How Inept Is This Republican Congress? More Inept Than You Ever Imagined

If it seems to you that that President Obama has been under an investigative microscope since the moment he took office, it’s only because that’s pretty much true. Republicans were determined to foil anything positive that this president placed on his agenda, and their primary method of achieving that end has been perpetual investigations of trumped up scandals.


But even with their single-minded devotion to destroying this presidency, the House GOP has not produce any evidence of wrongdoing that implicated the White House. Of course, if their purpose was merely to keep the nation from enjoying the benefits of a productive government, Republicans can claim some success. They have certainly obstructed the creation of millions of jobs; progress on environmental protection; reforms of health care and immigration and tax policies; and numerous other initiatives that might have advanced the country’s well being. But any actual manifestations of scandal have been nonexistent.

To illustrate the level of incompetence attributable to these Tea Party hacks, it is useful to put their job performance into historical perspective. One way to do this is to compare their progress with that of prior congressional sessions working on similarly lofty projects. And since there has been so much talk of impeachment of late, it seemed like that would make a good model for comparison.

So get this: From the date that the U.S. Senate voted to establish a select committee to investigate Watergate, until the resignation of President Nixon, it took about 15 months. To reiterate, that’s from the date that the committee was approved, through the maze of contested hearings, the presentation of evidence, the White House defense, and all the way through the conclusion with a disgraced (and obviously guilty) president stepping down, only a little more than a year transpired.

Compare that to the current House Committee on Oversight’s investigation of whether the IRS discriminated against conservative organizations. Those hearings began 16 months ago. So they have already exceeded the time allotted to impeaching Nixon. However, there has not been a single shred of incriminating evidence uncovered. Plus, if you count from the time the Ways and Means Committee began their inquiries, it has been over 38 months. And these hearings are still continuing.

Let’s also compare the House hearings on Fast and Furious, the botched gun trafficking sting that actually began in the Bush Administration. But limiting this to just the Obama era, Congress has been investigating this since June 2011 – 38 months and counting. And nothing of substance has come from it.

The granddaddy of the Obama era pseudo-scandals has to be Benghazi. Over at Fox News they are suffering from a rare form of Benghazi Tourettes, spitting out the word every few seconds for no apparent reason other than to stir up their dimwitted viewers. So far, the congressional investigations into this have been ongoing for 23 months, with nothing to show for it. And on this issue they have been the most insistent that there is a correlation to Watergate. In fact, the Watergate angle has been an obsession that they tie to their wet dreams of impeachment.

Even the impeach-happy congress of the Clinton era took far less time to conduct hearings and actually try the President for high crimes and misdemeanors, than it has taken for any of the current Congress to even find a crumb of presidential misbehavior. From the inception of the House proceedings to impeach Clinton, until his acquittal in the Senate, it took all of four and a half months. If you count from the date that the Drudge Report posted its tabloid article identifying the Monica Lewinsky affair, it was still only 13 months.

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To sum up, every one of the current phony scandals, that are wastefully consuming time and taxpayer dollars, are exceeding that spent on the Nixon and Clinton impeachments. And none of these scandals have produced any hint of wrongdoing. That’s fairly conclusive proof that the Republicans serving in Congress now are profoundly incompetent. There are really only three possible explanations for this. Either 1) There is no evidence and they are wasting everyone’s time, or 2) There is evidence, but these blockheads are too stupid to stumble over it, or 3) They don’t give a damn about evidence, they are only trying to smear the President.

Either way, they need to be relieved of their duties at the earliest opportunity, which would be this November. That makes it the responsibility of American voters to step up and do their duty. All you have to do is vote. And rest assured, if you do not, this GOP idiocy will continue for the next two years and will likely be escalated into a full-blown impeachment of Obama. For God’s sake, don’t let that happen.

GUILTY! Republican Huckster Admits To Election Fraud

For several years now, Republicans have been engaged in a prolonged and determined campaign to suppress the votes of citizens whom they believe are inclined to vote for Democrats. They pretend that their mission is to prevent election fraud, even though they can’t document more than a handful of cases. So why is it that almost every time actual election fraud is uncovered, it happens to be by Republicans?

