Patterico's Pontifications

9/21/2009

Breitbart’s Next News Drop: The NEA, the White House, The Lies and the Cover-Up

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

(A slightly different version of this post appears today at Big Hollywood.)

I believe I might have mentioned that Andrew Breitbart signaled that his next news drop would relate to the NEA.

And it does. But it involves so much more.

Today’s revelation is the extensive proof that shows the White House used the National Endowment for the Arts to push a political agenda favorable to President Obama. But it gets worse: the Administration lied about it, and tried to cover it up.

You already know the background: an NEA spokesman participated in a conference call designed to encourage artists to further Obama’s legislative agenda. This was revealed back in August at Big Hollywood. What is new today is the full transcript of the call — and how clearly the NEA was involved in urging artists to propagandize for Obama.

Naturally, the NEA and the Obama administration denied this. According to the Los Angeles Times (in a blog post, of course, and not an actual newsprint story), the NEA denied any purpose to further a legislative agenda:

The NEA issued a statement saying that it took part in the conference to help inform arts organizations about opportunities to sponsor volunteer service projects themselves, or have their members take part in other volunteer efforts. “This call was not a means to promote any legislative agenda, and any suggestions to that end are simply false,” the statement said.

The White House similarly denied any desire to further a legislative agenda:

Responding by e-mail Wednesday, White House spokesman Shin Inouye said the Aug. 10 teleconference “was not meant to promote any legislative agenda — it was a discussion on the United We Serve effort and how all Americans can participate.”

Oh really?

If Big Media had been paying attention, it could have demonstrated these denials to be rank lies. But Big Media fell asleep, leaving isolated organs of conservative media to pick up the ball and run it down the field. So, now, today, the full transcript is revealed, showing how badly Big Media missed the story.

The newly revealed full transcript of the call clearly demonstrates that the NEA participated in an unseemly (and possibly illegal) effort to influence artists to propagandize on behalf of the president’s political agenda. Let’s look at some aspects of the call that make it clear that, as Patrick Courrielche says with admirable restraint: “The NEA and the White House did encourage a handpicked, pro-Obama arts group to address issues under contentious national debate.”

Michael Skolnik
Michael Skolnik

One of the first speakers on the call was Michael Skolnik, the “political director” for Def-Jam co-founder Russell Simmons. Skolnik made it quite clear that the artists were gathered together because of their support for Obama’s agenda. Skolnik said that he had been “asked by folks in the White House and folks in the NEA” to “help bring together the independent artists community around the country.” He told the callers that “the goal of all this and the goal of this phone call” included the effort “to support some of the president’s initiatives” and “to push the president and push his administration.”

Obama Hope Poster
The Obama Hope poster

Skolnik cited the famous Obama Hope poster as “a great example” of “the role that we played during the campaign for the president.” He told callers that “the president has a clear arts agenda” and that “all of us who are on this phone call were selected for a reason” — namely, “you are the ones that lead by example in your communities. You are the thought leaders. You are the ones that . . . tell our country and our young people sort of what to do and what to be into; and what’s cool and what’s not cool.” (A fuller version of Skolnik’s quotes is set forth here for context.)

A bit later in the call, Buffy Wicks spoke up. Wicks is the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and served as the head of Obama’s Missouri campaign, and also as the campaign’s California Field Director.

Far from taking issue with Skolnik’s highly politicized description of the purpose of the call, Wicks added to it. Like Skolnik, Wicks indicated that she was talking to a hand-picked group of Obama-supporting artists. She told the assembled listeners that she has “really just a deep, deep appreciation for all the work that you all put into the campaign for the two plus years that we all worked together.” She said: “we won and that’s exciting, and now we have to take all that energy and make it really meaningful.” Why, I feel certain that she is not talking about promoting any legislative agenda, don’t you?

Buffy Wicks
Buffy Wicks

Wicks said that “change doesn’t come easy, but then now that I’m actually in the White House and working towards furthering this agenda, this very aggressive agenda” she realized that there is a need to “engage people at a local level and to engage them in the process.” Towards that end, she told the artists, “we need you, and we’re going to need your help, and we’re going to come at you with some specific asks here.

In discussing the “specific asks” she veered deeply into policy. Wicks identified four main areas where people can engage in “service.” Two of them seem relatively innocuous: education and community renewal. But the first two she mentioned are clearly two of Obama’s biggest hot-button issues: health care and “energy and environment” (as in cap and trade). Speaking of “context,” Courrielche reminds us that the “context” surrounding this call was that it took place in early August — at a time when Congress was headed into a recess, and it appeared that the Obama administration was losing the debate on health care.

Wicks discussed so much policy with the artists that she even felt the need to apologize:

I know I’m throwing a lot of government stuff at you guys, so bear with me. It’s the world we live in now. We’re actually running the government.

What does this have to do with art?

