(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
With high gas prices have come a chorus of election year ideas about what to do. And when those voices start singing, the oil company lobbyists spring into action. See, a lot of Americans blame the big oil companies for our energy problems. The oil industry is fighting back with tens of millions of dollars being spent by their lobbyists to keep Congress from punishing them.
In fact, the big oil companies are on track to surpass last year's record spending for lobbyists of $83 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
And it seems to be working. See, suddenly the oil industry is the subject of a bunch of proposed legislation in Congress - none of it good for the oil companies. Democrats and environmentalists generally favor higher taxes on the oil companies and more funding for renewables. Republicans want the oil companies to drill more oil wells.
When it comes to lobbying the presidential candidates, big oil has spent $11 million so far - with Republican candidate John McCain benefiting the most. He's received $1.4 million in cash contributions from oil employees – that's the most of any candidate – and three times as much as Barack Obama.
Remember I said its working? So far, no legislation has cleared Congress on any of this. Gas prices are coming down a little on their own. And Congress is on vacation. A financial analyst would suggest the millions of dollars spent on lobbying by the oil companies is money well spent.
Here’s my question to you: Can your voice be heard when the oil industry will spend more than $80 million lobbying Congress this year?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Are you kidding, Jack? There is no way that the average American's voice will be heard over the jingle-jingle of big oil's pockets in Congress. Sadly, there aren't enough self-respecting representatives remaining to refuse their money and silence them.
David from Granville, Ohio writes:
The Obama campaign is establishing hundreds of local "community groups" JUST so that the voice of the "common person" is heard louder than special interests. These community groups will remain in place after the election to continue to give you and I and people like us a voice. Just one of the many important "changes" Barack will bring when elected!
Ray from Nashville, Tennessee writes:
Jack, Money talks and the oil companies, with their record profits, have to talk loud enough to drown out all of us little guys.
If the idiots in Congress had any understanding of economics whatsoever, no company would need to spend $80 million for lobbying. But, when we continue to elect slick-talking socialists repeatedly to the Congress, none of whom have ever run a business, balanced a budget, delivered a product, introduced a new product, invested in R&D, or anything remotely related to running a business, this is what we get: never-ending needless government intrusion and anemic under-performing markets.
Businesses and consumers are smart enough to buy the products they want. Businesses and consumers ARE the market. Let the market sort outits own problems.
Carol from Durham, Maine writes:
The only way to 'speak' to power is to vote. My voice is small compared to that of a lobbyist, or the oil man with millions. However, I do have hope. If T. Boone Pickens, a big oil man himself has actually begun to promote alternative energy, wind, solar etc. With luck and a new president being firm on a new direction, maybe the rest will follow.
no way...we are the peons who pay for government and in turn get screwed by government
You betcha. My voice will be heard once the Republicans are out of office.
Is that all? Our Congress, President, Vice President, and members of the White House staff must have had an end-of-term sale!
Obviously, my voice alone cannot be heard over the ring of the cash registers in the aforementioned people. But if I join my voice with enough others with the same goal, YES it can - especially by kicking them the heck out of Washington!
No. The citizens have been after Congress to do all kinds of things, but the lobbyists always win. We have the best government money can buy. A few bucks here, a few bucks there, next thing you know you're a wealthy Congressman with a yacht and a house filled with antiques.
Based on the polls that the majority of Americans think increased drilling will solve our energy crisis tells me the oil companies and their friends in Congress are winning. Data from the E.I.A. and Dept of Energy show that we do not have large enough oil reserves to make a difference but majority of Americans are ignoring this data and think more drilling is the answer.
With John McCain stated that we must drill, drill, drill NOW...it is nice to know that there will be lots of money behind John's view...sadly, the view we are "addicted to oil" only means that we have money to continue our addiction.
70% of americans want offshore drilling. The oil industry wants offshore drilling. Now even Pelosi and Obama are saying they support offshore drilling. Sounds like somebody is listening.
why would they start listening now?
McCain has 22 lobbyists and top advisers in his campaign representing big oil, Jack. His tax plan gives big oil $3.8 billion in tax breaks, and his drilling plan "Drill, drill, drill everywhere!" will be a disaster for the environment.
The "gas tax holiday" he pushes hurts the state infrastructure while allowing oil companies free reign to continue their price gouging.
And McCain has voted against the windfall profits tax.
Big oil lobbying is a problem, but the first step toward solving it is to elect a Democratic president and Congress who will start serious funding of alternative energy sources (particularly solar).
Voters CAN make a difference this year, but only if they're willing to "throw the bums out" who are in bed with big oil just like our current president–and that's starting with the Republican nominee himself, John McCain.
Can my voice be heard Jack? Well could my voice be heard in the middle of a Cat 5 hurricane?
I don't know how to make it happen, but lobbying should be illegal. In large part, it is what has broken our government.
Jack, I just have to say a very loud THANK YOU for your op-ed piece today. You are my hero!
Now that is the $80 Million dollar question. Here are the top five Senators receiving money from the Oil and Gas Industry for 2008:
1. John McCain, $1,394,033
2. John Cornyn, $484,100
3. Hillary Clinton, $400,419
4. Barack Obama, $398,765
5. James Inhofe, $233,800
Oh my goodness! I see two presidential candidates on that list. Surely this won't effect their views on energy issues. Right?
This is what you McCain voters are signing up for!
No our voices will never be heard and for those who feel that it will all be good once Bush is out of office provided McCain loses, guess what Obama is in their pocket too.
With the kinds of profits the oil companies have made, this amounts to a tip. Hopefully the Republicans will get ousted from office, and our voices will be heard.