Today a bona fide example of criminal election activity has emerged in the form of a guilty plea by Republican author and filmmaker, Dinesh D’Souza. D’Souza admitted in court that he unlawfully reimbursed friends who made donations to a New York senatorial candidate saying that he “knew that causing a campaign contribution to be made in the name of another was wrong and something the law forbids.”

Fox News - D'Souza

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In the harsh glare of the courtroom light, D’Souza is singing a very different tune. Earlier this year, when the charges were brought against him, he complained that he was being singled out for his anti-Obama writing and films. The news of his indictment stirred an outpouring of support from conservative media who alleged that President Obama was behind this political plot to silence his critics. D’Souza appeared several times on Fox News to assert his victimhood but, curiously, came short of asserting his innocence. He did, however, tell Sean Hannity that the prosecution may be “payback” by Obama for his aggressively negative, although thinly researched and easily debunked, screeds against the President. And Hannity was not alone in his defense of D’Souza. The lie-riddled Fox Nation website featured a commentary by Charles Hurt of Breitbart News that literally excused D’Souza’s crimes, even if it turned out that he were guilty – which we now know that he is.

Federal law includes sentencing guidelines that could result in a prison term of ten to sixteen months. D’Souza’s attorney, however, plans to ask the judge to waive any jail time because he says that his client is a “fundamentally honorable man” who had committed an “isolated instance of wrongdoing.” That’s if you consider someone whose books and films have been proven to be filled with lies, and who was forced to resign as the dean of a Catholic university because of marital infidelity, to be fundamentally honorable. It’s also difficult to regard paying off four different people to be an isolated instance of wrongdoing. But that’s the Republican perspective on law and order. It’s only really a crime if a Democrat does it.

You’ll Never See This IRS/Tea Party Story On Fox News

Ever since recidivist criminal Darrell Issa (R-Mouthbreather) began his inquisition against President Obama, he has repeatedly tried to poison public opinion by selectively releasing information intended to cast a negative pall on the President and his administration. As chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Issa led partisan witch hunts into an array of phony scandals including Fast and Furious, Benghazi, ObamaCare, and the alleged targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS.

With regard to the IRS matter, a report published this morning by USA Today revealed yet another case that demonstrates just how deceitful the Issa panel has been. The article states that “39 IRS and Treasury officials deny White House targeting.”

Darrell Issa Witch Hunter

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To be clear, this story is disclosing the testimony of 39 witnesses who were interviewed in closed sessions, all of whom told the committee that there was never any effort by the White House, or anyone else, to influence them in the conduct of their official duties to insure that organizations seeking tax-exempt status were entitled to the designation. Every single one of the witnesses called before the committee said the same thing. Yet Issa withheld the testimony of these witnesses from the public until Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, made them available today.

This is typical of the way Issa manages his charge as a committee chair. When he isn’t tyrannically censoring his congressional colleagues, he is releasing snippets of data that make the President or Democrats look bad. Then when the full transcript is released it becomes apparent that Issa lied. In the meantime Fox News has already plastered their air with the falsely abridged reports, which they never bother to correct when the truth eventually comes out. This makes the response by Issa’s deputy staff director for the Oversight panel all the more ludicrous as he accuses Rep. Cummings of “cherry-picking” the evidence.

All of this is happening as the GOP led House is getting ready to vote on holding IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before Issa’s dishonest and disreputable committee. Even as the pseudo-patriots on Fox pretend to be devoted to the Constitution, they lambaste Lerner for exercising her rights and suggest that it implies guilt on her part. But those more familiar with the Constitution than the rightist hypocrites at Fox recognize that Issa’s committee is what is known as a “perjury trap,” wherein the innocent are tricked into saying things for which they are later threatened with indictment. If Lerner’s attorney permitted her to testify before a committee as corrupt as Issa’s, he should be disbarred.

Now that the testimony of these witnesses, that was taken in secret, has finally been released, you might expect that the network that has been most obsessed with the IRS/Tea Party affair would report on these statements that are so critical to the investigation. But don’t hold your breath waiting for Fox News to air anything about this. Since it essentially proves that the whole scandal mongering on the part of the Republicans and Fox News was a sham, they certainly aren’t going to blow the whistle on themselves. That would require having journalistic principles and personal integrity, commodities that are in short supply in either the GOP or Fox News.

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[Update 1] On Wednesday, May 7, the House of Representatives voted 231 to 187 to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress. And that’s about as far as this charade will go because the Department of Justice is unlikely to proceed with a prosecution.

