Big business to GOP: ‘No fools on our ticket’

Looks like the political world is about to have a civil war. But it’s being narrowed to one party (from the Wall Street Journal):

Republican leaders and their corporate allies have launched an array of efforts aimed at diminishing the clout of the party’s most conservative activists and promoting legislation instead of confrontation next year.

GOP House leaders are taking steps to impose discipline on wavering committee chairmen and tea-party factions. Meanwhile, major donors and advocacy groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads, are preparing an aggressive effort to groom and support more centrist Republican candidates for Congress in 2014’s midterm elections. …

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce early next year plans to roll out an aggressive effort—expected to cost at least $50 million—to support establishment, business-friendly candidates in primaries and the general election, with an aim of trying to win a Republican Senate majority.

“Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” said the business group’s top political strategist, Scott Reed. “That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket.”

Any idea how this is going to work? You can’t stop fools from running. And you can’t stop fools from voting for them.

Meanwhile (via the Arizona Evening Star):

PHOENIX — Republican gubernatorial hopeful Al Melvin is using quotes from Abe Lincoln in his running fight with President Obama and his policies.

The problem: The 16th president never said the things about class warfare Melvin is quoting.

For example, in postings last week on Twitter, the state senator from Tucson wrote, “You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.” That quote, Melvin said, came from Lincoln.

Ditto for a quote of, “You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich,” and “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.”

None of these came from Lincoln, Brooks Simpson, a professor of history at Arizona State University, said when asked about the quotes by Capitol Media Services.

“I can tell you that these quotes are spurious,” Simpson said. “They do not appear in Lincoln’s writings or in his recollected words.”

Seems the “no fools” strategy is off to a rocky start.


The Wall Street Journal’s expert on health care

According to Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, Suzanne Somers is an expert on the Affordable Care Act and its impact on retirees.

Yes, that Suzanne Somers.

She says the health-care law is “a Socialist Ponzi scheme.”

You can judge by reading the column here, but I feel the following is the most important part of the opinion piece. It was tacked onto the end after publication:


An earlier version of this post contained a quotation attributed to Lenin (“Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state”) that has been widely disputed. And it included a quotation attributed to Churchill (“Control your citizens’ health care and you control your citizens“) that the Journal has been unable to confirm.

Also, the cover of a Maclean’s magazine issue in 2008 showed a picture of a dog on an examining table with the headline “Your Dog Can Get Better Health Care Than You.” An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the photo showed and headline referred to a horse.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion (no matter how air headed it may be). But no one is entitled to back up their opinion with their own facts. And, unless it was a photo of a great dane, I don’t know how you confuse a horse with a dog.


Yep. That’s a dog. Horses aren’t allowed to sit on exam tables. That … and the word “dog” in the headline … should have been a giveaway.


Woe is the top 10 percent!

I don’t begrudge people making a lot more money that I make, but why is it that when papers like Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal illustrate the impact of the recent tax change on certain income groups exceeding mine, the people look so miserable?


I mean, really! If I were making as much as anyone in this chart, I’d have a pretty big smile on my face. Wouldn’t you? Or am I really that out of touch?

These people look like Bob Cratchit and family waiting for Scrooge to deliver the Christmas goose. Even the people paying no extra taxes look miserable.

As Brad DeLong says:

Just how many female-headed single-parent families with two children under 10 are there in the United States making $260K/year, anyway?

Rupert Murdoch: Any new News Corp. atrocities, recently?

Rupert Murdoch pimps the news

Rupert Murdoch pimps the news

From the New York Times:

A damning report on the hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s British newspapers concluding that Mr. Murdoch is “not a fit person” to run a huge international company has convulsed Britain’s political and media worlds and threatened a core asset of Mr. Murdoch’s American-based News Corporation….

It said the use of illegal reporting methods and the efforts to thwart inquiries into the practice came from a culture that “permeated from the top throughout the organization and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International,” its British newspaper subsidiary.

“We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company,” the report said.

OK. But like I said in the headline, any new News Corp. atrocities, recently?

Rupert haters have been saying this forever. That it took hacking the phone of a dead girl to bring this about shows how corrupt the company is. Yes, the fact that a government body comes out and says it shows it’s a big deal, but look at how the decision came about. When the members of Parliament voted on the language of the report, all of the Conservatives voted against the wording “is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company,” and all the members of Labour and the Liberal Democrats voted for it. It’s a purely partisan vote. Labour wants the Tories to say that Rupert is a fit person to run a company. It’s a political hammer to use in the next round of elections. The Conservatives can’t say anything different because they’re in power because of Murdoch. And the Lib Dems, who have no credibility anymore since they shacked up with the Tories, are trying to get back into the good graces of their liberal constituencies by attacking an obvious target.

