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2/26/2005

Progress for America manipulating little boy

Progress for America is sending a nine year old kid around to talk about social security privatization. Pathetic. The connection to the DCI group and Tom Delay via Stuart Roy is also worth noting.

NYT: Progress for America, which spent almost $45 million backing Mr. Bush last year, plans to lay out $20 million on Social Security this year. It has spent $1 million on television commercials and is working to send experts around the country. Among them are Thomas Saving, a trustee of the Social Security Trust Fund; Rosario Marin, a former United States treasurer; and one really, really young Republican. Noah will not be eligible to collect Social Security for nearly 60 years.

Noah will travel to a handful of states ahead of visits by the president and will go on radio programs, answer trivia questions and say a few words about Social Security. Though he is obviously not an expert (and not really a lobbyist, either), officials say the effort is a lighthearted way to underline Mr. Bush's message.

"What I want to tell people about Social Security is to not be afraid of the new plan," Noah said. "It may be a change, but it's a good change."

The trip was a brainchild of Stuart Roy, a former aide to Representative Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas, who recently joined the DCI Group, a political consultancy here with ties to the Republican Party and Mr. Bush.

The firm is heavily involved in Progress for America's efforts. The president of the organization, Brian McCabe, is a partner at DCI, and the organization contracts with the firm. In the 2004 campaign, the Progress for America Voter Fund paid DCI about $800,000, records show. Mr. Roy knew Noah because the boy lives in suburban Houston, part of Mr. DeLay's district, and the House majority leader has met him. "We'll have Noah there as the face of Social Security reform," Mr. Roy said. "It's about the next generation."

Noah became interested in presidents as a 5-year-old after a mock election in kindergarten. Today, he has more than 3,000 books on presidential history. He campaigned for Mr. Bush, speaking to Republican groups and handing out bumper stickers. After 27 trips to the first President Bush's presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station, he scored a meeting with the former president.

Noah plans to run for the White House in 2032 - and he wants Social Security addressed before then.

"It will be bankrupt when I'm president," he said.
Stuart Roy's move to DCI merited an article in the Hill:
Roy’s job is to bring in business, and, in DCI’s press release, DeLay signaled potential clients that Roy was fine by him. The release also quoted from a new DeLay biography written by Lou Dubose and Jan Reid but omitted the book’s line: "[Roy is] the kind of guy who can stand in front of you and piss on your shoes while telling you with a straight face that it’s raining."

Asked why it was not included, DCI spokesman Adam Mendelsohn said, "We felt we included the accurate half of the description."

The Right Wing Social Security Network

So here are the rudiments of the right wing network. There are basically four tiers: a funding tier, of corporate, foundation, and business association seed money, that has taken a long term approach to bankrolling the ideas industry that has fabricated the artificial case for undermining social security; the ideas industry itself, mostly think tanks and personalities, led by Peter Ferrerra and CATO; a second set of funders that have jumped into the debate now that they smell blood, basically business associations, corporations and partisan republicans; the final pr teams working on promoting the ideas generated in the think tank networks. Here are the names:

60 Plus Association www.60plus.org

Alliance for Retired Prosperity (ARP) www.arpnow.org

Alliance for Worker Retirement Security www.retiresecure.org

American Bankers Association
http://www.hillnews.com/thehill/export/TheHill/Business/011905_bankers.html

American Civil Rights Union http://www.civilrightsunion.org/
[no sign of activity at web site – no updates since 99]

American Conservative Union http://conservative.org/

American Council for Capital Formation http://www.accf.org/

Americans for Tax Reform http://www.atr.org/
http://www.atr.org/policybriefs/index.html#socialsecurity
Key role seems to be talking point and misinformation dissemination.

American Enterprise Institute http://www.aei.org/

American Institute for Full Employment http://www.fullemployment.org/
Site appears to be down, organization may be defunct. http://www.fullemployment.org/

American Farm Bureau Federation http://www.fb.org
http://www.fb.org/issues/analysis/Administration_Social_Security.html
"In short, Social Security is "technically solvent" for the first half of the forecast period – but the system will run large cash shortfalls as early as 2016 that, from a policy perspective, cannot be ignored. New solutions, including private plans, must be discussed."

