As is the norm when a group of Republican candidates get together for a high-profile event, there was quite a bit of lying in last nights debate, Steve Benen wrote at WashingtonMonthly.com (9/23). I dont mean instances in which candidates fudge some details, tell half-truths, get factual claims wrong, or exaggerate for effect. Im talking about pure, obvious, unadulterated lies stuff the candidates know to be false, but say anyway.
Kevin Drum noted at MotherJones.com (9/23) that Herman Cain in the previous nights debate claimed that he would be dead today if Obamacare had been the law of the land when Cain was diagnosed with cancer. The fact that the Affordable Care Act would not interfere in any treatment, but millions of Americans believe it would delay and/or ration treatment because they have been told repeatedly by conservatives that it will interfere with their medical treatment, is a real problem for liberals, Drum wrote.
Sure, we cherry pick evidence, we spin world events, and we impose our worldview when we talk about policy. Everyone does that, Drum wrote. But generally speaking, our opinion leaders dont go on national TV, look straight into the camera, and just outright lie about stuff. Theirs do. And you know, if youd been told over and over that Obamacare meant getting government permission every time you want to go to the doctor; if youd been told over and over that the economy is in bad shape because a tidal wave of regulations are strangling American business; and if youd been told over and over that stimulus spending didnt create one single job well, what would you think about Barack Obamas presidency? Not much, I imagine.
Its awfully hard to fight stuff this brazen. Everyone understands that politicians fudge details and engage in partisan hypocrisy. All part of the game. But most of us dont expect them to flat out lie. So when they do, we figure there must be something to it. Its a pretty powerful formula, especially when the mainstream press no longer seriously polices this stuff, and isnt much believed even when it does. The answer remains frustratingly elusive.
Benen added, Republicans would probably be less inclined to lie if they thought there would be consequences for their dishonesty. Lacking character and integrity, they need an incentive to be honest.
Ideally, major news organizations would offer that incentive. Before Mitt Romney lies about President Obama apologizing for America, a little voice would echo in his head saying, If you tell this lie again, voters will hear about it, and no one wants to vote for a known liar.
But that doesnt happen precisely because Romney and his cohorts know he can lie with impunity. Some news outlets will run fact-check items that most of the public wont see, and many who do come across these pieces wont believe them anyway, since theyve been told that the media is liberal and not to be trusted. Its always been an underlying part of the campaign against media if the right can discredit the referees, its that much easier to get away with wrongdoing.
Even for well-intentioned members of the public, theres very likely a sense that the lies might have some truth in them. And through constant repetition and reinforcement from like-minded outlets like Fox News and talk radio, folks start to consider the falsehoods credible simply because theyve heard them so many times, which creates an incentive to tell even bigger lies.
Benen concluded, Whats to be done when the discourse is broken? I dont know, but Im open to suggestion. So are we. How do you get Republicans to tell the truth?
WARRENS SOCIAL CONTRACT LESSON. If the handlers of freshman Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) thought they would have an easy time winning Brown a full term by depicting likely Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren as an out-of-touch Harvard law professor, they have another think coming as a widely distributed video clip of her on the campaign trail in Massachusetts shows a flair for progressive populism as she explains the concept of fair taxation that requires rich people to pay their share of the costs of society. I hear all this, you know, Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever, Warren said. No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.
You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didnt have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.
Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
Warren served as chair of the congressional oversight panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Her work there and promoting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as part of the financial reform bill earned the enmity of Wall Street and Senate Republicans who declared they would not allow her to be named to head the bureau (they havent approved Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general who was nominated in her stead, either.) Polls show Warren vaulting to the head of the group of Democratic candidates mulling a race and already running even with Brown, who won a special election in January 2010 after the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy. See ElizabethWarren.com or write Elizabeth for MA, PO Box 960405, Boston MA 02196. And check out the video clip.
GOP PREZ HOPEFULS MUM ON BOOING GAY GI. It was one of the more jarring moments in the Republican presidential debate (9/22) when Stephen Hill, a US Army soldier in Iraq, asked in a video whether the Republicans would try to reinstate the ban on gay soldiers. Some in the audience booed Hill. Rick Santorum, who answered the question, slammed the Obama administration for giving gay and lesbian troops special privilege, but neither he nor other candidates referred to the ugly audience reaction. The next day, in an interview with ABC News (9/23), Santorum condemned those who booed the gay soldier, but he said he had not heard the boos during the debate. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman told ABC News the booing was unfortunate and unnecessary when someone in uniform asks a question and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson said he was embarrassed by the booing. He added that he could hear the boos from the stage and believed that the other candidates despite Santorums denial could hear it too.
