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Offline Last Active Jun 19 2011 07:37 PM

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PENTAGON BRIEFING FUNVAX - A New Vaccine to cure you of Religious Belief!!!

12 June 2011 - 11:39 PM

For all you Pentagram, err...Pentagon worshipers, err...I mean suckers.

"We're gonna take out 7 countries in 5 years..." (2007)

04 June 2011 - 01:07 AM






Dangerous Precedent for Press

04 June 2011 - 12:42 AM

Real Clear Politics

A little more than a week ago, Vice President Joe Biden traveled to fundraisers in two battleground-state cities, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
Neither stop included the White House press corps; requests by local media to cover the events were denied by the vice president's press office. The Democratic National Committee arranged the events for the Obama Victory Fund.

A number of seasoned political reporters and former White House press-office staffers consider that lack of coverage a dangerous precedent.
"It would behoove the Obama administration to keep its promise of transparency even with fundraisers," agrees Jeff Brauer, a political history professor at Keystone College. "The United States is a democracy, after all."
Having press coverage of fundraising events that feature the president or vice president matters for at least two reasons, Brauer explains.
"One, large amounts of taxpayer dollars are being used for personal security at such events. As with all tax dollars, they should be spent with accountability.
"Two, it is important for the public to know what the president and vice president are saying to donors. Is it the same message they are saying to the electorate at large?"
Such knowledge helps citizens judge officeholders' authenticity and integrity.
The White House press office earlier this month rejected a request by the Boston Herald, a conservative-leaning newspaper, to cover an Obama fundraiser. The press office's publicly "outed" e-mail said so-called pool reporters are chosen based on whether they cover the news "fairly."
Several former and current White House correspondents see presidents choosing who covers them as a nightmare scenario. The correspondents also are agitated by Biden's refusal to be covered by local media, even if that means reporters cooling their heels outside an invitation-only fundraiser.
"What if something happened to him?" is the question they raise.
All administrations want to bask in a warm glow. All members of the press want to protect democracy by keeping the public informed and holding administrations accountable.
Throughout American history, presidents -- and politicians in general -- have had tenuous press relations.
President John Adams, a Federalist, went so far as to sign the Sedition Act of 1798, which made it a crime to publish "scandalous and malicious" writings about government officials.
"Even before signing this act, Adams had Ben Franklin's grandson, editor of a Republican newspaper, arrested on libel charges for writing accusations of incompetence against George Washington and of nepotism against Adams himself," recalls Brauer.
Franklin's grandson died in prison, awaiting trial.
The Sedition Act expired the day before Adams' presidency ended; his successor, Thomas Jefferson, pardoned those convicted under it.
Not until 1964, in New York Times v. Sullivan, did the U.S. Supreme Court resolve the constitutional issues surrounding press freedom and public figures. That case established the very high standard of proving "actual malice" for libel and defamation of those in the public eye.
Late last month, the White House press office threatened to ban a San Francisco Chronicle reporter from pool reporting after she used a cell phone to record protesters heckling President Obama at a fundraiser.
"The administration must simply get used to the idea that some media outlets are going to be critical, and that is healthy in a democracy," says Brauer.
John Adams did not learn that lesson. And it is no coincidence that he was the first one-term president and that his laws, such as the Sedition Act, were the death knell for his Federalist Party.
Days before Biden was sworn in as vice president in 2009, he promised to be more open than his predecessor, Dick Cheney.
Yet his official schedule more often than not lists meetings as "closed press" or shows no public events at all.
You may not care what any vice president does. You may not care for the press, either. But you should care deeply about the fundamental right and obligation of the press to cover the vice president and president.
Vice President Biden's comings and goings should not occur in an unobserved world that, to paraphrase Biden himself, is a big bleeping deal.

The revolving door keeps spinning

04 June 2011 - 12:27 AM

How have the senators who retired in 2010 enriched themselves since leaving office? Let us count the ways

Judd Gregg doesn't have experience identifying growth in emerging markets or putting together complex financial models. But that didn’t keep him from landing a plum gig at the most talent-rich and fiercely competitive investment bank in the world. His life of public service now complete, the former three-term Republican senator from New Hampshire -- who had briefly agreed to serve as President Obama's first commerce secretary before backing out -- joined Goldman Sachs last week as an international advisor.
In his new role, Gregg will be responsible for such nebulous duties as "providing strategic advice to the firm and its clients, and assisting in business development initiatives across the global franchise."
Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, whose firm was upbraided by a Senate committee only one month ago for perpetrating a massive fraud in the run-up to the financial crisis that some now believe warrants criminal charges, said of Gregg, "His experience and insight will contribute significantly to our firm and our continuing focus on supporting economic growth."
Gregg, of course, is only the latest in a growing roster of former government workers who have recently been added to the Goldman payroll -- and only the latest recent congressional retiree to cash in with a lucrative gig at a firm that depends on staying in the good graces of the federal government.
Here's a recap of other public servants who left Congress in 2010 to work for lobbying firms or the banking industry:

The Hollywood-Dodd Act: Chris Dodd was trailing in the polls in 2010 when he decided against seeking a sixth term as a senator from Connecticut. At the time, he swore off the idea that he'd ever turn to lobbying after leaving the Senate, musing about life in academia. "No lobbying, no lobbying," Dodd insisted. Less than a year later, though, he's now Hollywood's top lobbyist, pulling in $1.2 million a year in salary as the head of the Motion Picture Association of America. Dodd has a history of film industry appearances -- at one point he nixed a futures trading market for Hollywood films at the behest of the big studios.

