Even if they are actually “only a bit better at surviving radiation than” humans, it has often been theorized that only cockroaches might withstand a nuclear blast and “inherit the earth.”
A Capitol Hill newspaper sheds some light on a secretive group using that nickname.
Roll Call’s Paul Singer reports, “Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) hangs out with Cockroaches.”
These are not the crunchy, skittery kind of cockroaches that terrorize your kitchen, but the well-shod Washington insider kind that gather several times a year for a high-powered confab on defense and intelligence matters.
The Cockroaches are a venerable Washington, D.C., institution that has apparently never been written about, a kind of not-so-secret society for several hundred current and former defense intelligence officials, private-sector contracting firms, lobbyists, Congressional staffers and Members of Congress. The group meets every other month or so for off-the-record dinners to discuss new developments in defense and intelligence, and to swap war stories, literally and figuratively.
At the center of the Cockroaches are Gary Sojka and Michael Swetnam, two former staffers who decided to start a supper club. Swetnam worked in the White House in the George H.W. Bush administration, and Sojka was a staff member on the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees.
The idea was to continue to share information and stay connected to official Washington and each other, they said. Sojka also launched the lobbying firm Potomac Advocates Ã¢â‚¬â€ though he points out that his firm does more strategic advising than lobbying these days. Swetnam runs a think tank/research center called the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, which he and Sojka founded to replace the independent scientific advisory capacity that Congress lost when the Office of Technology Assessment was shut down in 1995. The institute takes nearly all of its funding from government contracts and occasional earmarks, but it is prohibited from lobbying, Swetnam said.
An online bio adds, “From 1990 to 1992, Mr. Swetnam served as a Special Consultant to President Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) where he provided expert advice on Intelligence Community issues including budget, community architecture, and major programs. He also assisted in authoring the Board’s assessment of Intelligence Community support to Desert Storm/Shield.”
While, Sojka also is a “seasoned Republican fund-raiser and a registered lobbyist.”
The Potomac Institute website only briefly alludes to the group:
On February 11, 2009, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies hosted a special private dinner event in D.C. featuring General James E. Cartwright, Vice Chairman o f the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as the keynote speaker.
General Cartwright, who is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Nation’s second highest ranking military officer, addressed the audience of about 150 guests about the importance of cyber security to our national security efforts. This event was one of six that the Potomac Institute hosts during the year as part of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“CockroachesÃ¢â‚¬Â dinner event series for invited guests from the defense and intelligence communities.
More from the Roll Call story:
The group is a classic only-in-Washington establishment. The express purpose is to provide government officials, Members of Congress and staff, and private-sector experts in defense and intelligence the opportunity to mingle, network and discuss broad topics of interest in an off-the-record social setting.
The odd name is a reference to the notion that only cockroaches would survive nuclear war. According to the groupÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s prospectus, Ã¢â‚¬Å“election years in Washington often lead to change in the controlling party in Congress or the Administration. Politically this event is similar to a nuclear explosion in that most seniors must resign or are asked to leave. The survivors often move from Congress to the Administration or to industry or back into Congress. Since scientists have stated that the only living things that might survive a nuclear blast are cockroaches the group adopted the name to signify our ability to survive political change in Washington DC.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The article notes, “Several staff members from the Senate Armed Services Committee used to be regular attendees, the men said, but Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has recently discouraged staff from attending out of concern about accepting free meals from the group.”
But Sojka and Swetnam said the dinners are not an opportunity for private companies to lobby military officials for assistance with specific projects. Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is not a forum where anybody Ã¢â‚¬â€ a lobbyist or a corporate guy Ã¢â‚¬â€ trying to work an issue with a Hill guy or a Defense guy would be anything but shunned,Ã¢â‚¬Â Swetnam said.
Sojka added that while the Cockroaches group includes many members from private companies, most of them are not clients of Potomac Advocates, and very few are lobbyists.
For all of its secrecy Ã¢â‚¬â€ the events are not advertised, all meetings are off-the-record and it is hard to find anybody willing to discuss their involvement Ã¢â‚¬â€ Sojka, Nichols and Swetnam insist it is a very open organization. Ã¢â‚¬Å“People just ask to come, and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve never turned anyone away,Ã¢â‚¬Â Sojka said. Events are announced to a mailing list, but Ã¢â‚¬Å“weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve never invited anyone to join,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
FULL LENGTHY REGISTRATION REQUIRED ROLL CALL ARTICLE CAN BE READ AT THIS LINK.
‘Rather than leading — he lies’: MSNBC panel says Trump is a ‘danger to the country’ because he can’t be trusted
MSNBC commentators, former assistant US Attorney Maya Wiley and Rick Wilson, explained that President Donald Trump's most significant barrier is making it past his own lies to save America from the coronavirus.
"There's a case tonight being tested in Walton County, Florida. The heart of Trump country," said Wilson, referring to the panhandle county east of Pensacola. "That's not going to be something you can just walk away from if it turns out to be a real case. We're seeing these things popping up all over. The safe bet was always to say, 'This could be bad. We'll do everything we can to stop it.' But he can't stop himself from self-aggrandizing and lying about things. And it's actually -- setting aside my normal criticism of Trump -- this is a danger to the country that he is not a trustworthy person for the American people. Even people who like him now he BS's them all the time. Now, if he says it's not a problem and people are being hospitalized, it is a problem."
Trump ‘just wants this problem to go away’: President desperate to get coronavirus ‘off his plate’
President Donald Trump is desperate for the coronavirus problem to go away, and he doesn't exactly care how it happens.
According to New York Times reporter Annie Karni, sources are telling her that the biggest concern Trump has is more about the markets than the deaths of Americans from the virus.
"First, let's establish, this is a president who tried to change science with a Sharpie when it came to hurricane path prediction," said MSNBC host Brian Williams. "That picture lasts forever."
"Even his allies on Fox and his allies outside the White House were kind of channeling to that proverbial audience of one that this was a great opportunity to look presidential and to tell the facts," said Karni. The Donald Trump we saw out there in the briefing room was very casual, kind of left the facts to the other people that accompanied him out there. But he clearly publicly and privately just wants this problem to go away. He wants to downplay it. He thinks -- he has called people who are talking about fears about it alarmist. He doesn't want to be alarmist, and he's kind of holding on to any comment that makes it sound like this will naturally be a problem that is removed from his plate. That's what we saw publicly, and that's what he's been saying privately as well."
Seth Meyers: You know Trump isn’t the chief law enforcement officer because he couldn’t pass the physical
"Late Night" host Seth Meyers warned that the United States is sliding into authoritarianism under President Donald Trump.
Sounding the alarm Wednesday evening, Meyers cited reports that Trump was making lists of disloyal people, purging them from their jobs, hiring unqualified cronies in top posts, and claiming he has the right to interfere in criminal cases.
While speaking to the press last week, Trump even announced that he's allowed to be involved in all criminal cases because he's the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. It's actually a title used for the attorney general.