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The New American Process


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Can anyone, and I mean anyone, suggest with a straight face that the American political process has anything to do with identifying and solving problems and effectively representing citizens? Say what you will about "oh, it's always been this way", or whatever. Be assured, what is emerging is a corrupt twisted farce the likes of which haven't been seen in this Republic.


Pro-Republican Groups Prepare Big Push at End of Races


OVIEDO, Fla. — The phalanx of anonymously financed conservative groups that have played such a crucial role this campaign year is starting a carefully coordinated final push to deliver control of Congress to Republicans, shifting money among some 80 House races they are monitoring day by day.


Officials involved in the effort over the midterm elections’ final week say it is being spearheaded by a core subset of the largest outside conservative groups, which have millions of dollars left to spend on television advertisements, mailings and phone calls for five potentially decisive Senate races, as well as the scores of House races.


Bolstered by a surge in last-minute donations and other financial support, outside liberal groups and unions say they are stepping up their response in advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts, but remain largely outgunned by the scale and sophistication of the operation supporting Republican candidates.


A vivid picture of how outside groups are helping Republicans across the country can be found here in central Florida. The incumbent Democrat, Representative Suzanne M. Kosmas, had a nearly four-to-one fund-raising advantage over her Republican challenger, State Representative Sandy Adams, at the end of September.


Ms. Adams, low on cash, has not run a single campaign commercial. But a host of outside groups have swept in to swamp Ms. Kosmas with attack ads, helping establish Ms. Adams as the favorite without her having to spend on television.


Many of the conservative groups say they have been trading information through weekly strategy sessions and regular conference calls. They have divided up races to avoid duplication, the groups say, and to ensure that their money is spread around to put Democrats on the defensive in as many districts and states as possible — and, more important, lock in whatever gains they have delivered for the Republicans so far.


“We carpet-bombed for two months in 82 races, now it’s sniper time,” said Rob Collins, president of American Action Network, which is one of the leading Republican groups this campaign season and whose chief executive is Norm Coleman, the former senator from Minnesota. “You’re looking at the battle field and saying, ‘Where can we marginally push — where can we close a few places out?’ ”


Democrats said the conservative groups were upending some of their best-laid plans in several important races, like here in Florida, especially those in which they had been counting on the financial advantages their candidates had over lesser-financed Republicans at the beginning of the general election.


Filings with the Federal Election Commission over the weekend show that one Republican group, American Future Fund, has purchased more television advertisements attacking Representative Bruce Braley, Democrat of Iowa, who was expecting an easier path to re-election. Another group, the 60 Plus Association, reported spending more than $150,000 against Representative Solomon P. Ortiz, Democrat of Texas, who has been considered a likely victor in November against his cash-short challenger, Blake Farenthold.


“As you know, they have been dumping tens of millions of dollars of secret money into these campaigns,” Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in an interview. “I would say the outside groups have shuffled the deck in a number of these races.”


The coordinating effort is led out of a nondescript office suite just blocks from the White House, where two groups formed with help from Karl Rove — American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS — share space with American Action Network, a nonprofit advocacy group. Together those strategists had already committed nearly $45 million for advertisements among them, according to Democratic advertising monitors’ best estimates. That does not include millions more being spent to get voters to polls through mailings, phone calls and text messages.


Their office suite — which has been deluged with incoming messages from nervous donors asking for progress reports or offering advice — is also the site of the weekly strategy sessions, which have up to roughly 25 representatives from other Republican groups active this campaign season, participants say.


A secondary hub is in Alexandria, Va., at the office of the Crossroads groups’ political director, Carl Forti, a protégé of Mr. Rove’s whose company does communications consulting for Americans for Jobs Security and the 60 Plus Association, which have spent more than $12 million between them this election cycle.


Working from color-coded master spreadsheets — one of which was obtained by The New York Times — the conservative groups are now closely monitoring polling in 80 House races that they judge crucial to ensuring a Republican majority. Based on those results, the groups have started to place their final advertising bets in ways carefully coordinated to fill openings left by the more financially limited official party and candidate committees.


In several cases, officials with the outside groups said, they intend to force Democrats to spend money in districts they presumed safe; in others, they said they would wipe out financial advantages Democratic incumbents were counting on to stave off strong challenges from underfinanced opponents.


