My 2014 U.S. Senate Voting Guide

October 30, 2014

(Subtitled, “Fighting the ‘Dirty Dozen’ of the U.S. Senate”)

With time growing ever shorter until next Tuesday November 4th, I give you 12 of the most hotly contested U.S. Senate contests (with the possible exception of Lankford/Johnson…we’ll see).

DSullivan

Dan Sullivan (Alaska)

As noted below…

Sullivan missed a candidate’s forum, but of course he didn’t miss a fundraiser at about the same location (here).

And as noted from here

Sullivan opposes raising the minimum wage. He opposes the rights of workers to bargain for fair wages, good benefits and safe working conditions. He even wants to raise the retirement age for Social Security, which would force many Alaskans to keep working physically demanding jobs well into old age.

And of course Sullivan is getting help from Chuck and Dave Koch (here); he has a lot of company on that one.

In response, to help incumbent Dem Senator Mark Begich, click here.

FINANCE COMMITTEE

Pat Roberts (Kansas)

As noted below…

  • He has a certain residency issue, seeing as how his declared residence is in Virginia, but he’s the Repug senator from Kansas (happens on both sides, to be fair – here).
  • Roberts said that Obama was a “socialist” who wanted to “nationalize,” you know, stuff, here (Proof? Anywhere in sight?) And we do know who the “national socialists” were, don’t we?.
  • Oh, and let’s not forget that Roberts once claimed in May 2006 that “you have no civil liberties if you’re dead” in defense of a certain Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History (here).
  • And things continued to look bad for Roberts as of about three weeks ago (here).
  • In response, to help Independent challenger Greg Orman, click here.

    Lankford

    James Lankford (Oklahoma)

    Yes, he’s quite probably going to win since we’re talking about Oklahoma (sigh), but the following should still be pointed out…

  • Lankford is a climate change denier like just about everyone else in that clown show of a political party (here).

    “This whole global warming myth will be exposed as what it really is — a way of control more than anything else. And that generation will be ticked.” [Edmond Sun, 2/16/10]

    Actually, they’ll be “ticked” because you continued to ignore proven scientific fact and did nothing in response.

  • He opposes government borrowing, and even throws in some quotes from the Bible for extra hypocrisy points to try and justify himself, but owes about $100 grand to Skank of America (here).
  • Said NSA snooping foiled 54 terrorist attacks (uh, no – once more, reminds me of James Gregory and the ketchup bottle in “The Manchurian Candidate”).
  • He said he wouldn’t prohibit people from getting citizenship “forever,” since he’s a Christian (here – how decent of him).
  • Lankford is opposed by Dem Connie Johnson in the contest to fill the seat vacated by Crazy Tom Coburn.

    Coffman_Gardner

    Cory Gardner (Colorado)

    As noted below…

  • Gardner voted against defunding raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in a state where medical marijuana is legal (here).
  • As noted from here

    In three years in Congress, voted 3 times to cut Social Security and raise the eligibility age to 70, voted 5 times to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 70, more than 5 times to increase current senior’s copays for preventative healthcare, and more than 5 times to reopen the prescription donut hole that his opponent, Incumbent Dem U.S. Senator Mark Udall, helped to close. In addition, Gardner voted 5 times to turn Medicare from a guaranteed benefit to a voucher program, which would have doubled Medicare out of pocket costs for seniors by 2022 according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

  • Opposed the DREAM Act, voted to deport DREAMers, and voted against immigration reform in a state where the latter is a particularly big deal (here).
  • Supported federal fetal personhood legislation that would outlaw abortions and some birth control measures nationwide (here).
  • In response, to help incumbent Dem Senator Mark Udall, click here.

    Cassidy

    Bill Cassidy (Louisiana)

    As noted below…

  • He said here that he doesn’t believe Obama “ever worked with a poor person” (so just how many levels of duuuh are we talking about here anyway?).
  • And of course, he also wants to make the Social Security retirement age 70 (here).
  • He not only wants to basically put the EPA out of business, but he even wanted to cut funding for portraits of former EPA head Lisa Jackson, taking partisanship to a ridiculously petty new low (here).
  • Cassidy also said that he’s “not sure climate change is the issue” as Louisiana loses more of its coastline (here).
  • Given the prior two items, it should be no surprise that he’s also getting help from Chuck and Dave of course (here).
  • I’ve often disagreed with Mary Landrieu in the past, but she’s been reliable on more issues than not. She shouldn’t have this tough of a fight on her hands, but she does – fortunately, she’s a skilled campaigner, but if you’re able to help her somehow, please click here.

