Guest Blogs

Saturday
Mar142015

Jim Rubens - Acid Test for Candidates: Tell Saudi Arabia To Stop Funding Terror 

Public opinion has reversed almost 180 degrees since ISIL launched its barbaric PR campaign to outdo al-Qaeda as Islam’s leading terror operation. By 62 to 30 percent, American voters now support sending American troops to fight ISIL in the Middle East. With the exception of Jim Gilmore, the Reaganite realist, and Rand Paul, the anti-intervention realist, the potential Presidential candidates are all vying for uber-hawk.
 
Because our new President will not take office until 2017 and because national defense is our federal government’s most solemn constitutional responsibility, candidates owe us more than knee-jerk chest thumping for endless war. Urgently needed now is a deeper discussion of Islamic terror, particularly its root causes and a long-term strategy to defeat it. Two years ago we were arming, training and funding ISIL in Syria, evidence that U.S. whack-a-mole Middle East strategy is ill-conceived.
 
Follow the money
 
As to root causes, let’s get honest about the funding sources that make organized global terrorism possible. We’ve spent billions on NSA’s unconstitutional dragnet spying on hundreds of millions of innocent Americans and (over the period 2001-2013) caught one instance of terror funding, $8,500 from a San Diego cabdriver.
 
We’ll need to reverse the policies of Presidents G.W. Bush and Obama and come clean about our double-standard alliance with Saudi Arabia. Our diplomats wink at their support for the deadly ideology and infrastructure of global jihad. Their Sharia law punishes women for driving, imposes 1,000 lashes for verbal dissent, and publicly beheads several dozen people each year for “crimes” including blasphemy, adultery, and witchcraft.
 
But the Washington establishment hides the truth about Saudi terror funding. In the words of Hillary Clinton, in a secret 2009 State Department cable disclosed on WikiLeaks, “Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.“
 
If you don’t believe Hillary (and there is certainly good cause for that), listen to former Senator Bob Graham, lead author of the 9/11 report, who in January went public about the report’s 28 redacted pages which he said “point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as the principal financier” of the 9/11 hijackers. “The position of the United States government has been to protect Saudi Arabia.”
 
President George W Bush ordered this redaction. “I do not understand why the Bush administration chose these 28 pages unless they thought there was something in those pages that would be embarrassing,” said Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). President Obama has twice promised to release the 28 pages, but has failed to do so.
 
End the silence
 
Ask our members of Congress and the Presidential candidates to co-sponsor and support H.Res.14, urging President Obama to keep his promise to release the redacted 28 pages.
 
Make Saudi Arabia’s terror financing the big issue it should be. Ask the candidates to publicly demand that Saudi Arabia (and for that matter Pakistan and Qatar) cease all funding for terror as a first solid step toward its defeat. Better to embarrass a Saudi prince or even an American President than sacrifice life or limbs of another American soldier in another Middle East quagmire.

 

Thanks for listening,

 

Jim Rubens

Friday
Mar062015

Jim Rubens - "Strange Bedfellows" House Vote Backs Article V Convention on Political Money Corruption 

By a vote of 181-134, the New Hampshire House yesterday passed HCR2 which, if passed by the Senate, would make our state #5 of the needed 34 to apply for an Article V convention to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution addressing rampant political money corruption.
 
Per Article V, if delegates at this first-ever amending convention were to agree on specific language, 38 states would then be required to ratify, one of many safeguards protecting against damage to our constitutional liberties.
 
84 Republicans and 96 Democrats (and one independent) voted for HCR2, a highly unusual “strange bedfellows” coalition for as controversial a piece of legislation as this.  There is an emerging cross-partisan agreement that Congress has become captive of big-dollar special interests and is no longer accountable to the American people. Here is a YouTube video of me and several other Republican legislators speaking for constitutional reform to address political money corruption.
 
HCR3, which calls for an Article V amending convention to address fiscal restraint, term limits, and strengthened federalism, was tabled late in yesterday’s session when opponents threatened a two-hour debate. HCR3 was recommended unanimously for passage by the State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee.

I urge you to call your Rep, asking that HCR3 be taken off the table and passed.
 
Here’s where I’ll be speaking on these issues:
 
March 16, 7:00 pm
Carroll County GOP
Lobster Trap Restaurant, North Conway
 
April 1, 7:00 am
Plymouth Rotary
Common Main Restaurant, Plymouth
 
Many Presidential candidates will be here
 
Take advantage of our privileged status as New Hampshire primary voters and ask them to get specific about these and other issues!

