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Amazing what $100K can buy you

Posted by Charles II on August 4, 2014

If you hadn’t heard, Richard Mellon Scaife is dead. Scaife bankrolled The Arkansas Project.

Democrats lost the Congress in 1994 not so much because of gun control legislation pushed by the Clinton White House, nor because of union disaffection with NAFTA, nor because of Hillary Clinton’s incompetence in putting together healthcare reform, although all of these contributed, but because of right-wing money used to corrupt elections and the media. The most effective of those efforts was right-wing talk radio, demagogues like Rush Limbaugh, who could never have remained on the airwaves had the FCC continued to enforce the laws that required that the airwaves must be of benefit to the community. Indeed, Limbaugh was in part a creation of Republican operative and Fox Noise chief Roger Ailes:

…Ailes’ most important contribution to the covert campaign involved his new specialty: right-wing media. The tobacco giants hired Ailes, in part, because he had just brought Rush Limbaugh to the small screen, serving as executive producer of Rush’s syndicated, late-night TV show. Now they wanted Ailes to get Limbaugh onboard to crush health care reform. “RJR has trained 200 people to call in to shows,” a March 1993 memo revealed. “A packet has gone to Limbaugh. We need to brief Ailes.”

But demagogues are of little use unless they are fed talking points. Joe Coors bankrolled the Heritage Foundation to produce laughably false talking points precisely so that these lies could be spread through conservative propaganda outlets like the Limbaugh show. Heritage became a Scaife property, along with countless other institutions devoted to undermining the ability of the American people to govern themselves.

The American Spectator was funded by Richard Mellon Scaife. The American Spectator used pseudo-investigative reporting to unearth gossip and rumors about Bill Clinton. His alumni and/or funding is behind such credits to the journalistic profession as WorldNet Daily and Newsmax.

Scaife left a small fraction of his fortune to the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art. His inherited assets go to the conservative Sarah Mellon Scaife and Allegheny Foundations to carry on his work of scarring America. And the rest to the Scaife Revocable Trust.

Scaife donated $100K to The Clinton Foundation. And Bill Clinton, ever desperate for approval, not only forgave his old enemy, but gave a eulogy at his funeral.

As someone who spent countless hours defending Bill Clinton, I am sorry I wasted the time. Richard Mellon Scaife tried to destroy democracy in this country. He largely succeeded. It is not enough to fight fiercely for what you believe, as Clinton eulogized. Every vulture, every jackal, every shark does the same. What matters is a commitment to truth and to justice. Bill Clinton has eulogized savagery, and spit on truth and justice. I cannot but wonder whether Clinto would have reconciled with Scaife if Scaife had not donated to the Clinton Foundation.

One need not hate Richard Mellon Scaife–I do not–to recognize that he was the enemy to everything good and decent about America. One need not hate Bill Clinton–I do not–to recognize that he is indeed amoral, though not in the ways his enemies said.

“The evil that men do lives after them, while the good is oft interred with their bones.” —Marc Antony in Julius Caesar
Update. Christopher Reed, The Guardian:

Then came his [Scaife’s] curious London adventure. His father had become an officer in the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA, in second world war London, and Scaife maintained an interest in clandestine activities. In 1973 he bought Kern House Enterprises, a US firm that ran Forum World Features, a London-based supplier of articles to dozens of newspapers around the world.

However, in 1975 a CIA memo from seven years earlier came to light. It described Forum as a propaganda unit sponsored by the CIA to combat communism and to further conservative politics. Scaife quickly withdrew his money amid widespread unfavourable publicity about the syndicate.

Posted in Bill Clinton, phony scandals, Richard Mellon Scaife, rightwing moral cripples | 8 Comments »

Pity Washington DC

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 20, 2010

All of its major newspapers are in the hands of neocons or paleocons, and none of them have your interests at heart.