Offering no comments on the boos were Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, ABC News reported (9/23).
PERRY DENIES SAYING SOCIAL SECURITY UNCONSTITUTIONAL. No matter what you may have heard Rick Perry say, his campaign says he never said Social Security is unconstitutional. In a press release, the Perry campaign claimed that Perry never said in his book that Social Security was unconstitutional. They claim the confusion stems from a passage in Perrys book Fed Up! in which he wrote: And there stands a crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal, in stark contrast to the mythical notion of salvation to which it has wrongly been attached for too long, all at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government.
According to the campaigns press release, reported by TalkingPointsMemo.com (9/23), Gov. Perry never said that Social Security was unconstitutional in that passage and believes the program is important for seniors. Gov. Perry has stated the issue is not with the intent behind social security or the benefits those checks have provided, but that the system is broken. There is no money set aside for a single American, and that our leaders owe it to the American people to acknowledge this.The point in the book is simply that this is what happens when you empower a far-away central government.
But Benjy Sarlin of TalkingPointsMemo.com noted that Perry in the book calls Social Security the prime example of the New Deal violently tossing aside any respect for our founding principles of federalism and limited government.
In an interview with the Daily Beast/Newsweek last year, Perry was asked point-blank about the constitutional basis for Social Security and Medicare. He answered, I dont think our founding fathers when they were putting the term general welfare in there were thinking about a federally operated program of pensions nor a federally operated program of health care. What they clearly said was that those were issues that the states need to address. Later, after he started his presidential campaign, he said he had not backed away from his book.
In debates, Perry has denied that he wanted to dissolve the program and turn it over to the states.
BBQ ON THE ROAD. Perry also is in some trouble for putting down North Carolina barbecue at the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston. Ive had road kill that tasted better than that, Perry, who was then Texas agriculture commissioner, was quoted as saying. Ben Szobody of the Greenville, N.C. News noted that Raleighs News & Observer focused on how the grave remark might play out in North Carolina. But as Molly Ball notes on Twitter ... it might help him in South Carolina.
SEEN ON THE INTERNET: I refuse to believe that corporations are people until Texas executes one.
GOP REPS SOUGHT LOANS FROM CLEAN ENERGY PROGRAM THEY TRIED TO CUT. After solar panel manufacturer Solyndra went bankrupt with $535 mln in loan guarantees from the stimulus, House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issas (R-Calif.) investigation of President Obamas administration of clean-energy loan programs was undercut by a revelation, first reported by Bloomberg (9/21), that Issa had also requested money from the same program for companies in his district. A follow-up story by ThinkProgress (9/22) that an investor to the firm Issa had asked to subsidize had donated several times to Issa, including a check just shortly before Issa sent his letter to Energy Secretary Chu seeking a loan for Aptera Motors, an electric car company.
Republicans tried to make hay out of the Solyndra bankruptcy by taking an axe to clean energy programs. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) mocked hypocrisy of Issa and other Republicans on the Senate floor (9/23). She carried copies of the letters signed by Issa, as well as other letters by Republicans asking for money for the clean energy program they had just voted to cut, and read them into the Congressional Record. She noted that the cuts were purely political because the supposed offsets for FEMA only required $175 mln, not $1 bln. She then continued to read Republican letters asking for clean energy loan cash, including yet another one signed by Issa (asking for money for battery-maker Quallion LLC).
HuffingtonPost.com uncovered other cases, such as Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), who asked for a $400 mln loan guarantee to a company in his state that would create almost a thousand full-time jobs. Burtons loan request was approved, but that didnt stop him from turning right around and calling the very same loan program a scam. He signed six other letters requesting support for similar companies.
HOUSE GOP ADVANCES POSTAL SLASHING BILL. A House postal subcommittee approved a bill (9/21) that would stop Saturday postal delivery, close many rural post offices and mail processing centers and set up a special board with the authority to order layoffs and unilaterally cut wages and benefits for remaining postal workers regardless of contracts. HR 2309, sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), chairman of the postal subcommittee, passed on an 8-5 vote along party lines.
