Black People : Wasn't lobbying supposed to End?

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Putney Swope, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. Putney Swope

    Putney Swope Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is what I voted for;
    "I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists — and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president."



    Published on Monday, September 21, 2009 by CommonDreams.org
    Let’s Make a Deal: Beltway Edition
    by Michael Winship

    If you ever needed proof that Washington is governed by the Golden Rule -- the one that says, he who has the gold, rules -- you only have to look at the wagonloads of cash being dumped by big business into crushing President Obama's domestic agenda.

    Good gosh, how the money rolls in -- and out. And I'm not only talking about the millions bankrolling the gang war over health care reform. A couple of weeks ago, The Washington Post reported that the energy lobby is barnstorming around the country holding rallies and concerts, giving away free lunches and tee-shirts, spreading the wealth like a drunken oil tycoon -- all to defeat the cap-and-trade climate bill that squeaked through the House and now awaits a vote by the Senate.

    The paper noted that in the first half of the year oil and natural gas groups spent $82.1 million lobbying Capitol Hill -- but that environmental, health and clean-energy interests scraped together less than a quarter of that amount, $18.7 million. Money talks, and it's murmuring in your ear, "Global warming, what global warming?"0D

    Those energy lobby high rollers in denial aren't the only ones who know how to throw a party. Last month, Public Citizen, the consumer advocacy group that was founded by Ralph Nader, released an investigation of the ten banks receiving the most Federal bailout money and five trade associations fighting government attempts to more closely regulate consumer banking.

    In the period between Election Day last November and the end of June, the groups scheduled 70 fundraisers for members of Congress. Along the way, they made $6 million dollars in federal campaign contributions.

    Thirty-five of those 70 wingdings -- half! -- were thrown by the US Chamber of Commerce and its lobbyists. And a third of the money contributed to candidates came from the American Banking Association and affiliated lobbyists. Both organizations are fighting hard to keep the government from clamping down on the financial industry. In fact, the Chamber of Commerce is planning on spending a hundred million bucks to keep the noses of federal snoops out of their business.

    It's not hard to figure out why they're so eager to grease palms and throw the regulatory bloodhounds off the scent. On August 31, Bloomberg News reported that Wall Street is getting ready for a major battle to prevent tighter government control of the nearly $600 trillion dollar over-the-counter derivatives market.

    According to Bloomberg, "Five U.S. commercial banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp., are on track to earn more than $35 billion this year trading unregulated derivatives contracts. At stake is how much of that business they and other dealers will be able to keep."

    Astonishing to think about when you recall that just about a year ago irresponsible derivatives trading was one of the reasons we were being sucked into the vortex of economic catastrophe. Equally astonishing to see the extravagant salaries banking executives are still raking in even while their foolish financial strategies made more and more of us eligible for the breadlines.

    Recently, the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, issued their annual executive compensation survey. This year's is titled "America's Bailout Barons."

    The institute took a look at paychecks for the top five executives at 20 financial companies - the ones that took the biggest helpings from the taxpayer-funded bailout buffet. From 2006 through 2008, they received an average of $32 million apiece -- compensation packages that totaled $3.2 billion.

    Just as a reality check, one hundred US workers making the annual average wage would have to work for more than a thousand years to make the money those hundred execs made in three.

    Despite the financial crisis that nearly sank us a year ago, the front page of the September 12 New York Time s reports that, "Backstopped by huge federal guarantees, the biggest banks have restructured only around the edges. Employment in the industry has fallen just 8 percent since last September. Only a handful of big hedge funds have closed. Pay is already returning to precrash levels, topped by the 30,000 employees of Goldman Sachs, who are on track to earn an average of $700,000 this year. Nor are major pay cuts likely, according to a report last week from J.P. Morgan Securities. Executives at most big banks have kept their jobs."

    If nothing is changed, MIT's Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, told the Times, the banks "will run up big risks, they will fail again, they will hit us for a big check."

    And look at this: while those executives are dancing with your dollars

    full article;
    http://www.commondreams.org/print/47241
     
  2. Putney Swope

    Putney Swope Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    He signed two executive orders and three memoranda to implement the pay freeze, ethics and public records changes.

