Washington Post: …. Rick Perry, whose bid for the White House depends heavily on support from religious conservatives, finds himself confronting an issue that is a flash point for that part of his base: his attempt to order schoolgirls to take a vaccine that would protect them against a sexually transmitted virus.
The uproar over the Gardasil vaccine – manufactured by Merck, a major Perry campaign donor – knocked the candidate off-stride during a Republican debate Monday night ….
Perry bristled at accusations from Michele Bachmann that he had pushed the vaccine in 2007 at the bidding of Merck, a Perry donor that also employed a former aide to the governor as a lobbyist.
“It was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them,” Perry said. “I raise about $30 million. And if you’re saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I’m offended.”
But campaign disclosure records portray a much deeper financial connection with Merck than Perry’s remarks suggest.
His gubernatorial campaigns, for example, have received nearly $30,000 from the drugmaker since 2000, most of that before he issued his vaccine mandate, which was overturned by the Texas legislature.
Merck and its subsidiaries have also given more than $380,000 to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) since 2006, the year that Perry began to play a prominent role in the Washington-based group…
Perry served as chairman of the RGA in 2008 and again this year, until he decided to run for president. The group also ranks among the governor’s biggest donors, giving his campaign at least $4 million over the past five years….
…. One of Perry’s closest confidantes, his former chief of staff Mike Toomey, was then working as an Austin-based lobbyist for Merck, which was in the midst of a multimillion-dollar campaign to persuade states to make the vaccine mandatory.
Toomey, who has declined requests for comment, has since helped found Make Us Great Again, a pro-Perry super PAC that can accept unlimited donations from corporations and wealthy donors. The group plans to raise as much as $55 million to help Perry compete for the GOP nomination, according to media reports.
Jonathan Capehart: And now let’s turn our attention to the controversy surrounding Teamsters chief James Hoffa and his remarks preceding President Obama’s Labor Day speech in Detroit. The indignation from Tea Party members and others is just a bit much. I would say those in glass house shouldn’t throw stones, but that wouldn’t be fair to Hoffa now that I know exactly what he said.
… Tea Party folks and others ready to clobber Hoffa, unions, progressives, “the left” somehow didn’t hear him say, “Everybody here’s gotta vote.” While his language was salty, Hoffa put the emphasis where it belonged, the ballot box. The only way for labor to end what it sees as the “war on workers” is for labor to vote the Tea Party out of office. And I have no quarrel with that.
Hiya everyone, sorry I wasn’t able to be around much yesterday, hopefully I’ll catch up later today. Just to say, thanks so much for the great response to the ‘Here we go again‘ post below – but honestly, I can’t take any credit at all for its content, that’s down to the excellent work being done by bloggers like:
Extreme Liberal: Adam Green’s Dishonest Attack And Appeal For Cash (here)
Progressive Electorate: Jane Hamsher’s Accountability Now PAC Raises $$ Questions (here)
Rcade (Daily Kos): How Jane Hamsher Spends Her PAC Money (here)
Drumsnwhistles: Federal Election Commission to Jane Hamsher: Tell us more, please (here)
Workbench: How Jane Hamsher Spends Her PAC Money (see here)
Osbornelink: Nixon had a word for people like Jane Hamsher (here)
Mother Jones: Strange Bedfellows Indeed (Hamsher and Grover Norquist) (here)
HistoryByDay (Young Turks): Jane Hamsher – Bought And Sold? (here)
Rooted Cosmopolitan: Media Types: Don’t Call Someone Who Works for Republicans a Disaffected Progressive (here)
W.E.E. See You: Lip Synching Liberals – WEE Told You So (here)
Osbornelink: Jane The Hamsher Strikes Again (here)
Moderate Left: Can’t Shake the Devil’s Hand and Say You’re Only Kidding (here)
Drumsnwhistles: Jane Hamsher’s crusade to hand government back to conservatives (here)
I’m sure I’ve left out lots more great links – if you think of any please add them in the comments and I’ll update the post. And if you can, read through those links, they reveal so much.
