From The Guardian:
Tobacco companies have moved swiftly to strengthen their grip on Washington politics, ramping up lobbying efforts and securing significant regulatory wins in the first six months of the Trump era.
Day one of Donald Trump’s presidency started with tobacco donations, senior figures have been put in place within the Trump administration who have deep ties to tobacco, and lobbying activity has increased significantly.
From POWERWALL at MSNBC:
Although he’s suddenly the most talked-about man in politics — at least for a day — Mark Block was quick to return a reporter’s request for comment.
“I’m standing outside smoking a cigarette. What else was I supposed to do?” he quips between puffs.
Block is Herman Cain’s chief operating officer and chief of staff — equivalent to campaign manager on other campaigns — and in a web video released Monday night, addressed Cain’s supporters. “Tomorrow is one day closer to the White House … We’ve run a campaign like nobody’s ever seen, but then America’s never seen a candidate like Herman Cain,” Block said, looking straight into the camera. “We need you to get involved.” And then, without breaking his gaze, he takes a drag off a cigarette, transforming an ordinary video into a viral sensation.
From Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone:
How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory
The onetime Nixon operative has created the most profitable propaganda machine in history. Inside America’s Unfair and Imbalanced Network
The key to decoding Fox News isn’t Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity. It isn’t even News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch. To understand what drives Fox News, and what its true purpose is, you must first understand Chairman [Roger] Ailes. “He is Fox News,” says Jane Hall, a decade-long Fox commentator who defected over Ailes’ embrace of the fear-mongering Glenn Beck. “It’s his vision. It’s a reflection of him.”
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From The Miami Herald:
TALLAHASSEE –A federal appeals court in Atlanta turned Florida’s public campaign financing law on its head Friday, halting a critical provision that was expected to inject taxpayer cash into Attorney General Bill McCollum’s struggling campaign.
The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will put an immediate stop to the matching money McCollum thought he was entitled to when his Republican rival Rick Scott, a multimillionaire who is financing his own campaign, exceeds the state’s $24.9 million spending cap. Scott has rejected the spending limits under the so-called “millionaire’s provision.”
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From Washington Wire blog at THE WALL STREET JOURNAL:
Sen. Jim Bunning, the Kentucky Republican who held Senate hostage over an unemployment bill earlier this month, is now causing trouble for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Bunning is blocking the confirmation of two trade nominees because, according to an aide, the USTR hasn’t done enough to defend Bunning’s home state against a Canadian antismoking law that “unfairly discriminates against Kentucky-grown tobacco.”
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From Joe Conason at Salon:
If Democrats are disappointed by Joe Lieberman’s threat to filibuster any healthcare reform bill that includes a public option, they shouldn’t be. Despite all of his past promises to support universal healthcare, nothing was more predictable than the Connecticut senator’s fealty to the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists.
Much the same can be said of Sen. Evan Bayh, who emerged from hiding on healthcare to announce that he too plans to filibuster against reform with the Republicans, regardless of what his constituents and Americans in general plainly want. Like Lieberman, his state is home to powerful corporations that want reform killed — and like Lieberman, his wife has brought home very big paychecks from those same interests. . (UPDATE: A report published in a South Bend paper Thursday night says Bayh may now support a floor debate.)
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