Tag: lobbying

Et Tu, Howard?

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Gaius Publius at AMERICAblog is not alone in “hating this stuff“.

Money buys the world, both the Dem side and the other. In fact, I’ve said far too many times – the goal of Money is to enable Republicans and neuter the Dems. It’s why the rachet works.

And by Money I mean the big boys (Our Betters) who own both sides of every bet. Money is why progressives never win, even when Democrats do.

Lee Fang: Howard Dean Advises Corporate Health Care Clients To Fund ‘Both Sides,’ Run Attack Ads

One of the biggest problems with lobbying in Washington D.C. is the extent to which so many influence peddlers work behind closed doors, refusing to disclose their clients or register their work with the ethics office. Newt Gingrich became the poster boy for this phenomenon with the revelation that he was paid $1.6 million by Freddie Mac’s lobbying office, a fee the former Speaker laughably tried to downplay as part of a contract for “history” lessons. But Gingrich isn’t the only politician working as an unregistered lobbyist.  I have uncovered video that shows liberal icon Howard Dean discussing his government affairs work for corporate interests. [..]

Dean has been lobbying without disclosure for about three years. In 2009 after his stint as chairman of the Democratic Party, Dean joined the law/lobbying firm McKenna, Long & Aldridge as a non-attorney “Strategic Advisor.” The firm’s lobbying practice has a wide range of clients, from health care, to insurance, to even Keystone XL beneficiary TransCanada. The firm website says Dean “focuses on health care and energy issues, as well as providing expertise derived from his extensive experience in public office.” The firm seems to advertise Dean as a lobbyist, despite the fact Dean has not registered as a lobbyist.

What is even worse is his support of an organization that has been designated as a terrorist organization under US law. From Glenn Greenwald at Salon:

One of the most under-reported political stories of the last year is the devoted advocacy of numerous prominent American political figures on behalf of an Iranian group long formally designated as a Terrorist organization under U.S. law. A large bipartisan cast has received substantial fees from that group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), and has then become their passionate defenders. The group of MEK shills includes former top Bush officials and other Republicans (Michael Mukasey, Fran Townsend, Andy Card, Tom Ridge, Rudy Giuliani) as well as prominent Democrats (Howard Dean, Ed Rendell, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark). As The Christian Science Monitor reported last August, those individuals “have been paid tens of thousands of dollars to speak in support of the MEK.” No matter what one thinks of this group – here is a summary of its activities – it is formally designated as a Terrorist group and it is thus a felony under U.S. law to provide it with any “material support.”

There is more from Jeremiah Goulka, formerly a lawyer from the Bush administration and an Iraq analyst for the RAND Corporation, in these two op-ed articles posted by Greenwald at Salon:

THE IRAN WAR HAWKS’ FAVORITE CULT GROUP

Despite the flurry of support by some prominent politicians as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scrutinizes its case, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a dissident Iranian group based in Iraq with a propaganda arm in Paris, is no enigma.

The U.S. declared the MEK a terrorist organization 13 years ago partly because the group is thought to have assassinated three U.S. Army officers and three U.S. civilian contractors in Tehran in the 1970s. The group’s pep rallies feature U.S. politicians lured with high fees to come speak on its behalf. The MEK wants the U.S. government to take the group off its terrorist list – as the E.U. and U.K. have already done. But before that happens the group requires close scrutiny.

INVESTIGATIONS BEGIN INTO MEK SUPPORTERS

The U.S. Treasury Department has begun an investigation into nearly two dozen prominent former government officials who have been paid tens of thousands of dollars to promote the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian dissident cult group that has been designated by the State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) since 1997.

These officials include several prominent George W. Bush Administration anti-terror officials like Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge, Homeland Security advisor Frances Fragos Townsend, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, UN ambassador John Bolton; as well as former Republican Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani; former Democratic governors Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Howard Dean of Vermont; ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh; and retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton.  These former officials have given speeches at home and abroad urging the State Department to remove the MEK from the FTO list.

