Category Archives: conservatives

Tennessee: Where Conservatism Has Come To Die

National conservative groups are focusing their activities (and money) on Tennessee, and I find that very odd:

Most prominent in enhanced spending are three national organizations that have dramatically expanded their Tennessee activity within the past three years:

* Americans for Prosperity, based in Arlington, Va., was founded and — at least initially — mostly funded by businessmen and philanthropist brothers David and Charles Koch with the proclaimed aim of advocating for free enterprise. AFP’s Tennessee operation reported spending more than $1.1 million in Tennessee lobbying last year. AFP reported spending less than $10,000 in all prior reports filed with the Tennessee Ethics Commission since it became active within the state in 2012. AFP reported no explicitly political spending, but state Director Andrew Ogles says the lobbying report covers “educational” ads that sometimes criticized or supported legislative candidates.

* The American Federation for Children, based in Washington, D.C., advocates education reforms involving “school choice” for parents. The AFC’s state organization reported spending between $75,000 and $150,000 on Tennessee lobbying in 2014 to the Ethics Commission and reported a total of $606,345 in political spending by the political action committee set up by its state affiliate, the Tennessee Federation for Children, to the state Registry of Election Finance during the 2014 election cycle, including 2013. The state PAC was launched in 2012.

* StudentsFirst, based in Sacramento, Calif., and founded by Michelle Rhee, a former District of Columbia school superintendent, also advocates expanded options for education, including school vouchers. The organization reported spending between $100,000 and $200,000 on lobbying in 2014 — plus a $13,907 reception for legislators — and reported spending of $573,917 within the state during the 2014 election cycle by its state PAC, which was launched in 2012. (Rhee was formerly married to Kevin Huffman, who served four years as Tennessee’s education commissioner.)

These groups set up shop in Tennessee fairly recently and started building a “grass roots” network of state resident members, although much of their funding still comes from outside the state — substantial chunks of money transferred from national headquarters in the case of StudentsFirst and AFC.

The article also mentions other national conservative groups actively lobbying in Tennessee, such as the National Rifle Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In addition to lobbying, I know that all of these groups have been buying up beaucoups amount of local TV air time, too — at least in the Nashville market.

And I find this very odd. Republicans have a supermajority in Tennessee. Our legislature is as hard-right, Teanutty wackadoodle as it comes. Why do the Koch Brothers and Michelle Rhee need to set up an office here and spend over a million dollars in one year lobbying a Republican legislature already friendly to their ideas? Why devote so much time and money and energy to a state that should be a gimme? Shouldn’t they be focusing this kind of intensity on more “purple” states where they could make some headway, not a deep-red state where they’ve ostensibly won the fight?

How is this not a sign of retreat? Would like to hear your thoughts on this.

Oh, and this from the article made me laugh:

But Harwell said legislators can be trusted to look to the interests of their constituents, not of the lobbyists.

Riiight. Harwell is the one who voted “present” instead of “no” on controversial guns-in-parks legislation, even though she said “my district doesn’t want it.” Great representation, lady.

[UPDATE]:

Related: A Heartfelt Breakup Letter to Tennessee: This Is Why I’m Leaving.

Good read.

3 Comments

Filed under conservatives, Tennessee

SHOCKED To Find Gambling In This Establishment

Conservatives are finally learning that grifters gotta grift and a whole lot of them are doing it on their side of the aisle. Hilarious.

I love this:

For example, did you know that despite the fact that it raised a staggering 13 million dollars, The National Draft Ben Carson for President isn’t affiliated with Ben Carson and the small percentage of money it spent on independent expenditures didn’t go to him?

I’m sorry but Ben Carson is batshit insane. He’s a loon, barking mad, a total crackpot. If you’re giving money to get this raging narcissist elected president, I don’t feel sorry for you. You’re as divorced from reality as he is.

Sigh. If only someone had seen this coming.

Oh, wait. We did. Hell, we told you Sarah Palin’s teasing “campaigns” are nothing but one giant exercise in graft.

Don’t say we didn’t try to warn you. But no, you were too busy waving your Gadsden flags and screaming about socialism to pay attention.

Sucks to be you.

3 Comments

Filed under conservatives, Republican Party, scam, Tea Party

Death Panels

Pearls of wisdom from our corporate overlords at Koch Industries the American Enterprise Institute. You can’t make this shit up:

In a world of scarce resources, a slightly higher mortality rate is an acceptable price to pay for certain goals — including more cash for other programs, such as those that help the poor; less government coercion and more individual liberty; more health-care choice for consumers, allowing them to find plans that better fit their needs; more money for taxpayers to spend themselves; and less federal health-care spending. This opinion is not immoral. Such choices are inevitable. They are made all the time.

Consider, for example, speed limits. By allowing people to drive their cars at speeds at which collisions result in death, our government has decided that the socially optimal number of traffic fatalities is not zero. Some poor souls die: There were more than 30,000 traffic fatalities on America’s roads in 2013. If we didn’t accept that risk, we’d lower the speed limit to a rate at which accidents simply don’t kill, such as 10 mph. Instead, we’ve raised it periodically over the years, and you can now go as fast as 85 mph on a few highways.

Collateral damage, y’all. Well, I suppose if you overlook the fact that we do lower speed limits all the damn time (in places like school zones, neighborhoods, construction zones, high-density pedestrian areas, etc.) AND if you blithely avoid acknowledging that the auto industry spends bazillions (and the government mandates) safety measures like air bags and seat belts etc. etc., not to mention mandatory insurance coverage for when accidents do happen, if you ignore all these and dozens of other things you might have a point. But since I won’t, you don’t.