American Legislative Exchange Council http://www.alec.org/
Major role seems to be dissemination of talking points to state and local government officials. http://www.alec.org/viewpage.cfm?pgname=4.45_ssm
Key People: David Keating http://www.socialsecuritychoice.org/bio-keating.php
Michael Tanner http://www.socialsecurity.org/about/staff.html
http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewPrint&articleId=6336

Alliance for Worker Retirement Security (AWRS)
AWRS member in 2000 http://www.retiresecure.org/articles.php?id=11
Members in 2004: http://web.archive.org/web/20040211145353/www.retiresecure.org/members.php

America’s Community Bankers http://www.hillnews.com/thehill/export/TheHill/Business/011905_bankers.html

Black America's Political Action Committee (BAMPAC) www.bampac.org
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,147503,00.html
"This has been a BAMPAC issue since our inception," said Alvin Williams, president of Black America's Political Action Committee, which sees the future of the black community emboldened by free enterprise and conservative ideals. "We've explored the options and concluded that it's the way to go."
http://www.bampac.org/multimedia_SocialSecurityAD.asp
BAMPAC Print Advertisement
http://www.bampac.org/issue_Advocacy.asp
BAMPAC promotes legislation that will reform the current Social Security system through the creation of private investment saving accounts. Privatization will create more opportunities, economic development, and greater wealth for all Americans. The current system is unsound, but what is most troubling about the current system is its disproportionately detrimental affect on African American families, especially African American males. BAMPAC wants to educate the American people and reform Social Security to increase and ensure economic stability, security and opportunity for all generations
http://www.socialsecurity.org/daily/01-10-01.html


Boeing (AWRS member)

Business Council of Alabama

Business Roundtable

Cascade Policy Institute http://www.cascadepolicy.org/

CATO Institute http://cato.org/

CATO's Project on Social Security Privatization http://www.socialsecurity.org

Center for Freedom and Prosperity http://www.freedomandprosperity.org/

Center for New Black Leadership http://www.cnbl.org/

Center for Strategic and International Studies http://www.csis.org/

Charles Schwab http://www.unionvoice.org/firefly/notice-description.tcl?newsletter_id=1318731

Citizens Against Government Waste http://www.cagw.org/

Citizens for a Sound Economy http://www.cse.org/

Club for Growth http://www.clubforgrowth.org/

Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education http://www.urbancure.org/

Coalition to Preserve Retirement Security http://www.retirementsecurity.org/

Committee for Good Common Sense http://www.goodcommonsense.org/

COMPASS www.compasscoalition.org

Competitive Enterprise Institute http://www.cei.org/

Concerned Women for America http://www.cwfa.org/

Concord Coalition http://www.concordcoalition.org/

Council for Government Reform http://www.govreform.org/

Cumberland Associates LLC

Dennis Trading Group

Discovery Institute http://www.discovery.org/

E*Trade Financial

Economic Security 2000

Edward Jones

Employment Policy Foundation http://www.epf.org/

Empower America http://www.empower.org/

FedEx Corporation

For Our Grandchildren http://www.forourgrandchildren.org/

Forstmann Little & Company

FreedomWorks http://www.cse.org/

Frontiers of Freedom http://ff.org

Generations Together
http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=
/www/story/02-17-2005/0003027201&EDATE=
http://www.generationstogether.net

George Public Policy Foundation http://www.gppf.org/

Heartland Institute http://www.heartland.org/

Heritage Foundation http://www.heritage.org/

Hewlett-Packard (AWRS member)

Hispanic Business Roundtable

Hoover Institution http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/

Hosiery Association

Hudson Institute http://www.hudson.org/

Independent Women's Forum http://www.iwf.org/

Institute for Policy Innovation http://www.ipi.org/

International Center for Pension Reform http://www.pensionreform.org/

International Center for Research on the Economics of Taxation http://www.iret.org/

Jeid-Wen

Koch Industries, Inc.

