Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pure B.S.

If anyone on the national scene is a bigger bullshitter than Newtie, I can't imagine who it could be.
Think Progress: Despite Running A Health Industry ‘Trade Association,’ Gingrich Says He Will Not Register As A Lobbyist

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has founded several businesses, including a for-profit health care firm called the “Center for Health Transformation” (CHT) and a communications firm called the “Gingrich Group.” CHT serves approximately 94 health industry corporations and lobby groups, including health insurance (BlueCross BlueShield Association, WellPoint, AHIP, UnitedHealth), health IT (L-3 Enterprise, Microsoft, IBM), and pharmaceutical companies — with each paying up to $200,000 annually. And although CHT has no registered lobbyists or lobbyists on retainer, Gingrich has used his CHT business to promote his clients’ interests in Congress:

Gingrich Meets With Lawmakers To Help Craft Specific Policy, Legislation: In March 2009, Gingrich met with Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) and other members of the GOP Doctors Caucus to help write conservative health reform alternative legislation. “Gingrich provided us with great insight as we work to craft health care solutions for the 21st Century,” proclaimed Gingrey after the meeting. As FireDogLake has reported, through his CHT firm, Gingrich wrote healthcare legislation introduced by Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA). Gingrich’s CHT also “consulted” with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on health reform legislation that would deregulate the insurance industry. As the American Spectator reported, the Coburn-Ryan bill also contained the exact health IT proposals backed by Gingrich.

Gingrich Helps Clients Obtain Specific Financial Opportunities From Legislation: As Business Week reported, Gingrich and his CHT firm worked with health IT firms like IBM and Microsoft “on how to grab some of the $19.6 billion in federal stimulus money.” The article notes that Gingrich helps “open doors” on Capitol Hill for his business clients.

Gingrich Advises Lawmakers On Legislative Strategy: According to the New York Times, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) discusses strategy on a “regular basis” with Gingrich. Throughout 2009, Gingrich attended whip meetings with the GOP caucus to “educate” rank and file Republican lawmakers on the health reform debate. Gingrich provides “Newtgrams” — constant e-mails and messages with tactical advice — to a vast array of Republican legislators in both the House and Senate. By helping the GOP kill health reform, Gingrich is also assisting his health insurance clients, which all oppose reform.

Gingrich Coordinates Meetings Between Corporate Clients, Public Officials: In December 2009, Gingrich met with Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and industry partners to discuss potential Wall Street investments in health IT. A health IT trade magazine has noted that since 2007, Gingrich has worked to pair business leaders with influential lawmakers and government officials to promote health IT programs. In March 2009, Gingrich organized a conference to create an “innovative business matchmaking framework” between Israeli telehealth firms, American health insurance and health technology companies, and Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine.

At a CHT press conference on Monday promoting tort reform (CHT clients include medical malpractice consulting firms for doctors), Gingrich attacked President Obama’s health proposals for lacking a supposed “rhythm of transparency.” In the spirit of this transparency, ThinkProgress asked Gingrich why he has not registered as a lobbyist to provide greater clarity on who exactly is paying him to lobby on legislative issues, especially given the influence of his ideas. Gingrich dodged and explained that he is not a lobbyist because when he lobbies Congress, he does so at the request of lawmakers every time. According to lobbying guidelines, lobbying members of Congress counts as lobbying regardless if it necessarily benefits each client. Nevertheless, Gingrich defended his actions by stating that his lobbying is not technically lobbying because it “benefits the country at large.” Watch it:

At the event, CHT Vice President David Merritt told ThinkProgress that Gingrich has “flipped the trade association model really on its head” by pushing an agenda, then inviting clients who support that agenda to “sign on.” Merritt said that it is “very true” that corporate clients pay Gingrich because his agenda benefits them. However, like Gingrich, Merritt explained that Gingrich’s lobbying never benefits individual clients, thus disqualifying Gingrich as a lobbyist.

