Thursday, December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Tucker Carlson, Paul Singer, and the Future of the Republican Party


Tucker Carlson continues to be one of the few on-air television personalities who is not afraid to address the very real profound issues and questions which confront this decaying and corrupted American nation…issues which most Republicans AND conservatives studiously avoid or refuse to address. That is not to say that everything Carlson reports or says is cutting edge—after all he still must manage to navigate the perilous Neocon “glass ceiling” which increasingly dominates at Fox News. Yet, he has one major advantage which, hopefully, will insure his survival: his prime time program, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” is top-ranked, and to attempt to end it, well, there would be a tsunami backlash against Fox if that were to happen.

On Tuesday night, December 3, Carlson was in rare form. Midway during his program he launched a very powerful monologue, accompanied by a filmed special report on what occurred in and to the town of Sidney, Nebraska, when its main employer, Cabelas, was taken over by a hedge fund manipulator, then merged, with the resultant job loss of almost the entirety of the town’s workforce.

The object of his powerful slings and arrows? Republican fat-cat hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer and the cynical devastation his financial actions have wrought on Middle America—and Sidney—that is,  on many of the very citizens who voted for Donald Trump.

And Carlson took no prisoners.

A little background—here are snippets of what Wikipedia (not a “right wing” source) says about Singer:
Singer has contributed more than $1 million to the political efforts of the Koch brothers. In 2014, Singer led a group of major Republican donors to form the American Opportunity Alliance, a group that brings together wealthy Republican donors who share Singer's support for LGBTQ rights, open borders immigration reform and Israel. During the 2016 Presidential election campaign Singer supported Marco Rubio and donated a million dollars in March to the Our Principles PAC, a PAC attempting to derail Donald Trump's election campaign…. Singer was a major contributor to George W. Bush's presidential campaigns. On March 14, 2008, Singer hosted a Republican National Committee luncheon in his home for 70 guests that raised $1.4 million for Bush. Bush appointed Singer to serve on the Honorary Delegation to accompany him to Jerusalem for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel in May 2008…..In 2011 Singer donated $1 million to Restore Our Future, a Super PAC created to support Mitt Romney in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election….. He has also donated millions of dollars to organizations that advocate for a strong military and for supporting Israel.… He also served on the board of directors for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs..
As well as contributing to private initiatives, Singer also actively seeks to persuade other Republicans to support gay marriage. He has joined other Wall Street executives in support of LGBT equality and stated that same-sex marriage promotes "family stability" and that in a time when "the institution of marriage in America has utterly collapsed," the fact that gay couples want to marry "is kind of a lovely thing and a cool thing and a wonderful thing."
Singer, whose son Andrew married his husband Corey Morris in a same-sex marriage in Massachusetts in 2009, has also financially supported the legalization of gay marriage in New York and Maryland. In 2011 this advocacy included supporting legislation allowing same-sex marriage in the state of New York.
In 2012 Singer provided $1 million to start a Political Action Committee named American Unity PAC. According to the New York Times, the PAC's "sole mission will be to encourage Republican candidates to support same-sex marriage, in part by helping them to feel financially shielded from any blowback from well-funded groups that oppose it." In 2014 Singer urged Republicans to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. This bill requires workplace protections to extend to the LGBT community. As of June 2014 Singer had donated an estimated $10 million to the gay rights movement. In 2015 Singer, Tim Gill and Daniel Loeb helped fund Freedom For All Americans to promote LGBT issues in states and local communities in the United States. [bolding mine]

