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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Rappler’s scheme was an attack on the Constitution and our nationhood


RAPPLER president Maria Ressa’s caterwauling that the corporate regulatory body’s decision to close down her outfit is an attack on the free press is pure, unadulterated rubbish.

She is lying through her teeth. She fully knows that it took the Securities and Exchange Commission the whole of last year to investigate the allegations that Rappler violated the constitutional provision banning foreign money in and control of media firms. I don’t think anyone can accuse the SEC chair, Teresita Herbosa, of being a Duterte lackey: She was appointed by former President Aquino 3rd in 2011.

Ressa obviously doesn’t respect our laws nor our country, that she imputes other motives to the SEC decision, thereby portraying the Philippines as a dictatorship going after critical media.

Rappler was given a whole year and opportunity to respond to the allegations, with Ressa herself appearing in meetings with SEC investigators, who were even so patient as to acquiesce to her last-minute requests for postponement “for personal reasons.”

By taking P50 million from two US media outfits—even from one notorious in the world for destabilizing a Ukrainian government the US didn’t like—Rappler attacked our Constitution. It undertook a scheme that would have opened the doors to foreign control of an institution crucial to developing our sense of nationhood: media.

Rappler actually functioned as a tool of the Aquino regime. It was set up in 2011, when the Yellow Cult realized that in its ambition to completely control Filipinos’ minds, their hold of traditional media, through the two dominant TV networks and through the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star, was not enough, especially in the new social-media world emerging.

It needed a mass media outfit in the cyber-world: Rappler became its principal vehicle, funded, I was told, not really by its main stockholder on record who is property tycoon Benjamin Bitanga, but by a Spanish-Filipino oligarch known to be close to Ressa and to Aquino.

In its first five years of existence, Rappler never had a single news article or opinion piece critical of Aquino and his regime.

In just the first few months of the new administration, it became so stridently anti-Duterte, spinning news stories to portray him as a cold-blooded killer. It even manufactured fake news, such as the 7,080 figure it alleged were the number of people executed by the police in its war against illegal drugs in the first three months of Duterte’s rule.

That figure has been extrapolated to the 13,000 figure of “extrajudicial killings” so far cited by foreign media and even in Facebook posts, such as one by Ayala executive Vicky Garchitorena that became viral for the number of netizens which criticized it.

Although Rappler accumulated a significant following in the first five years, its funders were shocked at how much of a money-guzzler it was, as its losses amounted to P200 million by that time.

This isn’t at all surprising. Rappler’s following was not due to its journalistic excellence, but to internet devices. In order to appear to have millions of “followers,” its two very knowledgeable techies, chairman Manuel Ayala and board director Nix Nolledo, employed—at astronomical prices—state-of-the-art technology.

For instance, it reportedly contracted cyber-experts in the US to monitor and adopt its online postings to top search engine Google’s algorithms (changed frequently) so that Rappler’s articles would be at the top of Google’s search results. Most Rappler readers until recently didn’t even know that Rappler captured the ISP addresses of anyone viewing its website, which the firm used to expand its viewers.

Oligarchic funders
As early as late 2014 though, Rappler’s oligarchic funders had become worried that with the scandals plaguing the Aquino government, the chances of Aquino’s sidekick Mar Roxas winning the presidency were not good. They decided not to throw in anymore money to the company, which even risked their discovery as its funders.

According to the SEC decision itself, it was Rappler president Maria Ressa (probably tapping the anti-Duterte network centered reportedly on New York billionaire Loida Nicolas Lewis) who asked for funding from North Base Media and Omidyar Network.

North Base Media is reportedly linked to billionaire George Soros, who gave $14 billion to his so-called Open Society Foundations which espouse the US views on democracy around the world.

Omidyar Network though is the more controversial funder. Respected investigative journalists in the US and Europe have alleged that this entity, funded by E-bay founder Pierre Omidyar, funded several of the opposition NGOs in Ukraine that conspired to oust through violent protests the pro-Russia President Victor Yanukovych in February 2014. (My column on this, “Rappler funder Omidyar helped topple Ukrainian president in 2014,”Manila Times, October 18, 2017.)

It obviously points to a certain mind-set devoid of nationalism for Rappler to get a foreign funder alleged to have destabilized governments elsewhere.