Wicks discussed how the administration sees “service” as a “platform” by which the administration can take “folks who have just been engaged in electoral politics” and “engage them in really the process of governing.” The “service” certainly sounded like obeisance to leftist causes; Wicks described how she wants folks “to connect with federal agencies, with labor unions, progressive groups, face groups, women’s groups, you name it.” Yes, you name it! As long as it’s a leftist group, it can be part of “service”!

Finally, we get to the comments of Yosi Sergant, the (former) Director of Communications for the National Endowment for the Arts. (Sergant was later reassigned after Glenn Beck played portions of the phone call on his TV show. Sergant is still with the NEA in some other capacity.)

Yosi Sergant
Yosi Sergant

Like Wicks and Skolnik, Sergant saw the call participants as Obama supporters. He says that the call itself is

reflective of all the hard work that went down during the campaign, all the time and energy that each and every one of you put in, myself included, it’s paying off.

This is what we fought for. We fought for a chance to be at the table and not only at the table but we’re setting the table.

He said more than once that “this is a community that knows how to make a stink.” The NEA official then virtually ordered the presumably willing participants to create art that would support the president’s views on the policy areas previously identified by Wicks:

We are participating in history as it’s being made. So bear with us as we learn the language so that we can speak to each other safely and we can really work together to move the needle and to get stuff done. Pick — I would encourage you to pick something whether it’s health care, education, the environment, you know, there’s four key areas that the corporation has identified as the areas of service.

My ask would be to apply artistic, you know, your artistic creative communities’ utilities and bring them to the table.

I guess it worked. As Big Hollywood has previously reported:

Within 48 hours of this phone call, 21 arts organizations endorsed President Obama’s health-care reform plan. Within days, Rock the Vote started an all out blitz that included a “health care design contest.”

In perhaps the most fascinating exchange, a caller named Liz Ban asked:

I think for the people that are on the inside of government to talk for a minute about Organizing For America and the differences between Organizing For America and Serve.gov and what we can do to help on critical advocacy issues like health care reform, cap and trade policy, if that should help move policies through the government, because this is a really important role that our creative community can also play.

That question is answered by Nell Abernathy, the director of outreach for United We Serve, a federal agency run through the Corporation for National and Community Service (this is apparently the “corporation” to which Sergant referred). As you read Abernathy’s words, you can easily picture the wink and the nod as she explains that the federal agencies can’t explicitly advocate specific policy changes:

Yeah, I can address that a little bit, and the reason only a little bit is largely because in my role at a federal agency, I’m precluded from going too far down the specific steps what people can do to advocate. But we have to, for these legal reasons, remain really separate what we do here from what OFA is doing, and so they’re basically two separate goals with the same idea. We use the same techniques, organizing strategies, because basically they’re both run by people from the campaign. But Serve.gov and the United We Serve initiative is based on the direct service addressing needs through volunteering today bipartisan support ideas than OFA, which is obviously advocating for policy change on these specific issues.

Got that? It’s “two separate goals with the same idea” and “both run by people for the campaign” but [wink wink] we can’t advocate policy change because [wink wink] we’re a federal agency.

National Service

Luckily, Mr. Skolnik jumps in to cut through the bullshit, which he’s allowed to do because he doesn’t work for the government:

Well, I can speak on that because fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t work for the government. This is Michael, again, but I can speak a little bit on that, and then I’ll wrap this up.

I think that’s a good point, Liz. Organizing For America, which was created after the campaign which now houses, as we said, in the Democratic party and is run by Mitch Stewart, who is part of the campaign, he’s the executive director, it is what the Democratic party has created to help advocate on behalf of the president, on behalf of the president’s policies to get them passed in government.

So what I had hoped in bringing this group together with the great hosts, which again, I want to thank for reaching out to their communities was that we could begin to bring together our community in the same enthusiasm, with the same enthusiasm and with the same energy that we all saw in each other during the campaign, and we could continue to work together on issues as important as United We Serve and Service and begin here and continue to work together on other issues that we feel are important, as we mentioned some of them, health care and others . . .

Whoops! United We Serve is the federal agency that Ms. Abernathy had just said [wink wink] had to remain separate from policy, and here is Skolnik mushing the two together.

Why This Story Is Important

It would be a mistake to dismiss this story as unimportant because there is no jaw-dropping angle like ACORN staffers’ apparent complicity in trafficking in under-age children for prostitution. Consider what is happening: the NEA is encouraging artists to create propaganda for a president’s policy initiatives. This is a corrosive precedent — and what’s more, it illustrates the overarching danger of the Obama administration: government, by increasingly taking over various aspects of American society, threatens to bend society to the will of a single man.

It would also be a mistake to dismiss the story as old just because the basic contours of the story were revealed in August. Since then, the NEA and the Obama administration have denied pursuing a legislative agenda in the call; today it is clear that they lied. What’s more, they tried to cover it up with the reassignment of Sergant. And the media played right along, for the most part acting as though that was the end of it.

