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As I reported here yesterday, David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s former campaign manager, jetted off to Azerbaijan to give a speech at a university. Plouffe claimed he went to the country simply to talk about democracy — though his trip was sponsored by a bogus front group tied to the country’s ruling despot and his speech to fifty people at a university in Baku was closed to the press. “Journalists were told to leave the auditorium at Gerb (Western) University before Plouffe gave a speech on the 2008 U.S. presidential election and ‘the power of democracy’,” radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported today.
Incidentally, Plouffe’s appearance in Azerbaijan looks to be his debut on the public speaking circuit. Check out his new listing at the Washington Speakers Bureau:
After winning the election on November 4, 2008, President Obama called his campaign manager, David Plouffe, “the unsung hero” who built the best political campaign in the history of the United States. Plouffe is widely credited with masterminding the winning strategy and building a team that delivered unprecedented results. With humor, passion and intelligence, Plouffe shares:
The inside story about how Obama was elected president.
How success hinged on a fundamental belief in the candidate and the strategy.
A look ahead to the administration’s next steps and the movement the campaign created.
Update from the Wall Street Journal:
President Barack Obama’s former campaign manager intends to give away the fee he received from a paid private speech he made Monday in the oil-rich but authoritarian nation of Azerbaijan.
The speech was arranged by lobbyists working with a group that has ties to the Azerbaijan government, according to people familiar with the matter. But a close associate of David Plouffe said he only learned of their involvement after he had already embarked for the Caspian Sea nation.
Mr. Plouffe now intends to donate his speaking fee, which the associate said is in the range of $50,000, to groups that advocate democratization in the turbulent post-Soviet states of the region around the Caspian and Caucasus mountain range. Mr. Plouffe also plans to share the contents of the speech with opposition groups.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”