Posts tagged "Ethics"

h/t: Valerie Talerico at AlterNet

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson has a history of illegal behavior and controversial comments — facts that were left out of mainstream print reporting on GOP candidates trying to win his favor last week.

The Republican Jewish Coalition met March 27-29 in Las Vegas, and the event was dubbed the “Adelson Primary" as GOP presidential hopefuls used the meeting to fawn over magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson is the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., a casino and resort operating firm, who reportedly spent nearly $150 million attempting to buy the 2012 election with donations to a super PAC aligned with Mitt Romney and other outside groups (including Karl Rove’s American Crossroads). Before switching allegiance to Romney, Adelson had donated millions to Newt Gingrich. He has also given generously in the past to super PACs associated with a variety of Republican politicians, including Scott Walker, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, George W. Bush, and Eric Cantor.

Hoping to benefit from Adelson’s largesse, potential 2016 Republican candidates including Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush gathered at Adelson’s casino to “kiss the ring.”

While Republicans’ efforts to court Adelson made big news in print media over the past week, none of the articles mentioning Adelson in The New York Times, Washington PostPolitico, or The Wall Street Journal mentioned that he has come under investigation for illegal business practices, including bribery, or his history of extreme remarks.

A search of the Nexis and Factiva databases from March 24 to March 31 turned up several articles in the papers ­mentioning the billionaire, none of which mentioned Adelson’s checkered past. The New York Times called Adelson “one of the Republican Party’s most coveted and fearsome moneymen” and detailed his current fight against online gambling, while The Washington Post's March 25 preview of the event simply reported that Adelson was “driven by what he has said he sees as Obama’s socialist agenda. He is a fierce opponent of organized labor and is currently embroiled in a fight to ban online gambling.”

In 2012, Adelson’s corporation came under three different investigations from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Justice Department, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), an anti-bribery statute. Additionally, the Times reported at the time that several of the company’s subsidiaries also “came under investigation by Chinese regulators.”

Adelson allegedly attempted to bribe the Chief Executive of Macau, where a substantial portion of his casino business was located, and reportedly instructed Sands Corp. to bribe a Macau legislator with about $700,000 in “legal fees.” (ProPublica reported that “several Las Vegas Sands executives resigned or were fired after expressing concerns” about the fee.) A former Sands Corp. executive also alleged that Adelson fired him after he refused to engage in illegal activity and protested the presence of Chinese organized crime syndicates in Sands’ Macau casinos.

Adelson initially insisted that he was being unfairly targeted, but Sands Corp.’s own audit committee ultimatelyadmitted there were “likely violations” of the anti-bribery law. And in August 2013, Sands Corp. agreed to pay the federal government more than $47 million in a settlement to resolve a separate money-laundering investigation, in which the casinos were accused of “accepting millions from high-rolling gamblers accused of drug trafficking and embezzlement.”

Adelson has been described as a “fervent Zionist” for his opposition to any Palestinian state, and his hatred of Islam goes so far that he has said ”You don’t have to worry about using the word ‘Islamo-fascism’ or ‘Islamo-terrorist,’ when that’s what they are. Not all Islamists are terrorists, but all the terrorists are Islamists.” He has suggested that all Palestinians “teach their children that Jews are descended from swine and apes, pigs and monkeys,” and said that “all they want to do is kill” Jews.

As Rick Perlstein has noted in Rolling Stone, Adelson is also vociferously opposed to unions. In 1999, when Adelson built a new casino, he failed to pay so many of his contractors that they filed a whopping 366 liens against the property, in addition to filing complaints with stage agencies and the FBI. When the new casino eventually opened, union workers protested outside — and Adelson twice demanded that police arrest the peaceful protestors (emphasis added):

Adelson told the cops to start making arrests; the cops refused. Glen Arnodo, an official at the union at the time, relates what happened next: “I was standing on the sidewalk and they had two security guards say I was on private property, and if I didn’t move they’d have to put me under ‘citizen’s arrest.’ I ignored them.” The guards once again told the police to arrest Arnodo and again, he says, they refused. The Civil Rights hero Rep. John Lewis, in town to support the rally, said the whole thing reminded him of living in the South during Jim Crow.

Afterwards, Adelson went so far as to allegedly attempt to pay off a hospital when it announced it would honor the head of the Vegas hotel workers union.

