Sunday, November 8, 2015

What more proof do you need, Rep. Palmer?

Re:  Keystone pipeline

Dear Representative Palmer:

Everyone in our country needs energy.

Also, most everyone wants to protect the environment, for ourselves and for future generations.

Any person with intelligence knows there are trade offs to be made between energy and the environment.

The possible trade offs are varied and complex.

The country has been choosing among possible trade offs for decades, and there are many years in front of us for figuring out energy versus the environment.

Rep. Palmer, wouldn't you think that the American people should have a President and a Congress that recognize the reality of all of us having similar concerns in the trade offs between energy and the environment? Should not such President and Congress tell the American people they will consider the current situation and they will develop and put forth a consensus proposal of what they think the next step should be for the country?  Then, the American people, understanding that trade offs are necessary, can decide whether the proposal of the President and Congress is within rational boundaries for striking a balance between energy and the environment. There is a possibility of a massive reaction against the proposal as being grossly deficient and not being a rational balancing of energy and the environment. If, however, such a reaction does not happen, that should be grounds for a general acceptance of what has been done, the consensus proposal can be put in operation without shrieking hoohah, and the President, Congress and the country can turn their attention to other pressing matters.

Wouldn't you think that's what the American people should get from their President and Congress as regards energy and the environment?

But no, that is not what the American people get.

Instead, as an example that epitomizes what is wrong with Washington DC, the American people have been served up for seven years the inanity of how Congress, the President and the rest of the political class in Washington have dealt with the Keystone XL pipeline.

That long running inanity came back into the headlines this past week with the President's disapproval of the pipeline.

Such inanity, it can be predicted, is going to continue, it will play a role in the 2016 elections, and it will persist after election day next November.

I ask you, Rep. Palmer, why do the American people need to continue to put up with this inanity for more years to come?

What do you say?

Do you say I am incorrect in calling this performance inanity? Do you say this is our political system and our Federal government working the way they should work?

Or do you wish to point the finger at the Democrats for being the cause of inanity?

That is what you wanted to do in 2014.

Have you learned anything from your 11 months in Congress that causes you to view this matter any differently now?

Please tell your 6th Congressional district constituents about this.

Thank you.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Help Larry Lessig get 500 signatures in AL by Nov. 6th

Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig is running for President of the United States, in order to Fix Our Broken Democracy - First.  See Lessig2016.

He is running as a Democrat.

To get on the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary Ballot in Alabama, Professor Lessig needs to get signatures from 500 registered Alabama voters by November 6th. See Presidential Candidate Ballot Access Election 2016.

To sign the ballot access petition for Professor Lessig, you don't have to be a Democrat, and Republicans and independents may sign the petition.

Will you help Professor Lessig get his 500 signatures in Alabama by November 6th?

Please email me at rdshattuck@gmail.com or call me at (205) 967-5586 if you are willing to help out.

For your information, you can find the petition form and a Lessig2016 Brochure below at these links:


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Trump: "Our system is broken"

Donald Trump says our system is broken. Does Congressman Palmer agree? What is Congressman Palmer doing about it?



EDIT 8/11: Below sent to Rep. Palmer and rest of Alabama's Senators and Representatives in Washington.



Edit: 8/20:  Donald Trump is coming to Mobile tomorrow, Friday, August 21st. The event has been moved to a larger venue due to the large crowd expected. The Alabama Secretary of State’s Office says more than 30,000 people have confirmed they will attend the ‘Donald J. Trump for President Pep Rally.’ It will be held at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, located at 1621 Virginia Street, Mobile, AL 36604. WHNT 19 News

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Who will debate this?

Set forth below is the cover page of a document entitled Fighting Big Money, Empowering People: A 21st Century Democracy Agenda. The document was published this month by the organizations listed below. The full document can be found at the preceding link.

I call for a debate of this document to be conducted in our Birmingham area. I call for the debate to be joined by Republicans, Democrats and independents.

