U.S. Supreme Court

Keystone XL Pipeline Reeks of Koch

Keystone XL Pipeline Reeks of Koch

For the public, the entire Keystone XL (KXL) streamliner is washing down easier with a confidential Big Gulp of Koch.

“The too-billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, usually get what they want, but never what they deserve.” — Gaea

People who breathe the atmosphere, drink water, eat food, are hostages of an increasingly haywire, engineered climate…that’s us, and at the swipe of Obama’s pen, we have a fresh Kochmare coming on-line.

Misinformation, disinformation, emotional manipulation and Kochspeak are railroading us toward the most dangerous diluted bitumen (DilBit) pipeline ever to sell out vital American resources to benefit so few—not to mention the global atmospheric carbon bomb.

How do we stand to gain from KXL?

The greatest known “public benefit” from KXL will be higher gasoline prices. [1]

KXL’s sheer potential for destruction winds along a bleak and tarry road to deliver hell for the unborn, at a “profit”. From melting bitumen out of the ground using vast amounts of natural gas and fresh water…to dilution with natural gas liquids so the DilBit can be squeezed through a pipeline impaling our heartlands…to filthiest of refining leading to a guaranteed crescendo of environmental disaster. At least in scope, it’s all similar to the sheer profit potential for psychopaths with pockets deep enough for politicos to dive in from the high board and wallow around under the thumb of Koch.

Our system of resource allocation is fatally broken (Kochen). Instead of capitol investment in energy with a future, billions are sucked into the deadest of ends—the blackest of fossil-energy black holes…bitumen. [2]

The dominating Koch agenda seems a ruthless assurance that every child not born into wealth like David and Charles has a nightmare future—if they have a future at all. Could there be a more disgusting example of hubris than Kochs cloaking one of their political-subversion fronts as: “Coalition for our Children’s Future”?

Regarding various breeds of euphemism…Kochism virtually defines “sinister”.

Kochspeak In Action

Whenever corporate profit most degrades the biosphere, Koch-brother tentacles are usually winding around nearby—professionally-cloaked, but there’s the smell.

That smell…biocidal mélange of gas, oil, bitumen, diluted bitumen, refining and shipping, industrial chemicals, paper and pulp mills, chemical fertilizer, corporate “Free $peach!” and politicos up to their hairlines in campaign contributions…. Incredible stench, victim discretion beyond advisories.

Spearheading recent Koch-and-dagger denial is the pronouncement that Keystone XL “oil sands” pipeline has “…nothing to do with any of our businesses”. For people paying attention, that might seem much like Santa Claus announcing that Christmas has nothing to do with any of his businesses.

Rep. Henry Waxman of California is the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee.  Declarations by Koch Industries officials, to the tune of KXL has “…nothing to do with any of our businesses”—a song and dance sharpening Waxman’s focus on the guarded KXL Koch connection.

(Editor’s note:  you can watch this confrontation a recorded from C-SPAN2 by clicking here and you really should witness this as a written description does not do this justice.   It is at the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee Meeting 2.1.12.  Members making opening statements on the Obama administration’s decision to deny permission to deny permission to continue with plans to build the Keystone XL Pipeline.  A very partisan committee hearing—apples talking at oranges and vice versa.

Upton comments about Canada building a pipeline toward shipping to China.  But Koch has a refinery in MN that could be refurbished just as they have to refurbish a refinery in Corpus Christi.  So why is the pipeline even necessary?  Because from Corpus Cristi the oil can be loaded into supertankers for shipping the tar sands oil overseas.

Waxman-Whitfield confrontation at Senate Hearing
The Henry Waxman vs. Ed Whitfield battle begins in earnest 17:22 into the C-SPAN2 video, when Waxman starts quoting facts.  You have to watch this to believe it.  This is our government, and that’s very distrubing.)

Waxman sent a letter to Reps. Fred Upton (R-Michigan, Energy and Commerce committee chairman) and Ed Whitfield (R-Kentucky, Energy and Power subcommittee chairman), urging them to seek Koch Industries documents that Waxman’s staff had been denied.

Upton and Whitfield were dancing to the Koch campaign-contribution rag, busy ramming a bill through congress to force an Obama administration decision on KXL by November 1, 2011. The bill passed in the House, but passed away in the Senate.

Stomping on the face of public interest…for such Orwellian aggression, the language of Kochspeak is money, and political intrigue. The 2010 landmark ruling by Supreme Court of the United States in Citizens United -vs- Federal Election Commission [3] maximized the volume of Kochspeak.

According to the L.A. Times, the largest single donor to members of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the 2010 money miasma called “election” was Koch Industries and their employees. $20,000 of that went to Fred Upton, reliable Koch asset also spearheading efforts to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new rules regarding greenhouse gas emissions.

Koch Industries’ response to Rep. Waxman’s interference included:

“As we explained to Representative Waxman’s staff, we have no financial interest in the project (KXL). Given these facts, we are confused about why Koch is being singled out and inserted into these discussions.”

An L.A. Times op-ed by Michael Brume, executive director of the Sierra Club, describes KXL as being backed by the Koch brothers. Koch officials demanded a “correction”, insisting to L.A. Times editors that: “Koch is not involved in the Keystone Pipeline project in any way as we have stated publicly and has been widely acknowledged. This is not a matter of opinion since there are no facts to the contrary.”

(editor’s note:  I thought I would add this screen shot from Koch Industries’ Discovery Magazine, an in-house production.  Just seemed so appropriate.)

Koch Industries - Discovery Mag - Flint Hills Resources

The shibboleth, “…we have no financial stake in the pipeline” is clearly revealed as classic Kochspeak by a form submitted to Canada’s National Energy Board in 2009 by Koch’s Flint Hills Resources Canada. (Flint Hills) “…is among Canada’s largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters. Consequently, Flint Hills has a direct and substantial interest in the application” (for the pipeline under consideration). That pipeline, approved in 2010, is Canada’s 327-mile portion of KXL.

Responding to a Reuters article titled: Koch Subsidiary Told Regulators It Has ‘Direct and Substantial Interest’ in Keystone XL…Koch representatives assured Reuters that Koch has no interest in Keystone XL—even whined about media bias; meanwhile, Koch Industries was spending millions upgrading its Corpus Christi refinery to handle more DilBit….

Realistically, if the Kochs were “…not involved in the Keystone Pipeline project in any way”, why all the denial?  Considering Koch style, denial seems solid admission that Kochs are positioned to make a killing from KXL, after getting a toehold in Canadian bitumen fifty years ago.

Koch Style

Investigator and author extraordinaire Greg Palast relates this precious episode of Koch style from over twenty years ago:

Charles Koch had a contract to glean oil from the Osage Indian Reservation with a “stripper well”. Secret tape recordings of a Koch Industries top executive document Charles demanding drivers of oil tankers to secretly siphon a few dollars worth of oil from every private tank on the Osage Reservation fed by stripper well. The FBI filmed oil thefts with hidden cameras, recorded Koch’s childish giggling over ripping off Native Americans. Koch even snickered about the question of why a multi-billionaire would steal petty amounts of oil from destitute Osage…and in purest Koch style, replied:

“I want my fair share—and that’s all of it.”

The Justice Department, armed with exhaustive evidence, indicted Koch Industries for “Crime on an Indian Reservation”, and racketeering; major prison-time criminality.

Charles Koch simply stroked a couple of senators in his pockets (Bob Dole of Kansas, Republican majority leader; Oklahoma’s Don Nickles)…and the federal prosecutor handling the case was fired. Case closed (giggle).

Koch Style runs in the family. It was Bill Koch, younger brother of Charles and David, that ratted on his brothers…leading to an open-and-shut case for anyone not above the law.

Bill had been promised a cut of what, in addition to petty theft from personal tanks on the Osage Reservation, turned out to be hundreds of millions in oil stolen from Native lands. But brothers Charles and David reneged on the deal, cut Bill out of profits that hardly register in Koch-level crime. So Bill squealed.

Actual steel pipe in KXL is probably free of Koch-Industries fingerprints; refining, shipping and export is where Kochs have set themselves up for KXL windfall.

Kochs already import and refine 25% of Alberta Death Ooze (ADO) pumped into the US. KXL will increase import by over 500,000 barrels per day. Once again, Kochs’ “…we have no financial interest in the project” seems like Kochspin admission of deep involvement with KXL.

Since Koch Industries Inc. (Mother Hydra to a snarl of subsidiary tentacles) is mostly owned by Charles and David Koch, their operations are mostly private (the second-largest privately-held U.S. corporation is Koch Industries). Kochs parlay secrecy with the flair of billionaires who pilfer from impoverished Native Americans…billionaires who consider their fair share to be, “…all of it.”

