Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wanna Know How Things Work in DC? “Obama’s Wars” The Story Bob Woodward Won’t Tell - No Clean Elections: How Chamber of Commerce Pays Off China, Et Al

It's beginning to seem that everything you read now (reports on the wars, corruption, and even regular old-fashioned stealing from the poor) is just one more method of money laundering used by the already fabulously wealthy who desperately want to be even wealthier. And they'll tell you about it. Truthfully. And how unfortunate they are if you don't agree and vote for policies that allow them to steal even more of your money. Their previous success at national larceny has bred a class of parasites/pirates who feel entitled to not only enrich themselves at your expense, but to feel that you must be ungrateful if you don't understand how necessary it all is to their worldview of what benefits everyone (and is therefore just and good for all). Absolute fantasyland. Welcome to the USA. God Bless Us Every One!

I always read Who What Why first as Russ Baker is one of the best writer/reporters we have willing to relate the insider's news today bar none.

I know that seems to be a very broad claim but from his published work on the Bush family secrets to what really was behind the Watergate hearings, he is the man to read for the inside dope.

It's no different today as he tells us all about Bob Woodward's gambits: past and present. (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

“Obama’s Wars” The Real Story Bob Woodward Won’t Tell
Russ Baker

Just one year before the publication of “Obama’s Wars,” Bob Woodward became a player in his own book-in-progress. He morphed into his true identity: Warrior Bob. Actually, there’s an even deeper persona, Agent Woodward — but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

In June of 2009, Woodward traveled to Afghanistan with General Jim Jones, President Obama’s National Security adviser, to meet with General Stanley McChrystal, then the commander of forces there. Why did Jones allow this journalist to accompany him? Because Jones knew that Woodward could be counted on to deliver the company line — the military line. In fact, Jones was essentially Woodward’s patron.

The New Republic’s Gabriel Sherman wrote [1] at the time that . . . Jones was a guest of Woodward at his wife Elsa Walsh’s fiftieth birthday party held at Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee’s house. He and Elsa were glued to Jones at the cocktail party before the dinner started . . . .

In September of last year, McChrystal (or someone close to him) leaked to Woodward a document that essentially forced President Obama’s hand. Obama wanted time to consider all options on what to do about Afghanistan. But the leak, publicizing the military’s “confidential” assertion that a troop increase was essential, cast the die, and Obama had to go along.

Nobody was happier than the Pentagon — and, it should be said, its allies in the vast military contracting establishment.

The website Firedoglake chronicled the developments in a pungent essay [2]: Apparently General McChrystal and the Petraeus cabal aren’t willing to wait for their Commander in Chief to set the strategy. Prior to the President’s interviews, McChrystal’s people were already telling journalists that they were “impatient with Obama” as Nancy Youssef reported [3]. This “Power Play [4],” as I mentioned last night, included a veiled threat that McChrystal would resign if he didn’t get his way.

And sure enough, just hours after the Commander in Chief was on the airwaves, somehow McChrystal’s classified report hit the Washington Post [5] … compliments of Bob Woodward no less.

Wow, what a coincidence!

This episode highlights a crucial aspect of Bob Woodward’s career that has been ignored by most of the media. Simply put, Woodward is the military’s man, and always has been.

For almost four decades, under cover of his supposedly “objective” reporting, Woodward has represented the viewpoints of the military and intelligence establishments. Often he has done so in the context of complex inside maneuvering of which he gives his readers little clue. He did it with the book Veil, about CIA director William Casey, in which he relied on Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, a rival of Casey’s, as his key source. (Inman, from Texas, was closely identified with the Bush faction of the CIA.)

The book was based in part on a “deathbed interview” with Casey that Casey’s widow and former CIA guards said never took place. Typically, Woodward uses information he gets from his main sources to gain access to others. He then gets more secrets from them, and so on down the line.

His stature — if that’s the word — as a repository of this inside dope has been key to the relentless success machine that his media colleagues have perpetuated. The New York Times review [6] of his Obama book laid out the formula:

In Obama’s Wars, Mr. Woodward, as usual, eschews analysis and commentary. Instead, he hews to his I Am a Tape Recorder technique, using his insider access to give readers interested in inside-the-Beltway politics lots of granular detail harvested from interviews conducted on background, as well as leaked memos, meeting notes and other documents.

Some of this information is revealing about the interplay of personality and policy and politics in Washington; some of it is just self-serving spin. As he’s done in his earlier books, Mr. Woodward acknowledges that attributions of thoughts, conclusions or feelings to a person were in some cases not obtained directly from that person, but from notes or from a colleague whom the person told — a questionable but increasingly popular method, which means the reader should take the reconstructed scenes with a grain of salt.

