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-Joe Conason

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Top Party Crasher
-Radar Magazine

"a nut"
-Bill O'Reilly

"media prankster"

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Busy Busy Busy

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Party Crashing Post Postponed
I knew I wrote that there would be a post on crashing but it's been a lot of work and I won't get it done this weekend. I have an Oscars party to go to (one I was invited to) so it will have to wait until next week.

Quick notes on Fox News:
1) Recently I wrote about about why the national Democrats are chumps and gave two case studies. A third recent example is the Nevada Democratic Party's decision to team up with Fox News to host a presidential primary debate.

2) Fox News might be an abysmal failure if judged by the standards of journalistic integrity and ethics, but as far as the fair and balanced channel being a political operation, Roger Ailes knows the score.
Reel Politics: If Hollywood Ran America is a hit piece on Hollywood because of its overwhelming support for Democrats. I bet that Fox News won't have a program on what if it would be like if the GOP's largest funder, Sun Myung Moon, were in charge.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Welcome to Readers of Radar Online
I hope you enjoyed the article on crashing the Oscars. Check back this weekend and I'll have a long post on party crashing. In the meantime, check out these posts on my Oscars crashing, partying with Jack, meta-crashing, crashing Hannity & Colmes (and being kicked off an aircraft carrier on Hannity's orders), and the ethics of crashing.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Undercover in Squaresville
Sorry about the dearth of posting this week: I had to get an office job. This meant I had to get a haircut, shave off my soul patch, trim my sideburns, and wear a suit and tie.  It's like preparing for a major crash--such as the Hannity & Colmes show last October (see addendum)--except that it's no fun.  Christ, I looked in the mirror and thought, "I look like a Republican."  This reminds me of a Pat Boone song [Warning: this is a godawful song but it has a catchy tune which means that it might be playing in your head for the next few days]

Addendum: First, let me congratulate Ed Schultz for breaking the top five of Talkers magazine's annual "Heavy Hundred" rankings. I mentioned crashing the Hannity & Colmes show last November crashing the Hannity & Colmes show last October and trying to ask Slanthead about why he wussed out of debating Ed Schultz in Cincinnati. Here's some empirical evidence that Hannity is a wuss when it comes to debating people who aren't hand-picked to be his paid punching bags.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's Mardi Gras!!!
I'm gonna party!

Here's a Mardi Gras Chick tact: "Party Girl."

Monday, February 19, 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Robert Parry on the Bush/Moon "Ongoing Crime Enterprise"
Every American should read this

UPDATE: Terry Krepel has more

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Moonie Media Engages in Another Fabrication

david horowitz
A little over a year ago, I wrote a post reporting that David Horowitz was essentially calling for violence against members of Congress by placing photographs of Ted Kennedy and John Kerry over a quote supposedly made by Abraham Lincoln that stated, "Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged."  I noted the irony that this call for the execution of two men who served honorably in the military was being made by a man who violated the Espionage Act by publishing classified state secrets (quick note: if you want to really cheese off Horowitz, bring this episode up--Horowitz became hilariously unhinged when I did, click here and here).

I was reading Roger Ailes' blog the other day and discovered that the Lincoln quote--which the right, not surprisingly, has used to attempt to stifle debate on the war--was fabricated by the Moonie-owned rag responsible for the phony Obama/Madrassa story.

This isn't the first time Horowitz has been hoodwinked by right-wing disinformation.  On his blog, Horowitz helped to spread an urban legend attempting to implicate the Clinton administration in the Enron scandal.

The more I read about Sun Myung Moon's media empire and its war against journalism, the more I realize the shortsightedness of national Democrats for not dealing with it (also click here).

UPDATE: Fox News Democrat Tammy Bruce, who also writes for Horowitz's FrontPageMag, made this observations on her blog:
Combine Newt [Gingrich] with John Bolton and I will be excited about the future for our great nation. That pairing would be the thing that would compel me to have an (R) or least an (I) after my name.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Why is AP Covering for Moon?

leopard shard moon I would have at least understood had it been UPI but why is the AP wire service covering for Sun Myung Moon concerning his knowledge of and part in the leopard shark poaching conspiracy ?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Is it the 2000 South Carolina Primary All Over Again for John McCain?

As I noted in the previous post, it's great to see the right eat its own. Today, there's at least a hint that the wingnutosphere might use the same tactics used by anti-McCain Republicans in the crucial South Carolina presidential primary.  If you'll remember, pro-Bush Republicans suggested that McCain's wife was a drug addict and that McCain fathered an illegitimate black daughter.  One of the tactics, straight out of Karl Rove's playbook was to try to make one of McCain's biggest strengths into a weakeness.  They did this by the whisper campaign that the time McCain spent in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp caused McCain to become mentally unhinged.  Pro-Bush people in the media further helped to spread the McCain-is-insane meme.  I noted on this blog that during the 2000 South Carolina primary, Rush Limbaugh had a Caine Mutiny parody on his radio show that had a McCain sound-alike engage in paranoid rant similar to the kind given by the Captain Queeg character.

