- The Washington Times - Monday, November 17, 2003

Genuine K Street

Rumors on K Street are that Congress could work until Christmas to finalize crucial tax legislation — from a comprehensive energy bill with $20 billion in tax cuts to charitable- giving bills.

“Which means Washington tax lobbyists have been incredibly busy — so busy, in fact, that you may not know who these mighty marauders are,” writes Kenneth A. Gary in Tax Analysts, publisher of Tax Notes.

Wait a minute, we thought the lobbyists were stars of the new show “K Street” on HBO.

Hollywood’s take on K Street “infiltrates, glamorizes and reconstructs behind-the-scenes lobbying in Washington,” says Mr. Gary, although he admits executive producer George Clooney has finally made it cool to care about tax lobbyists.

So much so that Tax Analysts, polling Congress, lobbyists, and other Washington political insiders, identifies the big names in tax lobbying (James Carville and Mary Matalin don’t make the cut). The real Top 10:

1. Nick Giordano, Washington Council Ernst & Young.

2. Kenneth J. Kies, Clark Consulting Federal Policy Group.

3. Jonathan Talisman, Capitol Tax Partners.

4. Lindsay Hooper, Capitol Tax Partners.

5. Robert Glennon, Williams & Jensen.

6. Steve Glaze, Palmetto Group.

7. Anne Urban, Venn Strategies.

8. Sandra Swirski, Venn Strategies.

9. Lindy Paull, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

10. Donald C. Alexander, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Cold to hot

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Howard Baker didn’t have a quiet 78th birthday after all.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and a large entourage of Pentagon aides and reporters popped in on the ambassador in Tokyo over the weekend to sing “Happy Birthday” and eat cake.

Mr. Baker, once chief of staff to President Reagan, recalled this year that “the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 seemed to signal a new era of peace and prosperity.”

“Unfortunately,” he says, today’s terrorism threat “is in many ways more serious than the threats we faced during the Cold War.”

Are we ready?

Six-term Florida Rep. Corrine Brown doesn’t like what she doesn’t see along U.S. coastlines.

A former ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Coast Guard and maritime transportation subcommittee, the Democrat notes that since September 11 Uncle Sam’s coast-guarding “Sting Ray” helicopters have been pressed into the anti-terrorist mission, defending waterways from waterborne terrorist attack and providing protection for presidential visits.

But two years and running after September 11, she reveals, “there are only eight armed Homeland Security helicopters authorized for airborne use of force over our tens of thousands of miles of ports and waterways, which are dotted with strategic facilities, such as nuclear plants.”

She warns that the United States any day now could be confronted by suicide terrorists heading full bore into a critical bridge or container ship.

Stay home

The U.S. national security strategy implemented by President Bush in 2002 — in part, creating a safer “world” — is undermining U.S. security and breeding vehement anti-American sentiment that could spark more terrorist attacks.

So argues Cato Institute defense expert Charles V. Pena, who says that rather than meddling in other countries, the United States would do better focusing on protecting the homeland against future terrorist attacks.

“U.S. national security strategy should not aim to make the world a better place,” he says. “Instead, it should be focused more narrowly on protecting the United States itself — the country, the population and the liberties that underlie the American way of life.”

Expose the good

We’re intrigued by the “Affirmative Action: End It — Don’t Mend It” chapter of Star Parker’s new WND book, “Uncle Sam’s Plantation.”

Harry Belafonte called the Colin Powells of the world “house slaves” because they do not believe advancements in life result from ethnicity, writes the black president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education.

“This is typical liberal arrogance,” she says, “disparaging people for the unpardonable sin of disagreeing with them. No, the Powells, Clarence Thomases, Alan Keyeses, and Condi Rices of the world understand that some people, both black and white, simply strive to be good people and morally sensitive to all.”

The author argues that the abolishment of affirmative-action programs would help reveal whether any “good people” work in the admissions departments of America’s colleges and in the hiring departments of major corporations and businesses.

• John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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