Truth About Lobbyists and Interest Groups

“One study of eighty-three (primarily liberal) public-interest groups found that one-third of them received half or more of all their funds from foundation grants; one-tenth received over 90 percent from such sources. In one ten year period the Ford Foundation alone contributed about $21 million to liberal public-interest groups. Many of these organizations were law firms that, other than staff members, had no members at all. The Environmental Defense Fund is supported almost entirely by grants from foundations such as the Rockefeller Family Fund. The more conservative Scaife foundations gave $1.8 million to a conservative public-interest group, the National Legal Center for the Public Interest.” [Wilson, DiIulio 2008]

The concept of using public interest groups to promote the agendas and ideals of a movement is, by this source, not exclusive to the liberal movement but heavily favored by it thus far.

President-elect Barack Obama may ultimately isolate himself from major liberal movement members if the proposed audit of Washington politics were to take a lasting toll on the liberal lobbies. The next four years will certainly answer just how far this coming administration is willing to go to remove corruption in public interest group finance and practice, but four years from now there will also once again be a national referendum on the highest office.

Should the effort ultimately take power from once strong lobbies for popular liberal agendas, the informed American Democratic Voter could potentially face a struggle at the polls when considering a vote for the incumbent President.

The power of an interest-group, in a classic design, should expand as the number of members and contributors expands. The ‘funded & unoccupied lobby’ described in quote above as a law firm is a critical element of what causes the real disruptions in Washington politics.

The figures and organizations that form the American lobbies and public-interest groups of today are not necessarily the root of the problem so much as the agendas of the highest funded public interest groups overriding the highest agendas of the wills of the people.

If the National Legal Center for the Public Interest (a weak lobby) were to receive a large increase in both number of members and in contributions. they should rightly increase in the voice and recognition in Washington and receive foundation grants in turn.

If the Environmental Defense Fund (a strong lobby) were to lose both member and public support their voice as a lobby should rightly decrease and even though they do not receive a majority in foundation grants they should be kept from taking them if they lacked any significant support in the public domain.

This is all within a classic definition of how the public interest groups should work. Any number of factors can increase or decrease the power of a single lobby and for this reason most of us limit our discussion on public-interest groups, or lobbies, to the number of members that are well-known or outspoken and the money behind the group.

Lobbyists are not are always motivated by ill or by good, despite the fact the lobby they work for is focused on a critical social issue or an important national matter that concerns you–or perhaps for a group with which you disagree strongly.

To speak broadly, they are like salesmen of political stances a person in Washington should take.

They are not invested into the case they are making in every single case but rather deliver the best argument in favor of the lobby that they can devise.

Politicians and lobbyists are very much the same, in many ways.

Without means to search the hearts of others to know for sure if they really believe what they contend or if they are simply going with the popular ideology to gain your favor, we will never know for certain if they stand for the people or if they stand for their own private interests.
We can only judge their actions in office as solid statements of policy.

Eric Lightborn

http://americapress.wordpress.com/

December 2008

Mexico in Crisis Today, America in Crisis Tomorrow

mexican-flag

(Flags of the World Database

According to the Public Broadcasting Station (affiliate: KQED) and the Mexican authorities an estimated 5,000 people have been killed in Mexico in the past year.

Kidnappings, public displays of carnage and executions are common place in areas where brave men and women speak out against the violent reign of the Cartels.

480 missing persons and kidnapping cases leave loving parents asking continually unanswered questions of the Mexican authorities.

A Cartel televised informant described a complete lack of any code of conduct in any of his experiences. He stated that Tijuana was the central focus of the Cartels for the drug trade, and launching point into the US.

The President of MexicoFelipe Calderon, was reported to say he saw “no escape” from a tail-spin into a corrupt culture of violence and drug lords in years to come.

The notion that the state of Mexican-national affairs will not ultimately effect American-national affairs is not supported by facts.

The likelihood of these events in Mexico between 2007 and 2008 effecting America in a highly negative fashion in years to come becomes more likely under any system that precludes the importance of action.

The danger posed by the Cartels and other violent organizations established in Mexico should be at the highest of priorities of border-state governors and all applicable agencies charged to such matters in our government.

 

 

Eric Lightborn

http://americapress.wordpress.com

http://twitter.com/EricLightborn

December 19th 2008

Republican Obstructionism in Health Care Reform

I see these God-forsaken ads running on my blog about how people are supposed to “Stop Obama-care Now!” and I would like to metaphorically spit on this nonsense once and for all. Anyone attaching the misnomer of “socialized medicine” or using the phrase “Obama-care” at this stage has already labeled themselves as part of the partisan agenda weakening this country from within everyday.

I contend that if we witnessed these same bills moving through Congress proposed by Republicans instead of Democrats that many of the same harsh opponents of reform would flip-flop their stance entirely. Almost anyone questioned on their position in the media or otherwise states that they think there should be “some kind” of reform.

I am left to think that a vast majority of the resistance to the passage of these measures is simply playing politics on behalf of Republicans, in that if President Obama passes a successful humanitarian bill that enhances the lives of so many American families the political consequences to their party will be too severe to manage.

