“The Select Few Who Actually Get It Done”

‘The Select Few’ Are Cashing in: Shocking Corruption at the Washington Post

By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, AlterNet.

If you want to know what really matters in Washington, don’t go to Capitol Hill for one of those hearings, or pay attention to those staged White House “town meetings.” They’re just for show. What really happens — the serious business of Washington — happens in the shadows, out of sight, off the record. Only occasionally — and usually only because someone high up stumbles — do we get a glimpse of just how pervasive the corruption has become.

Case in point: Katharine Weymouth, the publisher of The Washington Post — one of the most powerful people in DC — invited top officials from the White House, the Cabinet and Congress to her home for an intimate, off-the-record dinner to discuss health care reform with some of her reporters and editors covering the story.

But CEOs and lobbyists from the health care industry were invited, too, provided they forked over $25,000 a head — or up to a quarter of a million if they want to sponsor a whole series of these cozy get-togethers. And what is the inducement offered? Nothing less, the invitation read, than “an exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will get it done.”

The invitation reminds the CEO’s and lobbyists that they will be buying access to “those powerful few in business and policy making who are forwarding, legislating and reporting on the issues…

“Spirited? Yes. Confrontational? No.” The invitation promises this private, intimate and off-the-record dinner is an extension “of The Washington Post brand of journalistic inquiry into the issues, a unique opportunity for stakeholders to hear and be heard.”

Let that sink in. In this case, the “stakeholders” in health care reform do not include the rabble — the folks across the country who actually need quality health care but can’t afford it. . .

No, before you can cross the threshold to reach “the select few who will actually get it done,” you must first cross the palm of some outstretched hand. The Washington Post dinner was canceled after a copy of the invite was leaked to the web site Politico.com, by a health care lobbyist, of all people. The paper said it was a misunderstanding — the document was a draft that had been mailed out prematurely by its marketing department. There’s noblesse oblige for you — blame it on the hired help. . .

According to one poll after another, a majority of Americans not only want a public option in health care, they also think that growing inequality is bad for the country, that corporations have too much power over policy, that money in politics is the root of all evil, that working families and poor communities need and deserve public support if the market system fails to generate shared prosperity.

But when the insiders in Washington have finished tearing worthy intentions apart and devouring flesh from bone, none of these reforms happen. “Oh,” they say, “it’s all about compromise. All in the nature of the give-and-take-negotiating of a representative democracy.”. . .

It’s not about compromise. It’s not about what the public wants. It’s about money — the golden ticket to “the select few who actually get it done.”

When Congress passed the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, “the select few” made sure it no longer contained the cramdown provision that would have allowed judges to readjust mortgages. The one provision that would have helped homeowners the most was removed in favor of an industry that pours hundreds of millions into political campaigns. . .

Everyone knows the credit ratings agencies were co-conspirators with Wall Street in the shameful wilding that brought on the financial meltdown. But when the Obama administration came up with new reforms to prevent another crisis, the credit ratings agencies were given a pass. They’d been excused by “the select few who actually get it done.”

And by the time an energy bill emerged from the House of Representatives the other day, “the select few who actually get it done” had given away billions of dollars worth of emission permits and offsets. As The New York Times reported, while the legislation worked its way to the House floor, “It grew fat with compromises, carve-outs, concessions and out-and-out gifts,” expanding from 648 pages to 1400 as it spread its largesse among big oil and gas, utility companies and agribusiness.

This week, the public interest groups Common Cause and the Center for Responsive Politics reported that, “According to lobby disclosure reports, 34 energy companies registered in the first quarter of 2009 to lobby Congress around the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. This group of companies spent a total of $23.7 million — or $260,000 a day — lobbying members of Congress in January, February and March.

“Many of these same companies also made large contributions to the members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over the legislation and held a hearing this week on the proposed ‘cap and trade’ system energy companies are fighting. Data shows oil and gas companies, mining companies and electric utilities combined have given more than $2 million just to the 19 members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee since 2007, the start of the last full election cycle.”

It’s happening to health care as well. Even the pro-business magazine, The Economist, says America has the worst system in the developed world, controlled by executives who are not held to account and investors whose primary goal is raising share price and increasing profit — while wasting $450 billion dollars in redundant administrative costs and leaving nearly 50 million uninsured.

Enter “the select few who actually get it done.” Three out of four of the big health care firms lobbying on Capitol Hill have former members of Congress or government staff members on the payroll — more than 350 of them — and they’re all fighting hard to prevent a public option, at a rate in excess of $1.4 million a day.