Leadership Institute http://www.leadershipinstitute.org/index_noflash.html

Lexington Institute http://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/

Liberty Media Corporation http://www.libertymedia.com/

Lone Star Foundation http://www.lonestarreport.org/

Mackinac Center for Public Policy http://www.mackinac.org/

National Association for the Self-Employed http://www.nase.org/

National Association of Manufacturers www.nam.org

National Association of Women Business Owners http://www.nawbo.org/

National Center for Policy Analysis http://www.ncpa.org/

National Center for Public Policy Research http://www.nationalcenter.org/

National Committee on Retirement Policy http://www.csis.org/retire/chron.html
[see CSIS]

National Council of Chain Restaurants http://www.nccr.net/

National Federation of Independent Business http://www.nfib.com/

National Paperbox Association http://www.paperbox.org/

National Restaurant Association http://www.restaurant.org/

National Taxpayers Union Foundation http://www.ntu.org/

National Tax Limitation Committee http://www.limittaxes.org/

New America Foundation www.newamerica.net

Padden & Company
http://www.heartland.org/archives/bios/padden.htm

PaineWebber
http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=19990208&c=4&s=dreyfuss
Don Marron, CEO
Al From

Personal Retirement Alliance www.ioptout.org
[site appears to be down – reads "moving to new server"] http://www.praonline.org/

Pfizer Corporation (AWRS member – "Pfizer chief Henry A. McKinnell is also chairman of the Business Roundtable")
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/politics/
la-na-social21feb21,1,3949815,print.story?coll=
la-news-politics-national&ctrack=2&cset=true

President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security www.csss.gov

Printing Industries of America http://www.printing.org/

Progress for America http://www.progressforamerica.com/pfa/

RetireSafe.org http://www.retiresafe.org/

Rockport Financial Ltd. http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.php?id=173

Seagrams & Sons, Inc.

Securities Industry Association http://www.sia.com/

Seniors Coalition http://www.senior.org/

Seniors Against Federal Extravagance http://www.s-a-f-e.org/

Small Business Survival Committee http://www.sbsc.org/ (Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council)

SocialSecurityChoice.org http://www.socialsecuritychoice.org/

Society for Human Resource Management http://www.shrm.org/

South Carolina Policy Council Education Foundation http://www.scpolicycouncil.com/

Storage Tek

Susquehanna International Group, LLP

Tamko Roofing Products, Inc.

Texas Public Policy Foundation http://www.tppf.org/

The Foundation Group http://www.foundationgroup.org/

Third Millenium http://www.thirdmil.org/

TRW (AWRS member) http://www.trw.com/

United Seniors Association (USA) NEXT http://www.unitedseniors.org/

U.S. Chamber of Commerce http://www.uschamber.com/

Waddell & Reed http://www.waddell.com/

Windway Capital Corporation http://www.wisdc.org/pr082504.html
"Terry Kohler, a conservative GOP Sheboygan businessman who owns Windway Capital Corporation, contributed $20,000 between April and June to bring his 2003-04 election cycle total contributions to 527s to $35,000 through June 30.

Terry Kohler, along with his wife Mary and their company, have contributed $76,500 mostly to two GOP 527s – the Club for Growth and GOPAC – from January 2003 through June 2004."

Women Impacting Public Policy http://www.wipp.org/

Women for Social Security Choice http://www.womenforsschoice.org/

Women for a Sound Social Security Choice

Women's Freedom Network http://www.womensfreedom.org/

Social Security's Human Face

A commenter at Kos has put together a nice homage to the impact Social Security has had on his family. This is, at heart, what we are fighting for in this debate.

The Republicans are trying to divide us, black from white, old from young, man from woman. They will stoop to the deepest lows to achieve this end, the end of fragmenting America into easily-picked off factions, susecptible to bribe, intimidation and scare tactic.