Adelson told The Wall Street Journal that the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill which would allow workers to unionize a workplace with majority sign-up, was “one of the two fundamental threats to society.” The other was radical Islam.

If print outlets are going to devote space to the fight among Republicans to win Adelson’s favor (and money), they owe it to readers to give a more accurate picture of the man holding the wallet.  

h/t: HANNAH GROCH-BEGLEY at MMFA

Fox News host Mike Huckabee denied responsibility for shady email pitches sent to subscribers to his email list, telling Media Matters that he is “simply a conduit to send messages” and “can’t always vouch for the veracity” of the promoted products.

Huckabee is part of the conservative movement’s attempts to cash in on their followers by renting out their email lists to suspect sources. Fox News contributor Scott Brown was recently forced to disown a quack doctor after he sent a sponsored email touting the doctor’s dubious Alzheimer’s disease cures. Huckabee also sent emails promoting the doctor.

During a press conference held at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside Washington, Media Matters asked Huckabee about shady sponsored emails he’s sent with his name on it, such as the Alzheimer’s disease emails. 

Huckabee shrugged off responsibility for the emails, saying “You are supposed to read the disclosure and the disclaimer that is a part of the messages. We are simply the conduit to send messages, these are sponsored and I can’t always vouch for the veracity.”

Huckabee’s sketchy sponsored emails extend beyond questionable medical cures. He recently sent a sponsored email touting the stock recommendation of a financial analyst who was fired from Fox News for ethical violations.

Huckabee sent an email on February 14 from “Fox News alumnus” Tobin Smith and “our paid sponsor, Champlain Media” about “important information” regarding the stock of Gray Fox Petroleum (GFOX).Huckabee’s message added that the sponsorship does “not necessarily reflect my views.” A Smith-penned message implored readers to “Buy shares of GFOX now while you can still get them at around $1.00 and you could… TURN $10,000 INTO $282,000 in the next 6 months!”

Tobin Smith is so disreputable that he was fired from Fox News — no small feat — for receiving compensation to promote a company stock, a violation of network policy. Smith engages in “sponsored research,” in which companies hire analysts like Smith to act as pitchmen. MarketWatch’s Chuck Jaffee noted that people like Smith take “money to help small stocks find a market using fluff-and-shine hyperbolic chatter” and target “novice investors who fail to do due diligence.”

Small print in the Huckabee email states that the email is part of a “paid advertising” campaign “by Tobin Smith” and “Cenad Ltd. has paid $155,040.88 for the dissemination of this info to enhance public awareness for GFOX.” It also adds that Smith “has received twenty thousand dollars for this and related marketing materials.” It is not clear how much Huckabee received for the email dissemination, though a MikeHuckabee.com card states that his list has 700,000 subscribers and charges $27.50 per thousand emails, with a “300,000 NAME MINIMUM ORDER $1,000.00 MINIMUM PAYMENT.”

While it is too early to know how GFOX will perform, Huckabee fans should be cautious about taking the advice. In addition to the investing dangers of sponsored research, a Media Matters review last year found that Smith regularly pitched lofty stock price targets which weren’t met. For instance, Smith recommended in January 2013 that readers buy the stock of Boldface Group “at less than 50-cents, and you could … Turn $10,000 into $50,000 in the next 6-12 months!” It’s now trading at one cent.

Fox News helps grow Huckabee’s email list, as the former Republican governor regularly promotes MikeHuckabee.com on his weekly program. When visitors reach the page, they’re immediately asked to sign-up for his list. In other words, Huckabee is growing his email list through Fox News, and then selling access to that list so hucksters like Tobin Smith can target his Fox fans.

As Salon’s Alex Pareene noted, “the conservative movement is an elaborate moneymaking venture. For professional movement conservatives, their audiences and followers are easy marks.” 

H/T: Eric Hanaoki and Joe Strupp at MMFA

Subscribers to CNN host Newt Gingrich’s email list are receiving supposed insider information about cancer “cures,” the Illuminati, “Obama’s ‘Secret Mistress,’” a “weird” Social Security “trick,” and Fort Knox being “empty.”

Gingrich Productions, the company run by the Crossfire co-host, has been sending sponsored emails from shady sources filled with dubious claims. CNN has been helping Gingrich build his list by not only employing him, but also by promoting Gingrich Productions and its website.

While Gingrich’s team has previously claimed that they work hard to “vet” the organizations they rent the email list to, they have repeatedly violated their own apparently low standards.