North Base Media and Omidyar’s investments were concealed as “Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs),” a document which assures a foreign firm that it would receive the income due its investment in a corporate share, while being technically not the share’s owners. This has been a legal trick used by public-utility companies in which foreign capital is limited by the Constitution—PLDT, Globe Telecom, ABS-CBN and GMA7—to skirt the constitutional provisions.

However, either Ressa or Rappler’s lawyers were so stupid as to have a provision in the PDRs sold to Omidyar Network that made it so obvious to the SEC that the Constitution had been violated.

The SEC found that the PDRs’ documentation had a provision that required Rappler’s stockholders to get the approval of “2/3 of all issued and outstanding PDRs” for major corporate decisions.

“The stockholder has become in effect subservient to the PDR holders. It is neither 100 percent control by the Filipino stockholders, nor is it 0 percent control by the foreign PDR holders,” the SEC decision said. “The Constitution is very clear that there must be no foreign control whatsoever. Anything less than one hundred percent (100%) Filipino control, as stockholder or through any other means, is a violation.”

Ressa or Rappler lawyers apparently admitted that the Omidyar PDRs were in violation of the Constitution that they submitted only last month, or when the SEC decision was to be released, a photocopy of a purported “waiver” of this provision that gave Omidyar veto power over the company.

That was a stupid move though. The SEC said: “The document is a private one, not subscribed before a notary or a Philippine Consulate. It was executed as recently as 11 December 2017. It is obviously inadmissible, a mere scrap of paper.”

I have always suspected that the Yellow DNA had a strand that made it as stupid as it was arrogant.

NOTE: For the readers’ full information, I am attaching in the internet version of this column the SEC’s decision in PDF format:

SEC decision on Rappler

Email: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
Twitter: @bobitiglao


Soros Clones: 5 Liberal Mega-Donors Nearly as Dangerous as George Soros

As the 2014 midterm elections approached, the media were quick to criticize conservative donors like the Koch brothers for backing issues important to them. But journalists largely ignored the incredible financial power being used to promote the liberal agenda.
Five top donors – Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, Pierre Omidyar, Tom Steyer and George Soros’s own son, Jonathan – are major funders of the left. Together, they have contributed at least $2.7 billion since 2000 to groups pushing abortion, gun control, climate change alarmism and liberal candidates.
That’s not how major media depicted them. Broadcast networks applauded when billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer promised $100 million to influence environmental policy. CBS News praised Steyer for “giving back” and ABC News called the billionaire an “everyman.”
Steyer wasn’t alone. Buffett has donated more than $1.2 billion to the abortion industry, with contributions stretching back until at least 1989. Yet, since 2001, ABC, CBS and NBC have only mentioned Buffett’s abortion funding once, out of 545 stories about him or interviews with him. And when former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg promised to devote $50 million to limit American gun rights, the networks praised his efforts as “grassroots” and as a way to “combat gun violence.”
All five donors were also actively involved with media. Collectively they either supported or owned 88 separate media outlets. Those organizations had a combined print circulation of 3.6 million and a digital circulation several times larger.
The MediaResearchCenter’s Business and Media Institute thoroughly researched these five top liberal donors. The findings included:
  • 46 Newspapers in Swing States, 88 Total Media Outlets: Soros and his allies learned long ago that those who control the media control the national conversation. Buffett made headlines, in more ways than one, when he began buying up 75 small and mid-sized newspapers throughout the country. Bloomberg and Omidyar also own small media empires in their own right, while Steyer and the younger Soros have poured millions into liberal media outlets including Mother Jones, Media Matters and Think Progress.
  • $2.7 Billion to Push Liberal Causes: Tom Steyer promised to spend $100 million to “make climate change a top-tier issue” in the 2014 election, and donated at least $20 million to political campaigns in 2012 alone. Buffett gave more than $1.2 billion to pro-abortion groups. Bloomberg pledged $50 million to campaign against gun rights and Omidyar donated a whopping $286 million to his favorite liberal causes. Meanwhile, George Soros’ son, Jonathan, is funneling millions through his Friends of Democracy PAC to unseat conservative politicians.
  • No Negative Network Coverage: Although ABC, CBS and NBC have mentioned Buffett in 545 stories since January 2001, the three broadcast networks only once alluded to his connection with abortion during their morning and evening news shows. These same three networks praised Bloomberg for his $50 million “grassroots” effort to fight the NRA, and dubbed Steyer and Jonathan Soros an antidote to the “secretive” Koch brothers. Omidyar hasn’t even been mentioned by the networks since 2011.
Recommendations for Journalists
The Business and Media Institute has the following recommendations for journalists who are reporting on political organizations, donors and funding.
  • Follow the Money: Liberal billionaires funded a wide range of political organizations and media groups. These groups were then considered authorities by major media outlets, including ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. Instead, reporters should challenge the biases of these groups.
  • Treat Public Figures Equally: Media outlets are quick to report on funding by Charles and David Koch to conservative organizations, but they often completely ignore the wide range of funding by liberal donors. Among them, these five liberal donors are worth more than $109 billion dollars, and they aren’t alone.
  • Dig Into Backgrounds of Both Sides: The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics states that journalists should “Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.” It is incumbent upon journalists to analyze the background and funding sources for groups and individuals on both ends of the political spectrum.

