Saturday Reads: Daily Caller Caught Red-Handed (?), GOP “Estranged from America,” and Other NewsPosted: March 23, 2013 | |
There’s a lot of news out there this morning, so I’ll get right to it.
Well, well, well, isn’t this an interesting headline at the WaPo: Dominican official links Daily Caller to alleged lies about Menendez.
A top Dominican law enforcement official said Friday that a local lawyer has reported being paid by someone claiming to work for the conservative Web site the Daily Caller to find prostitutes who would lie and say they had sex for money with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).
The lawyer told Dominican investigators that a foreign man, who identified himself as “Carlos,” had offered him $5,000 to find and pay women in the Caribbean nation willing to make the claims about Menendez, according to Jose Antonio Polanco, district attorney for the La Romana region, where the investigation is being conducted.
The Daily Caller, owned by smirky right winger Tucker Carlson, claims it’s not true. Sure, Tucker.
The videotaped claims of two women, made with their faces obscured, were posted in the fall on the Daily Caller. The site reported that “the two women said they met Menendez around Easter at Casa de Campo, an expensive 7,000-acre resort in the Dominican Republic. . . . They claimed Menendez agreed to pay them $500 for sex acts, but in the end they each received only $100.”
In its statement Friday, the Daily Caller said: “At no point did any money change hands between The Daily Caller and any sources or individuals connected with this investigation, nor did anyone named Carlos travel to the Dominican Republic on behalf of The Daily Caller. As recently as two weeks ago, Figueroa was on record with another news outlet as saying the women he represented were telling the truth about their initial allegations against Senator Menendez.”
There’s quite a bit of wiggle room in that denial. So no one from the Daily Caller actually handed money to anyone, and “Carlos” didn’t travel from the U.S. to the Dominican. Big deal. The arrangements were probably made by phone and the money was giving out through the lawyer.
I don’t know what happened for sure, but I know Tucker Carlson is a sleazy S.O.B. What I didn’t know until today (via Crooks and Liars) is that the Daily Caller got its start-up funds from Foster Friess, the Republican billionaire donor who recommended that women put an aspirin between their knees as contraception. C&L’s Karoli also linked to this Mother Jones article by Kate Sheppard: Controversial Daily Caller Editor Admitted to Posing As Radical Animal Rights Activist.
David Martosko—the outgoing executive editor of the conservative Daily Caller and a prominent defender of the news site’sdisputed claim that Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) paid two women for sex in the Dominican Republic—admitted in a court document obtained by Mother Jones that he used a fake Facebook profile to pose as a “dope-smoking commie” in order to gather information on animal rights activists. The admission came in a May 2011 depositionMartosko gave under oath as part of a defamation case against him and his former employer, Berman and Company, a PR shop that specializes in combating progressive activists who target corporations.
Before Daily Caller Editor in Chief Tucker Carlson hired him in 2011—a controversial choice given Martosko’s previous arrests and lack of experience in journalism—Martosko spent a decade working for Richard Berman, a longtime PR operative behind a number of industry-backed campaigns. At Berman and Company, Martosko served as the director of research for the Center for Consumer Freedom, a Berman-run nonprofit that opposes new laws on food and beverages. CCF, which is funded by the food and beverage industry, runsHumane Watch, a website that posts derogatory information about the Humane Society of the United States. Martosko was the site’s “founding editor.” CCF also operates Activist Cash, a website that compiles biographical information on groups and individuals that engage in “anti-consumer activism.”
Despite all this circumstantial evidence that the Daily Caller is a fraudulent operation, Politico posted a piece by MacKenzie Weinger supporting Carlson’s operation and implying that the WaPo is trying to defend Democrats rather than simply reporting the results of investigative reporting.
Also from the WaPo, and op-ed by Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center — The numbers prove it: The GOP is estranged from America. I actually have a lot of problems with this article–Kohut writes from the point of view of an old-style Republican, which he is. He claims that the Democratic Party has gotten more liberal, when the current Democratic President, Barack Obama has publicly state that his ideology is that of a Rockefeller-type Republican. Here’s an excerpt:
But while members of the Republican and Democratic parties have become more conservative and liberal, respectively, a bloc of doctrinaire, across-the-board conservatives has become a dominant force on the right. Indeed, their resolve and ultra-conservatism have protected Republican lawmakers from the broader voter backlash that is so apparent in opinion polls.
For decades, my colleagues and I have examined the competing forces and coalitions within the two parties. In our most recent national assessments, we found not only that the percentage of people self-identifying as Republicans had hit historic lows but that within that smaller base, the traditional divides between pro-business economic conservatives and social conservatives had narrowed. There was less diversity of values within the GOP than at any time in the past quarter-century.
The party’s base is increasingly dominated by a highly energized bloc of voters with extremely conservative positions on nearly all issues: the size and role of government, foreign policy, social issues, and moral concerns. They stand with the tea party on taxes and spending and with Christian conservatives on key social questions, such as abortion rights and same-sex marriage.
These staunch conservatives, who emerged with great force in the Obama era, represent 45 percent of the Republican base. According to our 2011 survey, they are demographically and politically distinct from the national electorate. Ninety-two percent are white. They tend to be male, married, Protestant, well off and at least 50 years old.
