Friday, December 30, 2011

Japan scientist synthesizes first TURD burger

Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world

AS PROTESTS against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters' worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.
The study's assumptions have attracted some criticism, but complex systems analysts contacted by New Scientist say it is a unique effort to untangle control in the global economy. Pushing the analysis further, they say, could help to identify ways of making global capitalism more stable.
The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York's Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere (see photo). But the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world's transnational corporations (TNCs).
"Reality is so complex, we must move away from dogma, whether it's conspiracy theories or free-market," says James Glattfelder. "Our analysis is reality-based."
Previous studies have found that a few TNCs own large chunks of the world's economy, but they included only a limited number of companies and omitted indirect ownerships, so could not say how this affected the global economy - whether it made it more or less stable, for instance.
The Zurich team can. From Orbis 2007, a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide, they pulled out all 43,060 TNCs and the share ownerships linking them. Then they constructed a model of which companies controlled others through shareholding networks, coupled with each company's operating revenues, to map the structure of economic power.
The work, to be published in PLoS One, revealed a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships (see image). Each of the 1318 had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were connected to 20. What's more, although they represented 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own through their shares the majority of the world's large blue chip and manufacturing firms - the "real" economy - representing a further 60 per cent of global revenues.
When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a "super-entity" of 147 even more tightly knit companies - all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity - that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. "In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network," says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.
John Driffill of the University of London, a macroeconomics expert, says the value of the analysis is not just to see if a small number of people controls the global economy, but rather its insights into economic stability.
Concentration of power is not good or bad in itself, says the Zurich team, but the core's tight interconnections could be. As the world learned in 2008, such networks are unstable. "If one [company] suffers distress," says Glattfelder, "this propagates."
"It's disconcerting to see how connected things really are," agrees George Sugihara of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, a complex systems expert who has advised Deutsche Bank.
Yaneer Bar-Yam, head of the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI), warns that the analysis assumes ownership equates to control, which is not always true. Most company shares are held by fund managers who may or may not control what the companies they part-own actually do. The impact of this on the system's behaviour, he says, requires more analysis.
Crucially, by identifying the architecture of global economic power, the analysis could help make it more stable. By finding the vulnerable aspects of the system, economists can suggest measures to prevent future collapses spreading through the entire economy. Glattfelder says we may need global anti-trust rules, which now exist only at national level, to limit over-connection among TNCs. Sugihara says the analysis suggests one possible solution: firms should be taxed for excess interconnectivity to discourage this risk.
One thing won't chime with some of the protesters' claims: the super-entity is unlikely to be the intentional result of a conspiracy to rule the world. "Such structures are common in nature," says Sugihara.
Newcomers to any network connect preferentially to highly connected members. TNCs buy shares in each other for business reasons, not for world domination. If connectedness clusters, so does wealth, says Dan Braha of NECSI: in similar models, money flows towards the most highly connected members. The Zurich study, says Sugihara, "is strong evidence that simple rules governing TNCs give rise spontaneously to highly connected groups". Or as Braha puts it: "The Occupy Wall Street claim that 1 per cent of people have most of the wealth reflects a logical phase of the self-organising economy."
So, the super-entity may not result from conspiracy. The real question, says the Zurich team, is whether it can exert concerted political power. Driffill feels 147 is too many to sustain collusion. Braha suspects they will compete in the market but act together on common interests. Resisting changes to the network structure may be one such common interest.

