Archive for the ‘Lobbyists’ Category

PODESTA / CLINTON INSIDER’S GAME

Monday, August 15th, 2016

 

More “pay to play” corruption of the Insiders connected to the Clintons.   It just never ends.     Nancy

An insider’s game

How political lobbyists profit from Clintons’ influence

 – The Washington Times – Thursday, August 4, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In the underworld of political lobbying, John Podesta is king. He co-founded the Podesta Group, whose international client list is long, and its access to top U.S. politicians unparalleled.

Yet, it’s a murky world. The Podesta Group represents morally dubious foreign leaders, countries that commit atrocious human rights violations — and at least one bank — with direct ties to the Kremlin.

And all these shadowy figures are looking to buy U.S. influence.

In that regard, Mr. Podesta has unfettered access.

He currently operates as Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman. He’s previously served as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and as a counselor to President Barack Obama. His brother, Tony Podesta, is a top bundler for Mrs. Clinton and an active lobbyist at the Podesta Group. Mrs. Clinton has received $12.6 million in lobbyist backing, with Tony Podesta raising more than $100,000 this cycle.

As the mainstream media investigates the old lobbying ties Donald Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort had in Ukraine, it’s only fair to take a look at the Podesta Group and the influence they currently peddle around the globe.

Let’s start with Russia.

As The New York Times explained it in a mini-expose they did on Mr. Manafort: “With [Vladimir] Putin’s Russia, and its interference in Ukraine, becoming a focus of the United States presidential campaign…..[Mr. Manafort’s] work in Ukraine has come under scrutiny — along with his business dealings with the prominent Ukrainian and Russian tycoons.”

So too, should the Podestas.

The Podesta Group registered in March to lobby on behalf of Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, tasked with improving its image with U.S. lawmakers, and to help get some U.S. sanctions imposed after Russia’s aggression in the Crimea lifted.

The bank needs a good PR firm because most observers believe it plays a major role in helping the Putin regime fund Russian spies and enrich Mr. Putin’s cronies.

“Funds moving through Sberbank are regularly used to support clandestine Russian intelligence operations, while the bank uses its offices abroad as cover for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service or SVR,” John Schindler, a former National Security Agency analyst, wrote for the Observer in April.

Because the bank is technically a private institution, the Podesta Group didn’t have to report it as a state-owned entity, which would have required a more detailed lobbying report under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. In addition, Sberbank, controls almost 30 percent of Russia’s aggregate banking assets, and is tied to companies associated with Mr. Putin’s inner-circle to help funnel state resources into profitable private investments, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a consortium of journalists that explored the Panama Papers leak, which exposed some of the bank’s ties.

(more…)

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VIDEO – DC’S NATIONAL MUSLIM DAY -APRIL 2015

Monday, April 4th, 2016

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MORTGAGE MADNESS

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015
Published on The Weekly Standard (www.weeklystandard.com)

BOOK REVIEW – HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT:  What Really Caused the World’s Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again
   by Peter J. Wallison

Mortgage Madness

Blame for the 2008 financial collapse is, and should be, widespread.

Jay Cost

June 1, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 36
EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  Wallison ends on a distressing note. He asserts that because experts have embraced a false narrative about the crisis, the remedy of Dodd-Frank will not protect us from the next calamity. Actually, it’s worse than this. The answer to the financial crisis may have been hidden in plain sight, but the failure to see it was willful. A powerful coalition of interest groups dominated housing policy for a generation, and they still do—despite the damage that policy caused in the Great Recession.

In The Semisovereign People, political scientist E. E. Schatt-schneider argues that “political conflict is not like an intercollegiate debate in which the opponents agree in advance on a definition of the issues. As a matter of fact, the definition of the alternatives is the supreme instrument of power. .  .  . He who determines what politics is about runs the country.” Schattschneider calls the organized effort to ensure that some alternatives remain illegitimate “the mobilization of bias.”