Groups pay that kind of money so NOTHING happens, if you don't believe me how about the $153 million the drug companies have spent so far this year.
With Bush and Chaney leading the way they have what they need to get their way.
Big oil will always control the government until we as a country get off oil completely. Allowing them to drill more is not the first step to stoping their influence.
Americans must begin making the tough choices concerning oil. Not the easy choices of the drill here, drill now solution, if you believe that then you got your head placed firmly up your...
I am reminded of a number from the musical Cararet "Money, Money makes the world go round". I seriously doubt it but then again if all the Republican fat cats are voted out they maybe some one is listening.
Are you kidding as an average American do you really think our voices will be heard now or in the future ? There are too many kickbacks and payoffs to powerful people in Congress for the simple people to be heard.
Jack: Let me state it this way........when the voice of 80 million dollars falls on the ears of Congress and the voice of the American people follow, who do you think the Congressional ears will hear?
No, Our voice was lost when Congress changed the constitution to limit the size of Congress! Thus it was easier for Congress to be bribed or lobbied if you will!
I'll donate one dollar to every campaign online. The will help, won't it Jack?
Of course not. I have one voice, but Washington listens with its wallet.
The Constitution gives everyone the right to Petition Congress, however today they are bribing Congress and that is therein where the problem lies. Should it not be illegal at this point in time?
Man was never meant to rule man as the results are apparent, as humility seems to have been discarded as old fashion in the past 35 years.
Money and power (which are hand in hand issue) corrupts the simple mind of the human being.
I'm read in a blog that John got $2M from the oil industry within days after he became a supporter of off-shore drilling in June.
Of course not. What in the world made you think it would,
Yes! Our voice can be heard even over those oily "conservatives with all the money they are allowed to extract from us.
We get to vote!
Boynton Beach FL
Even if all the voices of the people crying for change in our energy policy are heard by congress and congress actually listened it will hardly make much of an impact for quite some time. The politics of greed has ruled for so long that our entire society is now tied to barrels of oil. America is the great oil-lusion. All of our military might, all of our economy, and all of our luxorious lifestyle is tied to the flow of oil. It's easy to see now how great empires fall. Short-sighted greed.
Why would it now, it never has. the oil industry would rather buy oil from OPEC that way they are excused from blame for the "gouging".
We have known reserves that would free us from OPEC but the oil companies are not going to explore them as long as they can get OPEC oil.
It is false that known reserves are minor, they are greater than all of OPEC has, we just don't explore them.
Oil companies could build more refineries but then they couldn't exploit us, look at all the ethanol refineries that have been built, why not oil refineries?
Absolutely not, I am not even noise in the background.
Until the voters decide to regularly clear the congress, flexing their muscle, they will be ignored.
We never hear about the politicians retirement portfolio. I can image how many have oil company shares?
It was reported today that gasoline is down nearly 10% from it's high of $4.11 a gallon. Today, oil is down 21.8% from it's high of $147 a barrel. Why isn't gas at $3.21 a gallon?
When it comes to the oil industry, in particular, by the people and for the people is a cruel joke. It's all for them and them for them.
If McCain is elected, our voices will certainly not be heard. McCain has morphed into an oil man to try and get elected and will sell his soul (if he has one) to the oil companies for sure.
About as much as they would dealing with the drug companies. Not a whit.
Isn't this what they call influence pedaling.
The greedy and power hungry congress will always prevail over the needy and desperate souls of our society!!
Get them down and offer them crumbs while they take the GOLD!!!
Our voices can be heard loud and clear by cutting our dependency on gas. We need to reduce the use of our vehicles, combine as many trips as possible, buy smaller more fuel efficient vehicles and look for alternative sources of gasoline. The big oil companies listen to their bottom line and if we significantly reduce the use of gasoline our whisper can become a shout!
Jack, nothing surprises me about Congress anymore. They are supposed to be the watchmen of democracy, but it is getting to the point of asking: “Who’s watching the watchmen?” Like Lou Dobbs says, “The best government money can buy.”
Money buys access and influence. I don't think this is anything new. Our elected representatives are obvious masters at rationalizing the stuff that goes on inside the beltway. You're not going to get any ethics or fairness in Washington as long as the foxes are guarding the hen house.
Well they say money talks, so the voices of americans will just be drowned out again. The sad thing is we know this is going on yet we are helpless to it. How can the american people compete with 80+ million dollars, after all they are only human(I guess)atleast most of them!!!!
Anything is possible. I suppose I should write my Senator a letter asking her to do stuff for me and include a check. I'll get back to you and let you know if it worked.
Rudy, New York City
its not lobbying.............its taking bribes!
DOUG IN ARKANSAS
It is politics Jack nobody’s voice is ever actually heard!
Sure it can, Jack. As long as we want what they want.
While I am bothered by that amount of money being spent on lobbying congress, I am livid that foreign governments hire lobbyists. All lobbyists should be prevented by law of representing a foreign government. To me it it tantamount to treason.
Our voices being heard? Now that's funny Jack! Haven't we been screaming for years about lobbyists, pork barrels, entitlements, earmarks, etc. Obama and McCain have both taken money from big oil and Obama even received an earmark for the company his wife worked for. I have to give McCain some credit here, he doesn't believe in Congressional earmarks. I just don't know what it will take to have our voices heard. Term limits maybe. Just think how many lobbying firms would go out of business. Now the thought of that makes me smile.
If the gov. never does anything again, they should ban lobbist, that would make everyone happy. If not kick all of then out.
