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Monday, October 8, 2012

The Empire Of Philip Anschutz

Let's talk for a moment about money. Capitalism. Geek style.

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Fierce Debate
Saturday night attended the well-publicized Rumble 2012 Debate between Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly. It took place on the George Washington Campus in DC. One and a half hours of pure wonk heaven. They were both amazing. Stewart and O'Reilly discussed immigration, taxes, welfare, disability, social security, socialism, The Olympics, helping the least of us, the troops, jobs bills, Congress, FDR, the deficit, housing subsidies, the GI Bill, and even quoted the bible.

Yes, of course, I thought Stewart won, but one of the best takeaways of the night was when O'Reilly said, "Capitalism is our biggest problem." Now he was making a broader point about how people love to hear outrage, so money is thrown at producing shows promoting fear and anger, ergo anger/fear mongers in all arenas get paid a pretty penny to say things they don't even believe themselves. Yes, he said that too.

Following The Money
Starting with Capitalism, and assuming Papa Bear is spot on, it would naturally follow (into the rabbit hole) that in the game of Capitalism, whoever has the most money wins. N'est pas? A search through the top donors behind Republicans this election cycle leads to Longtime Republican Party Financial Backer brother Anschutz, that is to say, the Multi-Billionaire Phillip Anschutz.

Anschutz (UPI, 2012)
Who is Philip Anschutz? Forbes says, : "[Philip bought dad's drilling company out in 1961, and moved into stocks, real estate, and railroads. A regular Monopoly player.

Tulsa World says, "The Anschutz Co., now encompasses the empire of billionaire Philip Anschutz and includes oil and gas drilling, railroads, telecom communications, entertainment, professional sports and publishing.[9/16/11 emphasis added]

Part of the Anschutz portfolio includes AEG Holdings which owns and operates, among other things, venues like The STAPLES Center (Los Angeles, CA), The O2 (London, UK), Best Buy Theater (Times Square, New York), Sprint Center, (Kansas City), O2 World (Berlin, Germany), Mercedes-Benz Arena (Shanghai, China), MasterCard Center (Beijing, China), O2 World Hamburg (Hamburg, Germany), Allphones Arena (Sydney, Australia) and the Ericsson Globe Arena (Stockholm, Sweden). Need more? Cause we could go on...and on....and on. 

In 2010 Forbes rated him the #123 wealthiest man in the world at $6B and now, in 2012, rates him #84 in the world. This guy's movin' on up. Just in case you think this was all just great luck, be it known that Anschutz was named "The Greediest Executive of 2002" in Fortune Magazine.

Anschutz (Slate, 2012)
Mr. Anschutz has donated massive amounts of money to the RNC through his companies' pockets this election cycle, and who knows how much more he has donated to the Super Pacs supporting the GOP candidates. It must hurt to wake up every day and see the percentages on all the polls showing Obama in the lead. How far will a man go to protect his investment? When you are Phillip Anschutz, that's pretty far.

Again, there's the money. Entwined in most of Anschutz's holdings is MBNA Bank. There are so many listings, one signed deal after another, on google, that they are too many to list here. The simplest example we can post is the relationship between Randy Lerner, Chairman of MBNA Corporation, and Anschutz. Together they own the MLS, domestic soccer league. Just the two of them. 

MBNA is a worldwide Bank (2012)
MBNA Worldwide
There are literally hundreds of other business connections between MBNA, Anschutz Holdings, and the GOP. In '93 Lerner joined MBNA. In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Lerner to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Now Lerner (estimated worth at $1 Billion) runs MBNA. In Anschutz's ledger, MBNA financed this, supported that, helped set up this, and executives from MBNA and Anschutz Holdings have been jumping back and forth for over a decade. They both play the sports ownership game that Romney refers to when he says, he has "a lot of good friends who are owners of the NFL and Nascar teams."

Single largest campaign donor to Bush? MBNA Bank.  Single largest corporate donor to Romney this campaign? MBNA Bank.

(PoliticsUSA, 2012)
On Top Of Bullshit Mountain
Philip Anschutz also owns The Examiner franchise and dozens of other newspapers. These publications have consistently been called out for printing outright lies on issues before state legislators and Congress, only taking positions that support GOP ideals...more money in oil and all that goes with it.

Here's a great piece on how The Examiner and its franchised papers have been distorting the truth on fracking to help out the oil holdings of the parent company:http://mediamatters.org/tags/philip-anschutz.  No one can do it like Media Matters. You should always make them a stop on your daily journeys through the cloud.

Now how can we possibly wrap up this long and diverse set of facts we've been laying down into one coherent rant? According to O'Reilly, money drives our problems in the form of distortions and sometimes in the form of fear mongering:
We know it's a stretch, but bear with us.

(Civicus. 2012)
The Examiner, in addition to running articles about how Obama wants to take away every one's guns, recently spread the rumor that hollow points are being bought up by Homeland Security. Be afraid. Be very afraid. After the story broke in The Examiner, it was picked up and quoted on all the underground fearful sites, those who tend to be interested in 9/11 theories, etc. Now, it's supposedly the truth. Obama is buying up 'cop killers' just before the election. Big scary Obama is going to take us all down. Does that sound like reality to you? Or does it sound, as Stewart put it Saturday night, like more manure from bullshit mountain? 

Following the Examiner's stories, which we don't recommend anyone do, you will find a trail of misinformation designed to get Romney elected and that trail leads directly to Anschutz. It's such a shame that anyone feels they need to lie to get into office, but even more sad because this is our American system of government for sale.

Remember, an informed voter is a better voter. Do your own research!  After all, this is why Gore invented the Internet.

The Policy Geek

[Update 10/9/12: After this flurry of email activity and FB noise about the end of the world, in the last 48 hours, Romney has taken the lead in most polls across the U.S. In addition, today, The San Francisco Examiner, now under new ownership,  just endorsed Obama. In 2008 they endorsed McCain.]

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