Peter J. Wallison must be quite familiar with this idea. A longtime critic of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) tasked with injecting liquidity into the secondary mortgage market, he has offered warnings about these agencies that have fallen on deaf ears for over a decade. When he and Edward Pinto, his colleague at the American Enterprise Institute, correctly pointed out that Fannie and Freddie were loaded up with the subprime mortgages that contributed to the financial collapse of 2008, and that maybe—just maybe—this had something to do with the mess, they were greeted with accusations of Hitlerism. “The Big Lie” is what Joe Nocera of the New York Times accused Wallison and Pinto of propagating. 

There are some ideas that simply cannot gain mainstream acceptance because they challenge essential priorities of the ruling elite. Accordingly, any connection drawn from Fannie and Freddie to the financial collapse must be squashed, because distributing federally subsidized credit to low- and middle-income (LMI) borrowers has been a backbone of the nation’s housing policy for nearly 20 years. All of this makes Wallison’s work intriguing to anybody inclined to question the status quo—even more so because he has written this excellent book in defense of his thesis. (more…)

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WASHINGTON’S TANGLED WEB OF CRONY CAPITALISM

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

 

Published on The Weekly Standard (www.weeklystandard.com)

Ex-Im and Beyond

Jay Cost

May 18, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 34

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  And yet, one can only marvel at the struggle over this program. If an agency as questionable as Ex-Im can be eliminated only by a herculean effort, what hope is there of doing away with corporate tax preferences, domestic profits held overseas, onerous regulations that benefit large businesses, farm subsidies, affordable housing payola, rampant overpayments in Medicare, and the like? None of these subsidies will go quietly. All are deeply entrenched in our political economy, not because they are good for the nation, but because the interest groups that benefit from them are the most heavily invested in the political process. 

Ex-Im, in other words, is just the weakest link in the regime of interest-group liberalism that has slowly come to dominate Washington. For generations the government has been picking winners and losers in the private sector under the guise of national development. Those who have been winning will not gladly give up their spoils. They will do all they can to keep their benefits flowing, and the fight over Ex-Im shows that they can do quite a bit.

Conservative reformers who have been fighting the Export-Import Bank should be applauded, but this is not a game of dominoes. If Ex-Im falls, farm subsidies will persist. So will corporate welfare in the tax code. So will our absurd housing policies, which somehow withstood an economic calamity they had helped cause. 

Politically speaking, the only hope is to get the public involved in the fight against the inappropriate alliance between business and government. Few voters are aware of Washington’s tangled web of crony-capitalism, and this allows it to become entrenched. Thus, Republicans talk a good game about smaller government in their districts, then go to Washington and vote for programs like the farm bill. The folks back home are unaware that this is even under discussion. Interest groups with much at stake win, thanks to public ignorance and apathy. 

Conservatives have been disappointed with the track record of Republicans in Congress since their 2010 takeover of the House. There have been a few bright spots—the cuts in domestic discretionary spending brought about by the sequester, for instance—but from Obamacare to Iran to taxes to financial services regulation, President Obama and the left seem to retain the upper hand. Yet there is one issue percolating in Congress that could provide a rare victory. Conservatives are working hard to take down the Export-Import Bank, and they might succeed.

The Export-Import Bank is a New Deal-era relic whose purpose is to facilitate American trade. According to William Becker and William McClenahan, authors of a major study of Ex-Im, the bank has been an “entrepreneurial” institution that has evolved over the years to retain the favor of the nation’s foreign policy establishment and top economic policymakers. Today, its main role is to provide credit to foreign purchasers of American manufactured goods, especially heavy equipment and airplanes. Last year it authorized about $21 billion in government-backed loans. Few of these loans go bad, so Ex-Im has little budgetary impact, but then its critics don’t base their opposition on grounds of budget busting.