I think it is great. perhaps the oil companies will invest enough lobby money in political votes that we can actually get some oil wells drilled in this country after 28 years. Any money we spend on oil in the middle east will most likely be used to fund terrorists. It never made any sense to me to buy oil from countries that do not like us. We unwittingly are funding our own destruction that way. I say drill here drill now and get it done. Our leadership in Washington has been ignorant for far too long now. We are just now beginning to see what these congressional morons have done to us financially.
Jack, I am afraid the oil interests and their lobbyists have made up their minds already, to back any governmental action which will put more money in their pockets regardless of the needs of the economy and the environment. True, they will grab the money we pay to fuel our homes and cars, but, but listen to what we want? - I think not.
Yes our voice can easily be heard. Dump the incumbent. Vote out every incumbent in every race from local to state to federal. Let the Oil Companies, the NRA, the AARP and every Political Action Committee know that "We the People" are in charge. If our elected officials don't listen then, we can do it all over again.
I was thinking about John McCain and how he could possibly have the energy at his age to want to be President and Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces. Then as I was reading a book about the painter Monet a great friend of George Clemenceau who was the Prime Minister of France and the Minister of War in 1917 I came upon a quote about the politician.
“At the age of seventy six Clemenceau entered upon control of France in her struggle for life and victory. By the consent of all, it was only after the age of seventy six that Clemenceau had given the full measure of his powers. He had shown that where will and brain retain their vigour, the weight of accumulated experience and long-gathered thought may be worth more to the man who can handle it than the faculties of the prime.
Our voices will be heard if and only if we stand united and vote AGAINST anyone who accepts lobbyists money the minute they come up for re-election. This will take some time given the various offices that come up for re-election each cycle, but eventually we will be able to do it. Throw the bums out, I mean.
Complaining won't cut it. Americans must put their votes where their mouths are. We need to take back our country, and this is the best way to start.
Year after year, the lobbyiests gain more and more power in the halls of Congress. Lets get rid of lobbyiest organizations and start making Congress listen to the American people for a change. The only option is to collectively fill Congressional ears with cement because they won't listen to us and they aren't willing to listen to each other.
The great thing about Wolf Blitzer and Jack Cafferty is that every day they allow 15 people to have a voice on "Situation Room". Now, mathematically speaking, if each of us "Fortunate 15" ponied up 5.4 million, we could have equal access to congress. With both Wall Street and congress, the saying rings true...."You get what you pay for".
The only way my voice will be heard is if I have $1.00 more to spend than the oil industry. Our government bought and paid for by the highest bidder. This might be one of the reasons we enjoy the global reputation that we do today. Very sad isn't it.
St. Augustine, Fl
Congress wears high tech hearing aides, you know the selective hearing kind designed only to hear lobbyist and not for hearing millions of Americans that voted them in office.
I knew that it was Friday when I woke up this morning and was hoping that you would have a homorous question today. Oops, it's only Tuesday. Of course not to answer your question. Maybe my voice could be heard if I was the CEO of Exxon and decided to invest 75% of our profit in wind and solar, now that would be news.
Big business has been buying our elected officials for years that is why we are a declining nation. we will be a third world nation in the next twenty years or we will become a slave nation to the new world global power. money not military power will rule the world in the future and there are new rising powers who are over taking us. we have the brains but we do not use them just look at our leaders.
Not with my congressman. He used to be Bush's accountant when W was in the oil business. He listens only to Bush, Cheney, and their oil cronies.
The millions of hits on the Pickens Plan website and the fact that both candidates for president have met with him, shows that the people are being listened to! Then there are all of the angry letters, emails, and phone calls, plus the uproar whenever they meet with their constituents. I am sure we have been heard! Whether or not they care what we think remains to be seen! If they havent accomplished anything by November , they may be in for a November surprise! And it's not the one they want! Our voices will be heard in the voting booth(Maybe)
I remember the "Harold & Louise" TV ads that scuttled health care reform. I don't doubt before this is over that there will TV ads which will have the uninformed public screaming, "Let's drill here and drill now!"
Port Aransas, TX
Since when do politicians care what their constituents think?
The only thing that stat does for me Jack is give me more insight into a new job. Thanks for the heads up, I'll see you in Washington.
Off course jack! my voice will be heard, and frankly my advice the oil industry is to stop wasting their money and invest in different sources of energy cause that's where we're going with or without them....and ifthey think i'm wrong they can ask T. Boone who happen to be one them.
“Crudely” speaking, not really, not even close.
The only time we get recognition is when groups such as grassfire or people like Lou Dobbs champion a cause and rally all of us into making enough noise about an issue.
No , we can't be heard , and that's understandable .They only listen to people they give money to not the one they take money from, and Jack, with the 100 million acres of oil leases that they already have on land and at sea why do they need more un they drill those spots???
I think they hear us but we really don't matter to them.
We can be heard by not buying gas. The SUVs,monster truck,and large luxury cars moms and dads should think of their kids ever time they get behind the wheel. We need to start taking responsiblity for our lives.
Well Jack I doubt it. My" vote" doesn't mean anything, why would a politician care about what I say. Money talks, all else walks in this country. We seem to be able to show the rest of the world how that works. Just look at China!!
Individual voices won't be heard. We have other possibilities to get to Congress' attention. First, enviromental coalitions, Al Gore and friends, may break through to the corridors of power. Second, entrepreneurs who favor alternative energy sources, people like T. Boone Pickens, can shout loudly with traditional lobbying. Third, when we elect a President who is not in Big Oil's pocket, namely Barack Obama, he can set a legislative agenda friendly to alternative energy sources..