Bosom Buddies: K Street lobbying firm Arent Fox amassed a bundle of political capital when it announced in a joint press release that it had hired former North Dakota Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan and former Utah Republican Sen. Bob Bennett. But the lobbying family extends beyond just these two; Dorgan's wife is also a lobbyist, and Bennett simultaneously launched the Bennett Consulting Group.

Staxyn vs. Viagra: Former North Dakota Rep. Earl Pomeroy was one of the few on this list to lose a reelection bid, rather than bowing out ahead of one, but that didn't diminish his private sector desirability. Now he's the chief of staff for K Street firm Alston + Bird, which lost Tom Daschle as a "special policy advisor" last year. Pomeroy joins Bob Dole at the firm, which represents Merck; Dole apparently prefers Merck-made Staxyn to Pfizer's Viagra nowadays.

Lobby Hobby: Former Missouri Gov. and four-term Sen. Kit Bond wants you to know that his intentions are pure. The K Street lobbying firm he joined, Thompson Coburn, is based in Missouri, so Bond can split time between his home state and Washington. And anyway, Bond says he has no intention of doing lobbying work even when his cooling-off period is over, and that he's only taking this position because he's not ready to stop working.

Hedgehog: Former Indiana Gov. and two-term Sen. Evan Bayh decided against seeking a third term last year, a move that has paid off big. Bayh, who sat on the Senate Banking Committee, recently joined hedge fund lobbying firm Apollo Global Management as a senior advisor. While that's a title lobbying firms hand out liberally, don't expect to be considered for such a role unless you've spent time representing the people.

Stay classy status quo ;)

Hillary Clinton's ties to lobbyist concealed by State Dept.

04 June 2011 - 12:05 AM

Hillary Clinton's ties to lobbyist concealed by State Dept.

"With Internet journalists, political activists and public-interest groups investigating allegations made against the Obama Administration, is it any wonder the President unleashed high-tech Brown Shirts to harass, threaten, ridicule and marginalize Obama watchdogs on the Internet?"

While members of America's Fourth Estate appear to be taking an extensive hiatus from conducting investigative news gathering regarding the current Administration, Internet journalists, bloggers, talk radio hosts and public-interest groups have been uncovering numerous cases of government corruption, fraud and unethical behavior in Washington, D.C.
For example, a legal watchdog group that investigates and prosecutes government fraud and corruption is probing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's alleged connections to lobbyists, according to a report released on Friday.
The details surrounding the State Department’s expected approval of a controversial oil pipeline are being kept secret in an apparent effort to conceal impropriety created by the tight knit relationship between Hillary Clinton and the lobbyist pushing the multi billion-dollar project, according to Judicial Watch.
The Secretary of State must approve the permit for the Canada-to-Texas pipeline, known as Keystone XL, which will span nearly 2,000 miles and transport around 1 million barrels of heavy crude oil daily across six states. Predicting opposition from environmental groups, the Canadian company behind the mega project hired one of Clinton’s national campaign directors (Paul Elliott) as its chief lobbyist.
The tactic has been quite effective because Clinton indicated that she would approve Keystone XL long before the completion of a federally required environmental impact statement. Incredibly, her support hasn’t wavered in the aftermath of a preliminary Environmental Protection Agency report that gives the pipeline project the lowest possible ranking.
A coalition of environmental groups has joined forces to obtain details on the influence that the Clinton-Elliott relationship has had in the matter. Using federal public records laws the groups requested all correspondence between the politically-connected lobbyist and State Department officials considering the pipeline permit, including Clinton.
In an apparent stall tactic, the agency denied the request claiming that it was “invalid” because it didn’t specify a time frame. The groups appealed and the State Department agreed to open a new request, noting that “unusual circumstances” may arise that could require “additional time to process” the new request. If the Obama Administration, which has promised unprecedented transparency, ever makes the information public, it probably won’t do so until the pipeline is half built, according to Judicial Watch officials.

"With Internet journalists, political activists and public-interest groups investigating allegations made against the Obama Administration, is it any wonder the President unleashed high-tech Brown Shirts to harass, threaten, ridicule and marginalize Obama watchdogs?" asks political strategist and attorney Mike Baker.

Last week the public-interest and environmental groups filed a lawsuit against Clinton and the State Department to obtain the records that could prove impropriety. In their complaintthe nonprofits assert that the information they are seeking directly relates to whether the relationship between Elliott and Secretary Clinton might inappropriately influence the State Department’s decision to grant or deny the pipeline permit.

The groups claim the transcontinental pipeline poses “massive environmental risk" and significant public health dangers that are being concealed from the public. One of the attorneys for the environmental coalition rightfully points out that refusing to provide records on the approval process “raises important questions of transparency and fairness.” Keep in mind that these are liberals who undoubtedly support this administration, observes Judicial Watch's president Tom Fitton.

Yaaaaayyy corruption WHOOT!

The Queen has spoken...so it shall be.

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