Should Ex-Senator Tied to CIA “Accountability” Be Involved in This Kind of Propaganda?

In a post on the over-the-top propaganda released by a new 503c4 started by Saxby Chambliss, Evan Bayh, and Norm Coleman, Ryan Cooper makes the comparison with LBJ’s “Daisy” ad targeting Goldwater.

The American Security Initiative was founded by three ex-senators, Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), and Norm Coleman (R-Minn.). Their ad is reminiscent of Lyndon Johnson’s “Daisy” ad in 1964, which famously featured a nuclear holocaust. Except it’s the other way around: “Daisy” implied that Barry Goldwater’s snarling bellicosity would lead him to start a nuclear war, not the Soviets. A voiceover from Johnson made clear that, despite the evil nature of the Soviet regime, the USSR and America must find some way to co-exist. “These are the stakes: to make a world in which all of God’s children can live… We must either love each other, or we must die.”

Probably a bit unfair to Goldwater. But no more unfair than this new ad, which paints Iran as controlled by murderous suicide bombers intent on mass murder of civilians. The message is clear: Do as we say, or the terrorists will nuke American cities to dust. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)

Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t go so far as to say Iran will nuke America. Instead he argues that Iran is run by Nazi-esque madmen, and that a nuclear-armed Iran will “threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people,” as he said in his speech before Congress. Israel will be the first target, not the U.S.

Definitely read the whole post, because it’s appropriately snarky.

What I don’t think is appropriate, however, is that someone so fresh off serving in an “accountability” role at the CIA — overseeing the report that would rubber stamp CIA spying on its overseers — would be involved in such overheated propaganda.

Admittedly, Bayh’s conclusions do seem to arise from a similar instinct for disinformation. And his hackery on the Accountability Review Board is consistent with the hackery involved here.

Still, this (plus Saxby’s involvement) raised questions — for me at least — on whether some at the CIA had some interest in foiling the Iranian deal.

Has Evan Bayh become a cut-out for CIA propaganda directed at the American people?

Jamie Dimon Owns Obama’s Testicles

Jamie Dimon owns Barack Obama’s testicles. That’s the only explanation I can think of for why, rather than firing his JP Morgan Exec Chief of Staff for being incompetent, Obama simply shifted him over to serve as the public face of his Administration.

Ten months into his tenure as chief of staff, [Bill] Daley’s core responsibilities are shifting, following White House missteps in the debt-ceiling fight and in its relations with Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

On Monday, Mr. Daley turned over day-to-day management of the West Wing to Pete Rouse, a veteran aide to President Obama, according to several people familiar with the matter. It is unusual for a White House chief of staff to relinquish part of the job.


The new set-up effectively makes Mr. Rouse the president’s inside manager and Mr. Daley his ambassador, roles that appear to better suit both men’s talents.

As you recall, Daley was hired as a sop to the banks, who thought endless bailouts weren’t enough bounty from this and the prior Administration and successfully demanded having one of their own in the White House gatekeeper position. And so, after fucking up the debt ceiling, and fucking up the introduction of Obama’s jobs push (and overseeing the passage of three trade agreements that will send jobs overseas), Daley has been moved into a figurehead role.

Here’s a snapshot of the kind of people whom Daley is sucking up to as “Ambassador”: the architect of the housing bubble-and-crash, the embodiment of corruption in the GSEs, and a guy who helped pass a law that will help his wife’s insurance company, only to leave to work for the Chamber of Commerce and a private equity firm.

Lately, Mr. Daley has been trying out his new role, deploying his back-slapping persona in Washington social circles. He recently held a private reception at his Ritz Carlton residence for a small group of D.C. elites, including former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, former Fanne Mae Chief Executive Jim Johnson and Yousef Al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the U.S.

Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D., Ind.) said an invitation to lunch with Mr. Daley in his West Wing office was the first time he had heard from him.

So at a time when Obama’s campaign wants to pretend he’s taking a tough line with the 1%, he’s refusing to fire 1%er Bill Daley when he proves to be incompetent. Does this mean the banksters will effectively retain their own personal gate-keeper?

And FWIW, I believe Pete Rouse was and will be the best of the three Chiefs of Staff Obama has had, so I approve of that move. Though I question the wisdom of making the move just in time for another government shutdown, which is due up in the next few weeks.