And then, thanks to all this attention, and even with that grain of salt, the book went to #1.

But might there be more to Woodward and his oeuvre than just questionable work practices? Well, let’s see.

Woodward granted former CIA director George H.W. Bush a pass by excluding him from accounts of Iran-Contra, which occurred while the notorious intriguer was vice president under the notoriously hands-off Ronald Reagan. (When I asked Woodward about this for my book Family of Secrets, he replied, “Bush was…What was it he said at the time? I was out of the loop?”)

Later Woodward got exclusive access to H.W.’s son. He spent more time with George W. Bush than did any other journalist, writing several largely sympathetic books about his handling of Iraq and Afghanistan before playing catch-up with prevailing sentiment and essentially reversing course.

Now, for a bit of cognitive dissonance. Woodward’s signature achievement - bringing down Richard Nixon - turns out not to be what we all thought.

If that comes as a surprise, you have missed a few books, including bestsellers, that put pieces of this puzzle together. (Family of Secrets has several chapters on the real Watergate story, but there are others that present detailed information, including those by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, James Rosen, Jim Hougan and others.)

Here’s the deal: Bob, top secret Naval officer, gets sent to work in the Nixon White House while still on military duty. Then, with no journalistic credentials to speak of, and with a boost from White House staffers, he lands a job at the Washington Post. Not long thereafter he starts to take down Richard Nixon. Meanwhile, Woodward’s military bosses are running a spy ring inside the White House that is monitoring Nixon and Kissinger’s secret negotiations with America’s enemies (China, Soviet Union, etc), stealing documents and funneling them back to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

They then give what they stole to columnist Jack Anderson and others in the press. That’s not the iconic Woodward of legend, of course — so it takes a while for this notion to settle in the mind.

But there’s more — and it’s even more troubling.

Did you know there was really no Deep Throat, that the Mark Felt story was conjured up as yet another layer of cover in what became a daisy chain of disinformation?

Did you know that Richard Nixon was loathed and feared by the military brass, that they and their allies were desperate to get Nixon out and halt his rapprochement with the Communists?

That a bunch of operatives with direct or indirect CIA/military connections, from E. Howard Hunt to Alexander Butterfield to John Dean — wormed their way into key White House posts, and started up the Keystone Kops operations that would be laid at Nixon’s office door?

Believe me, I understand. It sounds like the “conspiracy theory” stuff that we have been trained to dismiss. But I’ve just spent five years on a heavily documented forensic dig into this missing strata of American history, and I myself have had to come to terms with the enormous gap between reality and the “reality” presented by the media and various establishment gatekeepers who tell us what’s what.

Given this complicity, it’s no surprise that when it comes to Woodward’s latest work, the myth-making machine is on auto pilot. The public, of course, will end up as confused and manipulated as ever. And so things will continue, same as they ever were. Endless war, no substantive reforms. Unless we wake up to our own victimhood.

And try to figure out if the USA is worth saving? Or going down with.

Speaking of "down." Down With Tyranny tells us another inside story, but it's one you are already more than familiar with as it's in your face every day. Just read your local paper's ads for the Chamber of Commerce's choice of candidates - and figure out how they suddenly became such a major player in elections (and quake with fear)! And then there are those dirty paper deals involving Boehner's young girlfriend . . . (no wonder his tan is so orangey)!

What Would China Pay To Make John Boehner Speaker And To Give The GOP Power Again?
Whatever It Takes... And The Chamber Of Commerce Is The Vehicle

America's enemies have a clear vision for how they want our country run -- and they're willing to pay to implement it.

Communist China knows who its friends are -- and it goes beyond just Ron Johnson who loves the Chinese slave labor model so much that he seems likely to move there if Russ Feingold manages to beat him in November. When Tim Ryan (D-OH) introduced legislation to prevent China from continuing the systematic currency manipulation that has cost Americans hundreds of thousands of jobs, it was lobbyist owned John Boehner and his entire leadership team -- Eric Cantor, Mike Pence, David Dreier, Paul Ryan, Pete Sessions -- who took the side of the Chinese against America.

Even Boehner's own caucus was horrified and most Republicans deserted Boehner and his Communist Chinese allies and crossed the aisle to vote with the Democrats and, for a change, the interests of ordinary American working families.

Yesterday, Think Progress broke the story on just how China and other foreign interests are going about taking over the U.S. government -- using the easily manipulatable Republicans and their reactionary allies at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. [The FEC has been asked to investigate.]