Maybe a better question is, "Who wants’ to hear the average Americans voice?". Seriously Jack, it's the same with Health Insurance, Prescription Drugs and a number of other issues.
Large corporations have a strangle hold on our country, because we gave them the power by electing morally bankrupt politicians like McCain, Bush Tom Delay, former speaker Hastert, Foley....the list goes on and on and includes some Democrats as well.
no jack we the average american is not heard it's the best govt money can bought by big oila nd others while we are continuing gettign gouged at the pump of course our voice won"t be heard screaming at our gov and big oil while we pump 4 dollars oper gallon in our cars and trucks
If our Congress really wanted to help us with the rising cost of fuel, they would stop taking money from lobbyists working for oil companies. Better yet, let's stop electing anyone with ties to the oil industry. 8 years of nonsense from the White House Oilmen is more than enough.
Their no moratorium on drilling in the Golf! Their a moratorium on new lease for drilling. But big Oil already own all the lease they need to drill a lots more than they do. So why is their a big drive to give them more lease? That because big Oil want it all they want to corner the market and keep out new competition who would gladly drill in the golf if given the opportunity. I do not have anything against new lease for drilling in the golf I just don't want the cartel that have been sitting on lease they already own to get new one!
When $80 can speak louder than $80 million my voice will be heard, because that’s all I can afford with oil prices so high.
Not if John McCain is elected! It's extremely telling to see how fervently John McCain has picked up the big oil banner. He just desperately wants to drill everywhere and right now, now, now! If McCain is elected, it will ensure the unfettered, and unregulated, freedom of oil companies to do as they wish for the next decade. Instead of beginning a transition in our energy sector McCain will only help big oil to dig in deeper. I don't think America wants that Jack, but $80 million says differently.
Scott from Bend, Oregon.
I'm not near as worried about the $80 million the oil lobby has as I am about the 70% of Americans who are rallying for offshore drilling. This isn't a solution, it's a knee-jerk reaction to soaring fuel prices. Spending money on offshore drilling and ruining our environment is not going to fix our economy.
Our voices don't need to be heard...we don't need their STINKING oil! As an old fossil Jack, I bet you laugh at us TV babies and our dependence on oil. Remember back in the day, when you were just a lad before oil even existed, how you and your young buddy Fred Flinstone used to race around the streets of Bedrock in your stone-age hot-rods, Fred in his Flintmobile and you in your custon Model T (-Rex)? You guys didn't need any stinking gas, oil or internal combustion engines to go! You simply ate a few brontosaurus burgers, paddled your little footsies and off you went. Ah yes, the good old days, when life was simple. Yubba Dubba Do!
throw ALL these grafting crooks out in November and see how quick things change in the next Congress. so called "lobbying" is nothing but semi-legal bribery.
Do you really think that the repulicans in crongress and the senate are not going to take big money from the oil companies and then lie about to the american people and hope they can fool us. But there is some very stupied pepole out there that will belive these crooks. I sure hope the people that don't belive it vote these croks out of office.
Jack, that is a classic example of a "rhetorical" question. Answer: no.
Sure Jack , it will and can be heard. The problem is are there any brain cells at home to understand what you are saying.
The chances are about one on 80 million.
Once agin, the public gets screwed by the big oil companies and the big corporations.
A little, every time I average over 40 MPG's while driving my Civic Hybrid. I feel like i stand up to big oil by making the choice to pay a little more sticker price, to pollute less, and I can laugh at the people driving by themselves to work in their 12 MPG SUV's...
My voice can be heard. Just write to your local representative, and if they don't take a notice, then just don't re-elct them. It's as simple as that!
If John gets elected, maybe his VP too can have a "secret meeting" with the oil companies and promise greater wealth in return.
For all the trillions we've spent in Iraq, how much of the 500K barrels of oil a day (which is the same as their output in 2002) did we get? Probably zippo.
it doesn't matter to me!!..most americans will probably pay higher gas prices as long congress do something about it from both sides..
All lobbying has been out of control for too long and must be outlawed. My patience with this K Street nonsense is at an end. From now on the voters must make it clear to all the new Senators and Representatives, that are to replace all the tainted, beholding incumbents over the next 6 years, that the days of cowtowing to these influence peddlers are over. Rule of thumb: Listen to us or pack up.
Well Jack our voice is free, and if enough of use our free voices it may make a difference, so let them spend that 80 mil, but I'm afraid it still would do no good, lobbyist pretty much run this country. This is why we need change.
No one said the oil companies would go down without a fight. The oil companies don't know it yet but they're going out of business. We're running out of oil and they haven't gotten the message yet. They believe Jerome Corsi when he says oil is an unlimited resource. It's not and it's getting harder to find and more expensive to get out of the ground. The Age of Oil is coming to a close.
NO – but maybe Hillary can get them to pay off some of her debt (LOL).
35 years ago, in the early '70's, my friends and I drove volkswagons or we rode our bikes.
We bought food from local farmers and we planted little gardens.
We turned down the thermostat and put logs in the wood stove.
Our friend who was also a genius began running computer programs. He said he was designing a solar engine. In 1973. In Ohio.
Where was T. Boone Pickens then?
Where was John McCain?
Remind me again why Jimmy Carter isnt speaking at the convention.
Couldnt the US be 100% independent of foreign oil if we had continued to do what Carter inspired a few college students to do back then?
No. I have written my congressman and senators several times this past year and many of my emails had to do with our gasoline crisis. They don't even read my letters but just take whatever topic I chose as a subject line and crank out a reply that looks like it was composed by the CEO of Exxon/Mobil. The letters always end sounding like we are best buddies and promising me that they will keep my viewpoints in mind when dealing with this critical issues.
