Category Archives: Lobbyist

President Obama’s Saturday YouTube Address 02/13/10

white house gov logoWhiteHouse.gov—The President, having just signed the “Pay As You Go” law, discusses the importance of this fundamental rule to getting budget deficits in check. Ensuring that new spending and tax cuts are offset was a important factor in creating the budget surplus of the late 1990’s.
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The Death of U.S. Political Democracy For The People

Posted by: LibbyShaw

Will the Senator from Wal-Mart please yield to the Senator from Halliburton? The Congressman from Black Water has 5 minutes remaining before the Congresswoman from United Health may speak.

Mark your calendars, folks. January 21, 2010 is the day the radical and activist Supreme Court of the United States delivered the U.S. Democracy into the hands of the corporate sector and special interests groups. According to an article in the New York Times corporations, lobbyists and unions can now legally purchase their candidates of choice.

“We have got a million we can spend advertising for you or against you – whichever one you want,’ ” a lobbyist can tell lawmakers, said Lawrence M. Noble, a lawyer at Skadden Arps in Washington and former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission.

The decision yesterday will usher in unimaginable numbers of Swift Boat attack ads. Corporate fat cats can now threaten and bully politicians to do their bidding or else.

“It will put on steroids the trend that outside groups are increasingly dominating campaigns,” Mr. Ginsberg said. “Candidates lose control of their message. Some of these guys lose control of their whole personalities.”

“Parties will sort of shrink in the relative importance of things,” he added, “and outside groups will take over more of the functions – advertising support, get out the vote – that parties do now.”

Front row: Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, John Paul Stevens, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Antonin G. Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. Back row: Associate Justices Samuel A. Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor.

Some have called the SOTUS decision a power grab that is intellectually dishonest.

In opening the floodgates for corporate money in election campaigns, the Supreme Court did not simply engage in a brazen power grab. It did so in an opinion stunning in its intellectual dishonesty.

Many of those commenting on the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission have focused on the power-grab part. I agree with them. It was unnecessary for the court to go so far when there were several less-radical grounds available. It was audacious to seize the opportunity to overrule precedents when the parties had not pressed this issue and the lower courts had not considered it. It was the height of activism to usurp the judgments of Congress and state legislatures about how best to prevent corruption of the political process.

“If it is not necessary to decide more, it is necessary not to decide more,” a wise judge once wrote. That was Chief Justice John G. Roberts — back when — and dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens rightly turned that line against him.

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Republicans naturally and predictably love this recent ruling. But of course they would. Republicans embrace and fully support authoritarian forms of government. And the sad truth of the matter is the GOP has always worked for the corporate sector.

It is devastatingly unfortunate that Republican voters have never been able to understand the hard, cold and mean reality of those they elect into office. Politicians take an oath to serve the people in their districts but many merely give their constituents nothing but empty rhetoric. If one were to closely examine one’s Republican lawmakers’ voting records one would find who their elected officials really work for.

My guess is the teabaggers will wraps it head around the reality of the SCOTUS decision like we progressives have, for the only one imperative we do share in common is a collective outrage over the corporate takeover of the U.S. government and its legislative process by special interest groups and corporations.

But unfortunately teabaggers, unlike progressives, are far too easily led astray by the likes of Dick Armey, one of the numerous behind the scenes leaders of the teabagger movement. Armey’s main mission is to promote the interests of the health care industry. He and his organization, Freedom Works, uses teabaggers as its tools.

Republicans and teabaggers alike have been led to believe that the government is the root of everything evil while progressives know that government is the only force that can and will protect us from the evils of self-serving greed mongers of the corporate sector.

We are where we are today b/c the corporate sector has been enabled to run rough shod over the American people. We are broke. There are no jobs. We lost homes. We lost retirement savings. Meanwhile on Wall St. the fat cats who can now purchase politicians get richer by the minute.

Elections have consequences. The nice guy or girl candidate with whom to have a beer could very well be an anti-political democracy devil in disguise who has every intention of throwing the middle and working classes to the lions.

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Oh, and Prince Alwaleed, grandson of the King of Saudi Arabia and the largest individual shareholder in Citigroup and second biggest shareholder in News Corp (Murdock’s FOX “News”) doesn’t like Obama’s tax on the banks.

Who would have thought?