Postal unions urged support for HR 1351 by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), which would continue the current level of postal service by allowing USPS to apply billions of dollars in pension overpayments to the congressional mandate that the Postal Service pre-fund healthcare benefits of retirees 75 years in the future.
The White House endorsed the Postal Services proposal to end Saturday delivery, but it also would allow the refunding of $6.9 bln in surplus pension contributions over two years. It also would allow the Postal Service to sell non-postal products and permit USPS to pursue a modest one-time increase in postal rates. The changes would provide more than $20 bln in cash relief over the next few years, Federal Times reported (9/19), but Issa denounced the White House proposal as a bailout.
US WORST IN PREVENTABLE DEATHS. The US has the worst record among 16 industrialized nations in deaths that could have been prevented by timely access to effective health care, a Commonwealth Fund-supported study reported (9/23). According to the study, other nations lowered their preventable death rates an average of 31% between 199798 and 200607, while the US rate declined by only 20%, from 120 to 96 per 100,000. At the end of the decade, the preventable mortality rate in the US was 96 per 100,000, almost twice that in France, which had the lowest rate 55 per 100,000. According to the studys authors, the United States poor performance and relatively slow improvement compared with other nations may be attributable to the lack of universal coverage and high costs of care.
The US also ranks 40th among 193 nations in infant mortality in a study published in the journal PLoS Medicine. Among the nations with a better infant mortality rate, Joan McCarter noted at DailyKos.com (9/26) are Malaysia, Cuba and Poland.
EXECS BACKING TRADE DEALS OFFSHORED MORE THAN 18,600 JOBS. Congress will soon consider three free trade agreements between the US and Korea, Colombia and Panama. Yet because these agreements do not include sufficient protections for workers, the AFL-CIO reported, passage of these pacts would kill American jobs at a time when more than 26 mln Americans are unemployed, underemployed or have stopped looking for work. The proposed Korea trade deal alone would cost an estimated 159,000 US jobs alone, according to trade experts, and its loopholes could open the doors for goods made in China or even sweatshops and North Korea, but labeled in South Korea.
Yet, while corporations are sitting on $2 tln in cash and not creating jobs, theyre twisting the knife further into the US economy with a new ad campaign pushing for passage of these trade deals. The heads of 32 corporations placed an open letter in the National Journal Daily (9/8) urging passage. But the Public Citizen noted at citizen.typepad.com (9/9) that these same corporations have offshored at least 18,600 jobs under past US trade agreements since 2001. And those only count job losses that are certified as trade-related. Under a broader count, over 35,000 workers at these corporations have lost jobs due to trade since 2001.
Public Citizen has a Trade Adjustment Assistance Database at citizen.org that shows that, among the corporations pushing the trade deal, Whirlpool took advantage of NAFTA and shipped over 1,000 jobs at their Fort Smith, Ark., facility to Mexico in 2008. Caterpillar, a major backer of the proposed trade pact with Colombia, laid off 338 workers at its Mapleton, Ill., facility when it shifted their work to Mexico. And it looks like Texas Instruments was getting a head-start on the offshoring possibilities offered by the Korea trade deal when it shipped 149 jobs at its Attleboro, Mass., facility to South Korea, Mexico and China in 2005. It just so happens that electronics is going to be the hardest-hit sector in terms of the ballooning deficit from the Korea pact, so the remaining Texas Instruments workers in the US should be wary.
Meanwhile, the Senate (9/21) rejected a budget amendment by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that made renewal of retraining programs for workers whose jobs were offshored contingent on the enactment of the Korea, Panama and Colombia trade deals, the Citizens Trade Campaign reported.
GM-UAW DEAL CREATES US JOBS. A four-year deal between the United Auto Workers and General Motors provides jobs for union members who have been laid off over the past several years, creates and retains more than 17,000 jobs and brings production back to the US that had been moved to Mexico and other parts of the world. In these uncertain economic times, we were able to win a tentative agreement with GM that guarantees good American jobs at a good American company, UAW President Bob King said.
Jobs, investment and product guarantees in the tentative agreement include the reopening of a plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., with production of two mid-size vehicles, and additional shifts or new production at five other plants:
Warren, Mich., new transmission program;
Romulus, Mich., new engine program;
Wentzville, Mo., full shift added and new mid-size pickup program;
Saginaw, Mich., castings for next generation engine program;
Fort Wayne, Ind., next generation full-size pickup; compact vehicle at a yet-to-be determined plant.
