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Thursday, Jul 27th

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Report: Paul Ryan May Personally Benefit From Preserving Billions In Taxpayer Oil Subsidies

Paul RyanThe Daily Beast’s Daniel Stone is reporting that Ryan’s protection of billions in wasteful oil subsidies may relate to his own personal fortune. Newly released personal finance disclosures reveal that Ryan and his wife “own stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan’s budget plan.” Stone reports that those companies are among his most valuable assets:

Ryan’s father-in-law, Daniel Little, who runs the companies, told Newsweek and The Daily Beast that the family companies are currently leasing the land for mining and drilling to energy giants such as Chesapeake Energy, Devon, and XTO Energy, a recently acquired subsidiary of ExxonMobil.

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Ex-Spy Alleges Bush White House Sought to Discredit Critic

Juan ColeA former senior C.I.A. official says that officials in the Bush White House sought damaging personal information on a prominent American critic of the Iraq war in order to discredit him.

Glenn L. Carle, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was a top counterterrorism official during the administration of President George W. Bush, said the White House at least twice asked intelligence officials to gather sensitive information on Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor who writes an influential blog that criticized the war.

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House ready to slash funding for key oil-market regulator

House ready to slash funds for reguklatory agencyThe Republican-led House of Representatives is poised to pass, as early as Wednesday, a sweeping spending bill that would slash funding for the regulatory agency responsible for policing against excessive speculation and price manipulation in oil markets.

House members are expected to approve an agriculture spending bill that would deeply cut the annual bill that funds the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates trading in oil, grains and other commodities.

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John Birch Society Celebrates Koch Family For Their Role In Founding The Hate Group

Koch familyBillionaire brothers David and Charles Koch have been dominant financiers for conservative front groups and nonprofits for nearly three decades. Their money has flowed to organizations dedicated to lobbying for corporate and upper income tax cuts, as well as to groups responsible for mobilizing Tea Party rallies against President Obama.

But the Koch family’s association with fringe right-wing groups began a generation earlier with Fred Koch, the patriarch of the clan.

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Why the Right-Wing's Approach to Reading the Constitution Is Destroying This Country

New originalism eschews a focus on original intent and instead concentrates on the public meaning of the Constitution. Yet, if one looks carefully at the murky methodology and dubious practices of new originalism, it is clear that its historical foundations are even shakier than that of old originalism. The new theory is little more than an intellectual shell game in which contemporary political preferences are shuffled around and made to appear part of the Constitution’s original meaning.

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Why the Democratic Party Has Abandoned the Middle Class in Favor of the Rich

It doesn't take a multivariate correlation to conclude that these two things are tightly related: If politicians care almost exclusively about the concerns of the rich, it makes sense that over the past decades they've enacted policies that have ended up benefiting the rich. And if you're not rich yourself, this is a problem. First and foremost, it's an economic problem because it's siphoned vast sums of money from the pockets of most Americans into those of the ultrawealthy. At the same time, relentless concentration of wealth and power among the rich is deeply corrosive in a democracy, and this makes it a profoundly political problem as well.

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Gov. Rick Scott Uses Sheriffs To Eject ‘Liberal-Looking’ People From Budget Signing Event In Town Square

Anxious over their increasing unpopularity, Republicans lawmakers across the country are banning media from chronicling the blowback at public events. Florida’s now deeply disliked Gov. Rick Scott (R) adopted a similar tactic yesterday at a “campaign-style” budget signing ceremony at a town square in The Villages retirement community in Central Florida. Before putting his pen to the $69.7 billion state budget, Scott took an ax to $615 million of what he called “shortsighted, frivolous, wasteful spending.” Scott conveniently failed, however, to mention exactly what some of those “frivolous” programs were, including ones that provide help for the most vulnerable in society:

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