Hefty financial contributions have become a hot button political issue. In June, 2014, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., complained about the impact of such contributions in politics. He claimed Democrats were at a disadvantage because their “side doesn’t have many billionaires.”
That claim wildly understated the reality of big money in left-wing politics. Liberal billionaire George Soros alone gave $550 million to left-wing causes from 2001 to 2011. And that figure excluded his direct political contributions. 
Soros was not alone in spending big bucks to make a big political impact. Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, Pierre Omidyar and George Soros’ son Jonathan were only five of the many other power players who funded the left. These liberal donors contributed more than $2.7 billion since 2000 to fund their favorite left-wing causes through an intricate system of foundations, nonprofits, policy groups and political campaigns. 
Two of the five – Buffett and Bloomberg – were household names who have received positive news coverage for several years. But all five wielded great influence in liberal politics and journalism. Collectively, they owned or supported 88 media outlets with a combined circulation of 3.6 million. More than half of those outlets, 46 in all, were in the crucial election swing states of FloridaNorth CarolinaIowa and Virginia
But media outlets were only part of their influence. Together, these donors also focused on the key political issues of abortion, gun control, climate-change alarmism and limiting political contributions. And they didn’t just use their own deep pockets either – these men were quick to find like-minded allies to help them fund the liberal agenda. 
A leaked 2013 briefing book from a coalition of liberal bankrollers known as the Democracy Alliance revealed a lot about the strategy of the powers behind the left. “Progressives’ long term success hinges on our ability to fundamentally change our current political system – including large questions about who can vote, the role money should play in politics, and what our courts look like,” the briefing stated. 
The Democracy Alliance, founded in part by liberal billionaires George Soros and Peter Lewis, seeks to coordinate the donations of dozens of wealthy liberals including eco-activist billionaire Steyer and Soros’ own son, Jonathan. The Alliance encourages its supporters to donate to 172 liberal groups that made up a “Progressive Infrastructure Map.” 
On abortion, Buffett was king. His foundation donated $1.2 billion to abortion groups worldwide, while Bloomberg promised $50 million dollars to target American gun rights. 
EBay founder Pierre Omidyar used $250 million of his extensive personal resources to launch his own journalism organization, First Look Media. It became a platform for anti-American reporter Glenn Greenwald, whom NSA-leaker Edward Snowden entrusted with many of his stolen secrets. Greenwald has been an outspoken critic of Israel, and defender of Hamas. He accused the U.S. government of seeking to “enable Israeli aggression” during the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in July 2014. 
So far, none of the five liberal donors have matched Soros’ overall charity contributions of more than $9 billion. However, out of all the liberal millionaires and billionaires who pour their money into left-wing causes, these five had substantial influence on the liberal agenda, and received consistently positive treatment from the media. 
Liberals have learned that media outlets are the key to pushing an agenda so they are especially important to top liberal donors. These five donors used their extensive resources to expand the left’s hold on the media. 
Not content with the glowing coverage they received from the existing media organizations, these billionaires went on a massive media buying binge. Whether it’s owning newspapers (Buffett), online content (Omidyar), magazines or television stations (Bloomberg) or simply funding existing media outlets (all five), these donors certainly realized the power of the press.
Bloomberg Businessweek doesn’t even put up a façade of being unbiased. Since Bloomberg LP bought the magazine back in 2009, Businessweek has run cover stories with agenda-driven headlines like “It’s Global Warming, Stupid,” “This entire country is about to be wiped out by climate change. It won’t be the last,” and an anti-NRA cover riddled with bullet holes. Bloomberg himself is a media darling. His campaign to ban large drink options in New York City was hailed by NBC “Nighlty News” on March 11, 2013, as “his fight to make New Yorkers healthier,” even though a poll cited on the next morning’s edition of the “Today” show admitted that 60 percent of New Yorkers thought that the ban was a “bad idea.” 
Buffett began buying up small and mid-sized newspapers in 2012, spending millions on an industry that most people said was dying. Forty-six of the 75 papers he owned as of July 2014 were strategically located in the crucial swing states of Iowa, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. 
Buffett spent more than $344 million of the company’s money on just 28 of the 75 local outlets that Berkshire now owns, despite admitting in his 2012 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders that “the circulation, advertising and profits of the newspaper industry overall are certain to decline.” The reason for this investment by one of the world’s most savvy businessmen could be found later on in the same letter: “[n]ews, to put it simply, is what people don’t know that they want to know.” 
Not to be outdone, eBay founder Omidyar decided to put his money to use creating an entire media empire of his very own from scratch. The new outlet, “First Look Media,” would demonstrate the eBay founder’s ability to promote content online. Two of the first staffers he snatched up for this venture were Greenwald and Laura Poitras, ardent defenders of former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden gave them sensitive national security information to release to the public. In fact, Omidyar even launched a portion of his news service, dubbed “The Intercept,” ahead of schedule, “to provide a platform to report on the documents previously provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.” 
Steyer and Jonathan Soros don’t yet own any media outlets outright, but they have influenced them. Together they’ve funded liberal news or news-related sites like the Center for Public Integrity, Media Matters, the Center for Ecoliteracy and the Center for American Progress (the parent organization of Think Progress). These groups provide a platform for far-left voices that often gets echoed by larger, more prominent media outlets. The Huffington Post called CAP “the mothership” for “Obama’s 2012 Campaign Cavalry,” a moniker which CAP proudly accepted in its annual report
With a collective net worth of more than $107.3 billion – more than four times that of George Soros – these five liberal donors were among the most influential on the left. Every one of them is well-positioned to take over for Soros as he distances himself from day-to-day politics. 
The Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute rated each of these donors on a scale of one to five (five being the highest) to determine who was most likely to take over for George Soros. The higher the similarity to Soros’ manipulative tactics, the higher the clone rating.
Born: Feb 14, 1942
Net Worth: $33 Billion
Foundation: Bloomberg Philanthropies (formerly the Bloomberg Family Foundation)
Media Outlets: Bloomberg, Bloomberg Businessweek
Soros Clone Rating: 4.5 of 5 
Nobody personifies Big Government quite like Bloomberg, the former three-term mayor of New York City. He was so influential in that position that he was able to add a term to what had been a two-term job.

