Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘lobbyists

Civil Disobedience

with one comment

While it is probably illegal to fly without pants, I can’t imagine that it’s illegal to fly without underpants.

(This TSA followup via MetaFilter.)

UPDATE: The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lobbyists.

If you’ve seen one of these scanners at an airport, there’s a good chance it was made by L-3 Communications, a major contractor with the Department of Homeland Security. L-3 employs three different lobbying firms including Park Strategies, where former Sen. Al D’Amato, R-N.Y., plumps on the company’s behalf. Back in 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed D’Amato to the President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism following the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Also on Park’s L-3 account is former Appropriations staffer Kraig Siracuse.

The scanner contract, issued four days after the Christmas Day bomb attempt last year, is worth $165 million to L-3.

Rapiscan got the other naked-scanner contract from the TSA, worth $173 million. Rapiscan’s lobbyists include Susan Carr, a former senior legislative aide to Rep. David Price, D-N.C., chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee. When Defense Daily reported on Price’s appropriations bill last winter, the publication noted “Price likes the budget for its emphasis on filling gaps in aviation security, in particular the whole body imaging systems.”

An early TSA contractor for full-body scanners was the American Science and Engineering company. AS&E’s lobbying team is impressive, including Tom Blank, a former deputy administrator for the TSA. Fellow AS&E lobbyist Chad Wolf was an assistant administrator at TSA and an aide to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who sits on the Transportation and Defense subcommittees of Appropriations. Finally, Democratic former Rep. Bud Cramer is also an AS&E lobbyist — he sat on the Defense and Transportation subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee.

Sunday (?)

leave a comment »

Mostly non-apocalyptic Sunday links. (UPDATE: Yes, I know it’s Saturday.)

* J.G. Ballard’s last story, in the Guardian.

* The governments of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela have issued a statement in response to the 5th Summit of the Americas that declares, in part, that capitalism is destroying the planet. Why do the governments of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela hate America / Jesus / puppies?

* See also: An anti-environmentalist lobbying coalition for industry has been caught, cigarette-lobby-like, ignoring its own experts.

* See also: this cartoon.

* Myths about the National Popular Vote Bill. This page actually answered a few of my objections, mostly about the likelihood of post-election pact-breakage.

* Crimes committed by Ferris Bueller during his day off.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 25, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Debate Day 3!

leave a comment »

Debate Day 3. So what are people talking about?

* The head of John McCain’s transition team lobbied for Saddam Hussein. Really. Really.

* The Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of Troy Davis, set to be executed in Georgia in the absence of forensic evidence (no weapon, fingerprints, or DNA) and solely on the word of nine witnesses, seven of whom have since recanted their testimony and another of whom is the other primary suspect in the case. More at MeFi.

* Rats-leaving-a-sinking-ship Watch: Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for Bush-Cheney ’04, walks away from Team Maverick™.

“They didn’t let John McCain pick the person he wanted to pick as VP,” Dowd declared during the Time Warner Summit panel. “When Sarah Palin got picked instead of Joe Lieberman, which I fundamentally believed would have given John McCain the best opportunity in this race… as soon as he picked Palin, that whole ready versus not ready argument was not credible.”

Saying that Palin was a “net negative” on the ticket, he went on: “[McCain] knows, in his gut, that he put somebody unqualified on the ballot. He knows that in his gut, and when this race is over that is something he will have to live with… He put somebody unqualified on that ballot and he put the country at risk, he knows that.”

* The Oliver Stone W film comes out this weekend. Here’s an interview from the Times, where Stone doesn’t hold back.

Stone has said repeatedly that if Bush had fought on the ground in Vietnam he would never have gone to war against Iraq (he also maintains that if Bush had been president during the Cuban missile crisis, “we would have been in a nuclear war. Definitely. Wiped out. We wouldn’t be here talking.”). So I ask him what he makes of John McCain. After all, the Republican presidential candidate was both a supporter of ousting Saddam and a long-time resident of Vietnam’s “Hanoi Hilton” POW camp.

“I think McCain’s a very special story because he was never a soldier,” Stone says coldly. “He’s said he never saw the results of his own bombing. I saw the damage we did, I saw the corpses, the decay, I smelt the flesh, I saw people who’d been napalmed, people who’d been killed by shrapnel, mutilated. I saw horrible things. McCain was a prisoner and he has a siege mentality. He doesn’t see a balanced portrait of cause and effect – there’s something missing in the man, mentally.”

* Nouriel Roubini says the economic hurt has only just begun.

* Biden says we’ll win West Virginia. And he has a little bit of fun with it.

According to NBC’s Mike Memoli, Biden asked the crowd in St. Clairsville, Ohio, “Which way is West-By-God-Virginia?” He then said, “I want to send a message to West Virginia — we’re going to win in West Virginia! … We’re going to shock the living devil out of y’all!”

* The latest CBS/NY Times poll says we’ll win everywhere.

Obama 53 (48)
McCain 39 (45)

* They’re still yelling out awful things at McCain/Palin rallies.

* And the Paradise Up North continues to hang with a bad crowd.

After the Flood

leave a comment »

Trying to puzzle out John McCain’s motive for the campaign suspension stunt is proving rather difficult. A lot of people are looking to Palin, both her disastrous Katie Couric interview and the repeated suggestion that hey, you know, we could just cancel the VP debate. (On the margins, Palin’s so-called “preacher problem” is also showing up in these discussions; she definitely loses the secular progressive swing vote with this one.) Or maybe, others venture, he’s trying to cover up his own lack of debate preparation. Still other people think he may be trying to keep the Rick Davis story out of the papers, as there’s now word that Rick Davis didn’t sever his relationship with his lobbying firm and is in fact still listed as one of its only two officers. And a lot of people just point to the polls—witness as just one example a Rasmussen poll that now puts Obama ahead right here in North Carolina (!). Or maybe we should just bring it all back, as Steve Benen does, to the fundamental question that recurs about so much of John McCain’s gambles: cynicism, or risk addiction?

