What if members of Congress were seated not by party but according to their major business sponsors? (It would probably be a more accurate representation of whose agenda they’re representing than just splitting them into Democrat/Republican/Independent.) Mother Jones went ahead and did it. Looks like the Senate is on FIRE (finance, insurance, and real estate, that is)!
Tag Archives | Lobbyists
BP’s executive vice president, David Nagel, stated “If we are unable to keep those fields going, that is going to have a substantial impact on our cash flow.” BP is trying to lift their ban on offshore drilling in order to maintain enough money to clean up the spill AND donate to charity programs surrounding the April explosion. The New York Times reports”
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BP is warning Congress that if lawmakers pass legislation that bars the company from getting new offshore drilling permits, it may not have the money to pay for all the damages caused by its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The company says a ban would also imperil the ambitious Gulf Coast restoration efforts that officials want the company to voluntarily support.
BP executives insist that they have not backed away from their commitment to the White House to set aside $20 billion in an escrow fund over the next four years to pay damage claims and government penalties stemming from the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.
Rachel Shabi writes in the Guardian:
Since the earliest days of the worldwide web, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has seen its rhetorical counterpart fought out on the talkboards and chatrooms of the internet.
Now two Israeli groups seeking to gain the upper hand in the online debate have launched a course in “Zionist editing” for Wikipedia, the online reference site.
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Yesha Council, representing the Jewish settler movement, and the rightwing Israel Sheli (My I srael) movement, ran their first workshop this week in Jerusalem, teaching participants how to rewrite and revise some of the most hotly disputed pages of the online reference site.
“We don’t want to change Wikipedia or turn it into a propaganda arm,” says Naftali Bennett, director of the Yesha Council. “We just want to show the other side. People think that Israelis are mean, evil people who only want to hurt Arabs all day.”
Wikipedia is one of the world’s most popular websites, and its 16m entries are open for anyone to edit, rewrite or even erase.
The NY Times was reporting on this over a year ago and now we have a recent report from Fox News. As much I believe in “freedom of speech” the Supreme Court has already made it much easier for corporations to influence our government, and I definitely am NOT willing to pick up the tab for it … Stephen Clark of report from Fox News writes:
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Several companies that escaped financial failure two years ago through massive taxpayer-funded bailouts are spending millions of dollars to make donations to political causes and even some candidates’ campaigns.
General Motors, Chrysler and Citigroup are just three of the biggest bailout recipients who have continued to remain politically active, through their political action committees, federal lobbying or direct donations to the pet projects of lawmakers.
The potential public relations disaster for firms spending big dollars on political causes and federal lobbying after being extended a taxpayer lifeline has led some, such as AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to suspend their political activities until they pay the government back in full.
The financial crisis has unveiled a new set of public villains — corrupt corporate capitalists who leveraged their connections in government for their own personal profit. During the Clinton and Bush administrations, many of these schemers were worshiped as geniuses, heroes or icons of American progress. But today we know these opportunists for what they are: Deregulatory hacks hellbent on making a profit at any cost. Without further ado, here are the 10 most corrupt capitalists in the U.S. economy.
1. Robert Rubin: Where to start with a man like Robert Rubin? A Goldman Sachs chairman who wormed his way into the Treasury Secretary post under President Bill Clinton, Rubin presided over one of the most radical deregulatory eras in the history of finance. Rubin's influence within the Democratic Party marked the final stage in the Democrats' transformation from the concerned citizens who fought Wall Street and won during the 1930s to a coalition of Republican-lite financial elites. Rubin's most stunning deregulatory accomplishment in office was also his greatest act of corruption. Rubin helped repeal Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era law that banned economically essential banks from gambling with taxpayer money in the securities markets. In 1998, Citibank inked a merger with the Travelers Insurance group. The deal was illegal under Glass-Steagall, but with Rubin's help, the law was repealed in 1999, and the Citi-Travelers merger approved, creating too-big-to-fail behemoth Citigroup.
What is Congress getting right now? A Philosopher’s Stone? The Holy Grail? The Ark of the Covenant? Your ideas are quite welcome. Zach Carter writes on Alternet:
Late last night, the U.S. Senate rejected the single most important element of Wall Street reform by a vote of 33 to 61.
The SAFE Banking Act would have forced the break-up of the nation’s six largest banks, and dramatically reduced the political clout of America’s financial elite.
The 61 votes against the measure are votes in favor of Wall Street’s stranglehold on our economy.
No matter what else is ultimately enacted in the name of Wall Street reform, Congress has decided that it will not confront the single greatest problem in the U.S. economy: too big to fail.
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On Wednesday, the Senate also voted down a $50 billion Wall Street tax that would have been used to fund the cost of shutting down a major failing bank.
While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they’ve taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.
BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees — $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals. On top of that, the oil giant has spent millions each year on lobbying — including $15.9 million last year alone — as it has tried to influence energy policy.
Alan Fram writes on Huffington Post:
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Chalk one up for the pharmaceutical lobby. The U.S. drug industry fended off price curbs and other hefty restrictions in President Barack Obama’s health care law even as it prepares for plenty of new business when an estimated 32 million uninsured Americans gain health coverage.
To be sure, the law also levies taxes and imposes other costs on pharmaceutical companies, leaving its final impact on the industry’s bottom line uncertain. A recent analysis by Goldman Sachs suggests the overhaul could mean “a manageable hit” of tens of billions of dollars over the coming decade while bolstering the value of drug-company stocks. Others expect profits, not losses, of the same magnitude.
Either way, pharmaceutical lobbyists won new federal policies they coveted and set a trajectory for long-term industry growth. Privately, several of them say their biggest triumph was heading off Democrats led by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who wanted even more money from their industry to finance the health care system’s expansion.
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship writes on Huffington Post:
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That famous definition of a cynic as someone who knows the price of everything — and the value of nothing — has come to define this present moment of American politics.
No wonder people have lost faith in politicians, parties and in our leadership. The power of money drives cynicism deep into the heart of every level of government. Everything, and everyone, comes with a price tag attached: from a seat at the table in the White House to a seat in Congress, to the fate of health care reform, our environment, and efforts to restrain Wall Street’s greed and prevent another financial catastrophe.
Our government is not broken; it’s been bought out from under us, and on the right and the left and smack across the vast middle, more and more Americans doubt representative democracy can survive the corruption of money.
Evan Bayh is not a centrist, he's a corporatist, according to Bill Maher. Maher appeared on "Anderson Cooper 360" Tuesday night to comment on the state of affairs in Washington, D.C. He argued that Evan Bayh, the retiring Senator from Indiana, is what's wrong with Congress. The Senate is "where legislation goes to die," Maher says, because "corporatist Democrats" like Bayh act like Republicans. Maher told Cooper that politics are not polarized enough and that the U.S. lacks a real progressive party.