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[cross-posted from]

The Democratic National Convention is in Denver this week.

Energy is a big issue this week at the DNC Convention.

The same folks who financed the Swiftboaters for "Truth" in 2004 are financing hateful and lying ads against Obama.

Interestingly, there is a link between these three statements, and that link is the answer to this question:  Who is appearing at the Big Tent (the place for progressive bloggers and new media journalists) in Denver on Wednesday?

Let's walk through this:

  1. Who were the major funders behind "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth [sic]" in 2004?
    • Harold Simmons "and two other Texans, Houston homebuilder Bob Perry and Dallas oilman T. Boone Pickens, were primary backers in 2004 of Swift Boat Veterans, which challenged Mr. Kerry's military service." Dallas News
    • Swift Vets and POWs for Truth: According to information released by the IRS on February 22, 2005, more than half of the group's reported contributions came from just three sources, all prominent Texas Republican donors: Houston builder Bob J. Perry, a longtime supporter of George W. Bush, donated $4.45 million, Harold Simmons' Contrans donated $3 million, and T. Boone Pickens, Jr. donated $2 million. source
    • Simmons at T Boone's birthday party link
    • In 1997, Simmons made a $5 million investment in T. Boone Pickens, Jr.'s first fund--BP Capital Energy Commodity Fund.  By 2005, this had grown to href="50 million. source

  2. Who is the funder behind a recent anti-Obama ad linking Obama to terrorists?
    • Harold Simmons contributed nearly $2.9 million to the American Issues Project, according to documents filed by the group with the Federal Election Commission. (Baltimore Examiner)
    • Christian Pinkston, who previously worked for the 2004 Swiftboaters and responded to questions on behalf of AIP for the Dallas News, is the named principal of Pinkston Group, a "media consulting group" located in Alexandria, VA. Pinkston is also a former aide to presidential candidate Jack Kemp, and went on to run the conservative group Empower America for 5 years following a stint at Ogylvie. (The Atlantic)

  3. The Obama campaign is directly challenging the legality of "American Issues Project" and the current ad.
    • Obama's general counsel Bob Bauer has already filed a request with the DOJ "to investigate the American Issues Project, its directors and officers, and its anonymous donors" (see Obama to DOJ: Block terrorist ad at Politico).
    • According to the Obama campaign, the Obama campaign — and tens of thousands of supporters — also is pressuring television networks and affiliates to reject the ads. The effort has met with some success: CNN and Fox News are not airing the attacks, and some local affiliates have refused as well.

  4. What is The Big Tent in Denver?
    • The Big Tent Denver is a 8,000 sq. foot, two story structure set up right outside of the Democratic National Convention at the Pepsi Center in Denver.  It is advertised as "the place to be for new media journalists, bloggers, reporters, and non-profit leaders covering the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer."
    • The Big Tent includes work space for journalists, bloggers and new media, a stage with "prominent national leaders" and "a Google Retreat with a YouTube kiosk where you can make your own YouTube videos."  There is free food and drinks (there is none--even to buy--at the press center inside the Pepsi Center), late-night entertainment with concerts and films, the chance to "hang out with some of the top bloggers, new media journalists, and non-profit leaders in the country" -- all for a relatively small registration fee.  The Big Tent, by the way, is over-subscribed.
    • "And in the Public Space, you can participate in panel discussions on the Digg Stage with top national leaders on a range of hot topics."

  5. Who is sponsoring the Big Tent?
  6. The list of participating blogs and bloggers at the Big Tent is long and notable -- everyone from Bluehampshire to HuffPo to AP, from Senators to comedians to Van Jones to Arianna Huffington.  These are the ones taking advantage of the great space and the opportunities to meet with and influence bloggers and new media journalists from across the country.

    Hosts and sponsors are another thing.  The 3 host organizations (with their descriptions from the Big Tent website) are:

    • The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado is a nonprofit organization created to advance environmental, economic and social sustainability in Colorado by building broad support among individuals, nonprofits, business, government and academia.
    • Daily Kos is the premier online political community, bringing together activists, elected officials and ordinary citizens committed to expanding participation in our democracy. Dialogues and conversations, action items and fundraising, citizen journalism and electoral politics--all converge at the site in a lively, effective format that furthers progressive causes and elects responsive representatives.
    • ProgressNow: The largest on-line activist community in Colorado, was created to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

    Sponsors include:

    • Lead sponsors--Digg, Google, EcoDrivingUSA, InterfaceFLOR, and Meru Networks.
    • Major sponsors--Chipotle (a division of MacDonald's), Eco-Products, Floorz, Netroots Nation, New Belgium Brewing, Pickens Plan, Progressive Book Club, UStream.TV.
    • Participating sponsors--1Sky, Blue State Digital (Obama campaign's tech gurus), Campaign for America's Future, Care2, Center for Independent Media, City and County of Denver, Colorado Environmental Coalition, Common Cause, Democracy for America, Disaboom, eConscious Market, eight rivers, Green Mountain Coffee, Heidi's Brooklyn Deli, Human Rights Campaign, Illegal Pete's, Live from Main Street, Media Matters Action Network, MS Magazine, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, NDN, New York Community Media Alliance, NewsGator, OMP, Pachamam Alliance, Pappa John's, PunditMom, R.W. Knudsen, Sahara Reporters, Skype, Teaching Strategies, The Wilderness Society, Udi's, Wahoo's Fish Taco.

    One of these things is not like the others.  Do you need a hint?

  7. Why has the Democratic nominee and the Big Tent validating T. Boone Pickens?
    • Pickens has already met with Obama (see among others Aug 17 story at HuffPo):

      The presidential hopeful praised Pickens as a "legendary entrepreneur" and deflected a question about the billionaire's role in helping to fund a television ad campaign that undermined John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee. "You know, he's got a longer track record than that," Obama told reporters ... . "One of the things I think we have to unify the country around is having an intelligent energy policy. ... That's what we're going to be talking about."

    • On Wednesday, Pickens--as already noted a lead sponsor of The Big Tent, makes his pitch for his Pickens (Energy) Plan to the audience at The Big Tent.

T. Boone Pickens has spent and can be expected to continue to spend millions of dollars supporting the most right-wing members of Congress and the defamation of the last Democratic nominee for the Presidency John Kerry.  He is one of the largest contributors to the Republican National Committee.  He is also a close friend of Harold Simmons and their political funding has closely mirrored each other over a long period of time, including their mutual funding of the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" in 2004.

Pickens is spending a few million dollars to advance an energy plan that--despite what you may hear--continues our dependence on fossil fuels (e.g., natural gas for transporation) and stands to earn him billions of dollars if  enacted.

  • Why did Daily Kos and the Colorado host organizations accept the sponsorship of Pickens?
  • Why is Pickens being given a platform at the Democratic National Convention, even on the periphery?
  • How much does it cost to be accepted into the progressive and climate change movement?

Just asking...

Originally posted to edgery on Tue Aug 26, 2008 at 07:16 AM PDT.

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