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President Obama’s Saturday Address + Ben Nelson “Yes Man”

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WhiteHouse.govThe Patient’s Bill of Rights and Health Reform

December 19, 2009

The President looks back to the bipartisan Patient’s Bill of Rights, a bill that was defeated in Congress at the hands of special interests and their supporters, and notes that health insurance reform covers the same ground and much more in terms of giving the consumers the upper hand over their insurance companies. He calls on the Senate to allow an up-or-down vote, and for those opposing reform to stop using parliamentary maneuvers to drag it out.
Read the Transcript

December 19, 2009.

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Related Story: AP sources: Sen. Nelson to support health bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic officials say Sen. Ben Nelson intends to support health care legislation backed by President Barack Obama, giving the measure a 60th and decisive vote.

These officials say the Nebraska Democrat will make an announcement later Saturday. Marathon negotiations with the White House and Senate Democratic leaders produced fresh concessions that will mean additional abortion restrictions in the legislation.

source:

Budget office: Democrats’ bill covers 94 percent of population

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional budget scorekeepers say the latest Democratic health care bill would cover 94 percent of eligible Americans while reducing the federal deficit.

The Congressional Budget Office said Saturday the changes announced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would cut the deficit by an additional $2 billion, bringing the 10-year total reduction to $132 billion.

The nearly $900 billion bill would be paid for by $483 billion in cuts to Medicare and other federal health programs, as well as tax increases.

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I have news for Texas Senator John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions

blogpost by libbyshaw

This morning, when I unfolded the front page of the Houston Chronicle the headline

GOP begins to show signs of resurgence

hit me in the face.

Really? A Republican resurgence?

I guess the fact that much of his N.J. constituency viewed Corzine as arrogant, corrupt and the dude who saddled his constituents with high property taxes while at the same time has strong ties to the thieves of all thieves, Goldman Sachs, had nothing to do with his loss.

And let’s ignore the fact that Wall. St. and the financial sector is among the largest employer in the NYC and northern NJ area. Many mid to lower level employees in the financial sector received pink slips when Wall St. crashed. I guess these folks are not in the least bit angry at those who are or were part of the Wall St. establishment.

Earth to GOP obstructionists: incumbents even remotely tied to the Wall St. melt down and the thieving banks are going to get the boot unless Congress does something to regulate and demand transparency from the financial industry.

The once popular New York’s former Democrat and now Republican billionaire mayor Bloomberg had to spend millions upon millions of his own money, outspending his opponents 10 to 1 to barely squeak by a win.

And a lackluster candidate in purple Virginia who ran a lackluster campaign in which he fled from a progressive agenda in a state that traditionally votes for a Governor who is not in the same Party as the President, is a sign of a GOP insurgence?

Voters don’t vote if candidates fail to excite them. And no matter the party, voters will vote against corrupted and/or lying incumbents. Nor will they vote for a candidate who calls him or herself a progressive or conservative but whose words and deeds show they are anything but. Some Republicans may be able to fool the teabagging crowd and old white Independents with double talk and spin, but this crowd is a mere tiny minority. Just wait until Independents in Va. realize the newly elected governor, who pretended to be a centrist, is really a hard core conservative. Welcome to teabagger land, Indies. Maybe next time you won’t be fooled by self-serving liars.

John Cornyn, of course, is gloating all over the place about two the Democratic gubernatorial losses.

These Republican victories clearly demonstrate a strong wave for our candidates in the 2010 midterm elections,” said Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

And predictably, good ol’ Taliban Pete Sessions is also salivating over the Democratic gubernatorial losses. Check out Matt Glazer’s piece over at The Burnt Orange Report.

What John Cornyn and Taliban Pete Sessions fail to admit is the fact that the U.S. House now has two more Democrats. Their Republican colleagues in New York and California had their butts kicked.

John Cornyn and Taliban Pete Sessions are also ignoring the fact that despite all of the money pumped in from outside and all of Sarah Palin’s and Dick Armey’s teabagging efforts, a Democrat in upstate New York took a seat that has been held for over 138 years, since the Civil War, by a Republican.

A progressive Democrat in a traditionally swing and Republican district in California won. And the state of Washington had one progressive victory after another last night.

I wouldn’t gloat too much, Senators. Your job in Washington just got a lot harder. Meanwhile, back here at home, in case you boys forgot that Houston is the largest city in Texas, three progressive Democrats and one Republican ran for mayor. The Republican dude and the old white guy with boatloads of bucks lost. The run-off race is between a gay woman and an African American male. In case you didn’t notice, Texas is growing far more tolerant and diverse. Demographics matter.

