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.

Romancing Petraeus: Why Fox News CEO Roger Ailes Debases Both Journalism And Democracy

Roger AilesThe Washington Post’s Bob Woodward just published a story revealing that Fox News CEO Roger Ailes dispatched a Fox News defense analyst to deliver a personal request to Gen. David Petraeus. Ailes sent K.T. McFarland to Kabul, Afghanistan, with the message that Ailes wanted Petraeus to run against Barack Obama for president.

The notion of a news network soliciting candidates for political office is a repulsive perversion of the role journalists play in society. Ailes heads a network that pretends to be “fair and balanced” while brazenly campaigning on behalf of the Republican Party and conservative policies. But taking that a step further into the jurisdiction of GOP candidate recruitment is a violation of the core tenets of journalistic ethics.

In the audio that Woodward posted, McFarland can be heard discussing particulars of a Petraeus candidacy including the possibility of it being run by Ailes himself, and bankrolled by Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch has already contributed untold millions of dollars to GOP campaigns via free airtime and unconstrained support from Fox anchors, contributors, and guests. Their advocacy was so overwhelming this year that it resulted in a stunned electorate on the Republican side who believed, due to Fox coverage, that their victory was in the bag.

The conversation between Petraeus and McFarland was rife with ethical breaches on the part of McFarland. For instance, she began her message from Ailes saying “What I’m supposed to say directly from him to you, through me, is first of all, is there anything Fox is doing, right or wrong, that you want to tell us to do differently?” No self-respecting reporter would ever take orders from an interview subject on how to shape the coverage of their news. And it’s an even worse offense when it comes from the head of the operation.

What’s more, McFarland’s behavior should disqualify her from appearing on Fox as an analyst. How can she be trusted to be objective after gushing that she and “everyone at Fox love” the General? That bit of sycophancy notwithstanding, McFarland did return from Kabul and appeared on Fox with praise for Petraeus as “one of the greatest generals in American history.”

Petraeus responded to McFarland by expressing his distaste for certain criticisms of the Afghan war effort, which he said may have just been attributable to the headlines. So McFarland accommodated him by saying that it was “easy to fix” because she sits next to the woman who writes them. For McFarland to promise to insure more flattering headlines in articles about the general would be cause for termination from a reputable news organization.

Then McFarland hit Petraeus with Ailes’ advice that he reject any appointment offered by the President other than Chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff. She said that Ailes specifically singled out the CIA as a post Petraeus should not accept. Her characterization of the machinations of the White House involved some sort of plot to dump Petraeus at the CIA where he wouldn’t be heard from and would not pose a threat to Obama’s reelection. Again, where do McFarland and Ailes get off politicking like this?

Despite the advice of Ailes, Petraeus told McFarland that he regarded the CIA and intelligence as a growth industry where he felt he could make a significant contribution. Obama later did offer him the job, but he was not as silent in that role as he might have hoped. The disclosure of his marital infidelity ended his career at the CIA and much of the speculation about his future.

When Woodward contacted Ailes to get his response to the McFarland/Petraeus tapes, Ailes admitted that he sent McFarland on this mission, but attempted to play down the candidate recruitment aspect of it:

“It was more of a joke, a wiseass way I have. I thought the Republican [primary] field needed to be shaken up and Petraeus might be a good candidate.”

Anyone who believes that dodge is sorely in need of a transfusion of healthy skepticism. It is highly unlikely that Ailes sent McFarland to Kabul to tell Petraeus a joke. He clearly wanted the General to run for president, just like he also wanted Chris Christie to do so after Petraeus declined. It was Ailes’ objective, and that of Boss Murdoch, to bring about the defeat of Obama.

But it is also notable that Ailes felt it was his right and/or duty to shake up the GOP primaries. News people are supposed to report the news, not make it. Where does this sort of chicanery end? If Ailes thought the debate over the budget should be shaken up, might he send a hooker to the hotel room of the House Budget Committee chair? If he thought the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare needed a jolt of excitement would he plant some cocaine on a wavering justice? If he needed additional ammo with which to attack Obama, would he manufacture a phony controversy about the President being responsible for the murders of U.S. diplomats in Benghazi? Oh, wait a minute, Ailes actually did that last one already.

