Tag: lobbyists

Roll Back the Bush Tax Cut to Pay for Health Reform

I caught the Randi Rhodes show today. She was suggesting that all we have to do to pay for Health Care Reform, including a Public Option, was to just Roll Back the Bush Tax Cuts!

What a Brilliant Idea!

Thanks Rhandi … (So glad you’re back btw)

As it turns out, we just need to let the Bush Tax Cuts Expire, when they are due to “sunset” (ie. Don’t Renew them!)

When Would the President’s Tax Cuts Expire?

by Andrew M. Grossman – April 21, 2004

In 2001 and 2003, President George W. Bush proposed and Congress passed a series of tax cuts to reinvigorate the economy and reduce the government’s burden on workers’ paychecks. Because of opposition to these measures from some in Congress, they were implemented as temporary tax cuts, all of which will expire by January 1, 2011.


We NEED a Choice, OTHER than, Private “Insurers”

Rockefeller on Health Insurance Industry Practices

Mar 27 2009


WASHINGTON, DC – Senator John (Jay) Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, held a full committee hearing this week entitled, “Deceptive Health Insurance Industry Practices – Are Consumers Getting What They Paid For?


A recent investigation conducted by the Attorney General of New York concluded that for a number of years, the insurance industry has systematically under-estimated the out-of-network reimbursement rates it pays its policy holders, costing consumers billions of dollars in excessive out-of-pocket costs. The victims of this deceptive practice – more than 100 million Americans who pay for health insurance coverage that allows them to go outside of their provider network for medical care.

(Emphasis Added)

Press Release

Baucus is only the Symptom of a much more Chronic Condition

Did you Vote for Change?

for Accountability; for leveling the playing field; for National Health Care?

Well, your vote apparently doesn’t carry as much weight as it use to.

Here’s one of the main reasons why:

U.S. Democracy Under Siege — Senate Debate Excerpts

Excerpts from the Congressional Record of the October 14, 1999 Senate debate.

The following is a tabulation, for clarity, of the figures cited by Mr. Feingold:

1980 1992 1996
Total soft money contributions to parties ($millions) under 20 86 about 250
# of donors giving over $200,000 52 219
# of donors giving over $300,000 20 120
# of donors giving over $400,000 13 79
# of donors giving over $500,000 9 50
# of companies giving over $150,000 to each of the political parties (“double givers”) 7 43

 (emphasis added)


There has been a tidal wave taking place, that threatens to swamp our fragile system of Democracy.  Indeed it probably already has …

The Party of NO, is Fighting for the Status Quo

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a Talking Point War, developing around the “validity” of the Public Option.

There is very much at stake in this inevitable War of Words — not least of which is YOUR Future Health, Wealth, and peace of mind.

Of course, the forces of the Status Quo, will do everything within their Financial Power, to convince you that a non-profit “Public Option” in Health Care — is against your best interests!  That it is anti-American!That a Public Option is somehow an “inferior” product.  (says who, btw?)

Just don’t buy what their selling, because really it’s someone else’s “best interests” that those Talking Point warriors, really have in mind:

Beware of Big Business’ next “Bait and Switch”!  

(Whether it be some amorphous “co-op” idea, or some other shiny object, like promising to finally “play nicely now”.)

Obama gets behind Public Option — finally!

well, sort of … in a letter, at least …


President Obama issued a public letter to Sens. Ted Kennedy and Max Baucus, the two Democrats seen as most key to the design of potential health-care legislation.

June 2, 2009

Dear Senator Kennedy and Senator Baucus:


In short, the status quo is broken, and pouring money into a broken system only perpetuates its inefficiencies. Doing nothing would only put our entire health care system at risk. Without meaningful reform, one fifth of our economy is projected to be tied up in our health care system in 10 years; millions more Americans are expected to go without insurance; and outside of what they are receiving for health care, workers are projected to see their take-home pay actually fall over time.

We simply cannot afford to postpone health care reform any longer.


I agree that we should create a health insurance exchange market where Americans can one-stop shop for a health care plan, compare benefits and prices, and choose the plan that’s best for them, in the same way that Members of Congress and their families can. None of these plans should deny coverage on the basis of a preexisting condition, and all of these plans should include an affordable basic benefit package that includes prevention, and protection against catastrophic costs. I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest.




(emphasis added)


Strong Words, need to be followed up with Stronger Actions.

(kind an inconvenient time for a Presidential road trip, eh?)

The public humiliation of President Obama

A sad thing is happening to Barak Obama. As it has during past periods of crisis, the American electorate sought the “necessary man,” a highly qualified leader to assume the powers of the Presidency. Obama has the personal qualities of intellect and character to address the great difficulties facing the nation. But as daily events are beginning to reveal, Obama’s presidency has been betrayed from within. All of the bold measures he promised during his campaign and in recent speeches are being steadily undermined by his own advisers and deputies. How can this be?