Former WellPoint VP Liz Fowler to Implement Health Care Oversight

Remember Liz Fowler? The former WellPoint VP whom William Ockham noted was the literal author of the health care reform bill?

I’m sure you’ll be thrilled to learn that WellPoint’s former VP will be in charge of consumer issues and oversight as our country implements the WellPoint/Liz Fowler health insurance bill. (h/t Glenn Greenwald)

Liz Fowler, a key staffer for U.S. Sen. Max Baucus who helped draft the federal health reform bill enacted in March, is joining the Obama administration to help implement the new law.Fowler, chief health counsel for the Senate Finance Committee, which Baucus chairs, will become deputy director of the Office of Consumer Information and Oversight at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Liz Fowler is an extremely knowledgeable and dedicated adviser, and while I’m very proud of her new position, she will certainly be missed at the committee,” Baucus said in a statement Tuesday.


Obama and fellow Democrats have been promoting what they say are positive aspects of the reform bill, while the Health and Human Services Department is drafting many rules to implement to complex measure.

So Liz Fowler, WellPoint’s gal, will be writing the rules implementing the law (the rules that will determine whether this is a worthless bill or a decent one), particularly those designed to protect (cough) consumers and oversee companies like…WellPoint.

This is the kind of “oversight” that resulted in the BP disaster.

And remember Obama’s lobbyist restrictions? The ones that prevent someone from working in the Executive Branch on an issue that they’ve lobbied Congress on for two years? Fowler was not a registered lobbyist; rather, she was the VP of Public Policy and External Affairs. But in any case, it appears that Fowler returned to MaxTax Baucus’ staff on March 4, 2008, so nothing prevents the former VP of WellPoint from writing the “consumer and oversight” rules that are the only thing protecting Americans from policies — like WellPoint’s — that screw consumers.

It’s a nice trick: send your VP to write a law mandating that the middle class buy shitty products like yours, then watch that VP move into the executive branch to “oversee” the implementation of the law. What could go wrong?!?!

Did Evan Bayh Quit Because Reid Refused to Give Paris Hilton a Tax Break?

In his statement explaining why he was quitting, Evan Bayh named the Harry Reid’s decision not to let MaxTax Baucus and Chuck Grassley hold the jobs bill hostage as one of the reasons he does not like Congress.

Just last week, a major piece of legislation to create jobs — the public’s top priority — fell apart amid complaints from both the left and right.

Marc Ambinder expands on poor Evan’s pique that centrists weren’t allowed to hold a jobs bill hostage.

Bayh is an anomaly of sorts; he really grew to dislike the influence of liberal activists on his Senate colleagues. To him, these activists increased the cost of doing business. Reaching out to the other side became more risky than rallying around an ideological pole, even though that rallying around contributed to stasis. When it became clear to Bayh that the White House wasn’t going to play his game — wasn’t going to sell out liberals at every turn — Bayh decided he had had enough.

As it happens, one effect of Reid’s refusal to give into MaxTax Baucus’ demands is that it screwed up ConservaDem and Republican efforts to extend estate tax breaks.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) decision to move a scaled-back job bills has thrown a bipartisan deal to reduce the impact of the estate tax into doubt.

Senate leaders discussed moving an estate tax bill through their chamber that would prevent a huge hike in the tax from taking effect in 2011.

In exchange, Republicans would agree to support the jobs bill created by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the panel’s ranking member, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

As Matt Yglesias pointed out last year, extending the Paris Hilton tax has been a favorite project of Bayh’s and Blanche Lincoln’s. (Here’s Ezra on the same issue.)

Particularly given the way Bayh decided to leave without warning Reid, was that the final straw? Poor Evan Bayh won’t suffer through another term as Senator if he’s not going to be allowed to be a budget hypocrite while calling for cuts in entitlements while pushing to give the super-rich big tax breaks?

Bad Nelson, Bayh, and Lincoln Objectively Pro-Cornhusker Kickback

Picture 184Thus far today, Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, and Blache Lincoln have come out against passing health care reform through sidecar reconciliation.

