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Archive for the ‘big money’ Category

Tom Emmer: Bad For Business

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 30, 2010

I don’t know how I missed this stunningly good piece by The Awl’s Abe Sauer, but it’s rather revelatory about the Emmer family’s shortage of genuine business skills, a lack for which shifty dealings have increasingly failed to compensate:

As his fiscal-conservative, less-government rhetoric would suggest, Emmer is a huge proponent of the private sector as a solution to our problems (i.e., government). And he leans on his private industry bona fides to back it up. His official bio states that Tom learned “the value of hard work and the every-day pressures” from his father’s lumber company. That company is a 100-year-old business founded by great-grandpa Emmer, “Emmer Brothers Lumber.” What the bio conveniently glosses over about Emmer Brothers Lumber (actually Emmer Brothers Company), is that it filed for bankruptcy protection in the mid-1980s. In the few press reports that even bother to mention that the business failed, Emmer is conveniently allowed to say the company had “gone upside down” and that his dad was “struggling.” “Bankruptcy protection” is a term that generally gives fiscal conservatives voting booth rictus.

Now, take note, Poli Sci 101 kids, here’s how a right-wing candidate who hangs his coat on his business experiences spins it when that business is a failed one: Take the fact that Emmer Bros. Co. was bought, post bankruptcy, by Forest City Trading Group and renamed Viking Forest Products, which kept his brother Jack on as an employee, and sum it up as so: “Today it’s known as Viking Forest Products, with Tom’s brother Jack continuing in the business.”

Presto, a failed business with a (maybe charitably employed) brother is now a continuing successful family business from which our candidate has learned “first hand the value of hard work and the every-day pressures faced by employers and the families who count on them.”

Also, Marquette National Bank sued Emmer Bros. Co. for fraudulently concealing assets during the course of the bankruptcy proceedings. But whatever.

One could say this kind of slavish dedication to the “free market” is a family tradition. The Emmer family empire once also consisted of Emmer Brothers Dairy in neighboring Wisconsin. “You can whip our cream, but you can’t beat our milk,” went the motto. One might say these Emmers loved the free market too much, finding themselves indicted in a 1950 anti-trust suit which charged the dairy “illegally combined and conspired with intent to restrain competition in the retail and wholesale price of fluid milk in Milwaukee county, and by such combination and conspiracy actually did restrain competition and fixed and controlled the price of such milk.”

For the tea party set accustomed to things written on small signs, that means “price fixing.” Raymond Emmer was specifically named in the charge. Busted, Emmer Bros. cashed in and sold for a small fortune to Golden Guernsey Dairy, which, surprise, was named in the indictment as an Emmer co-conspirator. In a now familiar story that would come to replay itself years later, one of the Emmer founder’s sons was retained at Golden Guernsey for years afterward.

It’s pretty clear here that, if the personal and family history he touts on the campaign trail is a good guide, Tom Emmer couldn’t be trusted to run a lemonade stand, much less a state.

Posted in (Rich) Taxpayers League, big money, Minnesota, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

And In News That Surprises Me Not At All

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 13, 2010

Aryn Baker, the author of the Time magazine cover story exploiting a facially-disfigured teenage Afghan girl as a pretext for keeping US troops in Afghanistan, turns out to have massive conflicts of interest which she failed to disclose:

The piece lacked a crucial personal disclosure on Baker’s part: Her husband, Tamim Samee, an Afghan-American IT entrepreneur, is a board member of an Afghan government minister’s $100 million project advocating foreign investment in Afghanistan, and has run two companies, Digistan and Ora-Tech, that have solicited and won development contracts with the assistance of the international military, including private sector infrastructure projects favored by U.S.-backed leader Hamid Karzai.

In other words, the Time reporter who wrote a story bolstering the case for war appears to have benefited materially from the NATO invasion. Reached by The Observer, a Time spokesperson revealed that the magazine has just reassigned Baker to a new country as part of a normal rotation, though he declined to say where.

