Friday, February 24, 2006

dubai and cheney update -- lobbyists the common theme

Dubai Port Update
Bob Dole's post-politics Viagra-peddling was presumably pleasant (at least financially) for Senator Elizabeth Dole. But Bob's port-pushing activities on behalf of Dubai are creating serious friction for her.

Crude humor aside, this is just one unusually high-profile example of the incestuous relationship between politicians and lobbyists. The Doles aren't the first example of lobbyists literally sleeping with pols -- sometimes spouses of politicians are hired by lobbyists, and sometimes lobbyists sleep with pols and once in a while even become spouses. And if you believe the assertions that lobbyists don't lobby their spouses, well let me just say your naivety and faith in man is quite touching. Please contact me, I have some swampland in Louisiana I'm trying to sell.

Cheney Update

Speaking of lobbyists, in a recent speech Bill Moyers pointed out how the Cheney's-Got-A-Gun fiasco , Bill Moyers in this speech pointed out how the whole sordid incident represented the nexus of power, wealth, lobbyists, politicians, and access in America.
Watching these people work is a study of the inner circle at the top of American politics. The journalist Sidney Blumenthal, writing on Salon.com, reminds us of the relationship between the Armstrong dynasty and the Bush family and its retainers. Armstrong's father invested in Rove's political consulting firm that managed George W. Bush's election as governor of Texas and as president. Her mother, Anne Armstrong, is a longtime Republican activist and donor. Ronald Reagan appointed her to the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board after her tenure as Ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Ford, whose chief of staff was a young Dick Cheney. Anne Armstrong served on the board of directors of Halliburton that hired Cheney to run the company. Her daughter, Katherine Armstrong, host of the hunting party, was once a lobbyist for the powerful Houston law firm founded by the family of James A. Baker III, who was chief of staff to Reagan, Secretary of State under the first George Bush, and the man designated by the Bush family to make sure the younger Bush was named President in 2000 despite having lost the popular vote. According to Blumenthal, one of her more recent lobbying jobs was with a large construction firm with contracts in Iraq.

It is a Dick Cheney world out there – a world where politicians and lobbyists hunt together, dine together, drink together, play together, pray together and prey together, all the while carving up the world according to their own interests.
Indeed. Meanwhile, here is a harsh British assessment of Cheney's-Got-A-Gun -- US gun culture, the lame nature of the hunt (they chased the farm-raised birds in cars), machismo, deferments, and hobnobbing with the rich and famous.

And a great quote from Sen. Chuck Hagel: "If he'd been in the military, he would have learned gun safety."