Bottom line, it the Brits really felt Murdoch was unfit to run an international company, they’d start taking apart his empire in the U.K. Keep track of how they deal BSkyB, the U.K. television network that News Corp. has a minority stake in. If they don’t take that away, they aren’t going to do anything.

And honestly, why should Rupert even care about what the Brits think? He already owns that country, and he’s got his sights set on bigger fish. His goal is to take over the political system in America, and he already owns one of the two major parties in the U.S. (When at one time you have most of a party’s potential major candidates for the presidency on your payroll, you own that party. Meanwhile, the people who make up the one he doesn’t own don’t have the balls to say he’s “unfit” because they’re terrified of him. If his fitness as a boss ever came to a vote in Congress, Rupert would win.

With overwhelming bipartisan support.

It’s fun to watch the New York Times fall over itself in its rapture over this development. Rupert has made it clear since he took over the Wall Street Journal that he wants to destroy America’s best newspaper. The sniping on both sides has been entertaining (remember the WSJ piece about feminine-looking men that used as part of an illustration the mouth of the New York Times’ publisher? That’s classic Rupert. Don’t think the Times was going to let that slide). After that, it seems, the publication hated by the right went into full “destroy that Aussie bastard” mode. So a couple of the world’s biggest elitists are busy bitch slapping each other. The Times is getting its shot now. Wait a few weeks and Rupert will come up with something better.

What tops it all off: News Corp. stock rose today after the report came out. How is this possible?

Investors think this is good news because they’re hoping it will force Murdoch to dump some unnecessary properties to focus on the core business and drive the stock price up.

Here’s what the Wall Street Journal said about that:

News Corp. shares rose 19 cents to $19.79 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading Tuesday. “To the extent the Murdochs are forced to run the company in a more investor-friendly manner,” investors are upbeat, said Maxim Group analyst John Tinker. He cited the potential to shift some power to Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey, who is popular with investors.

So what the Brits just did is literally add about a million dollars/pounds/euros to Rupert’s already fat bank account. Yeah, I’m sure he’s going to lose sleep over this.

(And by the way, just so I make myself clear: Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.)

News Corp. takes a major hit

The phone-hacking scandal has actually hurt Rupert Murdoch:

News Corp. dropped its bid to take full control of British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC, as a political firestorm ignited by reporting tactics at one of its U.K. newspaper titles upended the company’s strategic ambitions and delivered a blow to its influence in Britain.

News Corp. pulled the plug on the deal hours before a vote in which U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party lined up to support a motion by the opposition Labour Party urging the company to abandon the bid.

That report is from the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch’s respectable paper in the U.S.

Murdoch’s political cronies are running scared, too. Today’s Prime Minister’s Questions hour in Parliament saw something you’d never expect: The Conservatives, whom Rupert essentially put in power, turning against him. Here’s Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, blasting David Cameron and his ties to News Corp.:

So, it turns out Rupert did crap in the food one too many times.

But as we look at the people now standing up to News Corp., let’s not forget that others had been sticking their necks out in criticizing the company and its practices.

Nick Davies at the Guardian has been covering illegal activities at News Corp. for years, and most of the time, no one paid attention to what he was writing.

— The New York Times did the first comprehensive piece on the scandal in the U.S. in its magazine last September.

— Hugh Grant, the actor, wired himself in April and taped a News Corp. investigator who admitted hacking was pervasive in the company and went to the top.

— Even Jon Stewart, of the Daily Show, has been in a battle with Fox News over the dubious practices of that News Corp. unit.

But others are speaking now, who should just do us all a favor and keep their mouths shut:

A number of key members of the family which controlled The Wall Street Journal say they would not have agreed to sell the prestigious daily to Rupert Murdoch if they had been aware of News International’s conduct in the phone-hacking scandal at the time of the deal.

“If I had known what I know now, I would have pushed harder against” the Murdoch bid, said Christopher Bancroft, a member of the family which controlled Dow Jones & Company, publishers of The Wall Street Journal. Bancroft said the breadth of allegations now on the public record “would have been more problematic for me. I probably would have held out.” Bancroft had sole voting control of a trust that represented 13 percent of Dow Jones shares in 2007 and served on the Dow Jones Board.

Now the Bancrofts were a bunch of heirs to the Dow Jones fortune whose only interest in the company was raking in the big dividend checks every year. One of the reasons Dow Jones was vulnerable to a takeover was because of their lack of interest in anything other than their stock holdings and their regular company checks. When they sold to Rupert, they were vilified. But they made a killing. They got $5 billion for a company that News Corp. eventually had to write off a couple of billion for because it was a bad deal. The Bancrofts will parrot the line that had they known what News Corp. was capable of, they never would have sold, but let’s face it. You’re not going to see them make an offer to buy the company back, even at the now discounted price.

They just need to shut up and count their money.