I was a supporter and admirer of Dr. Dean when he ran for the Democratic nomination in 2004.  I met him at a conference in 2009 and had a conversation with him about humanitarian aid. As of late, I’ve been extremely disappointed with many of the things he’s said and policies he has espoused. I should not have been too surprised at this, since most of the Democrats that I supported have left me hating the stuff that they do.

The Chamber of Commerce — commerce for those “other guys”

The U.S. Chamber of Outsourcing

by Dustin Ensinger, EconomyInCrisis.org — Oct 12, 2010

Just last month, the Chamber lobbied vigorously to defeat the Creating American Jobs and End Offshoring Act, which would have given companies a two-year payroll tax holiday, reducing the amount of Social Security taxes they would have to pay, for new employees who replace workers doing similar jobs overseas. The bill would have also ended tax provisions that encourage the outsourcing of jobs.

“Replacing a job that is based in another country with a domestic job does not stimulate economic growth or enhance the competitiveness of American worldwide companies,” Chamber executive vice president Bruce Josten claimed in a letter to senators.

When the $787 billion stimulus bill was passed, the Chamber fought tooth and nail to ensure that a provision requiring that all stimulus projects include only Americans-made products and services was NOT included.

Who’s Looking Out for YOU?

Ed and Bernie take on the ‘Chamber of Outsourcing’

Ed and Bernie take on the Chamber of Commerce Outsourcing …

They urge Congress to pass this Act designed to slow the pace of Outsourcing:

Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act



http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30…

WHO in the World — Does the CHAMBER work for, anyways?

Cuz it aint you and me.

Unpluggable Leak In Gulf Between You And Wall Street

Twenty months after the financial meltdown of 2008, the U.S. congress is moving ahead with its financial system reform. In the following weeks, the Senate and House bills will be combined. While many details are still to be ironed out around issues like derivatives and consumer protection, it is clear that the legislation will not break up the massive banks that are blamed with the crisis. President Obama says the legislation will ensure the U.S. taxpayers never again bailout Wall Street, but Public Citizen’s David Arkush says that until the banks influence on Capitol Hill is broken up or countered, there is no way to guarantee an end to bailouts.



Real News Network – May 29, 2010

Banks still the powerhouse in DC

David Arkush: Bank lobbyists outnumber reform lobbyists 11 to 1 on derivatives legislation alone

On Learning To Love Homegrown, Or, Baucus’ Fundraising Considered

So we are now finding out the answers to some of our questions about which members of Congress actually represent We, the People…and which ones represent, Them, the Corporate Masters.

We have seen a Democratic Senator propose a policy that would put people in jail for not buying health insurance and a Democratic President who has taken numerous public beatings from those on the left side of the fence for his inability to ram something through a group of people…and yes, folks, the entendre was intentional.

But most of all, we’ve been asking ourselves: “why would Democratic Members of Congress who will eventually want us to vote for them vote against something that nearly all voting Democrats are inclined to vote for?”

Today’s conversation attempts to answer that question by looking at exactly how money and influence flow through a key politician, Montana’s Senator Max Baucus-and in doing so, we examine some ugly political realities that have to be resolved before we can hope to convince certain Members of Congress to vote for what their constituents actually want when it really counts.

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Palin Resolves Nuclear Problem

Crossposted from Daily Kos

THE WEEK IN EDITORIAL CARTOONS

This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

:: ::

Hobson’s Choice



Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Political Influence Peddling… and Buying

Spending eye-popping sums of money, deploying armies of lobbyists, dispatching grassroots foot soldiers as agents of disruption, the special interests have fought fiercely to derail the White House reform agenda. It’s now apparent that Obama and his advisers, including Rahm Emanuel, underestimated their strength. Even if Congress were to move in all four areas targeted for reform, the concessions already made, the softening of prospective regulations and restrictions, would likely signal a series of genuine victories for those special interests.