[Update 2] As of Thursday, May 8, Fox News, as predicted, has not reported the fact that all 39 witnesses who testified before Issa’s Committee affirmed that the White House put no pressure on them and that their activities were not political.

Rupert Murdoch Fears That Bribery/Hacking Investigation Could “Kill The Corporation”

Rupert MurdochThe Independent is reporting that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is under investigation as a “corporate suspect” over the charges that the company engaged in unlawful activities including bribery and hacking the phones, email, and computers of hundreds of politicians, celebrities and private citizens, including a missing schoolgirl who later turned up dead. The inquiry could have significant consequences for News Corp around the world including here in the U.S.

“The Independent has learnt the Metropolitan Police has opened an “active investigation” into the corporate liabilities of the UK newspaper group – recently rebranded News UK – which could have serious implications for the ability of its parent company News Corp to operate in the United States.”

That is not merely the opinion of the investigators and/or reporters. News Corp responded to the inquiry with an apocalyptic warning suggesting that thousands of innocents would suffer if the company were held responsible for its criminal behavior.

“A News Corp analysis of the effects of a corporate charge, produced in New York, said the consequences could ‘kill the corporation and 46,000 jobs would be in jeopardy’.

“Lawyers for the media behemoth have pleaded with the Met[tropolitan Police] and the Crown Prosecution Service not to prosecute the company as it would not be in the ‘public interest’ to put thousands of jobs at risk.”

This attempt to turn employees into human shields notwithstanding, it would be unconscionable for the legal authorities to dismiss crimes because of potential adverse business results asserted by the criminal. That’s kind of like a bank president found guilty of embezzlement asking that his charges be dropped because the bad publicity might hurt the bank.

What’s more, there need not be a single job placed in jeopardy if the corporate offenders were brought to justice, removed from the company, and a properly instituted board of directors (e.g. one not beholden to the Murdoch regime) reformed the management and operations of the enterprise.

News Corp is, and has been, a criminal organization for many years. They are unapologetic about their abuse of the law and the public trust. It is encouraging that the British legal system is pursuing these charges, although in the past they have caved in to pressure from powerful business interests and retreated from doing the right thing. Time will tell if they have the integrity and fortitude to follow through on this matter.

As an addendum, the Independent’s article included an interesting explanation of the U.K.’s legal procedures regarding corporate suspects:

The Crown Prosecution Service can treat a company as a “legal person” who is “capable of being prosecuted”.

Any organisation at the centre of a criminal investigation “should not be treated differently from an individual because of its artificial personality”, according to the CPS.

The latest guidelines state: “A thorough enforcement of the criminal law against corporate offenders, where appropriate, will have a deterrent effect, protect the public and support ethical business practices.

“Prosecuting corporations, where appropriate, will capture the full range of criminality involved and thus lead to increased public confidence in the criminal justice system.”

The U.S. would do well to emulate this, particularly in the wake of the abhorrent Supreme Court decisions defining corporations as persons, but not providing any of the legal accountability to which actual persons are subjected.

Is The IRS/Tea Party Affair A False Flag Operation By GOP Operatives?

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” ~ Plato

False Flag

The force of fury that is emanating from Republicans in congress as they mount their crusade to ostensibly “protect” the nation from the wild excesses of a government agency gone mad has roiled the political landscape like a violently swirling tornado of partisan angst. The House Oversight Committee, chaired by ultra-rightist zealot (and recidivist criminal) Darrell Issa , has designated itself as the guardian of America’s virtue and the enemy of fiendish saboteurs in the despised Internal Revenue Service.

But there is something too convenient in the emergence of this curiously timed “scandal” that ought to raise suspicions among wakeful citizens. Think about it. The previous scandal du jour, Benghazi-Gate, was crumbling like a week-old danish. None of the frenzied allegations were panning out and, rather than diminishing the President’s reputation, his approval ratings were rising. Republicans needed a fresh dead horse to beat and suddenly the IRS dropped a gift on the GOP’s doorstep. Coincidence?

