THE GOOD NEWS: TOBACCO
Ralph Sierra: “TOBACCO COMPANIES MUST LIST CHEMICALS, FDA SAYS – this little noticed story in the Washington Post recently shows our county’s good fortune in electing Obama. There was a time when tobacco companies were up there with the NRA in striking fear in the hearts of our congresspeople. No way would McCain/Palin have allowed the FDA to require tobacco companies to list the poisons that are used to ‘enhance’ the taste of cigarettes.”
THE BAD NEWS: SMART LAWYERS, WEAK REGULATORS
Whereas this story — HOW TO KEEP HEALTHCARE COSTS HIGH IN ONE EASY LESSON — shows you what we’re up against. As an investor in speculative drug stocks, I want to preserve incentives. But it feels as though the balance has swung too far. In this case, Abbott Labs lawyers have figured out a way to hit us up for an extra $700 million a year on just one drug I had never even heard of.
A PARTY ON OUR SIDE
Democrats are for empowering people to vote (“motor voter” laws and the like) and limiting the influence of corporations. Republicans are for limiting the ability of people to vote (shortening early-voting windows, passing laws to discourage voter registration, making it harder for poor people and young people to vote) and expanding the influence of corporations.
Right now, it’s entirely legal for the DNC to take contributions from federal lobbyists and PACs. Yet for more than 4 years, at the President’s direction, it has not. The RNC does. The Obama campaign never has; the McCain campaign did and I assume the Romney campaign will. Last I checked, there were more than 10,000 federal lobbyists and PACs, and they love giving money. We don’t take it; the other team does. This is not chump change: at $5,000 each, say, that’s $50 million a year.
And that’s just one of the steps the President has taken to weaken the influence of special interests.
· President Obama is the first in history to publicly disclose White House visitors.
· His administration bars anyone who has been a registered federal lobbyist in the past two years from presidential appointments.
· Donating to the campaign neither provides access nor precludes it. Thousands of people who don’t contribute to the campaign visit the White House every week.
By contrast, Governor Romney does not disclose his bundlers (and only discloses bundlers who are federal lobbyists because it’s required by a law the President helped pass). He holds fundraisers with lobbyists who are assigned to develop specific policies for him.
Had Al Gore gotten to appoint Supreme Court Justices instead of George W. Bush, we would not have had the 5-4 Citizens United ruling — basically, a Republican “corporations are people” ruling — under which corporations and billionaires can have outsize influence on elections and intimidate specific Congress people into doing their bidding with the mere threat of a $10 million attack against them in their next election.
You’ll find 182 of them here — pithy statements with unexpected endings. Like some of these circling the Internet:
1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.
3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
5. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
6. Buses stop in bus stations. Trains stop in train stations. On my desk is a work station.