08.28.09, 12:01 AM ET Picking his way through the Soviet archives that Boris Yeltsin had just thrown open, in 1991 Tim Sebastian, a reporter for the London Times, came across an arresting memorandum. Composed in 1983 by Victor Chebrikov, the top man at the KGB, the memorandum was addressed to Yuri Andropov, the top man in the entire USSR. The subject: Sen. Edward Kennedy. “On 9-10 May of this year,” the May 14 memorandum explained, “Sen. Edward Kennedy’s close friend and trusted confidant [John] Tunney was in Moscow.” (Tunney was Kennedy’s law school roommate and a former Democratic senator from California.) “The senator charged Tunney to convey the following message, through confidential contacts, to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Y. Andropov.” Kennedy’s message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. “The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,” the memorandum stated. “These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.” Kennedy made Andropov a couple of specific offers. First he offered to visit Moscow. “The main purpose of the meeting, according to the senator, would be to arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA.” Kennedy would help the Soviets deal with Reagan by telling them how to brush up their propaganda. Then he offered to make it possible for Andropov to sit down for a few interviews on American television. “A direct appeal … to the American people will, without a doubt, attract a great deal of attention and interest in the country. … If the proposal is recognized as worthy, then Kennedy and his friends will bring about suitable steps to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews. … The senator underlined the importance that this initiative should be seen as coming from the American side.” Kennedy would make certain the networks gave Andropov air time–and that they rigged the arrangement to look like honest journalism. Kennedy’s motives? “Like other rational people,” the memorandum explained, “[Kennedy] is very troubled by the current state of Soviet-American relations.” But that high-minded concern represented only one of Kennedy’s motives. “Tunney remarked that the senator wants to run for president in 1988,” the memorandum continued. “Kennedy does not discount that during the 1984 campaign, the Democratic Party may officially turn to him to lead the fight against the Republicans and elect their candidate president.” Kennedy proved eager to deal with Andropov–the leader of the Soviet Union, a former director of the KGB and a principal mover in both the crushing of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the suppression of the 1968 Prague Spring–at least in part to advance his own political prospects. In 1992, Tim Sebastian published a story about the memorandum in the London Times. Here in the U.S., Sebastian’s story received no attention. In his 2006 book, The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism, historian Paul Kengor reprinted the memorandum in full. “The media,” Kengor says, “ignored the revelation.” “The document,” Kengor continues, “has stood the test of time. I scrutinized it more carefully than anything I’ve ever dealt with as a scholar. I showed the document to numerous authorities who deal with Soviet archival material. No one has debunked the memorandum or shown it to be a forgery. Kennedy’s office did not deny it.” Why bring all this up now? No evidence exists that Andropov ever acted on the memorandum–within eight months, the Soviet leader would be dead–and now that Kennedy himself has died even many of the former senator’s opponents find themselves grieving. Yet precisely because Kennedy represented such a commanding figure–perhaps the most compelling liberal of our day–we need to consider his record in full. Doing so, it turns out, requires pondering a document in the archives of the politburo. When President Reagan chose to confront the Soviet Union, calling it the evil empire that it was, Sen. Edward Kennedy chose to offer aid and comfort to General Secretary Andropov. On the Cold War, the greatest issue of his lifetime, Kennedy got it wrong.
Fort Campbell command reversed under pressure
Posted: March 21, 2009
12:15 am Eastern
By Bob Unruh
A military commander at Fort Campbell in Kentucky demanded his soldiers give him the registration numbers of any guns they own privately and then reveal where they are stored.
The order was stopped, according to base officials, when it was discovered the commander was not “acting within his authority.”
The original order was issued on the letterhead of Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment and said effective March 11, any soldier with a “privately owned weapon” was required to submit the information, along with any information about any concealed carry permit the soldier may have, and what state issued the permit.
Further, the rule warned, “If any soldier comes into possession of a Privately Owned Weapon following the effective date of this memorandum, he is required to inform the Chain of Command of the above information.”
