Welcome to the Machine: How the GOP Disciplined K Street and Made Bush Supreme

Nicholas Confessore writes: "But there's one confirmation hearing you won't hear much about. It's convened every Tuesday morning by Rick Santorum... in the privacy of a Capitol Hill conference room, for a handpicked group of two dozen or so Republican lobbyists. Occasionally, one or two other senators or a representative from the White House will attend. Democrats are not invited, and neither is the press... But beginning with the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 ..., the GOP has made a determined effort to undermine the bipartisan complexion of K Street. And Santorum's Tuesday meetings are a crucial part of that effort." This is but one prong of the gradual Rightwing takeover of this country for the past three decades. It started with the creation of think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and networks such as the Christian Coalition, followed by increasing Media ownership. And now the Rightwing controls all three branches of government.

Al D'Amato in Middle of New York MTA Scandal

"The chairman of the state legislative panel that oversees the Metropolitan Transportation Authority accused its former chairman yesterday of political interference in the high-level workings of that agency. Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky ... leveled his charges after the former chairman of the authority, E. Virgil Conway, testified under oath in Manhattan... Mr. Brodsky pressed Mr. Conway on his successful efforts several years ago to rid the authority of its aggressive inspector general -- the authority's in-house watchdog, who had complained that the agency repeatedly thwarted his investigations of possible wrongdoing. The assemblyman also expressed dismay that Mr. Conway had interceded in a dispute that was blocking a $230 million loan on an M.T.A.-leased building after he received a lobbying call from Alfonse D'Amato, the former United States senator. The building's owner and the financing company agreed to pay Mr. D'Amato a $500,000 fee if the loan went through, which it did."

Despots R Us - Meet Jefferson Waterman International, Washington's Favorite Lobbyist for Foreign Thugs

Ken Silverstein writes in the American Prospect, "In 1934 the German Dye Trust retained public-relations pioneer Ivy Lee for $25,000 a year, ostensibly to promote the company's image in the United States. Lee's true client, though, was Adolf Hitler's regime, and his aim was to favorably influence American public opinion of the Third Reich. As part of his work, Lee produced a report suggesting that German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop 'undertake a definitive campaign to clarify the American mind' via newspaper op-eds and radio addresses to the U.S. public.'" Read on, and see how Jefferson Waterman International (JWI) plays the same role for today's despots.