Follow the Money

People hate politicians.

Occasionally I remind myself that behind the horrible antics and cruel rhetoric are those who financially support these jokers through direct donations, Political Action Committees (PACs), and industry lobbying/donations, and it behooves me to know who these folks are.

A quick trip to OpenSecrets.org gives me just what I’m looking for.

Yesterday I found myself hating on Senator Pat Toomey for spearheading the revolt by 25 Republican Senators to change their vote from YES to NO on S.3541 – Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act, a bill to assist Iraq and Afghanistan war vets exposed to toxic chemicals from burn pits. These veterans were exposed to burn piles lit by pouring jet fuel on them and burning who knows what day and night. They now suffer from illnesses such as rare cancers.

To explain why I was pissed, Republican senators voted yes on the same exact bill a month ago, but now claim Democrats changed the bill (they didn’t) and the bill should include discretionary instead of mandatory spending. Discretionary spending is leftover spending, like what you spend on a night out after all the bills have been paid. The funding for these vets should be mandatory, not something to be toyed with every year like funding for public broadcasting.

To be clear, Congress passed a $778 billion defense budget, yet none of that money was earmarked to help these vets. Your tax dollars fund the military industrial complex, and a lot of that money ends up here in Huntsville Alabama. BTW, guess who represents Huntsville in Congress? Trump Republicans. Rep. Mo Brooks (who said falling rocks are causing sea level rise), Sen. Tommy Tuberville, and Sen. Richard Shelby. I will never understand why Blue States don’t raise hell about defense contractors helping to elect this calibre of Red State representation.

But let’s get back to Senator Toomey. Who financially supports his campaigns? Some familiar names, including CVS Health, Synchrony Financial, and the following industries: insurance, law, securities and investment. So who REALLY doesn’t want to see veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals receive needed care? Lawyers, insurance companies, at least one credit agency and a pharmacy conglomerate.

Of course these industries will claim (if anyone bothers to ask) that they absolutely support our veterans, and yet if they are Toomey’s top donors, any one of them could have curbed this bullshit with one phone call. You think any of them did that?

What about our least favorite Democrat, Joe Manchin? His donors are a who’s who of corporations whose record profits depend on fossil fuels, including auto dealers, big coal, mining, natural gas, oil and gas, electric companies, and private equity & investment firms. Most of these industries don’t want us to combat climate change, or a lot of other things that are in the best interest of the people, because in America, money trumps human lives. Sorry Kentucky. But at least now you’ll get to see firsthand what a great job Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul have done at preparing a social safety net for you (note sarcasm).

The next time you find yourself angry about the stance of a particular politician, do a little digging and find out who’s making that stance possible.

Always follow the money.

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