Consider further that the meat of the controversy was an astoundingly lame strategy that purported to target conservative non-profit groups for stricter scrutiny of their applications for tax-exempt status. The execution of this plan was so ineptly transparent it seems as if it was designed to be discovered. It would not have been difficult to devise a program that resulted in conservative groups being reviewed without being specific in a manner that gave away a partisan intent. But the supposed conspirators in this case used obvious language like “Tea Party” and “912 Project” to select applications to audit. That makes no sense because, if you’re trying to secretly suppress opposing political players you would try to do it secretly, wouldn’t you. What’s more, you wouldn’t leave a glowing neon paper trail that begged to be followed. Why would Democrats plotting to monkey-wrench a bunch of otherwise feeble Teabaggers, whose popularity was in rapid descent, concoct such a rickety plan?

The answer, of course, is that they wouldn’t. And to be precise, they (the Democrats) didn’t. The most prominent figures named so far in this affair are IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman and the director of the tax-exempt organizations division, Lois Lerner. Both are Republicans brought into their government jobs by George W. Bush. Remember, he’s the guy who politicized the IRS by challenging the tax status of the NAACP, Greenpeace, and even liberal churches. He also politicized the Department of Justice by firing nine U.S. Attorneys who were appointed by a Democratic president. [Update: Congressional investigators reveal that the IRS manager who initiated the Tea Party inquiries is a conservative Republican].

When assessing the facts of this plot it can hardly be regarded as insignificant that the lead plotters were Republicans. Furthermore, the first disclosure that something was awry at the IRS was not made by an intrepid investigative journalist tracking down corruption in the system. It was revealed by Lerner, who planted an aide in a public meeting to ask her about the partisan targeting. So it was actually Republicans in the IRS who cooked up the policy and then leaked it to the media via subterfuge. Why would they do such a thing?

In the process of investigating clandestine operations there is a common inquiry designed to lead to the perpetrators: “Cui bono,” or who benefits? Clearly the activities attributed to the IRS have almost no beneficial value to Democrats. After all, not a single one of the groups subjected to review were denied tax-exempt status. And since the law permits non-profits to solicit tax-exempt donations while their applications are in process, no fundraising was hampered. If this were a plot by Democrats to harm political opponents, why would they stop so far short of their goal and openly advertise their misbehavior? It seems more like a scheme to get the Democrats blamed for trying to harm Republicans without resulting in any actual harm. That would be a scenario that benefited the Republicans, who just happened to be in a position to orchestrate it.

So the GOP had motive, opportunity, and all of the available evidence that was provided and exploited came from Republicans intent on disabling a Democratic administration. It was timed to a news cycle that would otherwise have boosted President Obama’s agenda as the economy showed signs of improvement, jobs were on the rise, and major legislative initiatives like immigration, gun safety, and climate change, were gaining momentum. The lead investigator in the House (Issa) is a known crook who was informed of the IRS activities a year ago, but waited until all the pieces were in place to launch his witch hunt.

This affair smells fishy from the get-go. It was made for media consumption. Nobody got wound up in the Benghazi story because there was no easy handle for malicious reporters to grab unto, or for the public to readily grasp. But everybody already hates the IRS, so fabricating an abuse of power fable has built in appeal. That’s how you end up with wild stories about the IRS Commissioner visiting the White House 157 times, with insinuations that he was conspiring with the President. When a legitimate news reporter followed up, there were far fewer visits (perhaps as few as eleven) and they were all to attend meetings, with people other than Obama, related to the implementation of the health care bill.

However, accuracy and honesty were never a part of the brazen hype machine that has been pumping out the lurid allegations and wispy rumor mongering that Republicans have embraced as their replacement for evidence and facts. The truth is merely an obstacle to the fulfillment of the GOP’s agenda. But it is becoming more apparent every day that the truth may have more to do with Republican malfeasance than that of Democrats. And anyone who dismisses the role of Republicans in creating and executing this alleged scheme is willfully blinding themselves to the reality that the GOP had far more to gain by manufacturing this scandal than the Democrats would have had in carrying out something so inept and ineffective.

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[Authors Note: If you got this far I would like to reveal now that I don’t believe for a second that the IRS affair is a false flag operation by the GOP. While all of the facts presented above are true, the conclusion is a farce meant to illustrate how different the crazies on the right are from the crazies on the left.