Over the last thirty years, the moneyed interests in the United States developed a sophisticated system of recruiting and co-opting large numbers of politically prominent or promising individuals. By means of selective promotions, institutional subsidies, book contracts, and many other forms of professional favoritism, the owner’s of our nation’s wealth, corporations and private fortunes, have effectively bought off the entire set of candidates for national leadership. As Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall said “I don’t care who does the electing as long as I do the nominating.”

The American plutocracy controls the mass media. It controls talk radio. It controls popular entertainment. But, most importantly, it controls the pool of individuals from whom Barak Obama chooses the officers of his administration. The otherwise inexplicable actions of Geithner and Summers are no mystery once one understands that they were recruited to be agents of wealth decades ago. The persistence of the Military Industrial Complex and the likelihood of fresh attempts to raid Social Security are not puzzling once one understands that anyone “qualified” to lead these agencies and survive confirmation hearings is an agent of the plutocracy.

The consequences of this situation are unfortunate for our new President. Having promised vigorous action, his growing impotence in the face of concerted resistance to his policies BY HIS OWN APPOINTEES will result in his public humiliation. The only way out of this trap is to replace the plutocratic hand-puppets in his administration with outsiders who would immediately be labelled as “dangerous,” “radical,” or “fringe” figures, the standard code words used to denounce leaders whose first loyalty is to our republic and not to America’s wealthiest.

Every time one of Obama’s promises to the American people is betrayed by a member of his own administration, our President is humiliated. His popularity will not survive such humiliation, and unless he makes abrupt changes in his inner circle, the hope he promised our nation will prove false.

Insurance Companies Ready Themselves for the Battle over Profits

The insurance industry in the United States of America is actively recruiting and hiring and training LOBBYISTS in huge numbers to ready themselves for the shit-storm that the American people and HOPEFULLY their elected Representatives are about to lay down on them in the very near future.

As we are all well aware, medical insurance and the FOR PROFIT Insurance Corporations in the U.S. are out of control.  Millions of citizens are not insured at all, most citizens that do have some sort of medical insurance are under-insured and the sky-rocketing costs of medical insurance are becoming more and more prohibitive for the average American worker.  Add to that fact that employer based medical insurance is where most Americans recieve their insurance package and then consider the rising unemployment issue in this country, and things can only go from horrible to completely unacceptable.

In an essay I submitted yesterday, US slips down development index, Citizens live shorter lives, we discussed the fact that the citizens of America are now only 42nd among countries in the world regarding life expectancy, even though we spend more money per person on medical care than any other country in the world.

At some point, it should become obvious to even the Insurance Corporations that we are simply not getting our money’s worth with that dismal track record.  Yet, they simply don’t care.  The bottom line is profit, and they are going to spend an incredible amount of their profits on Lobbyists to make sure that no matter the quality of health care U.S. citizens might or might not receive is made to be a moot point.  Their continued profits are all they care about and they are going to fight tooth and nail to make sure those profits continue to flow into their coffers.


McCain’s Murderers Row

A new contributing writer on THE ENVIRONMENTALIST, Cliff Schecter, the author of THE REAL McCAIN, has outlined, in his first post for us, the connections between three of McCain’s top staffers and their paid lobbying efforts for the Burmese Junta, Saudi Arabia, various African dictatorships; a veritable ‘Murderers Row’.

Here’s an excerpt:

A new website has been created by Campaign Money Watch to convince Senator McCain to fire three lobbyists working on his campaign that have ties to ruthless dictators. You may recall that over the past two days, two McCain aides have resigned because of their willingness to do public relations work for the Burmese Junta.

It turns out that they have friends in low places, however. I contacted David Donnelly, Director of Campaign Money Watch, for a comment, and what he had to say explains what his group is trying to accomplish:

“John McCain ought to immediately fire three lobbyists – Charlie Black, Tom Loeffler, and Peter Madaigan — whose lobbying for brutal dictators and foreign governments is every bit as bad as the two lobbyists who left his campaign over the weekend. Frankly, McCain’s campaign is turning out to be an effort of, by, and for these types of Washington influence peddlers. His credentials as a reformer are gone.”

Pretty strong words. Yet, if you read what these men have been up to, perhaps not strong enough…

Please visit THE ENVIRONMENTALIST for the details and pass this link on to everyone you know:  


From our editor:  “The media is ignoring McCain’s campaign ties to these rogue regimes.  We’re not.”  

Go to SC w/me to work for John?

I’d filled out the little form online to say I could go to South Carolina and work for the primary on behalf of Edwards, my choice for president, but I didn’t expect they’d need me.

After all…I can’t pay for my accommodations, and can’t do a lot of walking or standing. But today someone from Edward’s campaign staff in SC called, asking me to come to volunteer –asap.

Generic Drug Bill Held Up

Disclosure: I have represented and represent both brand name and generic drug manufacturers. I know of no conflict with my representations and my position on this issue.

