Young political hitman James O'Keefe has been charged in his attempt to bug the office of Democratic Mary Landrieu. When I briefly mentioned this matter earlier, I told everyone to recall the message of Watergate I: Follow the money.
In a direct sense, O'Keefe gets paid by Big Asshole Andrew Brietbart
, subject of an earlier post. Brad Friedman (who has received a death threat
from the vile Brietbart) has done some investigating
. O'Keefe receives a nice salary from Brietbart, even though Andy now claims that he is "out of the loop" on the wiretapping. Surrrre
Brietbart repeated the don't-know-nuthin'-'bout-wiretapping
mantra in an interview with Hugh Hewitt, although he admitted that he pays O'Keefe
a "fair salary" for what he calls his "life rights."Update: Brad Friedman makes an excellent point
. Breitbart and the Republicans insisted that ACORN as a whole be held responsible for something done by individual employees. (Remember, O'Keefe is the guy who stung ACORN.) O'Keefe is a Brietbart employee: You can't receive a "salary" without being an employee. Therefore, by Brietbart's own logic, Brietbart is responsible. Brietbart may attempt to argue that he never paid his hireling to break the law, but ACORN can make the exact same claim. I'll be very amused to watch Andy try to worm his way out of this hypocrisy: Rationalization is my favorite form of humor.
In a sense, this current debacle was predictable. One thing I've learned about guys like Brietbart and O'Keefe: They have poor impulse control. That's why Brietbart is stupid enough to convey death threats via email. People with poor impulse control take unnecessary chances. They screw up.
(Will O'Keefe rat out his funders? Hard to say. He doesn't strike me as a calm, rational take-the-long-view kind of thinker. And yet -- who knows? I remember how Liddy went to jail for Nixon, even though Nixon held the fanatical Liddy in contempt. O'Keefe's "veritas" remark reminds me of Liddy in his nuttier moments.)
Okay, so where does Andy's money come from? As I asked earlier:
Anyone can maintain a blog -- hell, even I can do it. But making money at this game is a very different matter. It takes a large amount of capital to set up a high-profile website with paid staff and "name" writers and an advertising budget and all the rest. So where is Breitbart getting his dough?
If I recall correctly, Andy may be operating out of Brentwood, not far from his allegedly "progressive" mentor, Zsa-Zsa Huffington. A full-time blogger who can afford that
kind of lifestyle? A blogger who can pay the salary of a team? Unheard of. Unless....
Unless there's a sugar daddy.
Blogging makes a perfect cover. The sugar daddy's funding of the site can come in the form of paid ads. Normally, ads on websites fetch less money than some readers seem to think, but nothing stops a "secret admirer" from over-paying by, say, a factor of ten or twenty. All perfectly legal. Andy's sites are big on Israelotry, so that's one potential source of revenue worthy of investigation.
Let's look at O'Keefe's compatriots in crime. To be specific, let's look at Stan Dai, also arrested for trying to bug Landrieu. Majikthise has done some superb research
. Not long ago, Stannikins was a political science major at George Washington University, and an up-and-coming right-wing star.
He is editor-in-chief of The GW Patriot, an alternative conservative student newspaper, a Club 100 Activist of Young America’s Foundation, and an Undergraduate Fellow on Terrorism of the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies. He is co-founder of GW’s Students Defending Democracy, a volunteer on several political campaigns, and active in the GW College Republicans and GW Colonials for Life.
Not only that:
One Stan Dai was listed as the Assistant Director of the The Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (ICCAE) at Trinity (Washington) University. The ICCAE says it prepares young people for careers in intelligence.
(Original reporting, please credit Lindsay Beyerstein.)
Okay. I just did.
Stan Dai spoke about torture and terrorism last June at a "CIA day" organized by the Junior Statesmen Summer School at Georgetown. The program included a field trip to the CIA and lectures at Georgetown, according this event program I found online. As we know, Dai served as the assistant director of a program dedicated to steering young people into careers in intelligence.
