #FeelTheBernHeat.

To do that, you can start by sending this message to your friends in the Alabama 6th Congressional district:
Congress is broke, and Rep. Gary Palmer needs to tell his #al06 constituents what he is doing about it. 

Also, send to Congressman Palmer this tweet:
Dear @USRepGaryPalmer, please answer the question "Is Congress broke, or is it not?" #al06 #FeelTheBernHeat

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rep. Palmer: Do you #FeelTheBernHeat?

Dear Congressman Palmer:

The goal of  MAYDAY.US is to elect a reform minded Congress by 2016.

On the front page of the MAYDAY.US website (at the lower right of the front page) there is a quotation from a Forbes magazine article. The quotation is:
“The mortal struggle at hand today is not between the right and the left. It is not between Republicans and Democrats. It is not between the Congress and the president. It is between us (currently outsiders to our own government) voters and the Washington Insiders.”
That quotation expresses the gist of the campaign I endeavored to conduct last year in the Republican primary election for the Alabama 6th Congressional district.

I did everything I could to raise this matter in the primary election, and you and the other five candidates ignored me.

After the primary election on June 3rd, I continued to try to press the matter in a public way during your runoff election with Paul DeMarco, and also during the general election campaign in the 6th Congressional district. Since November's election I have not stopped.

I believe you are fairly apprised of the badgering I have done of you on this matter, and you know of your refusal to respond.

For readers of this blog entry who desire information about your refusal to respond and state your views, I refer them to Just answer the question, Gary Palmer.

I believe you are also aware that there are numerous organizations at work nationally to try to fix our broken Federal government. They are pursuing a variety of approaches.

MAYDAY.US is focused on the Congressional elections.

MoveToAmend is trying to get a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision, by working from the bottom up and getting city councils and state legislatures to pass resolutions urging such a constitutional amendment.

Represent.Us is seeking to get anti-corruption measures passed at local governmental levels.

WolfPac is trying to get states to call a convention of states under Article V and pass a Free and Fair Elections Amendment to the Constitution.

These organizations may now have a powerful catalyst for their efforts in the person of Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders is attracting quickly growing, and highly enthusiastic, support around the country for his outspokenness that, as his campaign website says, "Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to buy the United States government."

So, I repeat the question to you again, Congressman Palmer, "Is Congress broke, or not?" Once you answer that question, then maybe a discussion can move on to other things, such as, if you agree Congress is broke, what do you think the American people should do to try to fix it?

In trying to figure out whether Congress is broke or not, you might read John Pudner's article  "The Tea Party Case Against Mega Donors" in The Daily Beast. As the byline says, John is "president of Take Back Our Republic Action Fund, a group advocating conservative solutions to campaign finance reform," which is an offshoot of Take Back Our Republic, a recently formed organization based in Auburn, and of which John is the Executive Director. Read more about this group at Who We Are.

Congressman Palmer, if you continue in your silence on this matter, I can only hope that you will begin to #FeelTheBernHeat to get you to address your constituents in the Alabama 6th Congressional district about this matter.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Jim Rubens to Texas legislative committee


Testimony of Jim Rubens for HJR-146
Before the Texas Select Committee on State & Federal Power and Responsibility

Good evening Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee.

While I’ve travelled here from my New Hampshire home, I’ve got some wonderful roots here in Texas. My dad bailed out as a Madison Avenue Mad Man and came here to found UT Austin’s advertising program, which became the top undergrad program in the country.

I have served as a former Republican state senator from New Hampshire; New Hampshire GOP Platform Committee Chair; senior policy advisor and spokesman for former US Senator Gordon Humphrey for Governor; activist and advisor in many GOP campaigns; and Republican candidate for US Senate 2014. I am a serial small-business entrepreneur and investor in New England-based high-tech start-ups.

I’m here in Texas today as a volunteer to disabuse Republicans of any notion that Washington’s corrupt political money system gives us any advantage in advancing conservative principles. Fixing Washington’s corrupt political money system is not just an issue for Democrats.

This system protects business as usual politics and enriches crony capitalists with obscure tax code distortion, pork barrel spending, and regulatory and diplomatic favors.