We cannot let it happen. It's my parents and grandparents that benefit from social security right now. My grandmother gets to enjoy her retirement; she's traveled to Ireland & Scotland to see her origins, she's traveling with her daughters and granddaughters to Europe this summer. She's getting to live life the way it should be lived, after 70 years of working in the trenches of the American economy. I want her to have this opportunity, and social security helps make it happen. I want the same opportunity to be there for my parents, for my uncles, for my neighbors, and for my fellow citizens.

I want it to be there for me. I benefit from a healthy social security system right now, and I will benefit from a healthy social security system long into the future.

Conservative Action Alerts

I've signed up for a bunch of conservative email lists. Here are some of their most recent emails: Americans for Tax Reform (Norquist's group):

Congressman Considers Breaking the Pledge and Raising Taxes!!

[Take Action Right Now!]

According to press reports, Congressman John Shimkus (R- IL) is considering breaking his Taxpayer Protection Pledge to raise taxes on households earning more than $90,000.

This is a very serious problem

The Pledge binds signatories to "oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and ... (to) oppose any further reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing taxes."

Rep. Shimkus says that the tax increase would fund changes to Social Security, but raising taxes destroys the whole reason for making the changes in the first place. Social Security needs to be reformed because it offers today's workers a lousy rate of return . Taking more money from workers does nothing to solve this problem—in fact, it does just the opposite.

When Congressman John Shimkus took his Taxpayer Protection Pledge, he knew there would be tough times, and that it would force him to make the tough decisions. That's one important reason why voters in Illinois' 19th district voted to send him to Washington. At the time, Rep. Shimkus stated that his pledge would cover "any type of tax." Now he's thinking about turning his back on his constituents.

ALL MEMBERS OF CONGRESS need to hear from you that the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is inviolable. 222 members of the House have signed the pledge , and they all need to know that conservatives will not sit by while they break their word. Tax increases must be off the table.

TAKE ACTION TODAY!

Visit:
http://capwiz.com/atr/mail/oneclick_compose/?alertid=7102426
I've also got the latest from Generations Together, but it's not "cut and pasteable," and I'm too lazy to print it out as a pdf. If anyone wants to see it, leave a comment. It's not much but a press roundup and pictures from various events around the country. Pictures like this:

2/23/2005

Social Security

The Republican Party and its cronies are using dire predictions about America's economic future to sell the public massive cuts in Social Security benefits and huge deficit-financed giveaways to Republican political supporters. Stagnant wages, declining worker productivity, mediocre economic growth, and unmanageable budget deficits are welcomed by Republicans as useful for pushing their agenda. Democrats, on the other hand, believe that the best way to save Social Security is to invest in American workers and the American economy – that we should not accept as inevitable a decrepit future.

As Bush and his apostles of decline travel the country attempting to convince younger Americans that a secure retirement is a luxury they can not afford, they are cutting the very investments necessary to ensure that his dystopian future does not come to pass. Bush's budget proposes to cut Pell grants, cut student loans, cut college preparatory programs, cut investments in science, cut education funding, cut health care programs. He is telling young Americans that they should not work for a brighter future, that they should get out of the American economy while they can.

Democrats know that there is still hope for America. Just five long years ago, we enjoyed unprecedented economic growth, rising wages, and a booming stock market; the result of prudent investments and good government. Since then the administration's misplaced priorities, wasteful spending, counter-productive tax cuts, and military adventurism have almost erased our memories of those responsible times. But not entirely. We know how to move forward, how to solve the challenges looming on America's horizon: increase wages, raise productivity, improve health care, and lower barriers to education.

But first we must stop Republicans from accelerating the timetable for American decline.

2/22/2005

Charlie Jarvis on the Medicare Drug Benefit

Business Wire, October 1, 2004:

"We're calling on the nationwide network of Seniors and families to activate against forces working to destroy the first Medicare prescription benefit ever created," said Charlie Jarvis, Chairman and Chief Executive of USA Next-United Seniors Association. "Many millions of Seniors can lower their prescription costs right now, but some plan to dismantle the new Senior benefit."