I will start with Democrats.

I call on Rep. Terri Sewell, Professor Mark Lester, and local Democratic organizations to issue statements along the lines of
The recently published political document Fighting Big Money, Empowering People: A 21st Century Democracy Agenda raises issues of utmost importance that should be addressed by all residents of our Birmingham area. I/we call on  Rep. Gary Palmer and local Republican organizations to engage in debate with local Democratic leaders and organizations. Our local political news media and commentators should participate and assist in publicizing this debate to the residents in our Birmingham area. 

[Cover page of document]
Fighting Big Money, Empowering People:A 21st Century Democracy Agenda

Like every generation before us, Americans are coming together to preserve a democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people. American democracy is premised on the consent of the governed, and on the idea that we all deserve a say in the government decisions that affect our families. We stand united supporting commonsense protections that recognize the people as the ultimate check on the corrosive influence of money in politics, which is eroding the very foundation of self-government.

Brennan Center for Justice
Common Cause
Democracy 21
Democracy Matters
Demos
Every Voice
Issue One
Mayday
People for the American Way
Public Citizen
Represent.Us
U.S. PIRG

July 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Gary Palmer's Tele-Townhall today

For over a year, Gary Palmer has communicated no response to me relative to Just answer the question, Gary Palmer.

I don't think there is any reason for me to try to call in to his Tele-Townhall today.

I have been endeavoring the past couple of days to publicize, via Twitter, Just answer the question, Gary Palmer.

I don't know whether I have caught any other constituent's attention who will call in today and ask Gary Palmer to Just answer the question, Gary Palmer.

If there are constituents who are interested, I think there are two recent developments that Gary Palmer could be asked about.

One development is Jeb Bush's proposal announced yesterday that all lawmaker-lobbyest meetings should be made public. For more information, see Jeb Bush re Lobbyist-Lawmaker meetings and Matt Murphy 5/19/14.

A second development is the below email I received last Friday from Take Back Our Republic, based in Auburn, reporting the results from a survey showing "Conservative Alabamians Support Specific Rules on Money in Politics":


From: Justin Hill, www.takeback.org <press@takeback.org>
Date: Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 9:20 AM
Subject: Survey: Conservative Alabamians Support Specific Rules on Money in Politics
To: rdshattuck@gmail.com
Most conservative Alabamians support specific measures to address the problem with money in politics, according to a new poll released by Take Back Our Republic (www.takeback.org).

Certain campaign reform measures have appealed most broadly to liberal groups, but Take Back Our Republic specifically surveyed previously identified active conservatives and determined that specific measures to curb the influence of big money in politics are supported by those who back conservative causes and are likely to vote in Republican primaries. The following measures had support among a clear majority (not just a plurality) of the state’s conservatives who were surveyed in the past week:

Survey of Conservative Alabamians
QuestionSupportOpposeUndecided
Strengthen and Enforce Laws Against Foreign Money (e.g. FEC case) 84%6%10%
Verify Credit Card Contributions? 66%19%14%
Disclose Contributions to Outside Groups/Raise Limit for Candidates 64%25%11%
Get Tax Credit for $200 Contributions 54%34%12%

A total of 691 state residents who have previously identified themselves as active conservatives or libertarians participated in the survey. The results will be distributed to the 63 founding members of the State Chapter of Take Back Our Republic.
“After years of running conservative political campaigns, this research verified that the most active conservatives do believe money in politics poses a problem,” said TAKE BACK Executive Director John Pudner, who last year launched the political campaign that overcame Eric Cantor and his political war chest of millions.
“There are some clear first steps conservatives would like to take to address money in politics, and these are not all the same steps liberals might choose,” Pudner said. “The state conservatives we interviewed were divided on other campaign finance issues, and Take Back hopes to continue to encourage discussions. Some strongly support tax credits for small donors to balance off big donors. Some want protection from employment retribution for contributions, while others worry that would lead to too much legislation. Some want limits put on donors, while others feel strongly this is a limit on their 1st amendment rights to free speech.”