This is what happens when you have elected two oilmen in office and now the people of America are paying for the damage.
Jack, oil production in the U. S. peaked in 1970 at 9.6 million barrels per day. Despite all the drilling that's since been done in Alaska and offshore, including the outer continental shelf, daily production has steadily declined to 5.1 million bbls while our consumption has increased to 21 million bbls per day; however, I expect that by spending $80 million dollars, the public will be convinced we can drill our way out of our problem.
Port Aransas, TX
Perhaps a grass roots movement to ban all lobbying . . . . . . . .
I know the take would be slimmer, but then the lobby would have to come to the American public and spread the wealth.
Maybe Hillary can get some of the 80 million to pay off her campaign debt!
80 Billion you say? Isn't that the exact amount of oil surplus that Iraq has?
What an odd coincidence.
Unfortunately, the People's voice has not been heard in years. Greed, corruption, lies, fraud that's the Governments way. I still can't believe no one is ever held accountable. It isn't their money they spend so why listen and work for the people. What a country.
For 80 million dollars they will certainly expect to drill here and drill now and drill anywhere off shore or in anwr.
After having said this I just don't think the public is informed enough to go against big oil interests as recent polls showed the majority was stampeded into saying yes simply because they had to tighten their belts a little.
No. Another reason I will not vote for McCain.
It's good to see the oil industry shaking in its boots at the prospect of an Obama presidency. The oil co.'s have ruled this country for far too long.
los angeles, ca
is lobbying constitutional jack? of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE, for the PEOPLE. i don't think that means " the government shall be unduly influenced by lobbys and corporate interests" do you?
From an article on CNN Money; “Oil up on expected drop in gas supply”
"We've seen refineries pull back because refining hasn't been profitable,"
It is incomprehensible that Big Old has more impact on the American Economy than the Federal Reserve. The nation's supply of gasoline is of strategic concern to the security of our nation and absolutely should not be left to the greed of big oil.
Voices are always heard. 80 Million is a drop in the bucket.
Your voice can alway's be heard, but it takes money for your voice to be listened to.
The rational thing is drasticly reduce lobbying, the chances of this are very small.
Yes, get your congressmen to impeach Bush/Cheney. Vote Barak Obama. The Oil industry and your congressmen will get the message. Just let Bush/Cheney alone, vote McCain and they will get the message too. Our choice.
No way my voice can be heard! $80 million against my paltry income? It ain't possible.
Jack, Great column on Dumbya and his evil twin, bet that was heard in the halls of power.
Hiram Rapids, Oh.
70% of Americans seem to be fooled by John McCain, George Bush and Big Oil.
Drill, Surge, Drill, Surge, Drill Surge
Or as John McCain says
"My friends, one more thing, Drill now, drill immediately, drill right away, drill today"
I'll stick with my tire gauge driving 55 mph with my 4 cylinder car. If we all did we could save more oil than John McCain will ever discover.
John McCain could save some fuel and some hot air by forgoing that trip to the "gates of hell".
Was our voice ever really heard these past 8 years?
Of course it can, Jack
I'll provide the following quote as my answer to this question, Jack:
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
-Alexis de Tocqueville
Our voices will be heard loud and clear when Obama is elected the next President of the United States!
If we have a president who is willing to listen.
How can folks be unhappy about lobbyist money and influence, when they permit and encourage their existence?
The Obama campaign is establishing hundreds of local "community groups" JUST so that the voice of the "common person" is heard louder than special interests. These community groups will remain in place after the election to continue to give you and I and people like us a voice. Just one of the many important "changes" Barack will bring when elected!
It is time for ALL American's to be aware what these Oil Companies are doing. $80 Million to lobby congress. Sounds like many dinners, trips, pay backs, etc. This is the problem with our Government. We need a change immediately and all American's stand strong together and let congress will not stand for this ANY LONGER. I am tried of being sold out.
Has anyone in Congress ever heard the word of the people? Money is more important to them than our wishes. Case closed!
Jack: Our voices have not been heard for the past seven and a half years of Republican dictatorship. You get what you pay for and what you vote for. Vote for John McCain and we will get another four years of the same. And the oil companies will be pulling his strings like they have been pulling Georgie boys for the last almost eight years. Money talks.
Lobbying by special interests should be made a federal crime, flat out.
Im tired of money mongerers running the country.
No Jack the public's voices cannot be heard, just like before. Only now no one can deny Congress is owned by Companies.
Yeah Right..... And you are going to tell me all about the Tooth Fairy next....If Lincoln were alive today, he would be saying "A government of the People. By a Corrupt and incompetent bureaucracy. For the highest bidder......" For example you have the FDA, the VA, the BIA, the EPA, FEMA, etc. etc.... Corrupt and incompetent are gross understatements....
That is only about 18% of the money Cheney donated to Big Oil out of our pockets in grants that he nicknamed "Energy Bill."
The voice of America is already being heard it is hollering, "ouch." On election day it will holler "Obama."
No way Jack, The Oil Lobbyists know a good thing when they see it.
As long as you have people who take Big Oil money no ones voice other than the OIl Industry will be heard. Thats why all incumbents no matter what Party, should be voted out.
let's get real here for a moment, it isn't just the oil industry that has bought a share of controling interest of this government, there are hundreds of other special interest groups that own their own share. do you remember that eddie murphy movie 'the distinguished gentleman"? look at how this government works and you'll see the plot line for that movie.
Of course our voices are not heard. To think otherwise is naive and wishful thinking.
Want to stop the Oil Lobby from forcing politicians to LIE to us?