    The executive order on ethics prohibits executive branch employees from accepting gifts from lobbyists. It prohibits anyone who works for the administration to leave and lobby the executive branch "for as long as I am president," Obama said. It also precludes lobbyists hired by his administration from dealing with agencies on matters they lobbied about for two years.
     
  3. Putney Swope

    Putney Swope Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Lobbyists still run Washington

    It was supposed to change when Obama took office. But D.C.'s influence machine is going strong. Just ask Max Baucus




    An opposition that knows no limit

    The sheer presence of lobbyists cannot be underestimated. Case in point: the legislative battle over healthcare reform. As of mid-August, there were six lobbyists trying to influence healthcare 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 $1 million 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.

    And the biggest spenders in healthcare lobbying aren't doling out their largesse to just anyone. Take Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the chairman of the influential Senate Finance Committee, leader of the bipartisan "Gang of Six" spearheading the Finance Committee's healthcare negotiations, and architect of that committee's much anticipated healthcare legislation. He's also one of the top five recipients of health industry-related money in Congress, pocketing $2.9 million in his career. For his 2008 reelection campaign, the unassuming Baucus took in $1.2 million from health industries, $690,050 of which came from health-related political action committees, the most for any Washington politician. Not that the six-term senator needed it: He steamrolled his opponent, an 85-year-old serial also-ran who'd lost 14 elections in 44 years and campaigned on a platform to turn the U.S. into a parliamentary system, by 48 percentage points.

    Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking Republican member of the Finance Committee, not surprisingly ranks among the top recipients of health-related money as well. He's received $2.1 million from health industry players. And yet another Senate Finance Committee member and Gang of Sixer, Sen. Kent ConradD-N.D., has likewise enjoyed a steady flow of donations to his political action committee from lobbyists working for the pharmaceutical and health-insurance industries.

    Loosening up lawmakers with lobbying and campaign donations is one way in the door; having worked for them doesn't hurt, either. According to the Sunlight Foundation, five former Baucus staffers -- two of whom are former chiefs of staff -- now lobby or work for major players in the healthcare debate, including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (which outright opposes the House's promising healthcare legislation that includes a public option) and drug makers Wyeth, Merck and AstraZeneca. Similarly, all but one of the Finance Committee's 10 Republican members have ties to former staffers now lobbying for healthcare-related companies and organizations.

    Perhaps, then, it's not so surprising to learn that none of the Big 3 -- Baucus, Grassley or Conrad -- backs a true public option in healthcare legislation, arguably the only way to keep insurers honest, ensure competition, and lower costs. Before the August recess, Democrats had hoped Grassley might come on board with healthcare legislation, giving the Obama administration the bipartisan imprimatur it sought. Grassley had other ideas, and spent his recess propagating the myth that the House was trying to "pull the plug on Grandma." He was even more forthright in a fundraising letter, declaring, "I am and always have been opposed to the Obama Administration's plans to nationalize health care. Period."

    Baucus and Conrad, meanwhile, back a nonprofit co-op model, a pseudo-public option that, while successful in a handful of settings nationwide, would, most experts believe, likely fail dismally in any competition with heavyweight private health insurers. Indeed, an early outline of Baucus's long-awaited legislation lists Elizabeth Fowler, the senator's chief health aide, as the apparent author; Fowler, it turns out, formerly worked as an executive for Wellpoint, a big-time health insurer that -- you guessed it -- opposes a true public option.

    full article;
    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/09/17/kroll/index.html
     
  4. CITIZEN

    CITIZEN Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Who is running the country?

    Who is running the country?
    Not the prez, or Congress.
    Money does. It makes all the decisions. It is the bottom line.
    This country was founded on greed from the time the Europeans came here looking for loot. They went to war for freedom over taxes (money!), and maybe headed into war again over greed.

    Lobbying is alive and well, and will likely stay that way.
     
  5. oldiesman

    oldiesman Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    i think it was[the joker]that said-you can't make an omlet-without breaking some eggs.
     
  6. Putney Swope

    Putney Swope Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    then maybe it is time to be vegan
     
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