How convenient.

Posted in Afghanistan, big money | Comments Off on And In News That Surprises Me Not At All

MoveOn Goes Up Against Target

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 4, 2010

This may be what saves us all:

Target, the Minnesota-based company whose brand has become treasured by young urbanites across the country, provided $150,000 in seed money to a group called Minnesota Forward, a political group running ads supporting Republican Tom Emmer in the state’s gubernatorial race. At first, the LGBT community began to oppose Target for its support of Emmer, who opposes gay marriage. Target’s CEO did some damage control on that, claiming to support LGBT rights. However, the progressive group took this to another level, threatening a nationwide boycott against Target for their use of corporate money in campaign activities.


This is a very important effort. As MoveOn says in their petition, the Target funding is really “the tip of the iceberg” for corporate campaign spending in a post-Citizens United world. By letting Target know that they will face financial repercussions for influencing elections, MoveOn can send a powerful message to other retailers to stay out of the controversy. And they’re practically the only group with enough members – over 5 million – to make that threat tangible.

I wish them well.

Posted in big money, Election Day, gay rights, Minnesota, Republicans | 5 Comments »

If It Walks Like A Republican, Talks Like A Republican, Acts Like A Republican

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 29, 2010

How in the world does that make it “non-partisan”?

Here’s a fundraising letter from the “non-partisan” group MN Forward (h/t Bluestem Prairie), a group of richer-than-God corporate and other business folks.

Here’s the official 2010 platform of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

Can anyone spot any meaningful differences between the two?

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, 2010, big money, Minnesota, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer | Comments Off on If It Walks Like A Republican, Talks Like A Republican, Acts Like A Republican

Righter wing media

Posted by Charles II on July 6, 2010

Terry Krepel has what looks like a scoop to me:

In early June, Newsmax raised a few eyebrows by declaring its interest in — and then making an official offer for — Newsweek magazine, which the Washington Post Co. has put up for sale.

While the offer itself got attention, the likely money behind it mostly didn’t. While Newsmax makes rich Republicans its target demographic — according to Talkers magazine, 20 percent of its readership claims a net worth of $1 million or more — and while it claimed revenue of $36 million in 2008 and has projected $50 million in revenue this year, it likely doesn’t throw off enough money for Ruddy to purchase money-losing Newsweek without help.

Enter Richard Mellon Scaife.

Now, it’s not a done deal. But the very idea that a crackpot bunch like Newsmax, famous for inventing a noticeable fraction of the lies against Clinton among other lowlights, could conceivably take over a magazine like Newsweek tells us that media in this country are seriously screwed up.

Posted in big money, capitalism as cancer, mythmaking, Republicans as cancer, Richard Mellon Scaife, rightwing moral cripples | 3 Comments »

Random Observations

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 16, 2010

Attaturk hat recht hier:

I know the nation is terribly disappointed that Obama isn’t actually Red Black Adair, but I don’t miss having idiots trying to fix shit. They’d have dropped the bomb and had BP drilling for radioactive crude by now.

Regardless of what one thinks of Obama’s speech, Palin’s incoherent response should remind everyone that it was the sort of oncological, unrestrained capitalism Palin and the Republicans espouse (complete with total regulatory capture of the government entity we all thought was monitoring them) that made this crisis possible.

— Question: If somebody like Alan Grayson (with a “D” after his name) had said this instead of Joseph Cao (a freshman Republican), what’s the likelihood that David Broder and the rest of the GOP/Media Complex would be in full Tone Troll Mode, doing their level best to hound him or her out of politics?

Posted in Barack Obama, big money, GOP/Media Complex, IOKIYAR, Oil, Republicans, Republicans as cancer, Sarah Palin | 3 Comments »

Tell Us Something We Don’t Know

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 15, 2010

Just as the calls for getting the US out of Afghanistan grow ever louder, some rather credulous person at the NYT dutifully posts up something apparently designed to make us want to stay put so that the heathen Chinese don’t take it from us.