There you have it: a cosmopolitan, hedge fund financial capitalist manipulator, a zealous advocate for same sex marriage, and a globalist internationalist. In other words, your ideal Establishment Republican. And Singer makes his wishes become real—he contributes heavily to Republican senators to insure that his views continue to dominate. In other words, he is a kind of “Republican George Soros”!
In the segment on Tuesday night, Carlson also took a much-deserved swipe at Nebraska GOP Senator Ben Sasse. Sasse, of course, is touted in the “conservative mainstream” as an up-and-coming star, a Never Trumper who boasts all the necessary credentials for advancing in the ranks to prime time, perhaps even to a future presidential run (on behalf of the Republican and conservative establishment). He’s pro-globalist and interventionist, shares all the domestic narratives of the establishment, won’t rock the boat and disturb things…oh, and he received big donations from…Paul Singer.
At the end of his commentary and report about the disastrous effects, not only economically but socially, on Sidney, Nebraska, which Singer’s cold manipulations had produced, Carlson mentioned that he had reached out to Sasse for comment. Sasse’s staff finally got back to Carlson Wednesday, and his response—if you want to call it that—was that he was “sorry” about what happened to Sidney, and that we needed to look for “creative solutions”! 
Not a word, nothing critical of Singer and his veritable financial rape of American business (and destruction of Sidney), nothing about these new heartless and ruthless “robber barons” who care not a whit for us “deplorables.” As Carlson added, at least the older generation of millionaires, the Henry Fords and the Andrew Carnegies had a sense of social duty to the nation that had enabled them to make their fortunes, and at least they endowed universities, supported education, and paid their employees well. Not today, not with the GOP fat-cat ravages by the likes of Paul Singer and others like him. Singer gives capitalism a deservedly bad name, in fact, his praxis is the perversion of it.
Yesterday, briefly while in my car, I caught a bit of the Rush Limbaugh program. Asked about who could or might succeed Donald Trump in 2024 and continue the Trumpian revolution (with all its weaknesses and U-turns) against the Deep State, Limbaugh declared that there was no one on the horizon, yet, who might fill that bill. Indeed, the Republican Establishment continues to flex its muscle: Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has just appointed pro-Planned Parenthood businessman (and sometime Never Trumper) Kelly Loeffler to the United State senate position vacated by the ailing Johnny Isakson…despite the recommendation of President Trump that he appoint Georgia Representative Doug Collins, a staunch supporter of the president.
There is a memorable epigram attributed to French journalist, Jean-Baptiste Karr (circa 1848): "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"— that is, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Apparently, this is the motto of the establishment Republican Party, despite the advent of Donald Trump: first, oppose him strenuously; then, when he becomes president, attempt to surround him and influence him (cf. John Bolton, General Mattis, Rex Tillerson, and the various apparatchiks of the administrative Deep State who continue to exercise unelected power in the Trump White House); next, turn on him when he might be down; and, finally, retake complete control when he departs…as if the “Trump Episode” was just a bad nightmare.  Ah, and then, roll out a Ben Sasse or a sycophantic (“former” Never Trumper) like Nikki Haley.
Maybe we should begin asking, imploring Tucker Carlson to consider running in 2024? Right now, I cannot think of anyone else with the necessary level of intelligence and understanding to take the reins of this failing nation….
Here is a partial text of Carlson’s commentary of Tuesday night, December 3; please access the video link…the segment is about eleven minutes long, but well worth the time.

Tucker Carlson: How Paul Singer, Hedge Funds Are Destroying Rural America

Posted By Ian Schwartz
On Date December 3, 2019

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: If you’ve spent any time driving around America recently, you may have noticed that an awful lot of the country seems to have shriveled up and died. Take a trip on route two in Maine some time and count the boarded-up paper mills and abandoned houses. Or head down route 23 in Michigan or Ohio and consider the empty factories ringed with barbed wire. Outside the coastal cities, scenes like this are everywhere. Shuttered car dealerships, next to defunct restaurants, across the street from thrift stores and methadone clinics. Community after community, desiccated. Empty husks, with nothing left. Huge swaths of the United States look like this now. What happened?

A lot of things, some of them complicated and hard to change. But one of the big factors in this slow-moving disaster is the utter transformation of the way our leaders think about the American economy. During the last gilded age, 125 years ago, America’s ruling class may have been ostentatiously rich, but it was still recognizably American. Tycoons accumulated fortunes, but they also felt some obligation to the country around them. Steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie famously built stone libraries around the country, for the edification of the poor. John D. Rockefeller and many other so-called robber barons set aside huge portions of their wealth to make the country better. In January of 1914, Henry Ford more than doubled the prevailing factory wage, to a then-astounding five dollars for an eight hour day. Ford didn’t have to do it, but his company was succeeding and he thought he should. Some historians trace the creation of the American middle class to Henry Ford’s decision. Either way, it’s nearly impossible a big company doing anything like that today. Attitudes are just too different. Your average finance mogul looks at workers merely as costs to be reduced or eliminated. Private equity isn’t building a lot of public libraries these days.

