PublicCitizen on Oct 25, 2011
Bill Moyers Journal
April 30, 2010
Bill Moyers Journal: Iowa Citizens
The Journal also travels to Iowa where one group, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement CCI, has been helping ordinary citizens fight for change for more than three decades.
By Jim Hightower
Old Congress critters never die; they just flitter away to K Street.
Take Dennis Hastert. Actually, he’s already taken. The longtime Republican lawmaker retired last November, but rather than return to Illinois, he has alighted just a few blocks from the Capital at the blue-chip lobbying firm of Dickstein Shapiro. The firm lured Hastert with more than half a million bucks in annual pay, designating him “strategic counselor” on the legislative needs of its corporate clientele.
Dickstein Shapiro brags that it lobbies for more than 100 of the Fortune 500 corporations – a lineup that includes tobacco giants, drug companies, the nuclear industry, mercenaries like Triple Canopy, and such brand names as AT&T and Time Warner. Hastert will feel right at home in this crowd, for he was always a faithful legislative errand runner for corporate America. Indeed, corporate interests essentially ran the place when Hastert was Speaker of the House, with the likes of super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff given a free hand to cut corrupt deals. While Dennis no longer has the muscle to ram through a corporation’s agenda, he certainly has his old buddy network and insider knowledge to get favors done – this time for personal gain.
Hastert is hardly the only Capital Hill alum to cash in on his public trust. In recent years, more than 200 former members have made the lucrative metamorphosis from lawmaker to lobbyist, and Congress’s feeble ethics rules even let members openly shop for lobbying jobs while they’re supposed to be doing their legislative work. This is a revolving door system that special interests are happy to exploit – last year, they paid nearly $3 billion to hire Washington influence peddlers. That’s $17 million for every day Congress was in session.
And Congress critters wonder why their public approval rating is a humiliating 11 percent.
“It’s So Much Nicer on K Street,” The New York Times, June 6, 2007
“Revolving Door: Hastert’s New Gig,” www.opensecrets.org, June 5, 2008
“Dennis Hastert to Join Gay and Transgender Inclusive Law Firm,” www.openleft.com, May 30, 2008
“Message From Our Chairman,” www.dicksteinshapiro.com
“Hastert to join D.C. lobbying firm,” www.swamppolitics.com, May 30, 2008
“Former Speaker Hastert to join lobbying firm,” www.thehill.com, May 30, 2008
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By Jim Hightower
February 7, 2008
Seal-the-border hysteria is everywhere. Instead of blaming immigrants for America’s problems, let’s look at executives on both sides of the border.
The wailing in our country about the “invasion of immigrants” has been long and loud. As one complainant put it, “Few of their children in the country learn English …The signs in our streets have inscriptions in both languages … Unless the stream of the importation could be turned they will soon so outnumber us that all the advantages we have will not be able to preserve our language, and even our government will become precarious.” Continue reading
Posted by Jim Hightower
Wednesday, 15 August 2007
Government snoops and spooks, infiltrators and interrogators, phone tappers and data miners, psy ops and spy cameras, the CIA and FBI, the Pentagon and your local police, Homeland Security and the Patriot Act – and, of course, the Department of Dick Cheney – all are watching our movements, monitoring our political efforts, surveilling any opposition to the established authorities, and routinely making a mockery of our rights of free speech, assembly and privacy.
And now: China. Since our own officials have created a surveillance society in the “Land of the free,” Chinese officials apparently feel free to snoop on us, too.
Gearing up for next year’s Olympic Games in Beijing, China’s spy agencies are mounting an unprecedented intelligence-collection drive, targeting U.S. and other foreign citizens and groups that might organize political protests during the games. Of course, just as our leaders do, China’s rulers are couching this assault on liberty in terms of protecting the public from terrorists.
But the U.S. groups being targeted include evangelical Christians concerned about religious repression in China, environmentalists concerned about China’s role in global warming, and human rights activists concerned about China’s acceptance of genocide in Darfur. These are not terrorists and they’re not planning anything violent. Yet, Chinese intelligence operatives are compiling lists of the leaders and members of these groups, monitoring their plans, and quite likely infiltrating them.
China’s ruling regime is not concerned about protecting the people – it’s concerned about protecting itself from the people. And by the way: where is our government? Has it become so jaded by its own invasions of America’s basic liberties that it won’t even muster a peep of protest when a foreign government violates our people’s freedoms?
“China tries to ID likely protesters at Olympics,” Austin American Statesman, July 24, 2007
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.