Did SEIU Pay Media Matters to Cover Up the Gladney Beating?

by Liberty Chick

People on the left are constantly asking Andrew Breitbart who funds his “operation.” It’s grown to become rather amusing, actually. For those of us who are bloggers on The Bigs, we know the truth, we see how things operate. We know there’s no giant conservative-leaning lump of cash greasing this machine. If that were the case, I for one think Andrew would probably be home with his family even more, rather than traveling around, worrying about advertising or other ways of self-funding this little “hobby” of his, as the left often like to refer to it.

But let’s just look for one moment at where some of that line of thinking comes from on the other side. I’ve written previously about the birth of Media Matters as a spawn of Rob Stein’s Conservative Message Machine Money Matrix road show, from which the Democracy Alliance was born. It’s through this organization from which much of the organization’s funding had come; in recent years, more has been spread out across other progressive organizations, but the funders often remain the same names in most cases. For instance, The Tides Foundation gave Media Matters and their Action Network over $175,000 just last year. In earlier years, groups like Montclair, New Jersey-based (hometown of Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert) Schumann Center for Media & Democracy gave the organization $500,000.

The donors’ list is vast and diverse, and we plan to cover that in detail in the future. So I’ll focus in on one set of donors to Media Matters, which is the Labor Unions. More specifically, in light of some recent posts regarding the Kenneth Gladney incident, I thought it appropriate to revisit donations made to Media Matters specifically by the Service Employees International Union.

When you look at the timeline of events and the media calendar in general leading up to the Gladney incident last August, it’s difficult not to conclude that there was collaboration amongst White House staff, components of Big Labor, and certain liberal media outlets. However, we know that all will continue to deny it.

Further, just as the flurry of media activity finally starts to wind down a bit around October last year, this is when SEIU makes three separate donations to Media Matters totaling $50,000, under the classification of “Communications”, according to the SEIU LM-2 report.

This is the type of funding that I would question in return to Media Matters. With their membership being so low and their unfunded pension expenses so high, can the SEIU really afford to be randomly donating funds to an organization like Media Matters? Perhaps SEIU purchased advertising on Media Matters’ website, but then I’d think it would be categorized as such, as others ad expenses in the LM-2 were. If not advertising, if not random donations, then what’s the reason for SEIU having donated these funds? One could logically conclude that Media Matters performed a service in return. Only they can answer that.

That said, I can simply present the basic information here and suggest that readers do their own research and draw their own conclusions, in the absence of any explanation from Media Matters.

The timeline follows below. While it is not all inclusive, it presents a collection of the most pertinent sources at that time.

8/4/2009

* 6:55 AM ET: White House launchesFlag@whitehouse.gov, its “fishy” snitch program
* 4:45 PM ET: SEIU Posts the White House snitch program & video in a post titled “Pushing Back on Right-Wing Lies on Reform“
* Margarida Jorge, National Field Director for Health Care for America Now, releases a four page memo instructing members of HCAN to fight “militant right-wing activists” and “teabaggers”. Even the URL uses the word “fight”:
http://healthcareforamericanow.org/site/fight

* Back in St. Louis, Congressman Russ Carnahan’s campaign announces Sara Howard as the new director of communications. Howard was formerly Senior Strategist at Obama for America, National Media Relations Specialist for Anna Burger / SEIU, Communications Director for Senator Mark Dayton, and spokesperson for George Soros funded American Coming Together (ACT). She also worked with Buffy Wicks while with SEIU on door-to-door campaigns in Missouri.
* 11:09 pm ET: Media Matters tries to discredit Tea Party protesters by broadly painting the entire movement as “birthers”

8/5/2009

* The DNC releases “Enough of the Mob” ad calling the protesters an “angry mob” and focuses the ad repeatedly on “right-wing birthers” disrupting town hall events.

8/5/2009

12:13 am ET, Media Matters: Special Report says “public venting” at health care town halls, ignores conservative efforts to pack events

8/6/2009

* 9:53 AM ET, Huffington Post/Sam Stein: Unions To Take On Conservative Groups Health Care Town Halls; “In a memo sent out on Thursday, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney outlined the blueprint for how the union conglomerate would step up recess activities on health care reform… also uses the specter of the infamous 2000 recount “Brooks Brothers” protest to rally its members to the administration’s side.”
* Richard Trumka, then AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer (now President) issues a statement, slams the town halls, calls the events corporate funded and part of the conservative strategy.
* 12:47 pm ET, Media Matters: AP reported on town hall disruptions, ignored conservative strategy
* Afternoon: White House aides give Senate Democrats a recess battle plan; David Axelrod and Jim Messina tell senators, “If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard.” See Politico: White House to Democrats: ‘Punch back twice as hard’
* Organizing for America sends out mass email for the Bernard Middle School event in St. Louis, MO:

8/7/2009

7:14 PM ET by Kate Thomas: Violent tactics at last night’s St. Louis town hall meeting

8/8/2009

10:11 am ET by Media Matters, Eric Boehlert: Inventing tales of a union ”beating”

And after this date, there are so many more, from SEIU and from Media Matters. Simply type in this Google search to retrieve a relatively thorough list.

As you’ll see from Google’s timeline, October is when the activity calmed down.

Seems to me that -hypothetically speaking, of course – if there were any sort of service arrangement in place, October would have been the most appropriate time for SEIU to make its payment installments and thank Media Matters for a job well done. (That’s of course before anyone knew things would be heating up again once the police report would become available in November)

Hm. I wonder if these types of payment installments are regulated under the financial reform bill?

Kagan, Obama, and the Harvard Legacy of Literary Fraud

By Jack Cashill

When Barack Obama’s two faculty mentors at Harvard Law got in trouble for plagiarism, they were rescued by Dean Elena Kagan.

In 1989, Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe hired first-year Harvard law student Barack Obama as his research assistant. After Obama was elected president, Tribe would gush, “His stunning combination of analytical brilliance and personal charisma, openness and maturity, vision and pragmatism, was unmistakable from my very first encounter.”

Obama had one other prominent mentor among the Harvard faculty, Professor Charles Ogletree, an African American. In the run-up to the election, Ogletree would enthuse, “I’m so excited about this candidacy that I just can’t tell you. I’m just overfull with joy.”

In 2004, Tribe and Ogletree both made the news in ways they might wish they had not. And now in 2010, that news has come back to haunt their Law School dean at that time, Elana Kagan, and, if there is any justice in the world, it should eventually suck in Obama himself.

In September 2004, as Obama was cruising to victory in his U.S. Senate race, Tribe was publicly apologizing for plagiarizing — though, of course, he would not use that term — Henry J. Abraham’s 1974 book, Justices and Presidents, to write his own 1985 book, God Save This Honorable Court.

Tribe’s transgression had come to light only after he had publicly defended his colleague Ogletree, who just three weeks earlier had publicly apologized for the unauthorized heist of verbiage from Yale scholar Jack Balkin’s book, What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said, and the stashing of it, nearly word-for-word, in his own book, All Deliberate Speed.

Appalled by Tribe’s hypocrisy, an anonymous tipster alerted conservative scholar Joseph Bottum, who penned a damning 5,000 word article for The Weekly Standard, which revealed the extent of Tribe’s theft and resulted in Tribe’s half-hearted mea culpa.

In reviewing the case, Kagan and then Harvard President Larry Summers faced an obvious challenge: Ogletree was a black star on a faculty often criticized for being overly white; even more problematic, Tribe was the superstar of the judicial left.

Had they been a couple of untenured white guys, Summers and Kagan would have promptly ground them into hamburger, but these two were sacred cows. So they duly appointed a three-person committee of Harvard insiders, headed by former and future (replacing Summers after his resignation) Harvard president Derek Bok. After several months of reluctant inquiry, Summers and Kagan chose not to see the obvious and let the miscreants go essentially unpunished.

Given the politics of Ogletree and Tribe, the media had no interest in pursuing the case or pointing out the injustice of their non-punishment.

Kudos here to the one person who did pursue the case, Lawrence Velvel, dean of the University of Massachusetts Law School, an honest liberal who knew academic legerdemain when he saw it. In April 2005, Velvel posted a nearly 10,000-word analysis on his blog that not only explores the extent of the fraud and the depth of Kagan’s complicity, but that also suggests — without intending to — the inspiration for Obama’s own chicanery.

In the way of background, in 2004, after Ogletree’s sins had become public knowledge, Velvel had criticized him on line, and Tribe had come to Ogletrees’s defense. Tribe conceded that the problem of prominent people, “office seekers” among them, “passing off the work of others as their own” had become “a phenomenon of some significance.” In the next sentence, however, Tribe chastised Velvel for going public on issues “about which your knowledge is necessarily limited.”