However, trade associations like the Chamber of Commerce or AHIP also do not necessarily lobby for individual members. Instead, they lobby for policies that benefit groups of members or the industry as a whole. AHIP, the Chamber, the National Association of Manufacturers and other trade associations largely follow the law and register their own lobbyists, as well as lobbyists they contract out. Since Gingrich’s CHT is essentially a health industry trade association, the same rules should apply to Gingrich.

As ThinkProgress reported, Gingrich has been working closely with the oil industry through another project he leads. In his ubiquitous punditry, Gingrich touts himself as an author, a “futurist,” a conservative thinker — anything but a lobbyist. But as the evidence shows, he has positioned himself as a nexus between corporate clients and mostly Republican lawmakers. For the sake of transparency, Gingrich should register as a lobbyist pursuant to the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

Aravosis: Please back away from the Teabagger, ma'am

Politico reports that conservatives are now trying to purge the Teabaggers of their most extreme elements, such as birthers and the militia movement:

After months of struggling to harness the energy of newly engaged tea party activists, the conservative establishment - with critical midterm congressional elections on the horizon - is taking aim for the first time at the movement’s extremist elements.

The move has been cast by some conservatives as a modern version of the marginalization of the far-right anti-communist John Birch Society during the reorganization of the conservative movement spearheaded in the 1960s and 1970s by William F. Buckley Jr.

“A similar effort will be required today of conservative political and intellectual leaders,” former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson wrote in his column in the Washington Post . “It will not be easy. Sometimes it takes courage to stand before a large crowd and proclaim that two plus two equals four.”
In front of conservatives, that would be next to impossible. You see, facts have a liberal bias. It's the reason a recent study showed that kids who go to college end up more liberal. Intelligence and knowledge tend to make you more accepting of reality, and other human beings. That doesn't go over so well in Republican circles, where far too many believe that great grandma used to hang out with pterodactyls.
digby: Teabaggers Aren't The Only Kooks
Right up there with them are the neocon "intellectuals." Check out the latest lunacy from middle east expert Frank Gaffney (now writing for Breitbart, natch. What a hustle...)
Among other reprehensible actions, Team Obama terminated the nation’s only program capable of providing a near-term ability to intercept ballistic missiles early in their flight (i.e., the boost-phase). This Airborne Laser Program nonetheless was successfully tested earlier this month — destroying not one but two missiles similar to those arrayed against us and our friends today and making the case that such systems should be operationalized and deployed as a matter of the utmost urgency.

Then, there are the persistent reports that President Obama is going to accede to Russian demands to reinstitute bilateral restrictions on missile defenses as part of the new START follow-on treaty now being finalized with the Kremlin. Moscow lost its effective veto over such U.S. systems when George W. Bush withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2001 and the Russians have been as anxious as its American fellow-travelers to be able to exercise it again.

Now, thanks to an astute observation by Christopher Logan of the Logans Warning blog, we have another possible explanation for behavior that — in the face of rapidly growing threats posed by North Korean, Iranian, Russian, Chinese and others’ ballistic missiles — can only be described as treacherous and malfeasant: Team Obama’s anti-anti-missile initiatives are not simply acts of unilateral disarmament of the sort to be expected from an Alinsky acolyte. They seem to fit an increasingly obvious and worrying pattern of official U.S. submission to Islam and the theo-political-legal program the latter’s authorities call Shariah.

What could be code-breaking evidence of the latter explanation is to be found in the newly-disclosed redesign of the Missile Defense Agency logo (above). As Logan helpfully shows, the new MDA shield appears ominously to reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo.

People keep talking about the reasonable Republicans reasserting themselves. Who are they?
Media Matters: Gaffney issues correction on post linking Missile Defense Agency logo to Obama campaign logo, Islamic star and crescent

From a February 27 post by Frank Gaffney on

In a post here Wednesday, under the headline "Can This Possibly Be True?," I called attention to a "new" logo being used by the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency (MDA) on the grounds that it bore a disconcerting resemblance to an amalgamation of the Obama campaign's logo and the symbols of Islam, the crescent and a single star. It turns out the answer is "no," it isn't true that the MDA's logo is exactly new or, apparently, that it reflects an Obama-directed redesign.