For example, Gingrich Productions has sent at least 15 sponsored emails for Stansberry & Associates since June 2013. Stansberry is a disgraced financial firm that was fined $1.5 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission for engaging in “deliberate fraud” and profiting from “false statements.” The firm sells financial products by pushing conspiracies about the Obama administration. Founder Porter Stansberry recently said it’s “fucking bullshit” that people get upset at him for using slurs like “nigger” and “fag” when he’s “not the least bit bigoted.”

Gingrich’s team previously claimed to distance the former speaker from Stansberry after questions surfaced about a sponsored email suggesting Obama would win a third term. ABC News reported in November 2012 that “according to Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond, Stansberry & Associates should have been on the blacklist. ‘We do not rent to the entity in question,’ Hammond said, speaking by phone Thursday. ‘In fact, we go to lengths to vet where we rent.’”

Gingrich is part of a movement where, as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes noted, “much of conservatism is a con and the base are the marks.” Fox News contributor Scott Brown was recently forced to distance himself from Newsmax after he sent a sponsored email for the group touting the findings of quack Dr. Russell Blaylock. The New Republic's Ben Adler wrote in a piece about Gingrich and fellow hucksters Herman Cain and Mike Huckabee that they “are pioneering a new, more direct method for post-campaign buckraking. All it requires is some digitally savvy accomplices—and a total immunity to shame.”

Gingrich’s list is primarily managed by TMA Direct. A data card on TMA’s site indicates that the list contains over 400,000 emails and costs $8,000 per order. The company is headed by Mike Murray, who is also the founder and president of Gingrich’s American Legacy PAC. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that American Legacy has advertised on Gingrich Productions’ list, and disbursed thousands of dollars to TMA. 

[…]

Sign Up For Gingrich’s Email List, Learn About The Illuminati And Obama’s “Secret Mistress”

Though a Gingrich spokesperson claimed in 2012 that “we go to lengths to vet where we rent,” Gingrich’s recent mailings are full of companies touting suspect medical “cures” and dubious financial schemes.  

The following are the subject line and quotes from some of the sponsored emails Gingrich Productions has sent to its list in the past six months.

"American Doctor Releases Cancer Cure Before Government Spies Find it." An August 29, 2013, email from Health Revelations claims that “cancer was cured back in 1925,” and “the annual flu shot is nothing more than a BALD-FACED SCAM.” The email takes readers to a page claiming that “Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease and Alzheimer’s” have been “DEFEATED” but suggests the government is covering up such cures.

"The Illuminati [Secret Society] Puts a Deathgrip on America." A December 31, 2013, Wall Street Daily email claims that the ”Illuminati was behind every consequential wealth event of the past year” including bitcoin. The Illuminati is a frequent player in conspiracy theories. 

"Obama’s ‘Secret Mistress’ Exposed." A December 12, 2013, email from Laissez Faire Club claims that “President Obama has made painstaking efforts to keep his ‘secret mistress’ hidden from the American public, and he has succeeded brilliantly… until now.”

"WhistleBlower: 7 Deadly Drugs the Government Wants You to Swallow." The Health Sciences Institute claimed in a November 19, 2013, email that an “insider near Washington D.C. has just blown the lid off the 7 Deadly Drugs the U.S. Government can’t wait for you to swallow.” The email assured Gingrich readers that it’s not a conspiracy theory since the “whistleblower has concrete evidence ‘the powers that be’ are shoving pure poison down your throat… and laughing all the way to the bank.”

"Weird Trick Adds $1,000 to Social Security Checks …" A September 12, 2013, Newsmax Media email claimed that they’ve “stumbled upon this weird trick that can add $1,000 to monthly Social Security checks.” (For more on this email claim, see here.)

"Fort Knox is Empty (the Gold’s Missing…)." An August 20, 2013, Wall Street Daily email claimed, “Whispers are swirling around Capitol Hill that Fort Knox is empty” and “the U.S. government has been shipping gold to nations like China (as collateral for a weak dollar).” 

"New Scandal in the White House?" A cryptic July 11, 2013, Stansberry & Associates email claimed that there’s a “big new scandal brewing in the White House” and “when this scandal is ultimately exposed, it’s going to have major implications not only for Barack Obama, but also for our entire country.” 

