If you’re a successful business in America, you either quickly open a lobbying office in Washington, or Washington makes you regret that you didn’t.
“If you want to get involved in business,” Sen. Orrin Hatch warned technology companies at a conference in 2000, “you should get involved in politics.”
Hatch was referring to the shortcomings of then-software king Microsoft, which he had spent most of the previous decade harassing from his perch as Judiciary Committee chairman. The message was clear: If you become successful, you must hire lobbyists, you must start a political action committee, and you must donate to politicians. Otherwise Washington will make your life very difficult.
Hatch’s crusade against Microsoft was a formative moment in the cozy relationship between K Street and Capitol Hill. That coziness has become a prime target of the Tea Party in recent years — and so has Orrin Hatch, who faces a primary Tuesday against conservative challenger Dan Liljenquist.
People think money drives politics. It doesn’t. Money is merely the vehicle. Power drives Washington. As Carney points out, Hatch has spent a good deal of his time on the Judiciary Committee targeting Microsoft. So he wasn’t mad that the company wasn’t giving him money—they weren’t giving to his opponents, either. Hatch was angry that the company wasn’t acknowledging that it needs Washington, that it needs people like him. He finds that offensive. So people like Hatch make companies like Google need people like Hatch.
. . . it grated on Hatch and other senators that Gates didn’t want to want to play the Washington game. Former Microsoft employee Michael Kinsley, a liberal, wrote of Gates: “He didn’t want anything special from the government, except the freedom to build and sell software. If the government would leave him alone, he would leave the government alone.”
This was a mistake. One lobbyist fumed about Gates to author Gary Rivlin: “You look at a guy like Gates, who’s been arrogant and cheap and incredibly naive about politics. He genuinely believed that because he was creating jobs or whatever, that’d be enough.”
Gates was “cheap” because Microsoft spent only $2 million on lobbying in 1997, and its PAC contributed less than $50,000 during the 1996 election cycle.
“You can’t say, ‘We’re better than that,’ ” a Microsoft lobbyist told me on Friday. “At some point, you get too big, and you can’t just ignore Washington.”
You know what happens next . . .
After the Hatch hearings, Microsoft complied. Its PAC increased spending fivefold in each of the next two elections. In the 2010 elections, Microsoft’s PAC contributed $2.3 million to House and Senate candidates. The PAC has contributed the maximum $10,000 to each of Hatch’s last two campaigns.
Back before the antitrust case, Microsoft’s tiny lobbying contingent sat in the company’s local sales office in Chevy Chase. Since the Hatch hearings, Gates’ company has poured more than $100 million into K Street’s economy, hiring up members of congress and Capitol Hill staff, many of whom then became top fundraisers — such as Republican Jack Abramoff and Democrat Steve Elmendorf.
And of course now that Microsoft has a strong Washington presence, it uses its influence to lobby the government to harass its competitors. Like Google, which must then open its own Washington lobbying outfit in response. And the cycle starts all over again. (If you’re really on your game, you then hire the government regulators you’ve lobbied to investigate your rival to come work for you.)
A politician like Hatch will always demand that powerful people kiss his ring. It’s why people like Hatch go into politics. The proper response is Gates’ initial reaction—to tell people like Hatch to pound dirt. The problems begin—and the corruption beings— when people like Hatch have the power to force people like Gates to respect them. So long as there’s hell to pay for not respecting Washington, no “get money out of politics” law is going to rid the city of corruption.
I don’t always agree with the Tea Party. But if the group helps oust Washington dinosaurs like Hatch, that can’t be a bad thing.
Obama Administration - Terrorists and Those Who Oppose Terrorism are the Same
In 1993 Islamic terrorists launched an war on America. With a Rider Truck bomb, they attacked in the heart of NYT, trying to topple the World Trade Center. They were led by a terrorist know as the Blind Sheik, the head of Gamaa Islamiya, an Islamic extremist terrorist organization based in Egypt, who was orchestrating a wave of attacks trying to blow up major landmarks - the Holland and Lincoln tunnels and the George Washington Bridge - and assassinate a U.S. senator and New York Jewish community leader.
The 1993 attack on the World Trade Center was led by Ramzy Yousef. On September 11th, 2001, Al Qaeda terrorists led by Yousef's cousin, Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Osama Bin Laden, returned to finish the job.
