Corn has broken stories on presidents, politicians, and other Washington players. He's written for numerous publications and is a talk show regular. His best-selling books include Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War.
Christine O'Donnell, the 41-year-old tea party darling who won the Republican Senate primary in Delaware, has had on her campaign staff a longtime conservative activist who last year wrote an article suggesting President Barack Obama is a secret Muslim.
According to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission by O'Donnell's failed 2008 Senate campaign and by her current campaign, Jon Moseley has worked for O'Donnell in both of these Senate bids. In a recent statement issued in support of her and disseminated by ChristianNewsWire, Moseley described himself as the manager of her unsuccessful 2008 campaign against then-Sen. Joe Biden. Moseley has also served as a campaign treasurer for O'Donnell during that campaign. [Update: Following publication of this article, Moseley said that he has had nothing to do with O'Donnell's current campaign. But her 2010 campaign filings list a payment to Moseley; he maintained this was for money owed him from the 2008 campaign.] But Moseley is not a political operative. For decades, he's worked for conservative policy groups. A 2008 bio noted that he has been employed by the Heritage Foundation and Judicial Watch, as well as various congressional campaigns. It identified him as the executive director of a group called American Border Control, which says it "works for 100% American control of ports of entry." (In describing its mission on its website, the organization reports it has collaborated with anti-immigration crusader Tom Tancredo "trying to secure American borders.")
Imagine the family dinners: two sisters, one running for Senate as an anti-gay Christian conservative, the other an L.A.-based actor/director/spiritual healer who describes herself as living with a girlfriend.
Two days after tea partier Christine O'Donnell won the GOP Senate primary election in Delaware, The Daily Beast published a story that lit up the Internets: Wade Richards, a former employee of O'Donnell's Christian right organization, The Savior's Alliance for Lifting the Truth, was saying that O'Donnell's sister was openly a lesbian and in a long-term same-sex relationship in Los Angeles. (Richards noted that he hooked up with the SALT as a supposedly ex-gay man but eventually came out of the ex-gay closet—and says O'Donnell "totally turned her back on me.")
As a Christian right activist, O'Donnell has decried homosexuality, condemning the sexual orientation as a "perversion." SALT not only campaigned against masturbation; it crusaded against homosexuality and other "un-Christian" sexual behaviors. O'Donnell, according to The Daily Beast, would go on speaking tours to discuss "sexual purity and curing homosexuality. Along with other Christian groups, SALT protested when President Bill Clinton appointing a gay man to an ambassadorship, citing the nominee's alleged "ties to the pedophile-rights movement." O'Donnell also blasted the federal government for giving too much money to AIDS patients. And earlier in her career, she worked as a press secretary for the Concerned Women for America, which has long railed against "the homosexual agenda." Yet according to Richards, she had an openly lesbian sister.
The Daily Beast story does not identify O'Donnell's sister by name. But she has a sister named Jennie who lives in Los Angeles. And Jennie's Facebook and LinkedIn pages depict a person who appears to be quite different than Christine—in essence, the polar opposite. Yet the two have recently appeared on the campaign trail together, with Jennie obviously supporting her sister's Senate bid.
On her Facebook page, Jennie notes that she "live [sic] in west hollywood ca with my girlfriend and my dogs. just try to keep it simple and live!" She notes she is self-employed as a "spiritual psychologist, actor, meditation teacher." She describes her political stance as "conservative liberal." As for religious views, she says she is "into spirituality, not one religion, study all religions, take what i like, leave the rest." Her long list of Facebook "likes" include "The word 'Fuck,'" Christine O'Donnell for US Senate, the No H8 Campaign (which opposed a 2008 California ballot proposition to ban gay marriage), the Dalai Lama, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
This summer, Jennie O'Donnell directed a play at the Los Angeles Women's Theatre Project, a feminist theater company. Entitled The Oblivion Series, the production included, according to a promotional flyer, "course [sic] language (oh my!) & partial nudity (oh behave!)." It was part of the Hollywood Fringe festival. But she also was assisting her sister, as she reported in a September 2 Facebook message:
alot of fun; but also getting up early, and to bed late going to all the campaign eventsand staying up working late..... 6 am today, at 4 am tomorrow... but it's really a very neat experience...