As a 501c3 under the IRS code, Take Back hopes to educate the public on the various issues and potential solutions surrounding money in modern campaigns.
  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Matt Murphy 5/19/14

Relative to Jeb Bush's proposal for a law that all lawmaker-lobbyist meetings be made public (see Jeb Bush re lobbyist-lawmaker meetings), please listen to what I say in this May 19, 2014 interview with Matt Murphy, starting at time 7 min 11 sec.


Audio recording and upload >>

Jeb Bush re Lobbyist-Lawmaker meetings

THE DAILY CALLER
Posted By Alex Pappas On 10:46 AM 07/20/2015 In | No Comments

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Monday he would like to see a new law requiring lawmakers to disclose all meetings with lobbyists.
“We need to reform disclosure rules in Washington,” Bush said in a speech Monday morning in Tallahassee. “Here is what I propose: every time a lobbyist meets with any member of Congress, that should be reported online – every week, and on the member’s official website.”
Bush said the “definition of the term ‘lobbyist’ should be expanded to address the cadre of ‘government relations’ and ‘government affairs’ specialists now populating the Capitol.”
The Republican also said he wants a law that would increase the amount of time between lawmakers leaving the House and Senate and becoming lobbyists.
I will use all of my influence to enact into law an immediate, unequivocal six-year ban on lobbying – a full Senate term – for ex-members of the House and Senate,” he said.
As for the executive branch, Bush said, “We will take similar measures at the White House. I will strengthen existing prohibitions that prevent departing executive branch employees from lobbying members of my administration.”
During his speech at Florida State University, Bush presented his plan for reducing the federal workforce by implementing a freeze on hiring.
“We will go by a simple three-out, one-in rule across the federal workforce, with exceptions for critical positions related to our security and safety,” he said. “Only one new hire for every three who leave.”
Added Bush: “This policy can, on its own, reduce the size of the federal bureaucracy by 10 percent within 5 years.”


Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2015/07/20/jeb-bush-wants-every-single-lobbyist-lawmaker-meeting-made-public/#ixzz3gTawNmZh
 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

How about bare knuckles in AL?

Last November, Professors Lessig and Teachout talked with Bill Moyers about their bare knuckle fight against money in politics.



For 2015 MAYDAY has been practicing "nice guy" to knock politely on doors of Representatives in Congress and importune, "Will you please do what is right for the American people?"

Will this work?

Right now, MAYDAY seems to think so.

I don't know what they think about Alabama.

I have been laboring to fight the battle in Alabama for over a year. I can't say I have made any headway.

I have tried "bare knuckles" within my capacities. See, e.g. Just answer the question, Gary Palmer and Rep. Palmer: Do you #FeelTheBernHeat? 

Who can help me with "bare knuckles" against Gary Palmer in his Tele-Townhall next Tuesday (per the below)?


News from Congressman Gary Palmer
                
Participate in Congressman Gary Palmer's Tele-Townhall!

Join Congressman Gary Palmer of Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21, for a tele-townhall. Participate by calling a toll-free number and join your friends and neighbors in discussing the issues important to you with Gary. Simply dial the number listed below, listen in, and, time permitting, ask your own questions directly of Gary.  You can also sign up with the link below to be called, rather than having to call in. Don’t miss this opportunity to share your views with your U.S. Congressman.

Who: Congressman Gary Palmer and The People of Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District

Where: Anywhere where you have access to a phone

When:
 July 21, 2015 at 5-5:30pm CST

How:
 Click this link to sign up to be called: 
https://vekeo.com/event/congressman-palmer-07212015/ 

Or, call (877) 229-8493 toll-free, then enter the call number: 114449.






Monday, July 13, 2015

Dear @ALforBernie and @BhamForBernie

Dear @ALforBernie and @BhamForBernie,

It appears that yesterday's first Bernie Meetup in Birmingham was a great success.

