It's gotten to the point where GOP corruption and extremism has become so commonplace and all-encompassing that covering it requires a big picture view to see it all. If the equally corrupt and rotten media covered even a fraction of the crimes and scandals perpetrated by Republicans and those that support them, we wouldn't have a Republican Party in this country. It'd have been banned as an unprecedented criminal conspiracy unrivaled anywhere in the civilized world.
On the days when I'm not writing original stories, I plan to collect the day's bill of corruption, law breaking, and scandalous misdeeds of establishment Republicans and their allies in corporate America, in this, the Corruption Journal.
August 4th, 2011
When Partisan-Persecutions-As-Oversight Hearings Go Bad
Darrell Issa is a Republican representative from California perhaps best known for spending $1.6 million of his personal fortune to fund the recall vote of Democratic Governor Gray Davis, with the understanding that he would run to replace Davis himself. Given Issa's apparent belief that democracy can be bought and sold (this was the legal version of what Rod Blagojevich got in trouble for), it shouldn't have come as a surprise that with Republicans gaining a majority in the House of Representatives that Issa would figure prominently in abusing his authority to persecute Democrats, liberals, and anyone the GOP sees as its enemy through "oversight".
Talking Points Memo wrote last month that Issa's partisan oversight hearings of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission blew up in his face. The FCIC was a bi-partisan commission dedicated to discovering the cause of the recession. Its report riled Republicans by substantiating the theories of "liberal" economists (they are liberals because they don't agree with the GOP narrative) that the financial crisis was largely the result of a reckless Wall Street, the lack of government regulation and oversight, and little blame legitimately resting with Fannie and Freddie or the CRA.
When Republican FCIC chair Phil Angelides traveled to D.C. for one of Issa's hearings, Issa reportedly canceled it out of the blue. Said an Issa staffer before probably being thrown in the Potomac, "they had found some documents at the last minute that didn't fit the narrative." A recent investigation found much wrongdoing by Republicans on the Commission where private information was leaked to political colleagues, highly partisan right-wing think tanks, and financial industry executives being investigated by the commission itself.
In short, Issa's investigation that meant to fault Democrats for fraud and corruption at the FCIC - in order to discredit the findings of the FCIC - only found corruption by Republicans on the committee and nothing that contradicted the findings.
Why Waste a Crisis When You Can Just Create One
Former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was roasted by the GOP for saying "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before." Cynical as it may be, it's not as bad as what the GOP is now doing to our country. Brian Beutler probably isn't the first to write about this, in fact I've been talking about it for weeks. But his story gets the point across: The Republican Party is "legislating by crisis", whereby they aren't content to wait for a serious crisis happen in order to not waste it, like Emanuel was talking about. They are purposefully creating one serious crisis after another in order to take advantage of them. GOP Senator Minority Leader (and potential 2012 Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell actually said this to the Washington Post: "I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting. Most of us didn't think that. What we did learn is this -- it's a hostage that's worth ransoming."
The GOP took the government hostage over the 2011 budget, nearly forcing the first government shutdown since the 90s, the last time the GOP shot the hostage and actually forced the federal government to shut down. They did it with the 2011 debt ceiling, nearly forcing America to default on its debt making us the laughing stock of the world and possibly sending us into a depression, and have said openly they'll do it again every time from here on out. They'll certainly do it with the 2012 budget, 2013 budget, on and on.
Why? Because terrorism can be a very profitable business when you find someone willing to negotiate with you.
Why Win Elections When You Can Steal Them
The Koch brothers have become the left's go-to boogeyman, a sort of conservative equivalent to George Soros. Which makes it so hypocritical when the right cries about the left pointing out all the immoral and evil things the Koch's do on their behalf. They wrote this playbook and the progressive netroots are simply using it.
That said, in the latest edition of Koch evil: Americans For Prosperity (Koch-funded) is a lobbying group that along with FreedomWorks invented the original astro-turf Tea Party movement (the one that showed up in the tens of thousands to "protest" health care reform that strongly benefited them only to show up in the dozens without AFP money and organizing leading them around by the nose). They've been caught sending out mailers to Democratic voters in Wisconsin, giving them the wrong date for returning their absentee ballots and telling them to mail them to the wrong place. Doing either would result in that person's vote not being counted and if done in high enough numbers, would result in vulnerable Republicans losing their seats in the recall war.
