Monday, August 24, 2009

Did you know (3)

USA Doctors tend to chronically overestimate the amount of time their terminally ill patients have left to live.
USA ranks last regarding universal healthcare in OECD countries

Which countries are lobbying in the USA; Turkey ranks 4th

Figures from an investigation by ProPublica, the not-for-profit journalism website that was founded last year in the USA by a former editor in chief of The Wall Street Journal shows that the UAE spents the most money in the USA, almost 11.000.000 USD regarding lobbying activities. Followed by the UK with 6.105.200 USD, Japan (4.231.656 USD), Turkey (4,185,248 USD), Iraq (3,708,368 USD). The Netherlands ranks 9 with 2,694,604 USD. Amsterdam has been lobbying in the US for years, primarily to attract foreign investment. Half of all foreign companies in Amsterdam are form the US. On the other hand, ProPublica did not include the cost for the campaign about the 400th anniversary of the 'discovery' of the Hudson river by an English explorer, Henry Hudson, who worked for the Dutch East India Company. The highlight of the campaign, which focused on Dutch-American relations throughout four centuries, is a visit to new York by crown prince Willem-Alexander next month. The cost of the campaign is estimated at 6 million euros.
General info:

An examination of the records, which were filed in 2008 and cover activity during that year and the latter part of 2007, show how busy these special interests groups for foreign countries in the USA were:
-More than 280 lobbying firms collected $87 million in fees for representing 340 foreign clients, including governments, government-controlled organizations, political parties, separatist groups and a handful of for-profit firms.
-Lobbyists or other officials reporting under FARA contacted members of Congress, their staff, executive branch officials, journalists and others more than 22,000 times.
-Several prominent former lawmakers have signed on to represent foreign countries, among them ex-Senate leader Bob Dole (Taiwan and Montenegro) and former House Appropriations Chairman Robert Livingston (Turkey and others).


Perhaps no player in the field shows the influence of foreign agents as much as Robert Livingston, the powerful ex-appropriations chairman who was in line to be House Speaker before a scandal derailed him. His firm, Livingston Group, reported the highest number of contacts with government officials represents for example Turkey ae country with a longstanding image problem.

From 1915 to 1923, as many as 1.5 million Armenians perished, many at the hands of the Ottoman government, but a precise description of the events has been an extraordinarily sensitive subject in Turkey. The issue also has risen regularly in Congress, thanks in part to American-Armenian groups that have pushed for government affirmation that the killings amounted to genocide.
In October 2007, with elderly Armenian survivors from the era in attendance, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved a resolution that would do just that. The next step would be a vote before the entire House, something Turkey wanted desperately to avoid.
The genocide question split U.S. leaders. All eight living former secretaries of state at the time sent a letter warning Congress that offending Turkey could have serious diplomatic consequences for the United States. Both Barack Obama and his chief opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Rodham Clinton, were in the Senate; Clinton backed a resolution recognizing the genocide, and Obama made it a campaign pledge.
Turkey’s lobbyists made contact with the executive branch 100 times to enlist help pressuring congressional leaders to squash the resolution. The Livingston Group worked Congress. They didn’t lobby just Congress — the country hired foreign agents to promote the cause with people outside the administration, too. Noam Neusner, who served as a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, worked the powerful Jewish lobby, meeting with an array of groups including the influential American Israeli Public Affairs Committee a combined 96 times to persuade them to oppose the resolution, FARA records show. Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognize Israel, and relations have been generally positive; but in the end, AIPAC supported the resolution.
On Oct. 26, 2007, some sponsors of the resolution backed off a full floor vote, and the legislation never advanced. FARA records quantify the effort Turkey’s lobbyists put into the issue: 673 contacts in a single month, and more than 2,200 in the filings overall — the most of any country.
In all, records show, Turkey spent $4.2 million to mobilize its lobbyists to influence a resolution that hinged on the single word -- genocide. Some $1.9 million of that went to DLA Piper, a top-50 U.S. law firm that operates globally.

In contrary with popular belief in Turkey, Turkey itself is more active on the lobby market in the USA than Armenia and/or its diaspora.

Day Opening - August 24