“We’re going to continue to have a very strong presence on the Senate and in each of the key House races where we’ve played a big role,” said Steven Law, the president of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS.


The groups, he said, are planning “an expansion of that effort, where we see holes and gaps.”


Over all, they said, their moves are most acutely focused on those races determined to be the most critical in securing Republican Congressional control, rather than on tantalizing but long-shot attempts to defeat Democratic nemeses like Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts.


Both sides reported seeing an influx of new spending by liberal outside groups that had generally been subdued until now — a late-stage cavalry effect that Mr. Law called “alarming from my vantage point,” though he wondered if it was coming a bit late.


A group called Women’s Voices Women Vote recently began a significant advertising campaign against Ken Buck in Colorado, the Republican challenger to Senator Michael Bennet; Commonsense Ten, a liberal group that had been mostly focused on Senate races, has started a new advertising campaign to help Mr. Braley of Iowa.


“It’s clear that both institutional donors and individual donors dug deep over the last two or three weeks, and it will make a difference for sure,” said Jim Jordan, a strategist with Commonsense Ten. “But when we look back at the totality of it all we will still be outspent on electronic media six- or seven-to-one.”


In Florida, a review of records at the local NBC affiliate, WESH, shows that a succession of outside groups bought time for waves of anti-Kosmas advertisements, an anonymous, attack-ad relay race.


“They are not required to disclose who they are,” Ms. Kosmas said. “Therefore it’s impossible to connect them to their real agenda.”


Mr. Van Hollen sought to attach any Republican success on Election Day to the corporate benefactors backing the groups. “They are going to be very much indebted to these special interest groups that have come into these races,” he said.


In an e-mail, Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, accused Mr. Van Hollen of focusing on the anonymous donors as a way to “distract voters with scare tactics and side topics” rather than issues like jobs.


He added, “We appreciate the lawful work of any organization that is committed to working towards our goal of retiring Nancy Pelosi,” the House speaker. --from here.

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The writer of that article brings up a good point and judging by his book (Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America's Schools Back to Reality) it appears that the state of our public education system is a large part of the equation. I wouldn't necessarily chalk it up to synchonicity but I simultaneouly ran across related information concerning the role of education.


The Underground History of American Education


I suppose you could dismiss the guy's opinions but the question remains, is there something wrong with our educational system?

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Pretty funny to remember how happy liberals were just two years ago but now you're sitting here about to open a vein.


Yeah, keep pretending this is a partisan issue. That's smart...


Oh please, two years ago it was non stop conspiracy theories out of the Republicans and elation out of the Democrats. Now its the opposite.


The real issue is the Democrats pissed off the swing voters and are too dumb to understand why the votes are going away. Same thing happened four years ago and two years ago with Republicans.



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Pretty funny to remember how happy liberals were just two years ago but now you're sitting here about to open a vein.


Yeah, keep pretending this is a partisan issue. That's smart...


Oh please, two years ago it was non stop conspiracy theories out of the Republicans and elation out of the Democrats. Now its the opposite.


The real issue is the Democrats pissed off the swing voters and are too dumb to understand why the votes are going away. Same thing happened four years ago and two years ago with Republicans.



And 2 years ago, libtards announced the R's were dead forever, including our local "expert on all topics" TTK.

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Or these "people"?


Top Corporations Aid U.S. Chamber of Commerce Campaign


Prudential Financial sent in a $2 million donation last year as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce kicked off a national advertising campaign to weaken the historic rewrite of the nation’s financial regulations.


Dow Chemical delivered $1.7 million to the chamber last year as the group took a leading role in aggressively fighting proposed rules that would impose tighter security requirements on chemical facilities.


And Goldman Sachs, Chevron Texaco, and Aegon, a multinational insurance company based in the Netherlands, donated more than $8 million in recent years to a chamber foundation that has been critical of growing federal regulation and spending. These large donations — none of which were publicly disclosed by the chamber, a tax-exempt group that keeps its donors secret, as it is allowed by law — offer a glimpse of the chamber’s money-raising efforts, which it has ramped up recently in an orchestrated campaign to become one of the most well-financed critics of the Obama administration and an influential player in this fall’s Congressional elections.


