Category Archives: Lobbyists
At least they did me. Here we go:
Bart Stupak is grinning like a fool over this one, DHHS limits abortion funding for new high-risk insurance pools.
I realize Politico is a rightwing rag for the most part…but this is Fox News-like yellow journalism at it’s best. What the Politico Web site deletes from its articles without telling anyone.
If you have ever lost a loved-one to this shit or suffer from it’s deadly consequences yourself, I am quite sure this article will really jerk your chain. Lobbyists push use of deadly asbestos in developing nations.
If none of those articles get to you…then you must be a rightwing nutter and a Batshit Bachmann/Teabagger supporter.
The first and third ones really, really piss-me-the-fuck-off. That they still manufacture asbestos is criminal to me. That they want to use that friggin shit in countries already suffering is outrageous. They want the poor and high-risk people to pay for their own legal medical procedures is fuckwitted, selfish, innane and disgusting. They preach and preach about forgiveness…but when people make mistakes and try to fix them…wtf assholes? See Alex Trebek and buy a fucking clue you jerkwads.
Daniel Indiviglio is a former investment banker and consultant who now writes about that industry for The Atlantic. His recent article explains how the lobbyists influenced, or as I call it, wrote the financial reform bill that Dodd and Frank pushed like crack dealers. From his writeup:
There are easily dozens of sections where their persuasion can be felt, but here are several striking examples.
Auto Dealer Exclusion
Perhaps one of the most egregious lobbyist influences was a key exclusion from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. When you think about consumer credit, a few products immediately come to mind: mortgages, car loans, and credit cards. But wait! Car loans — one of the most prevalent types of consumer loan — are excluded entirely from the Bureau’s reach. While it isn’t likely that auto loans will ever cause a financial crisis, neither will credit cards. Yet there are certainly auto loan shops that could use dastardly tactics worthy of as much attention as the regulator pays to credit card companies.
Derivative Spin-Off Provision
To see a truly strange legislative effort, check out how one of the more controversial derivatives provisions in the bill turned out. Initially, all banks would be forced to put their derivatives business in a separately capitalized subsidiary. That is, until lobbyists got their hands on it. Now, banks can create certain sorts of derivatives, but not other sorts. Foreign exchange and interest rate swaps, for example, are okay. But commodities and energy swaps aren’t. Is corn riskier than the euro? Probably not. So what’s the explanation? One industry source I spoke with theorized that futures exchanges may have pushed for the ban on commodity and energy derivatives created by banks. The over-the-counter derivatives (a market run by banks) market ate away at exchanges’ market share once banks started getting into the business. Now banks are out of the picture regarding these products.
Another extraordinarily watered-down provision compared to the original conception is the so-called “Volcker Rule,” meant to limit proprietary trading by banks. The final bill limits the amount of money dedicated to this function to 3% of a bank’s Tier 1 Capital. That should allow all but a few banks to proprietary trade in the same way they have in the past. Moreover, the rule inexplicitly limits the amount of a private equity venture or hedge fund that a bank can own to 3%. This ultimately benefits banks, because they need less skin in the game to convince outside investors to participate in a venture or fund.
It’s a good read, so I suggest you click the link and read his entire piece. He talks about ‘too big to fail’ and Frannie and Freddie as well. For a nitwit like myself, it’s well written and easy for me to comprehend. This…cough…bill…is weaker than my bladder after an evening of boozing it up.
“Casino Jack” Abramoff will soon call a halfway house home, according to RawStory. Soon as in this week or next. From the RS writeup:
Three and a half years has passed since the incarceration of onetime Washington power-broker Jack Abramoff.
And as soon as this week, or next, Abramoff will be on his way out the doors of a federal prison and into a halfway house, where he will reside until he’s formally released.
Abramoff, 51, pled guilty to corrupting public officials and tax evasion in January 2006 and was sentenced to four years in jail. He bilked nearly $25 million from Indian tribes who sought influence with federal officials. Peter Stone, a veteran investigative journalist at National Journal, who has covered the scandal extensively, asserted in a little-noticed post late Friday that Abramoff was set to leave prison soon.
Oh yes, of course they are! From ABC:
The day after President Barack Obama urged members of Congress to be more transparent about their interactions with lobbyists, the House Republican Caucus headed up Interstate 95 for a retreat where they will be able to mingle privately with… lobbyists.
The annual retreat, sponsored by a non-profit group called the Congressional Institute, is meant to be a chance for members to escape the Beltway to talk about big ideas, hear from rising stars in the party, media pundits, and even visit with President Obama, who will address the caucus Friday.
In between these work sessions, though, there will be less formal gatherings involving several of the Institute’s 14-member board of directors. The vast majority of the Institute’s board is made up by top Capitol Hill lobbyists whose clients include leading drug manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and such major corporations as American Express and Verizon.
Institute Executive Director Mark Strand said the entire event has been scrubbed for potential ethics problems, and everything will be done above board. He explained it this way:
“The institute’s supporters, who include lobbyists, do not plan, attend or participate in any session of the annual conference. They are invited to a reception and dinner and depart the next morning,” he said.(emphasis mine)
“Such a courtesy for a tax-exempt organization’s supporters is commonplace and within ethical rules,” Strand added. “All members of Congress who participate in the conference pay their own expenses. The Institute does not employ a lobbyist nor does it engage in lobbying.”
Oh…and there will be no “transparency” during the reception and dinner, meaning the press will not be allowed to attend. Chew on these facts regarding lobbying Congress:
Last year Washington lobbyists netted $3.2 billion, a 13.7 percent increase from 2007, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, aka OpenSecrets.org.
And it’s the industries most affected by the economic downturn that seem to be doing much of the spending: finance, insurance and real estate, the group found.
Fucking carpetbaggers. Nothing turns my stomach more than lobbyists. Nothing. They are the hyena pack, ready to surround and consume whatever they see as a threat to their bottom line, regardless of the consequences to Main Street and the average Joe and Jill American. Below is a list from OpenSecrets of the top 20 corporations and what they spent to lobby Congress in 2009:
US Chamber of Commerce $73,899,200
Exxon Mobil $27,430,000
Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs of America $26,150,520
General Electric $21,470,000
American Medical Assn $20,830,000
Chevron Corp $20,815,000
Blue Cross/Blue Shield $20,067,939
Pfizer Inc $19,669,268
National Assn of Realtors $19,477,000
Verizon Communications $17,820,000
FedEx Corp $17,000,000
Boeing Co $16,850,000
National Cable & Telecommunications Assn $15,980,000
Northrop Grumman $15,180,000
Lockheed Martin $13,533,782
Business Roundtable $13,410,000
American Hospital Assn $13,230,696
Altria Group $12,770,000
Ain’t that some shit? Makes me wanna beat someone about the head and shoulders with a Louisville Slugger.