Katrina Pierson, the longtime tea party activist from Garland who’s challenging Dallas Republican Congressman Pete Sessions, is having a bad few weeks.
First, Pierson acknowledged that she had been arrested in 1997, when she was 20, for shoplifting at a Plano J.C. Penney’s—not, altogether, a big deal. Pierson’s talked a lot about how she’s turned her life around after a hardscrabble upbringing, and if anything, the arrest fit into her personal narrative. Then, Slate’s Dave Weigel attended a Pierson campaign event and characterized her as a “long shot” who exemplified the emptiness of this year’s tea party challengers in Texas. Hurtful, maybe, but probably not a big deal either: Pierson’s potential voters probably aren’t huge Slate readers.
A bigger deal: On Sunday night, the Quorum Report’s Scott Braddock pointed out that Pierson received some $11,000 in unemployment benefits from the Texas Workforce Commission from January 2012 to November 2013—meaning she was receiving government support during a period in which she consulted for Ted Cruz’s senate campaign and was planning for her own run.
Pierson has been a hyperactive tea party organizer for years, doing countless media appearances and traveling extensively around the country to spread her message. When I first met her in the summer of 2011, she was teaching a darkly conspiratorial class on the United Nation’s “Agenda 21″ at a meeting of the Waco Tea Party. Under the UN’s aegis, she told the frightened crowd, Americans would be forced into crowded apartment buildings, and UN-empowered block captains would be “given police power over your neighborhoods.”
When I asked about her activist career, she told me that when “you realize that you’ve been lied to your whole life, it’s an eye-opening experience.” To spread her message, she told me she’d taught classes in Florida, Iowa, Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, Washington D.C., and all over Texas. It was her full-time job. It had to be, she said, because “our time is limited.” Since then, she’s ramped up her activity. She’s a frequent guest on Fox News
The premise of Sirota’s piece is that John Arnold, through the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, is influencing the content of “Pension Peril” through a $3.5 million grant; further, it alleges that WNET engaged in corruption by accepting the grant.
While it is true that Mr. Arnold is an advocate of pension reform, I thought it would be interesting to note his other associations — including those of PandoDaily’s financial backers.
According to the Grants page at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, ProPublica, Inc. was given a grant in the amount of $2 million for the term 2013-2015. ProPublica also notes the Laura and John Arnold Foundation on their supporter page. It should be noted that ProPublica has also been covering pensions, including news reports and investigations.
A search at ProPublica shows that “John Arnold” and “Laura and John Arnold Foundation” are only revealed in the Supporters page. There are no disclosures of Laura and John Arnold Foundation funding in any of the pension articles at ProPublica.
On January 16, 2012, Gigaom featured an article regarding PandoDaily’s start-up financing, “Sarah Lacy’s PandoDaily launches with $2.5 million in funding.”
The company is being funded by a $2.5 million investment from some of the most well known investors in Silicon Valley and some of the top seed funds. Investors in PandoDaily are - Marc Andreessen, Peter Thiel, Tony Hseih (Zappos), Zach Nelson (NetSuite), Andrew Anker, Chris Dixon (FounderCollective), Saul Klein (IndexVentures), Josh Kopelman (First Round Capital)…
In 2012, Lacy founded technology news site PandoDaily with a reported $2.5m investment from investors including Marc Andreessen, Peter Thiel, Tony Hsieh, David Sze, Jim Breyer, Reid Hoffman, Chris Dixon and Josh Kopelman. The site consists of a daily technology blog and a monthly event series entitled “PandoMonthly”.
Peter Thiel - Libertarian and Republican Donor:
Venture capitalist and hedge fund manager Peter Thiel. Was a co-founder of PayPal and later CEO. Mr. Thiel would also go on to support Meg Whitman for her unsuccesful bid as governor of California ($25,900).
Meg Whitman was a partner with Pierre Omidyar at eBay — as CEO she purchased PayPal from Thiel et al in 2010. Thiel was also a trader for Credit Suisse and speech writer for William Bennett.
• Largest contributor to “Club for Growth” in sum of $1 million.
