Wednesday, October 13, 2004

GOP Cash and Carry

The Sinclair Broadcasting Group (SBGI) just couldn't stand on the sidelines. It wasn't enough that the electorate was being hammered with televised conservative punditry on the talking head shows, Michelle Malkin, Swift Boat Lackies for Deception, Anne Coulter, the Washington (Moonie) times, bible-thumping tin foil hatties, Oxycoton Rush, organized voter fraud on the level of La Cosa Nostra, and wingnut disinformation machines with a trail back to the White House.

The right wing just couldn't admit that they lost the initiative and even a viable message. The Grand Old Party embodies those traditional 1980s mantras (and nothing speaks 1980s like those big hair women servicing the preznut's campaign staff) - "nothing exceeds like excess" and "greed is good," while mainstream America gets beaten into a sullen mash.

But just when you didn't think that the wingnuts could stoop no lower, Sinclair Broadcasting now plans to air an anti-Kerry movie, "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal," days before election day. The Sinclair Broadcasting Group has historically contributed thousands of dollars to Rethug causes and its CEO also contributed the maximum to Bush-Cheney.

From Sid's Fishbowl, where the tangled web of finances and connections are displayed with surgeon-like precision:

Karl Rove, you've been busted.

You've read here and elsewhere about Sinclair Broadcasting Group, a fiercely right-wing company that controls 62 TV stations, many in swing states. They donate lots of money to Republican causes, and they recently decided to give a massive boost to the Bush campaign by preempting regular primetime programming in the days before the election to show an anti-Kerry smear piece produced by Carlton Sherwood, a former media consultant to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge (the Disinfopedia profile of Sherwood is temporarily offline but has some good stuff.) Oh, and Sherwood's group, POWs for Truth, just merged with the Swift Boat liars, for good measure.

So, Sinclair is prepared to give a major blast of propaganda to the Bush campaign. What's in it for them? Thanks to The Raw Story, we learn that a company called Jadoo Power Systems has been awarded a contract to develop power systems for the US Special Operations Command. No word on how much it was worth, but it must have been a big deal, because a Jadoo press release from 2003 brags that the company's president and CEO, Larry Bawden, personally briefed President George W. Bush on his company's technology.

It gets even deeper, as explained by Digby, who has been hitting some homeruns in these last few weeks. Take a look at this, because it appears that Jadoo has a close connection with another of Bush's close corporate friends --- Enron:

It wasn't long ago that Jadoo—which gets its name from the Hindi word for magic—was doing business in a three-car garage next to a chicken coop outside Sacramento. Jadoo's president, Larry Bawden, 45, learned about fuel-cell technology at Aerojet, based in Sacramento, where he worked as director of fuel-cell products. In 1995, Aerojet sold off his unit, and Bawden left with a golden parachute. Embarking on an around-the-world boat trip with his wife, he got as far as Australia before some former colleagues called. They persuaded him to return to become a vice president at a fuel-cell company they were starting called PowerTek. They'd soon lined up a huge customer—the energy giant Enron—but unfortunately it was about to collapse.

Good timing is everything in business. And fortunately for Bawden and two other colleagues at PowerTek, their point person at Enron, Jon [sic] Berger, was ready for a career move. They recruited him to join them in launching Jadoo in November 2001, just as he was starting at Harvard. After helping them write a business plan, Berger asked a classmate to critique it. The student was impressed enough to invest $200,000. The co-founders and four other employees put in more than $100,000. In the meantime Berger began approaching East Coast investors.

It didn't take long for Jadoo to attract interest from some major players. Among them was Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which owns 62 local news stations in the U.S.; it was the lead investor in a $5 million round of financing last year. But Jadoo's biggest coup came after President George W. Bush touted hydrogen as an alternative to foreign oil in his State of the Union speech last January. Jadoo, which had just released its first product—a long-lasting battery for the surveillance industry—was one of 22 fuel-cell companies invited to Washington to make a presentation to the White House. The others included giants like Ford and Motorola. Afterward, Jadoo was one of only seven firms invited to give one-on-one presentations to the President. The startup got some unexpected free publicity when Bush held a TV camera using one of Jadoo's lightweight fuel cells on his shoulder as media photographers captured the moment. Jadoo plans to begin selling such batteries to the broadcast market early next year.

But the story doesn't stop there. More from Digby and Contango Capital Team - John Berger:

Mr. Berger has over eight years of experience in the energy industry, during which he managed energy trading books for Enron Corporation and initiated development of the new Enron Premium Power Division. As a Manager, he made the previously unprofitable southeast short term trading operation for the Enron East Power Trading Division profitable by approximately $30 million over a two year period. Under his management, the southeast short term trading operation successfully administered the largest long-term customer deal in the industry, and increased the average daily volume in the southeast trading hub by ten times the former volume. Mr. Berger also managed the Enron Hourly Trading Desk, and operated a utility system in the southeastern United States. At Enron Energy Services he led and developed Enron's corporate strategy for new energy technologies and energy reliability financial products. In addition, Mr. Berger spearheaded development, investment, and partnership opportunities in fuel cell technologies.

During 2002 and 2003, Mr. Berger served as an advisor to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission where he drafted governance guidelines for the Regional Transmission Organizations and served as an advisor to the drafters of the Standard Market Design regulatory document that is currently before the United States Congress. He also advised the Commission on distributed generation, demand response, information gathering and application issues, investigations, and trade clearing/credit issues in the North American energy markets.

Berger jacks up grandma's retirement account and shreds more stock than Michael Milken sold junk bonds, and then he gets a gub-ment gig with the FERC? Gordon Gecko would be proud be a proud papa knowing that more than a few MBAs studied his every move.

Then he goes to Harvard while an executive with Jadoo, he puts together a Harvard Business School Energy Symposium with this distinguished guest:

Speaker Name: Larry Bawden
Speaker Title: CEO
Affiliation: Jadoo Power Systems

So a guy who got filthy rich at Enron goes to work for the Bush Administration's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission during the period when they're investigating Enron. He gets an MBA at Harvard, founds a company backed with his Enron stash and some extra seed capital from Sinclair Broadcasting, and uses his connections to get a one-on-one meeting with the President of the Freaking United States. His company then gets a (presumably no-bid) contract from the Defense Department, thus (presumably) guaranteeing they'll hit their revenue goals this year and (presumably) greasing their skids for the company's planned IPO.

Play the game: six degrees of separation with this stuff. Big company Enron gets snuffed from within. A couple of Enron profiteers take a Harvard Business School sojourn which ends up with some seed money from Sinclair. SBGI now decides to run an anti-Kerry movie with the same cast of Swift Boat scumbags pulling the strings.

This is how the Karl Rove propaganda machine works.

By the way, all of this research can be done using an internet search engine like Google or Yahoo. When do the investigative journalists start pitching in? Stop using the sock puppets on MSNBC and get back to work.


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