    Obama_White_Slavery
    Update 10/31/14: Yeah, the truth hurts, doesn’t it, Repugs (here) – time to clutch those pearls again, I see.

    Rounds_635487516144747334-Screen-Shot-2014-10-12-at-9.59.52-PM

    Mike Rounds (South Dakota)

    I think it’s been kind of an under-reported story that Rounds is more of a crook than it might appear upon first glance – to wit…

  • He was part of a scheme to sell EB-5 immigration visas to the highest bidders, and then was caught lying about it (here).
  • Also, he “wildly overstated” the number of jobs created with those EB-5 visas here.
  • Rounds knew that a former Cabinet official in his administration was heading to a job with a beef plant for which Rounds had just authorized about $600,000 in state loans (how con-vee-nient) here.
  • Rounds’ Dem opponent Rick Weiland said he wouldn’t vote for Harry Reid as majority leader if elected, opening the door for Rounds to say he wouldn’t vote for Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao under the same circumstance, a door that Rounds won’t open, apparently (kind of a cunning move by Weiland, I think – here).

    (Oh, and as DWT also tells us, Rounds extended taxpayer assistance to companies where Rounds and Dennis Daugaard, Rounds’s successor as governor in 2011 and former running mate, were investors…once again, how con-vee-nient, overseen by the same state agency, the Office of Economic Development, that oversaw the EB-5 visa program).

  • I don’t know what the recent polling is on this race – I’m sure Rounds is still ahead, but I have a feeling this will be fairly close…we’ll see; if you can help Weiland, please click here.

    joni-ernst

    Joni Ernst (Iowa)

    As noted below…

  • Ernst didn’t want to answer tough questions from that dreaded “liberal media,” so she went to Fix Noise instead, of course (here – and again here).
  • She opposed raising the minimum wage here (once again, of course).
  • Ernst also wants to privatize Social Security, which, according to one estimate, would lead to about a 45-percent out-of-pocket increase in what subscribers would pay out due to a cut in coverage (here).
  • She “flat-out lied” on the question of the so-called “fetal personhood” amendment supported by Repug Cory Gardner in Colorado, among others (here).
  • She once ran for a job as county auditor and won, and apparently the first thing she did on the job was to get rid of county board veterans who had opposed her candidacy (so much for “Iowa nice” – here).
  • Apparently, Ernst rode to fame on an ad about hog castration, and equated that with making “big spenders” in Washington “squeal” here (I don’t know what is more damning – Ernst for making such an ad, or people supporting her for it).
  • And this tells you all the ways she does the bidding of the Kochs, in case you were wondering.
  • Oh, and she apparently wanted to arrest federal officials over “Obamacare” in 2012 here (charming).

    I’ve always wondered about this race – I never heard an official explanation from Tom Harkin why he decided to give up this seat (I might have missed it, I’ll admit). That being said, I have a feeling Bruce Braley is a lot more likely to carry on in Harkin’s footsteps than Ernst will ever be (to help Braley, click here).

    Update 11/7/14: As Atrios might say, time for a blogger ethics panel (here).

    Scott_Brown_centerfold

    Scott Brown (New Hampshire – this week…)

    Well, well – Scott Brown has taken his carpetbagger act on the road to the Granite State, huh? I think we should recall the following, then…

  • Brown said here in ’09 that the Senate health care bill that was signed into law “mirrored” the one he supported in MA (for it in ’09 before he was against it in 2010, as it were).
  • He said that the stimulus created not “one new job” here (once more, uh, no).
  • He engaged in taunts that Cherokee Nation described as “racist” against Sen. Elizabeth Warren, his 2012 campaign opponent, here.
  • For someone with supposed “teabagger” small gov’t (alleged, of course) “cred,” he backed this ridiculous weapons system GE wanted in MA that the Pentagon said they didn’t need (here).
  • Here, “Wall Street Scott” got paid to talk to hedge fund managers about money in politics (no joke).
  • He voted for Dodd-Frank financial reforms, then worked to undermine them (here).
  • He reversed his 2012 stance on whether or not climate change is real (of course – here).
  • I’ll be honest – I have a particular loathing for many of the Republicans on this list, but Scott Brown belongs in a whole other contemptible category as far as I’m concerned. With that in mind, I think Jeanne Shaheen definitely can use any assistance we can provide (please click here).

