I very rarely find myself on the DailyKos. Usually the visit is spurred by another anti-Semitic post that slipped through the Kos moderators (its amazing how many of those “slip through”). This time the purpose of my visit is different, I visited because of an unusual exchange between Brad Peck of the US Chamber of Commerce and and Markos Moulitsas the Grand Poobah of the progressive website.
Last Friday Grand Poobah Moulitsas put up a post designed to fund raise for Arkansas Senatorial Candidate Bill Halter. The post called “AR-Sen: Hell to Pay: Chamber-backed group runs racist ad against Bill Halter,” begins by showing the commercial in question and continues with this charge:
“The group running this ad is funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and is reportedly putting in $400,000 for this ad. It ranks among the most despicable I’ve seen in politics, and is symptomatic of Lincoln’s sleazy, dishonest campaign.”
There is only one problem, the group that funded the ad, Americans for Job Security, is neither backed nor funded by the U.S Chamber of Commerce, but that wasn’t good for Moulitsas and thus started a strange email exchange between Peck and the Poobah that can only be described as surreal. Peck keeps trying to explain to Moulitsas that the Chamber and Americans for Job Security had absolutely no connection, and the Kos Poobah replying that he did not believe the truth. This part of the email exchange came from the Chamber website
On Tue, May 4, 2010 at 2:37 PM, <[email protected]> wrote:
Regarding this post: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/4/30/862436/-AR-Sen:-Hell-to-Pay:-Chamber-backed-group-runs-racist-ad-against-Bill-Halter
We have no affiliation in any way with the Halter ad you posted on or the group running it.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Really. That was the reply.
On Wed, May 5, 2010 at 6:47 AM, Peck, Bradley wrote:
I am sure that you understand the difficulty, if not impossibility, in proving a negative. I am also sure that despite our many policies differences you share our commitment to an honest debate centered on credible facts. Since you are making the allegation in this case it would seem that the burden of proof lies with you, but in the interest of setting the record straight I have again confirmed with every group at the Chamber who does political work that we are not associated with AJS and/or this ad. I also spoke with Stephen DeMaura at Americans for Job Security who confirmed this as well. Mr. DeMaura has also spoken with reporters about the ad and the WSJ has issued this update to their article on it:
UPDATE, 8.55 PM IST: Mr. DeMaura said his group had paid for stock footage for the ad but could not immediately provide more details about the source of the footage or the locations depicted in it. He also confirmed the ad cost around $900,000 to air but said the group was “not associated with the US Chamber of Commerce.”
I would like to again request that your post be updated to reflect this reality.
The reply from the Poobah was
From: [email protected][mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 10:50 AM
The Wall Street Journal is as interested in an honest debate as you guys is, which is saying, not interested at all.
How about an email introduction to Stephen DeMaura so I can ask him the source of funding for that ad myself?
Being an optimist, Brad Peck tried once more:
On Wed, May 5, 2010 at 7:59 AM, Peck, Bradley wrote:
It would seem at the moment that interest in an honest debate is lacking more on your side than mine. I do not know DeMaura or have his email address. I spoke with him this morning on the phone at the contact information listed on their website.Americans for Job Security
107 South West Street, PMB 551Alexandria, VA 22314
Still not good enough for the Kossaks
From: [email protected] [[email protected]] On Behalf Of Markos Moulitsas [[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 11:22 AM
You can’t have an honest debate without the facts.
And right now, your side of this “debate” is hiding behind unaccountable front groups that refuse to release donor information, and have a well-documented history of flat out lying.
In other words, I don’t believe you, and you have given me nothing but your word, and the word of some guy at AJS that you claim you don’t even know, that all the documentation showing a connection between the Chamber and AJS is somehow untrue.
You also deny global warming. It doesn’t mean I’m going to believe you just because you said so.
The complete email exchange is here. As Peck points out, none of “all the documentation” showing a connection between the Chamber and AJS was included in this last email, or in the post for that matter, The Kos Poobah is making the association without any evidence what so ever.
Nobody around here has any working knowledge of the group, so I did a little searching. Most of the 290 references on Google are in regards to Halter ad, where the connection between the Chamber and AJS was made by Kos, that would be a nice bit of self-validation but there must be more, right? Well, there is this “late 1990’s” connection made by Stealthpacs (also copied to SourceWatch):
“Americans for Job Security (AJS) spun off in the late 1990s from a group called The Coalition: Americans Working for Real Change, a group that had been formed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to counteract the extensive soft money spending by the AFL-CIO starting in the 1996 elections.”
Which is sort of contradicted by this from American Rights at Work:
Americans for Job Security Founded by American Insurance Association: Americans for Job Security was founded in 1997 by the President of the American Insurance Association, a trade organization that promotes the industry’s position on health care and product liability legislation. The American Insurance Association gave $1 million to help launch the group. The group later received a cash infusion in 2000 of $2 million from the American Insurance Association and the American Forest and Paper Association.
The final exchange above ends with the Kos Poobah giving his silliest reason for not believing the Chamber…You also deny global warming. It doesn’t mean I’m going to believe you just because you said so. I guess that it is the progressive way to say, “up your nose with a rubber hose.”
Any evidence connecting the Chamber to AJS is old and fuzzy at best, but basically non-existent. Of course Moses could come down from Mount Sinai with two tablets written in the hand of God saying that the Chamber has not connection to the AJS and the Daily Kos would still not believe them. That’s why Kos and most progressives are so frustrating when you try to have a logical conversation with them. You give them a pile of evidence, but instead of coming up with their own data to refute yours, they resort to calling names or changing the subject.
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