“A letter written by Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton and signed by forty-six other senators was sent to the Iranian leadership earlier this week that threatens a possible international agreement that the Obama administration is attempting to reach. With the deadline looming on March 24th this has seen as active sabotage and possibly even treason in a move that has never been seen by the Senate in the entire history of the United States.”
Snowden-story reporter Glenn Greenwald’s publication The Intercept reported on Monday, March 9th:
“Tomorrow, 24 hours later, Cotton will appear at an ‘Off the Record and strictly Non-Attribution’ event with the National Defense Industrial Association, a lobbying and professional group for defense contractors.
“The NDIA is composed of executives from major military businesses such as Northrop Grumman, L-3 Communications, ManTech International, Boeing, Oshkosh Defense and Booz Allen Hamilton, among other firms.”
“On September 5, 2008, Fate Vincent Winslow watched a plainclothes stranger approach him. Homeless and hungry, on a dark street rife with crime, the 41-year-old African American was anxious to make contact, motivated by one singular need: food,” according to The Daily Beast.
“Police arrested Winslow, drove him to prison, and locked him up. Six months later, a jury found him guilty of distribution of a schedule I substance (marijuana). Three months after that, a judge sentenced him to life imprisonment with hard labor, without the benefit of parole,” according to The Daily Beast.
Winslow had a criminal record, and the prosecution sought the maximum punishment. “His prior convictions, all non-violent felonies, made him a candidate for the notorious mandatory minimum sentencing laws,” according to The Daily Beast.
According to Politico, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will raise money on Wall Street on Wednesday at an “eye-popping $100,000 per-ticket” Park Avenue event hosted by private equity mogul Henry Kravis and his wife.
Politico: “The price of admission to the event, which will raise funds for Bush’s “Right to Rise” super PAC, surprised even Wall Street veterans used to high-dollar fundraisers.”
The Koch brothers are among the most prominent donors in American politics and are two of the top five wealthiest Americans.
Funneling much of their money through so-called Super PACs and other advocacy groups, the co-owners of Koch Industries have garnered the attention of left-leaning activists and politicans critical of outside spending in elections.
According to Politico, conservative megadonors Charles and David Koch have reportedly invested massive amounts of money in a company that’s developing complex profiles of 250 million American voters and their consumer habits.
Politico also states that in the last four years the billionaire brothers and their allies have already spent at least $50 million on the effort, which is being spearheaded by a data firm called i360.
The firm i360 connects voter information with social networks, consumer data from credit bureaus, interactions with political campaigns, estimated income, recent home addresses, voting frequency, TV viewing habits, and “even the brand of car they drive,” the report said.
According to Politico, the new i360 operation even rivals the data arm of the national Republican Party.
“The Koch network also has developed in-house expertise in polling, message-testing, fact-checking, advertising, media buying, dial groups and donor maintenance,” wrote Politico reporters Mike Allen and Kenneth Vogel.
“Add mastery of election law, a corporate-minded aggressiveness and years of patient experimentation — plus seemingly limitless cash — and the Koch operation actually exceeds the RNC’s data operation in many important respects.”
A top Republican involved in presidential races told Politico the Koch operations “are the most important nonparty political players in the US today, and no one else is even close.”
Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins talks about the Koch brothers with attorney Howard Nations.
The Nation and other sources have obtained an audio recording of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell’s remarks at a Koch Brothers’ sponsored meeting between politicians and donors at the St. Regis Monarch Bay Resort in Dana Point, CA.
The Nation claims that the resort was rented by the Koch brothers for $870,000 for the meeting on June 15th.
In the question-and-answer period following his session titled “Free Speech: Defending First Amendment Rights,” McConnell says:
“So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. So what does that mean? That means that we can pass the spending bill. And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board [inaudible]. All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it.”
McConnell’s pledge to “go after” Democrats on financial services was apparently a reference to changing or getting rid of Dodd-Frank regulation. Dodd-Frank, of course, was legislation passed in 2010 in response to the under-regulation of the financial industry that led to the Great Recession.
McConnell has also been a vocal opponent of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in particular, and presumably under his Senate leadership funding for the CFPB would be high on the list for appropriations cuts.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Wall Street was the number-one contributor to McConnell’s campaign committee from 2009 to 2014.
McConnell is running against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in a close contest that could determine which party controls the Senate. Total spending in the race is expected to exceed $100 million, which would make it the most expensive Senate election in history.
As of July 21, PACs and individuals affiliated with Koch Industries have given at least $41,800 to McConnell’s campaign committee in this election cycle—a figure that does not include any funding to outside groups that could spend heavily in the race’s closing weeks.
Recently, Grimes has been airing ads that criticize McConnell for “voting seventeen times against raising the minimum wage” and “twelve times against extending unemployment benefits for laid-off workers.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, McConnell himself seems quite proud of this legislative record, at least in front of an audience of wealthy donors. After he lays out his agenda to shrink the federal government “across the board.”
“And we’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals,” said Mitch. “That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage [inaudible]—cost the country 500,000 new jobs; extending unemployment—that’s a great message for retirees; uh, the student loan package the other day, that’s just going to make things worse, uh. These people believe in all the wrong things.”
In late April, Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, successfully filibustered a bill to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
Earlier in the year, McConnell also led a filibuster of a three-month extension of unemployment insurance to some 1.7 million Americans. At one point in the negotiations, he offered a deal to extend unemployment only if Democrats agreed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, even though the ACA does not add to the federal deficit.
Just days before he addressed the Koch brothers’ billionaire donor summit, McConnell was instrumental in blocking Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to help Americans refinance their growing student loan debt.
Warren’s plan would have been funded by a new minimum tax on America’s wealthiest. In response, McConnell has said that “not everybody needs to go to Yale” and that cash-strapped students should look into for-profit colleges. That seemed to be an odd response, considering that for-profit colleges are more expensive than state colleges.
The main thrust of McConnell’s remarks to the Koch conference were about his favorite issue, campaign finance, which he regards as a matter of free speech.