Make a NO-MORE-LIES law, that every time a politician speaks publicly or a talkshow host? If he lies, warn him 'publicly', then publicly fine them for repeating the lie(like in the ticker at the bottom), then after so many lies- don't re-new their license. The people will take care of the politicians.
Competition in the TRUTH in media! Truth in Government!
We'd get BETTER politicians! No more FRAUD advertisements!
Rick Warren would have said that McCain WASN'T in the CURCH YET! Instead of lying and saying he WAS!
Just think- Who'd vote against stopping politicians from telling lies to Americans?
Well, Jack, it depends on whether or not the Congress comes back from vacation anytime soon, though part of me is wishing they just stay there.
Jerrod, Ironton, Ohio.
Jack, So that's why I pay so much at the pump, to insure the republic redistribution of wealth continues to go only upward and stagnate there. Those with oil stocks have their hand in my pocket and I really want to amputate it somehow.
The $80 million will do the trick. The Dems in charge will compromise with the GOP [Gas and Oil Party] and reach across the aisle and capitulate as usual while giving lip service to any real change in direction.......away from an oil-based economy.
San Clemente, Cal.
It's like everything else, Jack. If enough of us get fed up and vote out any incumbent, only then will our voices be heard. But, I'm not sure there are enough of us, who are mad enough, yet. We talk a good game, but when it comes time to making our statement at the polling place, we get weak again.
Guess that depends on how much political power they can buy with that money. My vote would be to oust all sitting members of congress along with the Bush crowd and start over with people NOT beholden to oil or any other special interest group.
Yeah, I know, I'm livin' in la-la-land.
Ever hear of the Corrupt Bastards Club? That's the name a group of our state leaders gave themselves, having been bribed by VECO, an oil-service company. Republicans, OF COURSE! any questions?
If we are addicted to oil, doesn't this make the lobbyists "enablers" or maybe even pushers? The sooner we break our addiction, the sooner these parasites will get their due.
McCain is picking up a check as we speak, he's been bought and paid for by big oil Jack, so have a good many of the other politicians.
Most of the CEO'S belong in Jail, but they have too many lobbyist, hey maybe we can send their lobbyist to jail in their place!
But the Democrats are wanting to add windfall profit taxes for the oil companies and devolop clean energy to bring oil costs down and ultimately bring the use of oil to a minimum. So I believe it is mostly the Republicans that are in love with the oil industry.
Explains the McCain 'Drill here, Drill Now' campaign slogan.
i was under the impression that both democrats and republicans voted in congress.your making it sound jack that only republicans vote in favor of the oil companies. you wouldn't want to mislead the voter snow would you jack. I'm sure if it came up you would show that sen. obama voted for a tax break for big oil. or would you
Who 'lil ole me.....NOT. However, the "have and have more" buddies of George W and his oil buddies have been heard loud and clear.
What was that? You didn't hear me. Could it be the sound of money changing hands that is drowning out my voice. $80 million dollars being paid to someone speaks volumes. It's hard to get a word in edge-wise.
I like to think that the cries of the American people are being heard, even if its just a whisper in the ears of big oil. Like you said your-self, this is the most oil lobbyists have ever spent to keep the government in check. I think their starting to realize that the evolution of this country is going green, its just a matter of how long big oil can suck the money out of this black gold we call oil. Times are changing and big oil will have to learn to adapt to it.
only if barack is elected and he enacts his change agenda.government will never change unless we force them to ,by electing someone with a different view of how politics and government should work.if mccain is elected then the oil companies have won for another 4 years.i think any future investments in america should come in the form of education, because for the last 8 years we have proven ourselves to be deficient.
Hasn't it been said that "money speaks louder than words."
How can my voice be heard when my vote can not?
The Congress, of Big Business, will do what's in their best interests, not ours.
The old adages exist for a reason: Follow the Money.
No. But I suspect many Americans will be writing letters? or better yet, calling their Congressmen and Congresswomen. We all have a voice. I say buy a bicycle, no oil involved, but it will keep us all in shape.
Sure our voices are heard, Jack. Collectively they amount to a mouse's squeek in a hurricane.
Untill the law is changed, and I doubt it will be, this is as good as it gets. It all one party now on the hill... the Hog Party....
Are you kidding, Jack? There is NO way that the average American's voice will be heard over the jingle-jingle of big oil's pockets in congress. Sadly, there aren't enough self-respecting representatives remaining to refuse their money and silence them.
ALL Congressional and Presidential campaigns should be publicly AND ONLY publicly funded. All contributions from individuals and corporations would go into a giant fund to be divided equally and equitably among all the participants for a given election year. Gosh, I am such a dreamer. This will never happen in America.
The only way to 'speak' to power is to vote. My voice is small compared to that of a lobbyist, or the oil man with millions.
However, I do have hope.
If T.Boone Pickens, a big oil man himself has actually begun to promote alternative energy, wind, solar etc. With luck, and a new President being firm on a new direction, maybe the rest will follow.
$80 million?!?! Wow, those Big Oil guys must be rich! We should give them some tax breaks, though, just in case. That way maybe some of those oil riches will trickle down to my "gallon of milk" fund.
I now know why gas prices are so high...to pay for the bribes to the decision makers in Washington. Aftre Mc Cain recived a couple of millions from them... all the sudden he was for off shore drilling... which will incereae their profits and affect our way of life. The oil companies already have unexplored land they are not doing any drilling on. WHY?
hey Jack, how can i get a job as a lobbyist? it seems to be a very lucrative career
The fact your asking this proves the answer is and will always be a good "no".
