While Democrats mock Mitt Romney for his alleged lack of interest in the “very poor” and focus their political pitch on income inequality, one can’t help noticing the Obamas running around to $35,000-a-head fundraisers with the very rich and very famous in New York City and Hollywood.
Michelle Obama kicked off February with an exclusive fundraiser in Beverly Hills at the home of Netflix executive Ted Sarandos and his wife Nicole Avant, who raised Hollywood millions for the Obamas in 2008, and then became their ambassador to the Bahamas. Now Nicole Avant’s back managing Obama’s Hollywood money march. Many of Tinseltown’s titans ponied up: Jeffrey Katzenberg, Harvey Weinstein, Haim Saban, and Steve Bing, among others. (Katzenberg’s also given $2 million to the Obama-affiliated super PAC called Priorities USA Action.)
Late-night comedians historically have relished the opportunity to poke fun at politicians. Sometimes they savage them. In the Obama era, they haven’t been so enthusiastic about any of it. A recent study of political jokes on three late-night shows (Letterman, Leno, and Jimmy Fallon) by the Center for Media and Public Affairs found that Barack Obama’s joke count is “substantially lower than any other president.”
Some of the Obama jokes are actually bipartisan slams. Jimmy Fallon joked that “Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton are more mature than President Obama and John Boehner.” This is the classic comedian’s pose, and the safe one, that all the politicians are ridiculous, squabbling poseurs. Still, it’s every bit as much pandering to the public as the politicians are.
As NewsBusters has been reporting, the Obama-loving media are in a full-court press depicting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his former company Bain Capital as ruthless, Wall Street raiders willing to step on anybody for money.
But will they inform the public that according to The Hill, Bain employees actually give more money to Democrats than to Republicans:
While Brian Williams warned of "those lethal weapons known as super-PACs" in the GOP primary race on NBC's Rock Center, he and correspondent Ted Koppel failed to recognize their own network's routine advocacy on behalf of liberal causes and in favor of Democratic candidates. Not to mention the barrage of negative coverage directed toward conservatives and Republicans.
The report itself on the Monday night broadcast was pushing the traditional liberal cause of greater government regulation of campaign finance. Koppel interviewed comedian Stephen Colbert, whose farcical super-PAC in South Carolina has begun running ads calling Mitt Romney a "serial killer." Koppel praised it as "proving how ridiculous this system has become."
Today's starter topic: Liberals fancy themselves to be the best proponents of free speech and tolerance. But when actual political speech is at issue rather than theoretical speech, their boasts are often revealed to be mere posturing. That's why we thought it'd be nice to start off today's OT by giving some well-deserved praise to Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen for mounting a solid defense for political speech against the self-interested censors of the liberal press:
Republican Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel is challenging incumbent Democrat U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown this November. Despite the false bravado emanating from the DNC and Ohio's Democratic Party and polls solely based on name recognition, Brown, as the Senate's most liberal member (2009 and 2010 Club for Growth ratings: 0%) in a swing state, is very vulnerable.
Associated Press Ohio reporter Julie Carr Smyth has apparently preliminarily staked out a role as the race's designated Democratic Party talking point and innuendo relay person. Her Saturday report on Mandel ("Ohio Treasurer Seeks To Unseat Brown"; alternate title showing her byline is "Ohio treasurer focused on politics in 1st year") is so transparent it's almost funny.
On Friday, two Deputy Secretaries, one at the Department of Transportation and the other at Defense, in their capacities as co-chairs of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee, released a one page letter concluding that the modified broadband deployment plan of LightSquared could not coexist with current GPS devices and their spectrum. That's because: a) LightSquared's deployment "would cause harmful interference to many GPS receivers"; b) It would not be "compatible with several GPS-dependent aircraft safety-of-flight systems," and c) "there appear to be no practical solutions" to the problems.
Stories about the release, to the extent they exist, are largely avoiding the mention of "Falcone" (that's hedge fund operator and heavy Obama campaign contributor Philip Falcone, "SEC" (which is investigating Falcone and his hedge fund, and "Obama" (as in President Barack Obama, the beneficiary along with the "Democratic Party" -- another unmentioned term in any variation -- of said contributions). Coverage by Daniel Fisher at Forbes at least brings up Falcone, the SEC, and the Obama administration:
MSNBC's Martin Bashir on Thursday perfectly demonstrated the liberal media's hypocrisy concerning campaign finances.