One soldier who objected to the demands circulated the memo, commenting that he lives off post.
“It just seems a little coincidental to me that within 90 days the most anti-firearm president in history is inaugurated, some of the nastiest anti-firearm laws are put on the table in Washington, and then the Army comes around wanting what amounts to a registration on all firearms, even if they are off post, and doesn’t provide any reason or purpose as to why,” the soldier said.
Base spokeswoman Cathy Gramling told WND the letter apparently was a mistake. She said the base requires anyone bringing a privately owned weapon onto the installation to register it.
“As a response to a number of negligent discharges of privately owned weapons, the command decided to explore how to implement a training program for soldiers with privately owned weapons. Their goal is to identify soldiers with firearms and provide additional safety training to them, much like our motorcycle and driver safety classes,” she said.
“Our soldiers train and operate in combat with M-4 carbines and various other military weapons, but not all who purchase their own weapons are properly trained to handle them. Determining which soldiers possess weapons will allow the command to identify the soldiers who may require additional training on them,” she said.
Learn here why it’s your right – and duty – to be armed.
Gramling said the memo was “from a subordinate unit commander who, at the time, believed he was acting within his authority.” She said requiring the information was halted when it was discovered the commander was not within his authority.
The process has been suspended pending a full review, she said.
“This is not an effort to infringe on soldiers’ rights to own firearms,” Gramling told WND.
Mistake or not, the commander’s order comes on the heels of a Department of Defense policy that limited the supply of ammunition available to the private gun owners by requiring destruction of fired military cartridge brass.
That policy already had been implemented and had taken a bite out of the nation’s stressed ammunition supply before it was reversed this week.
Mark Cunningham, a legislative affairs representative with the Defense Logistics Agency, explained in an e-mail to the office of Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., that the Department of Defense had placed small arms cartridge cases on its list of sensitive munitions items as part of an overall effort to ensure national security is not jeopardized in the sale of any Defense property.
“Upon review, the Defense Logistics Agency has determined the cartridge cases could be appropriately placed in a category of government property allowing for their release for sale,” Cunningham wrote.
If you would like to sound off on this issue, participate in today’s WND Poll.
Feds undercut ammo supply
Obama seeks ‘assault weapons’ ban
Is bill lying in wait to ban handguns?
Big Brother’s new target: Tracking of all firearms
Congress’ plan would let AG ‘ban guns at will’
Group asks states to track citizens’ ammo
Ban lifted on loaded guns in national parks
NRA’s next target: Re-arming Chicago
NRA aims big-budget blitz at Obama
Supremes: Individuals have right to bear arms
Obama election triggers national gun rush
Chuck Norris: Thugs can look down barrel of my gun
Christian college to allow students to carry guns?
Feds pirate investor’s gun-shop software
Feds suppress evidence in ‘broken gun’ conviction?
Man jailed for broken gun getting defense fund help
Gunmaker to feds: Make my day!
Gun expert claims feds punishing him
ACLU blasted on own blog over 2nd Amendment stand
Owner of broken rifle surrenders for 30-month sentence
30 months in jail for broken gun
Drill instructor convicted after rifle jams
Bloggers attack feds after agent forgets gun in airport
BATF rebuked for attacks on gun dealers
Gun shop: Complaint could have been ruse
Gun-shop owner gets ‘breath of fresh air’
‘Blog’ puts fear into gun shop inspectors
New gun control: Shut down shops
Your doctor could put you on no-gun list
Expert offers teachers free weapons training
State quashed bill allowing handguns on campuses
Trial will debate 2nd Amendment rights
Buy a house, get a gun free
New use for schoolbooks: Stopping bullets
New Yorkers rally for ‘illegal’ guns
Clinton-era war on guns revealed
U.N. gun confab ends in frustration
The U.N.: Gunning for more power
NRA warns of U.N. gun control
Michael Douglas backs U.N. gun ban
‘Anti-gang’ bill endangers gun rights?