One thing not secret: Koch Brothers are President Obama’s bitterest political enemies. Often considered architects of the dirty-energy paradigm, Kochs are enemies of anything to do with clean energy. After all, in Kochworld, clean energy is simply potential for filthy lucre, denied. Fossil energy offers nothing filthier than bitumen, the proverbial “bottom of the barrel”.

The entire energy-from-bitumen industry has very effectively perception-managed the public into shrugging off bitumen as “crude oil”. Inculcation of DilBit being “oil” is relentless. Mainstream media (MSM) has been issued progressive, evolving euphemisms to disguise even the massive Alberta bitumen deposits as “oil”. Success at public conditioning was reflected last week in an Associated Press article titled:

Obama disputes jobs on Keystone XL line

Counting the worm-term “Keystone XL oil pipeline” from the first sentence, the word “oil” is used five times. Not a peep about tar, bitumen, DilBit. The article also quotes a draft environmental report released by the State Department this March:

“…no significant environmental impact to most resources along the proposed pipeline route.”

That’s right, they said “most”. Sinister omen, anyone?

Definition from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition:

Bitumen 1: an asphalt of Asia Minor used in ancient times as a cement and mortar 2: any of various mixtures of hydrocarbons (as tar) often together with their nonmetallic derivatives that are obtained as residues after heat-refining natural substances (as petroleum); specif: such a mixture soluble in carbon disulfide

Among bitumen euphemisms foisted upon the public by MSM, there’s been a whiff of truth; “Alberta tar sands”, or simply, “tar sands” for instance. But Koch-furthering of ADO has tarred and feathered truth.

Diluted Bitumen (DilBit) is NOT Oil Ask the IRS—lone public entity to which bitumen pushers don’t try to pawn off DilBit as oil.

The oil industry pays an eight-cents-per-barrel tax on crude oil produced in or imported to the US; proceeds are earmarked for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund that covers cleanup costs for oil spills.

In 2011, at the request of a company whose identity is kept secret (smell that smell?), an exemption was made that frees DilBit from this tax—an exemption potentially worth over $60 million annually when KXL is on-line. The secret company insisted that “oil” from Canada’s tar sands is so different (chemistry, behavior, how it’s produced) that it should not be considered crude oil.

Deception and KXL go together like rum and Koch.

Texas is where KXL DilBit will be refined for the global market. Texas, and federal statutory codes, define crude oil as “liquid hydrocarbons extracted from the Earth at atmospheric temperatures”. That certainly excludes bitumen.

As if raw bitumen (almost a solid) isn’t bad enough, the stuff must be diluted with up to 50% natural gas condensates (proprietary liquids called diluents) into an abrasive, sulfurous brew that abrades and rots steel pipeline. DilBit. And no matter where you look, DilBit only gets worse. The biocidal brew must be heated to 160-degrees Fahrenheit to reduce viscosity enough that it can be squeezed through pipeline at 1,440 pounds per square inch (PSI). So, DilBit pipelines don’t leak, they erupt!

The most expensive “oil spill” in US history which, according to EPA, “…permanently polluted thirty miles of Michigan’s Kalamazoo River”—that was “The Marshall Spill” [4], a certain sneak preview what might ultimately finish off DilBit pipelines.

The Bitter End Light sweet crude oil is the cream of petroleum. Globally, the cream has been largely skimmed off, leading to higher profits from lower grades (light sour, heavy sweet, heavy sour)…until bitumen itself has become marginally profitable. Lowest sulfur content is “sweet”, higher sulfur is “sour”, with bitumen being the sourest of all, as well as heaviest. And the term, “profitable” has many dynamics, many interpretations, many costs deferred….

A scale to measure profit in exploitation of petroleum resources is Energy Returned On Investment (EROI); how much energy is gained for how much energy invested. Crude oil has a high EROI, averaging out to about 25:1 (25 units of energy gained from 1 unit of energy invested).

Bitumen pushers shill about ADO having an EROI as high as 5:1 when surface mined. ADO from deeper, mined by steam injection, averages less than 3:1, they say. But when transportation, refining, and other economic costs are factored in, ADO might barely make an EROI of 1:1…not counting “unforeseen” disasters such as the Marshall Spill, or anything else non-economic.

Besides ADO having a zombie EROI…there’s the carbon problem. Climatologists talk about “…game over for the climate” if the Alberta ‘tar sands’ are fully exploited.

EPA estimates that ADO has a “well-to-tank” carbon footprint 82% greater than oil. Canadian bitumen deposits could contain twice as much carbon dioxide as we’ve unleashed so far upon the biosphere in our entire history of using oil.

ADO for energy seems about the worst idea ever to divert billions of dollars from investment in new energies—if not one of the worst ideas in the history of…civilization. When it comes to fossil energy, could there be a bitterer end than bitumen?

In a shocking moment of candor, TransCanada even said of their own baby, (Keystone XL pipeline) would be “…a boon for corporate profits, but a burden for American consumers.” [5]

President Obama has a monster tar baby on his hands. Sure seems like, potentially at least, it would be difficult to convince people that a DilBit pipeline through the heart of their nation is in the public’s best interests. Environmental catastrophe risked for largely foreign corporate profits from a product destined for the global market and expected to increase domestic gasoline prices, tough sell. Illusions of public benefits such as jobs are mostly that, illusions.

And if Obama permits KXL he will handing his bitterest political enemies a tremendous victory. Kochs have declared war on Obama, like to call him Saddam Hussein. [6]

Among the best things Obama might ever say about America—especially describing our energy future:

“Without further ADO.”

Problem is, whether on not the 1,375-mile US leg of KXL will go on-line no longer appears to be question of “if”…only, “when”. Kochs usually get what they want. That means our last line of defense against threats of Canadian bitumen could be the inevitable disaster of DilBit itself.

The main question could involve how much environmental damage, how many lives lost or ruined, and how much stealing from the future will we roll over for? How much kicking in the face will we endure before fighting to make more humane the answer to the question: Is corporate profit more important than Life on Earth?

Power never concedes anything without a fight. Will we ever muster the focus and courage to take the fight directly to such as too-billionaire psychopaths for which their fair share equals, “…all of it”—and that includes the future of life on Earth?

For more information regarding Dilbit, ADO, and illusions of KXL public “benefits”, please see:  Keystone XL: DilBit Through the Heartland by clicking here.

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Footnotes:

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/22/report-keystone-xl-gas-prices_n_1536227.html

[2] https://www.google.com/search?q=alberta+tar+sands+raw+bitumen&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=rII&tbo=d&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=qsbjUJH0KMeeiAKfvoHADw&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAA&biw=734&bih=457

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission

[4] http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120626/dilbit-diluted-bitumen-enbridge-kalamazoo-river-marshall-michigan-oil-spill-6b-pipeline-epa

[5] http://sierraclub.typepad.com/compass/2012/09/transcanada-keystone-toxic-tarsands-flip-flops.html

[6] https://www.google.com/search?q=kochs%27+war+on+obama&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=2f9&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&q=koch%27s%27+war+on+obama&spell=1&sa=X&psj=1&ei=WbpMUbqBB-HniAKw5oCoDg&ved=0CDAQBSgA&fp=1&biw=734&bih=468&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&cad=b&sei=bDxOUaqNM4LQiwLuo4CgCA
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This article is written by Rand  Clifford and is posted at
http://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/03/23/keystone-xl-pipeline-reeks-of-koch/
veteranstoday

 

 

Like a bad rash, Voter ID bill returns to NC

voter suppressionIt’s ba-aack. The Voter ID bill is on the GOP agenda again.

Last night the Republican leadership held a public hearing on proposed Voter ID legislation. (It happened after press time; check our Triangulator blog for a roundup.)

The bill, which almost 75 percent of North Carolinians support, according to a recent Elon University poll, is being framed as a way to address the issue of voter fraud. Except there have been no notable instances of voter fraud. And there’s another reason former Gov. Bev Perdue put the kibosh on Voter ID when the measure landed on her desk in 2011: “This bill, as written, will unnecessarily and unfairly disenfranchise many eligible and legitimate voters,” she stated at the time.

It’s difficult to know what identification will suffice at the polls if Voter ID becomes law, but it’s likely that a driver’s license or a state-issued identification card will be required.

