Television ads from a new Montana-based group called CO2 Is Green claim: "There is no scientific evidence that CO2 [carbon dioxide] is a pollutant. In fact higher CO2 levels than we have today would help the Earth's ecosystems." The ads urge voters to contact their Senators and Representative, "and remind them CO2 is not pollution." The ads are meant to stoke opposition to climate change legislation.
There are so many problems with the health care reform bill proposed by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, it is little wonder that members of his committee have proposed more than 500 amendments to fix it. Unfortunately, some of the worst amendments that would make the bill even more of a gift to the health insurance industry are being offered by Republicans. If there is a God in heaven, they will not be adopted. But many other amendments are vital, including those that will make this key bill more like the better bills that have been reported out of four other Congressional committees. All of those bills call for the creation of a public insurance option, which is an absolutely critical element of reform. Without it, all of us who are not eligible for an existing government-run program, like the Medicare and VA programs, will be forced to buy coverage from the private insurance industry, which is dominated by a cartel of huge for-profit companies.
"Some of the most influential aides in the closed-door Senate Finance Committee negotiations over health care reform have ties to interests that would be directly affected by the legislation," reports Politico.com.
"As the debate intensifies in Congress, health care sector contributions to lawmakers on the committees overseeing" proposals for health care reform "are on the upswing," according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. In the first half of 2009, "health care interests donated $19.7 million to all federal lawmakers.
I'm beginning to think that the Kool-Aid being served at meetings of the Senate Finance Committee's soon-to-be infamous Gang of Six is coming from either fantasy land or the health insurance industry.
For those of you who might not be following the sorry machinations of health care reform in the Senate Finance Committee, the Gang of Six is a group of three Democrats and three Republicans hand-picked by Committee Chair Max Baucus, who is one of the three Democrats. The gang meets often, supposedly drafting a bipartisan bill. In reality, if such a bill emerges, it will be a gift to the insurance industry because the gang includes some of the industry's best friends on Capitol Hill.
An investigation has identified more faked letters sent to Congress as part of a deceptive campaign waged by the public relations firm Bonner & Associates, on behalf of the industry front group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (AC