Conservatives would have jumped on a story with the factual details that this one has and propagated, in all seriousness, the conspiracy theory that I outlined above. Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, and even congresspersons like Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert would be polishing their tin-foil hats right about now. However, despite the ripeness of these facts, there is no one on the left pushing such a conspiracy theory.

Just a little something to ponder when right-wingers seek to make phony arguments of equivalency whenever they are caught doing or saying something that is monumentally stupid.]

Have “Scandals” Sparked A New Tea Party Revival?

It’s as predictable as Glenn Beck’s tears. As soon as a president appears to be weakened by attack, the media pounces in a feeding frenzy hoping to score a kill. Some do it out of partisan animus. Some do it for personal glory. But either way it’s a bloodcurdling spectacle that contains scant morsels of actual substance.

In the present festival of feasting, many in the press are asking the same question: Have the scandals plaguing the White House created an opportunity for the moribund Tea Party to mount a revival? Take a look at a selection of the headlines:

  • Scandals revive Tea Party, threaten Obamacare – Boston Herald
  • Tea Party revival – World Magazine
  • Will the IRS scandal revive the Tea Party? – The Week Magazine
  • IRS scandal revives tea party – CNN
  • IRS scandal: Reinvigorated tea party eager to seize moment – Christian Science Monitor
  • Tea Party Looks To Gain Momentum In IRS Scandal Aftermath – Huffington Post
  • Back from the dead – WorldNetDaily

That last one from WorldNetDaily is particularly notable because it presumes that the Tea Party has been dead, which is not something that WorldNetDaily ordinarily admits.

To answer the burning question of the day, let’s examine how the Tea Party responded to the scandal outbreak. With lightening-fast reflexes, the Tea Party Patriots organized protests across the country to “Rein in the IRS.” And their legions of followers stepped up to speak truth to power. There were 30 of them in Topeka, 70 in Phoenix, 100 in Tampa, 30 in Kansas City, 11 in Tallahassee, 100 in Chicago, 50 in Denver, 6 in Helena, and 50 in San Bernardino where they also spoke Hitlerian rhetoric to power. In the nation’s second biggest city, Los Angeles, the Teabaggers showed up 13 strong.

Tea Party

WOW! If this isn’t a demonstration of just how engaged and relevant the Tea Party is, I don’t know what would be. Clearly they have the political punch of a drunken gerbil. Nevertheless, the media will continue to prop them up as if they were actually influential. The press will ignore factual data like that presented here and fluff the baggers excitedly in the hopes of producing a climax of contrived controversy.

The truly depressing part of this is that the failure to recognize the impotence of the Tea Party will only embolden the minority fringe caucus of the Republicans in congress and encourage them to persist in their obstructionist strategy that has been so hurtful, divisive, and regressive socially and economically.

In a few weeks this will all have been forgotten and, if recent polling is any indicator, the President will be more popular than ever, and the GOP congress will hit new lows. In the meantime, it’s going to be a summer of frustration as little progress is made on the real problems that plague our nation. Too bad.

STFU: Fox News Lacks Moral Authority On The DOJ’s Leak Investigations

There have long been complex debates about the propriety of government inquiring into private information in the course of criminal investigations. And the potential for harm to national security further complicates issues that test constitutional principles. However, ever since the Supreme Court ruled in 1971 that the publication of the Pentagon Papers was not actionable, it has been recognized that the press cannot be legally constrained from reporting information it receives from government insiders, even if those sources are improperly disclosing classified data.

The core legal concept here is that the source may be a legitimate target of an investigation for violating laws protecting classified data, but that reporters are simply doing their jobs. If a journalist is not suspected of having broken a law, he cannot be subject to invasive inquiries. Consequently, it may be entirely permissible to subpoena the phone records of a leaker, but not the reporter to whom he leaked.

Given the still incomplete record of what occurred with the Associated Press and Fox News, the Justice Department appears to have overstepped its bounds in examining the phone records of journalists. If it turns out that the journalists acted unlawfully (i.e. solicited classified data in exchange for cash or other favors), that would implicate the reporter as a co-conspirator, but as yet there is no evidence of that. And absent any such exception, the DOJ needs to come clean, acknowledge its mistakes, reaffirm its commitment to the law, and punish those responsible for the gross prosecutorial abuse.

That said, it is utterly ridiculous for Fox News to display such furious indignation over these events considering their past with regard to far worse behavior. The Washington Post, CBS News, and pretty much any other news organization can and should pursue this story aggressively, but Fox really needs to shut the fuck up.