Case in point: Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson, the Nixon Cabinet member who has been trying to destroy Social Security for the past two decades in the name of “fixing the deficit”, apparently now shares control of the WaPo’s newsroom with Fred Hiatt and can dump anti-SocSec and anti-Medicare pieces from his Fiscal Times propaganda rag into the Post whenever he wants:

It told readers that: “On the fiscal commission, Stern [Andy Stern, former head of the Service Employees International Union, one of members highlighted in the piece] is already looking for ways to break through the ideological camps on deficit-reduction.” In fact, individuals who are not motivated by ideology would note that the country’s projected long-term deficit problem is driven almost entirely by the broken U.S. health care system.

If per person health care costs were the same in the United States as in any other wealthy country, then the projections would show huge budget surpluses rather than deficits. It also should be possible for the people in the United States to take advantage of lower cost health care systems elsewhere even if the power of special interests like the insurance and pharmaceutical industry prevent reform here. This basic fact should feature prominently in any discussion of the long-term deficit that is not motivated by ideology. It is never mentioned in this piece.

But of course this is all part of the Southern Strategy: The corporate-religious bigot alliance to con white working-class Americans into voting for corporate tax cuts and against their own economic interests as a way to hurt people with darker skins than theirs. Once again, I bring Reagan advisor Lee Atwater back from the grave, all the way from 1981, to explain:

”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Ni–er, ni–er, ni–er.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘ni–er’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

”And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Ni–er, ni–er.”’

This is why his fellow Republicans were and are so angry at Michael Steele, who while he tries to be a good Republican has this unfortunate habit of remembering that he is a black man, and thus is incapable of hewing to the GOP lie that the Southern Strategy was never used after Nixon’s time. It is, in fact, not only still in use today, it is the basis of all Republican and conservative actions worth dignifying with the name.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, deficit, distractions, Pete Peterson, phony scandals, privatization, safety net, Silver Spoon Squad, Social Security, Southern Strategy | 3 Comments »

Agent provocateurs at Minnie/St. Paul protests?

Posted by Charles II on September 8, 2008

Ray McGovern, Consortium News:

The young protesters had some success in exposing infiltrators in their ranks. During confrontations, members of the Welcoming Committee, in particular, took copious photos of law enforcement officers and then memorized the faces.

This tactic worked like a charm in one of the St. Paul parks, when a man who looked like a protester — dark clothes, backpack, a bit disheveled — walked by.

One of the protesters recognized the man’s face and searched through her camera until she found a photo of the man actually performing the raid on the Welcoming Committee’s headquarters on Friday night.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in phony scandals, Republican National Convention, Republicans acting badly | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Agent provocateurs at Minnie/St. Paul protests?

What a Coincidence

Posted by MEC on May 19, 2008


The recent mass arrest of undocumented immigrants at a meat processing plant in Iowa looks likely to derail an investigation into violations of labor laws.

Mark Lauritsen, international vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers, expressed his concerns in a letter to U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. Because federal authorities are quickly moving 389 workers from the Agriprocessors Inc. plant through the legal process, he said he worries key witnesses won’t be available to complete investigations “that could ultimately uncover serious and unscrupulous employer acts.”


Lauritsen asked Chao to explain what steps are being taken to ensure that key witnesses are not being deported or leaving the area.

The alleged violations include the use of child labor. By coincidence, children who were apprehended in the raid “have been moved to facilities outside Iowa”.

Oh, and the United Food and Commercial Workers had been trying to organize the workers.

A cynical person might suspect that the purpose of the raid wasn’t to discourage the hiring of undocumented workers, but to protect a big business from the threat of a criminal probe and the bigger threat of unionization.

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, phony scandals, workers | 4 Comments »

The Shame Of ABC

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 17, 2008

Whatever that thing was on ABC last night, it wasn’t a debate. It was a travesty. Charles Gibson couldn’t ask about Bush’s approving torture, but he, a multimillionaire many times over, found time to whine about the estate tax. And don’t even get me started on Sean Hannity’s feeding gotcha questions to George Stephanopoulos. No wonder the audience was booing these alleged moderators — and cheered whenever Obama tried to steer the questioning to matters of substance. If I’d been there, I’d have been throwing my shoes at the alleged moderators.