Opponents of the legislation point out that a significant number of North Carolina voters don’t have photo ID and may find obtaining one to be time-consuming and expensive. Numbers from the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles and State Board of Elections, compiled by watchdog group Democracy North Carolina, show that 506,000 active registered voters in the state don’t have photo ID: 31 percent are African-American, 66 percent are women, 26 percent are seniors and 53 percent are Democrats, compared to 23 percent who are Republican.

The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has beenThom Tillis ALEC legislator of the year behind the design of these bills nationwide. (House Speaker Thom Tillis is an ALEC member, and won a State Legislator of the Year award in 2011.) According to data from New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice, at least 34 states have introduced photo ID legislation since 2011, and in eight states, new photo ID bills have become law.

Though Tillis pledged that the bill “will include provisions that make IDs readily available at no cost to residents,” Democracy NC Executive Director Bob Hall says that making IDs free could cost the state millions of dollars and is an democracy ncunlikely scenario.

“There [would be] people having to go get a driver’s license,” says Hall, “and then it turns out they have to go get a birth certificate. Then the birth certificate has their maiden name on it, so then they have to get a marriage license to show that their name has changed. The whole thing starts to add up to a lot of money and it really does amount to a poll tax.”

There’s also the question of the bill’s necessity. According to Veronica Degraffenreid of the state Board of Elections: “There’s no evidence to substantiate any type of widespread or systematic voter fraud in North Carolina. There are various types of voter fraud, so to the extent that any one person or entity has impersonated another voter, then certainly voter ID would help to prevent that specific type of voter fraud. But in the elections world there are other types of fraud that voter ID may not necessarily address.”

The kinds of voter fraud that voter ID laws would potentially address—impersonation and misrepresentation of residency—are rare in North Carolina. An official document from the Board of Elections states that “most allegations prove to be unfounded, lack criminal intent, or cannot be substantiated.”

From 2000–2012, district attorneys investigated just two cases of impersonation and three in which residency was thought to have been misrepresented.

Because of its potential to disenfranchise African-American voters, voter IDI won't live with Jim Crow legislation has been compared to the Jim Crow laws that institutionalized racism in the U.S. for almost a century. “The horror villain we can’t get rid of, essentially the specter of Jim Crow,” says N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller, “returns to the nightmare on Jones Street we’re seeing in this state.”

However, the constitutionality of voter ID legislation has already been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2008 ruled 6–3 that Indiana’s voter ID law is constitutional.

In North Carolina though, legislation faces a major hurdle: 40 counties with histories of discriminatory voting practices are covered by Section 5 of the LBJVoting Rights Act. Any changes to the voting laws in these jurisdictions must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department.

Hall says that Section 5 provides the basis for a challenge. “The Justice Department did step in, in South Carolina, for exactly the same reason,” he said. “They had the numbers that show that a disproportionately high number of African-Americans would be the ones who are registered voters who don’t have a driver’s license. And we’ve got that data here.”

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This article is written by Jane Porter and is published at http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/like-a-bad-rash-voter-id-bill-returns/Content?oid=3394545

IndyWeek

 all highlights and pictures were added by the VLTP editor

An ALEC Sham – The International Task Force

by 2old2care


For a couple of entries coming up – I am going to be taking snips from an excellent piece of investigative journalism written by Bob Sloan, the Executive Director of the Voter Legislative Transparency Project (VLTP).

I’m going to do this in multiple entries – using snips – ’cause I am a “blogger” with ADD, with the attention span for research and writing of about that of a flea
(let’s jump around and do this – or this, no this, maybe this, or this …).


ALEC-New Partnerships and Exposing Hidden Foreign Influences

Before we consider what the impact of a joint Republican Study Committee/ ALEC/Heritage Foundationpartnership against federal controls would have upon the U.S., we should first look at current ALEC activities along these lines involving memberships held by foreign representatives. Together ALEC’s state lawmakers work hand in hand with several influential foreign elected officials to establish US state and foreign policies and pass laws suggested by those representing foreign powers…

“Together ALEC’s state lawmakers work hand in hand with several influential foreign elected officials”?

Are you kidding me – state legislators from ho-bunk towns in the United States making “international” resolutions.

You have got to be kidding me!

Like America is suppose to believe that ALEC state legislators have the experience in foreign affairs necessary to be working on an “international” task force.  Get real!!!
Most of them haven’t even been out of state – except to go to an ALEC meeting – for free – on a corporate ALEC scholarship.

For example, take Mary Kiffmeyer – from Minnesota – our ALEC State Chair who is on the International and Federal Relations Task Force.

The oldest of 14 children, Kiffmeyer was raised in Pierz, Minnesota.
The population was 1,393 at the 2010 census.[6]

Kiffmeyer lives near Big Lake, Minnesota.
Big Lake   …   population was 10,060 at the 2010 census.

Oh – yeah – this is someone I want interfering in foreign affairs on the ALEC International Relations Task Force.

These state bumpkins and their insistence in interfering with Foreign/ International Relations will probably set world governments and US foreign relations back 100 years.  God only knows what they are doing behind the closed doors of the secretive meetings of the ALEC International and Federal Relations Task Force.

God help us and the world!!!!!


Concerns about foreign money and influence finding their way into our electoral process because of the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision – are now bolstered by the discovery that foreign nations are already taking part in establishing U.S. policies related to voting and foreign matters – through ALEC.

And this paragraph is NOT a push, ALEC Resolution in Support of the Citizens United Decision

Summary:

This Resolution emphasizes the importance of first amendment protections of corporations’, non-profit advocacy groups’, and labor organizations’ speech. The resolution warns that mandatory disclosure and disclaimer requirements, particularly relating to an organization’s sour source of funding, can be intimidating to  such organizations and inhibit free speech.

Resolution

WHEREAS, the January 2010 Supreme Court decision in  Citizens United v. Federal  Election Commission  restored and affirmed the First Amendment rights of  corporations, labor organizations, and nonprofit advocacy groups to engage in  political speech in campaigns; and

SNIP

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED  that the American Legislative Exchange Council  (ALEC) opposes efforts that are outlined above at the federal, state, and local level  to undermine the Supreme Court’s decision in  Citizens United v. Federal Election  Commission  .

Adopted by the Public Safety and Elections Task Force at the Annual Meeting, August 7, 2010. Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors, September 19, 2010


“foreign nations are already taking part in establishing U.S. policies related to voting and foreign matters – through ALEC.”

One major difference which ALEC has attempted to bury deeply and not disclose is the involvement of foreign nationals holding elected offices in their governments who also hold full ALEC membership(s) – including the right to a vote [on ALEC “model legislation”].

These [foreign national] individuals help develop US policies, write ALEC resolutions and proposed model bills to be implemented in the United States – and internationally.  They [foreign nationals] cast votes alongside corporate reps and lobbyists and conservative state lawmakers on US state and federal model legislation, formulate resolutions sent out to the President, Congressional members and foreign governments.  These foreign officials then return to their government posts and lobby on behalf of the same initiatives they helped develop for the US – initiatives being lobbied for by ALEC to their [foreign national] governments using the same resolutions, models or policy demands.
foreign participation in developing US laws and policies

in relation to our state AND national government – BECAUSE –  the “ALEC International Task Force” is part of the ALEC “Federalism Task Force”

Which is part of ALEC’s “Federal Forum” program, which focuses on:

“Bringing state legislative leaders into contact with ALEC’s alumni  members in Congress is the cornerstone of the Federal Forum and  is instrumental in maintaining the principles of limited government,  individual liberty, and free markets. Through this relationship, ALEC hopes  to provide its 96 alumni members with information and testimonial support  from the states on pressing policy issues.”

foreign participation in developing US laws and policies –

At last count, ALEC documents list at least nine governments represented by seventeen publicly elected foreign officials sitting on ALEC’s International Relations task force – with full membership and voting rights.

And that’s where we will go next in this series

International Relations Task Force Co-Chairs (as of 11/2011)

Harold Brubaker (since replaced upon his retirement from the NC General Assembly by Tim Moffitt, also from North Carolina); and

Brandie Davis – Lobbyist for PMI Global (Philip Morris International)

16. Specific lobbying issues

World Trade Organization obligation issues.

Pending U.S. Trade Agreement Initiatives.

S 3240: Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012; proposed amendment relating to trade negotiations.

ALEC International Relations Task Force Co Chairs,
A state legislator and a lobbyist.
How fitting!!!!