The top 50 of the 147 superconnected companies

1. Barclays plc
2. Capital Group Companies Inc
3. FMR Corporation
4. AXA
5. State Street Corporation
6. JP Morgan Chase & Co 
7. Legal & General Group plc 
8. Vanguard Group Inc
10. Merrill Lynch & Co Inc 
11. Wellington Management Co LLP
12. Deutsche Bank AG
13. Franklin Resources Inc
14. Credit Suisse Group
15. Walton Enterprises LLC
16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp
17. Natixis
18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc
19. T Rowe Price Group Inc
20. Legg Mason Inc
21. Morgan Stanley
22. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc
23. Northern Trust Corporation
24. Société Générale
25. Bank of America Corporation
26. Lloyds TSB Group plc 
27. Invesco plc
28. Allianz SE 29. TIAA 
30. Old Mutual Public Limited Company
31. Aviva plc 
32. Schroders plc
33. Dodge & Cox
34. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc*
35. Sun Life Financial Inc
36. Standard Life plc
37. CNCE
38. Nomura Holdings Inc
39. The Depository Trust Company 
40. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance 
41. ING Groep NV 
42. Brandes Investment Partners LP 
43. Unicredito Italiano SPA 
44. Deposit Insurance Corporation of Japan 
45. Vereniging Aegon 
46. BNP Paribas 
47. Affiliated Managers Group Inc 
48. Resona Holdings Inc 
49. Capital Group International Inc 
50. China Petrochemical Group Company
* Lehman still existed in the 2007 dataset used

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Vitamin D’s Crucial Role in Cardiovascular Protection

By William Davis, MD                LE Magazine September 2007

Cholesterol is Not Everything

Judging from the constant onslaught of drug company advertising, you’d think that a cure for coronary heart disease has been discovered, and that the cure is cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Existing data show that this is clearly not the case. Risk for heart attack is certainly reduced, usually by about 25–30%, but not eliminated. Thus, statin drugs could only prevent about one in every three heart attacks.39

This is because there are many other causes for heart disease beyond LDL: low HDL, increased triglycerides, diabetes, inflammation, and hidden causes of heart disease like lipoprotein(a). But how about vitamin D? The scientific information so far is hugely promising.

“I foresee an increasing number of studies linking vitamin D deficiency to most of the diseases of modern civilization. Furthermore, I foresee a backlash by many in organized medicine who simply cannot accept the possibility that such a simple and cheap compound can have such health benefits. I foresee lawsuits against practicing physicians who don’t accept the importance of vitamin D. For example, researchers at Harvard just announced that the five year survival for patients with early stage, non-small cell carcinoma of the lung was almost three times better in those with evidence of the highest vitamin D levels compared to those with the lowest. Five-year survival for those with the highest levels approached 80%! I predict similar claims will be filed against cardiologists for letting heart disease patients die vitamin D-deficient as the evidence mounts that vitamin D prevents and treats heart disease.”

—Dr. John Cannell The Vitamin D Council

Optimizing Vitamin D Levels

Given the vast benefits of vitamin D for cardiovascular and whole-body health, ensuring optimal vitamin D status is an essential part of every wellness program. The best way to know your vitamin D status is to have your doctor measure the blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (not to be confused with 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D). The minimum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D required for health is controversial, and can also vary by the method used for measurement. However, most authorities have argued that a rock-bottom minimum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 30 ng/mL, or 75 nmol/L, is the point at which phenomena associated with deficiency begin to be corrected.40 Noted vitamin D authority Dr. Reinhold Vieth of the University of Toronto has argued that a blood level of 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L) should be achieved.7 Dr. Michael Holick of the University of Boston proposes that serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D is in the range of 30-50 ng/mL (75-125 nmol/L).34Another study showed that elderly men and women were at an increased risk of bone loss when their levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D fell below 45 ng/mL (110 nmol/L), suggesting that maintaining 25-hydroxyvitamin D above 45 ng/mL may be crucial for all aging adults.41 If vitamin D levels are low, consider supplementation to help reverse a vitamin D deficiency. Re-checking your vitamin D status after several months of supplementation is prudent to ensure that a deficiency has been averted.

