Profiles in Cruelty

    On Thursday (Oct. 26, 2017,) after most all of WV’s mainstream media had shut down for the day, the US House of Representatives passed the proposed Budget Bill (HCR 71; vote #589). Five representatives did not vote.

   This House legislation sets the United States budget for 2018 and subsequent years through 2027. It cuts spending for Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, Senior Services, CHIP Programs, Planned Parenthood, Veterans’ Services, SNAP, Agricultural Programs, workplace safety (OSHA), Coal Mine Safety, Consumer Products Safety, National Parks, air and water pollution controls, just to name a few.
   Included are reductions in the tax rates for the wealthiest Americans and the corporations, many of which are not paying taxes anyway. HCR 71 also eliminates all deductions for state and local taxes paid, which hits working Americans hardest.
   During  the same  period, experts estimate the proposed tax cuts for the rich will increase our National Debt by a whoppin’ 1.5 TRILLION bucks, to $25 TRILLION. DESPITE having been by the same Representatives who mercilessly attacked the previous administration’s deficit spending as “irresponsible” and “bankrupting the nation.”
   West Virginia Representatives voted:
  • David McKinley  (WV 1st)     AYE
  • Alex X. Mooney  (WV 2nd)    AYE
  • Evan Jenkins      (WV 3rd)    AYE
    Had they instead voted NAY on this measure, HCR 71 would have been defeated 213 for 215 against.  Despite Trump’s declaration yesterday that it is a National Health Emergency, HCR 71 did NOT include one cent in funding to fight the OPIOD CRISIS.
    Since 2006, W.Va. candidates have reportedly snagged $250K in donations from pharma groups.
   The attitude of the 115th Congress appears to be that the public will tolerate gradual elimination of “people programs” which assist the defenseless and powerless.
Danny Lutz
Chair Economic Justice Committee
16th District State Executive Committee
Mountain Party of West Virginia

Capito Cancels Consumers’ Constitutional Rights

For Immediate Release !0/25/2017

Capito Cancels Consumers Constitutional Rights

Forgets that Consumers are Citizens, and Banks on Non-Informed WV Voters

On 24 October 2017, (after the WV press had clocked out which is typical of scurrilous votes by our current Congress -ed.), Senator Capito cast the deciding vote to give broad lawsuit immunity to credit card companies, auto lenders, credit reporting companies like Equifax, and many other financial firms. The purpose of this legislation is to legally prevent consumers from filing class action suits against such organizations.

Prior to last night, the only way consumers had to oppose financial institutions accused of wrongdoings is by banding together for Class Action Lawsuits. President Trump is expected to sign this legislation, which will leave consumers essentially powerless against the corporate financial giants.

Senate Democrats all voted to preserve the standing Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule, as did Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Kennedy (R-LA). So Capito’s vote truly did make it a 50-50 tie, which automatically threw it it to Vice President Mike Pence, who naturally voted to please his billionaire backers.

Most attorneys will not take cases involving less than $10,000 against a financial agency because the retainers needed are too great and the returns often are too small. Financial agencies know this. So they pushed this bill to negate the rule of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and revive Big Finance’s “forced arbitration” agreements.

In other words, companies will once again be permitted to refuse to do business with consumers who will not sign away their right to sue the company in a real court.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was the creation of Senator Elizabeth Warren and others during the Obama administration. Her CFPB rule has been a thorn in the side of billionaire predatory institutions ever since.

By voting NAY, Senator Capito could have maintained the last of the checks and balances against excesses of giant financial corporations. But her deciding vote essentially stripped millions of Americans of the protections of the 8th Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees citizens the right to “due process,” including a fair and open trial. Instead, financial institution will now select the “arbiter” in any challenge by a consumer.

Thanks to Capito’s crucial vote, decisions of institution-appointed arbiters will not only be final and without appeal, shockingly aggrieved citizens will be sworn to secrecy regarding both the proceedings and decision. Thus her “AYE” also negated citizens’ right to free speech under the 1st Amendment.

For the record, on 25 July 2017, The West Virginia delegation to our US House of Representatives all voted in lockstep to pass HJR 111
David McKinley AYE
Evan Jenkins AYE
Alex X. Mooney AYE

Danny Lutz
Chair Economic Justice Committee
Mountain Party of West Virginia
16th District State Executive Committee

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Comment from Mountain Party Communication Director Tom Rhule:

Capito’s vote wasn’t really surprising, considering the Big Finance institutions that are among the top 20 “contributors” to Capito’s eternally ongoing “campaign.”

According top OpenSecrets.org, they include:

Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Bank of New York Mellon, Discover Financial Services, Citigroup, Metlife, and TCF Financia just name a few

Top 20 contributors to Campaign Committee = download .csv file

https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/contributors.csv?cid=N00009771&cycle=2016

When the news of her vote breaks tomorrow across the Mountain State, how many WV journalist will be intrepid enough to press Shelly Capito (R-K Street) on why she chose Big Finance over the rights of consumers?  Place your best guess below the webpage found at

http://www.mountainpartywv.com/capito-cancels-consumers-constitutional-rights/

WHY WV’s 2017 ROAD BOND AMENDMENT IS A BUST

             During a meeting of the State Executive Committee of the Mountain Party of West Virginia, a motion approved the following position on the 7 October election regarding the Road Bond Amendment of 2017.
            The WV Mountain Party recommended the defeat of the 2017 Road Bond Amendment and encouraged West Virginians to vote “NO” on the amendment.
             Mountain Party questions several line items for the amounts budgeted. We predict that upon passage West Virginia will incur serious cost overruns on larger projects and leave smaller projects unable to be undertaken.
            The Road Bond significantly contained no provisions to favor West Virginia-based contractors and suppliers. Further, several highways projects arealready under way with fewer than 75% of the work force being West Virginia residents and not utilizing WV suppliers of materials.
          Under the existing Workplace Freedom Act,  the door is wide open for out of state contractors to underbid West Virginia contractors, using low wage workers and/or undocumented workers.
          There is a similarity between this 2017 proposal and the funding of the WEST VIRGINIA TURNPIKE during the early 1950’s. Under Republican Governor Cecil Underwood (1958), the bonds issued for the construction of the Turnpike had to be refunded due to revenue shortfalls from tolls. Thus, the State of West Virginia earned a black eye in the world of international finance.
          There is little public input allowed for imposing tolls upon roads improved under governor Justice’s 2017 amendment.
          The Mountain Party of West Virginia encourages the voters to vote “NO” to the Bond Issue on Saturday, 7 October. We can do better.
Danny Lutz
16th District State Executive Committee
Mountain Party of West Virginia
Chair, Economic Justice Committee