I can report from direct experience in 2014 that this corrupt money system imposes a money primary in elections before voters even get to make their choice. Candidates and incumbents perceived or proven willing to trade favors with a small number (in the hundreds) of entrenched, big-dollar interests lock up most of the campaign money. This money primary suppresses voter choice among candidates, narrows the range of issues debated, and thereby stifles resolution of major political challenges, harming our nation and souring the public on our beloved Republic.
  • For three decades now, Washington politicians -- in both parties and in every election –- have promised us fiscal responsibility. Instead, they’ve loaded our kids and grandkids with a millstone of debt. They’ve robbed prosperity from our future and weakened our capacity to pay for our nation’s security in a dangerous world. Most of this spending and unfunded promises is payback to campaign contributors.
  • Our tortured, convoluted tax code is a direct result of this system of corruption. Tax breaks are carved out for big money campaign contributors, paid for with higher rates on ordinary Americans.
  • This system puts corn ethanol in our gas tanks, driving up food prices, depressing gas mileage, and harming the environment.
  • Congress is unrelenting in its defense of the Export-Import Bank, where in 2012, 80% of taxpayer-guaranteed loans were provided to one highly profitable company, Boeing Aircraft.
  • Last December’s bi-partisan CRomnibus spending bill, once again does nothing to tackle spending or deficits, but does stick ordinary Americans with the downside risk of derivatives trading by five Wall Street megabanks.
  • While the US government is the world’s largest buyer of pharmaceutical products, over $100 billion per year, Congress continues to forbid Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices – which for Americans are highest in the world. The simple explanation for this rip-off is the drug industry’s $435 million in spending over the past two years on campaign contributions and its 1,400 Washington lobbyists. Mark me: I’m not against the drug industry, I make a part of my living investing in pharma startups. It’s that I back the free-market where the government does not distort capitalism by picking winners and losers.
  • Most dangerous to our Republic is the tens of millions of dollars (likely much more that we don’t know about) given indirectly by foreign governments and foreign nationals to potential candidates, their close relatives, and to their affiliated organizations. While direct contributions from foreign sources are illegal, foreign governments wanting to bend American policy -– sometimes adversely to US national security interests -- are now exploiting this gargantuan campaign money loophole. The New York Times reported this week about speaking fees given to Bill Clinton and contributions made to the Clinton Foundation by individuals and companies associated with Uranium One who were simultaneously and successfully advocating that US and other uranium assets be sold to Rosatom (a Russian firm controlled by the Russian government) during the time Mrs. Clinton served as Secretary of State, had authority to approve or deny the transaction, and was well known to be a likely candidate for President. I note this news highlighting clearly perceivable political money corruption, not because it involves Democrats, but only because it is the most recent and blatant.
These seven examples of special interest privilege and crony capitalism and are not cherry picked anomalies. A ground-breaking 2014 study tested the political outcomes in 1,800 contested issues over a 20-years period and found this:  little surprise that economic elites and organized business interests had substantial impact on policy. The stunner, average members of public have essentially zero influence over what Washington does.

Whatever your issue or ideology, we must confront Washington’s corrupted, immobilized political system, accountable to a tiny number of favor-seeking big money donors rather than, as things should be, to the American people.

Our Constitution’s framers anticipated a Congress that could become corrupt and unaccountable, unable and unwilling to reform itself. For that reason, the framers included the state-led method of proposing amendments to Constitution in Article V.

HJR-146 does not tell us how we will change Washington’s system of political money corruption. It asks that the states engage in debate about the varied approaches because Congress will not.

Personally, I do not see a need to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. My suggested approach is to remove all limits on direct candidate contributions and combine that with instant online disclosure and the establishment of a $50 per voter tax-credit voucher system for campaign contributions to broaden the base of potential contributors.

Because Congress refuses to address the corrupt political money system, it’s up to the states. Please vote for HJR-146 and add Texas to the Missouri Senate, the New Hampshire House, and the growing number of states already on board and ready to work together to find a solution.

Thanks for listening,

Jim Rubens


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rep. Palmer: Why you will fail us

Dear Congressman Palmer,

Would you kindly obtain a copy of Steven Brill's 2015 book America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System, and read it.

The book should be instructive to you about why you will fail us in Congress.

Please pay particular attention to Chapter 8 "Deal Time" and Chapter 9 "Behind Closed Doors: White House Turf Wars, Industry Deals, and Senate Wrangling."

If it will help in your study, here is a search link for reviews of the book:

If Brill's book opens your eyes, I hope you will let your 6th Congressional district constituents know about that.

Thank you.

Rob Shattuck

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Who in AL wants to defeat the Washington machine?

A poster from the Rand Paul for President campaign.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The War for the Presidency

How do you feel about the War for the 2016 Presidency?

The War that is going to be, say, of $1.5 billion against $1.5 billion.

Do you feel it is going to make much of a difference to you how that War turns out?

Just who are these people who will be pouring $3 billion into the War? Do you think they are expecting something depending on how the War turns out?

Of course they are. We just don't know exactly what it is, and we will be very in the dark about what they get and the ways in which they get it.

What about our Congress? How is it going to do for the American people while the War is being fought for the next 20 months?

What about AL06 Rep. Gary Palmer? Do you think he makes any difference with the War going on?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Scrutinizing Alabama's legislative delegation

Mayday v2 began on Saturday. Here is what is posted on the MAYDAY.US website:
In 2014, we rallied more than 50,000 Americans to support a fight for fundamental reform in the way campaigns are funded — to reduce the influence of money in politics, by increasing the influence of people in politics.
But in the campaigns, we didn’t move the ball far enough.
So in 2015, we’re doing something different. To prove that reform is possible, we need to close the gap on a majority in Congress — both Republicans and Democrats — committed to reforming the system of corruption in Washington, D.C., by changing the way campaigns are funded.
Help us find allies in Congress.
We’re looking for leaders who understand that the way campaigns are funded is broken. You can see which Members have already committed to reform here.
Tell us who you think we could persuade to join us next, and why.

Using the website tool for seeing where Members stand on reform, I found the below shown for Senators Sessions and Shelby and for Alabama's seven Representatives in Washington.

Jefferson Sessions is Against US
By not backing reform, Sessions supports systemic corruption and is undermining democracy.

Richard Shelby is Against US
By not backing reform, Shelby supports systemic corruption and is undermining democracy. 

Bradley Byrne is Against US
By not backing reform, Byrne supports systemic corruption and is undermining democracy. 

Martha Roby is Against US
By not backing reform, Roby supports systemic corruption and is undermining democracy 

Michael Rogers is Against US
By not backing reform, Rogers supports systemic corruption and is undermining democracy.

Robert Aderholt is Against US
By not backing reform, Aderholt supports systemic corruption and is undermining democracy.

Morris Brooks is Against US
By not backing reform, Brooks supports systemic corruption and is undermining democracy.

Gary Palmer is Against US
By not backing reform, Palmer supports systemic corruption and is undermining democracy.

Terri Sewell is With US
Sewell supports fundamental reform to fix systemic corruption and restore democracy.