As usual, when you dig down into the actual numbers, it's Republicans, conservatives and their Big Business allies that are committing election fraud.
How You Spell Hypocrite
2012 hopeful and national joke Michele Bachmann got caught using a government loan program to finance her house, only to then advocate for the program's elimination. Also she thinks Federal Emergency Management Agency re-education camps for conservatives exists. And that the peace corp is a private Obama army. But other than that..
Class Warfare On A Budget
Speaking of the recall wars, GOPer Alberta Darling stuck her foot in her mouth with 98.5% of America this week in relating a conversation she had with one of her constituents to radio host Mark Belling. The constituent asked Darling why the state is giving tax breaks to the wealthy. Darling asked what the woman meant by wealthy. The woman said $250,000 and above. Commence GOP defense of class warfare: said Darling, "Those aren't wealthy people. We are not interested in raising taxes on the quote 'rich'".
For those interested in reality, making $250,000 and above puts you in the top 1.5% of all Americans. There are only about 1.7 million people in a country of 310,000,000+ that make that much money. Class warfare in America isn't the middle class and unions versus the rich. It's the GOP versus America generally.
Theocracy On A Diet
Rick Perry's big play for the religious right vote is coming up empty. He booked a venue that'll hold over 70,000 people for a big prayer event (non-Christians not welcome) but so far, CNN reports that only 8,000 have registered and maybe not even that many will show up.
From Heros To Zeros
Republicans did very well at the local level in 2010, taking control of many state legislatures (red North Carolina has a Republican legislature for the first time in like a century) and governorships. But it turns out a hell of a lot of people are having buyers remorse over who they let slip into the governor's mansion. According to Nate Silver, "moderate Republican governors .. are all but extinct." His data says there "is almost no ideological diversity within the group: essentially all of the current Republican governors are quite conservative", and if you look at the approval ratings for many of the freshman, you find Republicans at the bottom of the chart. Literally. Of the 17 most unpopular governors on the list, 14 are Republicans. Of the 14 most popular governors, 11 are Democrats lead by Andrew Cuomo of New York.
Anti-union Govs John Kaisch and Scott Walker are last and 4th from the bottom of that list. At least eight freshman GOP governors have negative approval ratings which could mean eight freshman Democrats, come next election.
It also appears that while both national parties are becoming more unpopular, beware the fallacy of false equivalence. The GOP's unfavorable rating is skyrocketing by comparison. And if you look closely at the graph in that story, you can clearly see the GOP has largely been more unpopular for the past two decades, and substantially more unpopular recently up until 2009 when the party surged to big wins in the mid-term elections. And then after that throughout 2011, America suddenly remembered why it hates Republicans again.
Somewhere, Baby Banker is Crying
@markos says the Dow hasn't fallen for nine straight days since 1978. It's down 168 points as of now (10:10a EST), marking day nine. Apparently Wall Street is freaking out and heading for the hills over the GOP-forced-at-gun-point austerity program we all just got stuck with. So, we can has stimulus now?
Tasty Satan Sandwich Not So Tasty
Gallup finds that Americans think the debt ceiling deal will make the economy worse - the one which caused Speaker John Boehner to gloat that Republicans got "98% of what we wanted" - by a two-to-one margin. Think about that. Now think about it again.
YouTube Invents Alternative Reality Channel
Unpopular, corrupt, asshole GOP governor Chris Christie stands up and does something even most Democrats won't: defends a Muslim judge he nominated. Viciously. Cue Pamela Gellar's head exploding.
Obama is leading every Republican candidate in Virginia, including front-runner Mitt Romney. Says PPP about the forming trend: Obama will easily beat every Republican except Romney, and at best, he makes 2012 a toss-up. While Bachmann, Perry, and Cain are good television fodder, polls show them uncompetitive with Obama nationally.
About That Debt Thingy...
DNC chair Debby Schultz notes that the GOP's attempt to curtail the union rights of FAA employees has put 74,000 Americans out of work for at least a month, perhaps longer. Moreover, the FAA can't collect taxes for its functions while its shutdown, which is guaranteed to add another $900 million to the national debt during the current August recess. In a rare and probably fleeting instance, it looks like Democrats may go to bat for labor and go on the attack against vulnerable House Republicans holding things up.