Wall Street Daily, Laissez Faire Club, and Stansberry & Associates are connected corporately through controversial parent holding company Agora, Inc., which frequently markets to conservative audiences. 

h/t: MMFA 

h/t: Bill McClellan at STLToday.com

NEW YORK, Jan 17 (Reuters) - More than a dozen New Jersey officials, including top aides to Governor Chris Christie, were served with subpoenas on Friday as the state assembly begins its investigation into a massive bridge traffic jam that was apparently politically motivated.

Christie, seen as a likely Republican candidate for the White House in 2016, has denied any involvement in the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal that is dogging his second term in office.

Assembly Democrats named 13 individuals who were served with subpoenas seeking information related to the September traffic snarl, created by the abrupt closing of access lanes to the busy George Washington Bridge, which spans the Hudson River connecting New York and New Jersey.

Among those receiving subpoenas were Christie spokesmen Michael Drewniak and Colin Reed, communications director Maria Comella, the governor’s incoming chief of staff Regina Egea, and Christie’s former campaign manager Bill Stepien.

The list also includes David Samson, chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as well as Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, two former Port Authority officials who have resigned.

Two batches of emails between top Christie aides and officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the bridge, appeared to show the lane closures were orchestrated to punish Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor for not endorsing Governor Christie’s re-election bid last year.

Four days of hours-long jams left commuters fuming, and delayed school buses and emergency vehicles.

Nothing in the emails suggests that Christie had any direct knowledge of the plan to close the lanes. Christie has described himself as devastated and “blindsided” by his aides’ actions.

Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye, who ordered the lanes reopened, said in publicly released emails that he believed the closings violated state and federal law. New Jersey’s federal prosecutor has opened an investigation into the matter.

h/t: HuffPost

Fox News can’t seem to talk about the Chris Christie bridge closure scandal without invoking Benghazi.

Fox & Friends devoted five segments during its January 10 broadcast to the growing scandal surrounding Republican Gov. Chris Christie and his administration’s involvement in deliberate traffic gridlock across the George Washington Bridge as political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee, NJ.

But in every segment purporting to discuss Christie, the hosts and guests used the story to attack President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by bringing up the September 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.  

h/t: MMFA

A history of perceived revenge on Gov. Chris Christie’s critics includes an ex-governor who lost police protection, a professor who lost financing and a mayor’s town that became gridlocked.

[…]

In almost every case, Mr. Christie waved off any suggestion that he had meted out retribution. But to many, the incidents have left that impression, and it has been just as powerful in scaring off others who might dare to cross him.

Now, the governor is dogged by another accusation of petty political revenge. Two close political allies ordered the abrupt shutdown of two local access lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September, gridlocking Fort Lee, N.J., for four days. The borough’s mayor said it was punitive because he had declined to endorse the governor’s re-election.

The governor mocked the suggestion as preposterous. But Democrats in New Jersey — and privately, some Republicans too — say it would hardly be out of character for Mr. Christie. As the governor prepares to run for president, the accusation has reinforced his reputation as a bully.

“Every organization takes its cues from the leadership as to what’s acceptable and what’s not, and this governor, in his public appearances, has made thuggery acceptable,” said Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski, the Democrat leading the hearings that have exposed the role of the governor’s aides in the lane closings. “For the governor to say, ‘I knew nothing about this’? He created the atmosphere in which this is acceptable.”

It was the governor’s penchant for confrontation that first propelled him onto the national stage in 2010. As he pushed to cut public employee benefits, his staff celebrated video clips of him dressing down teachers at town hall-style meetings by posting them on YouTube. (“You want to come up here? Come up here,” the governor said to one teacher, a fellow Republican, who hesitated until the governor’s security state troopers gave him no choice. Wagging a finger, Mr. Christie lectured the man, then dismissed him from the hall.)

But his confrontations are not always that public.

In 2011, Mr. Christie held a news conference where he accused State Senator Richard J. Codey of being “combative and difficult” in blocking two nominees. Mr. Codey, a Democrat who had served as governor following the resignation of James E. McGreevey, responded that he had not only signed off on the nominations, but had held a meeting to try to hurry them along.

Three days later, Mr. Codey was walking out of an event in Newark when he got a call from the state police superintendent informing him that he would no longer be afforded the trooper who accompanied him to occasional public events — a courtesy granted all former governors. That same day, his cousin, who had been appointed by Mr. McGreevey to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was fired, as was a close friend and former deputy chief of staff who was then working in the state Office of Consumer Affairs.