Apparently Hamsher saw it because according to this post at Angry Black Lady, he got the following email from one of her employees:
The chances of you becoming a paid front pager somewhere have dropped significantly … Jane will never forget and she will bad mouth you to the major blog owners if your name comes up. She is a friend of Marcos [sic] and Josh Marshall and the guys who run the American Prospect and pretty much anyone on the liberal side of the blogs and you’ve made a major career fuck up.
…. It’s past time for folks to wake up and smell the rancid brew this woman is creating …. What this email does expose is her motives and strategy. I think it’s high time that word got out and people started to ask proprietors at blogs like Daily Kos, Think Progress and the American Prospect to stand up and show their independence by denouncing Hamsher and any associations they might have had with her.
…. If the cost of being a paid liberal blogger is kowtowing to someone who will try to destroy your career if you say something negative about her, I won’t pay that price. I probably make more money in my day job than Jane does keeping the internet safe from pragprog Obama supporters and I can blog circles around her doing it as a hobby.
Read the full post here – and read Eclectablog on his experience here.
And see this post from Smartypants from June about Matt Osborne – he was “offered a paid writing gig in “the movement” (his term), but was told that if he took it, he would have to dial back the criticism of Hamsher”. (See Osborne’s Tweets from Netroots Nations here – thanks Angry Black Lady)
A writer at ExiledOnline had a similar experience to Eclectablog – see here
“….. Within minutes after this article was posted, Michael Whitney of Firedoglake sent Mike Elk, author of this article, the classic Hollywood death-knell: “You’ll never work in this town again.” Whitney, who once ran a labor blog for Firedoglake until it was taken down because it was so poorly put together and drew such anemic traffic, now serves as Vice President of the Membership Board for Firedoglake. Apparently one of his duties is acting as Hamsher’s hall monitor, policing the internet for anyone not sufficiently worshipful of his employer.”
BWD posted a Deepak Chopra article today at The Only Adult In The Room (see below) which made me think of this line from the Moderate Left link above. It was a reference to Hamsher teaming up with Grover Norquist in their anti-Rahm Emanuel campaign and her working against the President’s healthcare reform efforts (remember, she teamed up with the Tea Party on that issue: see here):
“She is now working with people who do not wish to improve the Obama Administration, but instead wish to destroy it.”
And that’s been the way since day one, even before he had a chance to ‘betray!’ them. She and her Firedogfake sheeple will team up with literally anyone to try to defeat the President in 2012 – even Norquist and the Tea Party!!- regardless of the consequences for America. And still they call themselves progressives.
Any way, here are some extracts from that Chopra article:
Deepak Chopra: One of the virtues of being on the liberal side of politics is that total obedience isn’t required …. In a political climate where it feels as if the inmates are running the asylum – as in the current Republican threat to default on America’s debt – the prevailing sanity of President Obama is something that others and I have taken for granted.
We cannot afford that luxury any more, I’m afraid.
For many reasons, this is the moment when loyalty is going to count the most. That’s a hard sentence to write. Liberal politics is based on a non-regimented, all-inclusive approach to democracy. Freedom of thought is paramount. But certain harsh realities must be faced. For thirty years and more, the progressive tradition has been severely undermined, dating back to Nixon’s “Southern strategy” (coddle the racists) and Ronald Reagan’s smiling reactionary agenda (AIDS victims deserve what they get), through the first President Bush’s Willie Horton strategy (another boost for racism) and the second President Bush’s deceptive “compassionate conservatism.”
It was such a relief to return to humane, non-ideological governance when President Obama won in 2008 that we underestimated the debasing effect that two generations of right-wing indoctrination has had …
…. all of us who have taken advantage of our liberal heritage to question and criticize President Obama need to step back and consider the radical nature of the opposition, from the Supreme Court down to the local precinct … …. Since 9/11, playing upon fear has been wildly successful for the right wing – it re-elected a catastrophic president…
If ever there was a time to stand behind the captain, this is it. Not because pluralism and free expression are wrong. They aren’t and never will be. But like Churchill calling upon a coalition cabinet in the depth of the war years, it’s paramount that we see the greater danger for what it is. Attention was drawn to the cover of a recent issue of the Economist, which showed a tall President Obama towering over a squabbling handful of pygmy Republican rivals for the presidency. The headline read, “He Could Still Lose.” We need to remember that if that were to happen, it wouldn’t be because President Obama made too many mistakes or failed to pass a sufficiently liberal agenda. The reason would be that all of us forgot the 30-year reign of reactionary administrations (minus the Clinton years) and the power of debased politics to keep coming back, again and again.