You, sir, win the Failed Analogy Award of the year. You’re also an asshole. And a sociopath.

God these corporate idiots and their free market fairy tales. And yet, they’re always the first ones to go whining to the courthouse when something happens to them and their precious darlings. Just Go Galt on your freedom island already and leave running the country to the rest of us who have some common sense.

BTW, no discussion of the American Enterprise Institute is complete without providing a list of who they represent.

9 Comments

Filed under conservatives, moral values

Rich Lowry: Asshole Of The Day

The editor of the conservative National Review, on Twitter tonight:

RichLowry

This, of course, is in reference to the killing of two New York City police officers today by a crazy person who had earlier in the day shot his girlfriend and ended up shooting and killing himself.

Trying to tarnish an entire national movement by highlighting the horribles words or actions of a few individuals is, of course, a favorite political pastime. It’s not something that legitimate pundits and journalists usually indulge in. But then, National Review has always been known more for demagoguery than reasoned intellectual discourse.

[Update]:

Memory hole, June 2014:

Jerad Miller, 31, then covered the officers with a Gadsden flag — a yellow banner with a coiled snake above the words “Don’t Tread on Me” — and placed a note with a swastika symbol on one officer’s body, according to police officials speaking at the news conference.

Someone remind me: was the Tea Party asked to answer for Jerad and Amanda Miller, who struck down two police officers as they ate pizza on their lunch break?

2 Comments

Filed under conservatives, gun violence, National Review

Thought For The Day

It is truly amazing to hear the same people who bitched and moaned about how TSA body scanners at U.S. airports violated their civil rights now attack nurse Kaci Hickox for not submitting to a 21-day house arrest on her return from Africa.

Do you people even listen to yourselves?

8 Comments

Filed under conservatives, fear

Worst Person In The World

Dinesh D’Souza, law-breaker, says the most important thing is he wasn’t silenced, because of pearls such as this:

OBOLA

Hmmm…..

3 Comments

Filed under conservative authors, conservatives

AFP’s Bag Of Dirty Tricks

Americans For Prosperity, the Koch Bros.-group supported by Nashville moneybags Lee Beaman which is bankrolling the anti-AMP movement, has been caught perpetrating a voter suppression campaign in North Carolina.

Showing it’s nothing more than a Lee Atwater-style band of dirty tricksters, AFP was busted sending confusing, error-riddled “official” voter application forms to hundreds of North Carolina voters … and a cat. They were busted when complaints started flooding into the State Board of Elections:

The form includes incorrect or conflicting information, as outlined below, according to the State Board of Elections.

• At the top, the form states voter registrations are due 30 days before an election to the State Board of Elections’ office. Below, in smaller type, it states the deadline is 25 days before the election.

The deadline to register to vote is actually 25 days before the general election, but people should send information to their county elections board, not the state board, Lawson said. If voters do send their information to the state board, it will be forwarded to the appropriate county board, Lawson said.

• The first page also states people should return the registration to the N.C. Secretary of State’s office, though the envelope is addressed to the State Board of Elections.

• It states the Secretary of State’s office has an elections division and can answer questions about registration.

The Secretary of State’s office does not handle elections, Lawson said, though other states do house their elections division within their secretary of state’s office. The form also gives the wrong phone number for the Secretary of State’s office – the number is actually for the State Board of Elections.

• The form states that after voters mail in their information, they will be notified of their precinct by their local county clerk.

“There’s no county clerk that would do these things,” said Lawson. “It would come from the county board of elections or the elections director, under their signature.”

• The registration form also includes the wrong ZIP code for the State Board of Elections. The ZIP code associated with the board’s post office box is 27611, and the board’s office ZIP code is 27603.

Alison Beal of Wake Forest received one of the forms at her home, but it was addressed to her brother-in-law, who lives in Caldwell County. Beal is not a member of Americans for Prosperity and says her brother-in-law would not be a member either.

Beal said she quickly noticed the inaccuracies because she has been involved in past voter registration drives. She knew there was no elections division within the Secretary of State’s office, Beal said.

“I went to the Board of Elections website so I could make sure about what my suspicions were,” she said. “I’ve always been a big proponent of voting. I was like, ‘You know, this is really irritating.’ ”

Honest mistakes? Doubtful. Seems like this was sent to likely Democrats, for one thing. The idea being to spread confusion and misinformation, so people are given the idea that it’s just easier not to bother to vote.

It’s a neat trick. It’s a felony to deliberately misinform voters. AFP has plausible deniability here, “oh our woopsies, sorry!” Meanwhile, they’ve confused hundreds of people in left-leaning Raleigh. Nice try, assholes. Does anyone think this works?

Here’s where groups like Americans For Prosperity always stumble. They assume voters are stupid. They assume people don’t know better. They assume people aren’t interested and don’t care. In other words, they believe their own bullshit. What they miss is that the more you try to prevent people from voting, the more those same people are going to go the extra mile to vote, just to prove you wrong.

And these are the dishonest players who Lee Beaman has brought to Nashville to fight against mass transit and take over our school board. Watch your mailboxes, Nashville. If they’re playing dirty in North Carolina you can be damn sure they’re going to play dirty here.

2 Comments

Filed under Americans For Prosperity, conservatives, Lee Beaman, voter fraud, voter turnout, voting