After a year in which numerous British politicians have resigned or been publicly embarrassed by revelations over expense claims, the major UK political parties are promising new faces for the next election. However, Marie Woolf notes that "more than 50 prospective candidates chosen by the main parties are already working as lobbyists and public relations executives and are deeply enmeshed in the world of spin and politics.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce "has emerged as a multitasking, multimillion-dollar defender of the private sector against presidential initiatives," reports Associated Press. It's launched a $2 million campaign to oppose a "public option" in the healthcare reform plan, but -- to further the interests of the insurance industry -- wants "to work with the White House to mandate coverage for all." It's slamming the public insurance option in "newspaper and online ads ...
"Trade associations and companies both inside and outside of Honduras have stepped up their lobbying efforts in Washington," reports The Hill. U.S.
The DCI Group, a lobbying and public relations firm known for creating front groups for industry clients and Republican campaigns, is behind a new anti-health reform front group, the Coalition to Protect Patients' Rights (CPPR). "CPPR has been organizing lobbying efforts against health reform and publishing op-eds across the country with misinformation about the public option," reports Think Progress.
With the Waxman-Markey climate change bill before the U.S. Senate, coal and energy utility lobbyists are out in force. While the legislation will only have direct effect in the United States, it will indirectly have a major influence on the negotiation of a replacement agreement to the Kyoto Protocol.
AdAge reports that those supporting Obama-style health care reform are "hoping to avoid a costly ad war they would stand a good chance of losing. 'The Democrats in Washington are clearly hoping for a short fight,' said Evan Tracey, president of the TNS Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group, in a blog post. ...
Wendell Potter is the former CIGNA health insurance executive who is now Senior Fellow on Health Care with the Center for Media and Democracy. He is blowing the whistle on his former industry's lobby and PR tactics and was interviewed July 16, 2009 for forty-five minutes by Amy Goodman of the radio and TV program Democracy Now! The entire interview can be viewed online. Here is a snippet:
AMY GOODMAN: What is the game plan of the health insurance industry?
WENDELL POTTER: Well, the game plan is based on scare tactics. And, of course, the thing they fear most is that the country will at some point gravitate toward a single-payer plan. That's the ultimate fear that they have. But they know that right now that is not something that's on the legislative table. And they've been very successful in making sure that it isn't. They fear even the public insurance option that's being proposed, that was part of President Obama's campaign platform, his healthcare platform. And they'll pull out all the stops they can to defeat that. And they'll be working with their ideological allies, with the business community, with conservative pundits and editorial writers, to try to scare people into thinking that embracing a public health insurance option would lead us down the slippery slope toward socialism and that you will be, in essence, putting a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor. That is—you know, they've used those talking points for years, and in years past they've always worked.
The negotiating team representing Honduras' coup government "rarely made a move without consulting ... an American public relations specialist who has done work for former President Bill Clinton," reports the New York Times. Roberto Micheletti heads the "de facto" government of Honduras, which took power after the military coup against elected president Manuel Zelaya.
Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien has been appointed as a "senior international adviser" to Ivanhoe Mines. The Executive Chairman of Ivanhoe Mines, Robert Friedland, who earned the nickname "Toxic Bob" after a major cyanide spill from a gold mine in Colorado in 1993, was upbeat about the benefits of hiring Chretien.