    Update: Whooping cough AND polio from illegals, Scott (here)? I’m sure the independent voters will really go for that one.

    Update 10/31/14: #epicfail

    ReallyTerriLynnLand

    Terri Lynn Land (Michigan)

    As noted below…

  • Land voted to “voucherize” Medicare (here).
  • She is also tied to the Koch Brothers (of course) and their piles of “pet coke,” which are byproducts of oil refining and produced clouds of dark dust over Detroit (not a question of whether or not the coke is unhealthy, but how much – here).
  • And with that in mind, Detroit residents asked Land to spend some time in their community here to experience the health effects firsthand, and she responded with “LALALALAICANTHEARYOU.”
  • Basically, she wouldn’t have supported the bailout of the automakers under Number 44 here (in so many words, since she tried so hard to avoid the question…keep in mind that she’s running to replace retiring Dem Senator Carl Levin, who at least understood what to do when thousands of jobs were at stake).
  • Land said here that she “made the DMV work,” which is a particularly neat trick considering that Michigan doesn’t have a DMV (here).
  • She also advocates “Obamacare” repeal of course, which means that about 630,000 residents of Michigan would lose their health coverage (here).
  • To help Land’s Dem opponent Gary Peters, click here.

    Tom Cotton (Arkansas)

    Cotton is easily the biggest neophyte of this bunch…

  • Here, he said that he didn’t think women were qualified to serve in the military (nice – it should be pointed out, though, that Cotton actually did serve, unlike most other Repugs).
  • Here, he said that Iraq was involved in 9/11 (ah, a golden oldie…oh, and when it comes to evaluating Number 43 and “Deadeye Dick,” Cotton believes 9/11 shouldn’t be included, as noted here).

    The Arkansas Times link also tells us that he, like many others in his party, voted against relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and he’s a darling of the Club for Growth, no matter how that affects his congressional district…figures.

  • And like a whole bunch of House Repugs (including Mikey the Beloved), Cotton voted to separate SNAP funding from the farm bill (here).
  • Oh, and Cotton wants to punish not only those who violate economic sanctions against Iran (OK), but their family members too, as noted here (um, and why?).
  • Also, did you know that Cotton himself took out student loans, but then voted against funding them for everyone else (here)?
  • Cotton also said that a woman’s “deepest hope” is to be a good wife and mother here (uh, Tom, you’re running for the U.S. Senate, not the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, not that a male would know something like that anyway).
  • He also wants to restore bank profits to student loan financing again here (and for doing what exactly, I wonder?).
  • He claimed here that ISIS collaborated with Mexican drug cartels, or something (that alone should disqualify him from this contest, but I’m sure it won’t),
  • Praised disaster relief program that benefited Arkansas farmers that he actually voted against (here).
  • As with Mary Landrieu, Cotton’s incumbent opponent, Dem Sen. Mark Pryor, shouldn’t have this big of a fight on his hands, but he does (to help, click here).

    Perdue

    David Perdue (Georgia)

    As noted below…

  • In what is probably the signature moment of his campaign, Perdue bragged about outsourcing jobs here (probably a ton of them based on the Daily Kos post).
  • Oh, and he also “outsourced” about $1 million to a Swiss bank here (looks like Perdue is a charter member of the “one percent”).
  • Given that, I guess it’s not surprising that Perdue loves bailouts for Wall Street, but not Detroit (here).
  • As noted here, Perdue needed “dark” money from Ohio groups to defeat U.S. House Rep (and wingnut extraordinaire) Jack Kingston in the GOP primary – normally I wouldn’t give a hoot about what happens to Kingston, but this is part of a disturbing trend.
  • Here, Perdue said he was proud that “less than 2,000 women” sued his company for pay discrimination (oh brother).
  • He basically acted like he would be OK with another government shut down here, blaming “Obamacare” and defaulting on interest payments, or something – the former part is merely propaganda and the latter part has nothing to do with reality.
  • This contest is to fill the open seat formerly held by departing Repug Saxby Chambliss, who once associated disabled Vietnam vet (and former Dem senator) Max Cleland with al Qaeda – to help Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Dem Senator Sam Nunn, click here.

