U.S. Government

When Chu Chose BP

Energy Secretary-designate Steven Chu "seems about as climate friendly as they come," writes Josh Harkinson, but "more industry friendly than his rhetoric suggests." As the director of the Energy Department-funded Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Chu helped broker "the largest university-industry alliance in U.S.

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Has Obama Adopted the Bush Media Doctrine?

President-elect Barack Obama's close advisers "tend to shudder at any parallels to George W. Bush," writes Mark Leibovich, "but many reporters and rivals have noted the 'Bush-like' tendencies the Obama campaign demonstrated in its ability to control information. The comparison is generally meant as a compliment (albeit a grudging one) by members of the press and expressed enviously by veterans of other campaigns.

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New Federal Rule Permits Withholding of Medical Treatments, Information

The Bush administration has approved a new "conscience protection" rule that allows health care workers to opt out of administering any form of medical care they feel is objectionable on moral or religious grounds.

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America Scams You: Allison Barber's Many "No-No's"

There's a telling email exchange quoted in the Defense Department Inspector General's report (pdf) on America Supports You (ASY), a Pentagon program launched in 2004, ostensibly to boost troop morale.

Allison BarberAllison Barber, who founded and led ASY until her recent resignation as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Internal Communications and Public Liaison (and who infamously helped President Bush stage a teleconference with troops in Iraq), asked in a June 2004 email: "Overseas, we make troops [not living on military bases] buy a digital receiver for their televisions so they can see AFRTS," the American Forces Radio and Television Service. "Is there a way for me to make this situation know [sic] to corporate America and offer them the option of 'sponsoring' a receiver? So the receiver might have a sticker on it that says 'brought to you by Sears'."

An attorney with the Defense Department's Standards of Conduct Office responded sharply: "Of course, you may not solicit anyone, especially corporate America, to sponsor the receivers. That's a no-no."

More Pentagon Problems with PR and Propaganda

Stop Government Funded PropagandaThe Pentagon's Inspector General has concluded that the "Defense Department's public affairs office may have 'inappropriately' merged public affairs and propaganda operations in 2007 and 2008 when it contracted out $1 million in work for a strategic communications plan for u

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