“For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world.”
~ President Barack Obama 12/10/2009
(You got that right, chief)
“Once you get rid of integrity, the rest is a piece of cake”
~J. R. Ewing
As you probably know, the Senate Banking Committee approved the nomination of Ben Bernanke to serve a second term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Thursday, 12/17/2009. The full Senate vote is expected in January.
The vote was 16-7 in favor of Bernanke (I’ve included the results at the end of the post, because these things tend to get “lost”). But here’s something interesting: the Bernanke vote was 5-5 for politicians facing 2010 elections (9 senate re-elections and Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has announced intentions to run for Governor of Texas). Fun fact: Oregon’s Jeff Merkley was the only Senator NOT facing an election this year who opposed Bernanke (Jim Bunning has announced plans to retire, but would face re-election in 2010 should he change his mind). And while this was not the cake walk the mainstream media predicted, it’s still not reflective of Bernanke’s reported 21% approval rating.
The disconnect between the will of the people and our Senators’ vote begs question, Who’s your Daddy? I think I’ve found the answer.
(compiled from Opensecrets.org - Click image to enlarge)
These are the top contributors of the Ben-lovin’ committee members elected in 2004 (all but Judd Gregg are seeking re-election in 2010), although it could be mistaken for a All-Time Greatest Criminal Enterprises ballot. This group raised more than 10 times the funds of their respective runners-up ($48.5M vs. $4.7M). In fact, their unspent contributions ($17.6M) were more than 3.5 times their opponents’ total contributions.
And it gets worse looking ahead…..
*Note: the “retiring” Greg has been removed and Michael Bennet added. Bennet was appointed to the Senate seat vacated by Ken Salazar when he accepted the Secretary of the Interior post in the Obama administration.
As of this writing, these sitting Senators already have over $47M in re-election funds (more than 11 times their closest contenders), and I think it’s safe to assume Wall St. will “pass the hat” for them again if Bernanke is re-confirmed. This money will be used to buy TV and newspaper advertising, maybe even a feature story or two in TIME magazine (just saying..). So these millions in kickbacks contributions (which came from taxpayers, incidentally) pay for political favors that produce billions in undeserved bonuses for Wall St and trillions in public debt. And let’s face it, the odds of this vicious cycle ending on its own are about the same as Lloyd Blankfein being visited by three spirits this Christmas.
Please, threaten contact your Senator today…
Don’t think we’re not keeping score here, Brother
In abstract, I don’t care who these clowns play tonsil-hockey with to get their war chests. What I care about is that they honor the constitution, the law and the will of the voters. That isn’t happening now. The re-confirmation of Bernanke is nothing short of a referendum on reality. He failed to perform his basic duties as Fed chair and coerced congress into a $700B bailout of his buddies under false pretenses. Furthermore, he has flat-out refused to divulge the whereabouts of trillions of dollars. This is as black and white as issues get and thus far, 16 morally bankrupt US Senators have decided to plant a big, green loogey in the public eye. What I’ve written so far doesn’t even begin to show how crooked and conflicted these men really are (this is only Part one in a series). And I just can’t get that TIME magazine cover out of my head….
Can you say, “Go swab the poop deck”?
I got your Folk Wisdom right here….
It is a sad state of affairs when the best argument you can make for not firing a lying incompetent is folk wisdom (i.e. “You don’t change horses mid-stream”). I like folk wisdom too. Hey Senator, “Don’t shit where you eat.”
Are you a Populist?
“I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”
~ Groucho Marx
I’m not a joiner. My local library network is the only organization on Earth that could conceivably claim me as a member. It keeps bumper stickers off my car. But lately, I’m hearing a lot about this new group. It’s the new dirty word in America: Populist. For over a year now I’ve been hearing it spit with disdain by media personalities, elected officials, and Wall Street minions. Apparently, this shadowy sub-culture believes stealing (especially from children) is wrong, crony capitalism is real, and Ben Benanke created the Frankenstein monster he has battled during his tenure. I know it sounds crazy, but I think these “populists” are people I could party with. The trouble is, I don’t know where to find them. There’s a rumor going around that they meet at polling places in November, which would explain why some elected officials hate them so much (imagine the damage they could do). Still, if anyone out there knows the secret hand shake, or whatever, let me know so I can join my local populist lodge, cell or coven. I think I may know some other people interested in joining, too.