 
AND

American Legislative Exchange Council International Relations Task Force [As of 6/30/2011]

Richard Ashworth
Member
Member European Parliament [MEP] 5 Hazelgrove Road
West Sussex RH16 3PH

Cory Bernardi
Member
Senator, Australian Senate
Level 13
100 King William Street
Adelaide, S.A. 5000

Adam Bielan
Member
MEP
UL CHODUIE WI CZA 2/7
Warsaw, Poland 02-593

Martin Callanan
Member
Member of the European Conservatives & Reformists Group
European Parliament
105 Kells Lane
Gateshead, UK NE95XY

Philip Claeys
Member
MEP
Kruiskruidlaan 11
Belgium 3090

Niranjan Deva
Member
MEP
Bat. Altiero Spinneli 14E130
60 Rue Wiertz/Wiertzstaat 60
Belgium B-1047

Christopher Fjellner
Member
MEP
14 Rue Wiertz
ASP 13E116
Brussels, Belgium B-1047

Liam Fox
Member
Member British Parliament, House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
UNITED KINGDOM

Daniel Hannan
Member
MEP
60 Rue Wiertz
Brussels 1047
BELGIUM

Chris Heaton-HarrisMember
MEP
1.40E+158
60 Rue Wiertz
Brux, Belgium B-1047

Roger Helmer
Member
MEP
ASP 14E 242
60 Rue Wiertz
Brussels, Belgium B-1047

Ayesha Javed
Member
Assemblywoman, Punjab Provincial Assembly
Provincial Assembly of the Punjab
The Mall Road
Lahore, Punjab 54000

Syed Kamall
Member
MEP
60 Rue Wiertz (14 E116)
Brussels, Belgium B-1047

Michal Kaminski
Member
Chairman of the European Conservatives & Reformists Group
European Parliament
ASP BE130, European Parliament
Rue Wiertz
Brussels, Belgium B-1047

Mirostaw Piotrowski
Member
MEP
UL Zaua 39
Lublin, PO Box 20-601
Poland

Ivo Strejcek
Member
MEP
Vintrnt 105212
Zdar Nad Sazavon
Czech Republic 59101

Konrad Szymanski
Member
MEP
Joliot-Curie
26 M.6
Warsaw, Poland 02-646

AND

Reem Badran
Member of Parliament from Jordan, and ALEC’s newest International Legislator Member. (Page 26 • Inside ALEC | October 2012)

Written by 2old2care

because I can logo
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Where Each State Stands on Medicaid Expansion

Where Each State Stands on Medicaid Expansion

The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed states to opt out of the law’s Medicaid expansion, leaving each state’s decision to participate in the hands of the nation’s governors and state leaders.

A roundup of what each state’s leadership has said about their Medicaid plans

February 27, 2013 Text last updated on Feb. 26, 2013, at 3:45 p.m. ETmedicaid_map

For an interactive map where you can hover your cursor over a state to see the policy of the state, please click here.
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The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed states to opt out of the law’s Medicaid expansion, leaving each state’s decision to participate in the hands of the nation’s governors and state leaders.

Based on lawmakers’ statements, press releases, and media coverage, the Daily Briefing and American Health Line editorial teams have rounded up where each state currently stands on the expansion.

NOT PARTICIPATING (14 states)

  • Alabama*: Gov. Robert Bentley (R) on Nov. 13 announced that Alabama will not participate in the Medicaid expansion “because we simply cannot afford it” (Gadsden Times, 11/13; Lyman, Montgomery Advertiser, 11/13).
  • Georgia*: Gov. Nathan Deal (R) in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Politico/11 Alive interview on Aug. 28 said, “No, I do not have any intentions of expanding Medicaid,” adding, “I think that is something our state cannot afford.” When asked about the insurance exchanges, Deal said “we do have a time frame for making the decision on that I think, especially on the exchanges,” adding that “we have just a few days after the election in order to make a final determination on that” (Wingfield, “Kyle Wingfield,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/28).
  • Idaho*: Gov. C.L. Otter (R) in his 2013 State of the State address delivered on Jan. 7 said that while “there is broad agreement that the existing Medicaid program is broken,” the state “face[s] no immediate federal deadline” to address the situation. He added, “We have time to do this right … [s]o I’m seeking no expansion of” the program. Otter said he’s instructed the state Health and Welfare director to “flesh out a plan” that focuses on potential costs, savings and economic impact, which he plans to introduce in 2014 (Ritter Saunders, Boise State Public Radio, 1/7; Young, Huffington Post, 1/7; Petcash, KTVB, 1/7).
  • Iowa*: Gov. Terry Branstad (R) on Feb. 23 said that he has informed HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that he will not expand Medicaid in Iowa because of concerns that the expansion “will either collapse or the burden will be pushed onto the states in a very significant way.” Instead, Branstad pressed Sebelius for a federal waiver to continue IowaCare, a health care program that provides limited benefits to 70,000 low-income state residents (AP/Modern Healthcare, 2/24).
  • Louisiana*: Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) in an NBC “Meet the Press” interview on July 1 said, “Every governor’s got two critical decisions to make. One is do we set up these exchanges? And, secondly, do we expand Medicaid? And, no, in Louisiana, we’re not doing either one of those things.” However, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D) and other Democratic leaders after the Nov. 6 election urged Jindal to reconsider his opposition or the state will not be forced to accept a “one-size-fits-all” plan, CBC News “Money Watch” reports (Barrow, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 7/2; “Money Watch,” CBS News, 11/9).
  • Maine*: Gov. Paul LePage (R) on Nov. 16 said that Maine will not participate in the Medicaid expansion. He called the expansion and the state-based insurance exchanges a “degradation of our nation’s premier health care system” (Mistler, Kennebec Journal, 11/16).
  • Mississippi*: Gov. Phil Bryant (R) on Nov. 7 said Mississippi will not participate in the Medicaid expansion, reiterating previous statements that he had made about the ACA provision (Pender/Hall, Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 11/7).
  • North Carolina: Gov. Pat McCrory (R) on Feb. 12 announced that his state will not expand Medicaid or establish its own health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. McCrory said state officials conducted a comprehensive analysis to determine the advantages and disadvantages of expanding Medicaid and the right type of exchange option in the state, and concluded that it is “abundantly clear that North Carolina is not ready to expand the Medicaid system and that we should utilize a federal exchange.” He said the review included discussions with other governors, White House officials, health care providers, and leaders in the state Legislature (AP/Myrtle Beach Sun News, 2/12; Binker/Burns, “@NCCapitol,” WRAL, 2/12; Cornatzer, Raleigh News & Observer, 2/12).
  • Oklahoma: Gov. Mary Fallin (R) on Nov. 19 said Oklahoma will not participate in the Medicaid expansion. “Oklahoma will not be participating in the Obama Administration’s proposed expansion of Medicaid,” she said in a statement. She noted that the program would cost the state as much as $475 million over the next eight years (Greene, Tulsa World, 11/19).
  • Pennsylvania*: Gov. Tom Corbett (R) on Feb. 5 sent a letter to HHS saying he “cannot recommend a dramatic Medicaid expansion” in Pennsylvania because “it would be financially unsustainable for Pennsylvania taxpayers.” He noted that the expansion would necessitate “a large tax increase on Pennsylvania families” (Tolland, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/5).
  • South Carolina*: Gov. Nikki Haley (R) on July 1 announced via Facebook that South Carolina “will NOT expand Medicaid, or participate in any health exchanges.” The state Legislature is expected to make a decision on the Medicaid expansion during the 2013 session (Gov. Haley Facebook page, 7/1; Holleman, Columbia State, 11/9).
  • South Dakota: Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) in his annual budget address on Dec. 4 said he does not plan to participate in the Medicaid expansion. “I really think it would be premature to expand this year,” he said, adding that he hoped for more flexibility for the state program (Montgomery, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 12/4).
  • Texas*: Gov. Rick Perry (R) in a statement on July 9 said, “If anyone was in doubt, we in Texas have no intention to implement so-called state exchanges or to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare.” Perry also sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on July 9 asserting this position. The Dallas Morning News reported that on Nov. 8, Perry reiterated his opposition to the expansion, saying, “Nothing changes from our perspective” (Office of Gov. Perry release, 7/9; Gov. Perry letter, 7/9; Garrett, Dallas Morning News, 11/11).
  • Wisconsin*: Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Feb. 13 announced his rejection of the Medicaid expansion. He proposed an alternative plan that would expand coverage to low-income state residents through private health care exchanges (Spicuzza, Wisconsin State Journal, 2/13).

