Investigation is far more advanced than the public knows.- Joe Scarborough
Morning Joe coming to terms.
Investigation is far more advanced than the public knows.- Joe Scarborough
Morning Joe coming to terms.
Column: How Democratic donors benefit financially from climate policy
BY: Matthew Continetti | Free Beacon
March 21, 2014
Some lies just won’t go away. In February the Washington Post published an article with the following headline: “Why There’s No Democratic Version of the Koch Brothers’ Organization.” It was the umpteenth attempt to explain, in a particularly simplistic manner, how the millionaires and billionaires who donate money to the Democratic Party are nothing, absolutely nothing, like those meanie cancer research philanthropists Charles and David Koch.
The author, Reid Wilson, interviewed “Democratic strategists who deal frequently with high-dollar donors,” and these Democratic strategists told him, strategically, that their high-dollar donors are better than Republican ones. “For the Koch brothers, electing the right candidate can mean a financial windfall,” Wilson wrote. “Democratic donors revolve more around social issues.” On the one hand you have petty, greedy rich men, and on the other you have committed liberals willing to sacrifice for causes they believe in. The morality play writes itself.
Now, these liberals are not totally selfless, Wilson cautions. They are human beings; they have egos; they seek affirmation. “Donors like being recognized for their philanthropic gestures.” Hedge-fund billionaire and radical environmentalist Tom Steyer, for example, “cooperated with the New Yorker when it wrote a profile of him last year.” Charles and David Koch, though, “didn’t cooperate when the magazine took a look at their political activities,” presumably because “no one needs to send the message that the better-known Koch brothers are there for Republican candidates.” So that’s why the Kochs didn’t talk to Jane Mayer.
Does Reid Wilson believe in Santa Claus? His willingness to suspend disbelief when confronted with the image of a mythic creature—the un-self-interested liberal—suggests as much. The words “labor” and “union” appear nowhere in his article, despite the fact that unions are 6 of the 10 top all-time donors recently compiled by OpenSecrets.org, despite the fact that unions spent some $4.4 billion on politics between 2005 and 2011. (Incidentally, every member of the OpenSecrets.org top ten either leaned Democratic or split money evenly between the two parties. The Democrats are not hurting for money.) [A lot to ignore there]
Unions, their leadership, and their staff see political giving as “an investment,” any non-cross-eyed observer of the political scene would agree, with donations laundered back to the SEIU, AFSCME, NEA, UAW, and others in the form of generous and unsustainable pensions, wage laws benefiting closed shops over free labor, government-mandated dues and contracts, and job protections that make it difficult even for child predators to be fired from schools. That’s an ROI the hosts of the Shark Tank would envy.
Nor did Wilson see fit to mention trial lawyers and other attorneys, whose giving disproportionately favors the Democratic Party, and who are repaid for their donations with opposition to tort reform, and with increased regulations that amount to permanent employment programs for attorneys practicing regulatory, tax, M&A, antitrust, and campaign finance law. But perhaps lawyers don’t figure in Wilson’s calculus. We all know how altruistic and big-hearted they are.
“The coordination between big donors that the Koch network so ably facilitates just doesn’t exist on the Democratic side,” Wilson writes. His Democratic sources must not have been invited to the recent meetings of the Democracy Alliance, the secret organization of liberal donors that coordinates giving and builds campaign infrastructure. His sources must not be members of the Democracy Initiative, a vast coalition of liberal interest groups that meets to plan strategy, or of the Campaign for America’s Future. His sources must never have contributed to the online donation clearinghouse Act Blue. Of all of the thousands of Democratic strategists circling the D.C. waters for prey, Wilson seems to have spoken to the poorest and least connected ones available.
I thought of Wilson’s puerile article this week, as I read remarks by White House adviser John Podesta. The day before Podesta’s interview with a roundtable of journalists, several environmental groups had written to the president, urging him not to lift export bans on American liquid natural gas (LNG). Podesta dismissed the environmentalists’ request.