I know you have much organizing work to do, and it will take awhile for your campaign for Bernie in Alabama to take shape.

I am in the campaign finance reform movement.

I have previously written about how I would like Alabama for Bernie 2016 to push strenuously the campaign finance reform issue, regarding which Bernie Sanders is now the leading spokesperson. (Please see To: Alabama for Bernie 2016 Community.)

As you sort through the political issues that Bernie Sanders is raising and make decisions which you will emphasize, I would like the opportunity to meet with one or more of your leaders and discuss why I think your Sanders effort in Alabama should emphasize the campaign finance reform issue.

Please contact me if that is possible.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Rob Shattuck






Saturday, July 11, 2015

1st Bernieham Meetup tomorrow

The 1st #BerniehamMeetup will take place tomorrow at 4 pm at Good People Brewing Company, 114 14th St S, Birmingham, Alabama 35233.

When I first saw the scheduling of the event, I posted To: Alabama For Bernie 2016 Community and was permitted to post a link to the same on the Alabama For Bernie 2016 Community Facebook, where the link remains as a comment to the top post there.

There will be a lot of enthusiasm and energy at the Meetup, and everyone will have to begin to get their bearings in the conduct of the Sanders campaign in Alabama.

It will take time for the campaign to develop.

I hope the Alabama campaign will take up and push on the campaign finance reform issue and possibly take me up on what I laid out in To: Alabama For Bernie 2016 Community.


Get a head start and tweet now for
campaign finance reform in #Bernieham

Send or retweet this tweet:
This is #Bernieham, and we are going to make campaign finance reform a top issue in Alabama. http://al6thcongdist-ihaveuntiljan13.blogspot.com/2015/07/1st-bernieham-meetup-tomorrow.html #alpolitics

Friday, July 3, 2015

To: Alabama for Bernie 2016 Community

To: Alabama for Bernie 2016 Community

In 2014 I ran for Congress in the Republican primary in the Alabama 6th Congressional district.

My campaign contended that Congress was "broke" and failing to do its job properly for the American people, and that the main reason for this failure was the corrupting influence of money in politics.

The other candidates, including Gary Palmer, ignored me.

Bernie Sanders has become the leading national spokesperson on the "money in politics" issue, and he is doing fantastically in the campaign he has launched.

I have continued to push on Congressman Palmer.

A month ago I initiated #FeelTheBernHeat starts in AL06, in order to continue trying to get Congressman Palmer to answer.

Further I am trying to get #FeelTheBernHeat to be used by voters in other Congressional districts. See Will you tweet this to your Representative?.

I solicit the Alabama for Bernie 2016 Community to consider whether they would like to participate with me in my effort to make Congressman Palmer, and Alabama's Senators and other Representatives in Washington, to #FeelTheBernHeat.

In your thinking about this, I hope you will consider whether this issue is Democrats versus Republicans, or something else.

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 you should think about it. 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.”
Also, I note that your @ALforBernie twitter account retweeted the below tweet of Nate Silver.

If anyone in the Alabama for Bernie 2016 Community has any questions about me or my work, or would like to discuss this with me, please feel at liberty to contact me.

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. http://al6thcongdist-ihaveuntiljan13.blogspot.com/2015/06/feelthebernheat-starts-in-al06.html 

Also, send to Congressman Palmer this tweet:
Dear @USRepGaryPalmer, please answer the question "Is Congress broke, or is it not?" #al06 #FeelTheBernHeathttp://al6thcongdist-ihaveuntiljan13.blogspot.com/2015/06/feelthebernheat-starts-in-al06.html

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: http://search.aol.com/aol/search?s_it=topsearchbox.search&v_t=client97_searchbox&q=reviews+of+america%27s+bitter+pill

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

Thank you.

Sincerely,
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.