Picture this: Fox News is going nuts about a couple of dozen reporters having their phone records examined by law enforcement officials seeking information about someone suspected of leaking national security secrets. Bear in mind that there was no wiretapping, listening in, or recording of any conversations, just a listing of the calling histories. And even that was not done until after having received permission from a judge. Over that Fox is shouting “SCANDAL” at the top of their lungs.

But there is nary a peep about other Rupert Murdoch-owned entities hacking into the phones, email, and computers of hundreds of private citizens, royals, celebrities, politicians, and even a kidnapped schoolgirl who later turned up dead. That unambiguously criminal activity resulted in dozens of arrests and the shuttering of the highest circulation newspaper in England. Fox not only soft-peddled this historically scandalous story, they openly suppressed it on their own air:

Fox News has been devoting unprecedented airtime to the DOJ story, while engaging in wild and baseless speculation to associate the White House with allegedly improper activities. But their feverish obsession with tarnishing the President and others makes a mockery of journalistic ethics. When Fox devotes equal time to the still ongoing scandal in their own house, then they might be taken seriously when they report on the bad behavior of others.

Obama’s IRS Probes Tax-Exempt Status Of Abortion Doctor’s Benghazi Tea Party

The media has been in a virtual orgasmic frenzy for the past 24 hours as reports come out about troubling behavior by government agencies. Make no mistake, what appears to have been done by individuals in the IRS and the Justice Department is of enormous concern to Americans who are justifiably suspicious of the potential for abuse of government power. There is good reason to be outraged by recent events and it is clear that there is such outrage from across the political spectrum.

An equal amount of outrage must also be directed at the idiotic people at the IRS who thought that what they were doing was helpful to progressive affairs. Not only does that sort of behavior contradict the most basic principles of liberalism, the high risk of discovery and subsequent scandal ought to have brought anyone whose common sense had lapsed straight back to reality. The damage done by this stupidity could not have been more successfully achieved if it were a deliberate plot by GOP plants in the agencies.

Jon Stewart

That is why the exasperation expressed by Jon Stewart last night (video below) was so appropriate. By committing some obviously nefarious acts of abuse, these miscreants have also made it harder to advance the rational and necessary legislative initiatives aimed at restoring jobs and economic growth, fixing the immigration system, implementing healthcare, battling terrorism, etc. It was bad enough when all we had to deal with was obsessively obstructionist Tea-publicans in congress, but now, as Stewart put it so well…

“This has, in one seismic moment, shifted the burden of proof from the tin-foil behatted to the government.”

Indeed. Now, along with wingnuts like Michelle Bachmann, Louis Gohmert, and Ted Cruz, we have every psychotic from Alex Jones to Glenn Beck to Ted Nugent insisting that they were right all along when they said that Obama was a reptilian space alien sent here to breed. Never mind that their delusions are just as schizoid today as they were yesterday, they are basking in the limelight created by a few low-level dumb-asses who have nothing to do with the bigger agenda our nation needs to pursue.

Not to be left out, Fox News is all over these wannabe scandals. They are interviewing Darrell Issa about the AP phone records without disclosing that Issa voted against the bill that would have made such seizures unlawful. They hosted Dick Cheney on Sean Hannity’s program to say that Benghazi is “one of the worst incidents, frankly, that I can recall in my career.” And remember, his career encompasses Nazi concentration camps and nuclear bombings in Japan, as well as those for which he bears some personal responsibility, like 9/11.

Some news outlets have made the effort to demonstrate that these sort of IRS transgressions were not invented last week. During the Bush administration there were abuses like these on multiple occasions. Alex Seitz-Wald at Salon has enumerated a few: The IRS threatened to revoke the tax-exempt status of the All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena following an anti-war sermon; The IRS audited the NAACP after its chairman criticized President Bush; The IRS audited and threatened to revoke Greenpeace’s tax-exempt status.

As for Fox News, they also did a report on the over-reaching of past presidents. And look at who they identified as violators:

Fox News - IRS Presidents

Fox managed to find two Democratic presidents (Kennedy and Clinton), who were never found to have done anything unlawful or even unethical via the IRS, and matched them up with one of histories most flagrant criminals (Nixon) whose abuse of IRS power is well documented and even recorded on tape. And somehow, George W. Bush, despite the cases noted above, was left out of Fox’s report entirely. Fair and What the Fuck?