“If you oppose all fossil fuels and you want to turn that switch off tomorrow, that is a completely impractical way of moving toward a clean-energy future,” he said, defending the use of natural gas. The greens are “impractical.” LNG is the best available alternative to coal-fired power plants, which the White House and EPA want to shut down. “I think we remain committed to developing the resource and using it, and we think there’s an advantage, particularly in the electricity generation sector, to move it forward.”
For the Politico reporter who transcribed Podesta’s remarks, the former lobbyist, Clinton chief of staff, and president of the Center for American Progress was not “afraid to part ways with his former compatriots to make the case for the president’s climate agenda, a topic he said he spends about half his time working on.” (How does he spend the other half?) In fact the comments were nothing new. Podesta has long supported natural gas.
He’s not alone. His 2012 Wall Street Journal op-ed making the case for natural gas was coauthored with Tom Steyer, the hedge-fund billionaire who is quickly becoming one of the most powerful men in the Democratic Party. Steyer is known mainly for his opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, and for his recent pledge to raise and spend $100 million on behalf of Democrats in this year’s elections. According to Reid Wilson, liberal donors such as Steyer “aren’t going to realize a profit if their chosen candidates win.” This is not true.
Steyer pledged to remove himself from the operations of his hedge fund, Farallon Capital Management, in the waning days of 2012, when he was being considered as a possible secretary of Energy in the second Obama administration. But he remains an “outside limited partner” with the firm, and the “bulk” of his billion-dollar fortune is parked there. As of 2012, when Steyer was supporting Democrats, donating millions to Podesta’s Center for American Progress, and otherwise championing natural gas over other forms of energy, Farallon held more than $7 million in shares of gas technology company Fuel Systems Solutions. He was making plenty of money from the Obama administration’s championing of natural gas.
As of the end of 2013, Farallon also held close to $40 million in Kinder Morgan, which is building a competitor to the Keystone Pipeline. When Farallon’s position in Kinder Morgan was exposed last summer—after the Keystone debate had been raging for years—Steyer pledged to sell his share of the stock and donate the profits to charity. Last September, it was revealed that Steyer had backed a UT study on hydraulic fracturing, which showed that the process does not result in dangerous methane emissions. As far as I can determine, Steyer remains an adviser to and backer of EFW Partners, a “global investor in the basic resources critical for economic growth: energy, food, and water.” I wonder whether EFW is short or long on LNG.
Just as Politico was publishing its write-up of Podesta’s defense of natural gas, George Soros, another ultraliberal billionaire hedge-fund manager, was increasing his stake in oil and gas company Penn Virginia Corporation. Shares of Penn Virginia spiked on the news that Soros’s fund would take a more active role in restructuring the company, which extracts both shale oil and natural gas. Soros of course is one of the most famous Democratic donors in the world, an architect of the Democracy Alliance, a founder of the Center for American Progress, and a backer of Priorities USA, the Obama Super PAC that, under the leadership of Democratic empire-builder Jim Messina, is shifting its allegiance to Hillary Clinton. George Soros’s net worth is some $23 billion. And we are supposed to pretend that he is not benefiting financially from the energy policies of the Democrats he puts into office.
Pretense and make-believe are thick in the air in Barack Obama’s Washington, where one’s alignment with the regnant values and priorities—one’s allegiance to, or at the very least one’s acquiescence in, the programs of the environmental lobby, the union lobby, the abortion lobby—acts as a sort of baptism, cleansing the ethical and intellectual impurities associated with conservatism, and elevating one to a higher stage of moral development, of righteousness, to a place of clean living and pure intentions where one’s motivations must not be questioned. If only we could capture and export Washington’s emissions of self-deception and gullibility, of media naïveté and partisanship, of the hot air we produce as we convince ourselves that all parties are equal but some parties are more equal than others. That would be a true energy revolution, a genuine “financial windfall.” *
Its hard for me to believe that Democrats or their media water carriers can even expect to be taken seriously on this, especially on organization and networking which they pride themselves on. If you want the hypocrisy angle, there it is in 3D. Just mentioning the list of exhaustive connections takes an awful lot of ink. But then who would deny it? (they call the right deniers)
Look at all the things Sorros has been connected to including Air America, that leftist radio mouthpiece. Or look at media matters and all the interconnected progressive operatives, just as that whole ‘shadow government’ network installed after Clinton left office. Then to say there is no equivalent to the Koch brothers? Surely you jest. But when the Democrats read such postured tripe, they take it as fact. Then it is merely repeated — the debate is over — through their vast echo chamber of mouthpieces. (Aka. daily mentions)
But for the Democratic professionals who actually run campaigns, the thing that frustrates them most about the Koch brothers network is that there’s no real equivalent on their side.
