Republican House Leader is Big Tobacco’s and Wall Street’s Best Friend – House Democrats were preparing late last year for the first floor vote on the financial regulatory overhaul when Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio and other Republican leaders summoned more than 100 industry lobbyists and conservative political activists to Capitol Hill for a private strategy session. Mr. Boehner and his deputies told the Wall Street lobbyists and trade association leaders that by teaming up, they could still perhaps block its final passage or at least water it down.
That sort of alliance is business as usual for Mr. Boehner, the House minority leader and would-be speaker if Republicans win the House in November. He maintains especially tight ties with a circle of lobbyists and former aides representing some of the nation’s biggest businesses, including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and R. J. Reynolds.
They have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaigns, provided him with rides on their corporate jets, socialized with him at luxury golf resorts and waterfront bashes and are now leading fund-raising efforts for his Boehner for Speaker campaign, which is soliciting checks of up to $37,800 each, the maximum allowed.
Some of the lobbyists readily acknowledge routinely seeking his office’s help — calling the congressman and his aides as often as several times a week — to advance their agenda in Washington. And in many cases, Mr. Boehner has helped them out. Boehner has a seemingly insatiable taste for the high life: His expenses show that in the past 18 months he has spent $116,000 at three country clubs in Florida, Ohio and Virginia.
Big Business and Wall Street Are Showering Republicans with Money – As the November midterm elections near, more banks, investment firms and hedge funds are giving millions of dollars more to Republicans. The Center for Responsive Politics, in a recent analysis, says the reversal in campaign financial giving began early this year, as the Senate started crafting tougher rules to crack down on Wall Street and has become more pronounced throughout the year. “We noticed a very dramatic shift right around the beginning of this year, which coincided with financial reform,” said Dave Levinthal, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics. “This is not just a blip at all; this is a major shift in the opposite direction and one that has persisted ever since.”
Every Senate Republican Has Promised To Oppose Tax Cuts If Wealthy Aren’t Included – A spokesman for Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that every Senate Republican has pledged to oppose President Barack Obama’s tax-cutting plan. Obama would renew the tax cuts for most people, but let the top income tax rate rise back to almost 40 percent on family or small business income over $250,000. A CNN online poll today show that 73% of respondents favored the president’s plan. But Senate Republicans don’t care about that.
Study Shows Rich Americans Save Tax Cuts Instead of Spending – Hand the wealthiest Americans a tax cut and history suggests they will save the money rather than spend it. Tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush were followed by increases in the saving rate among the rich, according to data from Moody’s Analytics Inc.
The findings may weaken arguments by Republicans and some Democrats in Congress who say allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to lapse will prompt them to reduce their spending, harming the economy.
Rangel Inquisitor Failed to Properly Disclose Transactions Worth Millions of Dollars – Rep. Michael McCaul, one of the richest Members of Congress, appears to have failed to fully disclose dozens of stock transactions worth millions of dollars on his annual financial disclosure reports for 2008 and 2009. McCaul is the ranking member overseeing the ethics trial of Rep. Charlie Rangel, which is set to begin this month. A Roll Call analysis of McCaul’s annual reports found the Texas Republican did not fully detail the 2008 sale of Clear Channel stocks owned by his spouse, Linda McCaul, who founded Clear Channel.
Sean Hannity’s Deceptive’ Video Editing – Last week, Hannity featured a clip of President Obama explaining why he will allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, just as the prior administration had planned. Introducing the video, Hannity called Obama’s words “a rare moment of honesty” that he hopes voters will watch.
“… [Taxes] are scheduled to go up substantially next year, for everybody,” the president said.
Cut back to Hannity: “I know the anointed one will make sure that happens,” he quipped disapprovingly.
But, that’s not really what the president said.
“Under the tax plan passed by the last administration, taxes are scheduled to go up substantially next year, for everybody. By the way, this was by design [by the Bush Administration],” the president explained, in the unedited version of the remarks.
Hannity has repeatedly run a deceptively edited video of Obama speaking abroad in order to smear him as being a president who presents a weak American face. It’s almost a nightly feature of Beck’s show, who uses selective edits to smear everyone from Van Jones to Jim Wallis to President Obama.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Companies Involved in Widespread and Casual Law-Breaking – Rupert Murdoch’s (also owner of Fox News) News of the World paid a private detective to provide hundreds of pieces of confidential information, often using illegal means, a confidential document obtained by The Independent on Sunday has revealed. The wide-ranging extent of the phone hacking and other activities could damage NI’s share price in the long run – and reduce the fortune of its boss, Rupert Murdoch. One senior MP last night complained that the list revealed “a widespread and casual law-breaking” among people associated with NI.
Fox News Uses Repulsive Map of 9/11 Body Parts to Fight Islamic Cultural Center – Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has set what may be a new standard of shamelessness by marking the anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks with the publication of a map of human remains that appears to have been developed for the New York Fire Department in 2002 but was never previously released.
The map, with lurid red dots glowing like puddles of freshly-spilled blood against a dark background, was deployed by the hosts of Fox News’ Fox & Friends on Friday morning.
The map indicates that human remains or traces of DNA were concentrated directly at the former World Trade center site, but there are a few dots further away, including three between 350 and 400 feet — about one and a half city blocks — from the proposed site of an Islamic cultural center. The hosts of the program implied that one and a half city blocks is too close, but that puts the closest parts on the other side of another building that is between the planned cultural center and ground zero.
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Delaware Republican Chair Threatened With ‘Bullet In The Head’ by Tea Party Republican – The chairman of the Delaware Republican Party received a death threat last week over his support for Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del) over Tea Party challenger Christine O’Donnell in the state’s upcoming Senate primary, a party official confirmed to the Huffington Post. The threat, issued in the form of an email, told chairman Tom Ross that he deserves “a bullet in the head” for backing “political ass-kissing RINO’s” [Republicans in name only].
Skateboarder Thwarts Quran Burning – David Grisham, director of Repent Amarillo, which aims to deter promiscuity, homosexuality and non-Christian worship practices through confrontation and prayer, announced Friday evening a plan to burn copies of the Quran in Amarillo, Texas. Protesters of the burning threw their hands on the grill Grisham planned to use to burn the Quran, someone took his lighter, and a protestor on a skateboard whizzed by Grisham and stole the Quran, leaving him with just lighter fluid. The skateboarder then gave the book to a religious leader from the Islamic Center of Amarillo.