The revelations contained in Woodward’s story affirm that Ailes is a Machiavellian scoundrel and that Fox News is a rogue operation. Their intrusion into the political process debases journalism by breaching all standards of ethical conduct. And they debase democracy as well by exploiting their power and wealth to manipulate political outcomes. Roger Ailes has now provided verification for every criticism of his villainy that has been directed at him. And Fox News continues to lack any moral standing to be considered a legitimate news enterprise.

[Addendum 12/20/12] The media has largely ignored this story, an omission that has now been noticed and pointedly analyzed by Woodward’s former partner, Carl Bernstein, in an article for The Guardian.

Murdochalypse Comes To America: Is Fox News Next To Fall?

MurdochalypseThe scandal that is devouring Rupert Murdoch’s international media empire has thus far resulted in numerous arrests of public officials in Britain and top-level Murdoch executives. It led to the closure of Murdoch’s tabloid, News of the World. It tarnished the reputations of the Murdoch ruling family to the point that the once heir apparent, James Murdoch, was forced to resign from the chairmanship of both News International and the British Sky Broadcasting satellite network.

This cesspool of criminality and debased ethics has grown from what News Corp once tried to dismiss as a “single rogue reporter” to a corporate-wide syndicate of corruption. Nevertheless, News Corp has somehow managed to contain the damage to its European assets. That is quite a feat considering that any reputation for misbehavior on the scale seen here ought to rub off on the rest of the enterprise responsible for it. The main sticking point has been that the scandal had not crossed the Atlantic to America.

Well that shield may have just been pierced. Mark Lewis, a British attorney who has represented several figures in the News Corp hacking affair, including the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, is coming to America with a caseload that includes alleged victims of Murdoch’s Mafia who are citizens of the United States. The Daily Beast reports that…

…Lewis confirmed for the first time that he plans to file three separate lawsuits on behalf of clients who believe their phones were hacked while they were on U.S. soil. At least one of the cases, Lewis adds, involves allegations that the phone of a U.S. citizen was hacked.

If Lewis has American clients who were subjected to the same sort of illegal intrusions that were a core part of News Corp’s British operations, this is a whole new ballgame. Even though the national borders ought not to protect Murdoch from repercussions arising from his sleazy business practices, that protection will become moot if it is proven that the same activities were perpetrated on these shores.

It remains to be seen if Lewis has the goods on Murdoch, but it is hard to believe that disreputable press entities like Fox News and the New York Post would consider themselves above their British cousins, especially when many of the managers at the U.S. branches transferred to their stateside posts from the corrupt News International executive suites. And if Lewis doesn’t have the goods now, he may shortly acquire them as the investigation continues.

Even though this scandal has already ensnared News Corp executives and English police officials and politicians, it may just be beginning to heat up. Stay tuned.

Sarah Palin On Herman Cain

Sarah Palin[Editor’s Note: Please accept my apology for any mental image the headline of this article may have inadvertently caused]

Sarah Palin has taken great pains to cast herself as a new kind of feminist. Her crusade for a version of conservative feminism has spawned a movement of “mama grizzlies” who she regards as the defenders of traditional values. So it is interesting to look back a few months and recall how Palin stepped forward to fulfill her role as a women’s advocate.

When the Anthony Weiner story broke, Palin was quick to judge the congressman who had done nothing illegal and did not even have any physical extra-marital encounters. Nevertheless, Palin pounced on the scandal with a harsh condemnation complete with a sexually suggestive pun. Here is what Palin said about Weiner:

“From henceforth after his personal indiscretions were disclosed, he was going to be rendered impotent basically there in Congress and he wasn’t going to be effective…Obviously it was the right thing to do. Day late dollar short though, I think he should have resigned right when all of this came to light.”

However, Palin’s assessment of the Cain scandal, which does involve potentially criminal behavior and was described by the victim as physical, has not raised the same measure of indignation. Here is what Palin said about Cain:


That’s right. Palin has not bothered to comment on a case of alleged sexual harassment and, perhaps, assault. Even though she previously disparaged Cain as the “flavor of the week,” she cannot bring herself to make a statement on behalf of a victimized woman. Palin’s silence on this matter is deafening. If she expects people to give consideration to her views, she would be well-advised to express them.