We have since learned that the logo has been used at the MDA website since at least October 2009. Matters are made more confusing by the fact that the agency continues to use its older shield-like logo for online and other purposes. The contract for a complete rebranding for MDA was let in 2007, during the Bush administration, although much of the work appears to have been done in 2008 in follow-on contracts during the presidential campaign in which the Obama logo was much in evidence.

It has also been observed that - rather than embracing the symbolic crescent and star, they could be interpreted as the targets of the intercepting swoosh in the MDA's latest logo. If so, the 2009 design would presumably be offensive to Islamists, rather than evidence of submission to them.

For these reasons, I am content to have the question posed in the last post be answered in the negative, and I regret any confusion caused by my suggesting otherwise.

SmoothLikeRemy: The REAL Pre 9-11 Mentality

Imagine for a second that we were in bizarro world and John McCain had won the presidency. And in this bizarro world it was say Senator Dick Durbin instead of Richard Shelby who had placed holds on President McCain's nominees many of them for positions high up in the military. What do you think the GOP response would be to an exchange like this one on CNN?

BASH: I spoke with Geoff Morrell over at the Pentagon and just asked him what the impact is of not having these three people in place — one of whom, as you know, is the number two at the Air Force. He said, “Without these people, we’re not firing on all cylinders.” And he also said, “It does adversely affect the organization.”

Are you worried about that? This is a time of war –

SHELBY: The Pentagon is a big place. I don’t think one or two will affect anything except on the margins.

BASH: Do you think that the nominees you have holds on are qualified?

SHELBY: Oh, I don’t have any idea. I looked at them closely and we’ll see. Sometimes that’s not the issue.

Senator Shelby admits that he is holding up nominees for Pentagon posts whose qualifications he can't even say are lacking. He further states that missing one or two people won't affect anything when we are in the midst of two wars and trying to keep our homeland safe from terrorist attacks.

Democrats, please find a fucking spine and bury this asshole. If the situation was reversed he would have not only been shamed into releasing these holds, he would have had to go to the floor of the Senate and apologize by now.

Frank Rich:

The leaders embraced by the new grass roots right are a different slate entirely: Glenn Beck, Ron Paul and Sarah Palin. Simple math dictates that none of this trio can be elected president. As George F. Will recently pointed out, Palin will not even be the G.O.P. nominee "unless the party wants to lose at least 44 states" (as it did in Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Waterloo). But these leaders do have a consistent ideology, and that ideology plays to the lock-and-load nutcases out there, not just to the peaceable (if riled up) populist conservatives also attracted to Tea Partyism. This ideology is far more troubling than the boilerplate corporate conservatism and knee-jerk obstructionism of the anti-Obama G.O.P. Congressional minority.

1 comment:

  1. Marsha Blackburn Voted FOR:
    Omnibus Appropriations, Special Education, Global AIDS Initiative, Job Training, Unemployment Benefits, Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations, Agriculture Appropriations, U.S.-Singapore Trade, U.S.-Chile Trade, Supplemental Spending for Iraq & Afghanistan, Prescription Drug Benefit, Child Nutrition Programs, Surface Transportation, Job Training and Worker Services, Agriculture Appropriations, Foreign Aid, Vocational/Technical Training, Supplemental Appropriations, UN “Reforms.” Patriot Act Reauthorization, CAFTA, Katrina Hurricane-relief Appropriations, Head Start Funding, Line-item Rescission, Oman Trade Agreement, Military Tribunals, Electronic Surveillance, Head Start Funding, COPS Funding, Funding the REAL ID Act (National ID), Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, Thought Crimes “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, Peru Free Trade Agreement, Economic Stimulus, Farm Bill (Veto Override), Warrantless Searches, Employee Verification Program, Body Imaging Screening.

    Marsha Blackburn Voted AGAINST:
    Ban on UN Contributions, eliminate Millennium Challenge Account, WTO Withdrawal, UN Dues Decrease, Defunding the NAIS, Iran Military Operations defunding Iraq Troop Withdrawal, congress authorization of Iran Military Operations.

    Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.
    See her unconstitutional votes at :