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Insider Report: Warren Buffett Fund-Raises for Schwarzenegger

Sunday, 17 September 2006 12:00 AM

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Warren Buffett Fund-Raises for Schwarzenegger
2. Diplomats Skeptical About Damascus Embassy Attack
3. Schwarzenegger Opponent's Top Aide Worked for Tom Hayden
4. Inside Source: U.N. Protest of U.S. Report on Iran ‘Distorted'
5. NewsMax Magazine Expands Distribution
6. Google Boosts GOP Ties


1. Warren Buffett Fund-Raises for Schwarzenegger

Investment guru Warren Buffett will be the special guest at two Southern California events to raise funds for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's re-election campaign.

Both functions are scheduled for Sept. 25, beginning with a lunch in Los Angeles at the home of a Schwarzenegger supporter. On hand will be Charlie Munger, Buffett's longtime right hand man and vice-chairman of his investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway.

Later that day, Buffett will appear at a dinner at the home of a supporter in Laguna Beach, where the billionaire has a home.

Guests at each event will fork over $25,000 per couple, and the "chair" will pay $100,000, according to the invitations sent to prospective guests.

Buffett's support of Schwarzenegger has surprised some. While Munger is a Republican, Buffett has more often contributed to liberal Democrats — he actively backed Hillary Clinton's campaign for the Senate, for example.

But Buffett and Republican Arnold have had ties for some time. During Schwarzenegger's 2003 campaign for governor, he announced that Buffett would be his senior financial and economic adviser.

The move riled many conservatives, especially after Buffett suggested that California property taxes were too low.

After Schwarzenegger took office, he dismissed Buffett's suggestions.

Before the two events, Buffett is visiting Israel for the first time, along with Munger, to tour the Iscar manufacturing company's plant. Buffett's company acquired 80 percent of the firm for $4 billion.

Later on he planned to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Finance Minister Abraham Hirschson.

2. Diplomats Skeptical About Damascus Embassy Attack

Diplomats at United Nations headquarters in New York are privately expressing skepticism about the Sept. 12 attack on the U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria.

According to NewsMax's U.N. correspondent Stewart Stogel, some diplomats are wondering whether the Syrian government had advance knowledge of the terrorist attack, but did nothing to thwart it until the last moment, hoping to gain some influence in Washington.

The attack left one Syrian security guard and three attackers dead and one attacker wounded in front of the embassy in what had been considered a highly secure area of the capital city.

It is common knowledge within diplomatic circles that the Syrian leadership makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for any "independent" terrorist cell to operate within its own borders, let alone wage an attack in downtown Damascus, Stogel reports.

While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued a tempered "thank you" for the efforts of the Syrian government, NewsMax has learned that the Syrians did not agree to a Central Intelligence Agency request to interview the captured attacker.

Syrian officials later said the captured attacker had died before he could be interrogated.

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3. Schwarzenegger Opponent's Top Aide Worked for Tom Hayden

Cathy Calfo is the campaign manager for Phil Angelides, Arnold Schwarzenegger's Democratic opponent in the race for governor in California.

She was recently in the news after two of her campaign staffers leaked a recording of a meeting at which Schwarzenegger described a Hispanic legislator as having a "very hot" personality.

Now NewsMax has learned that Calfo cut her political teeth working for the campaign of one of America's most left-wing politicians — "Mr. Jane Fonda," Tom Hayden.

After entering college in California, Calfo went to work for anti-Vietnam War protester Hayden's candidacy for the Senate in 1976 — four years after he and Fonda paid a controversial visit to North Vietnam and Cambodia while the war was ongoing.

She also helped the campaign of Santa Cruz County Supervisor Gary Patton, whom the Sacramento Bee called "a left-leaning environmentalist."

Calfo rejoined Hayden in 1987 as executive director of his Campaign California organization, and she ran Angelides' campaigns for treasurer in 1994, 1998, and 2004.

According to the Bee, Calfo's "philosophy of grass-roots campaigning" was "learned under activists like Tom Hayden and honed in the liberal political caldron of Santa Cruz."

After news broke about the leaking of the Schwarzenegger recording, Calfo said the Angelides campaign had done nothing wrong because the file was available on the governor's Web site.

