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Eli Broad's billion-dollar blackjack?

Fresh from Iran nuke victory, super-rich Obama backer could widen California media war

Eli Broad
Eli Broad

The battle over Barack Obama's nuclear control agreement with Iran has yielded more than a few San Diego winners and losers.

Among those perched on the negative side of the ledger in the wake of the president's victory were advertisers who funneled major dollars into anti-agreement commercials on local TV stations.

As previously reported here, a newly emerged dark-money group called "Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran" — allied with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — was up on local television in mid-July with an initial total buy of almost $60,000.

Mike McKinnon (and wife)

Then, just before this week's congressional showdown, another anti-treaty organization, American Action Network, made a $18,820 buy on independent station KUSI, owned by Republican Mike McKinnon, and $33,900 on KNSD, an NBC-owned station, say purchase disclosure forms. According to the filings, the commercials were intended to put heat on Democratic congressman Scott Peters, a proponent of the agreement.

Like Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, American Action Network, headed by ex-Republican senator Norm Coleman and former Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush presidential aide Fred Malek, is not required to disclose the identities of its donors.

Irwin Jacobs

Meanwhile, local victors in the fight over the Iran deal included Qualcomm cofounder and Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs, an Obama financial backer and one of 33 prominent Californians identifying themselves as "American Jewish supporters of Israel," who signed a full-page advertisement in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal that favored the proposal, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Also on the list was Eli Broad, another member of California’s Democratic billionaires’ club, and a longtime monetary ally of Jacobs in San Diego politics.

Similar to Jacobs in San Diego — who has provided major money to San Diego State University's public broadcasting operation and the Voice of San Diego, a nonprofit news and opinion website here — Broad has played a largely behind-the-scenes but powerful role in Los Angeles media.

There he is known for attempting to seize control of the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, both currently owned by Chicago-based Tribune Publishing.

The L.A. billionaire's failed foray in that regard was linked to this week's firing of Times and U-T publisher Austin Beutner, a Broad friend fingered by some as would-be engineer of the deal.

On Thursday, Broad signed a letter with his political and business allies — including former L.A. mayors Richard Riordan and Antonio Villaraigosa — attacking Beutner's removal.

Fletcher tweet
Nathan Fletcher, Barack Obama, John Kerry

"After many years of struggling through a series of financial and operational difficulties, Austin had demonstrated in only eleven months that the Times was once again capable of impactful journalism and meaningful community leadership," the missive says.

"Making such a drastic decision to terminate him after he had served less than a year in that position is both curious and disappointing to us.”

Whether Broad eventually manages to grab control of the newspapers and manipulates them to benefit Jacobs and his San Diego political agenda could be of importance to another Jacobs ally and winner in the Iran agreement battle.

Republican-turned-Democrat Nathan Fletcher, who failed in two tries for San Diego mayor despite big money from Jacobs and associates, has been biding his time as a Qualcomm executive, and denying having further political aspirations.

But as Washington’s showdown on the Iran deal neared this week, Fletcher was ushered into the White House and seated next to Obama (with secretary of state John Kerry on the president’s other side) for a photo-op during which the president hailed the Marine veteran of Iraq, included in a group of fellow veterans and Gold Star mothers, for supporting the agreement.

Californian Jeff Miller, a fundraiser and former advisor to Arnold Schwarzenegger and current campaign manager for Republican ex-Texas governor Rick Perry, a presidential aspirant, wasn’t pleased.

"Nathan. When you determined you couldn’t win the mayors race as a republican, you switched to an independent and many of us were disgusted with you. Then when you decided to run as a democrat, I just no longer cared. But this…this is a disgrace,” Miller reportedly wrote on Facebook.

UPDATE 9/11, 2:50 p.m.

This afternoon it is being reported that Rick Perry has "suspended" his second bid for the presidency.

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Eli Broad
Eli Broad

The battle over Barack Obama's nuclear control agreement with Iran has yielded more than a few San Diego winners and losers.

Among those perched on the negative side of the ledger in the wake of the president's victory were advertisers who funneled major dollars into anti-agreement commercials on local TV stations.

As previously reported here, a newly emerged dark-money group called "Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran" — allied with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — was up on local television in mid-July with an initial total buy of almost $60,000.

Mike McKinnon (and wife)

Then, just before this week's congressional showdown, another anti-treaty organization, American Action Network, made a $18,820 buy on independent station KUSI, owned by Republican Mike McKinnon, and $33,900 on KNSD, an NBC-owned station, say purchase disclosure forms. According to the filings, the commercials were intended to put heat on Democratic congressman Scott Peters, a proponent of the agreement.

Like Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, American Action Network, headed by ex-Republican senator Norm Coleman and former Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush presidential aide Fred Malek, is not required to disclose the identities of its donors.