Later in the day, Fox moved on to the story about Bloomberg News snooping on the users of their financial terminals. What could be more unsettling than the prospect of a powerful media institution secretly monitoring your private Internet and telecommunications activities?

Fox News - Bloomberg

Perhaps it might be a private media institution secretly hacking into the phones of thousands of individuals, including politicians, celebrities, and even a murdered schoolgirl. That, of course, is what Rupert Murdoch’s enterprise has admitted doing, but was never covered with the enthusiasm as Fox is now covering the story about their competitor, Bloomberg.


So for the foreseeable future, American news viewers are going to be bombarded with a flurry of sensationalistic stories bursting with speculation and hyperbole. We are already seeing reports that crunch together some of these affairs into conspiracies that assume a role by President Obama that no one has yet proven exists. Fox’s Neil Cavuto devoted a segment of his program to imply that the malfeasance in the IRS’s tax-exempt division will somehow spill over to the group that audits elements of ObamaCare, although they are not even remotely affiliated. The upshot of this conspiracy dementia is that if anyone in any agency does something untoward, then everyone in every agency is guilty.

What’s truly unfortunate is that the investigations into the failings that led to these abuses at the IRS and elsewhere, investigations that are warranted and could be beneficial, will undoubtedly distract both the media and the political class from working to resolve the many serious issues our nation is facing. So instead of creating jobs, protecting and educating children, addressing immigration, or pursuing terrorists, we will be inundated with ever more stories about Benghazi, the IRS, and Jodie Arias-style crime dramas.

If and when we get back to more substantive matters that affect the lives of real people, the scent of scandal will linger and further hamper progress. Consequently, without efficient and effective management of recent events, the nation may have to accept a period of stagnation, which is not what we need right now. And those jerkwads at the IRS are largely responsible for screwing over every citizen who had hoped that the country could move forward just a little bit. I hope they (figuratively) fry.

Right-Wing Rag Allegedly Paid Prostitues To Malign Democratic Senator

Tucker CarlsonFox News flunkie Tucker Carlson is in deep water over allegations that his web site, The Daily Caller, orchestrated a smear campaign against Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) that included paying prostitutes to make up stories about having had sex with the senator.

The story originally published by TheDC featured a pair of alleged prostitutes who claimed to have been hired by Menendez. The web site did not identify the women or most of the other sources they relied on. Subsequent to the posting of that article it was severely ripped apart by a Washington Post investigation that turned up a prostitute who confessed that her allegations were false and that she was paid to lie.

Now the already tattered reputation of The DC has been shredded further with a new report from WaPo that the attorney who represented the prostitutes in the scandal was himself paid to solicit women willing to make the false allegations, and that the source of the payments was [insert trumpet here] The Daily Caller:

“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.”

The lawyer making this assertion is Melanio Figueroa, who was the only named source in TheDC’s original story. Now TheDC is in the uncomfortable position of having to denounce their primary source as a liar without retracting the story that relied on his testimony. It isn’t easy for a “news” enterprise to say “The guy that we relied on for everything is a big liar, and we stand by everything he said.”

In response to WaPo’s latest revelations TheDC, not surprisingly, issued a blanket denial that they had paid anyone connected to the affair. However the article they posted containing the denial was blatantly spun to misrepresent the facts. TheDC’s Vince Coglianese wrote that…

“Figueroa blamed four news outlets — CNN, The Daily Caller, Telemundo and Univision — for allegedly encouraging him to fabricate false accusations about Menendez.”

That sentence is an artificial blending of responsibility for the dishonest reports in an obvious attempt to distribute the blame. However, a more detailed account of events appeared in the WaPo and pointed to just TheDC as the instigator.

“In comments reported by Univision, [District Attorney] Polanco said that Figueroa stated he was been contacted by four media outlets — Telemundo, Univision, CNN en Español, and the Daily Caller — that were interested in having interviews with the women. But Figueroa told police it was only ‘Carlos,’ who identified himself as working for the Daily Caller, who came to the Dominican Republic and paid him to arrange the recorded interviews, according to an interview with Polanco.”