The largest attack campaign against Democrats this fall is being waged by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a trade association organized as a 501(c)(6) that can raise and spend unlimited funds without ever disclosing any of its donors... The Chamber’s spending has dwarfed every other issue group and most political party candidate committee spending. A ThinkProgress investigation has found that the Chamber funds its political attack campaign out of its general account, which solicits foreign funding. And while the Chamber will likely assert it has internal controls, foreign money is fungible, permitting the Chamber to run its unprecedented attack campaign.

According to legal experts consulted by ThinkProgress, the Chamber is likely skirting longstanding campaign finance law that bans the involvement of foreign corporations in American elections.

In recent years, the Chamber has become very aggressive with its fundraising, opening offices abroad and helping to found foreign chapters (known as Business Councils or “AmChams”). While many of these foreign operations include American businesses with interests overseas, the Chamber has also spearheaded an effort to raise money from foreign corporations, including ones controlled by foreign governments. These foreign members of the Chamber send money either directly to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, or the foreign members fund their local Chamber, which in turn, transfers dues payments back to the Chamber’s H Street office in Washington DC.

These funds are commingled to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6) account which is the vehicle for the attack ads...There are many reasons foreign corporations are seeking to defeat Democratic candidates this November. The Chamber has repeatedly sent out issue alerts attacking Democratic efforts to encourage businesses to hire locally rather than outsource to foreign counties. The Chamber has also bitterly fought Democrats for opposing unfettered free trade deals.

To galvanize foreign businesses, the Chamber has commissioned former Ambassador Frank Lavin -- who served as the McCain-Palin Asia campaign director and has appeared on television multiple times recently saying a Democratic Congress is bad for business -- to speak before various foreign Chamber affiliates to talk about the stakes for the 2010 midterm elections.

Meanwhile, wonderers are wondering if Boehner's lobbyist girlfriend -- who lobbies for PRINTING companies, always looking for cheap coated paper (which China has been DUMPING into the U.S. market) -- has had anything to do with Boehner having sold out the paper companies in his own district, costing hundreds of local jobs.

I think this story will be breaking by the end of the week. We've been talking with some of the paper industry locals who weren't aware of the foreign money flooding into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help the GOP capture Congress but are very aware of Boehner's disgraceful behavior when it came to saving American jobs.

Remember, when senior Ohio Republicans Mike Turner and Steven LaTourette signed onto a July 28 letter to President Obama urging him to look into illegal Chinese subsidies of the coated paper dumping Boehner's girlfriend lobbyists was pumping for -- so to speak -- Boehner opposed it.

Arab money, Communist Chinese money, Russian money... every shady government on earth would like to see John Boehner and the GOP in control of Congress... and thanks to a corrupt, corporate Supreme Court ruling they are flooding cash into the political system to make sure they get what they want. Inserting implausible laughing stocks inside the U.S. government -- clowns like Rand Paul, Christine O'Donnell, Daniel "Taliban Dan" Webster, Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Linda McMahon, Ken Buck, Carly Fiorina, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and, of course, their very own Ron Johnson -- would be a dream come true for this country's enemies.

NYTimes Notices All Those Yuan And Rubles Showing Up At Ad Agencies

Probably too late to stop now, but the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is clearly a criminal enterprise that should be shut down.

What can we do as citizens? If you see an ad by the Chamber of Commerce, understand that it's being funded by another country with interests antithetical to our own. If the ad is anti-Candidate A, vote for that candidate. Keep China from taking over America through John Boehner.

Read it all here.

And then notice that even the New York Times thinks they can publish (at long last) a story on this continuing and worsening travesty without explaining how they've let this type of activity go unreported for the last 30 years (remember the payoffs to the Rayguns for Iran/Contra aid?) as a silent partner to crime until now. And, oh yes, one more item of interest - remember all the Bush/Cheney appointees moved into good government/civil service jobs from political ones which had no background checks? I'm guessing that many of them are in the IRS as it's quit functioning on this level. On purpose. Not to mention the Supreme Court! (Emphasis marks inserted - Ed.)

Clean and Open American Elections

October 5, 2010

For at least 44 years, it has been illegal for foreign corporations, countries and individuals to make political contributions in the United States for any election, either directly or indirectly. It is even against the law to solicit such contributions. But in this Wild West year of political money, that longstanding ban is being set aside. The United States Chamber of Commerce — one of the biggest advertisers in midterm races around the country — is actively soliciting foreign money, and government enforcers seem to be doing nothing to stop it.