    Tillis_EQUns.AuSt.156

    Thom Tillis (North Carolina)

    As noted below…

  • Tillis is pretty much a foot-soldier of Art Pope, the millionaire who took over N.C. and turned it into his own personal playground (here).
  • He would let pre-existing conditions protection disappear as part of what the GOP would do to replace “Obamacare” (here).
  • And oh – surprise, surprisenow Tillis favors expanding Medicare (here).
  • He advocated state cuts to public education, but of course supported tax cuts for private jets and yachts (here – nice…and if you think there are some recurring themes here among these characters, rest assured that it’s not your imagination).
  • Tillis would make birth control illegal, like many others in his party would also (here).
  • And as noted here, I think it’s fair to judge someone by the company they keep.
  • Tillis also encouraged college students to vote for him by digging up The Sainted Ronnie R again and harping on the 70s here; the problem is that all that happened before today’s college students were even born (just say “oops” and get out, Thom).
  • To help incumbent Dem Senator Kay Hagan, Tillis’s opponent, please click here.

    I don’t think it can be overstated just how hugely important the U.S. Senate elections in particular are this Tuesday, so it is incumbent upon all of us to vote and support Dem candidates as much as our means enables us to do so. I sincerely hope this post has given you ample evidence and motivation to do just that.

    Update 10/31/14: Based on this, I would vote for a Democrat as a protest vote, if for no other reason.

    Advertisements

    Friday Mashup (5/23/14)

    May 23, 2014

    model-s-official-5b-1024x683

  • This from Fix Noise tells us the following…

    Four years have passed since President Obama visited Kansas City’s main airport, rolled up his shirt sleeves and admonished the skeptics who said Smith Electric Vehicles was unlikely to make good on its promises to build 510 experimental electric-powered trucks and buses suitable for commercial use.

    “Come see what’s going on at Smith Electric,” the president said, inspecting a table full of bright green truck batteries in what was once a maintenance hangar for TWA. “I think they’re going to be hard-pressed to tell you that you’re not better off than you would be if we hadn’t made the investments in this plant.”

    The skeptics turned out to be right.

    Despite $32 million in federal stimulus funds and status as one of Obama’s favorite “green” companies, the firm has halted production, having built just 439 of the promised 510 vehicles.

    Gee, “just” 439 out of 510? That happens to be “just” 86 percent, for those of you playing along at home (and the story also tells us that production of the vehicles may resume this summer…money is slow in the pipeline these days, and that’s definitely affecting manufacturing, among other industries).

    I’m not going to say much about the “follow the money” stuff in the linked Washington Examiner story (from Fox), alleging that Smith “stiffed” the “Missouri University of Science and Technology, the state government, and a local electrical supply company, as well as its landlord, the Kansas City city government.” Also adding to the complicated financial picture is the fact that Smith is apparently an American subsidiary of a British firm. The Examiner article alleges impropriety, but upon a couple of reviews, I think there’s no “there” there (sounds to me like some financial stuff that would be normal for a lot of other established firms…I’m open to an opposing point of view on that one).

    I mainly want to point out that how the wingnuts have been attacking the Obama Energy Department and their loans to electric car manufacturers for a little while now, including here where the number of companies that applied for loans versus the number that actually received DOE loans was flipped on purpose (all part and parcel from this playbook).

    gwb_13-george-w-bush
    Actually, this issue gives me an excuse to plug this great documentary from a few years ago, telling us that, among other things, we were on track for electric cars in this country before a certain President With The Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History sent us on a merry goose chase in search of hydrogen cars (more on him later; of course, hybrid vehicles are flourishing now also – good news on that front).