So what is their complaint? First, the bank is grossly inefficient. To support American businesses, Ex-Im extends credit to foreign governments and enterprises. Surely there is a less roundabout way to promote domestic business than to subsidize foreign business! The Ex-Im Bank’s defenders retort that foreign governments already do precisely this, so Uncle Sam must respond in kind to protect American jobs. Even if this is true (and many experts raise doubts), it does not justify wasteful inefficiency. While some exporters might be hurt if the Ex-Im Bank were decommissioned, its credit could be redirected in ways that bring more bang for the buck. (more…)

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VIDEO – PAT CADDELL, DEM STRATEGIST, CANDIDLY SPEAKING RE DEMOCRAT PARTY

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

 

VIDEO – INTERVIEW WITH PAT CADDELL, DEMOCRAT STRAGEGIST   –  “MY PARTY IS THE DICTATOR TO THE COMMON MAN”   – OBAMA AND HIS ADMINISTRATION – “THE SHIP OF FOOLS”
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OBAMA’S UNTRUTH, INC. – VICTOR DAVIS HANSON

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

 

        
September 9, 2014
Obama’s Untruth, Inc
.
Let us count the ways: bald lies, lies of omission, mythography, amnesia, redaction . . .
By Victor Davis Hanson

We can usefully view the Obama administration’s chronic untruthfulness as a sort of multifaceted corporation of untruth, with all sorts of subsidiaries.

THE BALD LIES OF POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY
Remember the al-Qaeda-is-on-the-run 2012-election talking point? It was mostly a lie. The administration deliberately released to sympathetic journalists only those documents from the so-called Osama bin Laden trove that revealed worry and dissension among the terrorists. Then it nourished essays by pet journalists trumpeting the decline of al-Qaeda. Disturbing memos that confounded that narrative, as Weekly Standard journalist Steven F. Hayes recently noted, were kept back. “On the run” was dropped after the 2012 election, when events on the ground made such an assertion absurd.

Recent disclosures by some of the combatants about the night of the Benghazi attack remind us that almost everything Jay Carney, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, and President Obama swore in the aftermath of the debacle was knowingly false. A video did not cause the attack. The rioting was not spontaneous. A video-maker, an American resident, was soon jailed, while one of the suspected killers was giving taped interviews at a coffee house in Benghazi. There were ways of securing the consulate and the annex that were not explored, both before and during the assault. Talking points were altered. Again, the catalyst for untruth was reelection worries by an administration that believes its exalted ends of social justice allow any means necessary for reaching them.

Has anything the administration said about pulling our troops out of Iraq proven true? Was it really the Iraqis’ fault or George Bush’s? Was our leaving proof that Iraq might be one of the administration’s “great achievements”? Was the Iraq that we left without any peacekeepers really “stable”? On more than ten occasions the president bragged on the campaign trail that he alone had ended American involvement in Iraq. When Iraq predictably blew up after our departure, he snarled to reporters that he was angry that anyone would dare accuse him alone of being responsible for our precipitate departure.

Was there any element of “reset” with Russia that was accurate? Obama came into office lambasting the prior administration for alienating Russia — when all it had done was adopt some rather moderate measures to punish Russia for invading Georgia. Reset, in truth, was a remission of punishments — from missile defense with the Czechs and Poles to cut-offs of some high-level negotiations — and thus served as a signal to Putin and his subordinates that Obama believed America had been wrong to react to Georgia. And we know what followed from that.

LIES TO HIDE WHAT WE DON’T LIKE (more…)

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THE YEAR OF THE WASHINGTON POWER GRAB AND COMMON CORE DOESN’T ADD UP TO STEM SUCCESS

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

 

The Wall Street Journal is making it very difficult to forward their articles in print mode as I have always done.  Some of you have told me that the links do not always open up for you.    Please give me some feedback if you are having difficulty opening up the links.  I am persisting in trying to send out these articles because the Journal’s op-ed page covers so many complex  issues with in-depth information.   The following two articles are exceptional.   Nancy

THE YEAR OF THE WASHINGTON POWER GRAB  – Wall Street Journal  by Kimberley A. Strassel

COMMON CORE DOESN’T ADD UP TO STEM SUCCESS  by Sandra Stotsky – Ms. Stotsky was a member of Common Core’s Validation Committee from 2009 – 20010.  She is professor emerita at the University of Arkansas.    My Stotsky was also one of our expert panelists at the September 19, 2013
 ICON Lecture Series on Common Core in Durham, North Carolina.
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OBAMA WHO ? – VICTOR DAVIS HANSON

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

 

– Works and Days – pjmedia.com/victordavishanson

Obama Who?