Instead the model is ruthless economic efficiency: buy a distressed company, outsource the jobs, liquidate the valuable assets, fire middle management, and once the smoke has cleared, dump what remains to the highest bidder, often in Asia. It has happened around the country. It has made a small number of people phenomenally rich. One of them is a New York-based Hedge Fund manager called Paul Singer, who according to Forbes has amassed a personal fortune of more than $3 billion dollars. Singer made a lot of his money by purchasing sovereign debt from financially-distressed countries, usually at a massive discount. Once a country’s economy regained some stability, Singer would bombard its government with lawsuits, until he made his money back with interest. The practice is called vulture capitalism — feeding off the carcass of a dying nation. In some ways, it’s not so different from what Singer and his firm, Elliott Management, have done in this country. Over the past couple of decades, Elliott has made billions by buying large stakes in American companies, firing workers, driving up short-term share prices, and in some cases, taking government bailouts. Bloomberg News has described Singer as “the world’s most feared investor,” which tells you a lot. No one’s even pretending Paul Singer’s tactics are good for anyone but Paul Singer and his fund.

Consider the case of Delphi, the automotive parts supplier. During the last financial crisis, a consortium of hedge funds, including Singer’s Elliott Management, purchased Delphi. With Singer and the other funds at the helm, the company took billions of dollars in government bailouts. Obama’s auto-czar compared the tactics to extortion. Once they had the bailout money, the funds moved most of Delphi’s jobs overseas, and then either cut retiree pensions entirely or shifted the costs to taxpayers. With lighter financial commitments at home, and cheap factories abroad, Delphi’s stock soared. According to investigative reporter Greg Palast, of the 29 Delphi plants in operation when the hedge funds started buying Delphi debt, only four were still operating in the United States by 2012. Tens of thousands of unionized and white-collar workers lost their jobs. Paul Singer’s hedge fund cashed out for more than a billion dollars.

Some countries, including the United Kingdom, have banned this kind of behavior. It bears no resemblance to the capitalism we were promised in school. It creates nothing. It destroys entire cities. It couldn’t be uglier or more destructive. So why is it still allowed in this country? Because people like Paul Singer have tremendous influence over our political process. Singer himself was the second biggest donor to the Republican Party in 2016. He’s given millions to a super PAC that supports Republican senators. You may never have heard of Paul Singer. But in Washington, he’s rock star famous. That may be why he’s almost certainly paying a lower effective tax rate than your average fireman. Just in case you’re still wondering if the system is rigged.

Tonight we want to tell you a little more about how Paul Singer does business. The story begins in a small town called Sidney, Nebraska, population 6,282. Two hours outside Denver, Sidney is the longtime home of the sporting goods retailer Cabela’s.

In October 2015, Singer’s hedge fund disclosed an 11 percent stake in Cabela’s and set about pushing the board to sell the company.  Cabela’s management, fearing a long and costly fight with Singer, announced it would look for a buyer. At the time, Cabela’s was healthy. The company was posting nearly $2 billion a year in gross profits, off $4 billion in revenue. There was no immediate need to sell. But they did anyway. One year after Singer entered the equation, Bass Pro Shops announced the purchase of Cabela’s. The company’s stock price surged. Within a week, Singer cashed out. He’d bought the stock for $38 a share. He sold it for $63. His hedge fund made at least $90 million up front, and likely more over time.

But in Sidney, Nebraska, it was a very different story. The residents of Sidney didn’t get rich. Just the opposite. Their community was destroyed. The town lost nearly 2,000 jobs. A heartbreakingly familiar cascade began: people left, property values collapsed, and then people couldn’t leave. They were trapped there. One of the last thriving small towns in America went under. We recently sent two producers to Sidney, to survey the wreckage and consider what happened. Our producers talked to more than a dozen former Cabela’s employees. Almost all of them refused to speak on camera, fearful of legal retribution from the famously vicious Paul Singer…. [continue with the video access above listed]

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