Sunday, September 13, 2015

Last Call For Coal Hearted Republicans

Lack of revenue from coal is badly hurting some of the poorest counties in America, and Republicans are too busy trying to strip mine the last of the coal out of the Appalachians rather than allowing aid packages to pass Congress.

Mine closings, layoffs, and bankruptcies have swept the region. In August, Alpha Natural Resources of Bristol, Va., filed for Chapter 11 protection, following Patriot Coal of Scott Depot, W.Va., which entered its second bankruptcy in May. In eastern Kentucky, coal jobs fell to 7,153 at the end of 2014, from 14,412 in 2008, according to a state report. Production there has fallen to 37 million tons from 91 million.

The Boone County school district received about $5 million less in coal-related tax revenue for this school year than last year, or about 10 percent of its budget, says Deputy Superintendent Jeff Huffman. Whitesburg, Ky., has lost almost half its business tax revenue, says Mayor James Craft. In late August and early September, a gun store, a framing shop, and a uniform supplier closed.

The West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy in Charleston, a liberal nonprofit, has long advocated for the creation of a state trust fund for the days when coal revenue would dwindle. “If you don’t put that money away into a permanent trust fund, then not only will the jobs and wages disappear, but so will the state and local revenue,” says Ted Boettner, the organization’s executive director. “That’s what’s happening now.”

But of course, that costs money and King Coal gets everything it wants from the state legislatures it has bought.

The Obama administration has proposed a package of grants, tax breaks, and money transfers worth several billion dollars in its 2016 budget to help ailing coal communities in Appalachia. The White House offer has met resistance in Congress, with Kentucky Republicans Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, calling for a rollback of environmental rules along with direct federal assistance. “Any plan from the White House aimed at improving the quality of life for the people of coal country is not serious or credible without a legitimate proposal to revisit these wrongheaded, job-killing regulations,” says Rogers’s spokeswoman, Danielle Smoot.

Hal Rogers should be ashamed of himself.  He's arguably the most powerful Republican in the House as chair of the House Appropriations Committee, representing some of the poorest counties in the country.  And he's holding them hostage for King Coal.

Don't think these towns haven't noticed.

Almost a dozen Appalachian towns and counties have passed resolutions urging Republicans in Congress to support the White House plan. “I want to mine coal, but we’ve got to look at other ways to put people to work, so they can provide for their families,” says Dan Mosley, the judge-executive of Harlan County, Ky., a Democrat. His Republican counterparts are also in favor. “If you’ve ever been really hungry in your life, you’d eat at any restaurant you can find,” says Republican Albey Brock, the top official of Bell County, Ky. “The federal government has caused our problems, and they’re going to have to help us solve it.”

Not while the GOP is in power.  You poor bastards won't get an extra dime to help you and you keep voting for the Republicans who will make sure you never do.

Shutdown Countdown, Con't.

Republicans are already trying to blame the President in order to cover their asses on the near-guaranteed government shutdown they're going to cause, which is a major, major sign that one is on the way.

The prospect of a second government shutdown in two years is growing as House conservatives pledge to oppose any funding measure that includes money for Planned Parenthood.

GOP leaders face a familiar problem. A measure that blocks funding for Planned Parenthood would almost certainly lack the votes to pass the Senate, and would be vetoed by President Obama.

But Republicans in the House don't have enough GOP votes to approve a funding measure that continues funding for Planned Parenthood, and don't want to negotiate with Democrats.

Conservatives headed to their districts on Friday expressing certainty that they would force GOP leaders to include a hold on Planned Parenthood funding.

And as in past funding fights, they insisted it would be the Democrats and President Obama who would be blamed for a shutdown.

“Will the president shut down and defund the troops in order to fund Planned Parenthood?” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.). “I don't think he's that politically stupid, but we shall see.”

Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), another conservative, sounded a similar theme.

“I’ve seen too many times up here that a threat of a shutdown is why you compromise your principles, and I am sick and tired of compromising my principles,” he said.

The remarks from the lawmakers reflect the strong feelings among House conservatives.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus, with more than 40 members, on Thursday vowed to oppose any spending bill that includes Planned Parenthood funds.

We know what the script will be, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats will come up with a clean continuing resolution to save John Boehner's ass and she'll get everything she wants.  So will Harry Reid.  Enough Republicans will go along too, the only issue is the timing, whether it comes after another 2-3 week shutdown or before, and how long the resolution will cover spending for.

The wild card is the Senate and how many of the four GOP senators running will see shutting down the government as necessary to save face.  Cruz is already at that point, I expect Paul, Rubio, and Graham all will go along because they are all in the low single digits and getting killed by Trump/Carson, and need trophy heads to mount on their walls if they want to stay in this thing.

We'll see.

The Walkering Dead, Con't

Rick Perry was only the first Republican to get crushed by the Trump/Carson/Fiorina revolt of GOP primary voters against Republicans who have actually held public office and failed to annihilate America's liberals while doing so.  Looks like the next domino to fall may very well be Scott Walker.