By the way, Politico's David Mark was also a featured speaker at this event -- an event which, we might say, marked the nexus between "new" journalism and spook-world. Politico's Laura Rozen
, without mentioning this potential conflict, has been doing some research into Dai.
In 2008, he was assistant director of an intelligence community "center for academic excellence" at Trinity Washington University.
"Stan Dai was a junior program administrator for one year in a grant-funded program at Trinity Washington University," Ann Pauley, media relations director at Trinity Washington University. "The program was called the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (ICCAE) and was one of several similar programs created with federal funding through the Office of the Director of National Intelligence following the September 11 attacks..."
We're also told that Dai never worked for the CIA. I'm sure that's true. He just ran an organization which recruited young people into the CIA
. Well, that could happen to anyone. You'd be silly to draw the conclusion that Dai himself had something to do with the CIA.
Yesterday, I said that liberals have to establish an intellectual infrastructure in this country. The right-wingers have done just that, and the O'Keefe team was part of it
. Two of the wiretappers belonged to something called the Leadership Institute, which
"prepares conservatives for success in politics, government and the news media." It's trained more than 79,000 students over the years, and employs 58 people. The group is led by longtime Republican player Morton Blackwell, who was elected to the RNC's executive committee in 2004.
And that's one reason why the mainstream media never treated single-payer as a permitted topic of discussion, even though the majority of the American citizenry want such a system. The sources of the Leadership Institute's funding remain somewhat mysterious. But we do know that Morton Blackwell trained Karl Rove
In 1979, Rove trained at Morton Blackwell’s Leadership Institute. Its slogan: “For conservatives who want to win.” Blackwell helped co-found the influential Christian Right Moral Majority as well as the highly secretive and far-right Council for National Policy.
CNP membership is a conspiratorial who's who: Ollie North, John Singlaub, Pat Robertson, J. Peter Grace, and so on. (Erik Prince's mom
is also on board.) The CNP receives a lot of its money from the Moonies, and also appears to have ties to the Scientologists. Along with Blackwell, CNP co-founders included some bona-fide kooks -- Illuminati-spotter Tim LaHaye and Glenn Beck's spirit guide, Cleon Skousen. (Skousen thought that Wall Streeters are commies.)
Just as Watergate allowed us a glimpse at things that were far more important than a third-rate burglary, the Landrieu incident allows us to peek in on a phenomenon which is much more important than the attempt to bug a senator. The far-right networks which achieved such astonishing success in the 1980s understand the need for new blood. The superstars of the Reagan era have aged; many are downright ancient. And so the gray-haired eminences are hiring 20-somethings to do some dirty work. If those jobs are done well, the 20-somethings will rise within the system.
Wiretappers O'Keefe and Robert Flanagan also work for another right-wing pressure group called the Pelican Institute, which wants to replace Medicaid with vouchers for private insurance. Again, the funding is mysterious. From the Times-Picayune
Flanagan was paid on an hourly basis by the New Orleans-based Pelican Institute for Public Policy to assist with its blog, said Kevin Kane, the president of the libertarian group.
Let that sink in. Paid?
On an hourly basis? To....blog?
Let's step back and take in the larger picture.Someone is pouring a lot of money into blogworld.
I sure as hell ain't getting any. But others are. The money is pouring in through a network of mysterious "institutes," which have links to the most ultra-reactionary players within the American ruling class.
Throughout 2008, many of us thought that we could hear the Devil's bag of gold chink-a-chinking away in the background as Obotmania took over the A-list prog-blogs. (Frankly, I've cited one such site -- TPM -- above.) But the Devil has a march larger bag than we realized. Now that a sure-to-fail Democrat is presiding over this country's economic downfall, most of the lucre is a-heading right. The ludicrous "Obama-as-socialist" meme will be mainstream. Ann Coulter may make another stab at rehabilitating McCarthy. Hell, maybe Skousen will be taught in school.
Within two years -- maybe one -- the blogosphere will be a very different place. The Kossacks will be (already are) dispirited and deflated. Most of the energy and all of the money will be with the resurgent reactionaries. The Kook Right will become the new center.