There are, to be sure, groups of Democratic donors who raise big bucks just like Republicans — the Majority PAC, the House Majority PAC, EMILY’s List, the Democracy Alliance. There are just as many individual Democratic donors who cut seven-figure checks, and who become boogeymen for Republicans, from Tim Gill to Tom Steyer to George Soros. But the coordination between big donors that the Koch network so ably facilitates just doesn’t exist on the Democratic side.
Its the old tactic: accuse others of what you yourself are doing. They are very practiced at it. They thought that just mentioning a few of the well-known operators on the left, and dismissing interconnections, would mitigate what is really their central strategy.
Congratulations to Matthew Continetti for connecting the dots.
RightRing | Bullright
On the web, Friday is synonymous with funnies but Obama is teasing a laugh line almost everyday these days.(It would be hilarious if not so serious) Take last Friday, for instance. He took the carbon footprint of AF-1 to the Central Valley in California so he could highlight his globul warming, climate change agenda.
Not content with actually doing anything really useful for the drought-stricken valley, he at least fit in a few rounds of golf at a lush golf course that uses water like he burns jet fuel.
With that effective backdrop, he made a speech about dramatic changing climate. Now is the perfect time to highlight it in his portfolio of politics. In that folder, politics (ideology) is first, raising money a very close second.
He did make a gesture of relief aid in his billion-dollar demand for the green agenda. So Obama is”speeding delivery of $100 million of aid to livestock farmers, $15 million for areas hit hardest, and $60 million for California food banks to help the poor“. But what the people really need is the 3 million acre-feet of water diverted away from them. The 60 million in food banks? That matters not to Obama and his ideologue allies. They “help” people by making them suffer and then use their suffering for political fodder. None of Obama’s pipe dream schemes really helps their condition.
Sure enough to that end, a billionaire leftist hedge-fund manager has set his sights on climate change (or whatever new name they give it this month) The greasy grimy politics of the left on climate is truly something you have to witness. Hypocrisy does not matter. Which side someone is on — and there is only one side to the Left — is all that is important.
As Kerry told us, they “don’t have time for a meeting with the Flat Earth Society”. In fact they don’t even have time to meet with ranchers and farmers in the Central Valley. The do, however, have plenty of time for speeches and preening their pious feathers about globul warming. Of course, with the enormity of their own carbon footprints, don’t expect them to see the forest for the trees.
What really matters is politics, raising money, and elections…. and a big shout out to gov.control. Fitting that into the lifestyle of the elite ruling class is just part of the gig. After all, what is an issue for but to benefit the ruling class and promote their political interests — i.e control?
In pre-visit Central Valley newspaper coverage, people wondered exactly what Obama’s itinerary would be? Wonder no more. They wondered if he’d speak to or meet with affected residents. That would probably be too time consuming for the Chief Elitist, he has no time to wallow in dust bowls. He has serious things to do, golf for one. Thank God Palm Springs uses millions of gallons of preciously scarce water to keep the greens and fairways up to snuff. Can’t let things like droughts or resources effect the golf industry. I expected him to make a few jokes, makng fun of people’s suffering. He might as well have.
Switching the conversation from dismal ObamaCare to climate change is really trying to change the climate. But big money from the likes of Leftist Steyer is just the prescription to get the wheels turning and his allies on board, especially his divided base. Crank up the campaign machine again to get them to midterms. Forget the scandals, Benghazi, IRS, bombing Obamacare, Fast and Furous… or the Mid-East turmoil, pay no attention to their let’s make a deal road show. All that ever mattered to progressives is politics anyway. (spending is politics)
Enter their great billionaire activist, “Daddy Greenbucks”, Tom Steyer.