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is refocusing his Republican presidential campaign on Iowa and South Carolina, where his early popularity in opinion polls has crumbled with the ascent of Donald J. Trump, and he has taken the unusual step of canceling major speeches in Michigan and California this coming week to spend time in those two crucial states.

Mr. Walker, who has fallen in one key Iowa poll from first place in July to 10th place this month, no longer plans to appear next weekend at a prestigious Republican conference on Mackinac Island in Michigan or at the California Republican Party convention. Instead, his advisers said, he plans to campaign in Iowa — where he is holding events this weekend as well — and in South Carolina.

Mr. Walker’s advisers said the last-minute cancellations were not a sign of panic about the viability of his presidential bid but rather a recognition that at this point his time and campaign funds are better spent on Iowa and South Carolina. Mr. Walker regards Iowa, which will hold the nation’s first presidential nominating contest on Feb. 1, as virtually a must-win state that would energize his supporters and donors nationwide. And he has long seen South Carolina, which votes later that month, as another winnable early state that could give him momentum and stature in a large field of Republican candidates. 

Any time a presidential primary candidate who has fallen to first to tenth in Iowa tells you there's no signs of panic is of course lying out of his ass, even above and beyond what Walker usually lies about.

By skipping the events in California and Michigan, two states with larger and more diverse electorates than Iowa and South Carolina, as well as more delegates at stake to help win the nomination, Mr. Walker risks diminishing himself. Once a national front-runner, he increasingly looks like a regional candidate — hoping his Midwestern roots will win him Iowa — who is pursuing single-state strategies rather than projecting confidence across the country.

His advisers said his political message — “Wreak havoc on Washington,” inspired by his record of tax cuts and labor and education overhauls in Wisconsin — held broad appeal that would lead to victories in primaries and caucuses after Iowa and South Carolina. They said the travel changes this month were not a reflection of money troubles or weak fund-raising, though one adviser noted that Mr. Walker has had to spend more time at political events in Iowa and elsewhere than at fund-raisers.

Perry after all said he was staying in the race right up until he dropped out on Friday.  Walker will be the same way, but he's done, trust me.

Sunday Long Read: The Guy WIth The Buy

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is ready to buy himself a president, and he has the billions to do it.  NY Magazine's Jason Zengerle takes a look at the man who would purchase 2016 despite Donald Trump in the race wrecking his plans.

In the 2016 presidential race, Adelson insists he will not repeat the mistake he made in 2012 of backing a spoiler. “I think he feels guilty,” says one person who has discussed the matter with him. “I think he knows how much he fucked up.” Adelson has told several associates that he will likely not decide on a candidate until he’s had an opportunity to watch a few debates. Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, an Israel advocate who’s friendly with Adelson, says the mogul’s priority this time is to support a candidate who’s electable: “He’ll match his emotionalism on this issue with some hard data. His principles and his desires remain the same, but I think he’s going to balance those with an empirically based judgment on the reality of the marketplace.”

Of course, thanks to Donald Trump, the Republican marketplace is a flaming mess at the moment. The challenge Adelson now faces is determining which candidate stands the best chance of defeating not onlyHillary Clinton but also the man whose Las Vegas hotel is just a few clicks down Mel Tormé Way from the Venetian. While Trump boasts that his daughter converted to Judaism and blasts Obama as “the worst enemy of Israel,” his knowledge of the Middle East is sufficiently shallow that Adelson apparently believes Trump wouldn’t be an effective ally of the Jewish state.

But Adelson is also said to be conflicted about the various potential Trump-slayers. Scott Walker, despite intensive lobbying efforts, is viewed by many close to Adelson as insufficiently serious about Israel and foreign policy. (“Look, he’s the governor of Wisconsin,” says Morton Klein, the president of the Adelson-backed Zionist Organization of America. “He knows about cheese and cutting pensions.”) Rubio is a personal favorite but might lack the necessary ruthlessness to take out The Donald. Ted Cruz, meanwhile, is well positioned to appeal to the same GOP primary voters Trump’s currently energizing, but he is probably too conservative to beat Hillary.

Which brings Adelson to Jeb Bush, the candidate who seemingly has the best chance of slaying both Trump and Clinton but whose relationship with the mogul is as vexed as any of the Republican contenders. If Adelson really feels that backing Gingrich over Romney was a mistake in 2012, backing Jeb this time around would be a kind of atonement. But, frustratingly for Adelson, the heir apparent to the Bush dynasty has not always been so eager to play along.

If there was a big loser in 2012, it was Adelson, who spent a $100 million on Newt Gingrich only to see him crash and burn well before the primaries even started.  He's backing Jebby this time.

Who is at five percent.

Just because you're rich, doesn't make you very bright, I guess.
Related Posts with Thumbnails