After yesterday’s election, all incumbents in all districts should be quaking in their boots. We voters are tired of do nothing and corrupted politicians. The majority of us showed up in 2008 and we demanded transformational change. And yet all we get from Congress are no, never obstructionist Republicans and feet dragging Blue Dogs who seemed to have forgotten what Party they belong to.

Give us what we want or pay dearly in 2010 and 2012. These forthcoming elections will be no cake walks for incumbents.

Earth to the Houston Chronicle: if you do not want to offend progressives like me and unleash a lot of wrath and canceled subscriptions, edit out your reporter’s biased gloating headline.

Finally, earth to all Republicans and GOP enablers in the press and mainstream media, the Republican Party is embroiled in a civil war and it is going to get very bloody.

A conservative’s interpretation of upstate New York’s outcome.

The story of NY-23 is “the Right starts dismantling the Republican establishment.” This is about how the Republican Party is defined and who defines it.

Right now, the movement wants the Republican Party to be defined by opposition to big government. Gradually, as new leaders arise, we will demand that the Republican Party be defined by its own solutions, as well, but rebuilding is an incremental process. We can hammer out the policy agenda and the boundaries of the coalition later.

For now, our job is to disrupt the establishment GOP. If we beat Democrats while we’re at it, great. But the first priority is to fix the Drunk Party – the Living Dead establishment Republicans. They’re history. They just don’t know it yet.

NY-23 was the first shot in that war. It was a direct hit. Next year, we start storming the castle.

I guess the Republican purity purging is due to the fact that Sarah Palin is still ticked off that John McCain’s campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, refused to let Ms. Narcissist give a concession speech after Republicans had their butts kicked royally in 2008.

Indeed, Steve Schmidt distrusted Palin to the point that he was convinced she would figure out how to deliver a speech despite the fact the Vice Presidential candidates rarely if ever give concession speeches.

Schmidt apparently turned off the lights while poor Sarah stood on the stage, unable to spew her self-serving nonsense.

When Presidential candidate John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 he unleashed the devils of all devil genies from a bottle buried deep in a Republican made hell.

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My Letter to Texas U.S. Senators Hutchison and Cornyn

posted by libbyshaw

To: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
202-224-0776
Senator John Cornyn
202-228-2856

Re: Health Care Reform

I strongly urge you to vote for health care reform that includes a public option.

If a public option is not included in the bill, the health insurance industry will continue to overcharge premiums and deny care to patients. As we know from former Cigna executive, now whistle blower, Wendell Potter, the health insurance industry will continue to make obscene levels of profits, based precisely on denying critical care to very sick and dying patients. It will continue to increase premiums.

We also know from the recent report written by the AHIP that the insurance companies will indeed increase its premiums because insurance doesn’t like what it read in the Baucus bill. This goes to show you how arrogant and appallingly greedy the health insurance industry has become.

We also know from the town hall meetings this past August at which we heard much about “death panels, “killing Granny,” Hitler, and Pol Pot, that many of these rallies were orchestrated by special interests in the health insurance business and groups led by Dick Armey of Freedom Works and Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity. In other words, many of those town hall meetings were merely staged events to misinform people and foment fear among seniors.

Despite what conservatives like you believe, or say you believe, a public option will not be a government takeover of the health care industry. On the contrary, a public option will introduce competition into a field that has become a solid monopoly. Competition will ensure that prices will decrease and will make health insurance more affordable for American families. I find it ironic really, that conservatives are now against competition.

I also find it troubling and disingenuous that some members of Congress do not believe their constituents deserve the same health care coverage that most if not all members enjoy in Congress. Your coverage, Senators, is the best taxpayer funded government run socialist health care that is affordable. According to a recent ABC news report, members of Congress pay $500.00 per year for the best health care taxpayer money can buy.

The insurance picture is especially grim, if not desperate, in Texas.

• One in four Texans is uninsured, the highest rate of uninsured in the country.
• Texas ranks 51 in access to care in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
• In the past five years, Texans saw insurance premiums jump 40 percent. That is 10 times faster that the increase in Texans’ income.
• Texans pay the third highest premiums in the country.
• In Texas, we pay more, for less. The Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research rates the quality of health care in Texas as “weak,” in comparison to other states.
• Texas businesses and families shoulder the hidden tax of roughly $1,800 per year on premiums as a direct result of subsidizing the costs of the uninsured.
• Health care costs are the number one cause of bankruptcy in America.