In TheDC’s account all four media outlets were accused of encouraging false statements. But in the WaPo’s story it was only TheDC who did so, and the other three only sought to interview the women. The is evidence that The Daily Caller is scrambling desperately to extricate themselves from a web of deceit of their own making.

To be sure, the credibility of the persons connected to this affair is suspect all around. But that only affirms the careless and/or corrupt practices at TheDC. If their primary source, Figueroa, is telling the truth about receiving payments from TheDC, then they are guilty of bribing a source to lie. If he is lying about the payments, then they are guilty of publishing a story based on the testimony of a liar. It’s a lose-lose for Tucker Carlson whose own credibility is not much better than the cretins he hangs around with.

GOP: Greed Obsessed Profiteers – How the Right Fleeces Donors To Enrich Themselves

The election of 2012 broke all records for spending on campaigns and collateral causes of political movers and shakers. The orgy of spending was triggered by the Citizen’s United decision allowing donors to make unlimited contributions anonymously. A by product of this landscape littered with special interest cash was a new industry driven by hucksters intent on sucking up substantial portions of the money flying around in the political ether.

One of those hucksters was the toe-sucking grifter, Dick Morris. Rachel Maddow recently reported on his scam that involved soliciting donations for a Super PAC that he claimed to have founded, and funneling those funds to his accomplices at the right wing blog Newsmax. Then NewsMax used some of that money to pay Morris for access to his email donors list so that they could solicit more donations. In effect, Morris was raising money to pay himself to raise more money.

Another example of this racket involved the Astroturf-roots, Tea Party operation, FreedomWorks. In the wake of scandalous revelations that their former chairman Dick Armey had staged an armed coup to wrest control of the group from his partners, it has been learned that the organization was taking the funds received from unsuspecting donors who opposed big government waste and depositing them in the bank accounts of wealthy broadcasters like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. These payouts were ostensibly intended to buy positive promotions of FreedomWorks on their programs in order to produce more donations that could also be paid out to the promoters. It was a blatantly circular self-enrichment scheme that was also described by Armey as “ineffective” and “a mistake.”

These incidents illustrate a congenital characteristic of the conservative mindset. It is a philosophy that explicitly lauds a dog-eat-dog flavor of wealth creation and celebrates the success of ruthless entrepreneurship and Greed-Obsessed Profiteers (i.e. GOP).

At the center of this con game is Fox News and the associated right-wing media machine. The unprecedented sums of money raised and spent in the last election cycle exceeded $5 billion dollars. Of that it is estimated that $3.4 was spent on advertising. In the world of Republican politics there is only one elephant in the room when it comes to media, and that is Fox News, the number one rated cable news network (for now) and the PR division of the GOP.

Fox was the first stop on every Republican’s campaign trip. It was where groups like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity dumped the bulk of their television ad dollars. It was the TV base for Dick Morris, Karl Rove, Scott Rasmussen, and the Breitbart-affiliated activists who were pretending to be movie producers.

Fox News was running the same scam as those described above. They would provide a platform for conservative politicians and organizations to solicit donations. The organizations would then pay Fox to run their ads with the money they raised from their appearances on Fox. And round and round it goes.

Rupert MurdochThis is a tactic exploited so well by Rupert Murdoch himself in the last election cycle when he donated a million dollars to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who promptly returned it to Fox in the form of ad buys. In this way Murdoch actually made a 22% profit on his donation to the Chamber, and the Chamber got their ads broadcast at a 78% discount.

The maze of campaign finance laws makes it difficult to ascertain whether or not any laws were broken by these financial shenanigans. But the Federal Elections Commission is such an impotent agency that it would be surprising if they ever bothered to investigate or punish such lawbreakers.

However, what is even more surprising is that anybody would contribute to these organizations if they knew that their donations were not being used to advance the causes they support, but instead are lining the pockets of the executives and fundraisers. It is brazen betrayal of the folks who put their hard-earned dollars to work for their beliefs. But it is also precisely what conservatives are best known for: making themselves rich at the expense of the little people.

Hysterical Addendum] Dick Armey is now claiming that when he spoke with Media Matters and made his remarks about FreedomWorks, and their wasting money on Beck and Limbaugh, he actually thought he was talking to the uber-rightist Media Research Center. That explains his candor. He clearly believed that those comments would never be made public by MRC.