On LinkedIn, Jennie O'Donnell notes that she is a "doctor of metaphysical universe studies," a certified hypnotist, an ordained minister, and a massage therapist. She describes her works in the "healing arts" at length:
I have been involved in the healing arts since 1987. At first my involvement was as a quest to work on my own issues and find deeper meaning and purpose in my own life. As my life healed, I found that sharing what I had learned could help others, as well as myself
I believe every life issue has its roots in and begins healing in our souls. In this work, we assess ones needs and what they,want, or need to accomplish in a safe, gentle, productive atmosphere.
In this work a client and I would take a soul centered, body-mind therapeutic approach, blended with aspects of traditional counseling to help heal from and deal with the issues in their life at core levels. As a result change does happen.
I have studied and practiced many therapeutic methods, as well as many different spiritual practices, such as; The Eastern Philosophies of Buddhism, Taoism, Sidha yoga with Brahma khumaris and other yoga practices for self realization. Western philosophies of Christianity, Science of mind, Course in miracles, Catholicism, Native American Spiritualities, Judaism, Muslim, Sufi, Ancient Alchemy of the Emerald Tablet, Metaphysics, Wicca, Pagan and many other world spiritualities.
The O'Donnell Senate campaign did not respond to requests for comment. On Wednesday, Jennie posted this message on Facebook:
to all my friends and family..thank you for your great wishes.. for the wisdom to see through the insane lies that were being tossed around, and still will be, i supose. i'm sure they will make up new ones; but thank you for your love, support prayers, good humor... and support of my sister,no matter what lies were made up about her...oh.. p.s. haave you heard the latest? she's homophobic... gotta laugh
Christine O'Donnell has been a poster girl for Christian fundamentalism and social conservatism; Jennie O'Donnell has been something of a hippie-artist. One rails against homosexuality; the other fancies gay marriage. One decries masturbation and any sexual practices outside of marriage; the other supports lesbian rights. Still, Jennie has loyally been helping her anti-gay sister Christine become one of nation's top lawmakers. To some that might seem curious. But her Facebook page has what might be the explanation. Under "bio," Jennie O'Donnell writes, "love my family very much. i am nuts about them. totally in love with them... i am glad we chose each other, and i thank god for that.......oh enough about me... tell me about you?"
Elizabeth Warren triumphs. Well, sort of. President Obama has reportedly tapped her to be a special adviser to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner for the purposes of setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (She will also be awarded the title of assistant to the president.) This is not the same as nominating her to head the CFPB, which Warren, the Harvard professor who runs the Congressional Oversight Panel that monitors the TARP bailout, first (and presciently) proposed establishing in 2007—before the financial meltdown. But it's close.
While Warren's many fans on the left have been fervently pushing for her to be named the new federal watchdog agency's first chief, there were clear signs that she would be met with resistance on Capitol Hill, with the banking and financial industries and their Republican allies in the Senate looking to prevent the plain-spoken consumer advocate from taking the reins of an outfit that is supposed to take on credit card firms, mortgage lenders, and banks that engage in abusive or deceptive practices. Rather than wage a high-profile fight over Warren—a battle that the White House might have been able to turn to its political advantage in the run-up to the congressional elections—the president has opted to sidestep the normal process and hand Warren a position not subject to Senate confirmation. She won't become head of the new agency, but she will be its official godmother, overseeing its establishment.
For some Warren backers, this might seem a half measure. The progressive FireDogLake site called it "the castration of Elizabeth Warren." But sources close to Warren tell me that is satisfied—even happy—with this appointment. And if she's happy....
Still, it's not a clear-cut victory for progressives, given that the move is open to interpretation. Is this a sign that Obama is yielding to GOP obstructionism? (Sen. Chris Dodd, the Democratic chairman of the banking committee, also seemed cool on appointing Warren to head the agency.) Or is this an indication that Obama can craftily outmaneuver GOP blockaders? Did Obama blink, or did he pull a fast one? Perhaps after Warren serves time as the agency's midwife, she'll be in a better position (politically) to be nominated as its first head. In any event, this decision will place the nation's top consumer financial advocate in the news and in the offices of this new consumer protection agency.