  • Next, I give you more corporate media “SKY IS FALLING!!!” wankery from Matt Bai here (opining in part about a perhaps-inevitable Hillary Clinton presidential run)…

    The truth is that, leaving aside all this bravado about happy demographics and the disunion of Republicans, Democrats are scared out of their minds right now. The House is solidly out of reach. The Senate is slipping away. And the White House could be close behind, especially if Clinton doesn’t run, and if Republicans can rally around a credible candidate.

    I’ll admit that the odds are long on the Dems retaking the House, but I think it’s premature at best to say that such a goal is “out of reach,” partly for the reason noted here.

    And as far as the Senate “slipping away,” this tells us that, among other things, Terri Lynn Land in Michigan and former Dubya confidant/Repug lobbyist Ed Gillespie in Virginia aren’t faring too well (and while Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao has pulled out close races before, he’s not currently in a comfortable spot with Dem candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes – the slime is already at work, of course…I Googled Grimes and the first hit I got was a site proclaiming her a liberal, naturally, as well as “Obama’s Nominee for Kentucky”…OOOGA BOOGA, WINGNUTS! Blow that dog whistle a little louder, OK?).

    In addition, I give you the following from kos here

    Republicans are acting as if they’ve already won control of the next Senate, and the media appears happy to play along.

    But despite tens of millions of dollars in attack ads and the right wing’s religious certainty that ObamaCare will ride them to victory, a race-by-race look reveals that Democrats aren’t only competitive in this November’s Senate elections — they’re steadily improving.

    The math is simple: Republicans need to win six seats to take control of the Senate, and are prohibitive favorites in two Democratic-held seats: South Dakota and West Virginia. That means they have to win four of the six competitive Democratic seats — Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana and North Carolina — while holding on to two endangered GOP seats in Georgia and Kentucky.

    On the macro level, Republicans are banking that discontent over the Affordable Care Act and President Obama’s unpopularity will prove the keys to the majority. In both cases, the trends aren’t in the GOP’s favor.

    In Gallup polling, Obama’s unpopularity peaked in mid-February, with a 41 percent job approval rating and 54 percent disapproval rating. Early this week, that number was 45 percent approval to 49 percent disapproval, a 9-point shift.

    Similarly, the stunning early ObamaCare success — 8 million signups on the exchange and still counting — has already led to improving poll numbers across the board, like the ABC/Washington Post poll showing support of the law at 49 percent to 48 percent against. In November, the numbers were 40/57.

    I think those numbers are also borne out by this.

    And speaking of Senatorial races, it looks like “Wall Street Scott” Brown isn’t faring too well either (here, engaging in more trickery), despite Bai’s efforts to inflate his candidacy here – second bullet.

  • Further, I give you the latest right-wing propaganda on the Affordable Care Law (here, on the subject of so-called “risk corridors”)…

    The Obama administration has quietly adjusted key provisions of its signature healthcare law to potentially make billions of additional taxpayer dollars available to the insurance industry if companies providing coverage through the Affordable Care Act lose money.

    The move was buried in hundreds of pages of new regulations issued late last week. It comes as part of an intensive administration effort to hold down premium increases for next year, a top priority for the White House as the rates will be announced ahead of this fall’s congressional elections.

    Administration officials for months have denied charges by opponents that they plan a “bailout” for insurance companies providing coverage under the healthcare law.

    They continue to argue that most insurers shouldn’t need to substantially increase premiums because safeguards in the healthcare law will protect them over the next several years.

    I’m automatically suspicious of this story because there are no links to source material that confirms this accusation. Even if it were true, though, I think the following should also be noted (here)…

    The distortion that risk corridors are an insurance company bailout is a frequent theme (not just on Fox but in conservative media generally), but this latest narrative is especially misleading. What the Fox hosts failed to acknowledge is that the estimated $5.5 billion payment doesn’t come from taxpayers, but from the insurance companies themselves. The risk corridor provision transfers money from insurance companies with healthier risk pools to companies with less healthy risk pools with higher than anticipated costs.

    While the federal government may be required to subsidize some of the payment in extreme circumstances, White House officials expect that the entire risk corridor cost over the next year will be borne by the insurance companies themselves.