They suggest that the recent allegations from President Obama and others that foreign money has ended up in the chamber’s coffers miss a larger point: The chamber has had little trouble finding American companies eager to enlist it, anonymously, to fight their political battles and pay handsomely for its help.


And these contributions, some of which can be pieced together through tax filings of corporate foundations and other public records, also show how the chamber has increasingly relied on a relatively small collection of big corporate donors to finance much of its legislative and political agenda. The chamber makes no apologies for its policy of not identifying its donors. It has vigorously opposed legislation in Congress that would require groups like it to identify their biggest contributors when they spend money on campaign ads.


Proponents of that measure pointed to reports that health insurance providers funneled at least $10 million to the chamber last year, all of it anonymously, to oppose President Obama’s health care legislation.


“The major supporters of us in health care last year were confronted with protests at their corporate headquarters, protests and harassment at the C.E.O.’s homes,” said R. Bruce Josten, the chief lobbyist at the chamber, whose office looks out on the White House. “You are wondering why companies want some protection. It is pretty clear.”


The chamber’s increasingly aggressive role — including record spending in the midterm elections that supports Republicans more than 90 percent of the time — has made it a target of critics, including a few local chamber affiliates who fear it has become too partisan and hard-nosed in its fund-raising.


The chamber is spending big in political races from California to New Hampshire, including nearly $1.5 million on television advertisements in New Hampshire attacking Representative Paul W. Hodes, a Democrat running for the United States Senate, accusing him of riding Nancy Pelosi’s “liberal express” down the road to financial ruin.


“When you become a mouthpiece for a specific agenda item for one business or group of businesses, you better be damn careful you are not being manipulated,” said James C. Tyree, a former chairman of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, who has backed Republicans and Democrats, including Mr. Obama. “And they are getting close to that, if not over that edge.”


But others praise its leading role against Democrat-backed initiatives, like health care, financial regulation and climate change, which they argue will hurt American businesses. The Obama administration’s “antibusiness rhetoric” has infuriated executives, making them open to the chamber’s efforts, said John Motley, a former lobbyist for the National Federation of Independent Business, a rival.


“They’ve raised it to a science, and an art form,” he said of the chamber’s pitches to corporate leaders that large contributions will help “change the game” in Washington.


As a nonprofit organization, the chamber need not disclose its donors in its public tax filings, and because it says no donations are earmarked for specific ads aimed at a candidate, it does not invoke federal elections rules requiring disclosure.


The annual tax returns that the chamber releases include a list of all donations over $5,000, including 21 in 2008 that each exceed $1 million, one of them for $15 million. However, the chamber omits the donors’ names.


But intriguing hints can be found in obscure places, like the corporate governance reports that some big companies have taken to posting on their Web sites, which show their donations to trade associations. Also, the tax filings of corporate foundations must publicly list their donations to other foundations, including one run by the chamber.


These records show that while the chamber boasts of representing more than three million businesses, and having approximately 300,000 members, nearly half of its $140 million in contributions in 2008 came from just 45 donors. Many of those large donations coincided with lobbying or political campaigns that potentially affected the donors.


Dow Chemical, for example, sent $1.7 million to the chamber in the past year to cover not only its annual membership dues, but also to support lobbying and legal campaigns. Those included one against legislation requiring stronger measures to protect chemical plants from attack.


A Dow spokesman would not discuss the reasons for the large donation, other than to say it supports the chamber’s work.


Prudential Financial’s $2 million donation last year coincided with a chamber lobbying effort against elements of the financial regulation bill in Congress. A spokesman for Prudential, which opposed certain proposed restrictions on the use of financial instruments known as derivatives, said the donation was not earmarked for a specific issue.


But he acknowledged that most of the money was used by the chamber to lobby Congress.


“I am not suggesting it is a coincidence,” said the spokesman, Bob DeFillippo.


More recently, the News Corporation gave $1 million to support the chamber’s political efforts this fall; Chairman Rupert Murdoch said it was in best interests of his company and the country “that there be a fair amount of change in Washington.”


Business interests also give to the chamber’s foundation. Its tax filings show that seven donors gave the foundation at least $17 million between 2004 and 2008, about two-thirds of the total raised.


