What’s the point in lobbying politicians – when you can just BUY politicians?

The American Petroleum Institute – the largest lobbying organization for big oil polluters – announced yesterday they would start contributing to political candidates this year in preparation for the 2012 elections. The executive vice president for government affairs at API said about the announcement, "This is adding one more tool to our toolkit…at the end of the day, our mission is trying to influence the policy debate." It’s perhaps more than a coincidence that API made this announcement on the heels of President Obama announcing he will pursue cutting oil subsidies – a policy that the API said was, “a bad idea.”

This isn’t the first time the API has gotten in the game of politics. Last year – Greenpeace uncovered an internal memo at API revealing the organization attacked environmental regulation by creating and funding a fake grassroots movement. At the same time – API spent nearly $7 million lobbying Members of Congress in 2010. But of course – after Citizens United – what’s the point in lobbying politicians – when you can just BUY politicians.

And I think these guys are going for the big fish – they want the presidency.


growin's picture
growin 12 years 4 weeks ago

According to Matt Taibbi in his latest Rolling Stone article, Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail: "Criminal justice, as it pertains to the Goldmans and Morgan Stanleys of the world, is not adversarial combat, with cops and crooks duking it out in interrogation rooms and courthouses. Instead, it's a cocktail party between friends and colleagues who from month to month and year to year are constantly switching sides and trading hats." So Wall Street doesn't even need lobbyists, the transition is complete.

And while I am on that, Dean Baker, states this about the pensions: http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/pensions-2011-02.pdf

"Most of the pension shortfall using the current methodology is attributable to the plunge in the stock market in the years 2007-2009. If pension funds had earned returns just equal to the interest rate on 30-year Treasury bonds in the three years since 2007, their assets would be more than $850 billion greater than they are today. This is by far the major cause of pension funding shortfalls. While there are certainly cases of pensions that had been under-funded even before the market plunge, prior years of under-funding is not the main reason that pensions face difficulties now. Another $80 billion of the shortfall is the result of the fact that states have cutback their contributions as a result of the downturn." Beside the unions saying they are making concessions, they need to point out that there would not be a problem with underfunded pensions were it not for Wall St. and point out that this is evidence of what would happen to Social Security, too, if they can get their hands on some of that money.

Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 12 years 4 weeks ago

Last week, I learned that hydrologic fracking is coming to my county and to counties on the Ohio River. I live 30 minutes from Lake Erie. I called the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which has jurisdiction over drilling and drilling permits, to find out why fracking, which is known to poison groundwater, is permitted so close to the largest bodies of freshwater in the world. (Ohioans just voted last fall to join a pact with the other Great Lakes states and Canada to protect the Great Lakes water resource. Why go to all this trouble only to allow oil and gas to come in and poison it?)

Anyway...the "young man" told me that fracking has been done for 60 years, permitted under the Ohio Revised code 1509...blah...blah...blah... It's safe according to the Petrolium Institute--whatever.

He told me if I didn't like it, I could take it to my senator or congressperson. My answer to him was, "I don't have millions of dollars and scores of lobbyiest to get MY way in government." He didn't have anything to say about that.


Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 12 years 4 weeks ago

Senator Sharrod Brown of Ohio has an online petition to stop big money from taking over the election process. I suggest that all reading this, find the petition, sign it, and post it on your social media, so that we can begin the ONLY revolution that will help the people take back the US government.

yankeerebel64's picture
yankeerebel64 12 years 4 weeks ago

We do need Untouchables..........................

Ralph Nader comes to mind Ross Perot, Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul

and of course Thom Hartman

rocketgirl's picture
rocketgirl 12 years 4 weeks ago

Isn't this exactly the kind of corruption that finally reached the breaking point in the mideast? If the Supreme Court was shortsighted enough, or corrupt enough to not see that this kind of turmoil is the end result of allowing corporations to freely buy politicians, how can we expect the corporations to care at all? I can't believe that a few 'Masters onf the Universe' aren't a little nervous. Of course, when the uber rich get anxious, they just buy something outrageoulsly extravagent, like a senator, to prove to themselves that they are better than the rif raf and it gives them the false sence of security that will, eventually lead to their downfall.

As inevitable as this all is if there isn't any campaign reform and SOON, it doesn't make it any easier to live through.

jkh6148's picture
jkh6148 12 years 4 weeks ago

REPUBLICANS ARE SOCIAL DARWINISTS -- they believe the government should help the rich live long and prosper! THE government should let the rich exploit the working classes until they die from hard work and exhaustion!! AND should let the poor die off from starvation and disease because they will never amount to anything and are a drain on society!!!

""Social Darwinism is a belief, popular in the late Victorian era in England, America, and elsewhere, which states that the strongest or fittest should survive and flourish in society, while the weak and unfit should be allowed to die. The theory was chiefly expounded by Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), whose ethical philosophies always held an elitist view and later received a boost from the application of Darwinian ideas such as adaptation and natural selection.

According to Darwin's evolutionary theory, nature is a "kill-or-be-killed" system. Those that cannot keep up are either left behind or cut off. The strong survive, and those best suited to survival will out-live the weak.