New studies are showing that the dose required to achieve a healthy blood level of vitamin D is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000–4,000 IU per day in the absence of sun exposure.42 That’s more than five times the Institute of Medicine’s recommended adequate intake, though still less than obtained through several minutes of midday sun exposure. Vitamin D toxicity does not usually develop unless vitamin D intake exceeds 10,000 units per day or blood levels exceed 80 ng/mL (200 nmol/L).1,7 In fact, some scientists believe that the tolerable upper intake level of vitamin D intake should be revised from 2,000 IU/day to 10,000 IU/day.43


While the scientific community is still debating whether vitamin D can help reverse coronary disease, my clinical experience indicates that vitamin D is a crucial part of a coronary plaque reversal program.
My clinic’s program of reversing heart disease involves a multi-faceted approach. First, we document the quantity of coronary atherosclerotic plaque through a CT heart scan. Then, we achieve the following goals:
  • Low density lipoprotein (LDL): 60 mg/dL or less (but not less than 40 mg/dL)
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL): 60 mg/dL or greater
  • Triglycerides: 60 mg/dL or less Normal blood pressure: (<130/80 mmHg)
  • Normal blood sugar: (<100 mg/dL)
My clinic also advises that patients consume fish oil at a minimum dose of 4000 mg/day (containing 1200 mg of eicosapentenic acid and docosahexaenoic acid), along with L-arginine (3000–6000 mg twice per day) to support endothelial health.

Lastly, we raise blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 50 ng/mL (125 nmol/L) using vitamin D supplementation. Most people (in the northern Midwest) require 2000–4000 IU per day in winter, and half that dose in summer. Some require as much as 8000 IU per day, while a rare person requires only 1000 IU per day. Using this approach, we now have an impressive track record of reducing CT heart scan scores. Reductions of 20-30% in the first year are not uncommon.

If you live in the northern US (states like Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, the Dakotas, etc.), Canada, or northern Europe, there’s a high likelihood that you’re deficient. If you’re like most Americans, you get sun sporadically during summer weekends, and virtually none from September to April. Dark-skinned individuals are at even greater risk of vitamin D deficiency, since melanin pigment in skin acts as a natural sunscreen. Dark-skinned individuals require around five times longer sun exposure to obtain the same amount of vitamin D as fair-skinned persons. African-Americans, for this reason, are among the most vitamin D deficient of all.

Ten minutes of sun exposure in midday, wearing shorts and t-shirt to expose skin surface area, will provide most Caucasians plentiful vitamin D during the summer. This limited time minimizes the risk of skin cancer. (If you are especially fair-skinned, you might do fine with somewhat less.) If you are in the sun any longer than this, you should apply a sunscreen (which blocks both sunlight as well as vitamin D activation in the skin).

However, if sun exposure is sporadic, supplementation is crucial to obtain the full benefit of vitamin D’s panel of biologic effects. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is preferable to vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), as it is absorbed 70% better than D2 and it more effectively increases blood levels.44 Many vitamin D supplements contain only 400 IU per capsule or tablet. More and more manufacturers are producing 1,000 and 5,000 IU capsules to suit the growing demand for higher dose vitamin D supplements. In northern climates or sun-deprived lifestyles, 1,000 IU per day is a reasonable starting dose. You may wish to consult your physician and check your blood level of vitamin D to determine if even higher doses of vitamin D are appropriate for you.

To obtain a dose of 1,000–2,000 IU or more per day, a specific vitamin D supplement will be required, rather than a combination supplement with calcium or other nutrients. Note the quantity of vitamin D (if any) included with your other supplements, such as calcium and multivitamins (usually 200–400 IU), and reduce the amount of specific vitamin D accordingly (to equal your total desired dose).

Supplementing with very high doses of vitamin D over an extended period of time can lead to elevated blood calcium levels, which can adversely affect nerve and muscle function, and can contribute to kidney stones.45-48 Individuals using large doses of vitamin D should be carefully monitored for signs and symptoms of vitamin D toxicity such as poor appetite, constipation, weakness, heart arrhythmias, and elevated blood levels of cholesterol, calcium, or liver enzymes.49 Individuals with hypercalcemia (high blood calcium levels) should not take vitamin D.49 If you have kidney disease or if you use digoxin or other cardiac glycoside drugs, consult a physician before using supplemental vitamin D.4