Former US government prosecutor Andrew McCarthy writes in his book, A Memior of the Jihad, which details the case and his prosecution of the 1993 terrorist plots, there is a direct connection between the 1993 attack on New York and the bigger plot to attack New York by Egyptian based Gamaa Islamiya and the Al Qaeda attacks on the United States on 9/11.
America has never been confused about who is a terrorist and who is not.
But it appears that the Obama Administration does not know the difference.
Last week, the Obama Administration paid for a Gamaa Islamiya terrorist to visit America. They invited him into the State Department and the White House, where he met high ranking officials.
He should never have gotten into America, let alone meet the Deputy Secretary of State!
What message are we sending to those in Egypt and beyond who are FIGHTING TERRORISM as our partners, united in the defense of liberty? Is this the new Obama Administration policy on Egypt - terrorists and those who oppose terrorism are the same? How can we lend legitimacy to Islamic extremists terrorists bent on global domination and coercive dominion over their society at home?
We are not agnostic about the outcome of events in Egypt, where forces of Islamic illiberalism seek to take over the state through Democracy. With no standards in sight, every terrorist is free to call himself a politician. That dystopia is abhorrent. America knows better. Does President Obama?
When the Gamaa Islamiya terrorist, who in today's Egypt calls himself a "politician", got to meet the President's deputy national security advisor this week in Washington, he had one request. He wanted a "gift to the revolution."
He asked for the Blind Sheik to be released from jail, where he is rotting for life, convicted of his effort to kill thousands of Americans.
One can only image what kind of "revolution" this man and his terrorist colleagues want to cement.
Rather than welcoming these poisonous players, President Obama and America should make absolutely clear we stand with liberty and tolerance, and are forever and inexorably opposed to Islamic radicalist terrorism.
Call yourself whatever you want. But know this: America knows who you are. You are a terrorist and you are not welcome here.
To fix this colossal mistake, President Obama should make it known to the world exactly what America’s policies are toward terrorism and the future of Egypt. He should use plain English so that everyone can understand. Obama should avoid the measured and philosophical constructions he often uses in his speech, which some regard as a sign of his intellectual prowess and pragmatism and others attribute to his unwillingness to articulate clear positions on sensitive topics.
Terrorists, whether actively engaged in blowing people up and committing atrocities or masquerading as politicians in Egypt today, need to get this message: America does not and will not stand with those who use violence to achieve their political means. We oppose terrorism, and will always stand with those who fight this deadly scourge.
Blogger Aaron Walker Latest Swatting Victim
Another conservative blogger has become the victim of a "swatting," where a false report of a murder sends the police, armed and ready, to a victim's home. The victim this time was blogger Aaron Walker, who had just this morning won a legal victory against convicted felon and leftist activist Brett Kimberlin.
Breitbart News contacted the Prince William County, Virginia police department to confirm the swatting. A dispatcher affirmed that police were called to the home of Mr. Walker based on a fraudulent 911 call. The individual did not take the call and could not disclose any details of the call's content but immediately confirmed that Mr. Walker had been swatted.
The swatting occurred hours after Walker's hearing. A judge had modified a previous ruling that prohibited Mr. Walker from exercising his right to free speech.
Walker told Breitbart News that he was home with his wife this evening at approximately 6:00pm when there was a "pretty insistent" knock at his door. Walker answered to find about six police cars in the street and two officers taking positions against the wall with M4 rifles. Since he was aware of the previous swattings of Patrick "Patterico" Frey, Erick Erickson, and Mike Stack, Mr. Walker asked the police if someone had called and claimed he had killed his wife, and police confirmed that that was the case.
In a statement to Breitbart News, Walker said, "This is obviously very upsetting but my wife and I are fine. Whoever did this had the intent to put our lives in danger."
Nobody knows (officially) what food stamps buy
Seeing they currently cost the taxpayer around $100 billion p.a., isn't that a little strange?
Legislation seemingly designed to protect the industry goes so far as to say that anyone who releases the amount of food stamp dollars paid to a store can be jailed.
Profiting from the poor's taxpayer-funded purchases has become big business for a mix of major companies and corner bodegas, which have spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress and the USDA to keep the money flowing freely.
The National Association of Convenience Store Operators alone spends millions of dollars on lobbying yearly, including $1 million in the first quarter of this year.