Read Shoq’s experience with Miss BP here – and their Twitter exchange here
This gem of a 2010 story by David Weigel (now Slate) in the Washington Independent can never be re-posted enough:
Weigel was reporting on an anti-healthcare reform Tea Party rally where he spoke to one of the organizers and speakers, Kathryn Serkes. She told him:
“I’m in contact with folks on the progressive side. They’re saying right now that Pelosi’s almost there with the votes. What they’re saying is that there’s some serious arm-twisting – their words were union thuggery. One progressive source told me that there was serious union thuggery this weekend, targeting Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.).”
The source, she confirmed, was Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake.
Weigel emailed Hamsher to ask her if she was, in fact, working with the Tea Party on the issue and if she had used the term “union thuggery” in her conversations with Serkes.
Hamsher didn’t reply, instead posting this at Firedoglake in response to his report (‘Tea Party Activist Working With Firedoglake’s Hamsher on HCR Whip Count’ – here)
“Dave Weigel isn’t a journalist, he’s a smear-monger that makes things up and projects his own fantasies onto his stories ….I know Katherine, we were on MSNBC together and we’ve spoken about working on the pot legalization measure in California in the future …. she tells me that when Weigel approached her and asked her who her “source” was, she didn’t say. He said “It’s Jane Hamsher, isn’t it…I’ve been around.” According to Katherine, she didn’t respond.
….I’m not “working” with the tea partiers on health care. But Weigel doesn’t care about the truth …. He’s just a fantasist printing propaganda, and the Washington Independent has no higher standards than to print it.”
Weigel had a recording of his conversation with the Tea Party woman:
SERKES: They’re saying that there’s some serious arm-twisting, and their words were union thuggery.
WEIGEL: Who’s the they?
SERKES: The progressive side. A progressive source told me that there was serious union thuggery going on this weekend.
WEIGEL: Is this the Firedoglake folks?
SERKES: It’s Jane. You’re figured it out.
WEIGEL: I’m not new at this.
SERKES: She said they were after Altmire this weekend. Yeah, because Jane and I last talked Saturday.
Hamsher’s response to being outed?
“Weigel has now posted the audio tape of his conversation with Katherine Serkes at the Tea Party event, in which he does not inform her that he was taping her. The recording confirms that she did use my name, however. I’ve asked Weigel twice now if at any point prior to this segment he informed her that she was being recorded, and he has not responded.
…. attending a Tea Party event and taping attendees without their knowledge, then posting that tape to discredit them in support of passing the health care bill, sounds more like the actions of a Democratic political operative …. he aspires to be a member of a cliquish, insider set with the moral flexibility to align themselves with anyone in power.”
Ah yes, the big issue here was the recording, not the fact that it had been revealed that Hamsher was working with the Tea Party towards their common goal: the defeat of President Obama’s healthcare bill. Or that Serkes quoted Hamsher using Tea Party speak: “Union thuggery.” Note how she failed to address being exposed, instead resorting to personal abuse.
After exposing Hamsher, Weigel asked for “an apology and a retraction” – he’s still waiting.
Fox and Friend:
Yep, she joined in on Fox News’ ‘Kill The Bill’ campaign, appearing on the network soon after calling for a boycott of it.
This story, from May of this year, is an eye-opener too:
Mike Elk (ExiledOnline, May 2011): Yesterday I confronted Jane Hamsher, founder of Firedoglake, over her refusal to honor a labor boycott against the Huffington Post that two major writers unions have called for.
… Hamsher wasn’t satisfied merely crossing the picket line: She went on the offensive against boycott organizers … In an email exchange with several members of the labor movement, Hamsher jeered at the writers’ union organizers, mocking their organizing efforts….
In response to Hamsher’s outrageous anti-labor attacks, I wrote to one of these listserv groups on which both Hamsher and I were members: “Jane Hamsher the last person I would ever want to have as my shop steward” … this was not the first time Hamsher has taken a position hostile to workers’ rights and labor ….