“Our feeling on 2014 is, we want to do things that are both substantively important and will have legs after that,” Mr. Steyer said in an interview. “We don’t want to go someplace, win and move on.”
Free Beacon reported: “The Steyer Party”
Steyer, who has amassed a $1.4 billion fortune through his dealings in the secretive world of high finance—including managing a number of funds based in the Cayman Islands—wants to deliver a “smashing victory” in the war on climate change by bullying skeptics and other pro-eagle politicians into submission. “The goal here is not to win,” Steyer told the Hill in 2013. “The goal here is to destroy these people.”
Steyer, meanwhile, has “embraced the political toolbox that was opened to wealthy donors and other interests in the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision,” and is “rallying other deep-pocketed donors” and “seeking to build a war chest” for his NextGen Climate Action operation, which could soon be one of the largest shadowy outside groups in the country.
The group is already running ads seeking to stop construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. On Wednesday, Steyer is hosting a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.).
Truth alert: their goal is not to win debate or the issue but to destroy their enemies and those in their way. Anyone who thinks it’s a matter of legitimate scientific debate is wrong.
And from the NYT:
Those [California ballot initiative] efforts cemented his partnership with Chris Lehane, a California-based Democratic strategist, and heralded the emergence of NextGen Climate, now a 20-person operation encompassing a super PAC, a research organization and a political advocacy nonprofit. The group employs polling, research and social media to find climate-sensitive voters and spends millions of dollars in television advertising to try to persuade them.
Safe to say that it’s one non-profit IRS won’t be probing into.
Meanwhhile back at the farm, or what was a farm in Central Valley years ago, the real drought problem was driven by liberal policies designed to protect anything but human beings’ welfare creating what we see today. But in 2012, a bill was brought up to deal with the regulatory problems and restore the water. Obama swiftly declared he would veto it. Now he goes back to that area for a visit only to highlight his climate change agenda, to use it for fodder. Then he demands a billion in new spending for his agenda.
In 2012, Hotair reported the details:
I’ve called the judicially-imposed drought in California’s Central Valley “the Dust Bowl Congress created” through its creation of the Endangered Species Act, invoked in this case by the Delta smelt, a fish that’s not suitable for eating. Once a breadbasket for the nation, the cutoff of irrigation water to the Central Valley has destroyed agriculture and tens of thousands of jobs as a tradeoff for the endangered fish. Now, however, voices of sanity in Congress have begun to speak on the man-made economic and agricultural disaster, as Rep. Devin Nunes builds support for his Sacramento-San Joaquin Water Reliability Act:
Nunes’ Sacramento-San Joaquin Water Reliability Act goes to a vote in the House Wednesday and if it passes, it will guarantee that water the farmers paid for finally gets to the parched Central Valley. It will put an end to the sorry stream of shriveled vineyards, blackened almond groves and unemployed farm workers standing in alms lines for bagged carrots from China.
“The bill restores the flow of water and establishes a framework for meaningful environmental improvements. It is a repudiation of the left’s assault on rural communities, which began with the decimation of the West’s timber industry and now is focused on Central Valley agriculture,” Nunes told IBD.
If Barack Obama has his way, though, that situation will continue indefinitely. Late yesterday, the White House announced that Obama would veto Nunes’ bill because — I am not making this up — it would “unravel decades of work” on California water regulations … decades of work that brought California’s Central Valley to its current destruction:
So let’s put an end to this notion that both sides just need to talk and work things out for the people they represent. That’s not how the Left plays. If they don’t care about a dust bowl they created in California, do you really think they care about people or the climate? So the agenda that largely caused the effects in the Central Valley needs a stimulus of new spending, while those devastated in its path get lip service. Ironically, bait fish win and communities lose. Unfortunately for Central Valley, they only illustrate his agenda.
Saving the back nine is a metaphor for preserving politics of the ruling class elite, and their power.