What does it mean when an intelligent, ambitious, and well-liked president, who broke through one of the nation’s most glaring racial barriers and enjoys majorities in both houses of Congress, can’t overcome the deeply rooted interests that now seem thoroughly embedded in the American political system? A look at the unprecedented opposition to Obama’s plans reveals why Rahm Emanuel might want to pocket that scorecard.

An Opposition That Knows No Limit

The sheer presence of lobbyists cannot be underestimated. Case in point: the legislative battle over health-care reform. As of mid-August, there were six lobbyists trying to influence health-care legislation for every single member of the House and Senate, Bloomberg News reported.

That’s 3,300 lobbyists working on a single issue (three times the number of defense lobbyists) with nearly three new lobbyists joining the fray each day. So far this year, $263 million (or more than one million dollars a day) has been shelled out just for lobbying health-related issues, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Industry players have waged war to sway public opinion, spending $75 million on TV ads. Lawmakers up for election in 2010 have already seen $23 million flow into their nascent campaign coffers.

Lobbyists up, voters down. Status quo kicking and screaming

Crosspsoted at daily kos

Top 5 Lobbyists for the First Quarter of 2009

1. Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A.: $9,996,000

2. Exxon Mobil: $9,320,000

3. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: $6,910,000

4. Chevron U.S.A. Inc: $6,800,000

5. Lockheed Martin Corporation: $6,380,000

    No wonder there are so many alternatives to real reform and real change. If the buck stops in Washington the buck started in a lobbyists briefcase.

    Simply put, if they can afford to lobby, they can afford to change.

    This goes for every Special Interest and every Big Business. While they fight change and kick and scream we here in Real America are fucking dying. We are dying while fighting your wars, we are dying waiting for health care reform, we are going broke waiting for Wall St to clean up it’s act, to make a long point short, Americans know you have the money, and now it is time to ante up.

The ABC’s to Blocking the Future

The various fossil fuel industries have been spending hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars to influence the national discussion this year, from campaign contributions to Santa Claus giving out ‘clean coal’ at the Metro exits closest to Congressional offices to sponsoring presidential debates throughout the election cycle.  This fossil foolish promotion of a carbon-heavy, civilization-unfriendly seems to be putting money in many pockets, including public communications companies and broadcast companies.  

For example,  CNN has been earned much from coal industry sponsoring of debates, CBS from ExxonMobil, and ABC has aired Chevron greenwashing Human Energy ads just after debates.

One has to wonder whether this funding has affected ABC’s decision to deny the We Campaign’s Repower America advertisment that criticizes the money that big oil and lobbyists are spending to insure that Americans reman “stuck with dirty and expensive media”.  

One of our Founding Fathers is behind telco immunity

In all of this talk about telco immunity in the FISA bill, the same question keeps popping into my mind:

Just exactly which constituency is it that’s clamoring for telco immunity?

Barack Obama will change the system part 3



photo courtesy of SEIU International on Flickr used under this Creative Commons license.

So far I have wrote about Barack Obama’s strong stands on public financing of elections and media reform. Today I am going to talk about his work making government more transparent and more ethical. These are area’s were he has gotten the most bills passed into law so hopefully this should be a interesting post.  

The Joy of Lobbying or Talking Impeachment With Jerry Nadler

The Joy of Lobbying or Talking Impeachment with Jerry Nadler

At the end of August Representative Jerry Nadler (Nadler) from New York City’s Congressional District 8 met with about twenty of his constituents to discuss impeachment.  This meeting was arranged in response to letters the Congressman received from his constituents indicating their concern about what is going on with our government and requesting that he support impeachment.  It says volumes that Nadler set aside the time to meet with us and gave us a full hour.  It was clear in how he addressed us and how he ran the meeting that he took our concerns and the issue of impeachment seriously.  What follows is what he and we had to say‚Ķ