County drops homeowner gun charges
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “The American people deserve a government that is a fierce watchdog of their hard-earned tax dollars. Congress and the new Administration will ensure that TARP funds are used for lending to American workers and small businesses – so we can lift our economy out of recession – and not for the enrichment of a privileged few.” (Press Release, 1/21/2009)
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): “If the actions of the President-elect on TARP are any indication, a new day is dawning in Washington, DC, and a good day, a bright day…Barack Obama has also said there will be transparency, there will be oversight, and Barack Obama has said the disbursal of TARP funds will require his signoff; not a Secretary, not somebody in some clerk’s office, not a group of people, but every penny will require Barack Obama’s personal signoff.” (Congressional Record, 1/15/2009)
- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD): “It should strengthen our confidence to know that President Obama has learned from the mistakes that were made during the Bush administration in administering this sum of money. That is not a criticism. Mistakes are made. But we can learn from those mistakes, and we will learn from those mistakes.” (Congressional Record, 1/22/2009)
- Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL): “I am going to be voting with the faith that this new administration, with new leadership and new eyes and new vision and new values, will invest this money properly so that we can turn this economy around and build a strong American future.” (Congressional Record, 1/15/2009)
- Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA): “We saw bankers saying, ‘I got the money. It’s none of your business what we do with it.’ We saw bonuses given that shouldn’t be given. I am confident that the Obama administration has learned from that.” (Congressional Record, 1/22/2009)
- Senator Jim Webb (D-VA): “The situation now, in my view, is different. I spoke with the President-elect. He indicated he was totally comfortable with my coming to the Senate floor and saying that he personally guarantees closure on all of those issues…that there will be limits on executive compensation; and that there clearly are going to be strong proposals, to re-regulate the financial markets.” (Congressional Record, 1/15/2009)
- Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) (Again): “We believe the Obama administration will abide by its commitment to follow this bill if it’s passed. I understand the skepticism on the Republican side because we’re telling them that we have a commitment which we accept as valid from a new administration that they will abide by the bill as it passes the House.” (Congressional Record, 1/14/2009)
- Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT): “That is what this President has asked for–both the outgoing and incoming one–to give this incoming President the tools necessary to move forward. Now, I know, as well, there is going to be far better accountability, far more transparency.” (Congressional Record, 1/15/2009)
- Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX): “And by the way, my friends, in this language it says so more of these big bonuses and compensation and grandstanding resort packages, no more of that.” (Congressional Record, 1/22/2009)
- Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA): “So I say to my constituents I will vote for this, and I will do it because of the assurances I have gotten from the President-elect himself that it will be different, that he will use these funds judiciously, that he needs to make sure he has this tool in his pocket. I hope my constituents understand that after hearing that from this President… I feel he deserves my trust at this time.” (1/15/2009)
- Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA): “I felt a little bit, after the last one, like Charlie Brown and Lucy–she is always pulling the football out from under Charlie Brown. I said: That is not going to happen to me again. Well, Lucy is not holding the ball now. We have someone new holding that ball, someone by the name of Barack Obama and Joe Biden and their team.” (Congressional Record, 1/15/2009)
- Senator Patty Murray (D-WA): “Today, I met with Timothy Geithner, the President-elect’s nominee to head the Treasury Department. He gave me his assurances that transparency and accountability will be improved…With those assurances, I believe the American people are finally going to get the investment and the honesty they deserve.” (Congressional Record, 1/15/2009)
- Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL): “Today, the President will limit executive compensation for executives of companies that take advantage of taxpayer bailout funds. This is the right thing to do.” (Congressional Record, 2/4/2009)
- Congressman James McGovern (D-MA): “The Congress will not be a rubber stamp of the executive branch, unlike the first 6 years of the Bush administration…And I should say that the statement by the Obama administration, the statement by Larry Summers, is all very encouraging. It demonstrates a real appreciation of what average people are going through.” (Congressional Record, 1/14/2009)
- Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR): “…we have tried to redirect, to prod and push and probe to make sure that there is greater transparency and coax greater performance out of the Bush administration while dealing with the criteria by which we will be going forward. This is the work that the Congress should be doing, and I think we are doing it in a reasonable fashion. It’s coming in the context of other tools that the new administration has sought and desperately needs.” (Congressional Record, 1/22/2009)
- Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD): “We need to give President Obama the tools he needs to get our economy going again. We shouldn’t hold the misdeeds of the Bush administration against him…This week, the President-elect huddled with us, to talk about how his plan is different than the previous administration. We need vigilance and responsibility that’s what President Obama has pledged.” (Congressional Record, 1/15/2009)
Times Forgets Sen. Dodd Is a Democrat
There was only one thing missing from the paper’s front-page story on the backlash against Sen. Chris Dodd’s A.I.G. bonus-guarantees: His Democratic party affiliation.