At least the televised and media punditry are motivated by this end, if noting else.

This Party of No” mentality is dangerous to us all. If anyone has a valid objection or concern by all means they should make themselves known. But when a person simply stands on the legs of right wing talking points and shaky numbers I tend to think they would be a strong advocate for “McCain-care” if the universe where all flipped upside down.

Exception to Torture

18 US Code 2340 — Exception to Torture

“Torture means an act of a person acting under color of law to inflict severe physical and mental pain other than pain and suffering to lawful sanctions upon another person under lawful physical custody or control.”

This statute combined with the Justice Department memos seeking to define ‘enhanced interrogation’ as legal sanction are the method by which the Bush administration violated the US Constitution through the approval of cruel and unusual punishment on military detainees as part of lawful sanctions.

Many who use the word ‘torture’ on both sides of the argument fail to recognize this statute in it’s existence. I do not. Those who committed acts of torture as defined by US Legal Code should face prosecution for their acts no matter if they belong to an agency of US origin or not. The Nuremberg Defense is invalid. If your commanding officer orders you to commit torture you are bound by law to resign rather than accept the orders.

The US Supreme Court has rejected the argument that holding military detainees indefinitely is constitutional, stating that habeas corpus (the right to speedy trial) must be granted to terrorism suspects.

The United States Constitution applies as to persons and not exclusively to citizens nor exclusively within our borders. Wherever America goes, the Constitution follows.

Ours was the nation that defined specifically waterboarding as torture to be banned by the Geneva Convention, we proposed that their were to be no exceptions under the law for this method of interrogation to be lawful sanction. This nation once stood against the tactics of the communists who oppress freedom of opinion with fear and propaganda. When politically expedient such a review of history is rejected for the failed logic of ’enhanced interrogation’ being successful and vital to national security. All available credible information on the matter says otherwise and the FBI has warned of a ’blow-back factor’ from using such tactics from the beginning.

Not only do tactics like waterboarding endanger national security but they degrade our ability to conduct ourselves as a credible nation to other nations whom engage in human rights violations and nuclear proliferation. We have no weight in our stance while we allow illegalities to go unpunished within our own government and our own military.

Now somehow in these dark days we have a portion of the country who believe in using the very tactics of the communists that we rallied against so many years ago in a new battle where following this ideology will undoubtedly lead to yet another terrorist attack on the homeland and further the goals of global terrorism abroad. I contend if we listen to the perspective of former Vice-President Richard Cheney on the matter that we will provoke the national security situation to an irreparable state.

 

Panetta versus Cheney

leon_panetta_informal_photo

CIA Director Leon Panetta is quoted as saying in regards to the recent Cheney media appearances:

“It’s almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it’s almost as if he’s wishing this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point. I think that’s dangerous politics.”

dick-cheney

Former Vice-President Dick Cheney has responded by saying he hopes Panetta was misquoted in claiming his wish for an attack.

Panetta is absolutely right. The shameful, hawkish media-tour to promote torture policy and degrade the Obama presidency should be met with even more harsh words than these of Panetta’s. But they will do for the time being.

Rusty Humphries is a Fascist

Rusty Humphries is a disturbed individual. He sought to express to his audience today that for the first time since his wife passed away, a year ago, he felt as if tears would well up into his eyes. What caused him this moment of anguish and misery equal to the loss of a loved one? The images of recently released Guantanamo Bay terror suspects, referred to as “Uighurs,” to Bermuda.

One more radio pundit has lost his mind in the age of a return to American justice and the US Constitution being enacted under President Barack Obama. The partisan hate and ignorance of the fundamental values of American Democracy is disturbing and leads to only one conclusion: Rusty Humphries supports totalitarian-fascist policies for the U.S.

RUSTBUCKET: “These guys [Uighurs] had every intention of doing terrorist acts on China.”

One has to prove this in a court of law if you intend to detain any person. Innocent until proven guilty is a fundamental difference between American and Fascist Ideals.

RUSTBUCKET: “China has made it clear they will execute and make example of all terrorists.”

This is true. They are also a nation guilty of endless human rights atrocities. It is clear to me that this particular radio-jockey is a pro-fascist and anti-democratic pundit.

This is the U.S., not China.

Those who lose their country seek to protect the U.S. Constitution.

Those who love fascism seek to defend torture and detainment without trial.

His hatred for President Obama and all things American is so great, and so vastly partisan, that he continues to jeopardize and threaten the nation with his dangerous and unconstitutional rhetoric.

Obama Cairo Speech

Associated Press:President Barack Obama addressed a wide array of issues, including the Iraq war and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in his address to Muslims in Cairo Thursday. (June 4)

Alan Colmes quoted a series of reactions to the speech on his website:

“The part of Obama’s speech regarding the Palestinian issue is an important step under new beginnings. … This is the beginning of a new American policy and this policy is creating a new atmosphere to build the Palestinian state.” – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: