Lobbying

Yucca's Not Quite Dead Yet, but What's Plan B?

Aerial view of Yucca MountainIncreasingly, people are coming to the conclusion that the proposed nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, Nevada might never open. Former Louisiana Senator J. Bennett Johnston, "the lawmaker perhaps most responsible" for advancing the plan for a permanent waste repository at Yucca, now says the "project should never have been billed as a place to hold waste indefinitely," reports Lisa Mascaro.

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Charlie Black Worked for the "Good" Dictators

Charlie Black, the chief campaign adviser for Republican Party Presidential aspirant John McCain, has dismissed calls that he should resign due to his many years of lobbying work for BKSH & Associates, calling the calls "complete inside-the-beltway nonsense." MoveOn

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Nestling into the British Government

Bottle-feeding a babyAs CMD has reported previously, the infant formula industry in the U.S. is committed to making sure that women aren't, as they put it, made to feel guilty about not breast feeding. But it seems that formula producers are also looking to make inroads in Europe, where rates of breast feeding are far higher than in the U.S.

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When Recycling Isn't: Lessons from a Nuclear Industry Conference

Sign displayed at the NEI conferenceI learned many things at the Nuclear Energy Institute's (NEI's) annual meeting, but perhaps none more surprising than this: When nuclear power executives discuss the state of their industry, they highlight many of the same issues as their environmentalist opponents.

Of course, the emphasis and even the language are different. But presenters at the "Nuclear Energy Assembly," held in Chicago from May 5 to 7, discussed financing for new nuclear plants, nuclear waste storage and nuclear weapons proliferation concerns.

Nuclear power opponents argue that the industry shouldn't expect or need government support, some fifty years into its existence. In a hotel conference room populated mostly with gray-suited older white men, industry executives repeatedly called for an expansion of federal loan guarantees for new nuclear plants.

Early on in the conference, NEI president and CEO Frank L. "Skip" Bowman said, "We use loan guarantees in this country to support ship building, steel making, student loans, rural electrification, affordable housing, construction of critical transportation infrastructure, and for many other purposes. Please don't tell me that America's electric infrastructure is any less important." He added, "I wish someone would tell me when the word 'subsidy' became a slur, a four-letter word. ... What is there of value in American life that is not subsidized, to some extent?"

Colombia Seeks UK PR Help

The Colombian government -- which is dogged by controversy over its human rights record -- is seeking help from British PR firms to help promote a "modern" image amongst journalists and politicians. Colombia's deputy head of mission in the UK, Andelfo Garcia, told PR Week that "the stereotype of Colombia is not right. We are a growing country with a good story to tell.

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Pentagon's Propaganda Documents Go Online, but Will the TV Networks Ever Report this Scandal?

Eight thousand pages of documents related to the Pentagon's illegal propaganda campaign, known as the Pentagon military analyst program, are now online for the world to see, although in a format that makes it impossible to easily search them and therefore difficult to read and dissect. This trove includes the documents pried out of the Pentagon by David Barstow and used as the basis for his stunning investigation that appeared in the New York Times on April 20, 2008.

What the Pentagon Pundits Were Selling on the Side: Propaganda Meets Corporate Lobbying

The Pentagon launched its covert media analyst program in 2002, to sell the Iraq war. Later, it was used to sell an image of progress in Afghanistan, whitewash the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, and defend the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping, as David Barstow reported in his New York Times expose.

Millions to supply body armor and counterintelligence services in IraqBut the pundits weren't just selling government talking points. As Robert Bevelacqua, William Cowan and Carlton Sherwood enjoyed high-level Pentagon access through the analyst program, their WVC3 Group sought "contracts worth tens of millions to supply body armor and counterintelligence services in Iraq," reported Barstow. Cowan admitted to "push[ing] hard" on a WVC3 contract, during a Pentagon-funded trip to Iraq.

Then there's Pentagon pundit Robert H. Scales Jr. The military firm he co-founded in 2003, Colgen, has an interesting range of clients, from the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Special Operations Command, to Pfizer and Syracuse University, to Fox News and National Public Radio.

Of the 27 Pentagon pundits named publicly to date, six are registered as federal lobbyists. That's in addition to the less formal -- and less transparent -- boardroom to war-room influence peddling described above. (There are "more than 75 retired officers" who took part in the Pentagon program overall, according to Barstow.)

The Pentagon pundits' lobbying disclosure forms help chart what can only be called a military-industrial-media complex. They also make clear that war is very good for at least some kinds of business.

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