In February, 7-Eleven hired a former aide to House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, to lobby on "issues related to the general application and approval process for qualified establishments serving SNAP-eligible recipients."
The USDA is notoriously secretive about who receives its money, relying on weak legal reasoning, said Steve Ellis of the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.
"USDA hides behind a specious proprietary data argument: The public doesn't want to know internal business decisions or information about specific individuals' finances," he said. "The USDA sees retailers, junk food manufacturers and the big ag lobby as their customers, rather than the taxpayer."
The agency also has no idea what type of food the benefits are buying, even though the combination of universal bar codes and benefit cards makes that entirely feasible.
"It's one of those questions that frankly those of us who have been working on this issue have been struggling with a long time because we need to see the data. The industry looks at it as proprietary. The USDA doesn't track where that money goes," said Beth Johnson, a former Senate Agriculture Committee and USDA staffer who now consults for the Snack Food Association.
She noted that stores have breakdowns of products bought with food stamps but declined to share them with the USDA.
The junk food lobby appreciates the informational void.
Susan Smith of the National Confectioners Association, a candy trade group, dismissed assertions that food stamp recipients commonly buy candy and soda as "anecdotal info," while declining to call for the collection of statistics.
FL: TSA thug spills victim’s grandfather’s ashes: "A TSA worker at an airport in Florida violated the agency’s policy when she opened a container containing the ashes of a passenger’s grandfather and spilled them on the terminal floor. ... John Gross of Indianapolis was visiting relatives in Florida when an uncle, acting on the wishes of the family, gave Gross a portion of his grandfather’s ashes. ... Gross was presented with the ashes in a tightly sealed jar, marked 'human remains,' which he assumed would warrant enough respect that he would be able to board his flight home unmolested. He was wrong."
Assassination, conformity, and conscience: "As most every American knows, we now live in a country in which the ruler possesses the unfettered power to assassinate his citizens. What an extraordinary situation. Who would have ever thought that America would end up with a governmental system in which the ruler possessed such omnipotent power?"
Why is it okay to pay an intern $0? Or, liberal insanity on the minimum wage: "One benefit of a job at any price is the skills and learning experience -- learning to engage with customers and co-workers, to show up on time, manners, dress code, and so on. This is, in fact, one reason some people are willing to serve as 'interns' for no pay: for the work experience, contacts, resume padding. And this an absurdity in the very idea of the minimum wage: it’s legal to offer to pay someone, say, $10 per hour for a certain job, or more, and it’s legal to offer to pay them $0 per hour (internship), but it’s illegal to offer them something in-between."
Putin visits West Bank, tours key Christian shrine: "Visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin praised his Palestinian counterpart Tuesday for what he said was a "responsible" position in negotiations with Israel, frozen for nearly four years, and said Russia has no problem recognizing a Palestinian state. Putin also offered veiled criticism of Israel, saying unilateral actions — an apparent reference to Israeli settlement construction on war-won land — is not constructive. The Russian president spoke at the end of a visit to the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by his side. Putin inaugurated a Russian cultural and language center in Bethlehem and toured the church built over the traditional birth grotto of Jesus."
Four U.S. Navy minesweepers arrive in the Gulf: " Four U.S. minesweepers have arrived in the Gulf to bolster the U.S. Fifth Fleet and ensure the safety of shipping routes, the U.S. Navy said, as an Iranian military chief suggested on Monday that Iran might try to block the Strait of Hormuz to defend its interests. The four additional mine countermeasures (MCM) ships arrived on Saturday and are scheduled for a seven-month deployment in an area of operations that includes the Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The area also includes two other critical shipping choke points of the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandab between the southern tip of Yemen and Africa."
Iran in trouble with the Russian bear too: "The Caspian Sea, once a strategic backwater, is quickly becoming a tinderbox of regional rivalries -- all fueled by what amounts to trillions in petrodollars beneath its waves. Observers gained a first glimpse into this escalating arms race last fall, when Russia and Kazakhstan held joint military exercises on the Caspian, which abuts Iran and several former Soviet republics. But a scoop by a Russian newspaper, Moskovsky Komsomolets, told a different story. The newspaper got hold of a map apparently showing the real scenario of the exercise: the defense of Kazakhstan's oil fields from several squadrons of F-4, F-5, and Su-25 fighters and bombers. The map didn't name which country the jets came from, but the trajectory and the types of planes gave it away: Iran."
My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)
The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)