LEANING TOWARD NOT PARTICIPATING (2 states)

  • Nebraska*: Gov. Dave Heineman (R) in a statement on his website on June 28 said, “As I have said repeatedly, if this unfunded Medicaid expansion is implemented, state aid to education and funding for the University of Nebraska will be cut or taxes will be increased. If some state senators want to increase taxes or cut education funding, I will oppose them.” Heineman on July 11 sent a letter to state lawmakers saying the state could not afford the expansion, but he stopped short of saying that the state will not participate in the expansion, according to Reuters (Office of Gov. Heineman release, 6/28; Wisniewski, Reuters, 7/11).
  • Wyoming*: Gov. Matt Mead (R) on Nov. 30 recommended that Wyoming not participate in the Medicaid expansion, but added that his position could change in the future and urged “everyone to keep an open mind on this.” The state legislature will make the final decision on whether to expand the program, the AP/Jackson Hole Daily reports (Brown, Wyoming Tribune Eagle, 12/1; Graham, AP/Jackson Hole Daily, 12/1).

LEANING TOWARD PARTICIPATING (4 states)

  • Kentucky: Gov. Steve Beshear (D) when asked about the expansion in July said, “If there is a way that we can afford that will get more coverage for more Kentuckians, I’m for it.” However, state lawmakers are putting pressure on Beshear to reject the expansion (Office of Gov. Beshear release, 6/28; AP/Evansville Courier & Press, 6/28; AP/Evansville Courier & Press, 7/17; Autry, WYU, 7/5; Cross, Louisville Courier-Journal, 6/29).
  • New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in a statement on his website on June 28 said he was “pleased the Supreme Court upheld the [ACA]” and looks forward “to continuing to work together with the Obama administration to ensure accessible, quality care for all New Yorkers.” On July 26, Danielle Holahan—project director for New York’s health insurance exchange planning—said the state “largely meet[s] the federal required Medicaid levels already.” Although Cuomo’s office has not officially announced a decision, the Associated Press reported on Nov. 13 that New York will expand Medicaid (Office Gov. Cuomo release, 6/28; Grant, North Country Public Radio, 7/27; Delli Santi/Mulvihill, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/13).
  • Oregon: Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) said on June 28 that he is confident that the Oregon Legislature will approve a state Medicaid decision. In an interview with the Oregonian just hours after the Supreme Court issued its ruling on the ACA, Kitzhaber said, “We’ll make a decision on whether or not to expand the Medicaid program really based on, I think, the resources we have available in the general fund for that purpose going forward” (Budnick, Oregonian, 6/28).
  • Virginia: The House of Delegates and Senate on Feb. 23 amended the state budget to include the ability to expand the state’s Medicaid program. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the move gives “a green light” to talks between state and federal officials over flexibility in the Medicaid program. Although Medicaid expansion supporters have hailed the legislative action as a victory, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) on Feb. 23 said, “As long as I’m governor, there’s not going to be any Medicaid expansion unless there is sustainable, long-lasting, cost-saving reforms” (Martz, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/24).

PARTICIPATING (24 states and the District of Columbia)

  • Arizona*: Gov. Jan Brewer (R) in her 2013 State of the State speech, delivered on Jan. 14, announced that Arizona will participate in the Medicaid expansion, which would extend health care services to an estimated 300,000 more state residents. Brewer noted that the expansion plan will “include a circuit-breaker that automatically” would reduce enrollment if federal reimbursement rates decrease. Brewer was expected to offer further details of the plan in her budget proposal, which is subject to approval by the Republican-controlled Legislature (Christie, AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/14; Sanders/Wingett Sanchez, Arizona Republic, 1/14; Fischer, Sierra Vista Herald, 1/14; Safier, Tucson Citizen, 1/14).
  • Arkansas: Gov. Mike Beebe (D) on Sept. 11 said he planned to participate in the Medicaid expansion, the Associated Press reports. According to the AP, Beebe agreed to participate in the expansion after officials assured him the state could opt out later if it faces a financial crunch. Beebe said, “I’m for it. I think it’s good for our people because it’s helping folks that don’t have insurance now that are working their tails off. They’re not sitting on a couch somewhere asking for something” (Brantley, Arkansas Times, 9/11).
  • California: Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in a statement on June 28 said the Supreme Court’s ruling “removes the last roadblock to fulfilling President Obama’s historic plan to bring health care to millions of uninsured citizens.” California got a head start on expanding its Medicaid program in November 2010 with its “Bridge to Reform” program, which aimed to bring at least two million uninsured Californians into Medicaid (Office of Gov. Brown release, 6/28; DeBord, “KPCC News,” KPCC, 6/28).
  • Colorado*: Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) on Jan. 3 announced that his state will participate in the expansion. In a news release, his office said the move would extend Medicaid coverage to about 160,000 low-income residents and save Colorado an estimated $280 million over 10 years without affecting the state’s general fund (Stokols, KDVR, 1/3; Wyatt, AP/Denver Post, 1/3).
  • Connecticut: Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) was among the first governors to sign up for the Medicaid expansion after the ACA was enacted in March 2010. Soon after the Supreme Court ruling on June 28, Malloy said “it’s great … [and a] very important decision for the people of Connecticut. 500,000 people would have lost coverage if Republicans had their way” (Davis, WTNH, 6/28).
  • Delaware: Gov. Jack Markell (D) in a statement on June 28 said, “The Supreme Court’s ruling enables Delaware to continue to implement provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to provide access to health care benefits for Delawareans.” He added, “On the Medicaid front, Delaware already voluntarily expanded the state’s Medicaid coverage program in 1996 to cover many Delawareans not previously covered” (Office of Gov. Markell release, 6/28).
  • District of Columbia: D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) in a statement on June 28 said, “The District is not at risk of losing any Medicaid funding as a result of this ruling, because District officials have already begun implementation of the ACA’s Medicaid-expansion provisions and will continue to implement the expansion” (Executive Office of the Mayor release, 6/28).
  • Florida*: Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Feb. 20 announced that the state will participate in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, citing HHS’s conditional support for a waiver to shift most of the state’s Medicaid beneficiaries into a managed-care program. However, Scott said that Florida would only participate in the expansion for three years before reevaluating the decision. Supporters of the ACA heralded Florida’s shift as a major reversal; Scott mounted his successful campaign for governor in 2010, in part, by being one of the nation’s foremost critics of President Obama’s planned health reforms (Kennedy/Fineout, Associated Press, 2/20; Office of Gov. Scott release, 2/20).
  • Hawaii: Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) in a statement on June 28 welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling and said the ACA “is our ally” in the effort to “support a health care system that ensures high quality, safety and sustainable costs.” Pat McManaman, director of the state Department of Human Services, said Hawaii’s Medicaid eligibility requirements in July would fall in line with the law’ guidelines, meaning an additional 24,000 people will be eligible for the program by 2014 (Office of Gov. Abercrombie release, 6/28; Garcia, AP/CBS News, 6/29).
  • Illinois: Gov. Pat Quinn (D) on June 28 praised the court’s decision and said he “will continue to work with President Obama to help working families get the healthcare coverage they need,” including expanding Medicaid (Office of the Governor release, 6/28; Thomason, Rock River Times, 7/3; Ehley, Fiscal Times, 8/20).
  • Maryland: Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) in a statement on June 28 said the Supreme Court’s decision “gives considerable momentum to our health care reform efforts here in Maryland,” adding that the state will move forward to implement the overhaul (Office of the Governor release, 6/28).
  • Massachusetts: Gov. Deval Patrick (D) in late June said Massachusetts is “an early expansion state as you know and we’re expecting further resources from the federal government to sustain the experiment here in Massachusetts.” Patrick called the ruling “good news for us” (Walker, YNN, 6/28).
  • Michigan*: Gov. Rick Snyder (R), in a statement released on Feb. 6, announced that his fiscal year 2014 budget proposal includes a plan to expand the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. The plan would extend Medicaid benefits to about 320,000 eligible residents. Snyder said the plan contains safeguards that will ensure the financial stability of the program and protect against changes in the government’s financial commitment to the expansion (Office of Gov. Snyder release, 2/6).
  • Minnesota: Gov. Mark Dayton (D) said in a statement on June 28 said, “Today’s ruling will be met with relief by the Minnesotans whose lives have already been improved by this law.” Dayton in 2011 used federal money to expand Medicaid early to 84,000 adults with annual incomes below $8,400 (Lohn, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 6/28).
  • Missouri: Gov. Jay Nixon (D) on Nov. 29 announced that Missouri will participate in the Medicaid expansion. Nixon said he will include the expansion in the state budget proposal he submits to lawmakers. “We’re not going to let politics get in the way of doing the best thing for our state,” he said (Crisp, “Political Fix,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11/29).
  • Montana: Gov.-elect Steve Bullock (D) — who takes office on Jan. 7 — on Jan. 4 announced several changes to outgoing Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s (D) two-year budget recommendations, but retained the proposal to expand Medicaid. During a news conference, Bullock said the Medicaid expansion is part of his “Access Health Montana” plan to increase health care coverage for more Montana families. (Johnson, Billings Gazette, 1/5; Johnson, Montana Standard, 1/5).
  • Nevada*: Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) on Dec. 11 announced that the state will participate in the Medicaid expansion. “Though I have never liked the Affordable Care Act because of the individual mandate it places on citizens, the increased burden on businesses and concerns about access to health care, the law has been upheld by the Supreme Court,” Sandoval said in a statement, adding, “As such, I am forced to accept it as today’s reality and I have decided to expand Nevada’s Medicaid coverage” (Damon, Las Vegas Sun, 12/11).
  • New Jersey: Gov. Chris Christie (R) in his Feb. 26 budget address announced that New Jersey will participate in the Medicaid expansion. The ACA provision is expected to extended Medicaid coverage to about 300,000 uninsured New Jersey residents (Delli Santi, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 2/26).
  • New Hampshire: Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) in her Feb. 14 budget address said that New Hampshire will opt into the ACA’s Medicaid expansion because “it’s a good deal…[that will] allow us to save money in existing state programs, while increasing state revenues.” A state report estimates that the expansion will cost New Hampshire about $85 million through 2020, but will bring in $2.5 billion in federal funds and help reduce the number of uninsured residents from roughly 170,000 to 71,000 (Ramer, AP/Seacoastonline.com, 2/14)
  • New Mexico: Gov. Susana Martinez (R) on Jan. 9 announced that her state will participate in the Medicaid expansion, which potentially could extend health coverage to nearly 170,000 additional low-income uninsured residents. Martinez noted that contingency measures will be established if federal funding for the expansion diminishes, which would mean scaling back the expansion by dropping newly covered beneficiaries from the Medicaid rolls (Massey/Montoya Bryan, AP/Santa Fe New Mexican, 1/9; Schirtzinger, Santa Fe Reporter, 1/9; Reichbach, New Mexico Telegram, 1/9).
  • North Dakota*: Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) in January said the politics associated with the ACA should not prevent North Dakota from participating in the Medicaid expansion. He is supporting a bill that would allow the state health department to access federal funds allocated through the ACA. Dalrymple also said he will include the expansion in his budget proposal and that members of his staff will testify in favor of the expansion before state lawmakers (Jerke, Grand Forks Herald, 1/12).
  • Ohio*: Gov. John Kasich (R) on Feb. 4 announced that the state will be participating in the Medicaid expansion, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. He made the announcement in his two-year budget announcement, but warned that Ohio would “reverse this decision” if the federal government does not provide the funds it has pledged to the expansion (Tribble, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/4).
  • Rhode Island: Gov. Lincoln Chaffee (I) in a statement on his website on June 28 said, “I have fully committed to ensuring Rhode Island is a national leader in implementing health reform whatever the Supreme Court decision, and this just reinforces that commitment.” According to Steven Costantino, the state’s secretary of health and human services, “The expansion is easy to do and makes sense.” Moreover, on July 12, USA Today reported that Chaffee planned to participate in the expansion (Chaffee statement, 6/28; Wolf, USA Today, 7/12; Radnofsky et al., Wall Street Journal, 7/2).
  • Vermont: Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) on June 28 said Vermont’s Medicaid program already meets the requirements under the health reform law’s Medicaid expansion (Steimle, WCAX, 7/1).
  • Washington*: In an email responding to a query by American Health Line, Karina Shagren—a deputy communications director in Gov. Chris Gregoire’s (D) administration—in early July said “the governor supports the Medicaid expansion—and Washington will move forward.” U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D)—who supports the expansion—was elected governor on Nov. 6 (Shagren email, 7/5; Washington Secretary of State website, 11/12).

