Archive for the ‘Herb and Marion Sandler’ Category
AS WE KNOW IT – THE COUNTRY IS RUN BE GEORGE SOROS AND HIM MINIONS – CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS – JOHN PODESTA MAKES ALL THE MOVES, WRITES THE SPEECHES, WRITES ALL THE POLICY THEN SENDS IT ON TO VALERIE JARRET TO HAVE BARRY IMPLEMENT IT.
IN THIS ARTICLE JOHN FUND IS STARTING TO GET WHAT IS HAPPENING.
The recent spate of Washington scandals has some liberals finally confessing in public what many of them have said privately for a long time. The Obama administration is arrogant, insular, prone to intimidation of adversaries, and slovenly when it comes to seeing that rules are followed. Indeed, the Obama White House is a strange place, and it’s good that its operational model is now likely to be finally dissected by the media.
Joe Klein of Time magazine laments Obama’s “unwillingness to concentrate.”
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post tars him as a President Passerby who “seems to want no control over the actions of his administration.” Milbank warns that “he’s creating a power vacuum in which lower officials behave as though anything goes.” Comedian Jon Stewart says Obama’s government lacks real “managerial competence” and that the president is either Nixonian if he knew about the scandals in advance or a Mr. Magoo–style incompetent if he didn’t.
But it was Chris Matthews of MSNBC who cut even deeper in his Hardball show on Wednesday. A former speechwriter for President Carter, he wondered if Obama “really doesn’t want to be responsible day-to-day for running” the government. He savaged the White House for using “weird, spooky language” about “the building leadership” that must approve the Benghazi talking points. “I don’t understand the model of this administration: weak chiefs of staff afraid of other people in the White House. Some undisclosed role for Valerie Jarrett. Unclear, a lot of floating power in the White House, but no clear line of authority. I’ve talked to people who’ve been chief of staff. They were never allowed to fire anybody, so they weren’t really chief of staff.” He concluded that President Obama “obviously likes giving speeches more than he does running the executive branch.”
So if Obama is not fully engaged, who does wield influence in the White House? A lot of Democrats know firsthand that Jarrett, a Chicago mentor to both Barack and Michelle Obama and now officially a senior White House adviser, has enormous influence. She is the only White House staffer in anyone’s memory, other than the chief of staff or national security adviser, to have an around-the-clock Secret Service detail of up to six agents. According to terrorism expert Richard Miniter’s recent book, Leading from Behind: “At the urging of Valerie Jarrett, President Barack Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden on three separate occasions before finally approving” the mission for May 2, 2011. She was instrumental in overriding then–chief of staff Rahm Emanuel when he opposed the Obamacare push, and she was key in steamrolling the bill to passage in 2010. Obama may rue the day, as its chaotic implementation could become the biggest political liability Democrats will face in next year’s midterm elections.
A senior Republican congressional leader tells me that he had come to trust that he could detect the real lines of authority in any White House, since he’s worked for five presidents. “But this one baffles me,” he says. “I do know that when I ask Obama for something, there is often no answer. But when I ask Valerie Jarrett, there’s always an answer or something happens.”
Last month, Time broke new ground when it decided to throw the spotlight on Jarrett’s influence, which the press till then had not much covered: The magazine named her one of the “100 most influential people in the world.” Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, gushed about Jarrett in an accompanying essay: “Above all else, however, and beyond all doubt, Valerie Jarrett is loyal.”
No one doubts that President Obama has the White House management structure he wants; he has populated it with trusted aides such as Jarrett whose loyalty he can count on. But it’s increasingly clear that this structure — supported by functionaries who are often highly partisan and careless — hasn’t served the country well and hasn’t received sufficient scrutiny from the media. That’s why many liberals are openly expressing concern over the “mini-Politburo” at the White House — the small number of people who have centralized White House decision-making.
The Obama White House management team doesn’t share the bunker mentality of the Nixon White House (though there are similarities). Nor does it have the frat-house atmosphere of the early Clinton White House, or the “happy talk” air of unreality of the latter George W. Bush administration. But its “all politics, all the time” ethos demands scrutiny now that the scandals are mounting and its shortcomings are becoming all too clear.