However, as David Dayen points out, this is not exactly news:

The World Bank wrote about Afghanistan’s mineral development in 2004. China has already begun to mine in Afghanistan, with the Kabul government providing them the lease on a copper mine in 2007 (they have to build a power plant and a railroad to get the copper out of the mine and into the supply chain; nobody seems to be talking about the infrastructure challenges). And the Wall Street Journal reported on the Afghan mining industry and how it was inviting more bids for copper, iron ore and other mineral development in August 2009.

About the only difference this time around is that lithium, which is what’s being used to make the batteries that will power our transition to an all-electric future, has been added to the mix.

Being resource-rich hasn’t benefitted the average Afghani one bit. This Pentagon-via-NYT announcement won’t change that.

Posted in Afghanistan, big money | 1 Comment »

The Biggest Woofers Are Often (If Not Usually) The Biggest Bluffers

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 8, 2010

Word has come to me of the ongoing implosion of the financial empire of someone who — locally, at least — is generally depicted as invulnerable and unstoppable in a Borg-like way, as well as possessing a reputation for financial genius that is increasingly contradicted by reality. The implosion’s so catastrophic that the local corporate snooze media may eventually be compelled to notice it.

I can’t talk any further about it, but let’s just say that it’s a classic case of what you get when you try to apply Ayn Randism in the real world.

I’m heating up the popcorn as we speak.

Posted in big money, capitalism as cancer, eedjits | 9 Comments »

Thank God for Monica Lewinsky, Part II

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 18, 2010

Sorry I didn’t do an earlier heads-up on this, as I’d promised earlier:

By 1997, Bill Clinton felt he had the upper hand with Congress and it was time for him to make historic moves. He had replaced Leon Panetta as Chief of Staff with investment banker Erskine Bowles late in his first term, and as author Steven Gillon tells the tale, Bowles brought a sense of order to the White House. Bowles planned to return to the private sector as Clinton’s second term began, but Bill and Hillary implored him to stay on for one final task: “fixing” Social Security.

President Obama has likewise entrusted Erskine Bowles with the task of chairing his own Deficit Commission, which is currently meeting in secret to address Social Security and other entitlement issues. Since little is known about the deliberations of that commission, I thought it would be instructive to have Dr. Gillon on to talk about Bowles’s history of shuttle diplomacy in 1997 to negotiate a deal between Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton to cut Social Security. He based his book The Pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the Rivalry that Defined a Generation on interviews he conducted with Clinton, Gingrich, Bowles and others involved in the negotiations. And according to Bowles, the deal would have gone through save for one factor: the Monica Lewinsky episode.

The Book Salon will likely be over by the time you see this, but stop by and read the comments anyway.

Posted in (Rich) Taxpayers League, big money, Bill Clinton, fearmongering, Social Security | 5 Comments »

Floridians: Congressman Kendrick Meek Has A Message For You

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 3, 2010

And here it is:

Marco Rubio stands by his support for expanding offshore drilling in the Gulf. “My message won’t change,” he said in Clearwater last week when asked about the oil spill. And while Charlie Crist now says he opposes new oil drilling, it wasn’t that long ago he was open to drilling closer to the coast. On the other hand, I remain a firm proponent of ending our reliance on foreign oil and harnessing clean energy, but who knows what the long-term impact of this spill will be for our state. We also get the news now that an oil drilling rig overturned 80 miles off the coast of New Orleans. We can’t afford to take more and more of these types of chances by expanding drilling in the Gulf and bringing it closer and closer to the coast that is so important for Floridians and their livelihoods. The cost to Florida families could be permanent and the more we expand drilling, the more likely we are to see more of these types of accidents.

He suggests you sign his petition to Rubio and Crist, asking them to join him in calling for a permanent moratorium on new offshore drilling. (I also suggest that all readers, Floridians and others, sign another petition asking President Obama to do the same.)

Posted in big money, energy, environment, gravy train, greed, Oil | 4 Comments »

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