However, as NewsMax reported, a Schwarzenegger spokesman said the file was "in a private area of the governor's server not accessible to the public without manipulation of information."

Calfo claimed two campaign staffers had passed the clip to the Los Angeles Times without her knowledge.

4. Inside Source: U.N. Protest of U.S. Report on Iran ‘Distorted'

A protest from U.N. inspectors over a congressional report on Iran's nuclear efforts — and a news account of the protest — contained serious distortions that tended to vilify the U.S., an inside source told NewsMax.

As NewsMax reported earlier, a senior aide to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei said an Aug. 23 report by the House's Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence contained "outrageous and dishonest" assertions that were seen as exaggerating the nuclear threat from Iran.

After The Washington Post published an article about the U.N. inspectors' dispute with the House panel, the inside source — with intimate knowledge of the panel's report — pointed to several distortions in the Post story and the IAEA's protest.

A letter sent to Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., from the IAEA, claimed that the committee's report on Iran contained major errors. For one, it said the committee's contention that Iran is enriching uranium at its plant in Natanz to weapons grade is incorrect because Iran has achieved a 3.6 percent enrichment level, not weapons grade (90 percent) at this facility.

But the source told NewsMax that the committee's report "states in three places that Iran is working to master centrifuge technology but is not there yet. Iran is working to enrich uranium to weapons grade at this facility, which is why it is facing the prospect of U.N. sanctions."

The IAEA letter also takes issue with the statement in the committee's report that "Iran had covertly produced the short-lived radioactive element polonium-210," an intensely radioactive substance used in nuclear weapons.

The IAEA said the phrase "covertly produced" was misleading because Iran is not required by treaty to declare this activity.

Said the source: "If the production of this weapon-related material was not of interest to the IAEA, the IAEA would not have been investigating it. The IAEA's own reports indicate that Iran gave answers on why it produced this substance that the IAEA found hard to believe," and this was cited in the committee's report.

As the Post story by Dafna Linzer disclosed, the IAEA took exception to the claim in the committee's report that the director general of the IAEA decided to remove a senior inspector from the Iran investigation because he raised "concerns about Iranian deception regarding its nuclear program."

Linzer stated: "The agency said the inspector has not been removed."

The source countered: "This is extremely poor journalism. Linzer has a copy of the IAEA letter which states that the inspector was ‘withdrawn' as an Iran inspector at the request of Iran."

The source also took exception to a statement in the Post article that the committee report was "written by a single Republican staffer with a hard-line position on Iran."

Said the source: "The report has three authors — one Democratic, two Republican."

The IAEA has been inspecting Iran's nuclear program since 2003. Diplomats say Washington has long perceived ElBaradei as "soft" on Iran.

5. NewsMax Magazine Expands Distribution

NewsMax Magazine is expanding its newsstand distribution and is now on sale at 250 Publix supermarkets in the Southeast.

Stores in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina are carrying the award-winning publication in display racks at every other checkout counter. Beginning in December, they will be available at every Publix checkout.

And beginning in November, NewsMax Magazine will be sold at 175 Meijer supermarkets in the Midwest.

NewsMax Magazine won a Silver Eddie award in the News/Commentary category of the 2005 Eddies, Folio magazine's prestigious journalism awards.

6. Google Boosts GOP Ties

Google is gearing up to become a major contributor to the Republican Party by hiring an adviser with ties to the Bush administration.

The deep-pocketed search engine giant's political action committee, Google NetPAC, has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and retained lawyer Ben Ginsberg, counsel to the Bush-Cheney campaigns in 2000 and 2004.

Ginsberg is serving as an outside adviser to Google's PAC, ensuring that it adheres to campaign finance laws.

The Washington, D.C.-based publication Roll Call reports: "Advisers to the company say the PAC will likely become the key to funneling money to GOP lawmakers, given the Democratic leanings of its donor-employees."


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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Warren Buffett Fund-Raises for Schwarzenegger 2. Diplomats Skeptical About Damascus Embassy Attack 3. Schwarzenegger Opponent's Top Aide Worked for Tom Hayden 4. Inside Source: U.N. Protest of U.S. Report on Iran...
Sunday, 17 September 2006 12:00 AM
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