• Co-authored “The Diversity Myth: ‘Multiculturalism’ and the Politics of Intolerance at Stanford” (1995) with David O. Sacks.
• Libertarian objectivist.
• $3.9 million to “Endorse Liberty” supporting Ron Paul for president (2012).
• Private meeting with Rand Paul — “the future of the Liberty Movement.”
• Endorsed Ron Paul for president in 2007.
• Contributed to McCain/Palin 2012.
• $1.7 million Ron Paul Super-Pac in 2012.
• Helped fund James O’Keefe’s “Taxpayers Clearing House” in 2009.
• Multiple contributions to Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney.
Peter Thiel’s Republican Party political candidate donations:
Rep. James E. Rogan, Don Stenberg, Sen. John Thune Douglas Forrester, Rep. Robin Hayes, Sen. John Cornyn, Sen. Elizabeth Dole, Sen. Lamar Alexander, State Sen. Dick Monteith, Rep. Lee Terry, Sen. Chuck Hagel, Rep. Dan Lungren, Rep. Bob Beauprez, Rep. Mike Simpson, Rep. Tom Tancredo, Rep. Mary Bono, Gov. Butch Otter, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Rep. Nancy Johnson, Rep. Scott Garrett, Rep. Tim Johnson, Rep. Bill Thomas, Sen. Jeff Flake, Sen. Jim DeMint, Sen. Jim Talent, Rep. Denny Rehberg, Rep. Rob Simmons, Rep. Jon Porter, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, Rep. Ed Royce, Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Gordon H. Smith, Rep. Bob Schaffer, John Neely Kennedy, Sen. Norm Coleman, Rep. Mike Coffman, Rep. Eric Cantor, John Raese, Dino Rossi, Ryan Brumberg, Sen. Rand Paul, Randy Altschuler, Rep. Justin Amash, State Sen. Richard Tisei, Kevin McCarthy, Sen. Ted Cruz, Josh Mandel, and Sen. Orrin Hatch.
For a more detailed look at Peter Thiel’s political contributions click here.
Peter Thiel “has worked as a derivatives trader at Credit Suisse Financial Products, a securities lawyer for Sullivan & Cromwell, and a speechwriter for former education secretary William J. Bennett.”
Marc Andreessen - Romney/Ryan Supporter:
Marc Andreessen is another venture capitalist millionaire (not a billionaire as Theil is). Andreessen was the founder of Mosaic and Netscape. In addition to helping start PandoDaily, his investments include Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and others. Andreessen serves on the board of eBay (see Whitman, Omidyar, et al).
While he supported Barack Obama in 2008, Mr. Andreessen flipped in 2012 to support Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
He’s contributed $15,000 to Ryan Prosperity Action, Inc.; Cantor Victory Fund; Romney for President, Inc.; Scott Brown; over $50,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee; and $30,5000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee.
In 2012, Business Insider reported:
He has contributed $100,000 to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign via a SuperPAC…
…Andreessen says he supports Romney because he is a “dyed-in-the-wool” businessman who understand that “regulations” get in the way of business.
Andreessen says he used to support Democrats - like Clinton/Gore, for example - but “I turned 40 last year and so I figured it was time to make the switch.”
The amount Republican super-donor Peter Thiel and newly minted Republican Marc Andreessen infused into PandoDaily remains unknown. No attempt was made to contact any of the individuals in this story. What remains clear is that PandoDaily and David Sirota have accused WNET and the Arnold Foundation with corruption for having the latter provide grant money for the series, “Pension Peril.”
The question remains, how can WNET be accused of corruption when ProPublica, who also cover pensions, is the recipient of $2 million from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and gets away unnoticed?
Update and of further interest.
PayPal Founder Peter Thiel Continues to Tout Anti-Government Manifesto
Southern Poverty Law Center
Intelligence Report, Summer 2012, Issue Number: 146
“I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible,” Thiel wrote in a 2009 manifesto published by the libertarian Cato Institute. “Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.” Bemoaning the fate of the “smartest libertarians” who, he claims, were so bummed out by the state of capitalism that they “escaped not only to alcohol but beyond it,” he outlined a vision of the future free from the quixotic desires of the poor, stupid, and X-chromosomed among us.
