Saturday Reads: Daily Caller Caught Red-Handed (?), GOP “Estranged from America,” and Other News

bookshelf

Good Morning!!

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.

hey-gal-Foster-Friess-WKA-550x303

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:

Read the rest of this entry »


Muck Mills and teh Derp

barnumI came of age during the Watergate hearings and the fall of Saigon.  I’d like to say that the constant bombardment of  news surrounding incredible levels of deception during my status of adult-in-process gave me a jaded eye and sensibility.  I have to admit that I haven’t trusted much of anything coming from self-appointed authority figures since I figured out the Santa/Easter Bunny scam some where around nursery school.  I’ve since extrapolated those lessons to any concept of a ‘supreme’ being and a noble fourth estate.  I might as well worship and read the World According to the Great Pumpkin.

The entire Clinton penis obsession in the 1990s sewed up a lot of my earlier hypotheses.  Recent events have caused me to consider them good theory.  There is way too much evidence now.   We even know now that Woodard of Woodard and Bernstein might as well sport a set of fluffy ears and hop on down that bunny trail. I seem to have a friend in Charles Pierce.  There are no more Studs Terkels or Jack Andersons and we might as retire the term muckraker  and create a new one, say, Muck Mill.

Derp.

Pierce writes about the Conservative News Media–e.g. Muck Mills–that exist to Donald Segretti our policy conversations, news, and current events. As always, his blog post is glib and biting.  It is also a disconcerting reminder of the power, audacity, and hubris of Muck Mills like Fox “News” and what ever it is that republican court eunuch Tucker Carlson has created in his out-of-the-mainstream media reincarnation. Carlson’s lack of genitals and gray matter has been out on display all week.

Pierce believes the Muck Mills are imploding. Afterall, Limbaugh has lost many patrons after attacking a young law student who argued that all insurance policies should include access to birth control, Rove is trying to remain relevant since his meltdown last election season, and Snowflake Snookie can only get a gig at CPAC now.  Some of these things do carry the frankincense whiff of the beautiful hands of a divine and just goddess. However, I prefer the wisdom of the great American Saint  P.T. Barnum and the catechism of “There’s a sucker born every minute.”  Wherever there are suckers, there will be religious viewers of Fox News and readers of Red State.

First, there was the embarrassing revelation that a host of rightwing bloggers — and one from the port side, Jerome Armstrong —  were on the fiddle with the Malaysian government to the tune of almost 400 large. (One of them, Ben Domenech, was a recidivist embarrassment, having previously lost a sweet gig with the endlessly credulous Washington Post because he was a proven thief of other people’s work.) Then, last night, it was revealed that Tucker Carlson’s vanity project, The Daily Caller, appears to have been caught trying to sucker its audience regarding the tale of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez’s patronizing of prostitutes. (TDC is standing by its reporting for the moment, although its explanation is rather heavy with the squid ink.) This is hardly the way you want to celebrate Holy Week commemorating The Passion Of Andrew Breitbart. On the other hand, maybe it is.

This has been coming for some time. The conservative media establishment is so self-contained as to be positively incestuous, so it can’t be any surprise that, sooner or later, there are some two-headed cousins gamboling over the public landscape. There is no internal governor to its enthusiasms; there are only wealthy sugar-daddies pushing the boundaries gleefully outward. There is the very strange and self-fulfilling sense of both victimhood and outlawry, that the people who cash checks from the Koch brothers, or from some shadowy Malaysian fixer, are the true revolutionaries. There has been no accounting because there has been nobody to call them to account, and that is not entirely the fault of the conservative movement. Actual journalists have taken a dive as well.

There’s been a little crowing in the establishment media over the accumulated comeuppance. On the liberal MSNBC last night, Lawrence O’Donnell went to dinner on the Menendez material. But return with us now, if you will, to those thrilling days of yesteryear — to the 1990s, to be precise, because that’s where it all began, and it began with the complicity, and the active participation, of the respectable press. This is one of those moments in which Bill Clinton must chuckle ruefully to himself before he gets on with his day.