“Personally, I take 5,000 units in the late fall, winter, and early spring, and then I vary doses the rest of the time depending on sun exposure. I also have my 25-hydroxyvitamin D level checked twice a year, once in the early spring and again in the early fall. My 10-year old daughter takes 2,000 units a day in the winter months, and my three year old takes 1,000 units a day in the winter.”
—Dr. John Cannell The Vitamin D Council


The understanding of vitamin D is rapidly evolving. Compelling and substantial evidence suggests that most people—particularly those living in northern climates or with limited sun exposure—are substantially deficient. Replenishing vitamin D can help normalize blood pressure, support healthy blood sugar, improve insulin resistance, and dampen inflammation—all processes that contribute to heart disease. Growing evidence is adding support to the idea that vitamin D deficiency contributes to coronary risk, and that replacement of vitamin D can reduce risk. The vitamin D in dairy products and foods fails to provide sufficient quantities for the majority of Americans. In the absence of substantial sun exposure every day, vitamin D replacement is required in order to achieve adequate blood levels of this essential nutrient.

Dr. William Davis is an author and cardiologist practicing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is author of the book, Track your Plaque:

The only heart disease prevention program that shows you how touse the new heart scans to detect, track, and control coronary plaque. He can be contacted through

If you have any questions or wish to discuss any aspect of this article, please call one of our Health Advisors at 1-800 226-2370.


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17. Timms PM, Mannan N, Hitman GA, et al. Circulating MMP9, vitamin D and variation in the TIMP-1 response with VDR genotype: mechanisms for inflammatory damage in chronic disorders? QJM. 2002 Dec;95(12):787-96.
18. Zittermann A. Vitamin D and disease prevention with special reference to cardiovascular disease. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2006 Sep;92(1):39-48.
19. Achinger SG, Ayus JC. The role of vitamin D in left ventricular hypertrophy and cardiac function. Kidney Int Suppl. 2005 Jun;(95):S37-S42.
20. London GM, Guerin AP, Verbeke FH, et al. Mineral metabolism and arterial functions in end-stage renal disease: potential role of 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2007 Feb;18(2):613-20.
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27. Zittermann A, Schleithoff SS, Koerfer R. Vitamin D and vascular calcification. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2007 Feb;18(1):41-6.
28. Targher G, Bertolini L, Padovani R, et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 concentrations and carotid artery intima-media thickness among type 2 diabetic patients. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2006 Nov;65(5):593-7.
29. Levin A, Li YC. Vitamin D and its analogues: do they protect against cardiovascular disease in patients with kidney disease? Kidney Int. 2005 Nov;68(5):1973-81.
30. Taskapan H, Ersoy FF, Passadakis PS, et al. Severe vitamin D deficiency in chronic renal failure patients on peritoneal dialysis. Clin Nephrol. 2006 Oct;66(4):247-55.
31. Shoji T, Shinohara K, Kimoto E, et al. Lower risk for cardiovascular mortality in oral 1alpha-hydroxy vitamin D3 users in a haemodialysis population. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2004 Jan;19(1):179-84.
32. Li YC. Vitamin D regulation of the renin-angiotensin system. J Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb 1;88(2):327-31.
33. Lappe JM, Travers-Gustafson D, Davies KM, Recker RR, Heaney RP. Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;85(6):1586-91.
34. Holick MF. The role of vitamin D for bone health and fracture prevention. Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2006 Sep;4(3):96-102.
35. Bischoff-Ferrari HA. The 25-hydroxyvitamin D threshold for better health. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Mar;103(3-5):614-9.
36. Ruohola JP, Laaksi I, Ylikomi T, et al. Association between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and bone stress fractures in Finnish young men. J Bone Miner Res. 2006 Sep;21(9):1483-8.
37. Hayes CE, Cantorna MT, DeLuca HF. Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1997 Oct;216(1):21-7.
38. Cannell JJ, Vieth R, Umhau JC, et al. Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. 2006 Dec;134(6):1129-40.
39. Davidson MH. Reducing residual risk for patients on statin therapy: the potential role of combination therapy. Am J Cardiol. 2005 Nov 7;96(9A):3K-13K.
40. Zittermann A. Vitamin D in preventive medicine: are we ignoring the evidence? Br J Nutr. 2003 May;89(5):552-72.
41. Dawson-Hughes B, Harris SS, Dallal GE. Plasma calcidiol, season, and serum parathyroid hormone concentrations in healthy elderly men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Jan;65(1):67-71.
42. Vieth R, Chan PC, MacFarlane GD. Efficacy and safety of vitamin D3 intake exceeding the lowest observed adverse effect level. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Feb;73(2):288-94.
43. Hathcock JN, Shao A, Vieth R, Heaney R. Risk assessment for vitamin D. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jan;85(1):6-18.
44. Trang HM, Cole DE, Rubin LA, et al. Evidence that vitamin D3 increases serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D more efficiently than does vitamin D2. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Oct;68(4):854-8.
45. Adams JS, Fernandez M, Gacad MA, et al. Vitamin D metabolite-mediated hypercalcemia and hypercalciuria patients with AIDS- and non-AIDS-associated lymphoma. Blood. 1989 Jan;73(1):235-9.
46. Beer TM, Myrthue A. Calcitriol in the treatment of prostate cancer. Anticancer Res. 2006 Jul;26(4A):2647-51.
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Nuclear Power Play