Breitbart here is doing the same thing he did with ACORN: giving the national media good reason to investigate a story, sitting back and waiting — and then, once the media has proved itself inadequate to the task, providing the goods that show why the story was important all along.

The most obviously interesting question in all this going forward is whether laws were broken with this call.

Regardless of the answer to that question, this is an important story with implications that go beyond the NEA. Here’s the bottom line. Before today, Obama took over car companies and used his power over those companies to further his agenda of producing cars he believed consumers should own. Today, he increases government power over artists, to harness their creative powers to the “service” of his political agenda. What will come tomorrow, when Our Leader takes over health care, new industries, or God knows what else?

96 Responses to “Breitbart’s Next News Drop: The NEA, the White House, The Lies and the Cover-Up”

  1. “…high crimes and misdemeanors…”

    It appears to be a target-rich environment.
    Too bad we have a thoroughly corrupt Congress also!

    AD - RtR/OS! (8c7b14)

  2. This is important, but I’m afraid I don’t believe this will garner that much attention.

    The media has already downplayed this:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/10/glenn-beck-strikes-again_n_281986.html

    The story was released a while ago, so this really isn’t that explosive. ACORN had much more controversy, this is another Glenn Beck episode and I’m not sure it will garner much outrage.

    Conservatives know Obama is corrupt. We see it all the time. He’s nationalized America, this is just more nationalization. America has grown complacent with regards to nationalization, so I’ll be shocked (and happy) if this is looked into.

    Kudos to Breitbart, however. Via Greg Gutfeld and Red Eye: When is Breibart become the new chairman of the RNC?

    Audacity (2fd5ad)

  3. Puffington-Host = the media!

    Troll drops!

    AD - RtR/OS! (8c7b14)

  4. How on earth did he get the recording? Wow. White House communications security must be really good. Maybe because the government’s running it.

    Richard Aubrey (a9ba34)

  5. The most obviously interesting question in all this going forward is whether laws were broken with this call.

    And the one I wished there was a little more information on here. What do the legal requirements spell out exactly? Adding that information to this story could make it all that more powerful.

    Rich Horton (e35ee7)

  6. George Will briefly mentioned this NEA story on ABC’s This Week a couple Sundays go and speculated how many laws may have been broken on that NEA confrence call. The transcript now suggests that indeed several were. Even though the issue is complex and not as sexy as the ACORN tapes, I think the legal community may find they have some things to weigh in about here. And it’s important because the story ties in much more closely into the WH than the ACORN stuff.

    Those crazy ex-campaign kool aid kids now “running the government” just think they’re too clever by half with our tax dollars, no?

    And, will any of the Gleens, Constitutional law scholar extraordinaire, have anything to say about this?

    elissa (a20a4f)

  7. I agree this is an important story, but it would be much better with something to look at, not just audio of phone calls of people talking about what kind of art they hope would be created. How much time does it take for a hack to create a piece of crap art, anyway? It would be nice if there were some already in the can. There’s saving the republic and all that, but for sheer entertainment value I hope Breitbart didn’t break the story too soon.

    sierra (dfb2fa)

  8. I would have loved to see a hack artist explain that, no, nobody actually told him to create that piece of appalling agitprop he just got funding for. No, that was his own idea.

    sierra (dfb2fa)

  9. This is fascism.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  10. This is fascism and when the NPRs and the Newsweeks and the MSNBCs don’t shine a bright and scrutinizing light on this you will know all you need to know about where your little country is and where it’s heading.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  11. I’ll bet that Katie Couric’s teleprompter leads with this tonight. Sure it will.

    Actually, I’m wondering how many days in row the Olberdouche can make Breitbart his worst person in the world.

    physics geek (6669a4)

  12. As to possible laws broken, federal criminal law, 18 U.S.C. 600, provides as follows:

    Whoever, directly or indirectly, promises any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit, provided for or made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress, or any special consideration in obtaining any such benefit, to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party in connection with any general or special election to any political office, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

    If a federal agency (NEA) is implicitly promising government funding for artists in exchange for “art” promoting the President’s healthcare legislation or his cap-and-trade proposal, this may apply.

    Tim K (b3d397)

  13. Let’s see…
    Obama’s campaign left the door wide open to foreign donations and absolutely nothing happened.
    The Obama administration subverted bankruptcy law in taking over two large corporations and passed the assets over to their political allies. Nothing happened there, either.
    Breitbart breaks a story about the NEA operating as a political arm of the Obama administration. This doesn’t even count as a glancing blow to me. I hope this is just a feint by Breitbart before he unleashes something bigger. However, I’m not sure if this feint is really going to merit a response, even if President Obama happened to be an active participant in the teleconference.