Friday, March 6, 2015

NH GOP and Dems unite against corruption

 
 
 

“Strange Bedfellows” House Vote Backs Article V Convention
To Propose Amendment on Political Money Corruption

 

By a vote of 181-134, the New Hampshire House yesterday passed HCR2 which, if passed by the Senate, would make our state #5 of the needed 34 to apply for an Article V convention to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution addressing rampant political money corruption.

Per Article V, if delegates at this first-ever amending convention were to agree on specific language, 38 states would then be required to ratify, one of many safeguards protecting against damage to our constitutional liberties.

84 Republicans and 96 Democrats (and one independent) voted for HCR2, a highly unusual “strange bedfellows” coalition for as controversial a piece of legislation as this.  There is an emerging cross-partisan agreement that Congress has become captive of big-dollar special interests and is no longer accountable to the American people. Here is a YouTube video of me and several other Republican legislators speaking for constitutional reform to address political money corruption.

HCR3, which calls for an Article V amending convention to address fiscal restraint, term limits, and strengthened federalism, was tabled late in yesterday’s session when opponents threatened a two-hour debate. HCR3 was recommended unanimously for passage by the State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee.

I urge you to call your Rep, asking that HCR3 be taken off the table and passed.

Here’s where I’ll be speaking on these issues:

March 16, 7:00 pm
Carroll County GOP
Lobster Trap Restaurant, North Conway

April 1, 7:00 am
Plymouth Rotary
Common Main Restaurant, Plymouth

Many Presidential candidates will be here

Take advantage of our privileged status as New Hampshire primary voters and ask them to get specific about these and other issues!

Cheers,

Jim Rubens


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Money, money, money



Hillary’s Corporate Cronyism:
State Department for Sale, Perfectly Legal


Hillary Clinton, as former Secretary of State, near-certain Presidential candidate, and through her family’s Clinton Foundation, has perfected to a fine art the legalized bribery and pay-to-play corporate cronyism that powers Washington politics.

The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that corporate giants, such as General Electric, Boeing, Exxon Mobil and Microsoft, have been able to enlist the State Department as their private marketing department and Mrs. Clinton has been able to shake down these companies for millions in cash to boost her personal standing.

The Journal found that of 425 corporate donors to the Clinton Foundation, the 60 who lobbied the State Department during her four years as Secretary contributed $26 million.

Before every overseas diplomatic trip, Undersecretary of State and former Goldman Sachs investment banker Robert Hormats prepared a list of corporate interests for Mrs. Clinton to shill.

In one instance in 2009, Mrs. Clinton flew to Russia to pump sales for Boeing. Seven months later, Russia purchased $3.7 billion worth of the company’s jets. Two months later, Boeing made its first contribution to the Clinton Foundation, $900,000.

In 2012, Mrs. Clinton flew to Bulgaria, specifically to lobby its Parliament on behalf of Chevron to reverse a ban on natural gas fracking.  While Bulgaria did not reverse its policy, in 2013, Chevron gave $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

In another instance reported by the Journal, in 2012, Mrs. Clinton went to bat for GE to persuade Algeria (successfully) to purchase its power plants.  One month later, GE made its first contribution to the Clinton Foundation.

While campaign finance regulations prohibit foreign governments from giving money to candidates, both before and after Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, 28 foreign governments have given a combined $51 million to the Clinton Foundation, knowing full well that she is the likely Democratic nominee for President.  Saudi Arabia has given at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation.

It’s time to fix Washington’s corrupt political money system. Both national and international policy is for sale to the highest bidder and politicians like Hillary Clinton can get very, very rich and maintain a lifetime career in politics by extorting those with an interest in those policies. All of this is legal and this system of corruption involves both parties.

Here in New Hampshire, many on the left and right support passage of HCR2 which, if passed in 34 states, would launch an Article V convention of the states tasked with crafting an amendment to the Constitution to address rampant legalized political bribery and extortion.  Any amendment proposed by a convention must then be ratified by at least 38 states, a high bar designed by the framers to weed out any constitutional changes not supported by a broad supermajority of Americans.