These donors include Goldman Sachs, Edward Jones, Alpha Technologies, Chevron Texaco and Aegon, which has American subsidiaries and whose former chief executive, Donald J. Shepard, served for a time as chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s board.


Another large foundation donor is a charity run by Maurice R. Greenberg, the former chairman of the insurance giant A.I.G. The charity has made loans and grants totaling $18 million since 2003. U.S. Chamber Watch, a union-backed group, filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service last month asserting that the chamber foundation violated tax laws by funneling the money into a chamber “tort reform” campaign favored by A.I.G. and Mr. Greenberg. The chamber denied any wrongdoing.


The complaint, which the chamber calls entirely unfounded, raises the question of how the chamber picks its campaigns, and whether it accepts donations that are intended to be spent on specific issues or political races.


The chamber says that it consults with members on lobbying targets, but that it does not make those decisions based on the size of a donation or accept money earmarked to support a specific political candidate.


Endorsement decisions, chamber officials said, are based on candidates’ votes on a series of business-related bills, and through consultations with the chamber’s regional directors, state affiliates and members.


To avoid conflicts of interest, individual businesses do not play a role in deciding on which races to spend the chamber’s political advertising dollars. The choices instead are made by the chamber’s political staff, based on where it sees the greatest chance of getting pro-business candidates elected, chamber executives said.


“They are not anywhere near a room when we are making a decision like that,” Mr. Josten said, of the companies that finance these ads. The chamber’s extraordinary money push began long before this election season. An organization that in 2003 had an overall budget of about $130 million, it is spending $200 million this year, and the chamber and its affiliates allocated $144 million last year just for lobbying, making it the biggest lobbyist in the United States.


In January, the chamber’s president, Thomas J. Donohue, a former trucking lobbyist, announced that his group intended “to carry out the largest, most aggressive voter education and issue advocacy effort in our nearly 100-year history.”


The words were carefully chosen, as the chamber asserts in filings with the Federal Election Commission that it is simply running issue ads during this election season. But a review of the nearly 70 chamber-produced ads found that 93 percent of those that have run nationwide that focus on the midterm elections either support Republican candidates or criticize their opponents.


And the pace of spending has been relentless. In just a single week this month, the chamber spent $10 million on Senate races in nine states and two dozen House races, a fraction of the $50 million to $75 million it said it intends to spend over all this season. In the 2008 election cycle, it spent $33.5 million.


To support the effort, the chamber has adopted an all-hands-on-deck approach to fund-raising. Mr. Josten said he makes many of the fund-raising calls to corporations nationwide, as does Mr. Donohue. (Both men are well compensated for their work: Mr. Donohue was paid $3.7 million in 2008, and has access to a corporate jet and a chauffeur, while Mr. Josten was paid $1.1 million, tax records show.)


But those aggressive pitches have turned off some business executives. “There was an arrogance to it like they were the 800-pound gorilla and I was either with them with this big number or I just did not matter,” said Mr. Tyree, of Chicago.


Another corporate executive, who asked not to be named, said the chamber risks alienating its members.


“Unless you spend $250,000 to $500,000 a year, that is what they want for you to be one of their pooh-bahs, otherwise, they don’t pay any attention to you at all,” the executive said, asking that the company not be identified.


Chamber officials acknowledge the tough fund-raising, but they say it has been necessary in support of their goal of remaking Congress on Election Day to make it friendlier to business.


“It’s been a long and ugly campaign season, filled with partisan attacks and political squabbling,” William C. Miller Jr., the chamber’s national political director, said in a message sent to chamber members this week. “We are all tired — no doubt about it. But we are so close to bringing about historic change on Capitol Hill.” --from NYT 10/22/10

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Pretty funny to remember how happy liberals were just two years ago but now you're sitting here about to open a vein.


Yeah, keep pretending this is a partisan issue. That's smart...


Oh please, two years ago it was non stop conspiracy theories out of the Republicans and elation out of the Democrats. Now its the opposite.


The real issue is the Democrats pissed off the swing voters and are too dumb to understand why the votes are going away. Same thing happened four years ago and two years ago with Republicans.



And 2 years ago, libtards announced the R's were dead forever, including our local "expert on all topics" TTK.


He gets all the bitches too. :rolleyes:



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