The seeds of Social Darwinism were actually planted before the publication of Darwin's "The Origin of Species"(though of course the name didn't originate until after). Herbert Spencer, the father of Social Darwinism as an ethical theory, was thinking in terms of elitist, "might makes right" sorts of views long before Darwin published his theory. The concept of adaptation allowed Spencer to claim that the rich and powerful were better adapted to the social and economic climate of the time, and the concept of natural selection allowed him to argue that it was natural, normal, and proper for the strong to thrive at the expense of the weak. Whether it be humans, races, or the state, Spencer's thoughts were clear: "If they are sufficiently complete to live, they do live, and it is well they should live. If they are not sufficiently complete to live, they die, and it is best they die." In its simplest form, Social Darwinism follows the theory of "the strong survive," even in human issues.It is the application of the theory of natural selection to social, political, and economic issues. According to Social Darwinism, those with economic, physical, and technological strength flourish and those without are destined for extinction. This theory was used to promote the idea that the white European race was superior to others, and therefore, destined to rule over them.

Social Darwinism was used to justify numerous exploits which we classify as of dubious moral value today. Colonialism was seen as natural and inevitable; people saw natives as being weaker and more unfit to survive, and therefore felt justified in seizing land and resources. Finally, it gave the ethical nod to brutal colonial governments who used oppressive tactics against their subjects.

At the time that Spencer began to promote Social Darwinism, the technology, economy, and government of the "White European" was advanced in comparison to that of other cultures. Looking at this apparent advantage, as well as the economic and military structures, some argued that natural selection was playing out, and that the race more suited to survival was winning. Some even extended this philosophy into a micro-economic issue, claiming that social welfare programs that helped the poor and disadvantaged were contrary to nature itself. Those who reject any and all forms of charity or governmental welfare often use arguments rooted in Social Darwinism.

Social Darwinism has been used to justify eugenics programs aimed at weeding "undesirable" genes from the population; such programs were sometimes accompanied by sterilization laws directed against "unfit" individuals. The American eugenics movement was relatively popular between about 1910-1930, during which 24 states passed sterilization laws and Congress passed a law restricting immigration from certain areas deemed to be unfit. Social Darwinist ideas, though in different forms, were also applied by the Nazi party in Germany to justify their eugenics programs. With the development of the notion of eugenics — not only could you prevail over the unfit by making war on them, but you could improve the breed by applying "enlightened" notions of selection and genetics.

At its worst, the implications of Social Darwinism were used as scientific justification for the Holocaust. The Nazis claimed that the murder of Jews in World War II was an example of cleaning out inferior genetics. This view embraced the assumption that the strong were superior, and thus ordained to prevail. Social Darwinism applied to military action as well; the argument went that the strongest military would win, and would therefore be the most fit. Casualties on the losing side, of course, were written off as the natural result of their unfit status. Thus, if two countries were to make war on each other, the victor was biologically superior to the loser. It was therefore right and proper for that victor to subjugate or even eliminate the inferior opponent. Not only was survival of the fittest natural, but it was also morally correct. Indeed, some extreme Social Darwinists argued that it was morally incorrect to assist those weaker than oneself, since that would be promoting the survival and possible reproduction of someone who was fundamentally unfit. A second way pseudo-evolutionary concepts were applied to human interaction was in the development of cut-throat capitalism in the United States. Here the ideology was that the cream naturally rose to the top; the successful made a lot of money simply because they were superior to the unsuccessful. Those who found themselves in poverty were poor because they were intrinsically inferior. It provided a justification for the more exploitative forms of capitalism in which workers were paid sometimes pennies a day for long hours of backbreaking labor. Social Darwinism also justified big business' refusal to acknowledge labor unions and similar organizations, and implied that the rich need not donate money to the poor or less fortunate, since such people were less fit anyway. This political philosophy resisted suggestions like universal education, welfare, minimum wage; in short, anything which interfered with the business of the "superior" ascending to the top of the heap and squashing the unfit beneath their expensive shoes.""



making progress's picture
making progress 12 years 4 weeks ago

Don't talk about It, Be about It!

My Father thinks and says: "Wisconsin is the epicenter of the beginning ... it is the Bridge at Selma where civil rights took on a whole new face ... American people are waking up (I hope!)."

jacko9's picture
jacko9 12 years 4 weeks ago

After the "Citizens United" decision at the so called Supreme Court, corporations now OWN America and reversing that decision will take years if not decades.

Perhaps the approach to take is to attack the tax deduction for corporations and religions that engage in politics?

If we don't find a strategy with a multiple prong approach to regain our democracy we will decay into a third world country. One has to wonder if the republican approach is not something akin to world wide communism for the masses with the exception for the elite.

stonesphear's picture
stonesphear 12 years 4 weeks ago

Over 50 million barrels of Oil are consumed daily and Planned parenthood is a bad idea ?

yankeerebel64's picture
yankeerebel64 12 years 4 weeks ago

jkh6148 you post this on every blog try to post something different the question for comment was Is there any likely presidential candidate they won;t be able to buy? Tell us here.) do you even read the blogs ? or do you just post this article that most of it you did'nt even write ... no offense sir ..

jeremyeccles's picture
jeremyeccles 12 years 4 weeks ago

Test comment from mobile.

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