The problem with lobbyists is not with their lobbying, it is with our political system that lets our representatives get away with this type of behavior:

Legislation aimed at speeding the availability of cheaper generic drugs has stalled in Congress in the face of major lobbying by the drug industry. The Senate bill would ban most settlements known as “reverse payments,” in which a brand-name company pays a generic manufacturer to delay the introduction of the generic drug. The Federal Trade Commission, which has called on Congress to take action, says such settlements could cost American consumers billions of dollars.

. . . “Lobbyists have a lot of influence in Washington,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Herb Kohl, who chairs the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights. “If we can just get this to a vote, it will be pretty hard for people to vote against it. A vote against this is a vote against consumers.” . . .

It is important to understand that the need for such a law is due to some atrocious antitrust decisions by the Supreme Court. The issue is a bit complex, but the basics of it is that the Supreme Court has adopted the unproven thesis of conservative economists that intrabrand competition (between retailers of the same brand product) has no effects on market competition and that it is only interbrand competition (competition between differently branded products) that promotes competition. Anyone who has gone shopping at a Target, Wal-Mart, CostCo or Walgreens, knows this is a sham. But such is the effect of 7 Republican appointees to the Court. The antitrust laws have been gutted by the Court in the past 20 years.

Our Corrupt System: The Politics of Sugar

Today, as it has for many many years, The New York Times today slams the sweet deal given to the American sugar industry:

[S]ugar supports cost American consumers — who pay double the average world price — more than $1.5 billion a year. The system also bars farmers in some of the poorest countries of the world from selling their sugar here.

The North American Free Trade Agreement is about to topple this cozy arrangement. Next year, Mexican sugar will be allowed to enter the United States free of any quotas or duties, threatening a flood of imports. Rather than taking the opportunity to untangle the sugar program in this year’s farm bill, Congress has decided to bolster the old system.

Big Sugar is not the only beneficiary of this corporate welfare. The farm bill is larded with subsidies and other rewards for agricultural producers. The eagerness of members of Congress to please their sugar daddies is not surprising. Campaign donations from the sugar industry have topped $3 million in each of the last four political cycles. American consumers and taxpayers, as well as poor farmers overseas, shouldn’t have to pay the price.

This is of course all true, but the sugar industry is not the only egregious manipulator of our political system. But I want to concentrate on a different point, of personal interest to me. It is the fact that this system does not protect industries and jobs – it protects fat wallets. The small Florida town I grew up in lost hundreds of jobs – the excuse?

Sugar mill closes; trade pacts blamed

PAHOKEE, Fla. (AP) – The old sugar mill rises like a rusty tin mirage from endless green fields of freshly cut cane and swaths of rich, black soil. A sweet, musty smell hangs heavy in the air as white steam pours from its smokestacks for the last time.

The Bryant Sugar House has ground more than 90 million tons of cane into about 20 billion pounds of raw sugar since it opened in 1962. On Wednesday, the plant wrapped up its 45th harvest season and prepared to close forever following the industry trend — falling prices and better technology that means fewer jobs as more mills turn to automation and computers.

Faced with growing pressure from foreign sugar, U.S. Sugar Corp., the nation's largest producer of cane sugar, is combining the mill's operations with a high-tech plant 30 miles away. About 200 people will lose their jobs.

'We've had more and more trade agreements that continue to give away more access to our marketplace, creating a very, very competitive environment,' said Robert Coker, the company's vice president.

He said the company was forced to modernize one plant and consolidate operations, 'and unfortunately, when you modernize, it means eliminating jobs.'

Thirty-three mills across the country have closed in the last decade as producers try to remain competitive in a market becoming flush with excess foreign sugar, according to the American Sugar Alliance.

The $10-billion-a-year industry employs 146,000 people in the U.S. But trade agreements with other nations threaten even more American jobs as producers streamline their facilities to cut costs, the industry claims.

How convenient, trade pacts justified firing hundreds of people, a great many of them black and Latino, while the fat wallets still get to pad their pockets by virtue of a government giveaway.

Is it too difficult for Congress to insist that these fat cats use some of the money Congress gives them to keep Americans working?

Our government is broken. And small towns, populated with people who do not have millions for lobbyists, suffer:

Some of the 202 employees will go to work at U.S. Sugar's other plant. Some will retire. Many will simply move on. The company held a job fair.
'It's a sad day,' said 65-year-old mill manager Jacques Albert-Thenet. 'Some of these people have worked here an entire generation.'

Secretary Linda Stanley, 63, is one of only two employees who have worked at the plant since it opened in 1962. She has seen generations working side-by-side: 'Husbands, wives, sisters, children, brothers, nieces and nephews.'

Mill mechanic Jessie Brown Jr., 50, works alongside his two sons. He's been here 31 years and will soon head to the other mill for work.

'I'm going to have to do little adjusting. This is home,' Brown said. 'You gotta start all over again in a new place. Most of the people who are here now are your family.'

Not to worry. The fat cats will still get theirs -on the dole. The 1.5 billion dollar sugar fat cat dole.

Load more