Irwin Jacobs

Meanwhile, local victors in the fight over the Iran deal included Qualcomm cofounder and Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs, an Obama financial backer and one of 33 prominent Californians identifying themselves as "American Jewish supporters of Israel," who signed a full-page advertisement in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal that favored the proposal, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Also on the list was Eli Broad, another member of California’s Democratic billionaires’ club, and a longtime monetary ally of Jacobs in San Diego politics.

Similar to Jacobs in San Diego — who has provided major money to San Diego State University's public broadcasting operation and the Voice of San Diego, a nonprofit news and opinion website here — Broad has played a largely behind-the-scenes but powerful role in Los Angeles media.

There he is known for attempting to seize control of the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, both currently owned by Chicago-based Tribune Publishing.

The L.A. billionaire's failed foray in that regard was linked to this week's firing of Times and U-T publisher Austin Beutner, a Broad friend fingered by some as would-be engineer of the deal.

On Thursday, Broad signed a letter with his political and business allies — including former L.A. mayors Richard Riordan and Antonio Villaraigosa — attacking Beutner's removal.

Fletcher tweet
Nathan Fletcher, Barack Obama, John Kerry

"After many years of struggling through a series of financial and operational difficulties, Austin had demonstrated in only eleven months that the Times was once again capable of impactful journalism and meaningful community leadership," the missive says.

"Making such a drastic decision to terminate him after he had served less than a year in that position is both curious and disappointing to us.”

Whether Broad eventually manages to grab control of the newspapers and manipulates them to benefit Jacobs and his San Diego political agenda could be of importance to another Jacobs ally and winner in the Iran agreement battle.

Republican-turned-Democrat Nathan Fletcher, who failed in two tries for San Diego mayor despite big money from Jacobs and associates, has been biding his time as a Qualcomm executive, and denying having further political aspirations.

But as Washington’s showdown on the Iran deal neared this week, Fletcher was ushered into the White House and seated next to Obama (with secretary of state John Kerry on the president’s other side) for a photo-op during which the president hailed the Marine veteran of Iraq, included in a group of fellow veterans and Gold Star mothers, for supporting the agreement.

Californian Jeff Miller, a fundraiser and former advisor to Arnold Schwarzenegger and current campaign manager for Republican ex-Texas governor Rick Perry, a presidential aspirant, wasn’t pleased.

"Nathan. When you determined you couldn’t win the mayors race as a republican, you switched to an independent and many of us were disgusted with you. Then when you decided to run as a democrat, I just no longer cared. But this…this is a disgrace,” Miller reportedly wrote on Facebook.

UPDATE 9/11, 2:50 p.m.

This afternoon it is being reported that Rick Perry has "suspended" his second bid for the presidency.

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Comments
5

Holey moley, I guess there really isn't anything money can't buy. And no identity you cannot shed if you've got the chutzpah to just do it.

Political chameleon Nathan Fletcher, failed mayoral candidate and subsequent employee of the rich-as-Croesus Jacobs clan at Qualcomm and appointed "professor" at UCSD gets to sit with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry as an envoy for peace and advocate for the Iran nuclear agreement.

PEACE??? This guy built his entire earlier political career as a friend of the Bush White House where his ex-wife worked, as chief of staff to disgraced flying ace GOP Congressman Randy Duke Cunningham, on identifying himself as a paleo-loving macho Marine throughout the war years in Iraq and as an enthusiastic public spokesman for amorphous "security" measures across American society.

What accounts for this reappearance of Nathan? It's gotta be Big Daddy Irwin Jacobs, helping pad the resume for some future purpose.

Sept. 11, 2015

"American Action Network, headed by ex-Republican senator Norm Coleman and former Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush presidential aide Fred Malek"

Fred Malek is the former Nixon aide who, at Nixon's request, counted the number of Jews working in the Nixon administration because Nixon was paranoid that Kissinger was filling the administration with Jews.

Sept. 11, 2015

I also haven't appreciated those dark "Tell Scott Peters" TV ads on channel 8 at 11 p.m., urging people to flood Congressman Peters with messages to vote against Obama's diplomatic initiative to Iran. Peters has announced his support for the deal, which actually is a peace-producing document. Swords into ploughshares, folks, swords into ploughshares after 36 years.

Sept. 11, 2015

The USA has become an oligarchy. Oligarchy: A form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few. Voters get to choose between bought-and-paid-for candidates. The middle class is being eliminated. All power has been shifted to the few while the many are fast becoming a permanent underclass of working poor.

Sept. 12, 2015

Iran has broken every agreement they've ever signed. Within about 5 years, they'll be announcing they have the bomb, and all of the appeasers will be running around waving their hands in the air screeching, "Wait, what? This isn't possible! Our Messiah told us! they promised! Republicans must be at fault!"

We should have bombed Natanz into a crater years ago. Barack Obama is going to go down in history as the worst President in history, the one who caused the most damage to our nation ever. He makes Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson look like absolute pikers. He's even worse than Bush 43, and that's saying something.

Sept. 13, 2015

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