“I understand politics, that a new administration comes in,” Mr. Codey said, but he believed this was not about Mr. Christie bringing in his own people. “This was all about sending a message.”

The governor laughed at the allegation of retribution, and his spokesman belittled the Democratic Party chairman who complained about it.

Later that year, the governor was pressing hard on Alan Rosenthal, the Rutgers political scientist whom Republicans and Democrats had chosen as the tiebreaking member of the commission that was redistricting the state’s legislative districts. Mr. Christie wanted Mr. Rosenthal to vote for the map put forward by the Republicans on the commission, but instead he chose the Democrats’ plan, saying it offered more stability.

Soon after, Mr. Christie used his line-item veto to cut $169,000 for two programs at Mr. Rosenthal’s institute at Rutgers.

The apparent payback is not always directed at Democrats — Mr. Christie can be just as hard on Republicans in an attempt to enforce party discipline.

In 2010, when a blizzard paralyzed the state, State Senator Sean T. Kean, a Republican, told a reporter that the “one mistake” the Senate president and governor had made was not calling earlier for a state of emergency, which might have kept more cars off the roads.

Mr. Christie was smarting from criticism that he had remained at Disney World during the storm. When he returned, he held his first news conference in Mr. Kean’s home district. Shortly before, a member of the governor’s staff called Mr. Kean and warned him not to show up. His seat was eliminated in redistricting the following year.

Mr. Kean, now in the Assembly, declined to comment. At the time, an anonymous administration official told The Star-Ledger that Mr. Kean got what he deserved.

Last year, another Republican, State Senator Christopher Bateman, voted against the governor’s plan to reorganize the state’s public medical education system. Mr. Bateman had been working with the governor to get a judge appointed in his home county. Suddenly, after months when it looked as if it would happen, the nomination stalled.

H/T: NY Times

Things continue to get worse for 60 Minutes' already retracted Benghazi report and its discredited “eyewitness” Dylan Davies. Gawker's J.K. Trotter reports that CBS News and Simon & Shuster may have failed to properly vet significant “discrepancies” in Davies’ accounts of his military background.

60 Minutes' October 27, 2013, segment about the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya, collapsed after it was revealed that Davies had given conflicting accounts of his actions that night. CBS News eventually pulled the segment and released a “journalistic review” finding that the report was “deficient in several respects” and “did not sufficiently vet Davies’ account of his own actions and whereabouts that night.” Correspondent Lara Logan and producer Max McClellan were put on a leave of absence.          

Two days after the 60 Minutes report aired, Simon & Schuster imprint Threshold Editions — which is owned by CBS Corporation, a blatant conflict of interest — released The Embassy House under the Davies pseudonym Morgan Jones. The book was pulled from shelves shortly after CBS retracted its segment, but a number of inconsistencies in the book have raised questions about whether Davies’ publishers and CBS Newsadequately vetted Davies before promoting his dubious story.

Gawker’s J.K. Trotter has uncovered further discrepancies in Davies’ account, this time related to claims about his military service. Trotter notes that while Simon & Schuster highlight the rank of “Sergeant Morgan Jones,” “there is zero evidence Davies obtained the rank of sergeant in the British Army.” Furthermore, “Davies and his editors seem to disagree about the length of his military service.” During the book Davies claims to have served for fourteen years, but the book’s jacket and website both say he served for only twelve — “So either Davies is lying about his enlistment date, or Threshold Editions is lying about their own author.”

Trotter also revealed that no one at Threshold Editions or 60 Minutes appears to have verified Davies’ claim that he worked on the security detail of U.S. Major General James T. Conway. 

h/t: MMFA

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Olbermann was reacting Tuesday to an apology from MSNBC commentator Melissa Harris-Perry over a segment that mocked Mitt Romney’s adopted black grandson, Kieran.

"Any adults in charge over there?" Olbermann tweeted.

When one of his Twitter followers argued that the “GOP only likes freedom of speech when it applies to them,” Olbermann, who became a hero to liberals and an enemy to conservatives during his time at MSNBC, stood by his criticism.

"Not the point. You can have your standards, or their standards," he responded.

Olbermann, now with ESPN, left MSNBC in 2011 after his relationship with the cable news channel had deteriorated. The tension between Olbermann and his MSNBC colleagues was palpable during a pair of awkward moments at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

On the opening night of the convention, Olbermann dismissed conservative pundit Joe Scarborough’s claim that Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) campaign was revitalized.