Sure my voice could be heard in Congress, as soon as I pony up millions in "contributions!"
Someone once said "We have the best governmnet money can buy." How true...at tleast for those in the market to do the buying!
Corpus Christi, Tx.
People need to vote against every Republican on the ballot. We need to prove that our Country is not for sale!
John McCain has already been bought and paid for by the oil companies; their contributions have chained him to their oil rigs and he no longer has control of his own campaign. Barack Obama wants to put in place a balanced energy policy that gives few special favors to big oil. In November, we Americans will choose whether to let Big Oil buy the White House or force them to back off.
Jack, you know the way these things work. The most likely way for my voice to be heard is for my email to be read on The Cafferty File.
Of course, Jack, if we just keep voicing encouragement for John McCain's off-shore drilling energy strategy!
Sure our voices will be heard. My father told me years ago that the squeaky gate always gets the oil.
Jack, Punish the oil co.'s? In NY the governmant takes $.61/gallon while the oil companies makes an $.08 to $.09/gallon profit. Who's being greedy? Wake up, eh.
Of course our voices can be heard. The lowering in gas prices recently is no doubt a result of oil companies finally feeling pressure from the public from the disgust with their record profits. They recognize this election could mean their 80 million spent in lobbying may be trumped by voters insisting something be done about their energy costs.
Will my voice be heard? That's funny! We may have a voice but as the saying goes...it's the money that talks.
The only way our voices are ever heard is if we take the time to write to the Cafferty File. And then perhaps we can hope that the campaigns are paying attention or reading your blog.
Let's face it Jack, McCain probably does not consider the donations to his campaign alot of money. After all, you are only rich if you have five million or better.
What oil wants, oil gets. Always has been, always will be. While politicians claim that they offer change, I'll believe it when I see it.
There is no way on earth my voice will be heard when Big Oil lobbyist are spending $80 million. I'm still struggling with just under $4/gallon gas... I obviously can't match their $80 million.
Hey Jack, ... "....a voice in the desert...." is what comes to mind when we depict the typical American against the $80 million spent on the lobbying effort of the oil companies.... But then again it's okay... Wild bee honey and locusts is all we will be able to afford to eat after filling up the gas tank to go to the grocery store.....
Be well my friend...
How lovely it was to see Sen McCain on an oil rig. Maybe he should have thanked them for contributions. How stupid does he think we are?
Seems to me if they have the money to waste on lobbiest they can afford Obama's windfall profit tax. Seems to me the tax breaks they are recieving now are going to pay off politicians. Seems to me that we need to save our country from BIG OIL!!!
The last time I checked there were 35,000 registered lobbyists in Washington. Balance that against 535 members of Congress and you may wonder how our Senators and Congressional Representatives can decide who or what to listen to. I do know that Congressional and Senate email accounts are brimming with angry letters from constituents asking elected leaders what if anything they intend to do. Anyone with access to a computer can send an email to the slugs on Capitol Hill. It will take every citizen to do so to make our voices heard over the lobbyists. I just wish there was more disclosure about what the lobbyists are saying and doing to the politicians that we as voters elect to represent our voices in Congress. Perhaps the media can do more to make that information public. Isn't that what they are supposed to be doing?
All I can say is the republicains like the oil companies to speak for them. As long as they're in power we can continue to say "Money Talks." How come your the only person on CNN that knows whats goin on?
Yes Jack it can but, not as a single voter. Lobbyist do not elect anyone, WE DO. We need to grow some, you know whats, and fire incumbents at every level. Then and only then will the message be heard loud and clear to elected officials and thoes who try to influence them. The icing on that cake is firing them costs us nothing. Too bad it will only be a dream.
The underlying cause of the vast majority of this nation's ills is the corporate influence of Congress through their lobbyists. So, no, my voice cannot be heard over the din of $80 million being spent on bribes, er, lobbying.
The ONLY solution for this is a grassroots effort to elect Congresspeople committed to Campaign Finance Reform, a grassroots campaign spanning several Congressional races.
This is one of the places where the American public can and should step up change how this nation runs. Unlike so much in this nation, this is an important task that the public is responsible and capable of undertaking.
I was angry with the oil companies squeezing every last cent from our pockets while declaring that they were making that much money. Since their recent advertising campaign, I now realize how wrong I was about them. They are just looking out for best interest and are really trying to assist in converting to alternatives. They are warm and fuzzy. Give me a break.
83 million dollars just doesn't buy what it used to, does it Jack? I wouldn't give a plug nickel for the whole lot... that's probably why I don't feel that my "interests" are of any concern to my so-called representatives and the oil companies certainly are. Shouldn't "we the people" finally get up the gumption to throw the bums out.
I have something of more value than all the money on this planet – my vote.
As a public school teacher I know that our retirement fund is heavily invested in "BIG OIL". Unlike the average person, I'm smart enough to realize that any windfall profits tax, will in fact be a tax on me and all other people who participate in a retirement program or have money in a mutual fund. In addition this tax will just be passed on to the consumer, or worse, oil companies will realize that is not profitable to sell their product in the United States. Just like back in the 70's, we will then have gas shortages again thanks to liberal politicians.
Corporate money is ruining our country. How can the average person compete or be taken seriously to have any influence over our elected leaders. We are losing our jobs and benefits and no one seems to do anything. Voting is our only voice and I am less and less convinced that our elections are not rigged.
$80 million, that is just the over the table tab. With oil falling 22% lately gas has only dropped 9%. Their tens of billions of profit must be going somewhere. We know it's not going into drilling on the millions of offshore acres they already lease.
Yes, The democratic process and the free media gives us an opportunity to change the way of our political process.