Posted by: Clay Waters
3/20/2009 3:11:54 PM
Two stories in the lead story box Friday, both related to the populist fury over the bonuses granted to employees of the American International Group (A.I.G.) — $165 million in bonuses granted to 463 employees, on top of the $170 billion of tax money already given to prop up the stricken insurance firm.
One story noted the 90% tax on bonuses paid to the employees. The other, “Connecticut Senator Draws Voters’ Ire for Payout Role,” targeted an unusual suspect for the liberal paper — prominent liberal Democrat Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut. A change Dodd made to legislation meant to limit executive compensation exempted bonuses like those granted by A.I.G., and as the story shakes out, the spotlight is beginning to burn hotter on the old-line liberal Democrat from Connecticut.
There was just one thing missing from Raymond Hernandez and Thomas Kaplan’s story — Dodd’s Democratic party affiliation. The Times shielded the Democrats from the Dodd controversy in its print edition. One had to infer Dodd was a Democrat from statements like “the firestorm has encouraged Republicans.” (The online version belatedly identifies Dodd as a Democrat in the fourth paragraph.)
The Times also failed to identify Dodd as a Democrat in a June 2008 story about Dodd receiving a sweetheart mortgage interest rate from mortgage lender Countrywide Financial. By contrast, when Republican Rep. Vito Fossella of New York was charged with drunken driving in early May 2008, the Times worked his party affiliation into the second paragraph and invariably mentioned his Republican standing in its follow-up stories.
Still, Friday’s story on Dodd marked a sea change in the paper’s attitude. On Thursday, the Times was completely dismissive of the controversy, devoting only two paragraphs to Dodd’s involvement and concluding of his legislative machination: “But it is far from clear that the change mattered in the case of A.I.G.” But the worm turned in just one day, with the Times catching up on the public fury in Friday’s story:
Clarence Randolph, a 50-year-old dump truck driver from New Haven, has been out of work for two months.
He is not happy that financial firms bailed out by the government are paying bonuses to their executives. And he does not understand why one of his senators, Christopher Dodd, allowed it to happen.
“Why would he do it?” he said as he was about to enter the New Haven Free Public Library to search online for jobs. “Why are they going to take taxpayers’ money — my money — and give all these people bonuses? I think that’s terrible.”
Across Connecticut, anger is erupting against Mr. Dodd, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, whose stature in Washington once reflected the state’s beneficial ties with the financial industry. Now, he finds himself a symbol of the political establishment’s coziness with tainted corporations and a target of populist wrath over their excesses.
On Thursday, the senator sought to defuse the furor over the latest revelation, holding a conference call with reporters to explain how legislation meant to limit executive compensation was changed at the last minute. That change exempted bonuses protected by contracts, like those at American International Group, a big campaign contributor to Mr. Dodd that received billions in federal bailout money.
Mr. Dodd said that his staff revised the bill at the urging of Treasury officials, who he said were concerned that the compensation limits, which he had written in the original legislation, went too far and might invite lawsuits.
While he knew the language was being rewritten, the senator said he had no idea the revision would allow for the bonuses at A.I.G.
