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Showing posts from May 29, 2011

Hired Guns: The City's 50 Top Lobbyists

Print By Kim Eisler Their weapons now are BlackBerries and cell phones. But connections, savvy, and fundraising clout are still the keys to the influence wielded by the city’s 50 top lobbyists. After a lucrative 12-year run on Capitol Hill, it hasn’t been the best of times for Washington lobbyists, especially Republicans. One of the most prominent lobbyists, Jack Abramoff, now resides in Cumberland, Maryland, a guest of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. His prosecution on charges of giving illegal gifts and meals to lawmakers and defrauding clients cast a pall over a profession that, fairly or not, didn’t have the best reputation to begin with. For Republicans who thought things couldn’t get worse, they did. Democrats won both houses of Congress in the 2006 elections, returning some old bulls—among them Barney Frank, Charles Rangel, John Conyers, John Dingell, and Henry Waxman—to power. Twelve years earlier, new Republican majority leader Tom DeLay instituted the K Street Project, by whi

Wheeler-Dealers in Washington

Why the huge and much vilified lobbying industry will thrive, no matter who is in the White House. By MATTHEW CONTINETTI I don't know what people are talking about when they say that Republicans and Democrats never get together for a drink after work anymore. Robert Kaiser's "So Damn Much Money" is filled with scenes of lobbyists and legislators of both parties meeting for dinner and drinks -- and trading favors. In fact, Mr. Kaiser, a Washington Post associate editor, begins his account in May 2005, on a rooftop overlooking the Capitol where hundreds of guests have gathered to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Democratic rainmaker Gerald Cassidy's lobbying firm. As the sun sets in the distance behind the Lincoln Memorial, waiters at the lavish event serve miniburgers, tempura and other cocktail fare. The guests include Democratic lawmakers Robert Byrd and Nancy Pelosi, of course. But Republicans Tom DeLay, Roy Blunt and Robert Michel are on hand as well. Influenc

Dangerous luxuries: Australia's current defence strategy does not correspond with the realities of it's security situation

Colonel John Angevine Lowy Institute for International Policy READ THE FULL TEXT. PDF Angevine, Dangerous luxuries_web 02 June 2011 This paper argues that Australia's current defence strategy does not correspond with the realities of it's security situation. The plan for the modernisation of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is focused on expensive maritime and air capabilities for conflicts that the ADF couldn’t fight alone. Consequently, the ADF is exposed with an atrophying ground force and expeditionary capability for the low-level regional operations in which it will be most likely to engage. The ANZUS alliance is emerging as the cornerstone alliance for stability in the Asia-Pacific region but the US must understand the implications Australian defence planning will have on the future alliance. Colonel John Angevine is a Federal Executive Fellow of the Brookings Institution which has also published a version of this paper. PUBLICATION TYPE Report PUBLISHER TYPE APO Memb

Strike two: Ilyas Kashmiri dead – again

Published: June 5, 2011 http://tribune.com.pk/story/182727/strike-two-ilyas-kashmiri-dead--again/ Headed 313 Brigade of Harkatul Jihad al Islami – the organisation blamed for PNS Mehran and GHQ attacks; group confirms death, vows revenge. ISLAMABAD: In yet another major psychological blow to al Qaeda following the killing of Osama bin Laden, the network’s leader in Pakistan Ilyas Kashmiri has been killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan. Kashmiri, 47, was chief of the dreaded 313 Brigade of Harkatul Jihad al Islami (HJUI) militant group that has been described by US counter terrorism officials as an operational wing of al Qaeda. He was earlier incorrectly reported to have been killed in a September 2009 strike by a US drone. Kashmiri, who had a maximum bounty of $5 million on his head, was killed in a missile strike by a CIA-operated pilot-less aircraft in the Karikot area of South Waziristan, intelligence officials and local sources said. “The strike took place in the Karik