Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Stagecraft President Stages More Political Kabuki

Oops, he did it again.  President Obama is already on record with a number of news organizations for carefully stage-crafting town hall meetings with well-placed planted questions.  There were many such events during the health care "debate."  Here's but one example.

Of course, the President and his team insist that it's all just great luck.  Uh huh, right.

The latest example is the planted question by a well-connected, big-money donor to the Democratic Party at a town hall meeting scheduled staged at LinkedIn.  Uncharacteristically, the President had a well-thought-out, eloquent, impromptu answer, all without the aid of a teleprompter.

The man who asked the staged question was Doug Edwards, a former Google marketing executive and author of "I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59".

The media, of course, lapped it up.

Surprisingly, I saw little follow up investigation by the media.  Who was this guy?  What would prompt him to ask such a question?  What's his angle?

Well, according to campaign finance disclosures for "Doug Edwards" and "Douglas Edwards" of Los Altos, CA and Campbell, CA, the esteemed Mr. Campbell graciously donated some $465,682 to various political causes between 2004 and 2012.  Amazingly, every single recipient is either a member of the Democratic Party or associated with the Democratic Party.  What are the odds?

Despite residing in California, Mr. Edwards' generosity extended to a variety of other states, including Montana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Tennessee.  Similarly, over $144,000 went to ActBlue, a money-laundering organization for the Democratic Party who bills themselves as "the online clearinghouse for Democratic action."  According to, who tracks campaign spending at the national level, ActBlue is the #1 top all-time political donor with 99% of their money going to Democrats and 0% going to Republicans.

Mr. Edwards' biggest benefactors include:
  • ActBlue (money-launderer for the Democratic Party): $144,100
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC): $73,900
  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC): $68,900
  • Gillibrand for Senate (Democrat): $12,000
  • Ohio Democratic Party: $10,000 
You can find a detailed list of Mr. Edwards' political contributions here.  The few apparent duplicated contributions are because of simultaneous contributions to both primary and general election campaigns, given on the same date.  It is more difficult to find spending records for the state level, but records show that Mr. Edwards spent at least $14,500 across California, Wisconsin, and Iowa.  Some of his ActBlue spending may actually be for state candidates.

Mr. Edwards is also a public member of the self-proclaimed "Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength".

In a few cases, Mr. Edwards' donated the maximum legal amount to various campaigns--well, the maximum legal amount unless you happen to be married.  Then, your wife can also contribute to the cause.

Mr. Edwards has indeed married very well. His amazingly bright and talented wife, Kristen, has a Ph.D. and M.A. from Stanford, degrees from Brown University and Middlebury College, and even studied at the Leningrad State University in the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, before it later became Saint Petersberg State University.

According to public campaign records, "Kristen Edwards" of Los Altos, CA gave another $113,400 to the Democratic Party and its causes.

Mrs. Edward's biggest benefactors include:
  • ActBlue (money-launderer for the Democratic Party): $33,100
  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC): $28,500
You can find a detailed list of Mrs. Edwards' political contributions here.  State donations are more difficult to track, but Mrs. Edwards spent at least $9,500 in California.  Some of her ActBlue spending may actually be for state candidates.

Ironically, the Edwards' don't need action from the President of the United States or even from the ineffectual U.S. Congress to increase their tax burden.  The Edwards' can contribute more of their money to taxes now, of their own free will, without waiting for the government to act.  Here's how.

Useful Information for Under-taxed Individuals

So, we are left with a few possible conclusions:
  1. The President is the luckiest man on the planet and just happened to call on someone in the audience who just happens to agree completely with the President's stance on taxation and his job bill.
  2. That the Democratic Party really isn't the crack, money-making machine that we all believed and the President had no idea that someone who's family gave over $500,000 to the Party, over multiple years, across multiple states, was in the audience.  Me?  I give a minor amount to one Democratic Party candidate and I'm on their mailing list forever!
  3. The President and his handlers have little respect for the intelligence of the American public or the American press.
See also ...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Most of Us" Recognize Divisive Rhetoric When We See It

Elizabeth Warren, Candidate for Senate, Massachusetts 2012
"I hear all this, you know, 'Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.' No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own -- nobody.
"You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory -- and hire someone to protect against this -- because of the work the rest of us did.
"Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless--keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."
I agree very much in principle with Elizabeth Warren's passion, but I'm sorry, Ms. Warren, your comments DO INDEED sound like "class warfare."

Who paid to build the roads?  You say, "the rest of us."  I say, "most of us, including ME!"  In fact, some of us paid MANY TIMES MORE for those very same roads than did the majority of Americans.

Who paid to educate my workers?  You say, "the rest of us."  I say, "most of us, including ME!"  In fact, some of us paid MANY TIMES MORE to educate my workers and my children than did the majority of Americans.  At my company, we provide fairly expensive training for employees after they come on board so that they can be productive, internationally competitive, that my company can be successful, and that all of us can be happy, productive taxpayers.  My employees and I volunteer at local public and private schools to enhance math, science, and technology classes.  Yet, some failed politicians vilify us for not paying or doing our "fair share" (which mysteriously has never been explicitly defined).

Who paid for police and fire protection services?  You say, "the rest of us."  I say, "most of us, including ME!"  If fact, some of us paid MANY TIMES MORE for the very same police and fire protection service than did the majority of Americans.

If you look at the FACTS--not the feel good rhetorical bullshiloney from certain Progressives--the MAJORITY of upper-income taxpayers pay their "fair share" of taxes and more.  In 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008, federal, and state taxes were my single largest expense item--greater than my mortgage payment, insurance, food, and car payment COMBINED.

Don't take my word for it.  Check for yourself.  The data is readily available to all.  You can start your education here.

Never mind that President Obama's "Buffett Test" tax plan is a side-show and a distracts from needed, real tax reform.  Never mind that an estimated 46% of households will PAY ZERO INCOME TAX in 2011.  Never mind that taxpayers paid $4.2 BILLION in tax incentives to people who are in the United State illegally.

Every taxpayer I know would actually agree to pay more IF (and it's a very significant IF) we actually believed that giving more money and more power to the state and federal governments would actually help solve the problem. Most taxpayers are appalled at the dysfunction, corruption, and absolute lack of leadership in our state houses and in Washington, D.C.

I'm sorry, Ms. Warren, but "most of us" recognize your statement as yet more divisive rhetoric.

See also ...