Of course, it may not be her fault. Since bowing out of the GOP primary, Palin has all but disappeared from public view. The press is finally giving her the level of attention that she has always deserved – none. Since she is not an expert on any social or legal matter, and she holds no position of authority, her opinions are no more valid than any other media celebrity. So we should not expect to hear from her again unless she is appearing on a panel with Paris Hilton and Charlie Sheen.

Cocaine And Infidelity? The Silence Of Sarah Palin

Sarah PalinThe National Enquirer is teasing a story in their upcoming issue about excerpts it claims to have received from a new book about Sarah Palin: “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin,” by Joe McGinniss. The details are sordid and potentially shattering for the Alaskan Prima Dona.

According to the Enquirer, McGinniss has uncovered evidence that Palin had a one-night stand with NBA star Glen Rice, who was playing for Michigan University at the time. That’s no big deal. She was young and single and how often would she have the chance to nail a 6’8″ athletic hunk in Alaska?

The more troubling reports concern her alleged cocaine use and an affair with her husband’s business partner that eventually resulted in the dissolution of the business.

Joe McGinniss has a pretty good reputation for accuracy in his books and he spent considerable time in Alaska researching this one. He rented a house next door to the Palins, whose paranoia drove them to erect a wall to keep him from peering in (Palin even accused him of being a Peeping Tom).

But what is most curious in the wake of this leak by the Enquirer is that Palin has not responded at all. In the past she has aggressively defended herself when attacked by taking to Twitter or Facebook and denouncing the fiend who would tarnish her virtue. However, she has been conspicuously silent on these matters.

Silence, of course, is not an admission of guilt. But it is inconsistent with her pattern of behavior and there must be some reason for that. We will know before too long. The book is being released next week and there is no way that Palin, as she continues her charade that she is considering a run for the Republican nomination for president (she isn’t), can evade questions about these allegations.

Fed Up? Rick Perry Sucks Up To AT&T And Vice Versa

A couple of weeks ago Rick Perry was caught on tape with a representative of Bank of America who offered a comforting message to the Texas governor saying that “We’ll help you out.” He wasn’t kidding.

Rick Perry

ThinkProgress documented the extent to which BofA had already provided abundant comfort to Perry. He has received over $125,000 from BofA’s PAC. He has received $4 million from the Republican Governor’s Association, to which BofA was a major contributor while Perry was its chairman. In exchange, Perry has been a stalwart advocate of deregulation for banking and financial services. He regards the Consumer Financial Protection Agency as unconstitutional.

But Bank of America is not Perry’s only CFF (Corporate Friend Forever) He is also intimate with AT&T. He recently endorsed the mega-merger between AT&T and T-Mobile (which the Justice Department recently announced it would challenge). I’m sure that had nothing to do with the $500,000 Perry has received from AT&T over the past decade.

In addition, the Dallas Morning News reported last December that AT&T bought 700 copies of Perry’s book, “Fed Up!” to distribute to attendees of an ALEC-sponsored luncheon. (Read more about ALEC)

“…the book purchase was arranged between [AT&T] and the American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC], the conservative outfit that invited Perry to speak at its annual policy summit.

“A spokeswoman for the Exchange Council said the book order cost more than $13,000. AT&T said the sponsorship was meant to share Perry’s agenda with people who attended the summit, many of whom are state legislators from across the country.”

The relationship between Perry and AT&T, a Dallas-based corporation, raises many ethical and legal questions. Throw in a connection to ALEC and you have the makings of a world-class larcenous affair that suggests a slight modification to the AT&T slogan, “Rethink Ethical.”

This sort of pay-to-play politics is typical of the Perry regime in Texas. He has long run an operation out of the governor’s mansion that produced lucrative state contracts in exchange for political donations.

Rick Perry Pay-to-Play

Texas business as usual. And as I’ve said before “Perry is an evangelical huckster with no substantive record of achievement? He’s Elmer Gantry with a government job and gets his snake oil straight from the well.”