GM has committed $4.6 bln in investment and new products to UAW plants, creating 11,800 jobs. In the proposed agreement, the union secured commitments to create or retain an additional 6,400 jobs, reflecting $2.5 bln of investment and, most significantly, returning production from Mexico to the US.
The UAW membership ratified the new contract by a two-to-one majority, the UAW reported (9/28)
THIRD PARTY DODGE. Every few weeks, Steve Benen recently noted, a high-profile pundit argues that what America really needs is a a that party that will presumably tend to the needs of centrists and American mainstream. Matt Miller was the latest in his Washington Post column (9/26), writing that neither party trusts us enough to lay out the facts and explain the steps we need to take to truly fix things and imagining a speech that a third-party presidential candidate might give: Hows this for something different? I want to raise your taxes, cut spending on programs you like, and force you to rethink how we run our schools, banks, armies, hospitals and elections. And I want you to cheer when Im done. ...
Democrats and Republicans will tell you, as I do, that they want to make America competitive again, keep faith with our deepest values of fairness and opportunity, and fix our broken political system. But the Democrats timid half-measures and the Republicans mindless anti-government creed cant begin to get us there.
But Greg Sargent, at WashingtonPost.com, noted (9/26), a major presidential candidate has already said this. His name is Barack Obama, and hes currently the President you know, the guy whos running for reelection. He has repeatedly called for a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts as the only way out of our fiscal mess. Indeed, Obama explicitly said during his Twitter town hall that fixing our fiscal situation will require cutting spending on programs I like, using language almost identical to Millers imagined third party candidate. Call that just talk if you will, but Obama and Dems already agree to $1 trillion in cuts as part of the debt ceiling deal, and theyve already agreed that entitlements cuts will be on the table during the supercommittee deliberations on the deficit.
By contrast, the other major political party in America the GOP is not open to any kind of balance between tax hikes and spending cuts. Even if you think Dems are not going far enough in their call for spending and entitlement cuts, its still a fact that only one of the two parties already is calling for, and has already agreed to, the general concept that supposedly requires a third party candidate to ride to the rescue.
Tom Friedman of the New York Times also has repeatedly called for a third party because we need spending cuts, increases in revenues and investments in the sources of our strength, Sargent noted. In the real world, thats an endorsement of the Democratic position, Sargent wrote. He concluded, Lets face it: At bottom, the calls for a third party are founded on a dodge a refusal to acknowledge that the Democratic Party is far closer than the GOP to occupying the fabled ideological middle that they themselves have defined as the space that only a third party can claim.
In June, David Brooks longed for some bold candidate to step up and present a Hamiltonian/National Greatness agenda, and then presented a wish list that might as well have been copy-and-pasted from an Obama speech, Benen noted, adding that more than 100 business leaders have rallied behind Starbucks CEO Howard Schultzs pledge to stop making campaign contributions unless policymakers adopt a series of economic measures, apparently unaware that the White House already wants all of those same measures.
Paul Krugman summarized the problem nicely (9/26): I know that admitting that Barack Obama is already the candidate of centrists dreams would be awkward, would make it hard to adopt the stance that both sides are equally at fault. But that is the truth.
RIGHTS MISPLACED LOVE FOR JFK TAX CUTS. Fox News Bill OReilly recently urged President Obama to follow President John F. Kennedys footsteps and propose lowering taxes for the rich to spur economic growth. In 1962, President Kennedy proposed a big tax cut for the rich in order to stimulate the economy and encourage investment. And the rates have been moderating every since, OReilly said (9/22).
Steve Benen set the record straight at WashingtonMonthly.com (9/25): When Kennedy cut taxes, he lowered the top marginal tax from 91% to 65%. Many congressional Republicans opposed his plan at the time, citing concerns that the treasury couldnt afford such a tax break the Republican Party used to be quite serious about fiscal responsibility, but its been a half-century but Kennedy proceeded anyway because the higher rates, instituted during World War II, were no longer necessary.
Also at the time, the country had very little debt Eisenhower, thankfully, kept taxes high throughout the 1950s almost no deficit. Fiscal conditions, obviously, are far different now.
Keep in mind, unlike contemporary GOP policy, Kennedys plan distributed peace dividends broadly across the wage spectrum. As the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation explained at the time, the bottom 85% of the population received 59% of the benefits of JFKs tax cut. The top 2.4% received 17.4% of the tax cut, and the top 0.4% received just 6% of it.
