Samizdat
Friday, November 04, 2005
  Crony, Phony - It's All Bologna

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"The success of the Bush-Cheney administration will depend on the quality appointees we choose to join us to lead this nation in the years ahead. I will look for people who are willing to work hard to do what is best for America, who examine the facts and do what is right whether or not it is popular."
- President George W. Bush,
http://www.whitehouse.gov/appointments/

cro·ny: a political hanger-on
pho·ny: not genuine or real
bologna: soon to be the only meat Americans can afford.
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Michael Brown - CRONY
Position (still?) held: Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
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Responsibilities: In charge of a coordinated approach to national security from emergencies and disasters - both natural and man-made. Oversees 2,500 full-time employees in the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate and is responsible for preparing for, preventing, responding to and recovering from disasters.
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Resume: College friend of previous FEMA director. Michael Brown had no disaster-related experience prior to joining FEMA. His most recent job prior to joining FEMA was as the Commissioner of Judges and Stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association, a breeders' and horse-show organization. Although his responsibilities as FEMA director have now been suspended due to serious public discontent in his handling of Hurricane Katrina, he is still on the payroll in an unknown capacity.
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Julie Myers - CRONY
Position nominated for: Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE)
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Responsibilities: In charge of the second largest investigative agency in the Federal Government with over 20,000 employees, including 6,000 investigators, and an annual budget of more than $4 billion. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is comprised of five integrated divisions that form a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities, including preventing terrorists from entering the country.
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Resume: Currently a special assistant handling personnel issues for President Bush. Recently married to John Wood, Chief of Staff to Michael Chertoff, Director of Homeland Security. Niece of General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Worked briefly for Chertoff in the criminal division of the Justice Department and former Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement at the Commerce Department, supervising a $25 million budget. Republican Senator George Voinovich told Ms. Myers at her nomination hearing: "I'd really like to have [DHS Secretary Mike Chertoff] spend some time with us, telling us personally why he thinks you're qualified for the job. Because based on your resume, I don't think you are."
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David Safavian - CRONY
Position held: Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OMB)
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Responsibilities: In charge of a $300 billion budget and ensuring fair competition for federal contracts. Sets the procurement policies for the Office of Management and Budget, including funds for Hurricane Katrina efforts.
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Resume: Currently out on bail after being arrested and charged with obstructing the criminal investigation into indicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Married to Jennifer Safavian, chief counsel for oversight and investigations to Rep. Tom Davis, Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee which among other things, oversees federal contracting for Katrina relief. David Safavian's previous experience included lobbying partnerships with Grover Norquist and Jack Abramoff.
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James Fuller - CRONY
Position:Chief of Staff for the Transit Security Administration (GSA)
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Responsibilities:Top staffer in the TSA whose mission is to protect the nation's transportation systems. The agency was created in direct response to 9/11 so as to close security gaps in our air travel system.
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Resume: Only professional experience is as a campaign manager, including those of Senator Domenici's (R-NM) 2002 re-election efforts, Bush-Cheney 2000 in New Mexico, and Rep. Heather Wilson’s (R-NM) 1997 special election. Mr. Fuller also served as Chief of Staff for the Republican Senate Caucus at the New Mexico State Legislature during two legislative sessions (1999-2000).
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Jeffrey Holmstead - PHONY
Position: Assistant Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Air and Radiation
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Responsibilities: Leads the Air and Radiation division of the EPA whose main mission is to protect human health and the environment. The Air and Radiation division is responsible for monitoring, studying, and preventing ozone depletion, acid rain, pollution, radiation and climate change.
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Resume: Formerly a lawyer at the law firm Latham & Watkins where he represented a conglomerate of coal, energy, and utility companies in their fight against EPA air pollution standards. Since he joined the Administration, Holmstead has been the Administration’s chief proponent of the “Clear Skies” initiative, which allows for weaker standards for mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide emissions from power plants. Not only has Holmstead been accused of lying to Congress over the impact of some of the Administration’s rules to implement the initiative, but a report by the Washington Post found that EPA’s new mercury emissions proposals were nearly identical to a memo circulated earlier by lawyers at Latham & Walkins – Holmstead’s former employer.
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Daniel Troy - PHONY
Position held: Chief counsel of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
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Responsibilities: Led the legal team of the FDA to ensure that the public is protected from unsafe food, drugs and other medical products. The FDA regulates products that account for close to one quarter of every dollar spent by consumers in the United States.