Thanks to him, the infamous and ridiculous New York City large soda ban was implemented on Sept. 13, 2012, although it was overturned in court six months later. The arbitrary and unworkable regulation barred some New York businesses from selling sodas larger than 16 oz. Bloomberg claimed this ban would help people, since they “don’t have the ability to take care of themselves.” That comment represented an essential tenet of the liberal elite’s worldview. 
The media drank up Bloomberg’s nanny-state soda ban, often gushing about it. 
Besides banning sugary drinks, salt and smoking within the Big Apple, Bloomberg founded Bloomberg L.P., the company which now owns Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek. He also co-founded and funds the controversial anti-gun group Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
When it comes to Bloomberg, $50 million is the number to remember. Through his $4.2 billion Bloomberg Philanthropies, Bloomberg donated $50 million to the Sierra Club to ban coal use, $50 million to Planned Parenthood (the nation’s top abortion operation) and an additional $50 million to promote gun control.
His donation to the Sierra Club boosted the “Beyond Coal” project which campaigned to put an end to the use of coal as an energy source in the U.S. Beyond Coal claimed on its website to have forced 168 coal plants to announce their “planned retirement.” According to Bloomberg Philanthropies, the $50 million donation, given over four years, “provided a significant boost” to Beyond Coal’s campaign “to retire one-third of the nation’s aging coal fleet by 2020.”
Bloomberg also gave $50 million to Family Planning 2020, as part of a joint project with Planned Parenthood to provide “reproductive health services” in Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Uganda. 
In 2014, 50 mayors from across the nation dropped out of Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns group. One of those, John Tkazyik from Poughkeepsie, New York, explained that he left MAIG when he discovered that “under the guise of helping mayors facing a crime and drug epidemic, MAIG intended to promote confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens.” Soon after this backlash, Bloomberg changed the name of his organization to Everytown for Gun Safety, thus essentially sweeping any bad publicity from MAIG under the rug. 
Partial List of Bloomberg’s Donations Since 2010:
  • Sierra Club: $80,000,000
  • Planned Parenthood: $50,250,000
  • Environmental Defense Fund: $6,000,000
  • Mayors Against Illegal Guns: $5,856,274
  • Terry McAuliffe’s Gubernatorial Campaign (D-Va.): $1,100,000

