Wall Street Front Group Celebrates Record Success Electing Radical Pro-Corporate, Pro-BP Candidates

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"Wall Street Front Group Celebrates Record Success Electing Radical Pro-Corporate, Pro-BP Candidates"

Think Progress has the story of the Wall Street front group “Club for Growth” and the candidates it supports.

Roll Call‘s John McArdle reported this week that the radical Wall Street front group “Club for Growth” is “celebrating” a near perfect winning streak this election cycle so far, especially given the results in run-off elections last Tuesday. The Club is known for running hard-hitting attack ads, especially in Republican primaries, against candidates who would consider raising any form of taxes on the rich or have done anything to hold powerful corporations accountable. Noting the Club’s historic role of purging moderates from the GOP, Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) is quoted in the article calling it the “Spanish Inquisition.”

Chaired by prominent Wall Street investors like Thomas Rhodes and Richard Gilder, as well as the wealthy and reclusive Howie Rich, the Club collects funds from employees of J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, while being buoyed by large donations like a $1.4 million contribution from investor Stephen Jacksons of Stephens Groups Inc. The hand-picked candidates of the Club claim to lead the tea party movement, even though polls show that 70% of self identified tea partiers want the government to help create jobs, and nearly half want government to rein in executive bonuses.

Despite this contradiction, the Club-endorsed primary winners are already tacking to the extreme, pro-corporate right. For example, with BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Club candidates are rushing to defend the rights of corporations over the rights of the American victims of the catastrophe:

- State Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC), the Club-endorsed candidate to win in the primary run-off for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, attacked Democrats for holding hearings to investigate BP’s crimes. In a post on his website, Scott said, “Democratic lawmakers seem to enjoy hauling CEOs before their committees so they can grandstand and condescend to them.”

– Mike Lee (R-UT), the Club-endorsed candidate who won in the primary run-off for the Utah Senate seat, said recently that he wants to keep the low $75 million dollar liability cap for companies like BP. Lee said it would be a “mistake” to raise the liability cap for companies like BP and Anadarko, even if maintaining the status quo leaves “taxpayers on the hook for part of the damage.” Lee said he wanted taxpayers, rather than BP, to pay for the oil spill because the low liability cap was part of a “set of settled expectations that you give to a business when it decides to make an investment.”

– Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the Club-endorsed candidate who defeated incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) in the primary run-off last Tuesday, was asked in a debate last week if he agrees with Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-TX) apology to BP executives. Gowdy recommended that Barton should have “stuck by his guns” and not apologize for apologizing to BP. He then said that the Obama administration should not “use the criminal justice system to extort money” from BP.

– Sharron Angle (R-NV), the Club-endorsed candidate who won in the Nevada Senate primary, told Nevada Newsmakers that in the wake of BP’s spill, the government needs to further deregulate the oil industry.

– Jeff Duncan (R-SC), the Club-endorsed candidate who won the GOP nomination in the South Carolina 3rd Congressional district run-off, closed his campaign by arguing for expanded offshore drilling last week. As one of South Carolina’s most right-wing state lawmakers, Duncan proudly refers to himself as a “states’ rights” politician.

– Mike Pompeo (R-KS), the oil executive and Club-endorsed candidate in Kansas’ 4th Congressional district, said his first reaction to BP’s oil spill was the “fervent hope that Congress doesn’t overreact” and curtail dangerous offshore drilling.

While much has been reported on the impact of the tea parties and their role in elections this year, the true driver for the hard right are corporate front groups like FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth. Using Wall Street cash, these fronts have helped to boost a cadre faux populists who are really just shills for large banks and foreign oil giants like BP. Notably, financial conglomerate J.P. Morgan, which funds the Club, is one of the largest shareholders of BP.

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14 Responses to Wall Street Front Group Celebrates Record Success Electing Radical Pro-Corporate, Pro-BP Candidates

  1. mike roddy says:

    Here’s something from Salon, concluding that Republican leaders want the economy to fail. They just used the filibuster to deny extended unemployment benefits:

    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/06/24/republicans_want_america_to_fail/index.html

    If the Democrats would put on a pair of pants, like Roosevelt did, these thieves in suits would be easy pickings. This includes energy legislation. They need to bring a bill with strong carbon pricing to the Senate floor, and let the Republicans go on record as filibustering at the behest of the oil and coal companies. That will resonate everywhere, big time.

  2. Prokaryote says:

    The unseen disaster
    Oil spill’s damage to the world beneath the waves is likely to be enormous and long-lasting

    While much attention has focused on the pictures of oiled birds, marshes and beaches, the media is showing only the tip of the iceberg of the ecological disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. What is the condition of the ocean itself? The likely answer is: not good.

    To make matters worse, the area of the blowout and oil slick is the most productive part of the Gulf.

    There are two problems caused by the spill. Not only are these organisms being killed, but the breakdown of the oil by bacteria consumes oxygen. That will further increase the size of the dead zone ā€” a low-oxygen area devoid of sea life that has existed for years ā€” off Louisiana this summer.

