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THE INFLUENCE GAME: Health interests fund senators

Sen. Max Baucus, a leader in the troubled effort in Congress to write a health care overhaul bill, has received more campaign donations from the health industry than any elected federal official except President Barack Obama and three other senators.

In keeping with the ways of Washington and Capitol Hill, Baucus is enjoying this donor largesse — some $3.9 million in contributions from the health care industry since 1989 — principally because of his place as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. It's the panel that has had as much or more to say than any about whatever kind of medical overhaul emerges from Congress.


Study Faults Bush's Emphasis On Daily Intelligence Brief

Under President George W. Bush, the President's Daily Brief -- the highly classified intelligence paper delivered each morning to the White House -- rose to "an unprecedented level of importance," with negative consequences for the intelligence community, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution.

These included "skewing intelligence production away from deeper research and arms-length analysis" and driving analysts to choose "the latest, attention-grabbing clandestine reports from the field."


27-Year CIA Vet says Obama May be Afraid of the CIA ... For Good Reason...

Alluding to the assassination of JFK, long-time high-level CIA analyst says Panetta and the President 'afraid of these guys because these guys have a whole lot to lose if justice takes its course'.

"He makes a very very persuasive case that it was President Kennedy's, um, the animosity that built up between him and the CIA after the Bay of Pigs, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, because he was reaching out to the Russians and so forth and so on. It's a very well-researched book and his conclusion is very alarming," the long-time CIA veteran noted in what turned out to be a chilling end to our interview in which he described "two CIAs".


Attorney General Holder decides not to charge former Bush Justice Department official

Attorney General Eric Holder has decided not to bring any criminal charges against a former Bush administration official who lawmakers said lied to them in sworn testimony.

An inspector general's report found that Bradley Schlozman, the former head of the civil rights division, misled lawmakers about whether he politicized hiring decisions.

Criminal prosecutors eyed the matter but decided not to file any criminal charges for his under-oath denials of making personnel decisions based on politics.

TVNL Comment: Wake up folks...Democrats and Republicans are part of the same criminal cabal. The rest is all smoke and mirrors to distract you.


The New Israel Lobby

J Street does not accept the “public harmony” rule any more than Obama does. In a conversation a month before the White House session, Ben-Ami explained to me: “We’re trying to redefine what it means to be pro-Israel. You don’t have to be noncritical. You don’t have to adopt the party line. It’s not, ‘Israel, right or wrong.’ ”

There appears to be an appetite for J Street’s approach. Over the last year, J Street’s budget has doubled, to $3 million; its lobbying staff is doubling as well, to six. That still makes it tiny compared with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac.


OC Assemblyman In Bed With Lobbyist . . . No, Literally In Bed

Freshmen legislators arriving in Sacramento receive advice from veteran
 politicians about the intricacies of working in California's capital. One of those tips is to remember that microphones broadcasting legislative debates can also capture embarrassing, career-ending personal admissions if a politician isn't careful. Michael D. Duvall, Orange County's 72nd Assembly
District representative, must have forgotten the warning.



Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld has always answered his detractors by claiming that history will one day judge him kindly. But as he waits for that day, a new group of critics—his administration peers—are suddenly speaking out for the first time. What they’re saying? It isn’t pretty.


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