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Hullabaloo


Saturday, January 31, 2015

 
I've got some moral clarity for yah ...

by digby

Again, I'm sure Americans don't care about this and neither do the Europeans. But for all out love of "sending messages" the one place we seem to believe that nobody will notice hypocrisy and corruption is the Middle East. Where we are allegedly fighting a war for Western Civilization and Enlightenment values.
For ex-congressman and GOP strategist Vin Weber, Christmas came a few days early and from an unlikely source: the Qatari government. In December, three days before the holiday, the former Minnesota lawmaker and his lobbying firm, Mercury LLC, signed a lucrative lobbying contract with the Gulf State,receiving a $465,000 advance for the first few months of work.

Weber isn't alone. Over the past year and a half, regimes throughout the Middle East, from Turkey to the United Arab Emirates, have gone on what appears to be a shopping spree for former members of Congress. Compared to the rest of the world, Middle East governments have accounted for more than fifty percent of the latest revolving door hires for former lawmakers during this time period, according to a review of disclosures by VICE.

It's not out of the ordinary for special interest groups to enlist retired lawmakers-turned-lobbyists to peddle influence in the U.S. Capitol. What's unique here is that most special interests aren't countries home to investors accused of providing support to anti-American militants in Syria or engaged in multi-billion dollar arms deals that require American military approval, as is the case with Qatar and some of its regional neighbors.

What's also striking about the latest surge in foreign lobbying is that many of these former lawmakers maintain influence that extends well beyond the halls of Congress. Former Michigan Representative Pete Hoekstra, who used to chair the House Intelligence Committee, appears regularly in the media to demand that the US increase its arms assistance to the Kurds in northern Iraq. Writing for the conservative news outlet National Review, Hoekstra argued that, "the United States needs to immediately provide [the Peshmerga] with more than light arms and artillery to tip the scales in their favor and overcome the firepower of the Islamists." In that instance and in others, Hoekstra has often not disclosed that since August 12th, he has worked as a paid representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government, which relies on the beleaguered Peshmerga militia for safety against ISIS.
Lee Fang has more at the link. I just don't know what to say to this. It so obviously distorts the concept of "national interest" that it's hard for me to even define what the national interest might be when people like this are in charge of protecting it.

Meanwhile, I'm a big fool for worrying about the US Government's secret programs. Because it's obviously all on the up and up. In fact, I'm exactly the same as an anti-vaccine activist. Or so I've been told.

.