Posted By Victor Davis Hanson On August 5, 2013

Critics of the president are convinced that Barack Obama will do lasting damage to the U.S. I doubt it.

Obama came to power in the third year of large Democratic congressional majorities. In his first referendum, he lost the House and he may soon lose the Senate; in other words, there followed a somewhat normal reaction against a majority party. Obama’s popularity rating is well below 50%, despite an obsequious media and a brilliantly negative billion-dollar campaign that long ago turned Mitt Romney into a veritable elevator-using, equestrian-marrying, canine-hating monster.

In the second term, there is little of the Obama bully pulpit left. “Make no mistake about it” and “let me be perfectly clear” can incur caricature, not fainting. “Really,” “I’m not kidding,” “I’m serious,” “in point of fact,” and “I’m not making this up” often prove rhetorical hints that the opposite is true. When Obama warns about gridlock in Washington, the “same old tired politics,” the dangers of a tyrant or king in the White House, the need for an honest IRS, or the perils of government surveillance, these admonitions have tragically become a psychological tic to warn us about himself. Former jokes about siccing the IRS on his enemies [1] or using Predator drones to go after suitors of his daughters [2] are as eerie as they are comedic.

Each new “historic” speech is by now mostly history repeating itself as farce. The Victory Column oration gave way to a flat vignette at the Brandenburg Gate. The Cairo speech follow-ups were mostly confusion about Egypt and Syria, without the fictions of the West’s underappreciated debts to Islam. The second Trayvon Martin aside on racial look-alikes was even more disturbing that the first. I don’t think Obama’s advisors will allow him to proclaim any more “deadlines,” or “red lines,” or any sort of lines at all in the Middle East.

Aside from Obama himself, no one in the post-Benghazi, -AP, -NSA, and -IRS scandal era references the president any longer as the former “professor of constitutional law.” In Obama’s case even the inflated title [3] has become an oxymoron.

Ever so slowly, the press, albeit still for the most part privately, is learning that it has been had by one of its own [4]. The breach of journalistic ethics turned out not to be a necessary means to an exalted liberal end, but instead was interpreted cynically by Obama as exemption for doing pretty much what he pleased — like going after AP reporters for leaking national security in a way the administration could only envy, given its own less impressive efforts to divulge what should not have been divulged. How odd that a truly adversarial press is an aid to conservatives in power, in keeping them on their toes about scandal, and how ironic that liberal media obeisance green-lights wrongdoing among those whom they deify.

What does the Arab Spring conjure up? Or “lead from behind”? Or “reset”? (If only Obama could envision Putin as George Zimmerman, we might get real on Russia.) Or an “OK” from the Arab League to act? Or CIA gun-running in Libya? Or the military non-response to Benghazi? Or the incarceration of Mr. Nakoula, the supposedly evil filmmaker? Or “al-Qaeda on the run”? Or the successive flip-flops on Mubarak, Morsi, and the Egyptian military? Or serial “deadlines” to Iran, or consecutive “red lines” in Syria? (If only these threats abroad carried as much weight as Obama’s promises to “bankrupt” coal companies and send our power bills “skyrocketing.”) Or the “peace-process” with the Palestinians? Or closing down the embassies of the Middle East? (If only Islamists were Republicans, they might be on the receiving end of real presidential threats like “punish our enemies.”) What do all these misadventures abroad have in common? I think the answer is nothing and everything: no consistency other than confusion. (more…)

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AARP AND OBAMA – THEIR LOVE SONG

Friday, September 21st, 2012

 

The Wall Street Journal

  • September 21, 2012

Strassel: The Love Song of AARP and Obama

Newly released emails reveal the ‘nonpartisan’ group’s stealthy White House alliance on health care.