Pastor Rafael Cruz, father of wingnut Ted Cruz, has lately become nothing more than a dimestore version of Pseudo Historian David Barton, as Right Wing Watch demonstrates in this video.
Right wing watch recently found something that might be of interest to you. Rafael Cruz, the father of Ted Cruz, has apparently been listening to the American far right’s favorite “historian.” No surprise, really, unfortunately.
Yes David Barton is such a great “historian.” Maybe the real reason that it’s not taught in any of our public schools, is because it’s baseless and only the uneducated believe it. Rafael, if you really want to educate yourself, do yourself a favor, start reading the work of people like Chris Rodda instead, who has successfully debunked Barton on multiple occasions. Like Barton, you are either incredibly ignorant or a liar. Secularism wasn’t something that was just made up by “evil liberals” to suppress Christians. Groups like Americans United For the Separation of Church And Sate, defend our religious liberty, not persecute Christians or suppress Christianity. Also Rafael, like it or not, as Americans, secularism is a part of our county’s history. Our nation was not founded on Christianity or any other religion for that matter, and that’s a good thing.
I’m a little late to this party I guess, but I didn’t see this when the news first broke back on the 9th of December.
Senator Ted Cruz (R) is now officially a superhero, he even has a comic book dedicated strictly to extolling (in a completely “non-partisan” way of course) the many exemplary and astoundingly patriotic achievements of Sen. Ted Cruz…
The Cruz to the FutureTM book is a non-partisan, fact-driven view of how Texas Sen. Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz became a U.S. senator and details, through his quotes and public information his ideas for what he believes will help America grow. Cruz has openly identifies with the Tea Party and garners support from the Republican Liberty Caucus and many independents including democrats. The Washington Post calls Cruz’s Texas senate election victory “the biggest upset … a true grassroots victory against very long odds.” Texas Sen. Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz has become a rejuvenation for the Tea Party movement in the U.S. His 21-hour speech on the Senate floor in September 2013 propelled Cruz into the national spotlight. Cruz’s beliefs and actions stir much emotion in those following the political realm, he is a modern “superhero” to many and looked upon in adoration and abomination by some.
“The Cruz to the FutureTM coloring book is suitable for any student desk in America, as millions of people across the country admire, respect and portray Mr. Cruz as a positive role model for children, stated publisher Wayne Bell. Parents have told our company they enjoy modern day heroes and positive role models in children’s literature and Mr. Cruz as a sitting U.S. Senator certainly meets the criteria,” continued Bell.
All the other sample graphics from the comic book are watermarked as copyrighted so I cannot post them here unfortunately. You owe it to yourself to go take a look at the site and read some of the “non-partisan” text that accompanies those images…for example in canonizing his 21 hour filibuster speech…
Truth-be-known, a lot of the career politicians are far too out of shape, old, or overweight to even perform such a magnificent feat, God bless them all…
(I still don’t understand how you can adore and abominate someone simultaneously, but hey, I suppose anything is possible) :p
WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday strongly defended the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, telling attendees of the group’s policy summit that they can’t let criticism get them down.
“I first came to ALEC over a decade ago. When I was serving in the Bush administration, I’d been privileged to work with ALEC in the federal government,” Cruz said. “I’ve been privileged to work with ALEC when I was back in Texas with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, leading the 10th Amendment Center, and I’m proud to stand with ALEC today.”
ALEC circulates model legislation to state legislators, and its bills have led states to pass voter ID laws, Stand Your Ground laws and laws eliminating or reducing state income taxes.
The group has faced extra scrutiny since the February 2012 shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida. Authorities initially refused to arrest neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman — Martin’s admitted killer — citing Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. Zimmerman was eventually found not guilty in the murder.
Corporate Sponsors of the ALEC summit, as listed in the program:
Citizens for Self-Governance
State Policy Network
VICE CHAIR LEVEL
Edison Electric Institute
Canadian National Railway Company
American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy
Time Warner Cable
Right On Crime
Charles Koch Institute