    SomeOtherSteve (dd8b9a)

  14. But it involves so much more.

    Your sense of this story would have been more in sync a long time ago, before modern society had gotten so thoroughly desensitized to the trashing of various standards. We’ve become a more sloppy, dumbed-down nation, still not as bad as a Mexico or (God willing) Venezuela, but well on the road to becoming that type of place.

    Actually, a form of Banana Republic-ization of America dates back to the late 1930s, when Franklin Roosevelt outrageously attempted to pack the Supreme Court. His was sort of a more modest version of what Honduras’ former, now-deposed, president attempted to do to Honduras a short time ago.

    The sociopolitics of America have grown more and more corroded since then.

    When the history books are being written in the future (by non-liberal scholars, of course), they’ll probably look back on this “Goddamn America” point in time (kicked off on November 4, 2008) as the moment when the United States jumped the shark.

    Mark (411533)

  15. Now we have a government agency (NEA) that is an on-going criminal enterprise!

    1219 days to go!

    AD - RtR/OS! (8c7b14)

  16. ditto to #14… yawn….

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  17. yawning is same as collaboration I think

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  18. The most obviously interesting question in all this going forward is whether laws were broken with this call.

    And who exactly is going to be investigating if any laws were broken? Eric Holder? Ha ha.

    Even if the law was broken, this will never, ever be prosecuted.

    A.S. (09b2d3)

  19. More as to possible laws broken. Two provisions of the Hatch Act may be applicable. 5 U.S.C. 7323 provides that:

    (a) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b), an employee may take an active part in political management or in political campaigns, except an employee may not— . . . (4) knowingly solicit or discourage the participation in any political activity of any person who – (A) has an application for any compensation, grant, contract, ruling, license, permit, or certificate pending before the employing office of such employee.

    5 U.S.C. 7324 provides: “(a) An employee may not engage in political activity – (1) while the employee is on duty.”

    Tim K (b3d397)

  20. The striking thing to me is the sheer incompetence of the Obama staff. They cancel the BMD sites in Czech and Poland and, when asked about the effect on Russia, they say they never even considered the Russians. They get a strategy document from the general Obama picked for Afghanistan and Obama has one meeting in a month. Then he says he won’t make any decisions until he understands the strategy. Frustrated Pentagon people leak the 66 page memo he got. Obama is in full professorial mode, making no decision before it’s too late. Then they get caught with these high school political games.

    This will not end well.

    Mike K (addb13)

  21. All else aside, some of this stuff reads like an Esalen Institute encounter session. This Buffy woman and all her meaningful energy, sustained relationships, not to mention all her “L.A. peeps”…

    sierra (dfb2fa)

  22. Eric Holder ought to be impeached and sued, not necessiarly in that order. He’s not doing his job.

    PCD (02f8c1)

  23. Did “Rock The Vote” violate it’s 501(c)(3) “non-partisan non-profit” status by engaging in the activity ?
    The thin veil of “progressive” rather that “Democrat” seems to have been pulled back here.

    Neo (7830e6)

  24. Well, we now have the precedent of an administration prosecuting members of the previous administrations for matters less obviously criminal than these appear to be. I would be thinking about that if I were these folks. Holder won’t go after them but the next administration and the next Congress may very well do so.

    Mike K (addb13)

  25. If you even try to go after these people they’ll paint stuff. Or make up a dance or something. I’m not saying it’s impossible but it would definitely take some fortitude.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  26. Neo, you may have a point, though I don’t know what the word “substantial” means in this context.

    sierra (dfb2fa)

  27. If a law is broken and no one investigates it, was a law really broken?

    Dr. K (eca563)

  28. I really hope one of the media outlets will run with this, but I want them to really tweak the Axis of Co-conspirators (ABC, CBS, & NBC) and the Dead Tree media. Have the opening include ” …. with tentacles reaching all the way to the White House”.

    Slap ‘em, spank ‘em, enrage them to respond. Then we’ll expose them further.

    MDr (fd1f4b)

  29. Commies lie, who knew.

    bill-tb (365bd9)

  30. Patterico,

    You may wish to consider, in all of this, the Obama firing of the Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service. Take a look at agencies like the NEA. Have IG positions been left unfilled in places where this stuff is going on? Obviously no conclusions can be made without evidence, but you may wish to look at it.

    Sir Elliot (b6e675)

  31. And just HOW MUCH TAXPAYER MONEY have these 16 organizations received so far? IIRC, $2 MILLION was passed out so far under the auspices of “Stimulus”.

    GarandFan (d065c6)

  32. Perhaps this is step one in a multi-step process of the unfolding of this. As with ACORN, looking to see how much disinformation can be provoked each day, only to be a set-up for the next day’s revelations. I hope so, for as wrong as this is, it seems to me the expected norm in Chicago and Philadelphia, and Dr. K at #29 has the question of the day on it.

    MD in Philly (d4f9fa)

  33. Perhaps this oversight was what AB was referring to when he suggested Pinch Sulzberger might be a couple of slugs short of a headline.