"Jesus, Joe, why don’t you get a shovel?" Olbermann could be heard saying off-screen, prompting a stunned a reaction from Scarborough.

The next night, Olbermann had another on-air tiff after he indicated that his hosting partner Chris Matthews was talking too much.

Scarborough took a thinly-veiled swipe at Olbermann in his latest book, “The Right Path,” but when asked by TPM about the dig, Scarborough largely praised Olbermann’s sportscasting chops.

Harris-Perry apologized Tuesday after drawing heavy criticism for the segment on Romney’s grandson. Her mea culpa came weeks after Martin Bashir resigned from MSNBC over remarks he made about Sarah Palin and about a month after Alec Baldwin departed the channel following a homophobic rant directed at paparazzi.

I’m going to warn you up front that this is a petty, trivial post but you may get a laugh out of it like I did.

Saturday evening I wrote on my blog about a proposal to rename a major Chicago roadway after Nelson Mandela. It’s a good idea from a good Illinois State Representative, La Shawn Ford.

Sunday morning I saw a twitter link for the conservative blog, Illinois Review, writing the same thing. Or, copy-and-pasting the same because it was taken entirely from my blog and the press release. They just added a few lines at the end trashing Representative Ford, of course.

The big giveaway was their use of the distinctive line from my blog that, “the change would put Mandela’s name on the tip of many Chicagoan’s tongues daily.” They also used the same photo I took from HuffingtonPost, who took it from AP. But, they didn’t link back to my blog! Not a big deal, but bad netiquette.

Illinois Review does some original content, but it’s part of the network of conservative blogs that spam the internet by copy-and-pasting stories from each other while often obscuring the original source (presumably Grover Norquist’s underground bunker). It’s an effective tactic for spreading the latest talking points and manipulating google searches.

I decided to leave a comment with a link back to my blog so their readers could see where they found the story. It wasn’t approved. I tried again. It still didn’t show up but they did approve a couple comments trashing Mandelabecause what else do you expect?

Since they wouldn’t even approve a link to my blog as a comment (and I was procrastinating doing real work) I decided to needle them a little by calling them out on twitter.



At this point, Illinois Review could have done several things and I never would have given it another thought. They could have:
1) Added a link with or without an apology.
2) Not responded.
3) Changed the post without comment.

What do they do instead? Deny it! They claim it all came from the press release. Then they covered their tracks by editing to remove the phrases and picture taken from my blog. So I respond…

And then this happens. 

Illinois Review Lies about it

They accuse me of lying! That’s when I got pissed. Not giving a link back is merely rude. Editing a post and then accusing me of making the whole thing up crosses a line!

responded: “lol @IllinoisReview It’s not a big deal unless you make it worse by lying. Google cache and screen caps exist.” That warning may be why they deleted their end of our twitter exchange, once again covering their tracks. But google cache. I took a screen cap of the original plagiarized post they took down.

[…]

Now I’m forced to defend my reputation since they tried to make me look like some kind of crazy person making up stories. Now the whole exchange and screencaped proof is here so everyone can laugh at Illinois Review. If you’re going to create an entire blog by copy-and-pasting stories, at least link back to your source, even when it’s a liberal tree-hugger blog.

Also, I strongly recommend you sign Representative Ford’s online petition to rename Cicero Avenue in honor of Nelson Mandela. Mostly because it’s a good idea, but also because it will annoy the lying plagiarizers at Illinois Review whenever they drive by a sign for Mandela Road.

h/t: When There’s A Will, There’s A Way

On October 27, CBS’ 60 Minutes aired a segment anchored by correspondent Lara Logan and featuring the results of her year-long investigation into the September 11, 2012, attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Right-wing media outlets and conservative politicians promptly seized on the story, claiming it validated their extensive effort to turn the attacks into a political scandal for President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

12 days later, the network pulled the report and apologized to viewers, with the network acknowledging that it had committed its biggest failure since the 2004 controversy surrounding a 60 Minutes story on President Bush’s Air National Guard service.

After facing withering criticism for issuing an apology on 60 Minutes that failed to detail what the network had done wrong or any investigation CBS would undertake to explain how its blunder had occurred, CBS announced on November 14 that it had begun an ongoing “journalistic review” of the segment. But the network declined to detail who is performing that review or whether its results will be made public.