Born: 1957
Net Worth: $1.6 Billion
Foundation: TomKat Charitable Trust, TomKat Foundation
Soros Clone Rating: 4 out of 5
Media Outlets: Center for American Progress, Common Sense Media, Center for Ecoliteracy
Steyer has sought to remake himself from successful businessman into banker for the left. The attempt earned him the title of “environmental hero” from The Washington Post. His $100 million donation will go toward “taking on big oil and special interests” in 2014, according to a lengthy op-ed he wrote in Politico defending his own coal investments. According to another Politico article, the Keystone Pipeline will be one of the main targets of this campaign spending blitz. 

Steyer has been known to stretch the truth to advance his political goals. A Time magazine article from May 22, 2014, admitted that Steyer’s TV and online ads had factual problems. The claim that the Keystone Pipeline would be used to ship American oil to China was “not an argument anchored in reality” but one that “fits Steyer’s larger conviction that the economy needs to be as big a part of the climate message as the environment.” The article then quoted Steyer rationalizing his actions, saying, “[s]ometimes you need to take the fight that’s there.” 
Despite all of this, Steyer hadn’t divested his coal interests from his own portfolio until June 30, 2014. Up until that point, Steyer was still making money off of fossil fuel investments through Farallon Capital management, which he founded. 
A July 4, 2014, New York Times article pointed out that these investments actually “increased their annual production by 70 million tons since they received money from the hedge fund.” The same article noted that Farallon had “pumped hundreds of millions of dollars” into the coal industry. The Times cited “corporate records, government data and interviews with industry experts” to support its case.
Yet, Steyer remained the billionaire poster child of the environmental movement.
Steyer founded NextGen Climate in 2013 to help push his climate change agenda. The group claims to “act politically to avert climate disaster and preserve American prosperity” by taking “bold action” and “exposing those who deny reality and cater to special interests.” 
Buffett, Bloomberg and Steyer were also members of Bill and Melinda Gates’ Giving Pledge. Steyer donated much of his money through his foundations, which include the TomKat Charitable Trust, the Pacific Coast Foundation, the TomKat Foundation and the TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation. 
Pouring $8 million into the race, Steyer was instrumental in Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s 2012 gubernatorial victory in Virginia over GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli. He also started a fund to bankroll former Florida governor and current gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist. While Steyer began this fund with $750,000, "some Florida Democrats believe he intends to spend as much as $10 million," to aid the former Republican, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Crist formerly left the governorship, and the Republican Party, to run for U.S. Senate as an Independent. He lost that race won by Republican candidate Marco Rubio.
Through the TomKat Charitable trust, Steyer donated more than $4.7 million to liberal groups since 2009, not including his more than $8.5 million in political donations.
Partial List of Steyer’s Donations Since 2008:
  • Center for American Progress: $2,650,000
  • Center for Ecoliteracy: $1,292,769
  • Environmental Defense Fund: $500,000
  • EcoTrust: $471,000
  • 350.org: $250,000

Born: Aug. 30, 1930
Net Worth: $62 Billion
Foundation: The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation
Soros Clone Rating: 3 of 5
Media Outlets: BH Media Group (75 local papers) 
Buffett has been involved in media for decades. While Bloomberg focused on buying one of the largest news magazines in the U.S., Buffett took a different approach, buying up dozens of smaller, localized outlets.