…Hamsher also attacked Sal Roselli (president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers) implying that he was an Italian thug, an old tactic used by anti-labor PR people to smear labor activists as mobsters ….
….When I raised this ugly episode yesterday in the context of Hamsher’s attacks on the HuffPo boycott, Hamsher responded to me, “You’re just halucinating [sic] now, Mike. I never ‘tried to get people fired from their jobs,’ nor did I ever use ‘race baiting language to paint Sal Roselli as a thug.’….You’re either really mentally ill, or incredibly malicious.”
Five years ago she posted this photoshopped picture of Joe Lieberman as a ‘black’ man on Huffington Post, in an attempt to describe his efforts to “woo African American voters”. The photo was promptly removed, and she offered a ‘sorry if you were offended’ apology.
Osborneink.com (December 2010): Jane the Hamsher is one of the cool kids… yet she wouldn’t recognize progress if it smacked her in the face, and so far has achieved nothing resembling progress on any front. Indeed, I have been waiting for someone to tell me what this woman’s “progressive” credentials are.
She is first and foremost a self-aggrandizing publicity whore whose Accountability Now PAC has so far given $0 to progressive candidates in the first two years of its existence while spending $285,272. If she ran a non-profit this way, it would get shut down. As things stand, the PAC (which also counts Kos and Glenn Greenwald as operators) has only made noise.
…. Hamsher’s kill-the-bill madness included an appearance on FOX News just months after her own call to boycott the network. She later returned to that channel spouting nonsense about cap-and-trade. Her recent appearances on Lawrence O’Donnell leave me convinced progress is not her purpose.
Jane has a troubling problem with transparency and truthfulness…..
rcade (DK, March 2010): Firedoglake publisher Jane Hamsher has become one of the most polarizing figures in the liberal blogosphere, moving people sharply to the pro or con column with her outspoken opposition to the health care reform bill, appearances on Fox News bashing the Obama administration and the letter she sent with conservative activist Grover Norquist demanding the resignation of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Hamsher wields a lot of influence by operating two Democratic political action committees, FDL Action PAC and Accountability Now PAC. By the end of 2009 these PACs had accumulated $454,000 from thousands of individual donors….
The Federal Election Commission reports show that Hamsher’s PACs are a significant source of income for Firedoglake, but my experience trying to question her about them suggests that she’s not big on transparency.
… Accountability Now collected $113,695 in donations during 2009, as it reported to the FEC, and spent $169,992 that year on nine consultants … including Hamsher ($24,000) and PAC cofounder Glenn Greenwald ($24,000)….
Osborneink: …. Jane Hamsher is quite obviously accepting money from BP. Why is that important? Because according to Hamsher, anyone who takes money from the oil company is guilty of selling out:
“Carbon cap and trade was a scheme cooked up by BP and Enron lobbyists in the mid nineties. BP has subsequently dropped millions of dollars into the coffers of green groups to pave the way for it. Obama’s cry to pass Kerry-Lieberman as punishment for BP is not only highly ironic, it’s also illustrative of just how broken our national discourse around environmental issues has become.
Until progressive groups successfully address the challenge of funding themselves independent of the elite individuals and institutions that act as enforcers of a corporate agenda, they will not be able to successfully advocate for progressive causes. Any success they might have will mean that their funding dries up, and they will cease to exist.”
Steve Benen: … This week, Mike Huckabee launched a new educational company called Learn Our History. As the Fox News personality sees it, mean liberals have destroyed history lessons, and he intends to put things right: “America’s youth aren’t excited about our past because they’re being taught history in a way that minimizes what has made America a beacon of hope around the world for over 200 years.”
….Those who buy Learn Our History’s shameless, nationalistic propaganda lessons will finally get “historically accurate and unbiased education.”
And what, pray tell, does “historically accurate and unbiased education” look like? Apparently, it looks like this.
(If you have a weak stomach, do not click play)
As one wise observer put it, “Zombie Reagan saved America from the blacks, the Disco, the terrorists, the Russians, and maybe in a future chapter the alien invasion.”
It’s true. Knife-wielding black people wearing disco t-shirts were apparently a real problem, right up until January 1981…..