This Article is from

Ambition, Betrayal And The 'Ugly Underbelly' Of Energy Regulation

WASHINGTON -- A feud at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, where five presidentially appointed commissioners oversee the safety of the nation's nuclear power reactors, has broken out into full public view, with Chairman Gregory Jaczko's fellow commissioners assailing his character and management style, both in a letter made public earlier this month and in the resulting testimony before Congress.
Republicans have begun calling for Jaczko's ouster.
"The situation at the NRC sounds dire," wrote Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) in a letter to President Barack Obama, "leaving me very concerned that the Chairman is unable to lead the Commission in the fulfillment of its responsibilities."
On K Street, energy lobbyists have rallied to support the four other commissioners.
So far, the White House is standing by Jaczko, one of the least industry-friendly leaders to serve at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in a generation.
For Washington's tight nuclear policy circle, where scientifically trained political operatives move back and forth between the industry, the NRC, the Department of Energy and key congressional committees, it's déjà vu. Interviews with several senior officials who worked on nuclear energy policy in the 1990s reveal that at least two of those operatives -- both with strong ties to the nuclear industry -- were closely involved in the ouster of an earlier reformist regulator and are now involved in the current drama.
What's unfolding at the NRC is a textbook example of a little-discussed corporate tactic that is employed against public officials in extreme situations. Observers of the way Washington works tend to describe the corruption of the political system and the people within it in terms of action and reward: Do what industry wants, and benefit both professionally and personally. But when carrots aren't enough, corporations have sticks to swing, too.
Susan McCue, who served as chief of staff for Jaczko's former employer and chief Democratic supporter, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), wasn't surprised to see the industry strategy at work.
"They have a lot of power, and they wield it," said McCue. "They can't tell Chairman Jaczko what to do, and I think that frustrates them."
The Clinton administration's skepticism of nuclear power -- driven in large part by then-Vice President Al Gore -- reached its fullest and earliest expression in 1994 with the installment of Terry Lash at the top of the Department of Energy's nuclear energy program.
Lash was a former staff scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a prominent environmental group, and his appointment rankled nuclear industry insiders and their Republican supporters on the Hill. It wasn't long, say energy policy staffers involved at the time, before Lash's critics began seeking ways to undermine his position inside the department.
They got their chance after the White House struck a broad agreement with Russia, in which the U.S. would help Russia protect its nuclear stockpile. GOP appropriators had zeroed out funding for the program, and they instructed the administration not to use money set aside for other purposes.
Lash funded the program anyway and failed to keep congressional appropriators fully apprised of his activity. He was promptly called before a House subcommittee and publicly excoriated for his failure to communicate with Congress.
A subsequent investigation by the DOE's inspector general concluded that Lash, while violating procedure, had not broken any laws. But according to multiple sources who recalled the incident, Lash's gaffe was clearly being exploited in the service of a coup. These sources identified two men, Bill Magwood and Alex Flint, as being directly involved in Lash's ultimate downfall.
Magwood was Lash's deputy. He had come to the DOE from the nuclear industry, and he would return to it at subsequent points in his career.
Flint, meanwhile, was a clerk for Republican Sen. Pete Domenici, who steered billions of nuclear research dollars to his home state of New Mexico from his perch as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.