The Berkshire Hathway CEO, beloved by the news media, was no stranger to the news business. Until Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013, Berkshire Hathaway owned 1.7 million shares in Graham Holdings, the Post’s parent company. Shortly after the sale of the paper, Berkshire negotiated a deal with Graham holdings that involved Berkshire giving up its shares.
Berkshire Hathaway Media Group owns 75 outlets in 10 different states and invested at least $142 million on the acquisitions, even with the sale of its Post shares.
This media ownership gave Buffett influence on the news at a local level. His holdings included newspapers in political swing states like Virginia (30 papers) and Florida (9 papers cover the “mid-south,” which includes Florida). 
An outspoken liberal, Buffett endorsed Obama during his campaign and advocated for higher taxes on the rich. He made headlines in March 2013 for claiming that he thought he paid lower taxes than his secretary, adding “I’ll probably be the lowest paying taxpayer in the office.”
Through the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named after his late wife, Buffett also donated more than $1.2 billion to abortion groups between 2001 and 2012. This included money going to Planned Parenthood and NARAL, as well as funding to aid the development and approval of the controversial abortion drug RU-486.
This substantial support of the abortion industry stems from Buffett’s own Malthusian fear of overpopulation. Despite Buffett’s status as a household name, the media largely ignored his funding of abortion groups. Out of the 545 stories and interviews with Buffett on ABC, CBS and NBC since 2001, the networks only mentioned his abortion funding once, and even that was only a passing reference to his wife’s support of Planned Parenthood. Not once did the networks mention how much money Buffett poured into the abortion industry.
Buffett’s support of abortion goes back decades. Before 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision, when abortions were legal in California but illegal elsewhere in the country, Buffett and his friend the current vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Charles Munger, helped sponsor a “church,” dubbed the Ecumenical Fellowship, which helped women find places to get abortions.
In 1994, Warren Buffett said that the world would have far fewer problems “if you could make every child born in this country and this world a wanted child … the closest thing we have to that is Planned Parenthood. Until women have the right to determine their reproductive destiny, we’re in an unequal society.”
Partial List of Buffett’s Donations Since 1989:
  • Planned Parenthood: $289 million
  • Marie Stopes International: $211 million
  • National Abortion Federation: $85 million
  • DKT International: $78 million
  • Engender Health: $32 million
  • Guttmacher Institute: $29 million
  • NARAL: $24 million

Born: 1970
Net Worth: Unknown. His 83-year-old father, George Soros is worth $23 billion.
Foundation: Jonathan and Jennifer Allan Soros Foundation
Rating: 3 out of 5
Media Outlets: Center for Responsive Politics
The third of the five Soros children, Jonathan Soros is a good candidate to take the reins left by his father. While Jonathan wasn’t as wealthy as other major donors, he was well-connected and active in liberal funding networks. 

Soros presented an odd double standard. One on hand, he campaigned as head of his own PAC, the Friends of Democracy PAC, to “get money out of politics.” Yet, the younger Soros was simultaneously vice chairman and director of the board for his father’s Open Society Foundation, which has given hundreds of millions to liberal causes. 
His hypocrisy was obvious enough: the Friends of Democracy PAC focused on removing conservative money from elections. During the 2012 election cycle, Friends of Democracy targeted eight members of the House of Representatives – all Republicans. According to the “2012 Success” page of its website, seven of these eight members lost their elections.
Despite claiming to want to end the influence of PACs, Friends of Democracy used its position as a PAC to accomplish its goal. It promised to target “up to ten additional House races” during the upcoming 2014 election.
Jonathan Soros was also praised by news outlets, including ABC News and Politico, as the answer to political “dark money” woes. The “journalists” at these outlets have reported nothing but glowing reviews, acting as little more than a PR campaign for Soros’ agenda.
Soros was also a member of the highly secretive Democracy Alliance, a group of liberal bankrollers that his father helped to create. According to the Alliance, “progressives' long term success hinges on our ability to fundamentally change our current political system – including large questions about who can vote, the role money should play in politics, and what our courts look like.”
A leaked briefing book from the Democracy Alliance included a “Progressive Infrastructure Map Spring 2014” listing 172 liberal groups that the Alliance encouraged its supporters to donate to.
The briefing book also highlighted 21 organizations the Alliance viewed as success stories. These "successes" included items like:
  • "Met goal to coordinate campaigns to block conservatives agendas" (America Votes)
  • "Met goal to promote progressive vision of the law" (American Constitution Society)
  • "Met goal to advance progressive state policies" (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
  • Another highlighted group, Progressive Majority, boasted that it helped "elect 60 progressives and flip six local governments" in 2013 alone.
Partial List of Jonathan Soros’ Donations Since 2002:
  • Open Society Institute: $36,858,071
  • Planned Parenthood: $590,000
  • Center for Reproductive Rights: $359,000
  • Brennan Center for Justice: $100,000