Those on the right who see themselves as descendants of the Kennedy policy are either deeply confused or they assume you wont bother to learn the truth.
BILL TARGETS FEDERAL RESERVE. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and John Conyers (D-Mich.) have proposed a bill to put the Federal Reserve under the control of the Treasury Department and make monetary policy accountable to Congress. HR 2990, the National Emergency Employment Defense Act of 2011 also would end the ability of banks to create money supply when they make loans and would allow the federal government to directly fund badly needed infrastructure repairs and fund education systems nationwide. The ability to coin money is an inherent power under Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution. The NEED Act would control inflation because it will enable the government to invest in America by creating infrastructure, which is real wealth. Inflation is caused when new money is created without the creation of new wealth, Kucinich explained in a news release. See kucinich.house.gov.
JUDICIAL DIVA GONE WILD. The 5th Circuit is probably the most conservative federal appeals court in the country, Ian Milhiser noted at ThinkProgress.org (9/23). It recently sanctioned a cheerleader because she sued the school district that required her to cheer for an athlete whom she alleged had raped her. Its judges frequently attend junkets for judges hosted by an oil-industry funded group. And the court has developed such a reputation as a safe haven for the oil industry that the House GOP recently tried to shift many important oil drilling lawsuits into the court.
Few people capture the essence of the 5th Circuit better than its chief judge, Edith Jones, Milhiser noted. During a recent court hearing considering a criminal defendants drug conviction, Jones became incensed because she believed one of her few left-of-center colleagues was asking too many questions, and she angrily cut him off, accusing Judge James Dennis of monopolizing seven minutes of the courts time.
Well, Im way behind on asking questions in this court, Judge Dennis replied, in a transcription by David Lat at AboveTheLaw.com (9/21). Dennis added, I have been quiet a lot of times, and I am involved in this case, having written the opinion that was being reconsidered by the full court.
Judge Jones slammed her hand down on the table, stood halfway up out of her chair, and pointed toward the door. Would you like to leave?
Pardon? Dennis asked. What did you say?
Judge Jones continued, I want you to shut up long enough for me to suggest that perhaps ...
Dennis said, Dont tell me to shut up.
you should give some other judge a chance to ask a question, Jones continued.
Milhiser noted that The fact that Jones cut off one of her progressive colleagues is a minor issue, but arises against a background of mean-spirited and ideological decisions. Jones once wrote a dissenting opinion claiming that a female worker who was repeatedly propositioned, was groped and grabbed, [had] pornography ... placed in her locker, and [had] other employees broadcast ... obscene comments about her over the companys public address system did not experience sexual harassment. At oral argument, she even suggested the woman would need to be raped to claim such harassment.
In another dissent, Jones wrote that a 15-year-old student who was molested by her high school teacher for over a year could not sue the school district because there is no broad constitutional purpose to be served by recognizing for [a victims] benefit a constitutional right not to have her bodily integrity compromised by a teachers sexual abuse.
Jones in the past has been considered to be on shortlists of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush when vacancies occurred on the Supreme Court.
CONS GET VAPORS OVER ASTHMA INHALERS. Conservative pundits got pretty worked up about the FDAs phase-out of certain types of asthma inhalers. For conservatives, this is evidence of President Obamas oppressive government doing ... something nefarious, Steve Benen wrote at WashingtonMonthly.com (9/26). The *Weekly Standard* published a piece by Mark Hemingway (9/23) headlined Obama Administration Set to Ban Asthma Inhalers Over Environmental Concerns, which claimed that the Obama administration would rather make people with Asthma cough up money than let them make a surely inconsequential contribution to depleting the ozone layer. But the hullabaloo faded when the right found out that the FDA was simply following through with plans put in place in 2008 when George W. Bush was president.
Dr. Ron Chusid, M.D., noted at LiberalValuesBlog.com (9/24) that the over-the-counter ephedrine inhalers are less expensive but also are less effective and have more side effects, which is why he had strongly advised his patients not to use them even before the ban. He noted that virtually all inhalers already had switched to the more environmentally friendly hydrofluoroalkane as the propellant. He added that many asthmatics had resorted to the cheaper inhalers because they lacked health coverage, which he credited Obama with trying to address.