I urge you to call your Rep, respectfully and briefly asking them to support the House State-Federal Relations Committee recommendation to pass both HCR2 and HCR3 (which would launch a convention to propose amendments relative to fiscal restraint, term limits, and enhanced federalism).

Thanks for listening,

Jim Rubens

By JAMES V. GRIMALDI and REBECCA BALLHAUS

Feb. 19, 2015 10:30 p.m. ET

Among recent secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton was one of the most aggressive global cheerleaders for American companies, pushing governments to sign deals and change policies to the advantage of corporate giants such as General Electric Co. , Exxon MobilCorp. , Microsoft Corp. and Boeing Co.
At the same time, those companies were among the many that gave to the Clinton family’s global foundation set up by her husband, former President Bill Clinton. At least 60 companies that lobbied the State Department during her tenure donated a total of more than $26 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of public and foundation disclosures.
As Mrs. Clinton prepares to embark on a race for the presidency, she has a web of connections to big corporations unique in American politics—ties forged both as secretary of state and by her family’s charitable interests. Those relationships are emerging as an issue for Mrs. Clinton’s expected presidential campaign as income disparity and other populist themes gain early attention.
Indeed, Clinton Foundation money-raising already is drawing attention. “To a lot of progressive Democrats, Clinton’s ties to corporate America are disturbing,” says Jack Pitney, a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College who once worked for congressional Republicans. Mrs. Clinton’s connections to companies, he says, “are a bonanza for opposition researchers because they enable her critics to suggest the appearance of a conflict of interest.”
The Wall Street Journal identified the companies involved with both Clinton-family charitable endeavors and with Mrs. Clinton’s State Department by examining large corporate donations to the Clinton Foundation, then reviewing lobbying-disclosure reports filed by those companies. At least 44 of those 60 companies also participated in philanthropic projects valued at $3.2 billion that were set up though a wing of the foundation called the Clinton Global Initiative, which coordinates the projects but receives no cash for them.
Mrs. Clinton’s connections to the companies don’t end there. As secretary of state, she created 15 public-private partnerships coordinated by the State Department, and at least 25 companies contributed to those partnerships. She also sought corporate donations for another charity she co-founded, a nonprofit women’s group called Vital Voices.
Mrs. Clinton’s spokesman, Nick Merrill, says: “She did the job that every secretary of state is supposed to do and what the American people expect of them—especially during difficult economic times. She proudly and loudly advocated on behalf of American business and took every opportunity she could to promote U.S. commercial interests abroad.”
Corporate donations to politically connected charities aren’t illegal so long as they aren’t in exchange for favors. There is no evidence of that with the Clinton Foundation.
In some cases, donations came after Mrs. Clinton took action that helped a company. In other cases, the donation came first. In some instances, donations came both before and after. All of the companies mentioned in this article said their charitable donations had nothing to do with their lobbying agendas with Mrs. Clinton’s State Department.
Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, visited a Boeing design center in Moscow in 2009.ENLARGE
Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, visited a Boeing design center in Moscow in 2009.PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Barack Obama ’s transition team worried enough about potential problems stemming from Clinton-organization fundraising while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state that it asked Mr. Clinton to quit raising money from foreign governments for the Clinton Global Initiative and to seek approval for paid speaking engagements, which he did. The transition team didn’t put limits on corporate fundraising.
The foundation resumed soliciting foreign governments after Mrs. Clinton left the State Department. The official name of the foundation was changed to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Mrs. Clinton became a director. All told, the Clinton Foundation and its affiliates have collected donations and pledges from all sources of more than $1.6 billion, according to their tax returns. On Thursday, the foundation said that if Mrs. Clinton runs for president, it would consider whether to continue accepting foreign-government contributions as part of an internal policy review.
“The Clinton Foundation has raised hundreds of millions that it claims is for charitable causes, but clearly overlaps with Hillary Clinton’s political ambitions,” said Tim Miller, director of America Rising PAC, a conservative group that has targeted Mrs. Clinton.

Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian says the group’s work helps millions around the world and its donors have a history of supporting such work. “So when companies get involved with the Clinton Foundation it’s for only one reason, because they know our work matters,” he says.
In her book, “Hard Choices,” Mrs. Clinton said one of her goals at the State Department was “placing economics at the heart of our foreign policy.” She wrote: “It was clearer than ever that America’s economic strength and our global leadership were a package deal.”
Matthew Goodman, a former Clinton State Department official who is now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, says Mrs. Clinton is the first secretary of state to make economics such a focus since George C. Marshall, who helped rebuild postwar Europe.
Economic Statecraft
That approach, which Mrs. Clinton called “economic statecraft,” emerged in discussions with Robert Hormats, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment banker who has worked in Democratic and Republican administrations and became an undersecretary of state. “One of the very first items was, how do we strengthen the role of the State Department in economic policy?” he says.
The focus positioned Mrs. Clinton to pursue not just foreign-policy results, but domestic economic ones.
Early in Mrs. Clinton’s tenure, according to Mr. Hormats, Microsoft’s then Chief Research Officer Craig Mundie asked the State Department to send a ranking official to a fourth annual meeting of U.S. software executives and Chinese government officials about piracy and Internet freedom. Mr. Hormats joined the December 2009 meeting in Beijing.
Since 2005, Microsoft has given the Clinton Global Initiative $1.3 million, in addition to free software, according to the foundation.
In 2011, Microsoft launched a three-year initiative coordinated by the Clinton Global Initiative to provide free or discounted software and other resources to students and teachers—a commitment Microsoft estimated to be worth $130 million.
Mr. Hormats says there was no relation between Microsoft’s donations and the State Department’s participation in the China conference.
In 2012, the Clinton Foundation approached GE about working together to expand a health-access initiative the company had launched four years earlier, says a GE spokeswoman.
That same year, Mrs. Clinton lobbied for GE to be selected by the Algerian government to build power plants in that country. She went to Algiers that October and met with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. “I saw an opportunity for advancing prosperity in Algeria and seizing an opportunity for American business,” she explained in her book.
A month after Mrs. Clinton’s trip, the Clinton Foundation announced the health-initiative partnership with GE, the company’s first involvement with the foundation. GE eventually contributed between $500,000 and $1 million to the partnership.
The following September, GE won the contracts with the Algerian government, saying they marked “some of its largest power agreements in company history.”
Mrs. Clinton championed U.S. energy companies and launched an office to promote overseas projects. Many of those efforts were focused in Eastern and Central Europe, where she saw energy development as a hedge against Russia’s dominance in oil and gas. Companies that had interests in those areas included Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp.
One effort, the Global Shale Gas Initiative, promoted hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technique perfected by U.S. companies. In 2010, Mrs. Clinton flew to Krakow to announce a Polish-American cooperation on a global shale-gas initiative, according to her book. At the time, the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicted abundant deposits of shale gas in Poland.
After pursuing shale-gas projects in Poland, Exxon Mobil gave up a few years later, and Chevron said late last month it would abandon its Poland project.
In 2012, Mrs. Clinton flew to Sofia, Bulgaria, and urged the Bulgarian Parliament to reconsider its moratorium on fracking and its withdrawal of Chevron’s five-year exploration license. A few months later, the government allowed conventional gas exploration, but not fracking. Chevron left Bulgaria in 2012.
Ben Schreiber of the environmental group Friends of the Earth says: “We’ve long been concerned about the ties that Hillary Clinton has to the oil-and-gas industry.”
Both Exxon and Chevron are supporters of the Clinton Foundation. Chevron donated $250,000 in 2013. A Chevron spokesman said the Clinton charity “is one of many programs and partnerships that the company has had or maintains across a number of issue areas and topics pertinent to our business.”