After beginning his program gushing and fawning over all the money Barack Obama raised in the fourth quarter, Bashir proceeded to carp and whine about the funds GOP PACs are spending, even calling for campaign finance reform to curb it (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On December 31, 2003, looking ahead to the upcoming 2004 election year, an Associated Press reporter -- I think it would have been Jennifer Loven at the time -- wrote about how George W. Bush was going to spend as much of the next 10-plus months as possible figuring that "he no longer needs Congress to promote his agenda." Therfore, he would use "aggressive campaign fundraising and use executive action to try to boost the economy." Thus, his "re-election year will focus almost exclusively on executive action" at the rate of "at least two or three directives per week." Sadly, this meant that Bush's "election year retreat from legislative fights means" that his "term will end without significant progress on two of his ... campaign promises."
Oops, I'm sorry. That AP report never happened. The high-handed, non-governing, non-legislating, campaign-driven agenda is what Barack Obama, his White House apparatchiks, and his reelection campaign have said they will do in 2012 -- and Julie Pace at the Associated Press seems to heartily approve (bolds repeating what was quoted in the first paragraph above are mine):
On Tuesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted an email I received from Obama For America -- I forgot to mention the subject line, which was "In honor of the GOP" -- that encouraged readers to give $3 or more to Barack Obama's reelection campaign and become entered to win dinner with the president and his wife. The email also promised donors that OFA would taunt (my word) a Republican acquaintance on their behalf with the fact that they just gave if they provided an email address to which to send the taunt. As will be shown later, establishment press coverage of this uniquely odious twist in campaign financing and conduct has been virtually non-existent.
In his commentary on the Obama campaign's childishness, the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto revealed that he had been forwarded a related OFA email targeting Facebook and Twitter users with another intensely annoying nuance. It reads as follows (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Late Friday afternoon, Todd Shields at Bloomberg News broke a story about some guy, who happens to be an Obama and Democratic Party donor (but not disclosed), against whom the Securities and Exchange Commission is formally considering an enforcement action (also not disclosed, though it was noted at the New York Times's Dealbook Blog five hours before Shields's report), whose "wireless service caused interference to 75 percent of global-positioning system receivers examined in a U.S. government test." Though it generated a fair amount of center-right blog discussion over the weekend, the establishment press largely ignored the stunning result.
Earlier this evening, Shields and Alan Levin reported even more troubling info (as carried at the San Francisco Chronicle; bolds are mine throughout this post):
This one definitely does not go into the "how to persuade people that your cause is right" file.
Obama For America's latest attempt to beg people to contribute $3 to enter a drawing for a dinner with POTUS and FLOTUS has a pathetic, insufferable, punkish and privacy-invading twist, wherein you get the opportunity to tell a Republican acquaintance that you just gave money to the Obama campaign.
In Hawaii today, according to an Associated Press dispatch filed by Ben Feller, President Barack Obama is reported to have told supporters that, in Feller's words, "everything they worked for and that the country stands for is on the line in his 2012 re-election bid."
Well, if what those donors have "worked" for is an inside track to government money, and if what the country stands for is crony capitalism, the President is right. The following excerpt from Peter Schweizer's new book, "Throw The All Out," provides the details in just one commercial arena (via The Daily Beast; HTs to Doug Ross, Conservatives4Palin, Victory Chronicles, and Heritage; bolds are mine; extra paragraph breaks added by me):
How vile is Mike Papantonio? For the second time in three days the trial lawyer-cum-radio host has actually made Ed Schultz look relatively reasonable.
Interviewed by Schultz on his MSNBC show this evening, Papantonio claimed that the Koch brothers had "purchased" Herman Cain in order to be able to "kill more people" with toxins. Video after the jump.
Consider this post the print and online follow-up to the report early Tuesday evening by Matthew Balan at NewsBusters on the failure of the Big Three TV networks to note the Democratic Party/Obama fundraising affiliation of former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, whose now-bankrupt MF Global financial firm has apparently admitted to diverting client money in a futile attempt to battle its financial free-fall.