    And as long as we’re talking about risk corridors, this reminds us that those in the Affordable Care Law are temporary. On the other hand, those in the Medicare Part D scam under Number 43 are permanent (Heaven forbid that conservatives don’t applaud the intrusion into this supposedly sacrosanct, glorious-private-sector concoction…no such complaints about the “corridors” from 2006, of course).

  • Continuing (and in consideration of the upcoming holiday), I give you this from a few days ago…

    With the Department of Veterans Affairs coming under attack, meanwhile down in Texas, on the ranch of the former president, another way was being shown to support our vets. This past week former President George W. Bush brought together wounded veterans and active soldiers to honor them with a mountain bike ride. The message was clear – even when you leave active duty, we will still care for you.

    This from the individual who was taking up space in An Oval Office when the Walter Reed Hospital VA scandal was taking place, and of course the Foxies had precious little to say about it as opposed to the braying they’re doing right now, as noted here.

    (Also, this Fox screed was concocted by Dr. Marc Siegel, who last wrote about “typically unselfish” Number 43 here and the questions surrounding Dubya’s stent procedure – fourth bullet.)

    And as long as I’m talking about Siegel’s piece, I give you another excerpt…

    “Some of the people riding mountain bikes here have PTS (post-traumatic stress),” Bush said. “Mountain biking is helping them get back to as normal a life as possible. And that’s not a VA function, its a private sector function.”

    God, what a baboon – helping our vets isn’t just a “private sector” function – it’s a “function” for everyone whether they’re in public life or not!

    The scandal (yes, Repugs, a legitimate one – at long last, your dreams have come true!) of what is taking place with our veterans and providing the care they need is a bipartisan one, I’ll admit (well, maybe their dreams haven’t come true after all). And I don’t know if Gen. Eric Shinseki should resign as head of the VA or not. If he does, I hope it will not be just in response to a typical attack of conservative umbrage and, at the very least, an administrator at least as competent as Shinseki will be able to transition into the job relatively smoothly (that will make a big difference in how quickly our veterans receive care also, which should of course be the most important consideration). All I’m saying is that we should have a little perspective.

    You want to go after Shinseki? Fine. But let’s remember that the reason so many veterans require care is because of two wars that weren’t started on Obama’s watch (and, in the case of Dubya’s Not So Excellent Adventure in Iraq, this should have been an anticipated consequence of “the surge,” again, before Obama was sworn in).

    And you want to talk about a VA scandal and a certain president? Let’s not forget the following:

  • This tells us about Daniel Cooper of the Bush VA and how he thought his Bible study was more important than taking care of our wounded heroes (along with Dubya’s remark about battle being “romantic”).
  • This tells us how Cooper’s one-time boss Jim Nicholson approved $3.8 million in bonuses for VA executives even though the VA had underestimated the number of Iraq war vets who were expected to seek medical treatment in 2005 by nearly 80,000.
  • And among other things, this (a column from 2007 by Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America), tells us that, for years under Dubya, PTSD was misdiagnosed as a “personality disorder” (the column has to do with the nomination of Lt. Gen. James Peake, M.D., to head the VA after Nicholson’s departure).
  • So there’s a lot more all of us can do to pay better attention to our veterans who have sacrificed (and in many cases, continue to sacrifice) for us. And sure, if Obama’s wretched predecessor wants to host a bike run or a golf tournament for them (which still sticks in my craw because of this, and this), then I have to admit that he deserves a bit of credit too, even though he was overwhelmingly responsible for the wars they had to fight that led to the death and injury of our personnel.

    american-flag
    And as long as I’m on this topic, I have a request – people, can you please fly your damn flags on Monday?

    Update: Uh, yep.

  • unemployment-line_000

  • Finally (and speaking of people suffering), according to The Daily Tucker (cherry picking from a Harris poll), nearly 47 percent of unemployed Americans have given up looking for work due to the still-moribund (for just about everyone, anyone I know at least) economy, as noted here.

    In response, this tells you that “Man Tan” Boehner has pissed away just about $5 billion in economic gains due to refusing to renew an extension to unemployment benefits.

    Are you disgusted by that? Good. Click here.


  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Advertisements