The pursuit of the Clintons — which morphed into the pursuit of the president’s penis — is where it all began.

I guess I don’t quite feel the white hot cleansing heat of the implosion quite yet.  Let me offer up a few chomps and bits just from searching around the headlines today.  For example, Pierce offers up the the clown car side of the Muck Mills. This is James O’Keefe who has to be the posterboy for the DSM of Mental Disorder’s entry on pathological narcissism and lying. He’s the edit happy pimp court enuch of ACORN fame. Now, we all know that ACORN disappeared from the face of their flat earth after the Muck Mill Meme production spit out a lot of its usual lies and outrage.  Why on earth should poor people be allowed to vote or have an advocacy group? However, sucker exhibit one is this weird item: ACORN, In New GOP Budget Bill, Would Be Defunded Again, Even Though It No Longer Exists.   One can only reason that defunding of the Friends Of Hamas and the Junior League of Al Quaida is next.

Rogers’ bill also explicitly bars the use of the funds it appropriates for computer networks that do not block the viewing and exchange of pornography. It further bans the transportation of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to facilities in the United States, even though the Obama administration has not transferred any detainees from Guantanamo since 2009 and has announced no plans to do so.

What can you say to the ongoing placement of conspiracy theories into US Law by crazed Republican Congresscritters?  Derp.

Meanwhile, we continue to watch The Daily Caller try to weasel its way out of the Menendez Prostitute Fantasy.  If only they were around to actually chase David Vitter who really did have a series of paid liaisons to investigate and likely use of public funds or assets supporting his diaper fetish.  Vitter has gubernatorial ambitions now while Elliot Spitzer still can’t get a real job. Derp.

Then, there’s the current Pressketeer Anything can Happen Day where MSNBC declares Joe Scarborough an obvious winner of a Charlie Rose finagled debate between Dr. Paul Krugman, acclaimed economics professor and said morning hack.   Yes, Joe clearly won because he can interrupt folks with gusto and read decades old news and declare them Bazinga!  worthy.  This quote is an example of Joe’s debating skills? Derp.

Krugman: If it wasn’t for me and a few people who are loudly saying, ‘the deficit is not a problem’ without first qualifying it with three paragraphs of–’well, you know, longer term it is a problem.’  I don’t think this message that spending cuts are hurting the economy would be getting across at all.

Scarborough (laughing): By the way, Paul, it’s very important to note:  Paul just agreed that only three people agree with him and are saying this.

Krugman: No, no, only three people–I said only three people are saying it without prefacing it with the obligatory three paragraphs. On the substance–Ben Bernanke gave a speech last week that was, for all practical purposes, saying the same thing I’m saying.  He said–you know, the deficit–the outlook looks relatively okay for the next ten years.  Now, we would like it to be lower, but it’s relatively okay.  But spending cuts right now are a really bad thing.

Yes. It some point we had real intellectuals writing and editing newspapers.  Ben Franklin comes to mind.  Now, we are regaled by the random Muck Mill-inspired propaganda of news readers–like Tom Brokaw–who would prefer they were the only ones with serious answers.  Yes, even when those serious answers are clearly made-up, invented, woven from thin air, and against all data, evidence, and reality.  I’m sticking to my atheist, science-based, jaded sensibilities. Here, there be Muck Mills.

Derp.


Saturday Morning Reads

Good Morning!!

Yesterday was a pretty busy news day for a Friday. So if you’ve had your sugar bombs and coffee, let me fill you in on the latest before you head outside to enjoy a beautiful June day. The weather folks are saying this will be a nice weekend around the country.

Yesterday the President announced an executive order telling the Department of Homeland Security not to deport children who were brought to the U.S. illegally and have grown up here and gone to school here. These are the young people who would be eligible to stay here and have a path to citizenship under the “Dream Act” if Republicans in Congress would stop blocking the legislation.

