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Posts Tagged ‘Lobbyists’

Bill Moyers: “Let’s Face It, Two Political Parties; Equal Opportunity Hypocrites”

Crooks & Liars- By Heather Saturday Feb 06, 2010 2:00pm

Bill Moyers smacks the Democrats and Republicans for sucking up to corporate lobbyists at their retreats and Mitch McConnell for the hypocrisy of his statement on the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court ruling.

BILL MOYERS: Everybody’s been talking about that Republican retreat last weekend, where President Obama engaged his opponents in a give and take. But what you may not know is that it was organized by something called the Congressional Institute. Nice highfalutin civic bunch, you might deduce from its name. Turns out the Congressional Institute is funded by corporate contributions and run by top Republican lobbyists. There are fourteen members on its board–twelve are registered lobbyists. And the contributors to the Congressional Institute read like a who’s who of corporate America. Among its benefactors have been General Motors, Lockheed Martin, Time Warner, UPS. The institute’s chairman lobbies for among others, Goldman Sachs, B.P., Health Net and AHIP. That’s the trade group for the health insurance industry that fought tooth and nail against the public option and brought the White House to its knees.

Now if any Democrats out there are gloating over this, I’m not finished. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also had a cozy little retreat last weekend at a Ritz-Carlton resort in Miami Beach, which boasts “sumptuous marble baths,” a spa, and a two million dollar art collection. The website Politico.com reports that in addition to prominent Democratic senators there were plenty of representatives from industries the Democrats regularly attack when they wear their populist hat: the American Bankers Association, the tobacco giant Altria, the oil company Marathon, several drug manufacturers, and the defense contractor Lockheed Martin, as well as Heather and Tony Podesta — two of the biggest corporate spear carriers on K Street and two of the biggest Democrats in town. Very, very intimate. And very, very politically incestuous.

One final note: after the Supreme Court handed down its decision two weeks ago, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the leader of Senate Republicans, praised it from the senate floor. He dismissed the notion that the decision might allow a flood of foreign money to influence our elections. Now we learn from TalkingPointsMemo.com that Senator McConnell has received substantial funds from a subsidiary of a big foreign defense contractor that’s currently being investigated by the Justice Department for bribery. Senator McConnell has been quite good to that subsidiary — this year alone he’s requested seventeen million dollars in earmarks for its Louisville facility. Yes, the sun, and the dollar signs, shine bright in Senator McConnell’s old Kentucky home.

Let’s face it, two political parties; equal opportunity hypocrites.

That’s it for the Journal. Go to our website at PBS.org and click on Bill Moyers Journal. You can read Dr. Margaret Flowers’ letter. You’ll also learn how your state’s laws will be affected by the recent Supreme Court decision. We’ll also link you to websites where the debate rages on.

That’s all at PBS.org.

I’m Bill Moyers. And I’ll see you next time.

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Health Insurers Funded Chamber Attack Ads

National Journal Tuesday, January 12, 2010

By Peter H. Stone

Just as dealings with the Obama administration and congressional Democrats soured last summer, six of the nation’s biggest health insurers began quietly pumping big money into third-party television ads aimed at killing or significantly modifying the major health reform bills moving through Congress.

That money, between $10 million and $20 million, came from Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Kaiser Foundation Health Plans, UnitedHealth Group and Wellpoint, according to two health care lobbyists familiar with the transactions.

The companies are all members of the powerful trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans.

The funds were solicited by AHIP and funneled to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help underwrite tens of millions of dollars of television ads by two business coalitions set up and subsidized by the chamber. Each insurer kicked in at least $1 million and some gave multimillion-dollar donations.

“There’s no question that AHIP has quietly solicited monies from their members which were funneled over to the chamber for their ads,” said a source. The total donated by the health insurers, according to one estimate, was as much as one-quarter of the chamber’s total health care advertising budget.

More of the shame

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Inside Story on Town Hall Riots: Right-Wing Shock Troops Do Corporate America’s Dirty Work

By Adele M. Stan, AlterNet. Posted August 10, 2009.

How the health-care industry, the GOP and one media mogul made common cause with the anti-government fringe.

The recent spate of town hall dustups may look like an overnight sensation, but they’ve been years, even decades, in the making.

Since the days in the late 1970s, when the New Right began its takeover of the Republican Party, it has cultivated a militia of white people armed with a grudge against those who brought forth the social changes of the ’60s.

These malcontents have been promised their day of retribution, a day for which they are more than ready. Few seem to understand that they are merely dupes for a corporate agenda that will only worsen the conditions in which they live.

Why, you may ask, would men of power and fame shake the rough, unmanicured hands of gun enthusiasts, conspiracy theorists, gay-haters, misogynists and racists?

Because somebody’s got to do the dirty work. Magnates don’t like to soil their French cuffs, and it’s hard for a bunch of rich guys to garner sympathy for threats to their bottom lines. It’s the classic inside-outside game that the right wing of the GOP has played for the last two decades.

The Health-Care Industry Executive

Imagine you’re an executive at a pharmaceutical company. Your U.S. operations are your cash cow; they earn you wild net profits because, unlike in other industrialized nations, you do not experience the price controls of a government-administered program in which the government negotiates for the best price on prescription drugs and devices.

Along comes a government plan for health-insurance reform that includes a public, government-financed plan. The public option, they call it. As part of the plan, you will be required to negotiate with the government for the price of medications and devices to be distributed within the plan.

Now that could really screw up your massive profit margins. Private plans might then insist on prices more like those the government is getting.

Instead of increasing your profit by double digits in the worst year the economy has seen since the Great Depression, as did an outfit called The Medicines Co., your shareholders may have to settle for profits more in line with the overall growth of the economy. And wouldn’t that just stink?

Meanwhile, polls show a clear majority of Americans — you know, regular Americans, the kind who don’t want to own an AK-47, or who do accept the president’s citizenship status — favor the public option. In fact, in June, CBS News found that majority to be 72 percent.

MORE HERE

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Ney’s New Role? Right-Wing Radio Talk Show Host

A second act for our old friend Bob Ney.

Starting today, the former Ohio GOP congressman will be hosting a midday chat show on a right-wing West Virginia radio station, WVLY AM 1370, according to the station’s web site.

In the show, which will air weekdays from 1pm to 3pm and can be heard in the southeastern part of the Buckeye state, Ney will focus on “ethics, earmarks, prison reform and Ohio politics.”

There’s no doubt he’s an expert on those subjects. Ney served 17 months in jail after pleading guilty in 2006 to conspiracy and making false statements in connection to the Jack Abramoff lobbyist scandal.

In fact, Ney also has some experience on the wireless. While in the slammer, he reportedly signed on to work with the liberal Washington DC-based Talk Radio News Service.

And Glenn Thrush at Politico notes that another crooked Republican, G. Gordon Liddy has built a successful career as a radio talker.

So perhaps there’s hope for Ney too.

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