Balan found that the Big Three's morning shows "omitted the party affiliation of Jon Corzine as they reported on the federal investigation into his brokerage firm," and that ABC didn't even mention Corzine's name. This is not surprising, as the wire services which provide much of the raw material for these shows for the most part similarly failed, and have continued to do so. A rundown of much of what the wires have produced, along with a look at several New York Times items, follows the jump:
On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer noted Herman Cain leading the Republican presidential field but wondered: "is he really aiming for the Oval Office or something else?" In the report that followed, correspondent Michael Isikoff proclaimed: "Herman Cain is facing new questions about whether he is profiting from his own campaign."
Isikoff reported: "Cain's campaign committee has used $100,000, collected from donors, to pay Cain's own company for thousands of these booklets written and self-published by Cain. That means profits for Cain himself and could run afoul of campaign laws, say watchdog groups." A sound bite was played of Craig Holman from the left-wing group Public Citizen declaring: "This has every appearance that Herman Cain is running for president largely to sell books and enrich his own company."
The Associated Press's seeming effort to go after every candidate except the guy who used to be governor of Massachusetts -- and imposed CO2 emission caps when he was -- went a different route tonight with a report by the wire service's Ryan J. Foley that Herman Cain, a believer in liberty and free-market capitalism, "has close ties" with the Koch brothers, who believe in liberty and free-market capitalism.
Knock me over with a feather. Here are several paragraphs from Foley's report (bolds are mine):
Politico's "Daily Digest" is an email the blog blasts out in the morning, touting the day's top stories. As a subscriber, this NewsBuster was struck by the left-friendly lean of five out this morning's six featured stories.
To be sure, "Post-recession income falls" is not good for President Obama, reporting as it does that Americans' incomes have fallen faster during his presidency than they did even in the depths of the recession. But every other story would surely be welcome at the White House. Here are the stories, in the order they appear in the email:
On the Chicago Tribune's Web site today appears Breaking News with the headline "Corruption sentencing delayed for Rezko, fundraiser for Blagojevich." Tony Rezko, convicted on corruption charges, did indeed raise money for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL). More significantly, however, he also raised many dollars for President Barack Obama in Obama's earlier political contests.
Trying to put his past with Antoin "Tony" Rezko behind him, presidential candidate Barack Obama on Friday said he never thought the now indicted Chicago businessman would try to take advantage of him because his old friend had never asked for a political favor.
But in a 90-minute interview with Tribune reporters and editors, Obama disclosed that Rezko had raised more for Obama's earlier political campaigns than previously known, gathering as much as $250,000 for the first three offices he sought.
So I figure that I need to catch up on the LightSquared saga. This is the company which, as Fox News reported on Thursday (the URL date is September 15, though the time stamp is the next day) is building "a nationwide, next-generation, 4G phone network."
The problem is, as Fox further noted, that there are concerns that "many, including (General William) Shelton, think (the network) would seriously hinder the effectiveness of high-precision GPS receiver systems, a product used most commonly by the United States military." Shelton told a congresspersons "in a classified briefing earlier this month" that he was asked by the Obama administration to change (but apparently didn't) his testimony about said dangers.
So I went to the Associated Press's main page at 9:50 this evening, did a search on the company's name, and got back the following:
Part 1 on the Associated Press's September 16 evening story ("Obama admin reworked Solyndra loan to favor donor"; saved here at my web host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) by Matthew Daly and Jack Gillum criticized the reporters and the wire service for making it appear as if all the findings in the story were the result of original work.
Two other paragraphs in the report in my opinion represent a blatant but clumsy attempt to give the impression that the bankruptcy of a major beneficiary of Department of Energy stimulus-driven loans was a bipartisan fiasco:
The public learned on September 3 from William McQuillen at Bloomberg (possibly earlier elsewhere) that now-bankrupt Soyndra's private investors restructured the company's finances in January by lending the company "$75 million." As a condition of doing so, they convinced the government to give the new loan senior status over all other creditors. Now taxpayers face a likely loss of hundreds of millions in Department of Energy loans, perhaps over $500 million.