Democrats in the Senate and DOE who were involved at the time say that the House only found out about Lash's funding of the Russia program because Magwood, a fellow Democrat, personally alerted Domenici. One source recalled that Magwood went directly to Flint.
"I know that he talked to the Hill," said one former senior Senate Democratic aide who worked directly with Flint and Domenici's office at the time. "Whether he came to the Hill [physically], that's how it was brought to Domenici's attention, was through Magwood."
Lash, realizing too late that he was the likely target of a power play by his own deputy, fought back against Magwood by stripping him of staff. Congressional appropriators then rushed to Magwood's defense.
In an eerie echo of language that would later be used against Chairman Jaczko at the NRC, Rep. Joseph McDade (R-Pa.), who chaired the House subcommittee with nuclear jurisdiction, called Lash's move against Magwood an "unprecedented action which I believe further demonstrates the willingness of the director to treat this office as his personal playground."
In the end, Lash was not fired from the DOE, but was instead moved to a top adviser position within what is now the National Nuclear Security Administration in May 1998 -- evidence that Lash had been the victim of politics rather than guilty of wrongdoing. "The Secretary just felt it was better for Terry to step aside," given the political pressure, said a former DOE official who worked with both Lash and Magwood.
Magwood, meanwhile, took over for Lash as acting director of the Office of Nuclear Energy. When George W. Bush became president in early 2001, he asked for the resignations of top DOE officials. But Magwood had a patron in Domenici, and with the senator's support, according to people involved at the time, Magwood was made permanent director of the program.
The coup was complete.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Magwood denied that he'd orchestrated Lash's overthrow, insisting that he had never spoken to Flint, Domenici or anyone else on the Hill about his former boss. "No, he did it all by himself," Magwood said. "The problem back in the '90s had to do with the allocation of appropriated funds. The House Appropriations Committee was very agitated about that and made a big deal out of that. That's what led to his issues."
Lash's career was effectively over.
"It does change your life," he told HuffPost. "It interferes with personal relationships, the ability to work with others who were not what you would call close, personal friends, but who were acquaintances. You could see in their mind that you have become tainted, and it just makes the whole thing less comfortable, and you never know who's doing what and who believes what at some level."
Magwood built a reputation at the Department of Energy as a sharp-elbowed operator. "He was a consummate inside player, a bureaucratic power player of the first order," recalled a former Department of Energy colleague, who, like many others interviewed for this story, requested anonymity because his current work has him interacting regularly with industry clients.
But that level of ambition is hard to contain over a long period of time in a relatively small industry. Every source to whom HuffPost spoke for this story referred to other players, whether friends or foes, by their first names. Magwood never understood it's a small world. "He always struck me as a guy who thought he was playing in a bigger political pond than he was. I mean, there are about 50 people here in town who care about nuclear energy. So it seemed like a lot of politics for no good reason," said one Democratic lobbyist who worked in the Senate while Magwood served in the Department of Energy.
Flint is known as quite the operator as well. "I am telling you this, of all the appropriations clerks, House and Senate, all of them," said a former senior Democratic aide who worked closely with him, "there was nobody as shrewd or full of guile or as politically calculating as Alex Flint. Before you would look at the tables of what you got in terms of earmarks and count 'em up, I kid you not, you'd count your fingers, and you walked out of the room."
Three other former top Democratic Senate aides interviewed for this article who worked closely with Flint described him in similar terms.
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