UNDECIDED/NO COMMENT (6 states)

  • Alaska*: Gov. Sean Parnell (R) on Aug. 8 said he is guarded on the expansion “because our history with the federal government right now is they cut what they promise to fund.” Parnell said he wants to thoroughly understand the costs to the state before making a decision (Bohrer, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 8/8).
  • Indiana*: Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) in a statement on June 29 said, “Any decision to expand Medicaid in 2014 is entirely the province of the next General Assembly and governor.” U.S. Rep. Mike Pence (R) was elected governor on Nov. 6. In a position statement earlier this year, Pence noted that the Medicaid expansion would double “down on an already broken and unaffordable Medicaid system.” Addressing the Affordable Care Act as a whole, he wrote, “I believe the State of Indiana should take no part in this deeply flawed healthcare bureaucracy” (Office of Gov. Daniels release, 6/29; Pence letter).
  • Kansas*: Gov. Sam Brownback (R), who has been a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act, has not stated whether to opt in or out of the Medicaid expansion, the Associated Press reported on Nov. 9 (AP/NECN, 11/9).
  • Tennessee: Gov. Bill Haslam (R) has not decided whether Tennessee will participate in the Medicaid expansion. However, two lawmakers—Sen. Brian Kelsey (R) and Rep. Jeremy Durham (R)—already have committed to introducing legislation that would block expansion, and the state’s new Republican supermajority in the General Assembly means such a bill could pass (Bohs, “Bohs Column,” The Jackson Sun, 11/9).
  • Utah*: In an email responding to a query by American Health Line, Nate McDonald—public information officer for Gov. Gary Herbert (R), who won re-election in the state’s gubernatorial race in November 2012—said “[n]o official decision” has been made on the Medicaid expansion (McDonald email, 11/9).
  • West Virginia: Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) in a statement on his website on June 28 said, “We know what the law is but as I’ve said before, I will continue to do what is best for West Virginia … We’re going to review the Supreme Court’s ruling, and work with our federal delegation on how we move forward.” In the state’s gubernatorial race in November 2012, Tomblin was re-elected (Office of Gov. Tomblin release, 6/28; AP/Marietta Times, 11/7).

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This article is composed by The Advisory Board for their Daily Briefing.  It can be seen at http://www.advisory.com/Daily-Briefing/2012/11/09/MedicaidMap#lightbox/0/
The Advisory Board Company

Montana Bill Would Give Corporations The Right To Vote

Montana State Rep. Steve Lavin (R-ALEC)A bill introduced by Montana State Rep. Steve Lavin (R-ALEC) would give corporations the right to vote in municipal elections:

Provision for vote by corporate property owner. (1) Subject to subsection (2), if a firm, partnership, company, or corporation owns real property within the municipality, the president, vice president, secretary, or other designee of the entity is eligible to vote in a municipal election as provided in [section 1].

(2) The individual who is designated to vote by the entity is subject to the provisions of [section 1] and shall also provide to the election administrator documentation of the entity’s registration with the secretary of state under 35-1-217 and proof of the individual’s designation to vote on behalf of the entity.

The idea that “corporations are people, my friend” as Mitt Romney put it, is sadly common among conservative lawmakers. Most significantly of all, the five conservative justices voted in Citizens United v. FEC to permit corporations to spend unlimited money to influence elections. Actually giving corporations the right to vote, however, is quite a step beyond what even this Supreme Court has embraced.

The bill does contain some limits on these new corporate voting rights. Most significantly, corporations would not be entitled to vote in “school elections,” and the bill only applies to municipal elections. So state and federal elections would remain beyond the reach of the new corporate voters.

In fairness to Lavin’s fellow lawmakers, this bill was tabled shortly after it came before a legislative committee, so it is unlikely to become law. A phone call to Lavin was not returned as of this writing.

According to the Center for Media and Democracy, Lavin was a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) now defunct Public Safety and Elections Task Force. Last year, pressure from progressive groups forced ALEC to disband this task force, which, among other things, pushed voter suppression laws.

we refuse to accept that corporations are people

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This article is written by Ian Millhiser, and is posted at Think Progress at http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/02/22/1628631/montana-bill-would-give-corporations-the-right-to-vote/?mobile=nc
TP-justice

Institutional Investors Continue To Press Companies For Disclosure Of Lobbying

Shareholder resolutions filed with more than 50 companies by  more than 65 institutional and individual investors for 2013

BOSTON, Ma. – Investors today announced the filing of shareholder resolutions at more than 50 corporations as part of a 2013 proxy season initiative asking companies to annually report their federal and state lobbying, including any payments to trade associations used for lobbying as well as support for tax-exempt organizations that write and endorse model legislation.