But if you haven't stayed with or are unfamiliar with the story and read the Associated Press report this evening by Matthew Daly and Jack Gillum, you would think that the wire service did all of the dirty work to learn these things (credit-hogging language in bold):
The California solar company, Solyndra, heralded by the Obama administration as a prime example of how the Recovery Act created new jobs while promoting his vision of renewable energy, is closing their doors. Just over a year ago, Obama himself spoke at the facility, praising it as “a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism.” Once a beacon of solar light in the progressive green jobs agenda, Solyndra had received a $535 million federal loan with the help of newly minted energy secretary, Steven Chu, only to find themselves staring down bankruptcy and the release of more than 1,100 workers.
Lying within that massive federal loan was a number of sub-awards to other vendors, 40 payments of which were greater than $25,000 each. The largest sub-award went to another administration favorite, CH2M Hill, to the tune of $9.6 million for their construction engineering services. The company is a $6.3 billion consulting, engineering, and construction firm, and shares some similarities to the failed Solyndra. In fact, CH2M used the nearly $10 million sub-award to design Solyndra’s solar manufacturing plant in Fremont, California. Besides that amount, CH2M is also a major beneficiary of the stimulus, having been awarded four of the top ten contracts from stimulus funding last summer - to the tune of $1.2 billion. As of this April, the company boasts of $1.6 billion in contracts from the Recovery Act.
Linda Greenhouse, former Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, posted her twice-monthly column Wednesday evening, on the dangers of today’s conservative Supreme Court going “Over the Cliff” in defending...the right to free speech. You read that correctly: A liberal Times reporter is faulting a conservative Supreme Court for being on a "dangerous path" and showing "arid absolutism" by expanding the First Amendment's protections to corporations.
Greenhouse jump-started the discussion with a rarely-cited 1978 Court decision, First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti:
Yo, Rev Al: thanks to Al Gore, we've got the internets. We can look things up. So when, on your MSNBC show this evening, you ripped Republican Paul Ryan for holding a $15-a-head fundraiser, of course we're going to check out how much President Obama pulled in per head at a recent do. Turns out it was . . . $38,500! So what's your point?
On the August 15 "Dylan Ratigan Show," MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan and the Washington Examiner's Tim Carney sparred over the extent to which Big Labor impacts the political process relative to other industries.
Ratigan, who has made a career out of bemoaning the influence that the energy, banking, health care, defense, telecom, and agriculture sectors exert on politics, omitted organized labor from his exhaustive (exhausting?) list. After Carney pointed out that labor unions collectively direct more campaign contributions to political candidates than any other industry in the country, Ratigan sternly corrected him: "That's not right. You can't invent facts...that's a great distortion of facts to make it look like labor controls the government."
It's no secret that most campaigns are heavily funded by big checks from lobbyists, PACs, and rich donors, but President Obama's campaign team is turning away from that assertion, instead showcasing the claim that it is 98-percent-funded by grassroots support. Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager, said "we did this from the bottom up," pushing the idea that the $86 million fundraising figure released on Wednesday was fueled almost entirely by grassroots organizers.
While 98 percent of the checks may have come from grassroots donors, it doesn't mean that 98 percent of the money did. Many media outlets are taking the bait and are ignoring the two percent of donors whose contributions may turn out to be a far greater portion of Obama's campaign funds than Messina is making them out to be.
For comparison, eight years ago when then-President George W. Bush was ramping up for his re-election campaign, the media magnified a small fraction of extremely wealthy donors to be the image of his campaign.
The Federal Election Commission, which serves to govern the financing of federal elections, ended its second quarter for presidential fundraising on June 30. Of the Republican candidates who released their numbers, former Gov. Mitt Romney led the Republican presidential hopefuls with $18.3 million, trailed by Rep. Ron Paul with $4.5 million, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty with $4.2 million, and former ambassador and Gov. Jon Huntsman with $4.1 million. Earlier this morning, Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina previewed President Barack Obama's fundraising numbers and placed his fundraising sum at $86 million, far overshadowing any of his GOP competitors.
While the number appears ominous to his rivals, it isn't as staggering as it seems, and might even place Obama behind the mark of where he hopes to be. As National Review's Jim Geraghty explains, Obama's fundraising is actually behind his 2008 pace, and if he keeps the same pace for the remaining seven quarters, will not come close to achieving his goal of $1 billion. Check out more of Geraghty's analysis after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.