Born: June 21, 1967
Net Worth: $7.6 Billion
Foundation: Omidyar Network Fund, Democracy Fund
Rating: 2 out of 5
Media Outlets: First Look Media, Center for Public Integrity, Center for Responsive Politics, Sunlight Foundation
EBay founder and chairman Pierre Omidyar took the idea of funding the liberal media one step further when he built a media powerhouse all of his own. He used $250 million of his own money and created the news start-up First Look Media.

Omidyar staffed First Look with career liberal journalists from other outlets, including The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald and Slate’s Matt Taibbi. Greenwald’s liberal rants now have a prominent place at The Intercept, First Look’s online magazine. That was the only news-oriented part of the website up and running at the time of this report.
Greenwald was one of two journalists entrusted by Edward Snowden with the leaked NSA documents. (The other, Laura Poitras, also works at The Intercept.) According to the outlet’s own website, The Intercept’s “short-term mission is to provide a platform to report on the documents previously provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.” 
According to Greenwald, The Intercept launched earlier than originally planned due to an “obligation to the NSA documents to have a place to report them.” Besides reporting on the Snowden documents, The Intercept promised to “move forward with what we believe is essential reporting in the public interest.” 
Because of his connection to Snowden, Greenwald’s romantic partner, David Miranda, was temporarily held at London’s Heathrow airport in August 2013 under the U.K.’s Terrorism Act 2000. British authorities confiscated Miranda’s external hard drive containing “58,000 highly classified UK intelligence documents,” according to Greenwald’s then-employer The Guardian. Starting in June, 2013, Greenwald wrote a series of articles publicizing material from Snowden’s stolen files. 
Omidyar prefers to keep his own politics quiet, but his funding revealed what his words didn’t. Through his foundation, the Omidyar Network Fund, he gave more than $213 million to liberal organizations – in addition to the $250 million he spent on First Look. 
The liberal groups he funded included George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the Tides Foundation (a foundation used to funnel liberal money anonymously to a variety of causes), as well as left-wing journalism groups like the Center for Public Integrity and the Center for Responsive Politics.
Another one of Omidyar’s pet projects was promoting the idea of a “post-political” world. At first, the idea of a world without political bickering might sound appealing, but Omidyar’s end goal was to limit political opposition to the majority.
Omidyar himself said as much in the announcement notice for the creation of his latest grantmaking operation, the Democracy Fund. In the January 2013 open letter, Omidyar repeatedly accused the Republican-dominated Congress of being run by “big donors and lobbyists,” as well as being “dominated by the demonization of opponents and deceptive political rhetoric.”
Partial List of Omidyar’s Donations Since 2004:

  • First Look Media: $250,000,000
  • Sunlight Foundation: $20,505,184
  • Center for Public Integrity: $2,150,000
  • Open Society Foundation (London): $677,142
  • Tides Center: $501,000