 

Cheers,

Jim Rubens

Sunday
Feb222015

Jim Rubens - Hillary's Corporate Cronyism: US State Department for Sale, Perfectly Legal 

Hillary Clinton, as former Secretary of State, near-certain Presidential candidate, and through her family’s Clinton Foundation, has perfected to a fine art the legalized bribery and pay-to-play corporate cronyism that powers Washington politics.
 
The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that corporate giants, such as General Electric, Boeing, Exxon Mobil and Microsoft, have been able to enlist the State Department as their private marketing department and Mrs. Clinton has been able to shake down these companies for millions in cash to boost her personal standing.
 
The Journal found that of 425 corporate donors to the Clinton Foundation, the 60 who lobbied the State Department during her four years as Secretary contributed $26 million.
 
Before every overseas diplomatic trip, Undersecretary of State and former Goldman Sachs investment banker Robert Hormats prepared a list of corporate interests for Mrs. Clinton to shill.
 
In one instance in 2009, Mrs. Clinton flew to Russia to pump sales for Boeing. Seven months later, Russia purchased $3.7 billion worth of the company’s jets. Two months later, Boeing made its first contribution to the Clinton Foundation, $900,000.
 
In 2012, Mrs. Clinton flew to Bulgaria, specifically to lobby its Parliament on behalf of Chevron to reverse a ban on natural gas fracking.  While Bulgaria did not reverse its policy, in 2013, Chevron gave $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
 
In another instance reported by the Journal, in 2012, Mrs. Clinton went to bat for GE to persuade Algeria (successfully) to purchase its power plants.  One month later, GE made its first contribution to the Clinton Foundation.
 
While campaign finance regulations prohibit foreign governments from giving money to candidates, both before and after Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, 28 foreign governments have given a combined $51 million to the Clinton Foundation, knowing full well that she is the likely Democratic nominee for President.  Saudi Arabia has given at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation.
 
It’s time to fix Washington’s corrupt political money system. Both national and international policy is for sale to the highest bidder and politicians like Hillary Clinton can get very, very rich and maintain a lifetime career in politics by extorting those with an interest in those policies. All of this is legal and this system of corruption involves both parties.
 
Here in New Hampshire, many on the left and right support passage of HCR2 which, if passed in 34 states, would launch an Article V convention of the states tasked with crafting an amendment to the Constitution to address rampant legalized political bribery and extortion.  Any amendment proposed by a convention must then be ratified by at least 38 states, a high bar designed by the framers to weed out any constitutional changes not supported by a broad supermajority of Americans.

I urge you to call your Rep, respectfully and briefly asking them to support the House State-Federal Relations Committee recommendation to pass both HCR2 and HCR3 (which would launch a convention to propose amendments relative to fiscal restraint, term limits, and enhanced federalism).

 

Thanks for listening,

 

Jim Rubens

Saturday
Jan312015

Public Citizen - Defeating Citizens United Decision is a Bi-Partisan Issue

Op-Ed submitted on behalf of NH state Senator Fuller Clark and Representative Elliott.

The op-ed is below,

Thanks very much 

Sriharsha

************************************************************************

As Americans, we take pride in our Democracy and in the notion that in our Government we all have equal voice.  However, the New Hampshire legislature is currently debating the very meaning of this word. The State House and Senate will consider a constitutional amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling. On January 29th, ordinary citizens, both Republicans and Democrats, argued for its necessity at the Capitol in Concord. They understand that the Supreme Court decision has opened the floodgates to unlimited campaign spending in our State by outside groups, drowning out their voice and that of the average New Hampshire voter.  While an open debate on the best way to rally support for or against individual candidates is important, let it be clear that the citizens of New Hampshire have already overwhelmingly decided on the issue of allowing outside money to influence the outcome of our elections. 

 

According to a University of New Hampshire Survey Center Granite State Poll, 72 percent of residents have said they oppose the Citizens United ruling, and 69 percent saying that they would support a constitutional amendment that would limit outside campaign contributions and spending from special interest groups and corporations 1. Our citizens understand that the presence of money in politics means that politicians are not necessarily beholden to their citizens, but rather to special interests.

Ignoring the support of New Hampshire's citizenry for a constitutional amendment, those supporting defeat of HB and SB try to wedge a partisan divide by claiming that this is only a liberal issue. However, the fact remains that this issue is popular amongst voters across party lines - Republicans, Democrats and Undeclared. The average conservative voters understand that when outside money from special interests become the priority for their Representatives, their own voice is diminished. They understand that liberal special interest groups are no less culpable when it comes to big spending. For example, in the 2014 election, the top two highest spending superPACs in the country were both liberal.  Furthermore, the wealthy liberal donors, George Soros and Fred Eychaner spent more than the top 22 disclosed conservative donors including the Koch Brothers2. What proud conservative voter in New Hampshire would have outside liberal donors such as Mr. Soros and Mr. Eychanar speak louder than any one individual voter does in our state and local elections? 