    Richard Aubrey (a9ba34)

  34. “My prayers answered: junk we can look at.”

    sierra,

    I thought that same link (the Rock the Vote one at PowerLine) was already in my post, near the end. The one talking about the design contest?

    Patterico (a73a78)

  35. [...] Patterico points out the obvious: that both the NEA and the administration lied when they claimed that no legislative agenda was addressed.  Despite the fact that this call was ostensibly hosted by Michael Skolnik, Skolnik explicitly stated that he was working on the behest of the NEA and the White House – a claim that was not refuted either by Deputy Director Wicks or at-the-time NEA Director of Communications Yosi Sergant (both of whom were on the call).  For that matter, the primary interest of Nell Abernathy, director of outreach for United We Serve (also on the call) is to make clear that Skolnik is the cutout between the artists’ groups and the government. [...]

    A roundup of the NEA propaganda scandal. - Moe_Lane’s blog - RedState (8eaf85)

  36. [...] Patterico points out the obvious: that both the NEA and the administration lied when they claimed that no legislative agenda was addressed.  Despite the fact that this call was ostensibly hosted by Michael Skolnik, Skolnik explicitly stated that he was working on the behest of the NEA and the White House – a claim that was not refuted either by Deputy Director Wicks or at-the-time NEA Director of Communications Yosi Sergant (both of whom were on the call).  For that matter, the primary interest of Nell Abernathy, director of outreach for United We Serve (also on the call) is to make clear that Skolnik is the cutout between the artists’ groups and the government. [...]

    Moe Lane » A roundup of the NEA propaganda scandal. (da2344)

  37. Not yet sure if OUTRAGED by partisanship of call or administration/NEA lies regarding same.

    However, am outraged by government employee using “asks” as a noun.

    Ken (c97a0c)

  38. As I commented on Ace, I hope everyone keeps digging. Remember the NEA reference to the “corporation” (CNCS), the same group that is planning the Obama agenda “must see TV” lineup for fall: http://tiny.cc/i51Gn AARP is even involved in this endeavor. This is the same “corporation” that saw to it that Inspector General Gerald Walpin was fired.

    Texmom (6317d3)

  39. Did Buffy Wicks call for the Missouri Truth Squads?

    Missouri Prosecutors, Sheriffs ‘Target Anyone Who Lies’ About Barack Obama

    A St. Louis television station reports — their words — “The Barack Obama campaign is asking Missouri law enforcement to target anyone who lies or runs a misleading TV ad during the presidential campaign.”

    Prosecutors and sheriffs from across Missouri are joining “The Barack Obama Truth Squad.”

    Buffy Wicks served as the head of Obama’s Missouri campaign.

    http://tinyurl.com/4dsj54

    arhooley (628045)

  40. I have an inherent distrust for anyone that calls themselves Buffy, and this only reinforces it.

    JD (9019c8)

  41. “…However, am outraged by government employee using “asks” as a noun…”

    Absolutely! Everyone knows that it is “axe”!

    AD - RtR/OS! (8c7b14)

  42. [...] Patrick Courrielche’s exposé at, of all places, Big Hollywood, conservatives are positively fuming over the Bush Administration‘s decision to funnel $2.2 billion through the White House Office [...]

    Conservatives are outraged over an actual outrage? Color me impressed. « The Edge of the American West (2e2052)

  43. SEK is spamming that link to his aggressively dishonest post about this. His devolution is kind of sad to watch. He was once witty and fun to be around.

    JD (9019c8)

  44. Hi. I read your article on Big Hollywood and commented there. When I looked up the author (you), I decided that perhaps I should make an effort to repost my comment so you did not miss it. I think it may be useful (or not!):

    Patterico: if you would like to dig a little deeper on the Wicks angle, I have one suggestion: Understand what the “Ask” component of a pitch is. Wicks was on a sales job and gave the “Ask” component of the sell job to the artists.

    My capstone paper in college was on donor development for nonprofit organizations. “Ask” is the most important part of developing donors and volunteers to your join/support your organization:

    The plan works like this:

    Major Donor Development – The Seven Steps

    1. Research and Identification
    2. Evaluation
    3. Cultivation
    4, Involvement
    5. Asking for the Investment
    6. Acknowledgement
    7. Recognition

    Ask is the most important element. Entire books have been written on it, not to mention how many books have been written on developing volunteers/donors.

    Hope this was useful. After majoring in nonprofit management in college… I am allergic to the ask. It can be quite manipulative.

    SjB (9a5cc7)

  45. I read the transcript, and it’s devastating. Buffy’s remarks clearly indicated this initiative was coming from the top, Valerie Jarrett of the White House. It was not a pep talk, it was a political strategy.

    The fact that Russell Simmons has a Political Director is a sign that government funding of private concerns has gotten way out of line. All the Porkulus floating around is like crack to zealots. It’s really dangerous.