And the reviews are in:

Tom Shales, Washington Post: Gibson and Stephanopoulos “turned in shoddy, despicable performances. For the first 52 minutes of the two-hour, commercial-crammed show, Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with.”

Greg Mitchell, Editor & Publisher: “In perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate this year, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous focused mainly on trivial issues as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in Philadelphia.”

Josh Marshall: “Looking around other sites, I guess I’m not the only one that thought this debate was unmitigated travesty. Maybe the embargo on debate rebroadcast was a pro-human rights stand.”

Niall Stanage, The Guardian:

What is it about Philadelphia? The city last month hosted one of the most impressive moments of the presidential campaign to date: Barack Obama’s forthright speech on race. But last night, the very same venue – the National Constitution Centre – witnessed one of the worst events: the dismal ABC News debate between the Democratic candidates.

The contrast could hardly have been starker. Obama’s March 18 speech was sophisticated, honest and, above all, respectful of the intelligence of his audience. Last night’s debate – or, more specifically, the performance of its moderators, Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos – was by turns superficial and disingenuous.

Persons interested in telling ABC what they think can go here for contact information.

[UPDATE: Read the transcript of last night’s travesty and compare it to the questions asked at YearlyKos last year. The Kossacks put the “journalists” to shame.]

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, GOP/Media Complex, Hillary Clinton, media, Media machine, mediawhores, narcissism, phony scandals, wrong way to go about it, WTF? | 5 Comments »

Obama Hates Jews! No, He Loves Them Too Much!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 11, 2008

The attacks on Obama and his relationship with the Jewish community are so bizarre. Perhaps that’s because, while some progressives who should know better (such as Jeralyn Merritt and her fans) are touting them, they have their origins in right-wing smear factories such as Debbie Schlussel’s. (h/t Geekesque)

I used to think that a long Democratic primary campaign was a good thing, so long as all parties involved could be made to avoid using conservative or Republican-generated smears as weapons against their fellow Democrats. Now I’m not so sure: Hillary hasn’t elevated her positives, lowered her negatives, or otherwise realistically increased her shot at winning, but she has hurt Obama against McCain*, who in the meantime has had nearly two months to recover from his primary battles. And as a former Edwards supporter, I used to think that the extreme Obama partisans were the champions of being silly (I took one of them to task at DailyKos today for thinking that Colin Powell’s weak lip service was necessarily good for Obama, especially since $2300 of Powell’s money has gone to McCain this cycle), but the Hillary people now have them beat, sadly — if only because it’s the “sane” ones among them that are pushing this stuff.

*UPDATE: Maybe not so much — Gallup’s daily tracking poll has Obama up on McCain by 3, 46-43%, and has Hillary drawing even with McCain for the first time since mid-March. (h/t: kubla000)

Posted in 2008, anti-Semitism, anti-truth, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, israel, phony scandals, rightwing moral cripples, Sad things, wrong way to go about it, WTF? | 2 Comments »

Hoo Boy

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 21, 2008

Lots of stuff broke last night:

Three contract-employee bozos at the State Department were illegally rummaging through Barack Obama’s passport files. Even if this was done out of innocent motives — one of the employees apparently shares a birthday with Obama, as Keith Olbermann mentioned on MSNBC last night around 9:20 Eastern Time — this is still gross mishandling of what’s caused “PII”, or personally identifiable information, and the Feds take this — or are supposed to take this — VERY seriously. Simply looking up someone’s Social Security Number without signed authorization can be grounds for instant and unappealable dismissal in the Civil Service. And these guys were going through his records at least three times that we know of since January. (UPDATE:  Glenn Greenwald reminds us that a right-winger calling himself “Baggi” and claiming to be a Customs employee went and posted information about Glenn’s whereabouts  back in July of 2006 on the Wizbang blog — information that only someone with access to Glenn’s Customs records would know.  Yet Baggi’s never been punished for this, as far as anyone knows.)