    Extraordinary quantities of methane are contributing to this problem. Underwater clouds of oil and methane gas have now been confirmed as originating from the BP blowout after weeks of denial. One of these clouds, encompassing an area the size of San Francisco and 600 feet thick, was found at 3,000 feet or more beneath the surface. Low levels of oil concentration (0.5 parts per million) have been found in this cloud. Researchers studying the clouds have found concentrations of methane up to 10,000 times greater than normal and oxygen levels depleted by 40 percent below normal.

    This means organisms in the sea are suffocating and explains why microbes that require oxygen to break down the oil are not cleaning the spill naturally. Worse is that there are likely long-lived “dead zones” drifting through the Gulf and perhaps over deep-water ecosystems where recovery time can be centuries, or not at all.

    Massive quantities of dispersants (1.28 million gallons by day 58 of the spill) are being used at both the wellhead (5,000 feet deep) and the surface of the ocean. Used effectively at the surface, dispersants can accelerate microbial activity and degradation of toxic elements of an oil spill. We have no idea about effectiveness or impact when used at such depth. It is, as has been stated, a giant experiment.

    The larger danger, however, is biomagnification through the food web. Though the concentration of the toxic compounds in the water is small, these compounds dissolve in fat and concentrate within organisms. Zooplankton eat many phytoplankton, and small forage fish eat many zooplankton. Thus the toxic chemicals quickly become concentrated in ever-increasing amounts as it passes up the food chain.
    http://www.statesman.com/opinion/insight/the-unseen-disaster-770857.html?srcTrk=RTR_95649

    After the fossil industry wracked the atmosphere it now wracks the ocean. Looks like a single “spill” is enough to drive extinction. Affecting millions to billions of people …

    If i was a sci-fi writer i would write about aliens which reset earth. In 10.000 years there ships arrive …

  3. mike roddy says:

    Thanks, Prokaryote, for more good links and info.

    Why was BP able to flagrantly ignore orders from EPA on Corexit? Wasn’t NOAA or Interior paying attention?

  4. Prokaryote says:

    Oil-spill health risks under scrutiny

    Scientists call for more research to monitor effects of oil exposure.
    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100624/full/news.2010.316.html

    Mike, i think it was based on initial estimates (minimal spill) and first scenario assessments – based upon BP releases.
    People need to realize that the shore is affected and it is better to deal with oil in huge chunks and at surface, rather than poison the entire water column and spread across the oceans in tiny particles which accumulate in our food chain.

  5. Prokaryote says:

    BP oil spill Corexit dispersants suspected in widespread crop damage
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/ybenjamin/detail??blogid=150&entry_id=65552

  6. Doug Bostrom says:

    If our government is a soldier who must walk in the open and cannot hide, the Club for Growth and its allies are snipers who’ve been hiding in the trees, pumping bullets of propaganda into our government’s exposed body, for decades.

    Cherry-picked anecdotes about waste, endless use of depersonalizing psychological weaponry such as tales about “faceless bureaucrats” who are in fact people like the rest of us and civil servants, it’s all a war to the end of keeping more and contributing less. Cynical and sickening.

  7. Philip says:

    Tim Dickenson’s new Rolling Stone article presents a vision of disaster even more catastrophic than that described by Prokaryote.
    BP’s Next Disaster: The oil giant plans to start drilling in the Arctic this fall – and the Obama administration is doing nothing to stop it.
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/120130

    Prokaryote: Sometimes I’m as amazed by your English as I am by your knowledge and diligence.
    Example: If i was a sci-fi writer i would write about aliens which reset earth. In 10.000 years there ships arrive ā€¦
    1. aliens who or that, never which.
    2. their ships arrive, not there ships – but: their (possessive) ships arrive here or there (place).
    OK?

  8. Charles says:

    “Lee said he wanted taxpayers, rather than BP, to pay for the oil spill because the low liability cap was part of a ‘set of settled expectations that you give to a business when it decides to make an investment.'”

    “Gowdy recommended that Barton should have ‘stuck by his guns’ and not apologize for apologizing to BP. He then said that the Obama administration should not ‘use the criminal justice system to extort money’ from BP.”

    These guys scare the hell out of me. This is the kind of thinking that has produced, and will continue to produce, the environmental crises which plague the world.

  9. Prokaryote says:

    “Prokaryote: Sometimes Iā€™m as amazed by your English”

    Yes, yes i noticed this too – right after submitting the post. Explanation: I just woke up :)

  10. mike roddy says:

    Philip-

    Thanks for the Rolling Stone link. We need dozens of Dickensons and Taibbis. Instead, we have about four.

  11. Leland Palmer says:

    Notably, financial conglomerate J.P. Morgan, which funds the Club, is one of the largest shareholders of BP.

    Historically, of course, ExxonMobil and JPMorgan/Chase have been core pieces of the Rockefeller financial empire. ExxonMobil is a merger of two of the fragments of the original Standard Oil monopoly, founded by John D. Rockefeller and “broken up” by the government in the early part of the twentieth century. JPMorgan/Chase is the result of the merger of the Morgan financial interests with the Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan bank.

    So, it’s no wonder that JPMorgan/Chase is funding the Club for Growth, to radicalize the Republican party, applying a pro-business ideological purity test.

    So the leaders of the Tea Party movement come from this source? Par for the course, IMO. Of course, the majority of the Tea Party members are dupes. They are lower or middle class people sucked into an ideology that makes a religion out of the business rationalizations of the rich.