    Patricia (c95a48)

  46. [...] House claims, as well as a link to some prior investigation into the money angle. However, I think Patterico cogently sums up the importance of this (still developing) story: It would be a mistake to dismiss this [...]

    Breitbart, NEA And The MSM | QandO (4844f0)

  47. “we’re running the government…” “we’re setting the table.”

    Smug little snots. I agree with Roger Kimball — the tapes are perfused with the air of self-intoxication. So let me guess, Buffy went to Brown and Yosi went to Dartmouth. Jeezus, these people get boring. But they have to be smacked down nonetheless.

    rrpjr (6e3dee)

  48. rrpjr – That message came from the top – I won.

    JD (9019c8)

  49. Kate,

    I think there was more than one lawyer there and I wondered that, too.

    DRJ (b008f8)

  50. Lawyers – always mucking up a perfectly illegal activity.

    JD (9019c8)

  51. I believe that the Hatch Act is the act by which this is illegal…

    http://www.osc.gov/ha_fed.htm#may

    “These federal and D.C. employees may not-

    solicit or discourage political activity of anyone with business before their agency
    solicit or receive political contributions (may be done in certain limited situations by federal labor or other employee organizations)
    be candidates for public office in partisan elections
    engage in political activity while:
    on duty
    in a government office

    These are just couple of the items if you want more please go to read the entire Act.

    What Obama is doing is illegal and we all knew he intended to use everything within his reach to change this country. The stupid Americans who paid no attention before they voted for him didn’t recognize that the change he talked about was a hard left. I hope to God 2010 is a landslide for Republicans to stop this idiot before he does severe damage to this great country.

    Jaded (2dcf17)

  52. [...] The bottom line: It would be a mistake to dismiss this story as unimportant because there is no jaw-dropping angle like ACORN staffers’ apparent complicity in trafficking in under-age children for prostitution. Consider what is happening: the NEA is encouraging artists to create propaganda for a president’s policy initiatives. This is a corrosive precedent — and what’s more, it illustrates the overarching danger of the Obama administration: government, by increasingly taking over various aspects of American society, threatens to bend society to the will of a single man. [...]

    Another Monday Monster Hit: White House Uses NEA To Push Agenda « Mcnorman’s Weblog (565823)

  53. Don’t I recall that Cass Sunstein, President Barack Obama’s appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), has advocated research into and use of “nudging” techniques to move people to decide issues in a way most favorable to the administration?

    He co-authored a book in 2008 that outlined the technique: “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness”. I also seem to recall that a bill was recently introduced in the House to fund federal research into what methods could be most effectively be used to influence citizens.

    Does anyone else find this combined with the NEA issue more than a bit disquieting?

    in_awe (a55176)

  54. Who is going to investigate and proscute the wrondoers.

    davod (bce08f)

  55. And Saskia Brown from Current TV? Is that part of the government? I don’t see why all these PR firms were on the call–can’t the government just hire PR firms or let these people volunteer their services without involving the NEA? Is the NEA paying for this stuff? Mark Gecko’s got money, right?

    Kate (414f9a)

  56. davod – HHS is now investigating Humana for not agreeing with Barcky.

    JD (9019c8)

  57. Given the truly staggering incompetence of this Administration, do you think they even know what the Hatch Act is?

    Rochf (ae9c58)

  58. It’s got something to do with closing openings on sailboats, right?

    AD - RtR/OS! (8c7b14)

  59. No Rochf but I am hoping an agressive Inspector General somewhere does and decides to investigate.

    Obama and his minions are stupid there is no doubt about that. They really thought that in a country of 300 million + they could attempt to act as if we are a banana republic and they could just takeover. THEY ARE WRONG.

    Jaded (2dcf17)

  60. We already know what happens to Inspector Generals …

    JD (9019c8)

  61. [...] Breitbart’s Next News Drop: The NEA, the White House, The Lies and the Cover-Up Sphere It Share and Enjoy: [...]

    » Daily Links II – 09/21/09 NoisyRoom.net: Where liberty dwells, there is my country… (eb3c70)

  62. Obamagate

    drjohn (488550)

  63. You are the thought leaders. You are the ones that, if you create a piece of art or promote a piece of art or create a campaign for a company, and tell our country and our young people sort of what to do and what to be into; and what’s cool and what’s not cool.

    Heh. I’m really having trouble taking very seriously anyone who thinks, believes, and dribbles out crap like this.

    Does anyone else find this combined with the NEA issue more than a bit disquieting?

    I think when all the dots of this administration and various entities (NEA, SEIU, ACORN, etc) are all connected and the public has a clear picture, it will indeed be more than a bit disquieting. We’re still just seeing bits and pieces of the picture.

    Dana (863a65)

  64. [...] more, both the NEA and White House lied about the conference call. Patterico’s post detailing the lies and what really happened during the call is utterly [...]