George Soros doesn’t work alone. Despite liberal cries about conservative “dark money,” the left continued to be financed by an intricate network of dozens of millionaires, billionaires and foundations. This report highlighted only a handful of the most prominent members of this group.
The media coverage of these liberal donors was inexcusable. It was not the job of the media to promote or applaud partisan efforts, and it was negligent of them to ignore or bury connections between liberal policy initiatives and the liberals who funded them. Journalists were far more apt to cover conservative billionaires and their influence than they were to cover liberal billionaires.
As George Soros retires more and more from the political funding spotlight, liberal bankrollers like Buffett, Bloomberg, Steyer, Omidyar and the younger Soros were vying to take his place. And this report is just the tip of that iceberg. There are dozens of other millionaires, billionaires and political game changers on the left. Several big liberal players were not included in this report, including Rob McKay, the Taco Bell heir and big campaigner for higher minimum wage laws; George Kaiser, the billionaire oil tycoon who invested heavily in Oklahoma politics; Drummond Pike, the creator of the highly influential Tides Foundation.
For this Special Report, the MRC's Business and Media Institute looked at 990 tax returns for foundations and nonprofits associated with Bloomberg, Buffett, Steyer, Omidyar and Soros. These tax returns are available through Guidestar and the Foundation Directory. All net worth amounts come from the Forbes Billionaires List.
To gauge the media coverage of these liberal donors, BMI looked for mentions of their names in Nexis transcripts for the morning and evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC from January 2001 to June 2014.
Recommendations for Journalists
The Business and Media Institute has the following recommendations for journalists who are reporting on political organizations, donors and funding.
  • Follow the Money: Liberal billionaires funded a wide range of political organizations and media groups. These groups were then considered authorities by major media outlets, including ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. Instead, reporters should challenge the biases of these groups.
  • Treat Public Figures Equally: Media outlets are quick to report on funding by Charles and David Koch to conservative organizations, but they often completely ignore the wide range of funding by liberal donors. Among them, these five liberal donors are worth more than $109 billion dollars, and they aren’t alone.
  • Dig Into Backgrounds of Both Sides: The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics states that journalists should, “Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.” It is incumbent upon journalists to analyze the background and funding sources for groups and individuals on both ends of the political spectrum.

Duterte overthrown by a revolt led by Rappler CEO Maria Ressa: a scenario analysis

Though difficult to tell for sure, the Opposition led by the Liberal Party (the Yellowtards) gained some measure of success in spinning what was primarily a citation of lapses in corporate compliance on the part of “social news network” Rappler into an issue of “press freedom”. Led by its embattled CEO Maria Ressa, the Yellowtards have gone full swing spreading the word that the government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is mounting an “attack on press freedom”. The objective of this newest stunt is quite clear (as those of past ones had been) — it is the most recent bid of the Opposition to gather a critical mass of support to prematurely (and extra-constitutionally) remove Duterte from office.
The Yellowtards, after all, are the “people power” mob. They remain addicted to the notion that duly-elected presidents can beeasily removed given enough numbers of people massing on Imperial Manila’s streets (never mind the streets of all the otherPhilippine cities). Thus, in the case of this latest Rappler outrage fad, the all-too-familiar emotional screeches of these Opposition “activists” is, yet again, drowning out the sober facts of the matter.
So let’s say, for discussion’s sake, Ressa and her Yellowtard cohorts (which has since expanded to include communist “activist” elements) manage to mobilise the numbers, mass enough warm bodies on EDSA and overthrow the Duterte government through the sheer shrillness of their shrieks.
What then?
Will the new “revolutionary” government of Maria Ressa then reinstate, by edict, Rappler‘s license to operate as a media firm funded with foreign money? Will the ruling of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) simply be voided by this new government? And what of the Yellowtard Constitution upon which rests the whole case of the SEC against Rappler?
See, it is easy to incite indignation, then call for mass action, then mount a civil disobedience (a euphemism for open rebellion) campaign, then do another of those Pinoy-style presidential ousters. But when it comes to answering the question And then what?, it is likely Filipinos will, again, be left with a big monumental shrug from the new powers-that-be. The last time such a “revolution” happened, that shrug lasted 30 years. At least, back in 1986 (and then in 2001) there were, as the thinking went at the time, big issues at stake. In today’s case, it is just all about Rappler and its CEO’s persecution complex at work on gullible minds.
It is important to consider that the Opposition of today, as it stands, lacks a clear strategic direction. It does not propose an alternative path to the way Duterte is running things. Led by the Yellowtards, an Opposition in power will likely reinstate the same old familiarly dysfunctional status quo for lack of any other alternative. Take this into account in an attempt to answer the question What’s Next? in the aftermath of another Yellowtard “revolution” and it will be easy to grasp just how dangerous the moronic notion of an “attack on free speech” posed by the Yellowtards is.
Another people power “revolution” mounted off the back of a silly outrage fad spun around Maria Ressa’s incompetence as CEO of Rappler will most certainly, yet again, fail the Filipino people.
Filipinos should see the Yellowtard-led Opposition for what it is — nothing more than an immense vacuous bubble of noise aimed only at grabbing power. It has no agenda for the Filipino people and is fuelled only by a manic desire to secure the lucrative status quo that keeps the traditional oligarchs that bankroll it happy. There is only this and none of that “attack on free speech” that they keep beating their shrill drums about.

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benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.