Naughty or Nice list Update…
Despite what those of you familiar with my prose may think, it is not in my nature to make enemies unnecessarily. I’m disappointed that so few have raised their voices against the patron saint of moral hazard. Perhaps the greatest gift America could give itself right now is a reminder that “We the People” still determine our Nation’s destiny. Those who would make our children slaves are hijacking the beautifully designed system of “checks and balances” our founding fathers gave us. Can you write or speak of anything more important than that? I am begging you to sound the alarm before it is too late.
If you’re really feeling generous….
Opensecrets.org and Wikipedia are two very worthy organizations, in my opinion (they can say they’re doing God’s work with a straight face). The data and images in this post came from Open Secrets, and I don’t trust (S & P parent) McGraw-Hill to write the history books.
Senate Banking Committee Bernanke Confirmation Vote (12/17/2009)
(term expiration in Bold)
Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)…..2010 (Chairman & Friend of Angelo)
Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)…..2010
Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) ……2010
Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)……*2010 (retiring)
Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)…..**2010 (replaced Ken Salazar in 2009)
Bob Bennett (R-Utah)…..2010
Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)…..2012
Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)….. 2012
Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii)….. 2012
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) …..2012
Jon Tester (D-Mont.)…..2012
Herb Kohl (D-Wis.)…..2012
Tim Johnson (D-S.D.)…..2014
Jack Reed (D-R.I.)…..2014
Mark Warner (D-Va.)…..2014
Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) …..2014
Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)…..2010 (Ranking member)
Jim Bunning (R-Ky.)….. *2010 (retiring)
Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)….. 2010
Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)….. 2010
David Vitter (R-La.)….. 2010
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)….. ***2012 (expected to run for governor in 2010; term expires in 2012)
Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)…..2014
Bonus Material / Update
As you may remember, last time I included my letters to my Senators. Well here’s how that went:
Bob Casey sent me an auto-responder telling me how happy he was to here from me….
And Arlen Specter sent me fucking spam:
So I sent this:
Dear Senator Specter,
Thanks for ignoring my last question and spamming me about another issue that I didn’t ask about. Let’s Try this again….
Do you or do you NOT support the confirmation of Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal reserve and why?
I mean it’s an easy, easy question, ya know, like “What party are you affiliated with?” Well, that’s an easy question for most politicians anyway. Let’s see if Mr Magic Bullet replies this time. But in the mean time, here’s his list:
Hmmmm, I wonder which way he’s leaning…..
Coincidence or what? Three hours after posting Arlen Specter’s spam, I heard from my other Senator, Bob Casey (keep in mind, I contacted him 15 days ago). Here’s the meat of his reply:
“Dr. Bernanke’s first term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve ends on January 31, 2010. Due to his unique knowledge and performance steering the economy out of a deep recession, President Obama nominated the Chairman for a second term. Subsequently, the Senate Banking Committee voted 16-7 to clear Dr. Bernanke for consideration by the full Senate. I understand there are concerns about Dr. Bernanke’s role in the economic downturn and subsequent recovery. Please be assured that I will keep these questions in mind as Dr. Bernanke’s confirmation comes before the Senate for a vote. “
Well, his reply was on-topic, but it sounds to me like he’s gonna give it thumbs-up, while acting concerned. That’s not good enough. I’m not posting his “Who’s your Daddy?” list (which isn’t that damning anyway, here’s the link). In 2008, Casey defeated Republican incumbent Rick Santorum with a smaller war chest ($17.9M vs. $26.6M), helped by the waning popularity of George W. Bush; and being the son of a former Governor probably didn’t hurt. He was an early supporter of Obama.
Looks like I’m going to have to restate my case to Senator Casey. More later…..