Velvel responded to Tribe that if decency prevented outsiders from challenging a story already in the public sphere, “wouldn’t we have to depend for criticisms on those who are closest to the situation, who have the most reason not to discuss it lest they or their institution be harmed, and who are least likely to publicly discuss or criticize?”

Comparably, my understanding that Bill Ayers helped Obama write Dreams From My Father is “limited,” but how could it not be? In my own challenge of Obama’s authorship, I have faced the same response Velvel got from Tribe and responded much as Velvel did: “What do you expect Obama’s editor and publisher to say, let alone Obama himself?”

Velvel’s fears were fully grounded. Summers and Kagan let months pass before even announcing that they had appointed a committee composed of Bok and two other Harvard honchos. In April 2005, the committee reported its findings to the pair, although the report itself, if even written, was not released.

Not surprisingly, Summers and Kagan concluded of Tribe’s transgression that it had happened twenty years earlier, that it was the “product of inadvertence,” and they now “consider the matter closed.” Writes Velvel of their conclusion, “it is a travesty. Its language is misleading, its logic miserable, and its spirit corrupt.”

What troubled Velvel most is this: Ogletree and Tribe could claim “inadvertence” because they both almost assuredly allowed their research assistants to write major stretches of the book for them. Writes Velvel, “Ghostwriting, horribly enough, has become all too prevalent in academia as a general matter.”

The fact that Ogletree used ghostwriters, says Velvel, is “widely accepted.” The case against Tribe is nearly as strong. The instances of “copycatting,” including one identical 19-word pilfering, “seem to be more like what one would expect of a student than of a Tribe.” What is more, as Velvel points out, a 1993 article in a Washington law newspaper, called Legal Times, addressed the claim of a former Tribe assistant, Ron Klain, that he had written large sections of Tribe’s God Save This Honorable Court.

“That Harvard is setting a very bad example, with all too much of the bad stuff centered in its law school, is all too evident,” writes Velvel. One unfortunate consequence of this phenomenon is that the young are watching and learning from the masters. Here is how Velvel imagines their thought process might go.

On balance, it is well worth it, for on the one side lies fame and fortune, and on the other lies only a slap on the wrist. And, especially if I can hide my misdeeds for years (as seems usually to occur), and in the meanwhile have become a big deal, I am virtually assured of suffering nothing other than a minor slap on the wrist if and when I am finally caught.

Did Obama take his cue from Tribe and/or Ogletree. When pressed by his contractual demands, and unable to finish his book, did one or the other of his academic mentors whisper in his ear, “Have someone else write it. We do this all the time.” If so, his appointment of Kagan makes sense. She has a history of whitewashing the sins of those more powerful than she.

Velvel wanted to see Kagan fired. “So, in my view, Kagan too should go,” he writes. The result of her complicity with a corrupt faculty leads Velvel to an inescapable conclusion:

Since it is now known that Harvard professors have plagiarized, copycatted, and pretty certainly have had stuff ghostwritten for them, the bona fides and reputations of nearly everyone at Harvard is called into question, especially people in the law school.

I could not agree more.

Jack Cashill’s latest book is Popes and Bankers.

New Hawaii law shuns Obama birth document requests

AFP – US President Barack Obama (R) speaks during a press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in …

HONOLULU – It’s now law in Hawaii that the state government can ignore repetitive requests for President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

Republican Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law Wednesday a bill allowing state government agencies not to respond to follow-up requests for information if they determine that the subsequent request is duplicative or substantially similar to a previous request.

The law is aimed at so-called “birthers,” who claim Obama is ineligible to be president. They contend the Democratic president was born outside the United States, and therefore doesn’t meet a constitutional requirement for being president.

Lingle didn’t elaborate on her reasons for signing the bill, but state Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino previously issued statements saying that she’s seen vital records that prove Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen.

Both Fukino and the state registrar of vital statistics have verified that the Health Department holds Obama’s original birth certificate.

Health Department officials supported the law because the state still gets between 10 and 20 e-mails seeking verification of Obama’s birth each week, most of them from outside Hawaii.

A few of those requesters file repeated inquiries seeking the same information, even after they’re told state law bars release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who does not have a tangible interest.

Advocates for openness in government oppose the law because they fear it could be used to ignore legitimate requests for information.

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The bill is SB2937.

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Online:

Hawaii Legislature: http://capitol.hawaii.gov/