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Resume: Formerly a lawyer who made a name for himself by going after the FDA’s right to regulate industry. Troy successfully defended the tobacco industries’ suit against the FDA’s efforts to regulate tobacco advertising while working for Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corp. Troy had another controversial victory when he won his fight with the FDA to allow drug companies to provide doctors with information on “off-label” uses of their drugs. US News & World Report found that Troy held dozens of private meetings with drug manufacturers after he joined the Administration, and that he had kept no minutes or notes of the meetings, despite FDA policy to do otherwise. Troy’s bias became clear over the FDA’s stalled investigation of Ephedra, a dietary supplement that has been linked to at least 100 deaths. Troy also took the side of the citrus juice industry over consumers on new rules to rid fruit juice of contaminants like E. coli. Troy also sided with lobbyists from Fashion Wear Services, a company that makes decorative contact lenses, allowing the lenses to be regulated as cosmetics instead of medical devices. After a 15-year-old girl was almost blinded in one eye from inserting a tinted lens with no professional instruction, the FDA reversed course and banned the import of the lenses citing public health concerns. There was also a falloff in overall FDA enforcement actions against drug companies under Troy’s tenure, specifically for false advertising claims. Between January 1999 and December 2001, the FDA averaged roughly 90 enforcement letters a year to drug companies for misleading advertising. That number dropped to 30 under Troy, following a change in FDA policy requiring all enforcement letters be approved by his office.
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Ann-Marie Lynch - PHONY
Position held: Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Policy, Health and Human Services (HHS)
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Responsibilities: Provides analysis and advice to the President on key consumer issues, including prescription-drug policies. HHS is the lead agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.
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Resume: Prior to her HHS job, Lynch worked as a lobbyist for Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a drug-company trade group. As a lobbyist, she fought against congressional calls for price controls of prescription drugs. As Deputy Assistant she blocked the release of at least a dozen research reports, including ones that challenged drug company claims that price capping resulted in a lack of medical innovation and another that showed Bush's Medicare drug plan would not serve rural areas. As Congress considered the Medicare drug bill, this report was used as an argument for banning the government from negotiating drug prices. As our seniors are often forced to choose between food and medicine, Lynch is in a position to decide who profits, drug companies or Americans.
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Charles Lambert - PHONY
Position: Deputy Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
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Responsibilities: Oversees policy development and the day-to-day operations of the three agencies that comprise the Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP) and its $800 million budget. MRP's mission is to safeguard our animals and crops from pests and diseases, monitor the agricultural marketing system, ensure fair trade practices, and assure value and quality in agricultural products. Includes determining the safety and labeling of all food products grown and sold in the US.
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Resume:Before Lambert joined the USDA, he worked for 15 years at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the lobbying group for the cattle industry. At the USDA, his main public safety duty is to regulate the meat packing industry. Before the discovery of mad cow disease in the United States, Lambert testified in a congressional hearing that mad cow disease wasn't a threat. In fact, he agreed to bet his life and his job on it. He also fought hard for a provision in the 2004 Omnibus appropriations bill to delay for two years a requirement that supermarket meat and produce carry labels identifying them by country of origin. When mad cow disease was discovered in the US six months later, it was this very lack of labeling that made it so difficult to determine from which country the diseased meat had originated.
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Scott Gottlieb - PHONY
Position: Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
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Responsibilities: Coordinates medical and scientific affairs for Lester Crawford, Commissioner of the FDA. Serves as senior policy advisor to Mr. Crawford, developing agency policy which directs and coordinates the agency’s rulemaking activities and regulations.
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Resume: Before his FDA appointment, Gottlieb's was the editor of a Wall Street newsletter analyzing medical technology stocks. His connections to the pharmaceutical industry were so extensive, that he had to recuse himself for a year from any deliberations on the nine companies regulated by the FDA. These companies include Eli Lilly, Roche and Proctor & Gamble. Despite telling TIME magazine that he would not interfere with the scientific or medical experience of the FDA, he has already questioned FDA decisions to stop a drug trial on MS and the non-approval of a Pfizer drug for osteoporosis, which has a large impact on the stock value of the pharmaceutical companies.
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Timothy Flanigan - CRONY
Position nominated for: Deputy Attorney General (DOJ)
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Responsibilities: The Deputy Attorney General advises and assists Alberto Gonzalez, Attorney General, in formulating and implementing departmental policies and programs and in providing overall supervision and direction to all US Attorneys. Second in command at the DOJ, the chief law enforcement office of the Federal Government, oversees legal matters and gives advice and opinions to the President and to the heads of the executive departments.
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Resume: Flanigan has already had experience advising and assisting Alberto Gonzalez. He worked as a legal advisor in the Bush Administration under Alberto Gonzalez and has been reported to have been involved in meetings discussing the controversial detainee interrogation and torture techniques. He was also part of the legal team arguing on behalf of Bush for Florida's electoral votes in the Presidential election of 2000. Flanigan is currently the Senior Vice President and general counsel of Tyco International. At Tyco, he oversaw the work of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff to block the Corporate Patriot Enforcement Act and similar bills designed to penalize American firms that incorporated outside the US to avoid taxes.
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To learn about Democratic efforts to oppose these types of appointments, including the Anti-Cronyism and Public Safety Act Click here.
 
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Samizdat: an underground system for the circulation of forbidden works of literature and political criticism in the Soviet era of Russia.

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Location: Arkansas, United States

Angry, angry, angry ... but still, any day above ground is a good day.