RightRing | Bullright
BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
February 18, 2014 2:20 pm
The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) released its list of top all-time donors. It totaled contributions fro 1989 to 2012 from PACs and individuals affiliated with the heavy hitter organizations.
CRP designated each of the heavy hitters as Democrat, Republican, or “on the fence,” meaning between 40 and 59 percent was donated to each party. In some cases, percentages did not add up to 100 due to third party donations.
None of the heavy hitters in the top 10 were Republican (three organizations in the top 10 were on the fence). A Republican-leaning organization did not make an appearance on the list until number 17.
Doesn’t quite fit the narrative. Surprise!
RightRing | Bullright
The column did not need a subtitle, but the author supplied one anyway.
Dirty “pool”(report) in China? Big surprise.
BY: Matthew Continetti | Free Beacon
December 6, 2013 5:00 am
It was a sunny day in Beijing on Thursday—refreshingly sunny, to be more precise—when Vice President Joe Biden met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. I know this because I have read the pool report of the occasion, a pithy and practically content-free piece of journalism that is nevertheless one of the more entertaining things to enter my inbox in recent days. The pool report confirms the lingering suspicion—if it hasn’t been confirmed a million times already—that the line between journalism and Democratic Party cheerleading has more than faded. It has become invisible.
Pool reports are summaries of official events distributed to reporters, who then use the information to write articles or produce news packages. The building blocks of journalism, involving basic details such as names, places, and local color, pool reports are typically written by members of the periodical press. But the Internet has thrown open the question of what the periodical press is. And in the case of Vice President Biden’s visit with the Chinese collective oligarchy at the Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound, the pool report was composed and issued by someone who is not a member of the periodical press, someone who is not really “a journalist,” as the term is broadly understood, at all. His name is Steve Clemons.
Clemons is a Washington hand and bon vivant who has spent a long career working for a Democratic senator, working for think tanks, and working in the interstices of online journalism, event programming, and D.C. social climbing. For some time he has been parked at the New American Foundation—a center-left think tank that recently hosted an event for an anti-Israel screed written by the son of a top Clinton confidante—and at the Atlantic Monthly, where he is “Washington editor at large.” Politico has described him as a “foreign policy ‘super-agent,’” and the foreign policy for which he flacks lines up remarkably closely with the “realist” policy of the Obama administration: eager to negotiate with traditional adversaries, convinced that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the cause of Middle East turmoil, and determined to prevent neoconservatives and the dastardly Israel Lobby from committing America to foreign entanglements. Clemons was a key player in the campaign to install as America’s secretary of defense the embarrassingly stupid Chuck Hagel. He is not, let us be clear, a “disinterested observer.” I look forward to Sean Hannity’s pool reports from President Ted Cruz’s state visit to France.
Clemons’s prose is clichéd. “Good morning from refreshingly sunny Beijing where the skies are robin egg blue,” began his first report. Biden did not just greet his Chinese counterpart, Clemons said. Biden “warmly greeted” him. After an exchange of pleasantries, “your pool was then escorted out to brisk air, sunny skies, and a momentary look at the gardens and other pavilions of the exclusive Zhongnanhao Compound.” I hope your pool made the moment count, since he got closer to the center of Chinese authoritarian decision-making than most Chinese ever will. Dan Balz can rest easy: Clemons is not coming for his job anytime soon. Biden Deputy Chief of Staff Shailagh Murray, on the other hand, who used to be a “journalist” herself—well, Shailagh, you better watch out.
“An awkward thing happened in which your pool inadvertently became part of the story,” Clemons reported. The awkward thing was this: The vice president, in conversation with Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, began gesturing at Clemons and saying, “He is a very important man. Seriously he is important.”
“Your pool demurred as best he could”—I’m sure he did—but Biden continued, telling Li that he should bypass the diplomatic niceties and talk directly with Clemons. “He is the one you really want to speak to. Seriously.” Later Biden bought Clemons a Magnum ice cream bar. But do not assume that the gift of delicious ice cream from a powerful admirer would affect our correspondent’s reportage. “Your pool decided to find out how much the Magnum bar cost and return that amount of yuan to Vice President Biden.” And the First Amendment endured.
