Abby Martin covers what Dick Cheney has been up to since leaving office and features an interview with comedian and host of the Moment of Clarity web series, Lee Camp, discussing a few of the more ridiculous stories in the news, including Bush’s exhibit of paintings, low wages for congressmen and the universities teaching students how to lobby congress.
Tag Archives | lobbying
PR Watch notes that Google’s political activities don’t necessarily match up with the views held by its workers:
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Google, the tech giant supposedly guided by its “don’t be evil” motto, has been funding a growing list of groups advancing the agenda of the Koch brothers.
Organizations that received “substantial” funding from Google for the first time over the past year include Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the Federalist Society, the American Conservative Union (best known for its CPAC conference), and the political arm of the Heritage Foundation that led the charge to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act: Heritage Action.
In 2013, Google also funded the corporate lobby group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), although that group is not listed as receiving “substantial” funding in the list published by Google.
What Google considers “substantial” is not explained — no dollar amounts are given — but the language suggests significant investments from Google and, with a stock value of $330 billion, Google has considerably deep pockets.
How Monsanto wrote its fondest wishes into law. Mother Jones reveals:
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A recent Senate bill came with a nice bonus for the GMO industry: a rider, wholly unrelated to the underlying bill, that compels the USDA to ignore federal court decisions that block the agency’s approvals of new GM crops. Such a provision is [very] important to Monsanto and its few peers in the GMO seed industry.
Which senator pushed the rider into the bill? No one stepped forward to claim credit. But since then, Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) has revealed to Politico that he’s the responsible party. Blunt even told reporteer David Rogers that he “worked with” Monsanto to craft the rider. The admission shines a light on Blunt’s ties to Monsanto, whose office is located in the senator’s home state.
Blunt’s connections to lobbyists extend to his family. His wife, Abigail Blunt, serves as head of US government affairs for the processed food giant Kraft.
Unlike in 2009 (when corporate donations were not used), much of the bill for today’s festivities in Washington D.C. is being paid by powerful corporate interests. Truthout writes:
Obama’s inaugural festivities Monday are bankrolled by several of the nation’s most powerful corporate lobbying forces. Chief among corporate inaugural donors: AT&T Inc., Microsoft Corp., energy giant Southern Co., biotechnology firm Genentech and health plan manager Centene Corp.
Together, more than 300 registered lobbyists worked on the five companies’ behalf to influence legislation and government policy. Among numerous other influence efforts, Southern Co. lobbied the Executive Office of the President to curtail environmental regulations. AT&T pressed the Treasury Department to extend research and development tax credits and lobbied heavily — and unsuccessfully — to win regulatory approval of a merger with rival T-Mobile. Microsoft targeted the [federal government] for support in strengthening online piracy and intellectual property regulations.
In the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof describes what he terms the “cancer lobby” — how major industry spends millions of dollars to influence Congress in support of carcinogenic chemicals:
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Who knew that carcinogens had their own lobby in Washington? Just consider formaldehyde, which is found in everything from nail polish to kitchen countertops, fabric softeners to carpets. Largely because of its use in building materials, we breathe formaldehyde fumes when we’re inside our homes. According to government scientists, it causes cancer.
The chemical industry is working frantically to suppress that scientific consensus — because it fears “public confusion.” Big Chem apparently worries that you might be confused if you learned that formaldehyde caused cancer of the nose and throat, and perhaps leukemia.
The industry’s strategy is to lobby Congress to cut off money for the Report on Carcinogens, a 500-page consensus document published every two years by the National Institutes of Health, containing the best information about what agents cause cancer.
Wall Streeters may publicly scoff at the Occupy movement via jokes about bathing and drum circles — however, behind the scenes it is apparently being taken quite seriously. Wondering how the empire plans to strike back? It’s already been laid out, MSNBC reveals:
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A well-known Washington lobbying firm with links to the financial industry has proposed an $850,000 plan to take on Occupy Wall Street and politicians who might express sympathy for the protests, according to a memo obtained by MSNBC.
e proposal was written on the letterhead of the lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford and addressed to one of CLGC’s clients, the American Bankers Association.
CLGC’s memo proposes that the ABA pay CLGC $850,000 to conduct “opposition research” on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct “negative narratives” about the protests and allied politicians. The memo also asserts that Democratic victories in 2012 would be detrimental for Wall Street and targets specific races in which it says Wall Street would benefit by electing Republicans instead.
OpenSecrets has a wealth of information concerning private lobbying of federal and state government in the United States. However, it may be best to begin by looking at where the lobbying money is coming from. The FIRE (finance, insurance, and real estate) sector leads the field in terms of lobbying funds spent from 1998-2011. Also notable is how far down the list the Republican bogeyman of “Big Labor” is:
Food for thought — this certainly could simplify the process of decoding legislators’ allegiances:
Journalists are not supposed to have political opinions and yet we all do. Our “biases” are usually disguised, not blatant or overtly partisan, and can be divined in what stories we cover and how we cover them.
Even ‘just the fact’s maam,’ journos for big media have to decide which facts to include and which to ignore.
Our outlooks are always shaped by our worldviews, values and experience, not too mention the outlets we work for.
Which brings me to the challenge of seeking truth and recognizing it when you see it.
I have to admit that I was seduced by the idea of Barack Obama.
The idea of a black President, the idea of a young President, the idea of an articulate President, and the idea of a man married to such a stand up woman from a working class family was hard to resist.
Here’s a guy who seemed really smart, not just because he went to Harvard, but because professors there I liked were impressed with him.… Read the rest