Health care policy has become insider heaven. Even Nancy-Ann DeParle, the White House health reform director, served on the boards of several major health care corporations. . .

That’s how it works. And it works that way because we let it. The game goes on and the insiders keep dealing themselves winning hands. Nothing will change — nothing — until the money lenders are tossed out of the temple, the ATM’s are wrested from the marble halls, and we tear down the sign they’ve placed on government — the one that reads, “For Sale.”

h/t UnderNews

B’Man’s Hypocrite Watch: Crooks and Liars (Democratic Party Clowns?)

I write about this site every now and again, moreso to point out their feigned “Progressiveness” in light of what is truly happening: puckering up to suck the shit directly from Mr Barack Obama’s ass (along with virtually anyone in the Dem Party). In Nicolle’s latest post, she plainly spells it out for Single Payer advocates, precisely the agenda for C&L (and it is NOT for the betterment or for real Progressive change). She then warns the real progressives who bother to read at their site to not bother with the Single Payer issue and to step back with them (I call that regression, not progression) and support the alternative plan (yes, alternative in that the crooks and liars will still be supported by the evil bastards, the health insurance companies).

Is this your idea of being a “Progressive”, Nicolle?

Now before any of you start dismissing the campaign because it’s not single payer–please keep in mind that single payer is not on the table, nor is it likely to be on this go-round of health care reform. Obama has said that it would be too “disruptive” to the existing system. Our goal–and I speak for Blue America’s campaign and presumably PCCC as well–is to fight for the most vibrant public option possible currently and then to keep incrementally fighting for something closer and more akin to a single payer.

I believe strongly that we will eventually come around on single payer in this country. But we need to work for it tactically and intelligently, or we risk having the whole thing blow up in our faces as it did in 1993.

Gosh, Nicolle: you must be under the impression that Mr Obama is Emperor or The Messiah. Either that, or you came away from Mr Bush’s reign and decided that, yes, the POTUS is God. Somehow, Nicolle, you have become the antithesis of progressiveness. You are a water carrier, Nicolle. I hope you take heed to that description, for there are none better suited for you and your boss at this moment in time (I have had a C&L’s poster tell me what a great boss John is… good boss or not, he is fucking WRONG and this country will suffer because of his brand of ass kissing in politics).

No, what this parody of a progressive blog has done has turned into another Democratic party mouthpiece, much like the LittleGreenFootballs or Malkin’s site for the Republican Party. Although, John Amato “thinks” he is progressive, all he has been able to accomplish is bring even more of the crucial issues back to the right (or “middle”, as is described). But we all (those of us with some sanity left, anyway) understand that what is now the middle is the Right. Been that way for decades, now. So, I must laugh my ass off at these sycophantic assholes who claim the moniker of Progressive, yet, are playing right into the Conservative, Elitist’s playbook.

I didn’t think they could be so stupid and oblivious, but it is true. They are that stupid and oblivious.

I wanted to think that the motive is honorable (and with some of the posters, I feel it is), but the overall scope and breadth of C&L is not Progressive. Hardly. Just like the previous administration’s ability to claim their “conservative” name, John Amato and website is only a facade… an illusion to progressiveness… claiming the name and acting like a Bushie.

But it is BIG, isn’t it? That and a whole bunch of my ass expulsions get you nothing in this country. Being BIG, but thwarting the idea is paramount to selling your soul to the devil; but in this case, John is too stupid to realize he has sold out. He is living for the devil… promoting the devil’s agenda, yet is too god damned stupid to realize it.

Reread Nicolle’s comment and think to yourself of how it is these very types that have stopped the progressive movement in its tracks. Calls for the Public Option, which is just another way for Americans to get fucked, and to delay what Nicolle calls inevitable, is the height of hypocrisy and the sign of an entity that is corrupt, not one that is smart. It is owned by Big Money’s influence and the desire of John Amato to rub elbows with the Party Leaders and hopefully secure a role in the MSM, maybe.

The reason we didn’t get it during Clinton’s term was for the same kowtowing rationale Amato (and now Nicolle) give. Sorry, but I think that strategy is a piece of shit, just like the ideology of Demublican politics that have overtaken and rule C&L.

Crooks and Liars has its chance and they are blowing it. And I am calling them on it.

Get your C&L lips off of Barack’s ass and stand for REAL Progressive change.