Even more curious: The dates of the rummagings were Jan. 9th, Feb. 21st and March 14th. As Josh Marshall says, “That would be the day after the New Hampshire primary, the day of the Democratic debate in Texas and the day the Wright story really hit.”

— The Reverend Jeremiah Wright was one of the honored guests at the Clinton White House prayer breakfast held on September 11, 1998. (UPDATE: There’s a pic of what looks to be Wright sitting with Hillary.) He also has associations with another former president, the late Lyndon B. Johnson, whose life he helped to save as a hospital corpsman in 1966.

— Speaking of those prayer breakfasts, the group behind them is “The Family”, a religious-right group run by a fellow named Doug Coe. Its aim: To gain access to the powerful and push them rightward politically.

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, BushCo malfeasance, Hillary Clinton, hissy kabuki, mythmaking, phony scandals | 4 Comments »

Looks Like It Worked

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 20, 2008

Despite the best efforts of the press to spin it against him, it looks like Obama’s landmark speech may have reversed the slide caused by the hissy kabuki campaign launched against him using the Reverend Wright:

I noted over the weekend that the Wright controversy had taken a chunk out of Obama’s national numbers in Rasmussen’s tracking poll. Early indicators are that the speech may be sending him back up.

Obama Clinton
March 19: 47 42
March 18: 45 44 -- Obama's speech
March 17: 46 44
March 16: 47 44
March 15: 46 45
March 14: 50 42
March 13: 48 41 -- Wright hits news
March 12: 47 42
March 11: 48 41 -- Mississippi
March 10: 46 44
March 9: 45 47
March 8: 45 46 --Wyoming
March 7: 43 49
March 6: 43 48
March 5: 43 48
March 4: 44 46 -- OH, TX, VT, RI

This is a four-day rolling average, so each day gives us a 25% fresh sample. You can see that in the drop of Obama’s numbers after the Wright controversy hit the scene. It was first reported on last Thursday (13th), got wide airing on Friday (14th), then four days later, on the 18th, it hit its lowest point of the week.

That means that only about a quarter of this sample size is post-speech. We’ll have a much better picture of its impact in the next 3-5 days.

In addition, we have this from TPM:

A new poll from Fox News, the first major poll taken since Barack Obama’s big speech on race relations, shows that the effect of the Jeremiah Wright flap might not be so bad after all.

By a 57%-24% margin, registered votes do not believe that Obama shares Wright’s controversial views. The internals show only 17% of Democrats saying Obama shares Wright’s ideas, along with 20% of independents and 36% of Republicans.

Fox also asked respondents whether they had doubts about Obama because of his association with Wright. The results: 35% Yes, 54% No, with the numbers standing at 26%-66% for Democrats, 27%-61% among independents, and 56%-33% with Republicans.

When a Fox News poll is this kind to Obama, one wonders what polls not commissioned by RNC mouthpieces might look like.

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, hissy kabuki, mythmaking, phony scandals | 3 Comments »

“I Said It. I Meant It. I Stand Behind It.”

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 16, 2008

That was Paul Hackett’s response to a fake-outrage attack against him two years ago. He’d dared to criticize George W. Bush, you see, and the Republicans went into mass fake hysterics over it.

Hackett’s titanium spine is a very big reason why this guy was able to come from out of nowhere to nearly knock off a Republican in what was supposed to be one of the safest GOP congressional seats in America.Would that all Democrats would do this instead of backpedaling every time a Republican clears his or her throat.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with apologizing or changing one’s mind if you really are in the wrong, but there’s a vast difference between being the target of a typical GOP hissy kabuki fit and actually being in the wrong.

It makes life so much easier, too. As we all know from our online lives, most trolls stop trolling when their trolling doesn’t deliver the desired response.

If we see GOP hissy kabuki as a form of trolling, and treat it accordingly, the frequency of the hissy-kabuki attacks drops once the trolls know we ain’t playing their game and we don’t fear them. There will of course still be some attacks, but there will be far less of them.

