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 Post subject: LOBBYISTS ON A ROLL: GUTTING REFORM IN ALL AREAS!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:35 pm 
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WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THAT CHANGE?????

HOW ABOUT REGULATING THE LOBBYISTS! HOW ABOUT OUTLAWING THEM ALTOGETHER AND MAKE OUR "ELECTED" REPS ACTUALLY REPRESENT YOU AND ME?


Lobbyists on a Roll: Gutting Reform on Banking, Energy, and Health Care

Remember all that change Americans voted for in November? Well, there's been a change in the plans for change.

The detour has come courtesy of a familiar nemesis: DC lobbyists who, this year alone, have watered-down, gutted, or out-and-out killed ambitious plans for reforming Wall Street, energy, and health care.

The media like to pretend that something's at stake when a big bill is being debated on the House or Senate floor, but the truth is that by then the game is typically already over. The real fight happens long before. And the lobbyists usually win.

They're used to administrations and newly elected Congresses that come in with big plans for the future. But, as Obama and Congressional reformers are finding out, the future doesn't have a well-funded lobby. The past, on the other hand, is extremely well represented.

Look at the auto industry. For decades, Detroit and its lobbyists fought tooth and nail against efforts to improve mileage efficiency standards or to close tax loopholes favorable to gas-guzzling SUVs. They were very successful at holding off the future. Until they went bankrupt.

"While I'm not spoiling for a fight, I'm ready for one," Obama said in his radio address last weekend, referring to his push for a new consumer finance regulatory agency. Let's hope he is, because getting a reform bill that still includes actual reforms through both houses of Congress is easier said than done.

The president has already seen what the lobbyists can do. In May, he signed the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, and celebrated it as an example of doing "what we were actually sent here to do -- and that is to stand up to the special interests, and stand up for the American people."

But, in fact, those special interests had stood up to him and helped eliminate the most important legislative initiative affecting homeowners -- the cramdown provision in the bankruptcy bill.

It shows just how powerful the lobbyists are: even those representing the banks that helped bring about the financial meltdown still hold sway over our elected officials.


The same goes for the lobbyists representing the credit rating agencies which, despite having played a key role in causing the economic crisis, escaped with barely a wrist slap in the Treasury's big new reform plan. Here's how the Wall Street Journal put it:

If world-class lobbying could win a Stanley Cup, the credit-ratings caucus would be skating a victory lap this week. The Obama plan for financial re-regulation leaves unscathed this favored class of businesses whose fingerprints are all over the credit meltdown.

That's the thing about lobbyists: they serve no ideological master. It's not about right vs left or Democrats vs Republicans. It's only about the bottom line -- ie pushing their special interests, no matter how much it undermines the public interest. No wonder they are as likely to incur the wrath of the Wall Street Journal as Mother Jones.


MORE AT THE LINK

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That's all there is to it."

~Harry S. Truman


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 Post subject: Re: Lobbyists on a Roll: Gutting Reform on Banking, Energy, and
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:09 am 
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THIS THREAD IS BECOMING A STICKY TODAY. I TOTALLY AGREE WITH ARIANNA HUFFINGTON ABOUT LOBBYISTS...THEY ARE A SCOURGE AND A ROOT CAUSE OF MOST OF THE TROUBLES THAT ARE PLAGUING OUR NATION! IF YOU FIND AN ARTICLE THAT DETAILS THE ACTIVITIES OF LOBBYISTS, PLEASE POST IT HERE.

Keeping the Spotlight on Lobbying Outrages and Economic Hard Times

Quote:
Along with many others, I've written extensively about how lobbying consistently waters down, guts, or out-and-out kills attempts to serve the public interest. We've connected the dots between the special money that pours into Washington and the reform-lite legislation that sputters out. We've pointed fingers, named names, and fanned the flames of outrage.

And yet the lobbyists remain as pervasive -- and even more powerful -- than ever. Just take a look at what's happening with health care. The Washington Post and TPM [via Open Secrets] this week offered up some details of the unprecedented lobbying effort aimed at undermining health care reform: $1 million a day spent on lobbying; 350 former Members of Congress and Congressional staffers hired to influence the debate, including half a dozen former staffers of Sen. Max Baucus, who remains a human roadblock to real health care reform; the hiring of bipartisan big gun arm-twisters like Bob Dole, Tom Daschle, Dick Armey, and Dick Gephardt to try to sway their former colleagues.

Stories like that tend to pop up, make our blood pressure rise, then quickly drop off the media radar until the next outrage grabs our attention. But the sporadic -- and often scattered -- nature of the media's coverage of the DC quid pro dough game is one of the reasons the special interests have been able to maintain their power. When another example of the lobbyists' power to undermine real reform hits the headlines, they just lay low until the public's focus moves on to the next hot story, and then get back to business as usual.

Which is why we have decided to launch LobbyBlog, an ongoing, consistently refreshed collection of the latest information on lobbying, lobbyists, the politicians whose arms they are twisting, and the tragic impact they are having on the kind of legislation that is passed -- or not passed -- and therefore has on the lives of millions of Americans.

LobbyBlog will be edited and served up with a heaping helping of attitude by HuffPost's Eat the Press Editor Jason Linkins. But all HuffPost editors and reporters will be contributing.

And we want you to be a big part of LobbyBlog. Send us tips (big or small), news stories you think Jason should be highlighting, outrages you want to share with the world, and leads you want our reporters to follow. We hope you will be a big part of the process and the discussion. You can connect with Jason at huffpostlobbywatch@gmail.com. Here is the first installment, offering the latest on lobbying efforts on the environment, on heath care reform, and banking reform
.

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"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
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"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."

~Harry S. Truman


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 Post subject: Re: LOBBYISTS ON A ROLL: GUTTING REFORM IN ALL AREAS!
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:20 am 
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LOBBYBLOG

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I'm blogging about the world of lobbying and its effect on, well, just about everything our government does. Email me thoughts and tips at huffpostlobbywatch@gmail.com. Because some people look at laws and ask, why not? We're looking at laws and asking, who paid for them?

"HOW LOBBYING DOESN'T WORK" This is an auspicious day for us to be starting this here spotlight on lobbyists, because Marshall Brain at How Stuff Works has conveniently taken on this very issue. As such, his post is a useful primer:

The majority of American voters want X. Corporations want Y. Because the corporations have the money to lobby and donate to politicians, what we get is Y. Is this how we want the system to work?
See also the previously cited post from Allison Kilkenny at True/Slant: "Banning lobbying could save American democracy
."


HOW LOBBYING DOESN'T WORK

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"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
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"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."

~Harry S. Truman


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 Post subject: Re: LOBBYISTS ON A ROLL: GUTTING REFORM IN ALL AREAS!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:51 pm 
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KUCINICH DEMANDS DETAILS FROM INSURANCE INDUSTRY LEADERS

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich wants insurance company executives to explain their business practices -- namely how much money is spent determining a patient's coverage.

Politico's Chris Frates reports that Kucinich, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Domestic Policy Subcommittee, sent letters last month to executives at Aetna, WellPoint, Cigna, United Health and Humana asking them to testify before his committee on Sept. 17. The companies have until Tuesday to respond to his request.

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"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
Honore de Balzac

"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."

~Harry S. Truman


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 Post subject: Re: LOBBYISTS ON A ROLL: GUTTING REFORM IN ALL AREAS!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 12:54 am 
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I hope that committee meeting will be televised. Kucinich is one of the few people in government that I trust.

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