By electing Barrack Obama and then making sure that the communication channels with the government are kept open with C-SPAN CNN and the Internet, we can reduce the power of the Lobbyists.
We can support more media personnel like you, to speak out loud and clear for the people.
No you voice can't be heard in Washington. Thats they should all be voted out. Thats why I am voting Libertarian this year. No in Washington care about the people they represent they only care about thier wallets thats why they took a pay raise and a vacation. If not the oil companies it would just be some other group lobbying
YES. I can make my voice heard by voting for Barack Obama, who has taken little money from the oil companies and, as a result, has not made off-shore drilling the centerpiece of his energy policy. McCain is to all extents and purposes a paid agent of Exxon Mobil and Hess, with the latter's executives making $285,000 in contributions to the McCain campaign just as McCain began insisting that off-shore drilling "must begin immediately."
How many corporate tools will Americans elect to the Presidency before they see through the bogus patriotic rhetoric and swiftboat attacks to the reality that my late mother taught us in our cradles: "the Republicans are for the rich." If you want to beat back the oil lobby, and the insurance and drug lobbies, you have to vote for the guys who are not in bed with the lobbyists.
But Americans won't do that, I worry, because they continued to be suckered by fear campaigns and lies into letting the wolves into the henhouse. Obama has the kind of experience - fighting for the middle and working class - and judgment - not becoming a corporate puppet - that can make a difference. All we have to do is turn a deaf ear to the swiftboat attacks and vote.
Of course we, the Voters, cant compete with oil company lobbyists. Or any Lobbyists for that matter. When will the voters in this country realize that no matter how much our politicians spend to secure OUR votes. Once they are elected, OUR concerns don"t mean a thing. The concerns of their contributers,(primarily Corporate), seem to take up the majority of their energy. This smacks of "taxation without representation" to me. But then again.... I HAVE NO SAY.
Not only will my voice not be heard, but ignored. It's even likely YOUR voice won't be heard. But, if it is, perhaps you can ask Big Oil, John McCain and the 75% of Americans who approve of new off-shore drilling if that new source of oil will be designated for domestic consumption ONLY ? How would we, as American consumers, benefit if the offshore oil is just put on the open market ? The oil companies will surely make out like the bandits they are, but will our oil bring down prices at the pump ? I think not. We should demand OUR oil is for OUR use and not sold to China & India,
No , unfortunately, our voices will not be heard. That only happens in the movies. (remember that famous line by Peter Finch? "We're mad as hell, and aren't going to take it anymore! " I don't know what it will take to unite the people in this country, and make us stand up to these big corporations, but it has not happened yet. Lobbying by big corporations
has always influenced government. . Just look at some of the lawsuits that are won by the little guy only to be reversed on a blizzard of appeals.We don't stand a chance.
Not a chance. Our government has been bought and paid for by big oil and those directly benefitting from their huge profits. I've become very pessimistic – the democratic process is a virtual dog and pony show now. Neither Congress or the American people have any real say anymore. I suspect that the presidential electoral process has been compromised by un-secure electronic voting systems and high level legal manuevers and that the fix is in – President-elect McCain can just go through the motions and wait to be inaugurated in January. If I'm right, I'm moving to Costa Rica!
Let's not kid ourselves here. The voice of the people hasn't been heard in this country since the Viet Nam protests in the 60's. Congress never was, and never will be, interested in the plight of the average citizen because there is no money in it for them. This country will be undone by greed, and not by some nut-case terrorist.
Maybe we need to call Congress and press #2, because they certainly don't understand English.
Yes, my voice can be heard... if you say my blog post on air, that is.
Our lobbying system is remarkably unfortunate and allows for virtually all of the disconnect that these politicians have from the common people. Fortunately, dollar bills can't vote (they'd vote Republican anyway), but unfortunately the people who own a lot of dollar bills have undue influence over our policies. Are people with more money somehow more deserving of representation? Don't we all suffer equally in life?
No. Our representative form of government is in deep trouble.
Walt – St. Louis, Mo.
I thought that the lobbyist replaced my voice when they showed up with the good ole' American greenback, something I can only afford to give to the government in the way of taxes. Of course, those are not gifts, they are requirements. Wait, if I start spending my money on lobbyist, do I get super big tax breaks like the oil companies? That might be the way to go, have my voice heard for my dollar.
NO!! The lobbyists are contolling our congress, and thats not right! We need a huge change in our government. The governement needs to once again be for the people, by the people; not for the lobyists and money. Congressmen need to be brought back down to earth. They need to get paid what their constituants get paid, and they should get the same benefits as the average American. They need term limits so that one person can't stAy in office for 20 years! Basically what we need is a revolution in this country to get us back on track! What has happened to America? We have become greedy, buried in debt, and rapidly becoming internationally irrelevant. Stop the lobbyists, the greedy congress, and make them work for us, the people, once again.
I am a 17 year old teenager and the last thing congress will hear is my voice. I spend more money on gas than anything else and i started driving with gas prices higher than they have ever been. The oil companies should be taxed and i support Obama and other Democrats in their push to get this done.
Only if I had $80,000,000.
Our voices stopped being heard years ago, I can't imagine our "independent" politicians actually starting to think about the people they represent. However we continue to elect and re-elect the same tired old souls. We the people decide if they get away with this behavior the problem is we the people haven't paid enough attention and now we pay $4 a gallon. Let me add let's drill offshore, what a joke big oil is buying their way into this one also, they are already counting the money from this gimmick.
Jack, I'll tell you what it means, NOTHING ! they don't , I mean won't or can't honestly represent us anyway.