Remarkably, no one in the traveling press corps seems to have thought it weird, much less wrong, to assign pool reports to a Beltway player so in sync with the administration’s foreign policy, so beloved by the vice president. “Thanks again to @SCClemons of @The Atlantic for a colorful pool report from the Biden trip,” tweeted CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller. “Colorful” is one word for it. “Useless” and “self-indulgent” are others. The vice president himself, by continually referring to “your pool,” seems to have understood better than the traveling press the conflict of interest presented by Clemons. Or perhaps the press, in giving Clemons the pool assignment, sought to show to the world, in a passive-aggressive way, just how phony and strained the coverage of this White House is. Whatever their reasons, neither Clemons nor anyone else in the press corps traveling with Biden seems to have asked what the vice president’s son Hunter, a former lobbyist with manifold business interests, was up to while accompanying dad on his East Asian tour. Or would asking that question hurt one’s future job prospects?
Adversarial journalism has been replaced by secretarial journalism. Obamacare’s glitches have not slowed the trend. While Robert Pear of the New York Times has been skeptical and critical of the Obamacare rollout, his colleagues on the paper’s political team are eager to return to boosting the program’s namesake. “Democrats’ Latest Campaign for Health Care Law Begins,” read the front-page headline on Thursday’s paper. “Seizing on the good news of an improving health care website and rising enrollments,” write Jonathan Weisman and Michael D. Shear, President Obama and his allies on Wednesday “highlighted parts of the law that are popular with the public and reminded Americans, and the law’s opponents, of what would be lost if the Affordable Care Act were repealed.” […/]
Leave it to Biden to perfectly demonstrate the purpose of a free press, especially in China. (Not) Well, go Joe, show ’em just how it’s done! What better place to roll out your expertise in pool reporting control? The other non-surprise is how all this seems to go over rather well with the press “corpse” in general — alas, the errant word fits here.
All this irony is lost on Biden and, naturally, on Clemons. Both he and Biden continually refer to “your pool”, like some British Lord. “Lord of Pressland” maybe?
Compare the salutation to “your honor” — “your pool”. Or maybe he could be dubded “your Pookie“, since Obama is fond of the name — like a composite reporter?
RightRing | Bullright
BY: CJ Ciaramella — Free Beacon
October 2, 2013 12:24 pm
The strange and sordid saga of John Beale, a top Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official who defrauded the federal government out of nearly $900,000, has by turns outraged, flabbergasted, and sickened members of Congress, but on Tuesday it achieved something even rarer: It left them speechless.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), the head of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, had asked one of Beale’s former supervisors, Robert Brenner, if he had seen Beale lately.
“I’ve seen Mr. Beale,” Brenner testified, pausing to chew over his next sentence. “Well, I’ve seen him a lot over the last two weeks. He’s renting out his home, so he’s staying in my guest house right now.”
For a brief moment, the oversight committee, usually full of bluster, was left gob smacked.
Over the course of two congressional hearings Monday and Tuesday, new details emerged about Beale, a former top EPA official who over the course of 13 years bilked the agency out hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent travel vouchers and illegal bonuses. Along the way, Beale falsely claimed to be an agent for the Central Intelligence Agency, a Vietnam War veteran, and remained on payroll for over a year after a retirement party on a Potomac dinner cruise.
Overall, Beale spent two and a half years absent from work while still getting paid. According to investigators, he committed time card fraud, travel fraud, impersonated a federal agent, and misused a government passport, among other crimes.
In the House oversight hearing, Issa noted that if Beale had actually retired, he would have gotten away scot-free.
“That is 100 percent correct,” Sullivan replied.
“I guess we should be happy he got greedy,” Issa said.
What a sordid affair and going on for decades. What does it take to get to the bottom of things?
September 13, 2013 4:59 am
Pretty good description but I would instinctively suggest it began before this week. In the last 15-20 years it is hard to say exactly where it began, and/or accelerated. I remember a pillar engrained in Bush’s first campaign against nation building, and meddling foreign entanglements. I do think, at the time, he was being sincere.