"Groups like the Alliance for Retired Americans and others are clear in their goal -- Deprive Seniors of the benefits and advantages of this landmark legislation," continued Mr. Jarvis. "The brand of national scare campaign these groups and politicians sell is disreputable, and USA will continue to warn the public about these nationwide schemes against Seniors and their families. This same crowd has haunted America for decades with their plans for a bureaucratic, command-and-control, one-size-fits-all health care nightmare."

Congress passed and President Bush signed into law thereby creating the first Medicare Prescription Medicine Benefit since Medicare began. After decades of rhetoric, real results for Seniors were delivered. The program includes choices of new Medicare discount cards in 2004 and 2005 to cut prices paid by Seniors, with even more comprehensive prescription savings in 2006. Individual low income Seniors can receive right now an annual $600 credit and couples can access a $1,200 credit toward the purchase of their medications in 2004 and in 2005. The September 20, 2004, issue of US News and World Report(a) tells how a California man found his new Medicare prescription benefit helped cut his usual monthly prescription bill from $132 to less than $10 - a discount of over 92%.

"It is incomprehensible how these naysayers can work to destroy something that will help so many Seniors so much right now," continued Mr. Jarvis. "The groups and politicians working to dismantle the Medicare prescription benefit are so blinded by rabid negativity that they've lost sight of the very real needs of individual Seniors they claim to represent."

"There is something profoundly wrong about groups and politicians who focus on manipulating and scaring Seniors and their families, rather than helping them financially. USA is going to alert the American people about these plans to limit Seniors' health care choices. It is shocking to see how little these demagogues understand Seniors' practical prescription needs," said Mr. Jarvis.

(a) US News and World Report, September 20, 2004, "Savings In the Cards," p. 58

Note: It's easy to get information about a new Medicare Card that fits you and your family best and gives the best prescription deals. Go to www.USANext.org. Click the Medicare Rx box on the right side.

Schedule an interview with Mr. Jarvis by contacting William Brindley at (703) 359-6500, ext. 18.

USA Next-United Seniors Association (USA) is celebrating their 15th anniversary as the non-partisan, 1.5 million-plus nationwide grassroots network dedicated to Uniting the Generations for America's Future(TM). The organization's National Chairman is the renowned celebrity, businessman, and author Art Linkletter.

Charlie Jarvis of USA Next on Bill O'Reilly

From the 2/16/05 O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: In the "Back of the Book" Segment tonight, as we've been reporting, the AARP seems to be have taken a sharp turn to the left. They're latest position is adamantly against private Social Security accounts for younger workers. While that issue is very debatable, there are two sides. Some conservatives feel that the AARP does not look out for them.

With us now is Charlie Jarvis, the chairman of USA Next, an alternative senior group to the AARP.

You know, there's a lot of money in this. That's first of all. We've got to put it up there. The AARP makes a lot of money, and they sell a lot of products, insurance and discounts to this and that, and it's a big machine. But what are they doing or not doing that motivated you to start up an alternative organization?

CHARLES JARVIS, USA NEXT: Well, we've been around for 15 years, and, intensively, I have been going after them for four years since I came in as the chief executive.

O'REILLY: Four years.

JARVIS: And AARP basically, Bill, is the world's largest left, liberal lobbying organization in the world. They're huge, and they're masquerading basically as a benefits association because, essentially, over the last 15 years, they brought in $8.1 billion, and $1.1 billion of that came directly out of the pocketbooks of taxpayers.

O'REILLY: When you say they're a liberal organization, besides Social Security, what else can you point to to back that up?

JARVIS: Well, they're the organization that actually created a tax, which probably one out of eight of your viewers tonight pays, on their Social Security benefit. In 1984, they created with Congress a tax on seniors, seniors-only tax, double tax. They saved all their lives, and now they're going to pay taxes on...

O'REILLY: And there was a reason they did that. What was the ostensible reason?

JARVIS: Ostensibly, the reason was to bring -- Social Security, in 1982, was in trouble, and it was to try and bring it into balance. The problem is there's never been a tax increase they didn't love, there's never been a tax cut they didn't hate, and they are definitely against traditional values.