According to a report issued Tuesday by the Center for American Progress, a liberal policy group in Washington, the Chamber is getting “dues” payments of tens of thousands of dollars from foreign companies in countries such as Bahrain, India and Egypt, and then mingling the money with its fund to advocate for or against candidates in the midterm races.

The Chamber firmly denies the charge, saying its internal accounting rules prevent any foreign money from being used for political purposes. Money, however, is fungible, and it is impossible for an outsider to know whether the group is following its rules. The Chamber has vowed to spend more than $75 million before the November election, and it has already run 8,000 ads, most of which support Republican candidates. The ads do not urge a vote for or against a specific candidate, but when they accuse Senator Barbara Boxer of California of “destroying jobs,” or call Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut “the worst attorney general in the nation,” no one can mistake the intent. (The two candidates, both Democrats, are in tight Senate races.)

Because the United States Chamber is organized as a 501(c)(6) business league under the federal tax code, it does not have to disclose its donors, so the full extent of foreign influence on its political agenda is unknown. But Tuesday’s report sheds light on how it raises money abroad. Its affiliate in Abu Dhabi, for example, the American Chamber of Commerce, says it has more than 450 corporate and individual members in the United Arab Emirates who pay as much as $8,500 a year to join.

Because of a series of court decisions that culminated in the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling earlier this year, these and similar 501(c) nonprofits have become huge players in the year’s election, using unlimited money from donors who have no fear of disclosure. (Not surprisingly, the Chamber has been a leading opponent of legislation to require disclosure.) One such group, American Crossroads, organized by Karl Rove, announced on Tuesday a $4.2 million ad buy to support Republican candidates, bringing the group’s total spending to about $18 million so far.

The possible commingling of secret foreign money into these groups raises fresh questions about whether they are violating both the letter and spirit of the campaign finance laws. The Federal Election Commission, which has been rendered toothless by its Republican members, should be investigating possible outright violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act by foreign companies and the Chamber.

The Internal Revenue Service, which is supposed to ensure that these nonprofit groups are not primarily political, has fallen down on the job. Last week, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, demanded that the I.R.S. look into whether the tax code was being misused for political purposes, and, on Tuesday, two watchdog groups made the same request of the agency. The government needs to make sure that the tax code — and American control of American elections — is not being violated.


Because that's never happened before.

Does anyone else notice that this corruption is getting so deep that it's almost undeniable - even among the clown candidates? I'm guessing that Mrs. Palin and Boo-Hoo Boy Beck will soon be upon us to explain how patriotic the Chamber of Commerce (and all their fine members throughout the world) really are.

And 30% of the population will buy it.

And speaking of a small portion of our population running the show (please click on the link for the full essay):

"How the U.S. Military Became Specialists in Quagmires"

(From Tom Dispatch) . . . what’s happened so far may be only the beginning. In his new book, Bob Woodward reports that Obama administration officials, military and civilian, were eager to do something more in Pakistan as early as the fall of 2009. As Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, put it obliquely but clearly enough to the Pakistani ambassador at the time, if his country didn’t agree to a “strategic partnership,” essentially by moving against militant networks in North Waziristan, “[W]e will have to do what we must to protect U.S. interests.” Last Sunday, Greg Miller of the Washington Post reported that the administration's Afghan War “review” back then had actually “centered largely on the need to eliminate insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan.” He also noted that Afghan War commander General David Petraeus is now advocating “a more aggressive posture with Pakistan, and [has] been particularly supportive of the CIA drone effort.”

If one passage in recent news reports raised a warning flag, however, it’s this eerie one from Saturday's Wall Street Journal, which should give any reader the creeps: “U.S. officials say a successful terrorist strike against the West emanating from Pakistan could force the U.S. to take unilateral military action -- an outcome all parties are eager to avoid.” Such a strike would “force” the U.S. “to take unilateral military action”? Think about that for a moment. Amid a sudden drumbeat of announcements of possible strikes by Pakistani-based terrorist groups in Europe, there may, in fact, be a growing contingent of U.S. military and civilian officials so frustrated with the disastrous war in Afghanistan that they are ready to expand the war significantly in Pakistan, and are only awaiting the necessary excuse to do so.

Talk about playing with fire. Pakistan isn’t Afghanistan. Further major escalations of the American war in that country -- flailing responses to ongoing failure -- would be asking for trouble of every sort. Ask long enough, and it will come. With that in mind, consider the assessment Andrew Bacevich, author of the bestselling Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, offers of the first nine years of war in Afghanistan (and Pakistan). To catch Bacevich discussing how the U.S. military became specialists in quagmires in a Timothy MacBain TomCast audio interview click here or, to download it to your iPod, here.

Suzan ______________

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