Much of the criticism has revolved around the network’s handling of its interview with the former British security contractor Dylan Davies, identified by CBS as a “witness” to the attacks. But numerous flaws in the report have been identified since the segment aired.

1.  The Fraudulent Benghazi “Witness”

The 60 Minutes segment featured Davies, who appeared on the show under the pseudonym “Morgan Jones.” Logan and Davies related how the security contractor had scaled a 12 foot wall on the side of the diplomatic compound the night of the attack and dispatching a terrorist with his rifle butt. He also told viewers about how he had supposedly seen Ambassador Chris Stevens’ dead body in a local hospital.

But four days later, The Washington Post reported that an incident report filed by Davies’ employer, Blue Mountain, had said that the security contractor “could not get anywhere near” the compound the night of the attack, and that he found out about Ambassador Stevens’ death not by finding him in a local hospital, but from a Libyan colleague.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Davies claimed that he had not written the incident report and that he had lied to his boss to cover up the fact that he had disobeyed orders. He said that he had also discussed the events of the attack with the FBI and that that account matched the one he had given to CBS and would vindicate him. Logan stood by Davies’ claims, saying that she had known all along that Davies had told a different story to his bosses and that she believed the story he had told her was the truth.

On November 7, The New York Times reported that the account Davies gave the FBI matched the story he told his boss, not the one he told CBS. The network retracted their report, with Logan apologizing on-air, saying CBS was “wrong to put him on-air.”

2.  The Ethical Conflict With The “Witness’” Book

The initial 60 Minutes segment referenced and aired an image of the cover of Davies’ book, The Embassy House: The Explosive Eyewitness Account of the Libyan Embassy Siege by the Soldier Who Was There. But Logan failed to disclose that the book was published by Threshold Editions, an imprint of the CBS division Simon & Schuster.

On November 5, The New York Times reported that Logan and CBS News were standing by the network’s Benghazi reporting. But Logan and Fager both said that the network erred by failing to acknowledge the financial connection it shared with Davies.

h/t: MMFA

I’m frequently amused by fringe right reactions when they lose elections. I know I shouldn’t be at this point, but I truly am. One such race - one I’d almost forgotten to check on with all of the more important races occurring nationally last night - occurred in a Columbus, Ohio suburb where an ultra-conservative Tea Party RINO ran for re-election to a city council seat (as she simultaneously continued to pull away from her local community in trying to create a national image for herself). Long time readers probably already know who I’m referring to - but in case you don’t, it’s none other than Sara Marie Brenner

When last we left the ongoing saga of Brenner and her crumbling “empire,” she used our blog in a money-grab campaign fundraising blast. And immediately prior to that she was slapped with a fifth tax lien for tax malfeasance in her troubled small business. After that little mini-drama, we didn’t hear much from those we know in Ohio (who typically send us news tips on a regular basis). That is, until this morning.

"SMB lost her election and is crying on Twitter about it. She’s even blaming Democrats calling them sinners on her website," the tipster wrote in anonymously. 

And sure enough, a quick scan of both confirm the truths in that statement. On her twitter account, Brenner has been quoting Bible verses since last night. Here are a few of the more interesting tweets hereherehere and here. Additionally, in a statement posted to her website about losing the election, she seems to blame everyone but herself for the loss.
[…]
Apparently Brenner’s past caught up with her this election - the tax liens, the lack of attendance in council meetings, and the political fights she’s had locally in and outside of meetings where her constituents have continually questioned her business judgment - judgment that rightfully should be called into question after five tax liens. 

H/T: Tim Peacock at Peacock Panache

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler tossed his hat into the2014 Governor’s race to unseat Democrat John Hickenlooper in September of this year, and has been working to capture an early lead when he suddenly suspended his campaign in order to send his resources into a local school board election.

Understandably, this has outraged many, including the good citizens of Douglas County, the focus of Gessler’s efforts. Denver Post:

Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler says his passion for education reform is why his 2014 gubernatorial campaign is shifting gears over the new few days to focus on electing a conservative slate of candidates to the Douglas County School Board on Tuesday.

But Gessler’s announcement, both in an e-mail and on Facebook, has attracted critics who contend the state’s top election officer — and a former elections law attorney — is violating campaign finance laws with announcements about “paid opportunities.”

Not at all, said Gessler’s political director Rory McShane.

“We are currently following and will continue to follow all campaign finance laws,” McShane said.

Campaign finance laws prevent a candidate committee from accepting contributions or making donations to another candidate committee.