From The Hill, last night Bernie Sanders and a few friends introduced an amendment to the Senate budget opposing the use of Chained CPI to cut Social Security and veterans’ benefits and managed to get a voice vote.
The vote on the amendment was by voice vote, so its usefulness in quantifying Senate opposition to the proposal is minimal. The amendment is non-binding because it is attached to the budget resolution, which does not have the force of law.
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sponsored the amendment.
The powerful seniors lobbying group AARP hailed the vote.
“With the adoption of Senator Sanders’ amendment, the Senate makes clear the need to protect retirees, veterans and others from an unwarranted cut to their benefits. Much more than a mere technical adjustment or a ‘tweak,’ the chained CPI would, over the next ten years, take a combined $146 billion out of the pockets of America’s veterans and seniors who are already living on tight budgets,” it said in a statement.
At the LA Times, two political science professors published an op-ed headlined: The 1% aren’t like the rest of us.
Over the last two years, President Obama and Congress have put the country on track to reduce projected federal budget deficits by nearly $4 trillion. Yet when that process began, in early 2011, only about 12% of Americans in Gallup polls cited federal debt as the nation’s most important problem. Two to three times as many cited unemployment and jobs as the biggest challenge facing the country.
So why did policymakers focus so intently on the deficit issue? One reason may be that the small minority that saw the deficit as the nation’s priority had more clout than the majority that didn’t.
We recently conducted a survey of top wealth-holders (with an average net worth of $14 million) in the Chicago area, one of the first studies to systematically examine the political attitudes of wealthy Americans. Our research found that the biggest concern of this top 1% of wealth-holders was curbing budget deficits and government spending. When surveyed, they ranked those things as priorities three times as often as they did unemployment — and far more often than any other issue.
If the concerns of the wealthy carry special weight in government — as an increasing body of social scientific evidence suggests — such extreme differences between their views and those of other Americans could significantly skew policy away from what a majority of the country would prefer.
The results of the study aren’t particularly surprising–at least to those of us who are paying attention, but it’s nice to see this published in the corporate media. Page is a professor at Northeastern and the author of “Class War? What Americans Really Think About Economic Inequality.” Bartels is at Vanderbilt and the author of “Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age.”
This is a refreshing story from HuffPo: North Dakota Republican Pols To Protest Anti-Abortion Laws: ‘We Have Stepped Over The Line’
A group of GOP state lawmakers in North Dakota will protest new abortion restrictions on Monday at a Stand Up for Women rally in Bismarck, N.D., because they believe their fellow Republicans have gone too far.
“It’s to say, hey, this isn’t okay. We have stepped over the line,” said state Rep. Kathy Hawken (R-Fargo) in a phone interview with The Huffington Post. “One of the key tenets of the Republican Party is personal responsibility. I’m personally pro-life, but I vote pro-choice, because you can’t make that decision for anyone else. You just can’t.”
North Dakota recently passed the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation, which prohibits abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, and a bill preventing pregnant women from choosing abortion based on a fetal anomaly or genetic disorder. The state also has a “trigger ban,” which would prohibit abortion entirely if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned.
Lawmakers are currently considering two “fetal personhood” measures that would effectively ban abortion in the state and complicate the legality of birth control, stem cell research and in vitro fertilization. Hawken said the personhood bills are so extreme that she and approximately 10 of her Republican colleagues in the state legislature — both men and women — were inspired to speak out in defense of women’s rights.
The Denver Post reports that they have evidence of a connection between the murder of Colorado prison chief Tom Clements and shootings in Texas.
DECATUR, Texas — Detectives investigating a parolee who led them on a wild chase and shootout recovered Hornady 9mm bullet casings — the same brand and caliber as those used by the gunman who killed Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements.
Texas Ranger Anthony Bradford described the casings in an application to search Evan Ebel’s 1991 Cadillac DeVille.
In addition, the suspect in the Sunday slaying of pizza-delivery driver Nathan Leon was “reportedly driving a black 1991 passenger vehicle,” Bradford noted in the application, obtained Friday by The Denver Post.
“During the investigation at the crime scene in Wise County, (Bradford) noted a Domino’s Pizza carrier in the open trunk of the suspected vehicle and either a Domino’s Pizza shirt or jacket in close proximity to the pizza carrier,” the application read.
USA TODAY – A possible meteor has been spotted streaking through the sky over the East Coast, The American Meteor Society and Twitter users are reporting.
“It basically looked like a super bright shooting star,” said Robert Lunsford, fireball coordinator for the society, based on the reports coming in to the organization’s website. “I saw some people mentioning fragments and naturally every color of the rainbow.”
The society, based in Geneseo, N.Y., was researching about 400 reports received as of about 10 p.m. ET Friday from nine East Coast States and Canada of sightings that took place somewhere shortly before 8 p.m. ET through shortly after 8 p.m. ET, Lunsford said. The number of reports marked a possible record over the number of reports the group received about a fireball that streaked over Baltimore on Halloween several years ago, Lunsford said.
Late Friday, Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environmental Office said the flash appears to be “a single meteor event.” He said it “looks to be a fireball that moved roughly toward the southeast, going on visual reports.”
“Judging from the brightness, we’re dealing with something as bright as the full moon,” Cooke said. “The thing is probably a yard across. We basically have (had) a boulder enter the atmosphere over the northeast.”