In a move that seemed to be aimed at Hispanics whose enthusiasm for voting in the November 6 election could be crucial to Obama’s re-election chances, the president acted to potentially protect 800,000 people from deportation proceedings for at least two years.

Obama, who previously was reluctant to impose such an order even as Republicans in Congress blocked immigration reform bills he supported, called his action “the right thing to do.”

His announcement was on the 30th anniversary of a Supreme Court decision that said children of illegal-immigrant parents were entitled to public education in the United States.

Right wingers–including Mitt Romney–are of course calling the move “political,” but so what? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Politicians make political decisions. Duh! But if they’re doing the right thing, I don’t care what their motivation is. The LA Times published some basic information for people who want to know what this change means to them.

During the President’s announcement of the policy change at a press availability in the Rose Garden, a wingnut blogger from The Daily Caller, rudely broke into Obama’s speech with an offensive question. David Graham at the Atlantic:

An extremely unusual occurrence happened today as President Obama spoke at the White House. The president was offering a statement on his executive order suspending deportations for certain illegal immigrants brought here as children….when a reporter started heckling him and shouting questions.

The reporter has been identified as Neil Munro of the Daily Caller, a conservative online news outlet run by Tucker Carlson….

Interrupting the president mid-speech is considered a serious breach of etiquette, and Obama’s reaction shows how peeved (and probably taken aback) he was. Munro, and the Daily Caller, have immediately come in for harsh criticism by a wide range of journalists, including conservative ones. The problem isn’t that Munro was asking tough questions; it’s that he interrupted the commander-in-chief to ask them and in doing so guaranteed that none of the assembled press would be able to ask any serious questions — since it’s fairly clear that Munro’s query was intended as provocation.

I have video of the confrontation, but youtube seems to be down at the moment. I’ll put it up again later if I can. Munro yelled “Why do you favor foreigners over Americans?” Then when Obama responded, he proceed to argue and then yell while Obama was speaking. Pretty unprofessional for a so-called “journalist.”

Even Bill O’Reilly condemned the wingnut hack’s behavior, along with Fox News talkers Shep Smith and Chris Wallace.

At CNN, Dean Obeidallah says this type of behavior by wingnuts is part of an overall effort to “delegitimize” Obama’s presidency.

A reporter from a right-wing media outlet heckled President Obama — not once, but twice — on Friday as he was unveiling a new immigration policy. If this shocks you, you haven’t been paying attention. This is simply the latest page from the right’s playbook to delegitimize Barack Obama’s presidency.

Some may dismiss it as an isolated incident, but it’s not. It goes much deeper. Believe me, I know hecklers — I’m a stand-up comedian. If someone heckles me once, it can be a mistake: too many drinks, overcome by emotion, etc. But when you heckle twice, you have an agenda.

BTW, Munro is an Irish immigrant. So what is his problem?

A quick perusal of Munro’s Twitter feed reveals he does not hide his contempt for President Obama. His tweets range from claims that Obama is using NASCAR and country music to attract “white non-college voters,” to slams of Michelle Obama, to allegations that Obama is racially discriminating against blacks in his White House hiring practices.

But this is all not about Munro — he is just a small cog in the right’s campaign to diminish the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency. I’m not talking about people disagreeing with policies. I mean specifically the campaign to paint Barack Obama as less than American — as an “other”–as someone whose presidency is not entitled to the same respect as that of the presidents who came before him.

OK, maybe I’m spending too much time on this, but I guess I’m a bit old fashioned. I believe in respecting the office of the President. I think it’s very important for the White House press corps to behave respectfully, while at the same time asking tough questions. In this case, Munro’s behavior led to the press conference being cut off before more responsible reporters could ask questions.

I have some other news for you, and I’ll give it to you quickly so you can get out an enjoy your day.

The send-off for Mitt Romney’s bus tour of “small-town America” was overshadowed by Obama’s announcement.

