The 17th most popular story on reddit at the moment is this hit piece by the Judicial Watch. The Judicial Watch, as some fact-checking reveals, is funded by rather right-wing sources:
Judicial Watch receives funding from mainly conservative sources. In 2002, Judicial Watch received $1.1 million from The Carthage Foundation and a further $400,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation. Both foundations are Managed by Richard Mellon Scaife. The year before the Scaife Foundation gave $1.35 million and Carthage $500,000.
In all, between 1997 and 2002 Judicial Watch received $7,069,500 (unadjusted for inflation) in 19 grants from a handful of foundations. The bulk of this funding came from just three foundations – the Sarah Scaife Foundation, The Carthage Foundation and the John M. Olin Foundation, Inc.
The Judicial Watch was also one of the main groups pushing impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky matter, subpoening Linda Tripp, and starting over 15 lawsuits against President Clinton. They are one arm of the Republican noise machine. And reddit is falling for it.
The list they give of the most corrupt officials fits a bit too easily into the Republican agenda. As Huckabee and Giuliani are the two greatest threats to the Republican coalition of evangelicals and everyone else, they are easy to include. Larry Craig is a gay Republican – who has embarrassed Republicans enormously. Finally, Scooter Libby who has been indicted. It’s an easy list. The list of Democrats though seems to be those conservatives fear most – Hillary, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Feinstein, etcetera.
In short, Reddit is currently promoting a right-wing hit piece created by a propaganda organization that was created to promote the Lewinsky affair. Most important – at least some of the facts included in the piece are wrong.
I am only defending Obama here, although I am sure most of the other Democrats on the list – Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Conyers, Dianne Feinstain, and even maybe Hillary Clinton – are being unfairly targeted, because I am already aware of the bogus-ness of the charges against Obama. Or at least the flimsiness. And of course – I admit – I’m biased in favor of Obama. It took me a long time to come to see Obama as the best candidate; and although I am still open to another candidate, I’ve examined each of them pretty closely, and his views and temperament seem closest to my own.
Obama has certainly faced criticism for his ties to Antoin “Tony” Rezko who was a big supporter of Obama’s career from the beginning. The senator explained the appearance of impropriety that the reddit submitter referred to thus:
“It was simply not good enough that I paid above the appraised value for the strip of land that he sold me. It was a mistake to have been engaged with him at all in this or any other personal business dealing that would allow him, or anyone else, to believe that he had done me a favor,” the senator said.
To me, it seems clear that Rezko was trying to do Obama a favor – probably expecting something in return at some point; and Obama should have realized this and rejected the offer. But aside from this lapse in judgment, it does not demonstrate corruption. And as the sale was a transparent process that was revealed as soon as it had occurred, it does not seem intentional on Obama’s part.
The charge relating to the $5,000 worth of stock really has no depth to it.
Barack Obama’s presidential campaign Wednesday defended two investments he made right after his election to the Senate, saying he was unaware of the stock purchases at the time and did nothing to directly aid either company in its business before the federal government…
Obama purchased $5,000 in shares for AVI, which was developing a drug to treat avian flu. Two weeks after buying the stock, Obama pushed for more federal funding to fight the disease, but company officials said they never talked to Obama about his work in the area…
The reports found no evidence that any of his actions ended up benefiting either company during the roughly eight months he owned the stocks.
In other words, Obama’s broker (who kept Obama’s money in a blind trust) bought stocks which were related to some hot button issues of the day; and as a Senator, Obama gave a speech pushing for federal funding to fight avian flu.
The amounts of money involved in both transactions are minimal.
As for the final charge: “Obama was also nabbed conducting campaign business in his Senate office, a violation of federal law.” I have no idea what the Judicial Watch is talking about. Someone please enlighten me if you do.