Two of Barack Obama's most embarrassing advisers have recently slipped from the scene. Is this a coincidence, or damage control?
One is Cass Sunstein, Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, about whom we wrote a while back. We noted that he was the lead person in what appears to be Obama Administration acquiescence with CIA foot-dragging on releasing records related to the JFK assassination. Given that those files are now almost half a century old, the unwillingness to make it a priority to release them, instead of constantly claiming that "national security" justifies withholding them further, only casts further doubts on the government's claim that Kennedy's death was about nothing more than a crazed loner.
Sunstein was also notable for a paper he authored that recommended the government use agents for "cognitive infiltration" of Internet chats as a way of diverting conversations from claims of conspiracy.
Sunstein was also involved in reducing regulation, including allowing corporations to kill food safety legislation, via so-called "government transparency and simplicity" initiatives. Meanwhile, notwithstanding Sunstein's efforts, GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney has criticized Obama for too much regulation.
Now, suddenly, Sunstein is gone. In typical New York Times fashion, the paper in early August told a very selective story about his departure -- and made zero mention either of the "cognitive infiltration" proposal or the JFK records.
"Mr. Sunstein, 57, who projected an air of disheveled academic detachment while becoming one of the Obama administration's most provocative figures, announced Friday that he was leaving government to return to Harvard Law School.
"The White House offered no explanation for the timing of Mr. Sunstein's departure. He declined to comment for this article."
There's a reasonable likelihood Sunstein actually left because he was a problem for the Obama Administration in trying to rally its base before November. Few other high-ranking officials have come in for anywhere near the criticism Sunstein has faced. This way, if anyone should bring up the Sunstein problem, they will be told that it's old hat.
Handy Tax Evasion Tricks
The other figure of interest who is gone is Robert Wolf, the investment banking CEO who was one of Obama's biggest fundraisers and closest buddies, even joining him for golfing foursomes during the president's vacation. Wolf was also named by the president to his White House Economic Advisory Board. He may or may not be gone from Obama's circle, but he is gone from another potential problem for Obama: he has left UBS Bank to start his own investment firm (although he will, we are told, remain a "senior advisor" to UBS).
Here are some of the tricks UBS used to hide assets of extremely rich Americans from the IRS (and may have cost US coffers $100 billion), as described by an angry Sen. Carl Levin:
Tax Haven Bank Secrecy Tricks
-- Code Names for Clients
-- Pay Phones, not Business Phones