O'REILLY: All right. So you believe the AARP is a big government organization, wants the umbrella, wants the entitlements and wants to tax the workers to pay for those entitlements? That's what you believe?

JARVIS: They want to -- they do, $1.1 billion of...

O'REILLY: Well, I can't really argue with that. I mean, I think the AARP is -- wants big government and wants a lot of entitlements. Now your organization is more conservative? Are you just a right-wing doctrinaire organization?

JARVIS: No, we are basically a free-market alternative to AARP. Whereas we're the healthy, wealthy and wise organization, they're the tax, tax and spend organization.

O'REILLY: All right. So you're more smaller government, self- reliant. But seniors, a lot of them, need the entitlements. How do you attract them over?

JARVIS: Well, we think that there are free-market alternatives, and Social Security is a classic example. Why in the world would you take three workers -- you, me and one of my teenage sons -- and say you three are going to pay for the retirees of the future. And then when they get to be 40 years old, it's going to be two of my sons, not three.

O'REILLY: OK. I understand the Social Security debate. But what about prescription drugs? Lots of seniors need them, don't have a lot of money. Where do you come down on that?

JARVIS: Well, the interesting thing about prescription drugs is that AARP actually has gotten us into the situation we are in. They're heavily bureaucratic oriented. They're captives, and they capture bureaucrats who control the regulations on prescription drug approvals. They overcomplicate things.

O'REILLY: All right. So, if you think if there were a smaller government, there'd be more drugs available, more competition, lower drug prices.

JARVIS: We want open competition dynamic for...

O'REILLY: All right. And the final thing is -- we only have 30 seconds left -- one of the big selling points of the AARP is that they give you, you know, life insurance and they give you other kinds of insurance at very low rates. Can you compete with that?

JARVIS: It's a myth. It's a myth. We can compete with them right now on usanext.org. Anyone here can go on there and find better deals than they can do with AARP.

O'REILLY: All right. usanext.org. Well, we're glad you came in because we want the folks to have a choice. They can check you out. They know what the AARP is, and then they can make a decision, and that's -- you know, we report, you decide. That's perfect, right?

JARVIS: It sure is. Thank you, Bill.

O'REILLY: All right, Mr. Jarvis. Thanks for coming in. We appreciate it.
This man, head of USA Next, is a god damn idiot. Coporations could do a lot better for $20 million. He's leading the fight against AARP, apparently with lots of good evidence (at least as good as the Swift Boats had...) to back his weak shit up.

2/21/2005

Generations Together

The Alliance for Worker Retirement Security (AWRS) and the Coalition for the Modernization and Protection of Social Security (CoMPASS) have finally tipped their hands, revealing a glimpse of how they intend to manipulate the privatization debate: Generations Together, an astroturf organization that:

"will help educate the American people on the importance of reforming Social Security now, to ensure that our system will be viable for future generations," said Derrick Max, executive director of the Coalition for the Modernization and Protection of America's Social Security (CoMPASS).

The Generations Together campaign will engage voters in key states and congressional districts in order to educate the public on the need for Congress to act now; to dispel attacks by opponents; and to demonstrate how reform will give younger workers a chance to build a nest egg for retirement, while protecting the benefits of today's retirees and those who are on the verge of retirement."
CoMPASS is a 501(c)4 coalition established by the Business Roundtable to lobby for privatization, expected to spend up to $40 million in the battle. Derrick Max, CoMPASS's executive director, is also the head of AWRS, the National Association of Manufacturer's front orgnization, expected to spend more than $20 million for privatization. Both organizations refuse to disclose their donors, effectively using secret corporate money to manipulate American public opinion on behalf of the administration.

Generation Together's two co-chairs, Don Nickles and Sam Beard, have extremely close ties to the administration, both having served on Bush's "Commission to Strengthen Social Security." CoMPASS and AWRS are formally coordinating with the administration. They were responsible for turnout at the New Hampshire and North Carolina "bamboozlepalooza" events, both of which bombed in reality, though not in media.

"Generations Together" is an ironic name, considering that the administration is fomenting generational warfare, pitting youth against seniors at every turn.

 

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