On the second anniversary of the single worst massacre of Iraqi civilians committed by a private force since the US invasion, President Obama should be forced to explain to the American people and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan why he continues to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to this company and why he permits them to remain on the ground, representing the United States in these countries. At a recent hearing of the bipartisan Wartime Contracting Commission, commissioner Linda Gustitus asserted that in not canceling Blackwater's contracts after Nisour Square, the State Department "helped to send a message to other contractors that you can do a lot and not have your contract terminated."
Sen. Max Baucus, a leader in the troubled effort in Congress to write a health care overhaul bill, has received more campaign donations from the health industry than any elected federal official except President Barack Obama and three other senators.
In keeping with the ways of Washington and Capitol Hill, Baucus is enjoying this donor largesse — some $3.9 million in contributions from the health care industry since 1989 — principally because of his place as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. It's the panel that has had as much or more to say than any about whatever kind of medical overhaul emerges from Congress.
Under President George W. Bush, the President's Daily Brief -- the highly classified intelligence paper delivered each morning to the White House -- rose to "an unprecedented level of importance," with negative consequences for the intelligence community, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution.
These included "skewing intelligence production away from deeper research and arms-length analysis" and driving analysts to choose "the latest, attention-grabbing clandestine reports from the field."
Alluding to the assassination of JFK, long-time high-level CIA analyst says Panetta and the President 'afraid of these guys because these guys have a whole lot to lose if justice takes its course'.
"He makes a very very persuasive case that it was President Kennedy's, um, the animosity that built up between him and the CIA after the Bay of Pigs, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, because he was reaching out to the Russians and so forth and so on. It's a very well-researched book and his conclusion is very alarming," the long-time CIA veteran noted in what turned out to be a chilling end to our interview in which he described "two CIAs".
Attorney General Eric Holder has decided not to bring any criminal charges against a former Bush administration official who lawmakers said lied to them in sworn testimony.
An inspector general's report found that Bradley Schlozman, the former head of the civil rights division, misled lawmakers about whether he politicized hiring decisions.
Criminal prosecutors eyed the matter but decided not to file any criminal charges for his under-oath denials of making personnel decisions based on politics.
TVNL Comment: Wake up folks...Democrats and Republicans are part of the same criminal cabal. The rest is all smoke and mirrors to distract you.
J Street does not accept the “public harmony” rule any more than Obama does. In a conversation a month before the White House session, Ben-Ami explained to me: “We’re trying to redefine what it means to be pro-Israel. You don’t have to be noncritical. You don’t have to adopt the party line. It’s not, ‘Israel, right or wrong.’ ”
There appears to be an appetite for J Street’s approach. Over the last year, J Street’s budget has doubled, to $3 million; its lobbying staff is doubling as well, to six. That still makes it tiny compared with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac.
Freshmen legislators arriving in Sacramento receive advice from veteran politicians about the intricacies of working in California's capital. One of those tips is to remember that microphones broadcasting legislative debates can also capture embarrassing, career-ending personal admissions if a politician isn't careful. Michael D. Duvall, Orange County's 72nd Assembly District representative, must have forgotten the warning.
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