Whatever it is, it’s worth noting that McCain has pulled this very stunt at least twice before.

Reactions have been legion, almost all of them negative, but Noam Scheiber in particular is on fire with posts that suggest just how badly this may backfire on McCain, comparing it first to a form of political hari-kari and then pointing out elsewhere the way in which the gambit automatically defeats itself:

“Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative.”

Clinton Global Intiative > financial crisis > longstanding-to-the-point-of-sacred tradition of nationally televised presidential debate? This will not stand.

Afternoon News

leave a comment »

Afternoon news.

* The Rick Davis lobbying revelation is the big campaign story today as the McCain camp struggles to find some way to respond. The indispensable Steve Benen dissects their first attempt here, with this succinct summary of why this matters:

Remember, the McCain campaign walked right into this one, insisting that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were largely responsible for the Wall Street crisis, and any associations between a candidate and officials at the lending companies are necessarily scandalous.

Talk about leading with one’s chin….

More at HuffPo and TPM, which notes that Davis “quietly canceled” a scheduled lunch with reporters today.

* A report from the Pew Center says that cell-phone-only voters are not being properly counted in the polls. And Marist’s poll of swing states has Obama sweeping the map: IA, NH, OH, PA, and MI, where he has (according to this one poll with a high margin of error) a nine-point lead.

* Kos says the Palin pick is already paying unexpected dividends, as if McCain had been more responsible he probably would have picked Romney.

But think, what if McCain had picked Mitt Romney as his veep choice, like so many of us were fervently hoping?

Sure, the rollout wouldn’t have give McCain a fraction of the attention and excitement that Palin generated. The GOP ticket’s (now evaporated) post-convention bump would’ve been smaller, and maybe Romney would’ve been less effective at revving up the fundy base.

But right now? Romney would be kicking ass. The media would treat him with deference as an economic expert, and let’s be honest, he does looks straight out of central casting for the role of “serious businessman who we should defer to on the economy”. McCain wouldn’t have to hide him. Romney could make the media rounds, being taken seriously no matter what GOP gibberish he spouted. Rather than flail and cower, a McCain/Romney ticket would look sure-footed and confident, projecting gravitas in a time of uncertainty.

What’s more, McCain would no longer look like a political opportunist in his VP choice. He’d be lauded for being such a “maverick”, picking his greatest primary rival. The GOP and its apologists could say, with a straight face, that McCain put “country first”, and actually get away with it since it’s obvious McCain personally loathes Romney.

Good thing Mittens was snubbed.

* Also at Kos, Meteor Blades argues that the Congressional Democrats’ myriad failures on energy this seession are not as bad as all that.

Hurrah! What a relief. This summer’s rush to remedy 27 years of bad energy policy in just a few weeks had generated a mish-mash of contradictory proposals that couldn’t possibly be fully discussed or vetted. Better to wait, as I’ve said from the get-go.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 24, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Fire Rick Davis, Stop Being Sexist, and More

leave a comment »

Following up on the Rick Davis story from last night, it’s hard to see any upside for McCain here. He can fire Davis, but that’s an admission of impropriety, and makes him look like even more of a fool for accusing Obama of being in bed with lobbyists. He can keep Davis and hope the story goes away, but I’m not sure it will: the ridiculous spectacle of a candidate railing against Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae after those very agencies have essentially put him on layaway will not be overlooked in the debates, in the press, or in Obama’s ads. He’s in a tough, tough place on this.

The media, led by Campbell Brown, may also be taking up an interesting new thread in the Sarah Palin Chronicles: a plea to stop the campaign’s sexist treatment of their own VP candidate.

Tonight I call on the McCain campaign to stop treating Sarah Palin like she is a delicate flower that will wilt at any moment. This woman is from Alaska for crying out loud. She is strong. She is tough. She is confident. And you claim she is ready to be one heartbeat away from the presidency. If that is the case, then end this chauvinistic treatment of her now. Allow her to show her stuff. Allow her to face down those pesky reporters…. Let her have a real news conference with real questions. By treating Sarah Palin different from the other candidates in this race, you are not showing her the respect she deserves. Free Sarah Palin. Free her from the chauvinistic chains you are binding her with. Sexism in this campaign must come to an end. Sarah Palin has just as much a right to be a real candidate in this race as the men do. So let her act like one.

Even Fox is fed up.

It’s still too early to tell, but with the complete collapse of McCain’s numbers since the convention blip—witness the new ABC/Wash. Post poll putting Obama nine points ahead nationally, with even stronger internals—is it fair to say yet that the Republican Party has fielded the worst campaign of modern times in McCain/Palin? The sad, sad fact is they could still win, but just on the level of process, of electioneering—the only things Republicans do well—they won’t deserve to.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 24, 2008 at 2:57 pm

John McCain, Scourge of Lobbyists

leave a comment »

John McCain, Scourge of Lobbyists.

The lobbying firm of Rick Davis, Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) campaign manager, remains on the payroll of mortgage giant Freddie Mac, according to two sources with knowledge of the arrangement.

The firm, Davis Manafort, has collected $15,000 a month from the organization since late 2005, when Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae dissolved a five-year-old advocacy group that Davis earned nearly $2 million leading, the sources said.

Amazing. Just amazing.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 24, 2008 at 12:32 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,