Of course that means they’re defending all the corrupt aspects of the Senate bill that proved to be so unpopular in MA, starting with the Cornhusker Kickback (and including the Louisiana Purchase that similarly bought off Mary Landrieu). And they’ve flip-flopped on their earlier demands that such corrupt deals be removed from the bill.

Mind you, I can’t say I’m surprised that Bad Nelson and Blanche and Bayh can’t decide whether they want to keep or lose their personal bribes. Just that if anyone should be labeled a monster, it’s probably the folks so diligently protecting the stuff that voters say, overwhelmingly, they despise.

Oh yes. The Henry Waxman we know and love.

henry_waxman_official_photo_portrait_color.thumbnail.jpgRemember back in the good old days, when Henry Waxman was Chair of Oversight? Something would piss him off and–like clockwork, approximately 4 hours into the next business day–he’d send out some letters that would make corporate CEOs quiver and bitch. We haven’t gotten to see that Henry Waxman so much now that he chairs Commerce.

However, I think Waxman is getting a little tired with Rahm’s attempts to sideline the work of the Commerce Committee.

Because on Monday he sent out a demand for information on health insurance company’s exorbitant costs–returnable in time for the health care debate in Congress in September.

He’s asking for the following by September 4:

  • A table listing the total compensation for every employee making more than $500,000 a year
  • A table listing board member compensation
  • A table listing off-site conferences and retreats
  • A table listing the company’s total revenue and net income

And the following by September 14:

  • Communication with the board on compensation packages
  • Tables listing premium revenue, claims payments, and sales expenses

And here’s the list of insurance companies mean old Henry is picking on. In case you wondering, Mrs. Bayh’s company, Wellpoint, is on that list. I would imagine that after these details become public–just as the debate between the House and Senate picks up–Evan Bayh might think a little differently about how he represents the interests of–as Mrs. Greenspan calls them–the conservative Democrats in Indiana. Likewise, once Waxman has the details of the retreats that some of those obstructing reform have attended, it may change their commitment to obstruction pretty quickly.

It appears that one of the recipient companies (I’m trying to figure out what PPM would be the abbreviation for) went whining to Mike Allen, complaining,

This is nothing more than a taxpayer-funded fishing expedition designed to silence health plans.

But jeebus! Isn’t this information precisely the kind of information we ought to have in hand before we decide how to reform health care?

Henry? Nice to see you back in old form.

Jane Rebuts Mrs. Greenspan’s CW with Mr. Bayh’s Conflict

Jane’s appearance on MSNBC today was pitch perfect punditry.

Not only was Jane beautiful, in control of the facts, and poised, but I especially love the way Jane smacked down Andrea Mitchell’s beltway Conventional Wisdom. When Mitchell started suggesting that the co-ops were the middle ground, Jane turned this onto supporters of the co-ops.

Mitchell: Kent Conrad and other more conservative Democrats who have been negotiating these compromises in Senate Finance say that there will be no bill if there’s a public option.

Hamsher: Well, with 76% of the country in favor of it, you’ve got Democrats like Joe Crowley, like Charlie Rangel, like Ed Markey who are going to have trouble going back to their districts that have 22% Democratic advantage and saying "I gave the farm away to the insurance companies."

Mitchell: So you’ve got the House that’s committed to this, that say they won’t do anything if it doesn’t have a public option, and you’ve got the Senate saying they won’t do it if there is a public option. Is there a compromise there that does involve those co-ops, or is it better to have nothing?

Hamsher: Well, the compromise is the public plan–that’s the compromise down from single payer. So that is the middle ground. And frankly I would like to see Democrats like Evan Bayh and like Max Baucus stand on the floor of the Senate and filibuster the Democratic program that 76% of the country …

Mitchell: But Jane that’s not gonna happen. It’s not where they are.

Hamsher: Uh, why not?

Mitchell: Because that’s not where they see their constituency. That’s not where Evan Bayh sees more conservative Democrats in his state of Indiana.

Hamsher: Evan Bayh’s wife is on the Board of Wellpoint. So I think that he’s going to have a problem doing something that tanks the Democratic plan that strongly favors something that he has a financial interest in. There’s a whole lot of insurance money going to these Senators and that’s going to be something that people are going to be looking into if that’s how this winds up.

Mitchell: Civil war?

Hamsher: I think that there’s going to be a problem. Read more