Recent polls show that the majority of the American people want a public option included in health care reform. All Texans want affordable health insurance, too. We want competition. We want choices and we want affordability.

The uninsured have every right to access. They also have every right to access they can afford. All must have health insurance or a plan that will protect them from bankruptcy.

At the very least, the United States should give its residents what every other industrialized first world nation offers to its people. None other than we the American people have to suffer and die under a reprehensible practice called death by the spreadsheets.

Sincerely yours,

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Grab a Mop. We Have Work To Do

Posted by Libby Shaw

This President rocks. It’s daunting to think about how many warehouses of socialist mops and vats of extra strength socialist Lysol we’ll need to clean up Republican Texas.

Aside from the need for socialist mops, the really good news this week is that it looks like we are getting closer to HCR that includes a public option. We have the AHIP (American Health Insurance Plans) to thank for this. According to Paul Krugman of the New York Times. It seems that AHIP’s threat to increase rates b/c it didn’t like the Baucus bill backfired.

A Hatchet Job So Bad It’s Good

It seems that a bunch of selfish greed mongering fat cats had become so desperate and crazed by the mere thought that they might lose one penny that the fat cats blew up the very building they were protecting.

Shall we cry ’em a river folks?

I didn’t think so.

Moving along to outing scumbags updates, on Thursday night Rachel Maddow took apart the President of Americans for Prosperity, Tim Phillips, limb by limb. Tim Phillips is a GOP operative whose organization has been involved in the most unsavory and disgusting campaigns possible. The group excels at fear, smear and lies. Americans for Prosperity’s activities range from involvement with the swift boat attacks on former Vietnam Vet and Senator from Georgia, Max Cleland, to mailing flyers to Christians in the south claiming that Chinese workers in the Marianas Islands were being taught the word of God.

Christians should therefore support the federal government’s extending certain protections to the employers there. Later the Dept. of Interior discovered some of the workers were being forced into sex slavery, and some were required to have abortions. I wonder if Americans for Prosperity included these small details in the flyers?

As we know former U.S House Speaker (R) Tom Delay and convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff were also key players in the Marianas Islands and its sex slavery and forced abortions.

A huge round of applause to Rachel for calling Phillips a parasite and fear monger right to his face.

Part I

Part II

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz is about to blow a blood vessel over U.S. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid’s lack of leadership. Poor Harry has been bludgeoned by Senate Republicans for so long that he actually believes he has to please his abusers. Come on Harry. Grow a spine. The bullies can’t beat you up anymore.

Keep giving ’em hell Ed.

Last week Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC’s Morning Meeting told the President of the Chamber of Congress to stop talking nonsense. Donahue said he wanted to create thousands of new jobs in America b/c the federal government and trial lawyers can’t do it. Ratigan smelled a rat when Tom Donahue used the term trial lawyers. Ratigan honed in on Donahue and grilled him until the guy became crisply scorched.

Ratigan used to appear on CNBC and he seems well-informed about financial matters.

Where were these no-nonsense, hard edged TV journalists during the W. years? Better late than never I guess.

But the really good news is that health care reform is going to happen and no amount of obstruction in Congress from Republicans, Blue Dogs, teabagging, tea parties and ginned up town hall meetings can stop it now. Krugman gives us an idea of why.

For 2009, it turns out, is not 1993. Once again, Republicans have tried to kill reform with smears and scare stories. But all they seem to have killed with their cries of “socialism” and warnings about “death panels” is their own credibility. Some form of health-care reform is highly likely to pass.

So it’s a different game than it was 16 years ago. And it’s a game that the insurance industry apparently doesn’t know how to play.

It will happen because we will make it happen folks. We are the people we have been waiting for.

Next up, how are we going to drive Republicans out of Texas?

Grab a boatload of mops. Make that socialist mops. And don’t forget the Lysol – extra strength, please.

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President Obama’s Saturday Youtube Address 10/17/09

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WhiteHouse.gov—In his weekly address, President Barack Obama praised the progress that has been made on health insurance reform, and spoke out against those who defend the status quo in order to score political points and protect their profits. With reform the closest it has ever been to becoming law, the insurance companies are rolling out deceptive ads, paying for misleading studies, and flooding Capitol Hill with lobbyists. Now, Washington needs to serve the American people, not the special interests.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
October 17, 2009

Over the better part of the past year, a great debate has taken place in Washington and across America, about how to reform our health care system to provide security for people with insurance, coverage for those without insurance, and lower costs for everyone. From the halls of Congress to the homes of ordinary Americans, this debate has helped us to forge consensus and find common ground. That’s a good thing. That’s what America is all about.