    Another Obama Scandal, this Time at The NEA (Also, Was the Walpin Firing Related?) (9cf8b6)

  65. I think when all the dots of this administration and various entities (NEA, SEIU, ACORN, etc) are all connected and the public has a clear picture, it will indeed be more than a bit disquieting. We’re still just seeing bits and pieces of the picture. – Dana

    Glen Beck is literally drawing it out on a chalkboard – showing the geneology of these organizations and their leaders and how they intersect with Obama and Soros. I haven’t checked if he has committed these drawings and shows to video on the web, but if so they are truly worth checking out.

    in_awe (a55176)

  66. “the White House used the National Endowment for the Arts to push a political agenda favorable to President Obama.”

    Up next they’ll use the Social Security administration to promote political agendas favorable to the left.

    Dorothea Lange spins in her grave

    imdw (05d41e)

  67. For better or worse, the Era of mainstream media’s love affair with Woodward and Bernstein is over.
    What was once a quest for the truth has morphed into a quest for the partisan.

    Neo (7830e6)

  68. Patterico: I thought that same link … was already in my post… Of course, I missed it. Whoops. I’ll wait & see if the story gets traction, but my impression is that the NEA’s lack of standards and funding of political agitprop has long been an open secret, while the level of Acorn’s corruption was uniquely surprising. I hope I’m wrong.

    sierra (4be1ff)

  69. [...] House claims, as well as a link to some prior investigation into the money angle. However, I think Patterico cogently sums up the importance of this (still developing) story: It would be a mistake to dismiss this [...]

    NEA = Ministry of Propaganda (Update) | Financial and Economic news (8ba340)

  70. If imdw is not a contrarian, it is an anarchist and a Crowleyite. None of those three are qualities worth building.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  71. That Big Ol’ NEA Scandal… Déjà Vu-Du…

    Today saw new posts by Power Line and Patterico’s Pontifications on the newest Obamic scandal; in this one, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was nabbed red-handed leaning on “artists” — rather, those who are so unsuccessful that they……

    Big Lizards (5ca406)

  72. [...] saw new posts by Power Line and Patterico’s Pontifications on the newest Obamic scandal; in this one, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was nabbed [...]

    The Greenroom » Forum Archive » That Big Ol’ NEA Scandal… Just Déjà Vu-Du (e2f069)

  73. [...] Patterico points out the obvious: that both the NEA and the administration lied when they claimed that no legislative agenda was addressed. Despite the fact that this call was ostensibly hosted by Michael Skolnik, Skolnik explicitly stated that he was working on the behest of the NEA and the White House – a claim that was not refuted either by Deputy Director Wicks or at-the-time NEA Director of Communications Yosi Sergant (both of whom were on the call). For that matter, the primary interest of Nell Abernathy, director of outreach for United We Serve (also on the call) is to make clear that Skolnik is the cutout between the artists’ groups and the government. [...]

    Morning Briefing for September 22, 2009 - Erick’s blog - RedState (8eaf85)

  74. [...] Comments Today saw new posts by Power Line and Patterico’s Pontifications on the newest Obamic scandal; in this one, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was nabbed [...]

    That Big Ol’ NEA Scandal… Just Déjà Vu-Du | America Watches Obama (4ab9a2)

  75. [...] Where was that great investigative, fact based journalists that Obama praised over the weekend. As Patterico’s Pontification wrote, the NEA is encouraging artists to create propaganda for a president’s policy initiatives. [...]

    Quid Pro Art … Obama White House Scandal: The NEA, the White House, The Lies, the Cover-Up … Oh My | Scared Monkeys (1b1833)

  76. Obama is going to ham handedly out Nixon Richard Nixon.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  77. [...] Breitbart’s next bombshell is going to fit right in. Patterico, Q and O, and Power LIne — just to name a few — are all picking up Breitbart’s [...]

    Plumb Bob Blog » And Since We’re Talking About Public Funding For Partisan Activism… (04f227)

  78. [...] Patterico points out the obvious: that both the NEA and the administration lied when they claimed that no legislative agenda was addressed.  Despite the fact that this call was ostensibly hosted by Michael Skolnik, Skolnik explicitly stated that he was working on the behest of the NEA and the White House – a claim that was not refuted either by Deputy Director Wicks or at-the-time NEA Director of Communications Yosi Sergant (both of whom were on the call).  For that matter, the primary interest of Nell Abernathy, director of outreach for United We Serve (also on the call) is to make clear that Skolnik is the cutout between the artists’ groups and the government. [...]

    Yankeemom (c2f58c)

  79. It is not yet 10:00 am here in the east, and I have already been subjected to listening to a live performance by President Obama.