In a reasonably harsh treatment, the Times detailed the heat Dodd is getting from the local press and the fact that Republicans have hope of a possible pickup when Dodd stands for reelection next year. But the paper misleadingly called the 1993 Family Leave Act (guaranteeing 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the birth of a child or to care for a sick family member) as a “populist,” not a liberal, initiative.
The backlash is a remarkable development for a senator once known for championing populist initiatives like the 1993 Family Leave Act. Elected to the Senate in 1980, Mr. Dodd is the longest-serving senator in the state’s history and has won all his re-elections by sizable margins.
In Dodd’s 34 years in the Senate he’s carved out a very liberal voting record, earning a score of 8 out of 100 in the American Conservative Union’s rating system.
Remember Timothy Geithner is Obama’s tax cheat that runs the United States Secretary of the Treasury…for you liberals that don’t know that.
The failure of a public-private bailout strategy.
Back in January and February, there were some votes to try and block excessive employee compensation at financial institutions receiving bailout money. In the Senate, this took the form of the Snowe amendment, which was supported by all 58 Democrats, and also by three Republicans. In the House, it took the form of the TARP Reform Act, which was favored by 242 Democrats and 18 Republicans. Overall, across the House and the Senate, only 10 Democrats, compared to 193 Republicans, voted against legislation that might have stopped the bonuses.
Unfortunately, despite overwhelming Democratic support for limiting executive compensation, in order to save their public-private partnership bailout plan, the Obama administration worked against these limits:
As word spread Friday about the new and retroactive limit — inserted by Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut — so did consternation on Wall Street and in the Obama administration, which opposed it.(…)
The administration is concerned the rules will prompt a wave of banks to return the government’s money and forgo future assistance, undermining the aid program’s effectiveness. Both Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, who heads the National Economic Council, had called Sen. Dodd and asked him to reconsider, these people said.
This story is widespread now: Dodd weakened the language at the urging of Treasury officials. It has leaped from the blogosphere to places like CNN.
Tim Geithner’s public private partnership plan caused the AIG bonus scandal. This is because Geithner’s plan needs voluntary private participation and, as many of those private investors and institutions have made clear, they won’t join in if their compensation packages are threatened:
Officials at the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department are increasingly worried that the controversy could discourage investors from joining a new government effort to revive consumer lending as well as a separate plan that relies on private money to buy toxic assets from banks, sources familiar with the matter said.(…)A senior executive at one of the nation’s largest banks said he had heard from several hedge funds that they would not partner with the government for fear that lawmakers would impose retroactive conditions on their participation, such as limits on compensation or disclosure requirements.
As such, on behalf of the Obama administration, Tim Geithner and Larry Summers joined with congressional Republicans to block legislation that would have retroactively blocked the bonuses. This was done in the hope of securing more private participation in the administration’s public-private partnership bailout plan.
This scandal is the direct outcome of Geithner’s bailout plan. Because the Obama administration is pursuing a public-private partnership bailout strategy, and because Wall Street wouldn’t participate in this plan if their bonuses were threatened, the Obama administration blocked legislation that would have blocked Wall Street bonuses. They really should have pursued temporary nationalization instead.
The Wall Street Journal has a piece titled The Obama Rosetta Stone which is an interesting read. Find there a graph titled “Top One Percent of Earners Have Been Increasing Their Share” which shows an ever increasing percentage of “total income” greedily stolen by the top 1% from the hides of the downtrodden masses.
The WSJ takes the angle of discrediting the chart with a combination of ad hominem and ridicule. Whatever you think about that chart, as I think little of it, it lays out a marker that the Obama Administration will be using for the next 4 years (gah! maybe 8 [sob]). Lucky for us, there is a very clear rebuttal to this chart.
Mark J Perry’s post has it in an eerily familiar looking shape…
Here is the key data point: While the “share of income” going to the top 1% has risen to around 23%, the share of the tax burden on the top 1% has risen to almost 40%.
This data ends in 2006, I wonder what these lines will look like when President Obama’s “soak the rich” tax plan goes into effect. I’m fairly certain that it will not be pretty.