Posted in Democrat-bashing, Democrats, Democrats with spines, hissy kabuki, phony scandals, The smear industry | 2 Comments »

Zombie Lies And The WaPo’s War On Hugo Chavez

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 7, 2008

I read this in yesterday’s StarTribune (reprinted from the Washington Post) and immediately knew it had to be bullshit:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and his followers have sought to harass and intimidate the Catholic Church, the media, university students, political opponents and multinational companies doing business in Venezuela, to name just a few targets. Thus it can hardly come as a surprise that Chávez would also attack the Jewish community. Indeed, it’s an old, old story.

Sure enough, not only is it bullshit, it was originally debunked over two years ago but keeps being revived:

Are the Washington Post‘s editorial pages entitled to not just their own opinions, but also their own facts? This seems to be the case with the paper’s commentary on Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, where editors and columnists have shown a disturbing pattern of inaccuracy and unaccountability.

In a November 24 column, Charles Krauthammer used a deceptively edited phrase in order to portray a Chávez speech as anti-Semitic. After chiding actor Sacha Baron Cohen for using his film Borat to go after small-time anti-Semitism in the United States, Krauthammer listed what he saw as more menacing instances of anti-Semitism, including:

In Venezuela, Hugo Chávez says that the “descendants of the same ones that crucified Christ” have “taken possession of all the wealth in the world.”

The idea that Chávez was making an anti-Semitic slur was debunked when these quotes first circulated. (See FAIR Action Alert, “Editing Chávez to Manufacture a Slur,” 1/23/06.) As FAIR pointed out, Chávez’s speech referred collectively to “the descendents of those who crucified Christ, the descendents of those who expelled Bolivar from here” as one and the same, saying they represented the “less than 10 percent of the world population [who] own more than half of the riches of the world.” Chávez was clearly referring generically to the wealthy and powerful; by Krauthammer’s reading one would have to conclude that Chávez thinks Jews persecuted Simon Bolivar and account for more than 600 million of the world’s population.

As American Rabbi Arthur Waskow told the Associated Press (1/5/06), “I know of no one who accuses the Jews of fighting against Bolivar.” FAIR’s alert noted that Jewish groups in Venezuela rejected the anti-Semitic reading of Chávez’s speech. A letter sent by the Confederation of Jewish Associations of Venezuela to the Simon Wiesenthal Center (AP, 1/14/06), a U.S. group promoting the deceptively edited quote, stated: “We believe the president was not talking about Jews,” adding, “you have acted on your own, without consulting us, on issues that you don’t know or understand.” The American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress agreed with the Venezuelan group’s view that Chávez was not referring to Jews in his speech (Inter Press Service, 1/13/06).

But is Krauthammer’s smear part of a larger pattern at the Post? In April, Post deputy editorial page editor Jackson Diehl wrote (4/10/06) that Chávez “has never enjoyed overwhelming support in Venezuela,” adding, “his ratings have mostly fluctuated a few points above and below 50 percent.”

As FAIR explained in a letter to Diehl asking for his documentation (“Ignoring Inaccuracy at the Washington Post,” 5/2/06), Chávez has won three elections with totals ranging from 56 to 60 percent of the popular vote, and opinion polls registered support for Chávez from 68 to 71 percent—as reported in Diehl’s own paper (12/5/05).

FAIR’s reasoned letter never received a response, which raises a question about accountability at the Post‘s editorial pages.

ACTION: Please ask Washington Post ombud Deborah Howell to ensure that Post commentary measures up to minimal standards of accuracy. Please cc executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. on your correspondence.

Deborah Howell, Ombudsman
Phone: (202) 334-7582

Ah, yes. Lil’ Debbie the pearl-clutcher has no problem with lies and smear, but don’t you dare cuss at a recipient of a WaPo paycheck!

Posted in anti-Semitism, anti-truth, beat the press, hypocrites, media, Media machine, mediawhores, mythmaking, phony scandals, rightwing moral cripples, The smear industry, Venezuela | 6 Comments »

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