    He’s telling us, “There is finally widespread recognition” of the problem facing us [referring to /Man-made global warming/ I mean "Global Climate Change"]. It seems he is making an attempt to sound like Churchill making his famous “We will fight them…” speech. Except Pres. Obama has labeled the enemy as “Climate Change”, and fighting them “on the beaches, etc….” means fighting “Climate Change” (CC) here and there. Since we know places like China, India, and Mexico do not have the resources to take of their CO2 issue, it is our (that’s right, our) responsibility to take care of it for them…OK, so it is not enough to ruin the US economy fighting leftist apocalyptic thinking here in the US, we need to take care of it around the world…

    Being “Churchillian” is not enough for President Obama. He invoked JFK as well, quoting a phrase that I had never heard before, “The problems we face are man made. Therefore, man can solve them.” (Likely not perfect wording, but the meaning is accurate, I believe.)

    For somebody who can’t give credit to the United States for much of our past accomplishments, he sure has high expectations for us now. My ongoing question, though I’m not sure if it makes a difference, is whether such “reasoning” is the result of manipulating the truth to pitch the message you want, or actual hubris to the point of delusion that he thinks the only thing blocking US accomplishment has been the absence of his presence.

    MD in Philly (d4f9fa)

  80. MD – His hubris and arrogance is astounding. Your last sentence is a perfect encapsulation of it. If only the adults/thinkers/pregressives/Leftists had been running things, none of the problems would exist today. It is to laugh.

    JD (53eae9)

  81. JD, I’m not sure what is worse; having people in charge who are fundamentally dishonest, or fundamentally deluded. My preference would be “C”, none of the above.

    MD in Philly (d4f9fa)

  82. It would be a mistake to dismiss this story as unimportant because there is no jaw-dropping angle like ACORN staffers’ apparent complicity in trafficking in under-age children for prostitution.

    Except that didn’t happen. So, credibility squandered, I don’t think I’m going to worry about the rest of this post either.

    Xanthippas (ddef4c)

  83. Xanthippas,

    I don’t think you care about credibility. If someone can be guilty of prostitution without having sex for money (busted by undercover before the act), why are those ACORN workers any less guilty? They fully intended to assist in trafficking under-age children for prostitution. Using balloon juice as a source is rather lame too. Maybe it’s your credibility that just took a hit and we should dismiss the rest of your comments talking points.

    Stashiu3 (8cadeb)

  84. Xanthippas, you don’t seem to even realize that the Balloon Juice post does not say what you claim it does.

    Typical.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  85. Police say he contacted law enforcement two days later.

    The very model of a belated realization of culpabilty an upstanding citizen.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (138141)

  86. Xanthippas #86,

    Your link is to Balloon Juice, and that links to a newspaper article that says the San Diego ACORN employee, Juan Carlos Vera, told his police detective cousin two days after the incident. (Compare that with this story in which Vera implied he called the police immediately after they left his office: “After the pair left the building, Vera said he called the National City Police Department.”)

    So what is the timeline? According to the Balloon Juice-linked newspaper article (my first link above), Vera was filmed on August 18 and contacted his police detective cousin on August 20. Then his cousin talked to another police official who requested more details and Vera “responded several days later and explained that the information he received was not true and he had been duped.” In other words, it took a week or two (depending on how you define “several days later”) for this to transpire. That would be between August 25 and September 2, but the first ACORN story didn’t break until September 10.

    So what happened to make Vera realize he’d been duped? Did it actually take over 3 weeks for Vera to follow up and by then he’d seen the video and realized he’d been duped? Or could it be that ACORN figured out what was happening, issued a warning, and that’s when Vera contacted his cousin?

    DRJ (b008f8)

  87. That’s if you believe any of the story at all, DRJ. But more importantly, Vera is just one. Uno. Singleton.

    Xanthippas asserts that this one single dubious story about contacting LEO exonerates all of the ACORN employees.

    Rather a dishonest claim.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  88. Actually, just mouse over to Xanthippas’ website and blog. See the kinds of things he posts. In particular, his description of O’Keefe and Giles.

    Nope. Nothing prejudicial there.

    Though, in reading his blog, the gentleman does seem to have a number of very abruptly stated prejudices that are directed toward people with whom he disagrees politically.

    It’s a mindset thing. I think the guy is an alphabetist. Thus, he cannot possibly agree that anyone whom Vanity Smurf worked with could be wrong. So it must be that awful Right Wing Conspiracy.

    It’s all GWB’s fault that ACORN has ethical and moral pygmies working for its organization.

    Eric Blair (184ac1)

  89. Looks like #94 is spam.

    [It's been deleted, Bradley. Thanks. -- DRJ]

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  90. This NEA story is just more evidence of the Chicago Way infiltrating Washington.

    Nice bank you got there. Now that we forced you to take TARP money and we won’t let you pay it back, why don’t you ease up on those mortgage foreclosures and make a few more loans to those customers over by dere.

    Hey, nice grant you got, why don’t you help us out getting us some of this pesky legislation passed.

    And so it goes.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  91. Politization of the arts happened the moment the government created the NEA. This type of corruption is just the logical conclusion.

    Grant (5a744b)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.6344 secs.