GOP MESSAGE: TURN OUT THE LIGHTS. After the House failed to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government running (9/21), it led a senator to share an interesting perspective with Ezra Klein of WashingtonPost.com (9/22). Last night, during an interview with a senator on another topic, the news of the stopgaps failure came over the transom. This is what its like now, said the suddenly tired-sounding legislator. The new definition of success around here is just keeping the lights on.
WIS. PUBLIC UNIONS REJECT RIGGED RECERTIFICATIONS. Most Wisconsin public employee unions are opting out of the annual recertification votes required by the Republican anti-union bill that was passed earlier this year. Marty Bell, executive director of the 23,000-member Wisconsin State Employees Union, said none of his units will seek recertification. We looked at the law and we find the law at best an exercise in wasted resources, Beil said. Weve chosen to use our resources to organize our members and advocate for our members, he told the Milwaukee *Journal Sentinel* (9/21).Under the law, if unions do win the annual recertification election, they still only can engage in limited negotiations over wages. Investing resources in this process would divert resources from other forms of activism, Adrienne Pagac, co-president of the Teaching Assistants Association, told Mark Anderson of DailyKos.com (8/23).
Some union members are paying their dues voluntarily, Laura Clawson noted at DailyKos.com (9/23). And indeed, their money is better spent recalling Scott Walker than running expensive, rigged recertification elections that still dont win them the right to bargain collectively over the vast majority of important issues, she wrote.
9/11 HIJACKERS LINKED TO SAUDI ROYALS. Saudis in South Florida who reportedly had direct contact with the 9/11 hijackers before fleeing the US just prior to the attacks have links to the Saudi royal family, Russ Baker reported at WhoWhatWhy.com (9/22). In early September, Anthony Summers and Dan Christensen reported in the Miami Herald and the BrowardBulldog.org that a secret FBI probe, never shared with congressional investigators or the presidential 9/11 commission, had uncovered information indicating the possibility of support for the hijackers from previously unknown confederates in the US during 2001. They discovered that just two weeks before the 9/11 hijackings, a Saudi family, Anoud and Abdullazzi al-Hiijjii and their young twins abruptly left a luxury home in Sarasota, Fla., only days before 9/11. They stayed briefly at a house owned by Esam Ghazzawi, Anouds father, before the family, including Ghazzawi, flew to London and on to Saudi Arabia before 9/11. Law enforcement agents not only discovered the Sarasota home was visited by vehicles used by the hijackers, but phone calls linked the home and those who carried out the death flights including leader Mohamed Atta.
WhoWhatWhy found documents connecting Ghazzawi to the Saudi royals through a nest of Saudi corporations that share the name EIRAD, which not only has connections with the Saudi royal family, but also contracts with the US government. Baker noted there is no indication that the company or any of its officers or employees have any connection to the 9/11 incident. But the now-revealed link between the Ghazzawis and the highest ranks of the Saudi establishment reopens questions about the White Houses controversial approval for multiple charter flights allowing Saudi nationals to depart the US, beginning about 48 hours after the attacks, without the passengers being interviewed by law enforcement despite the identification of the majority of the hijackers as Saudis, Baker wrote.
In addition, the new revelations draw further attention to a web of relationships that include the long and close business, personal and political ties between the Bush family and the Saudi royal family.
Saudi money is woven throughout business ventures connected to the Bushes. Saudi funds even helped bail out George W. Bushs failing oil company early in his life. Jim Bath, a close friend of Bush in the Texas Air National Guard, went on to start a business in conjunction with two sons of powerful Saudi families Khalid bin Mahfouz, whose the family provides banking services to the Saudi royals, and Salem bin Laden, heir to the bin Laden familys global construction empire and a half brother to Osama bin Laden. (For details of the Bush familys dealings with the Saudis, see Bakers book, *Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, Americas Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years*.
PENNY-WISE CONGRESS TARGETS GAO. The Government Accountability Office, which saved Uncle Sam about $50 bln last year, could see its budget slashed by $50 mln under legislation moving through the House and Senate. Michael McAuliff noted at HuffingtonPost.com (9/21) that after the House recommended the GAOs proposed budget be cut from $557 mln to $511 mln, many expected the Senate to erase much of the reduction. But the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a budget that pegs the agencys funding at $504 mln an even steeper cut. And the Senate would require the GAO to account for the hours and money spent to complete each individual study, which would further divert resources from working on other studies.
From The Progressive Populist, October 15, 2011
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