Exxon Mobil has given about $2 million to the Clinton Global Initiative, starting in 2009. Since 2007, Exxon Mobil also has given $16.8 million to Vital Voices, the nonprofit women’s group co-founded by Mrs. Clinton, according to the group’s spokeswoman.
An Exxon Mobil spokesman said the donations were made to support work on issues Exxon Mobil has long championed, such as programs to fight malaria and empower women. “That is the sole motivation for our support of charitable programs associated with the Clintons,” he said. “We did not seek or receive any special consideration on the Shale Gas Initiative.”
In October 2009, Mrs. Clinton went to bat for aerospace giant Boeing, which was seeking to sell jets to Russia, by flying to Moscow to visit the Boeing Design Center. “I made the case that Boeing’s jets set the global gold standard, and, after I left, our embassy kept at it,” she wrote in her book.
About seven months later, in June 2010, Russia agreed to purchase 50 Boeing 737s for $3.7 billion, choosing Boeing over Europe’s Airbus Group NV.
Two months later, Boeing made its first donation to the Clinton Foundation—$900,000 to help rebuild Haiti’s public-education system. Overall, Boeing has contributed around $1.1 million to the Clinton Foundation since 2010.
A Boeing spokeswoman said it is routine for U.S. officials to advocate on behalf of businesses such as Boeing. “U.S. businesses face fierce global competition, and oftentimes an unlevel playing field in the global marketplace,” she said in a written statement. “Secretary Clinton did nothing for Boeing that former U.S. presidents and cabinet secretaries haven’t done for decades, or that their foreign counterparts haven’t done on behalf of companies like Airbus.”
Before every overseas trip, says Mr. Hormats, the former undersecretary of state, he helped prepare a list of U.S. corporate interests for Mrs. Clinton to advocate while abroad.
During Mrs. Clinton’s three trips to India, she urged the government to kill a ban on stores that sell multiple brands, a law aimed at department stores or big-box retailers such asWal-Mart Stores Inc.
“It wasn’t just Wal-Mart,” Mr. Hormats says. “It was the whole point of multibrand retail. Wal-Mart was, of course, the biggest.”
Mrs. Clinton served on the board of the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer between 1986 and 1992, when her husband was governor of that state, and the law firm she worked for at the time represented the company. Wal-Mart has donated nearly $1.2 million to the Clinton Foundation for a program that issues grants to student-run charitable projects. The company also has paid more than $370,000 in membership fees to the foundation since 2008, according to a Wal-Mart spokesman.
Trip to India
Before Mrs. Clinton’s official trip to India in 2012, Wal-Mart Chief Executive Mike Duke joined her at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, to pledge $12 million to help women in Latin America. The donation included $1.5 million in grants to 55,000 women entrepreneurs through the International Fund for Women and Girls, one of the 15 public-private partnerships Mrs. Clinton created at the State Department, and $500,000 for Vital Voices, the charity she co-founded.
“We committed to helping women around the world live better,” Mr. Duke said at the time. “By working with leaders like Secretary Clinton, we’re bringing that mission to life.”
One month later, Mrs. Clinton traveled to India to make the case against the ban on retail stores such as Wal-Mart. Then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had proposed allowing companies such as Wal-Mart to invest up to 51% directly in local multibrand retailers, but one of his allies, Mamata Banerjee, a regional governor, opposed the idea. Ms. Banerjee’s support was key to Mr. Singh’s majority in Parliament.
Mrs. Clinton met with Ms. Banerjee to press the matter. She also said in a speech in West Bengal that U.S. retailers could bring an “enormous amount of expertise” to India in areas ranging from supply-chain management to working with small producers and farmers. Her lobbying was unsuccessful.
A Wal-Mart spokesman said the retailer had lobbied the State Department on the issue, which he said was one of dozens of topics important to the business.
After Mrs. Clinton’s India trip, her husband asked Mr. Duke, Walmart’s CEO, to change his schedule to appear at the opening panel of the Clinton Global Initiative. Mr. Duke agreed.
Write to Rebecca Ballhaus at Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com