Meanwhile, Warren's COP has released its latest oversight report on the TARP bailout. And its no-nonsense review is decidedly mixed and hardly a ringing endorsement of Geithner's management of the massive bailout program:
Although the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) provided critical support to the financial markets at a time when market confidence was in freefall, the program has been far less effective in meeting its other statutory goals, such as supporting home values, retirement savings, and economic growth….
Although the TARP quelled the financial panic in the fall of 2008, severe economic weaknesses remain even today. Since the TARP was authorized in October of 2008, 7.1 million homeowners have received foreclosure notices. Since their pre-crisis peaks, home values have dropped 28 percent, and stock indices -- which indicate the health of many Americans' most significant investments for college and retirement -- have fallen 30 percent. Given that Treasury was mandated by law to use the TARP to address these measures of the economy, their lingering weakness is cause for concern.
In other words, Treasury did not do its job. It used TARP to save the banks and big financial firms; it was not as assiduous when it came to assisting homeowners, workers, and consumers. Mr. Geithner, please give your new special adviser a warm welcome.
"I'm battered. I'm dead." Oliver Stone, the provocative, prolific, and now-mustachioed film director, is tired and eating a late breakfast at a Washington, DC, hotel. Stone is a busy man. He's in town frenetically promoting South of the Border, his documentary that sympathetically examines Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's socialist president, and seven other left-of-center South American leaders. Stone, 63, has also recently finished Wall Street: Money Never Sleep, the sequel to his 1987 film that encapsulated the financial excesses of that era in one character and his mantra: Gordon "Greed is Good" Gekko. And he's wrapping up a 10-part documentary for Showtime, The Secret History of the United States. As Stone, a mash-up of Hitchcock and Chomsky, is about to talk to a group of well-dressed Georgetown ladies about South American populism, he chats with me about his latest works:
Mother Jones: When did you first say to yourself, Gordon Gekko must return?
Oliver Stone: [Laughs.] I didn't. Gekko was like Scarface's Tony Montana, proverbially dead. I thought '87 marked the end of an era. I was not in touch with Wall Street after the movie because I was burned out on it. I thought there'd be a recognition that the greed, the ugliness, was enough. But in 2006, 20th Century Fox asked me to revisit it. I said, "No, I don't want to do this. How do you glorify a bunch of pigs?" They came back to me after the crash in early 2009 with a decent script. But it was all about hedge funds, not the right tone. But I said ,"Yeah, I'm very interested," and went to work with [writer] Allan Loeb. We went to Wall Street quite a bit and talked to everybody who would talk to us, One of the most interesting of the interviews was with Eliot Spitzer. He said, "Check out the AIG-Goldman connection." He hinted that Goldman might be shorting the market.
George W. Bush or Dick Cheney—who's more frightening to liberals? Some progressive political strategists seem to believe the answer is Cheney.
This past weekend, Democracy for America, a grassroots progressive founded by Howard Dean that recruits, trains, promotes, and funds progressive candidates, sent out a an email signed by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The piece focused on the current fight over whether to extend the Bush administration tax cuts for folks who make more than $250,000 a year. Leahy's email read,
To this day, America's top income-earners—households making more than $250,000 a year—aren't paying their fair share in taxes. Letting these tax cuts for the wealthy continue for another decade would saddle middle class Americans, our kids, and our grandkids with an additional $680 billion of debt, largely payable to the Chinese government.
The Bush-Cheney tax cuts for the wealthy are wrong. Thankfully they're set to expire this December, unless Republicans in Congress get their way and renew them indefinitely.
With debate set to begin on the Senate floor as early as next week, we don't have a lot of time to get this right.
Leahy asked recipients of the email to sign a petition urging Congress to allow the tax cuts for the rich to expire. And in his note, he repeatedly referred to these breaks as the "Bush-Cheney tax cuts."
Yet the email's subject line put it a bit differently. When a recipient spotted the email in his or her inbox, the note was titled, "Dick Cheney's Tax Cut." The guy at the top was missing. The point of a subject line for a mass email is to get the recipient to click and open the message. DFA's consultants must figure that Cheney is more of a motivator for their target audience than Bush. That prompts a question: should Democrats this campaign season run against "Cheney Republicans"?