Here’s what Gessler wrote in his e-mail: “We’re actively recruiting door-knockers to get out the vote. We also have paid opportunities … .”

Here’s what he wrote on his Facebook campaign web site: “If you would like to help we’re looking for walkers! It pays $11 per hour!”

McShane said groups supporting the conservative school board candidates are paying the walkers, not Gessler’s gubernatorial campaign but that’s not how critics read the missives.

Boy, are those groups supporting the conservative candidates spending money in that race, too. There’s a slate of four candidates who are associated with the Tea Party who have received between $38-40,000 each from 25 donors or less. Compare and contrast that with the homegrown candidates sponsored by people who actually live in the area. They have ten times the number of donors but only about a quarter of the funds.

The Douglas County School Board race is ground zero for union-busters right now, but it’s not the only one, nor is this a new tactic. Conservatives going all the way back to the halcyon days of the John Birch Society have long believed school board takeovers are the very first step to “taking back their country,” and education reformers are taking advantage of that to bust unions for their own ends.

However, it could be the first time that an elected official and candidate for Governor has decided to pay people to get out the vote for them while suspending his own campaign. In the email he sent out to his supporters onhis email list, he was clear about his motives:

Against the advice of the Denver political elites, I’ve ordered my campaign for Governor to shift focus for the next week until the Douglas County elections, to ensure that conservatives are victorious this year.

We’re actively recruiting door-knockers to get out the vote. We also have paid opportunities – but we need you if we’re going to be successful as a team.

He donated his email list and a piece of his website to recruitment to elect candidates funded with outside money in order to bust unions, but he’s just fine with that. He’s an election lawyer and known for his own voter suppression efforts in Colorado during the 2012 general election.

Gessler also appears to be ethically challenged.

First, it was learned that a discretionary account intended to cover official state business was tapped to pay for a partisan junket to Florida. Reporting by The Denver Post also showed that, at the end of the fiscal year, Gessler reimbursed himself $1,400 for expenses for which he has no documentation.

[…]

A short time later, Gessler lowered fines owed the state by the Larimer County Republican Party by tens of thousands of dollars and then agreed to help them raise money to pay off the debt.

He may have shrugged off criticism about the moonlighting and the GOP shilling, but Gessler will have a hard time ignoring complaints that he misused taxpayers’ money.

Earlier this month, it was learned that he spent $1,452 from his office’s discretionary account to attend a Republican National Lawyers Association meeting and the Republican National Convention in Florida. Questioned as to the prudence of spending taxpayer money on partisan activity, the secretary implied that everybody does it and criticized the scrutiny as politically motivated.

Oh, maybe so, except that he didn’t produce the receipts for it.

Gessler has long-standing ties to shady political groups, like the Western Tradition Partnership, now renamed the American Tradition Partnership by Gessler as part of his services to whoever funds that particular 501c4. Whatever the name, boxes of financial records were discovered in a meth house in Colorado, and shed some light on the dark money moving in Colorado and Montana:

But the details available on WTP, which has worked to elect conservatives in Montana and Colorado and has won national attention for a lawsuit that led the Supreme Court to apply itsCitizens United ruling to states, are striking.The bank records highlight WTP’s ties to groups backing libertarian Ron Paul. The Conservative Action League, a Virginia social welfare nonprofit run at the time in part by John Tate, most recently Paul’s campaign manager, transferred $40,000 to WTP in August 2008, bank records show. Tate was also a consultant for WTP. In addition, WTP gave $5,000 to a group called the SD Campaign for Liberty, affiliated with Paul and the national Campaign for Liberty.

The bank records also illustrate how cash passes between dark money groups, further obscuring its original source: $500,000 passed from Coloradans for Economic Growth to WTP to the National Right to Work Committee, over a few days in October 2008. Coloradans for Economic Growth and the National Right to Work Committee are social welfare nonprofits that don’t have to disclose their donors. Tate and others paid by WTP were also once associated with National Right to Work.

What Gessler and his moneybags pals are doing in Douglas County isn’t all that different from what Republicans do in general. They move in gangs, they capture big bucks to buy the office and then pay off their sugar daddies with quid pro quo activities like suppressing the vote, weakening campaign finance laws, and busting unions.

Is it any wonder the parents in Douglas County are aggravated? What happened to caring about the children, after all?

h/t: Karoli at Crooks and Liars