 

For any American, whether liberal or conservative, we must face a harsh reality. A recent Princeton study demonstrates that America is no longer a Democracy, when any major policy initiative only gains traction with the Government after wealthy special interest groups fight for them 3. In this day and age, if you want your issue taken seriously, you better have a billionaire on your side. 

 

Detractors continue to argue that spending unlimited money for or against a politician is a matter of freedom of speech. But, by that logic, why not allow them to give unlimited amounts of money ("bribes") to a politician and call that freedom of speech? Why not allow lobbyists freedom of speech by allowing them to buy politicians free dinners and cruise trips as a means of gaining votes? Why shouldn't the voices with the most money be allowed to control our elections? Most of us do not believe that this is what the Founding Fathers intended when they passed the first amendment protecting freedom of speech or what the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for our county meant when they spoke of freedom.  And that is why it is so important for our democracy that the Citizens United decision be overturned. 

 

Clearly, if the legislature should represent its people, there is only one outcome possible - the bills are currently being considered in both the New Hampshire House and Senate this week should resoundingly pass in both bodies. How can any politician who votes against this legislation claim to represent his or her constituents?

 

1       Azem Z., and Smith A., Granite State Poll: New Hampshire Coalition for Open Democracy. The Survey Center, University of New Hampshire.April, 2013. 

2       2014 Top Donors to Outside Spending Groups. <https://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/summ.php?cycle=2014&disp=D&type=V&superonly=N.>

3       Gilens M and Page B., Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average CitizensPerspectives on Politics. Vol. 12: 03. September, 2014, pp 564-581.

 

Wednesday
Jan282015

Jim Rubens - New CBO Projection: $1.4 Trillion O’Care Deficit Spending by 2025 

New CBO Projection: $1.4 Trillion O’Care Deficit Spending by 2025

 

The Congressional Budget Office yesterday released its updated Obamacare net cost analysis:  $1.4 trillion over the coming eleven years, all of it borrowed and printed money. 
 
Obamacare costs (net of tax income) are divided about equally between $1.06 trillion for health insurance purchase subsidies and $920 billion in Medicaid expansion costs. This year or next, the New Hampshire legislature must decide whether to continue our state’s participation in Medicaid expansion, thereby burdening New Hampshire taxpayers with the risk that the federal government will be forced by currency or bond markets to curtail borrowing and printing and to welch on its promise to pay 90 to 100 percent of the $2.5 billion cost for our state through 2020.
 
The fiscal recklessness embodied in Obamacare must be restrained by two systemic reforms:
 
Ratify a Balanced Budget Amendment to the US Constitution. Medicare Part D, Obamacare, Washington under either party cannot stop itself from promising more spending without paying for it. Congress has refused for decades to give a BBA to the states to ratify. So, it’s time for an Article V convention of the states to draft one for potential state ratification.
 
End the corrupt, crony capitalist campaign funding system.  Rather than implementing reforms to reduce America’s highest-in-the-world healthcare costs and using these savings to pay for expanded access, Obamacare was fashioned by entrenched special interests in the healthcare industry.
 
After the fight to pass Obamacare, PBS Frontline reported that healthcare industry (insurance and pharma) refused back Obamacare unless the President backed off his campaign promise for a “public option” (government run health plan), included the individual mandate to purchase private insurance, and continued to prohibit the federal government from negotiating lower prices for pharmaceuticals. Obama caved and to make this deal to pass Obamacare, the White House delegated then-Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), who had taken over $440,000 in campaign contributions (2nd most in Congress after John McCain) from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries during the 2006-2010 election cycles.  
 
Howard Dean told Frontline, “There were two senior staffers in Max Baucus's office, one who used to work for United Health Care and one who used to work for WellPoint, who wrote the bill.” Forbes Magazine reports that Obamacare expected to increase pharma industry profits by $10 to $35 billion over ten years ending 2025.
 
If voters want a fiscally responsible Congress accountable to the people, we must demand an alternative to bought and paid for public policy. When they come to our state asking for your vote, ask the Presidential candidates what they will do to end this system corruption that gave us Obamacare and $1.4 trillion in new debt.

 

 

Jim Rubens