Now, as the debate draws to a close, we can point to a broad and growing coalition of doctors and nurses, workers and businesses, hospitals and even drug companies – folks who represent different parties and perspectives, including leading Democrats and many leading Republicans – who recognize the urgency of action. Just this week, the Senate Finance Committee approved a reform proposal that has both Democratic and Republican support. For the first time ever, all five committees in Congress responsible for health reform have passed a version of legislation. As I speak to you today, we are closer to reforming the health care system than we have ever been in history.

But this is not the time to pat ourselves on the back. This is not the time to grow complacent. There are still significant details and disagreements to be worked out in the coming weeks. And there are still those who would try to kill reform at any cost. The history is clear: for decades rising health care costs have unleashed havoc on families, businesses, and the economy. And for decades, whenever we have tried to reform the system, the insurance companies have done everything in their considerable power to stop us.

We know that this inaction has carried a terrible toll. In the past decade, premiums have doubled. Over the past few years, total out of pocket costs for people with insurance rose by a third. And we know that if we do not reform the system, this will only be a preview of coming attractions. A new report for the Business Roundtable – a non-partisan group that represents the CEOs of major companies – found that without significant reform, health care costs for these employers and their employees will well more than double again over the next decade. The cost per person for health insurance will rise by almost $18,000. That’s a huge amount of money. That’s going to mean lower salaries and higher unemployment, lower profits and higher rolls of uninsured. It is no exaggeration to say, that unless we act, these costs will devastate the US economy.

This is the unsustainable path we’re on, and it’s the path the insurers want to keep us on. In fact, the insurance industry is rolling out the big guns and breaking open their massive war chest – to marshal their forces for one last fight to save the status quo. They’re filling the airwaves with deceptive and dishonest ads. They’re flooding Capitol Hill with lobbyists and campaign contributions. And they’re funding studies designed to mislead the American people.

Of course, like clockwork, we’ve seen folks on cable television who know better, waving these industry-funded studies in the air. We’ve seen industry insiders – and their apologists – citing these studies as proof of claims that just aren’t true. They’ll claim that premiums will go up under reform; but they know that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that reforms will lower premiums in a new insurance exchange while offering consumer protections that will limit out-of-pocket costs and prevent discrimination based on pre-existing conditions. They’ll claim that you’ll have to pay more out of pocket; but they know that this is based on a study that willfully ignores whole sections of the bill, including tax credits and cost savings that will greatly benefit middle class families. Even the authors of one of these studies have now admitted publicly that the insurance companies actually asked them to do an incomplete job.

It’s smoke and mirrors. It’s bogus. And it’s all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, “Take one of these, and call us in a decade.” Well, not this time. The fact is, the insurance industry is making this last-ditch effort to stop reform even as costs continue to rise and our health care dollars continue to be poured into their profits, bonuses, and administrative costs that do nothing to make us healthy – that often actually go toward figuring out how to avoid covering people. And they’re earning these profits and bonuses while enjoying a privileged exception from our anti-trust laws, a matter that Congress is rightfully reviewing.

Now, I welcome a good debate. I welcome the chance to defend our proposals and to test our ideas in the fires of this democracy. But what I will not abide are those who would bend the truth – or break it – to score political points and stop our progress as a country. And what we all must oppose are the same old cynical Washington games that have been played for decades even as our problems have grown and our challenges have mounted.

Last November, the American people went to the polls in historic numbers and demanded change. They wanted a change in our policies; but they also sought a change in our politics: a politics that too often has fallen prey to the lobbyists and the special interests; that has fostered division and sustained the status quo. Passing health insurance reform is a great test of this proposition. Yes, it will make a profound and positive difference in the lives of the American people. But it also now represents something more: whether or not we as a nation are capable of tackling our toughest challenges, if we can serve the national interest despite the unrelenting efforts of the special interests; if we can still do big things in America.

I believe we can. I believe we will. And I urge every member of Congress to stand against the power plays and political ploys – and to stand up on behalf the American people who sent us to Washington to do their business.

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