same as the old boss...

As I write this, you can still go to Barack Obama's campaign website and read about all of the wonderful things he promised his administration would do if elected. In addressing the power of lobbyists to shape public policy, you'll find the following:
The Problem

Lobbyists Write National Policies: For example, Vice President Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force of oil and gas lobbyists met secretly to develop national energy policy.
Barack Obama and Joe Biden's Plan

Bring Americans Back into their Government

Make White House Communications Public: Obama will amend executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public.

Conduct Regulatory Agency Business in Public: Obama will require his appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can see in person or watch on the Internet these debates.
Additionally, as the L.A. Times reports, as a candidate he also promised that "in devising a healthcare bill he would invite in TV cameras -- specifically C-SPAN -- so that Americans could have a window into negotiations that normally play out behind closed doors."

So how's that working out? Yesterday the L.A. Times reported that:
Invoking an argument used by President George W. Bush, the Obama administration has turned down a request from a watchdog group for a list of health industry executives who have visited the White House to discuss the massive healthcare overhaul.

The Secret Service sent a reply stating that documents revealing the frequency of such visits were considered presidential records exempt from public disclosure laws. The agency also said it was advised by the Justice Department that the Secret Service was within its rights to withhold the information because of the "presidential communications privilege."

Having promised transparency, the administration should be willing to disclose who it is consulting in shaping healthcare policy, said an attorney for the citizens' group. In its letter requesting the records, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics asked about visits from Billy Tauzin, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans; William Weldon, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson; and J. James Rohack, president of the American Medical Assn., among others.
We are going to get exactly the national healthcare program that the insurance and medical industries want us to. Which is to say, whichever one will continue to maximize their profits. In exactly the same way that the financial industry got exactly the bailout program that would ensure that our taxes fueled their "blow out" profits and billions of dollars in bonuses. While any attempts to "bail out" any of the victims of their exploitive (and in many cases illegal) lending practices are derided for attempting to benefit "losers" who should have to take their lumps for their irresponsible choices.

These people own this country. They own our government.

Everything else is just pretty (but, with every passing day, plainly empty) rhetoric.

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