After weeks of gaining momentum amid a spate of bad economic news that has shaken Obama’s reelection campaign, Romney was faced with a classic demonstration of how the White House can use its power to reset the agenda.

For hours, Romney tried to ignore the news. Finally, after a rally here with a ragtime band playing “Yankee Doodle Dandy” in a town-square gazebo, Romney made a statement that struck a radically different tone from the hard-line approach he took on illegal immigration during the Republican primaries.

“I believe the status of young people who come here through no fault of their own is an important matter to be considered and should be solved on a long-term basis so they know what their future would be in this country,” he told reporters outside of his campaign bus.

“I think the action that the president took today makes it more difficult to reach that long-term solution, because an executive order is of course just a short-term matter. It could be reversed by subsequent presidents. I’d like to see legislation that deals with this issue.”

But he made no commitment to supporting any particular option.

Of course not. Just more meaningless huffing and puffing from an old stuffed suit.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg expects “sharp disagreement” in the Supreme Court over the Affordable Care Act.

The LA Times reports: Egypt revolution losing steam as military asserts power

Germany could be in trouble if Greece opts out of the Euro.

Why can’t the Euro nations agree on a plan? In Germany, the situation is being compared to Titanic, one of the greatest disasters in history.

Since Euro Zone is like the Titanic heading for an iceberg called Greece, there’s plenty of concern on the first-class deck called Germany. If Greece goes down, it can take even Europe’s biggest economy with it.

“I believe Europe is right in a crossroads right now,” Gerhard Hofmann, director of the German Cooperative Bank Group, told CBS News.

How the shock waves will hit the U.S. if it happens.

The NYT says Obama is “looking to Merkel” for aid and comfort.

A collapse of the euro could derail America’s fragile recovery and doom Mr. Obama’s re-election hopes. So the president finds himself in the strange position of having forged a relationship with Ms. Merkel that is perhaps the best he has with any foreign leader, but that has not yet resulted in the chancellor’s agreeing to what Mr. Obama thinks must be done in Europe: an American-style bailout and fiscal stimulus.

Mr. Obama and Ms. Merkel will meet again Monday at a Group of 20 summit meeting in Mexico, with the stakes for Europe even higher than they were last month. With Greece holding elections on Sunday that could precipitate its exit from the European currency union — the nightmare feared by the financial markets — Mr. Obama may be running out of time to make his case.

And there is no indication Ms. Merkel is any more inclined to heed his advice. In a speech to the German Parliament on Thursday, she said the world should not expect Berlin to be Europe’s savior, rejecting calls to create euro bonds to share the debt burden of the Mediterranean countries.

Boy is she ever stubborn. And she seems determined to bring the entire world economy crashing down. Mitt Romney must love her.

A new study suggests that Gay Men Have Evolutionary Benefit For Their Families.

Henry Hill with Goodfellas star Ray Liotta

Finally, Henry Hill has died. He was the “wise guy” who was the inspiration for Martin Scorcese’s “Goodfellas.” Hill was only 69, and died from health problems related to smoking.

Henry Hill, the infamous mob informant whose life of crime was chronicled in the film classic “GoodFellas,” was the first to admit that he did “a lot of bad things back then.”

“I shot at people. I busted a lot of heads, and I buried a lot of bodies,” he told the London-based Daily Telegraph in 2010. “You can try to justify it by saying they deserved it, that they had it coming, but some just got whacked for absolutely no reason at all.”

….

Henry Hill, the infamous mob informant whose life of crime was chronicled in the film classic “GoodFellas,” was the first to admit that he did “a lot of bad things back then.”

“I shot at people. I busted a lot of heads, and I buried a lot of bodies,” he told the London-based Daily Telegraph in 2010. “You can try to justify it by saying they deserved it, that they had it coming, but some just got whacked for absolutely no reason at all.”

RIP, Henry.

Have a fabulous Saturday, and if you’re reading anything interesting today, please share!