— John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO.
Investigating the funders of ProPublica, the new investigative journalism outfit.
By Jack Shafer – the slate.com
The first American press was the partisan press, underwritten and dictated by the political parties. Starting in the 1830s or so, the profit-seeking lords of the commercial press staked their major claim to the news business and established a primacy they have maintained to this day
The third wave in American journalism—that of the foundation press—may be taking form now thanks to Bay Area billionaires Herbert and Marion Sandler. Waving $10 million that they promise to replenish annually, the Sandlers have founded the nonprofit ProPublica to produce investigative journalism. (Usual suspect the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is also chipping in some money to the ProPublica kitty, as are the Atlantic Philanthropiesand the JEHT Foundation.)
Today’s New York Times reports that ProPublica will soon hire 24 reporters and editors to create one of investigative journalism’s largest staffs. Based in New York City and led by former Wall Street Journal managing editor Paul Steiger, ProPublica promises to produce quality investigative journalism and give it—not sell it—to media outlets.
ProPublica’s Web site claims that the business crisis in publishing has put a crimp in investigative units across the land, and philanthropy is needed to fill the gap. Other nonprofits muckrake, of course. The Center for Investigative Reporting has been doing so for 30 years and the Center for Public Integrity for more than 15. Nonprofits already publish investigative magazines such asMother Jones. Some newspaper owners have given their properties to nonprofits to maintain independence and quality (the St. Petersburg Times, the Anniston Star, and the Union Leader; see Alicia C. Shepard’s article). In the United Kingdom, a trustexists whose mission is to preserve the Guardian‘s financial and editorial independence “in perpetuity.”
But nothing on this scale and with this investigative focus has been attempted before in journalism.
What do the Sandlers want for their millions? Perhaps to return us to the days of the partisan press. The couple made their fortune, which Forbes estimates at $1.2 billion, at Golden West Financial Corp. In recent years, they’ve spent millions on politics. The Federal Election Commission database shows the two of them giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic Party campaigns. In 2004, Herbert Sandler gave the MoveOn.org Voter Fund $2.5 million, again according to the FEC database.
The Center for Responsive Politics Web site reports donations of $8.5 million from Herbert and Marion to the 527 group Citizens for a Strong Senate, in the 2004 cycle. CSS was formed by “a group of strategists with close ties to former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards,” writes the washingtonpost.com’s Chris Cillizza. American Banker reported in 2005 that Herbert also gave $1 million to the California stem cell initiative and that the pair have also funded the progressive Center for American Progress.
The Sandlers’ enthusiasm for journalism and journalists is late in arriving. Back in April 1992, at the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ annual convention, Marion ascribed partial blame for the savings and loan disaster to the press. “Where were you when it was happening?” she asked, according to a story by the Chicago Tribune‘s James Warren. Her husband accused the press of making “stars out of bums and charlatans” like swindler Charles Keating. “The press is susceptible to the Big Lie, no matter how patently nonsensical,” Herbert said.
What sort of assistance did the Sandlers give the press to get to the bottom of the S&L scandal while it was happening? Um, not much. Warren writes, “Herbert Sandler conceded that, apart from being an occasional anonymous source for one Wall Street Journal reporter, he declined to help journalists as much as he probably should have.”
ProPublica’s Web site vows that its investigations will be conducted in a “non-partisan and non-ideological manner, adhering to the strictest standards of journalistic impartiality.” But philanthropists, especially those who earned the fortune they’re giving away, tend not to distribute their money with a blind eye to the results. How happy will they be if ProPublica gores their sacred Democratic cows? Or takes the “wrong” position on their pet projects: health, the environment, and civil liberties?
If I were a newspaper editor considering ProPublica copy for a future issue, the first thing I’d want is proof of a firewall preventing the Sandlers and other funders from picking—or nixing—the targets of its probes. And if I were an editorial writer, I’d call upon Herbert Sandler to provide ProPublica with 10 years of funding ($100 million), and then resign from his post as the organization’s chairman so he’ll never be tempted to bollix up what might turn out to be a good thing.