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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 28, 2009 / 3 Shevat 5769

All of Obama's promises come with an expiration date

By Jack Kelly

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last year was a bad year for virtually every business in America, including the lobbying business in Washington, D.C. According to a report in The Hill newspaper, all but a handful of the top 20 lobbying firms lost revenue.


There was one major exception. The Podesta Group saw a 40 percent rise in its revenue, to $16 million from $11.4 million.


Throughout the election campaign, lobbyists were for Barack Obama what "economic royalists" and "malefactors of great wealth" had been for FDR.


Lobbyists, to hear Mr. Obama tell it on the stump, were responsible for all such evil in the world that couldn't be attributed to George W. Bush. He pledged there would be no lobbyists in his administration. The day after his inauguration, President Obama signed an executive order which, among other things, said that any lobbyist appointed to a post in his administration could not oversee policy areas in which he had lobbied.


All of Barack Obama's promises come with an expiration date, as Jim Geraghty of National Review Online never tires of reminding us. But rarely has the half life of an Obama pledge been so short.


No sooner had President Obama issued his new rules on lobbyists than he granted a waiver to William Lynn, his nominee for Deputy Secretary of Defense, who had been a lobbyist for Raytheon, a major defense contractor.


"While I applaud the president's decision to implement new, more stringent ethical rules, I had hoped he would not find it necessary to waive them so soon," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz). Among others with questions about the nomination were Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo), who said Mr. Lynn represents a "strong example" of "the industry-government executive revolving door phenomenon."


White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the waiver was granted because Mr. Lynn, who served in several posts in the Defense Department during the Clinton administration, was so highly qualified.


I have no objection to the waiver, because I think the rule that was waived is silly. Congress is for sale, but lobbyists are a symptom of that problem, not its cause. Whether or not a lobbyist is a good appointment depends on his or her intelligence and character, and to some degree on what he or she was lobbying for. I'm all for prohibiting senior government officials from taking lobbying jobs for a period of years after their service, because too many have tilted policy to benefit future employers. But to deny a former lobbyist the ability to work in the area of his or her expertise is just plain stupid.


Still, there is something unseemly about issuing a rule, and then immediately exempting yourself from it. Like the nomination of Timothy Geithner for Treasury secretary despite his failure to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for four years, it gives the impression the rules are only for suckers. There is no faster way to undermine respect for the rule of law.


Mr. Obama has a tendency to make sweeping statements for appearances' sake, and then to back away if implementing them is inconvenient. "President-elect Obama has pledged to change the way Washington works and curb the influence of lobbyists," said the co-chairman of his transition team, John Podesta, in announcing what he said were "the strictest and most far reaching ethics rules of any transition team in history." But the sudden prosperity of the Podesta Group (headed by John's brother Tony) suggests lobbyists will be more influential, not less, during the Obama years.


A proof of this is the stimulus bill, which is stuffed with special interest projects despite Mr. Obama's pledge to have no "earmarks" in it. They're just called something else.


I haven't minded most of the president's trimming of his promises, because he's been backing away from positions I consider foolish. But it must trouble some of his supporters that his word has the value of a Confederate dollar.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2008, Jack Kelly

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