The resolution filers believe that shareholders need better, more complete disclosure of how companies in which they invest use resources to affect both elections and legislation. The lobbying disclosure initiative is a natural extension of ongoing shareholder efforts for greater corporate political spending transparency and accountability. Specifically, enhanced lobbying disclosure will enable shareholders to better evaluate whether a company’s lobbying expenditures and actions advance the company’s interests and do not present risks to company value.

A recent report by the U.S. SIF Foundation found that disclosure of lobbying and political spending has emerged as the “greatest single concern of shareholders among environmental and social issues,” with more than 100 resolutions being filed annually on the subject in 2011 and 2012. (1)

Reflecting investors’ interest in enhanced disclosure, the S.E.C. announced on Dec. 21, 2012, that it is considering a rule to require public companies to disclose their spending on politics and lobbying.

While the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and the unprecedented amount of political spending in the 2012 elections have attracted a great deal of media attention, company expenditures on federal lobbying far exceed political election contributions by approximately a nine-to-one ratio. A 2011 study by Si2, funded by the IRRC Institute, found that in 2010, S&P 500 companies spent a total of $1.1 billion on political contributions and lobbying, of which $979.3 million was spent on federal lobbying (2).  These figures do not include state level lobbying  expenditures by companies, where there is incomplete disclosure and yearly spending exceeds $1 billion.

Moreover, lobbying by trade associations is indirectly supported by corporate contributions that are substantial and largely unreported. For example the Chamber of Commerce spent more than $500 million on lobbying since 2009, making it the country’s largest lobbying spender. The majority of companies do not disclose the portions of their trade association payments used for lobbying. These payments can create reputational risks for companies. Lobbying disclosure proponents believe companies need to manage these risks by assessing whether their memberships in trade associations accurately represent their corporate interests and policy positions, and that shareholders need to understand their companies’ expenditures for trade association lobbying and the risks they might represent.

The resolutions therefore also ask companies to disclose support for and membership in tax exempt organizations that write and endorse model legislation, which includes the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC approved model legislation based on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law that gained national attention after the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin. In response to investor and grassroots pressure, 42 companies, including Amgen, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, McDonald’s, Pepsi, Walgreens and Yum! Brands, evaluated the risk to their corporate reputations, compared to the benefits, of continuing membership, and made the decision to leave ALEC. (2)

Thomas DiNapoli, comptroller of the state of New York and an active proponent of corporate disclosure of both political spending and lobbying, stated, “As a fiduciary, it’s important that companies in which the New York State Common Retirement Fund invest are open, transparent and demonstrate high standards of governance.” Mr. DiNapoli’s office oversees the $133.8 billion state fund. “Thus we have joined once again in 2013 filing resolutions urging companies to report to their investors about their lobbying priorities, oversight and corporate dollars spent.”

Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME and chair of the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan’s Pension Committee, stated, “These proposals are based on the simple principle that what gets disclosed gets managed. Corporate payments for lobbying are a use of shareholder assets. Disclosure will help ensure these expenditures are in the company and shareholders’ best interest.”

Timothy Smith, director of environmental, social and governance (ESG) shareowner engagement at Walden Asset Management and one of the coordinators of this initiative, stated, “Over the last six years, investors increasingly have urged companies to disclose their spending aimed at influencing elections. This year investors have once again taken a logical next step and asked companies to disclose their direct and indirect lobbying activities. Whether the issue is environmental impact, consumer protection, financial reform or shareholder rights, it is important for investors to understand how company dollars are spent to influence our laws and regulations by lobbying activities. While many companies have modest government affairs budgets, others spend tens of millions of dollars annually on lobbying directly and through trade associations. In addition, many companies work through lobbying organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to influence legislation and regulation at the state level. We believe it is timely and appropriate for companies to be much more transparent.”

More than 60 investors joined in filing and co-filing the resolution seeking comprehensive disclosure of corporate lobbying, among them are the AFL-CIO; the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan; Benedictine Sisters of Virginia; Boston Common Asset Management; Christopher Reynolds Foundation; CtW Investment Group; Dignity Health; First Affirmative Financial Network; Green Century Funds; Mercy Investments; Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate; Nathan Cummings; Needmor Fund; New York State Common Retirement Fund; Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order; Responsible Endowments Coalition; Sisters of St. Francis; Trillium Asset Management; UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust; Unitarian Universalist Association; United Steelworkers and Walden Asset Management. This unique investor network is organized by the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan and Walden Asset Management, a division of Boston Trust & Investment Management Company.

Specifically, the resolution asks for disclosure of:

1. Company policy and procedures governing lobbying, including that done on our company’s behalf by trade associations.

2. Payments used for lobbying as well as grassroots lobbying communications.

3. Membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation.

4. Decision-making processes and oversight by management and the Board.

 

AMONG companies receiving lobbying disclosure resolutions for 2013 are:

3M (MMM)

Abbott Laboratories (ABT)

Accenture (ACN)

Allergan (AGN)

Alliance One International (AOI)

Alliant Techsystems (ATK)

Allstate (ALL)

Altria Group (MO)

American Electric Power (AEP)

AT&T (T)

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)

Chevron (CVX)

Cigna (CI)

Citigroup -C-

ConocoPhillips (COP)

Corrections Corporation of America (CXW)

CVS Caremark (CVS)

DaVita (DAV)

Devon Energy (DVN)

Dupont (DD)

EBay Inc. (EBAY)

Endo Health Solutions (ENDP)

Entergy (ETR)

Equity Lifestyle Properties (ELS)

ExxonMobil Corporation (XOM)

General Dynamics (GD)

GEO Group (GEO)

Goldman Sachs (GS)

IBM (IBM)

JPMorgan Chase (JPM)

Lockheed Martin (LMT)

Lorillard (LO)

Marathon Oil (MRO)

Norfolk Southern Corporation (NSC)

Northrop Grumman (NOC)

Nucor Corporation (NUE)

Peabody Energy (BTU)

PepsiCo (PEP)

Pfizer (PFE)

Philip Morris (PM)

Reynolds American (RAI)

SLM Corporation (Sallie Mae) (SLM)

Time Warner Cable (TWC)

Union Pacific (UNP)

United Parcel Service (UPS)

United Health Group (UNH)

Universal Corporation (UVV)

Verizon Communications (VZ)

VISA U.S.A. (V)

Walgreen (WAG)

Wells Fargo (WFC)

WellPoint (WLP)

Xcel Energy (XEL)

 

Filers of Lobbying Disclosure Resolutions 


Pension Funds

New York State Common Retirement Fund

 

Labor

AFSCME Employees Pension Plan

AFL-CIO

CTW Investment Group

Service Employees International Union

UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust

United Steelworkers

 

Asset Management Companies

Boston Common Asset Management

First Affirmative Financial Network

Green Century Funds

Jantz Morgan

PAX World Fund

Sustainability Group, Loring Wolcott & Coolidge

Trillium Asset Management

Walden Asset Management

Zevin Asset Management

 

Foundations

Brainerd Foundation

Center for Community Change, Washington, DC

Edward W. Hazen Foundation

The Funding Exchange

Haymarket Foundation

Lemmon Foundation

LKMC Aquinas Funds

Max and Anna Levinson Foundation

Merck Family Fund

Nathan Cummings Foundation

Needmor Fund

Oneida Tribe of Indians Trust Fund

Oxfam America

Responsible Endowments Coalition

Christopher Reynolds Foundation

Russell Family Foundation

Swift Family Foundation

Tides Foundation

 

Non-Profit Institutional Investors

Manhattan Country School

 

Religious Filers

Benedictine Sisters of Baltimore

Benedictine Sisters of Virginia

Catholic Health East

Catholic Health Initiatives

Community Church of New York

Congregation of Benedictine Sisters,

Boerne, Texas

Congregation of Divine Providence, San

Antonio, Texas

Congregation of St. Joseph of Carondelet,
St. Paul Province

Congregation of the Sisters of St. Agnes

Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of
Brighton

Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy
Cross, Indiana

Convent Academy of the Incarnate Word

Dignity Health

First Parish Unitarian Church, Cambridge, Ma.

Glenmary Home Missioners

Marianist Province of the United States

Mercy Investment Services

Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

Monasterio Pan Vida

Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order

School Sisters of Notre Dame

Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, New Jersey

Sisters of the Holy Family

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Boston

Sisters of Notre Dame

Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph

Providence

Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia

Sisters of St. Francis, Academy of Our Lady
of Lourdes, Rochester

Trinity Health

Unitarian Universalist Association

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

United Church Foundation

 

Individuals

Daniel Altschuler

Gwendolen Noyes

Gun Denhart

Carol Master

____________________________________________________________

ConocoPhillips Lobbying Disclosure

Whereas, we rely on the information provided by our company to evaluate goals and objectives, and therefore have strong interest in full disclosure of our company’s lobbying to assess whether it is in the best interests of shareholders and long-term stockholder value.