  • By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL

When Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan address the AARP on Friday, good manners will no doubt keep them from asking this question: How can that lobby claim to speak for American seniors given its partisan role in passing ObamaCare?Thanks to just-released emails from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we now know that AARP worked through 2009-10 as an extension of a Democratic White House, toiling daily to pass a health bill that slashes $716 billion from Medicare, strips seniors of choice, and sets the stage for rationing. We know that despite AARP’s awareness that its seniors overwhelmingly opposed the bill, the “nonpartisan membership organization” chose to serve the president’s agenda.

The 71 pages of emails show an AARP management taking orders from the White House, scripting the president’s talking points, working to keep its board “in line,” and pledging fealty to “the cause.” Seniors deserve to know all this, as AARP seeks to present itself as neutral in this presidential election.

image

Martin Kozlowski

The emails overall show an AARP leadership—Policy Chief John Rother, Health Policy Director Nora Super, Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond, Senior Vice President David Sloane—that from the start worked to pass ObamaCare, before crucial details pertaining to seniors had been addressed. This crew was in constant contact with Mr. Obama’s top aides, in particular Nancy-Ann DeParle and Jim Messina. (more…)

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OBAMACARE’S SECRET HISTORY

Saturday, June 16th, 2012
The Wall Street Journal

  • June 12, 2012

ObamaCare’s Secret History

How a Pfizer CEO and Big Pharma colluded with the White House at the public’s expense.

On Friday House Republicans released more documents that expose the collusion between the health-care industry and the White House that produced ObamaCare, and what a story of crony capitalism it is. If the trove of emails proves anything, it’s that the Tea Party isn’t angry enough.

Over the last year, the Energy and Commerce Committee has taken Nancy Pelosi’s advice to see what’s in the Affordable Care Act and how it passed. The White House refused to cooperate beyond printing out old press releases, but a dozen trade groups turned over thousands of emails and other files. A particular focus is the drug lobby, President Obama’s most loyal corporate ally in 2009 and 2010.

The business refrain in those days was that if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. But it turns out Big Pharma was also serving as head chef, maître d’hotel and dishwasher. Though some parts of the story have been reported before, the emails make clear that ObamaCare might never have passed without the drug companies. Thank you, Pfizer.

***

The joint venture was forged in secret in spring 2009 amid an uneasy mix of menace and opportunism. The drug makers worried that health-care reform would revert to the liberal default of price controls and drug re-importation that Mr. Obama campaigned on, but they also understood that a new entitlement could be a windfall as taxpayers bought more of their products. The White House wanted industry financial help and knew that determined business opposition could tank the bill.

Initially, the Obamateers and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus asked for $100 billion, 90% of it from mandatory “rebates” through the Medicare prescription drug benefit like those that are imposed in Medicaid. The drug makers wheedled them down to $80 billion by offsetting cost-sharing for seniors on Medicare, in an explicit quid pro quo for protection against such rebates and re-importation. As Pfizer’s then-CEO Jeff Kindler put it, “our key deal points . . . are, to some extent, as important as the total dollars.” Mr. Kindler played a more influential role than we understood before, as the emails show.

Thus began a close if sometimes dysfunctional relationship with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, as led by Billy Tauzin, the Louisiana Democrat turned Republican turned lobbyist. As a White House staffer put it in May 2009, “Rahm’s calling Nancy-Ann and knows Billy is going to talk to Nancy-Ann tonight. Rahm will make it clear that PhRMA needs a direct line of communication, separate and apart from any coalition.” Nancy-Ann is Nancy-Ann DeParle, the White House health reform director, and Rahm is, of course, Rahm.

Editorial board member Joe Rago on emails that expose Big Pharma’s collusion with the White House to pass ObamaCare. Photo: Getty Images. (more…)

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