Resolved, the shareholders of ConocoPhillips request the Board authorize the preparation of a report, updated annually, disclosing:

1.  Company policy and procedures governing lobbying, both direct and indirect, and grassroots lobbying communications.

2. Payments by ConocoPhillips used for (a) direct or indirect lobbying or (b) grassroots lobbying communications, in each case including the amount of the payment and the recipient.

3. ConocoPhillips’ membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation.

4. Description of the decision making process and oversight by management and the Board for making payments described in section 2 above.

 

For purposes of this proposal, a “grassroots lobbying communication” is a communication directed to the general public that (a) refers to specific legislation or regulation, (b) reflects a view on the legislation or regulation and (c) encourages the recipient of the communication to take action with respect to the legislation or regulation.

“Indirect lobbying” is lobbying engaged in by a trade association or other organization of which ConocoPhillips is a member.

Both “direct and indirect lobbying” and “grassroots lobbying communications” include efforts at the local, state and federal levels.

The report shall be presented to the Audit Committee or other relevant oversight committees of the Board and posted on the company’s website.

 

Supporting Statement

As shareholders, we encourage transparency and accountability in the use of staff time and corporate funds to influence legislation and regulation both directly and indirectly.

This resolution received 25 percent voting support in 2011.

ConocoPhillips sits on the Board of the United States Chamber of Commerce, which is noted as “by far the most muscular business lobby group in Washington” (“Chamber of Secrets,” Economist, April 21, 2012). In 2010 and 2011 the Chamber spent $198 million on lobbying. Yet ConocoPhillips does not disclose its trade association payments nor the portions used for lobbying on its website.

ConocoPhillips spent approximately $40.2 million in 2010 and 2011 on direct federal lobbying activities, according to disclosure reports (Senate Records). These figures may not include grassroots lobbying to directly influence legislation by mobilizing public support or opposition and do not include lobbying expenditures to influence legislation or regulation in states that do not require disclosure.

Also, ConocoPhillips does not disclose its contributions to tax-exempt organizations that write and endorse model legislation, such as a $10,000 contribution to the American Legislative Exchange Council (“ALEC”) annual meeting.

According to the Wall Street Journal (Oct. 26, 2012) the oil industry, including ConocoPhillips, spent “tens of millions of dollars” related to the 2012 election to galvanize employees to support their industry’s agenda and elect sympathetic candidates. We also believe the costs of these programs should also be fully disclosed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FOOTNOTES:

(1)  “Report on Sustainable and Responsible Investing Trends in the United States 2012,” US SIF Foundation.

(2).  Heidi Welsh and Robin Young, “Corporate Governance of Political Expenditures: 2011 Benchmark Report on S&P 500 Companies,” Sustainable Investments Institute & IRRC Institute, November 2011 www.irrcinstitute.org)

 

Originally posted at http://www.waldenassetmgmt.com/social/action/Lobbying_PR_212013.pdf
For Release: February 1, 2013

Contact: Timothy Smith, Walden Asset Management, (617) 726-7155,     tsmith@bostontrust.com

Cheryl Kelly, AFSCME, (202) 429-1145, ckelly@afscme.org

The History of the NRA/ALEC Gun Agenda

by Lisa Graves at PR Watch

Here is a review of the NRA-by-way-of-ALEC gun agenda:

  • The retail sale of machine guns has been barred by federal law since the gangster era but, as uncovered by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), one year ago at ALEC’s “policy summit” in Arizona, the NRA obtained unanimous support from the corporate and lawmaker members of ALEC’s Task Force for “amending” ALEC’s “Consistency in Firearms Regulation Act” to expressly bar cities from banning “machine guns.” Other provisions of that bill prevent cities from banning armor-piercing bullets and from banning efforts to alter guns to make them more deadly if the state does not do so. It also bars cities from suing gun manufacturers for gun deaths based on the theory of liability used by governments to sue tobacco manufacturers for smoking deaths.
  • In 2008, as noted by CMD, in the aftermath of the tragic massacre of students and professors by a heavily armed Virginia Tech student, ALEC adopted a model bill to remove state prohibitions of guns on college campuses and to allow students to bring guns to class More →

Inside The Koch Empire: How The Brothers Plan To Reshape America–article and video

…”Charles’ many critics on the left–including the President of the United States–accuse him of accumulating too much power and using it to promote his own economic interests through a network of secretive organizations they call the “Kochtopus.” Ironically, the Koch brothers believe they’re fighting against power, at least in the political realm. For the Kochs the real power is central government, which can tax entire industries into oblivion, force a citizen to buy health insurance and bring mighty corporations like Koch Industries to heel.”

…”The November elections–which David, in a separate interview shortly after the results were finalized, termed “bitterly disappointing”–seem to confirm Charles’ last point. Not even the Koch brothers, who spent tens of millions of dollars during this election cycle (they won’t disclose the exact amount) funding direct political contributions and issue-driven “nonprofits,” could coerce voters to back their candidates. Mitt Romney’s loss was a huge blow to them, both in terms of likely policy outcomes and personal reputation.

“But those who think the brothers, older and chastened, will now fade away don’t understand the Kochs. Not a bit. Obama’s victory was just a blip on a master plan measured in decades, not election cycles. “We raised a lot of money and mobilized an awful lot of people, and we lost, plain and simple,” says David. “We’re going to study what worked, what didn’t work, and improve our efforts in the future. We’re not going to roll over and play dead.”

To read the entire expose at Forbes–A MUST READ–please click here.

To watch the video The Inside Story of the Koch Empire, where Forbes Magazine editor Randall Lane joins Martin Bashir to discuss his magazine’s latest cover story and interview with Charles and David Koch – and what the brothers may have up their sleeves for 2014, 2013, and beyond, please click here

Goldman Sachs Asks Supreme Court to Dismiss Mortgage Class-Action

While on September 6, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York allowed a mortgage class-action lawsuit to go ahead with the lawsuit accusing Goldman of misleading investors about the securities risk, Goldman wants to take no risks and is urging the Supreme Court to throw out the lawsuit. It’s arguments are brilliant – allowing the lawsuit could cost Wall Street tens of billions of dollars, and therefore the U.S. Supreme Court must trash the interests of a class, from which money could have been taken by deceit by Wall Street, in order to protect the interests of Wall Street.

And of course, lawyers in pay of Goldman have also found technical questions of law: They argue that the 2nd Circuit allowing the NECA-IBEW Health & Welfare fund to move ahead with the class action on behalf of investors, though the NECA-IBEW did not own any of the controversial mortgages, conflicts with a precedent from the federal appeals court in Boston. In that case, which the federal court in Boston had held that a plaintiff could not pursue claims on behalf of a class that it could not bring by itself.

WTF?  Please read the rest of this article by clicking here

Presidential race may leave lasting imprint on Supreme Court

Future appointments by Obama or Romney could be pivotal on issues of gay rights, gun laws, abortion and money in politics.

The Supreme Court is not on the ballot in November, but its future direction on issues such as abortion, gay rights, gun rights, voting laws and the role of money in politics depends on who is elected president for the next four years.

Clint Bolick, a lawyer for the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, is not rooting for an Obama victory, but he agrees the election could have a lasting effect on a closely split court. “The average justice remains in office nearly 25 years — more than six presidential terms. Supreme Court nominations are one of most enduring legacies a president has,” he said.

Obama’s two appointees — Justices Sonia Sotomayor, 58, and Elena Kagan, 52 — have generally liberal voting records. Sotomayor was in the minority in the 5-4 decision in the Citizens United case, which freed corporations and unions to independently spend unlimited sums on campaign ads, and Kagan opposed the move when she served as solicitor general.

Given one more liberal vote, the court would likely switch directions on campaign money and uphold laws that limit election spending and require the full disclosure of donors. With an extra conservative vote, however, the justices on the right are likely to go further and free big donors — including corporations — to give money directly to candidates and parties.

The law on abortion could also switch with a change of one justice. With an extra vote on the right, the six Republican appointees would likely uphold strict regulation of abortion, and possibly a criminal ban. With an extra vote on the left, however, the liberal bloc could strike down state or federal regulations that limit abortions or restrict abortion doctors.

To read this incisive report by David Savage in the L.A. Times please click here.

And if you are thinking of not voting or making a symbolic futile vote, just think of what another activist conservative Federalist Supreme Court Justice can do to influence the next 25 years,