Is the McCain-as-Queeg meme being put back into action now? I'll report and you decide: today Joseph Farah --who helped Limbaugh with his book See I Told You So--wrote this in his WorldNetDaily column:
You could say I'm prejudiced against John McCain. The idea of McCain's finger on the nuclear trigger brings shudders to my very soul. The man is emotionally and psychologically unstable, in my opinion. Imagining McCain as president brings to mind equally scary and morally repulsive figures – Hillary Clinton, Captain Queeg or Charles Logan, the fictional president in season five of "24."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Is Sean Hannity a Plagiarist?
Yes. Don't you love it when they eat their own?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Because Heliocentrism is for Heathens!

I just received this in the mail: A Geocentricity Primer by Gerardus Bouw. Is this book on Liberty University's reading list?

The Cost of Not Doing the Simple Things
Moonie Times
In the past few weeks, I wrote about the appalling ineptitude on the part of Democrats regarding their political enemies (click here and here). The bogus Nancy Pelosi Jet story recently put forth by the Moonie Times is the latest example.

The upshot: because the Democrats didn't drain the swamp ten years ago (or 20 years ago for that matter), they're swatting a lot of flies now. The national Democrats will never learn because they are clueless and don't know the score.

Media Matters is Right about the Catholic League's William Donahue's Hypocrisy
Read the entire post here. I wrote about Donahue during the 2004 campaign.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Foreign Policy of the "Rapture-Ready" Fundies is Scary

Bill Barnwell has a thoughtful article about Dispensationalists who are trying to determine our foreign policy.  The article mentions John Hagee, a fire-and-brimstone  preacher from San Antonio. I have previously written John Hagee (click here and here who has pull with the White House and the fair-and-balanced news channel


In other news about the sectarian right, Jerry Falwell uses his NewsMax column to promote his indoctrination camp for children--Falwell once quipped that "Christians [referring to his flock], like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention this in the original post. Last Sunday, when I got up to watch the Sunday Morning political shows, I tuned into Hagee's television program in which he preaches to his San Antonio congregation and witnessed something odd: he told a joke that was at Henry Kissinger's expense. The joke is an old one (I heard of variation of it when I was a kid) and went like this: There was a plane with the pilot and Henry Kissinger, a hippie, and a Catholic priest. The pilot told the passenger that there was engine failure and that the plane would crash but there were only three parachutes. The pilot took the first parachute and jumped out of the plane. Henry Kissinger told the two remaining passengers that he was the most brilliant person alive and that the world needed him so it was necessary for him to live and grabbed the second parachute and jumped out of the plane. The priest and the hippie were apparently left with one parachute between them when the hippie told the priest to relax becasue, "The most brilliant person alive just jumped out of a plane with my knapsack."

john hagee What is odd about the use as Kissinger as the punchline is that Hagee has been courting American supporters of Israel (also click here). If anyone has a clue about this, e-mail me.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hilarious Washington Post Article about Lanny Davis

Life of a Salesman; Lanny Davis Has Pushed Everything From Amway to Himself. Now He's Pitching the Clintons.; FINAL Edition
Lloyd Grove. The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Dec 21, 1996. pg. B.01
Lanny Davis is full of surprises.

The new White House special counsel -- who assumed his duties last week as the chief defender on Whitewater, fishy fund-raising and other nettlesome issues -- is best known as a Montgomery County political activist who twice ran for Congress and as a $400,000-a-year partner in Patton Boggs, the powerhouse lobbying law firm.

But those prosaic labels, which declare "Washington professional," don't do justice to Davis's history as a composer and performer of musical theater, a pal of Gordon Liddy's, an owner of three now-defunct weekly newspapers -- and a salesman of Amway products.

After he narrowly lost a 1976 House race, Davis, 51, began evangelizing for the motivational door-to-door distribution company, which markets everything from toothpaste to telephone service. A prominent Maryland lawyer-lobbyist, who refused to speak for attribution, recalled that Davis once invited him to lunch to discuss a "business opportunity."

"We didn't order yet when he started talking, and it was like a switch went on," the lobbyist recounted. "He asked, `Are you interested in making more money?' Well, what lawyer isn't? `Do you want to be in control of your destiny?' And I go, `Wait a minute, Lanny -- is this an Amway pitch?'

"And he says, `Can I finish? I've got these wonderful products to show you.' So he opens this box from the front to reveal a beautiful array of multicolored bottles and packages of toothpaste, dishwashing soap and other stuff. And I said, `No, Lanny. Please. No demonstrations. Thank you and good luck.' I had to virtually push myself away from him, but I got up and left."

On the phone this week from the Old Executive Office Building -- where he's the lead salesman hawking the proposition that President and Hillary Rodham Clinton have done nothing wrong -- Davis said the encounter "never took place, and undoubtedly that's why the individual doesn't want to speak on the record."

But he acknowledged that during a six-month period years ago, before his association with the Amway Corp. started to make him uncomfortable, he may have tried to recruit the occasional lunch partner, and that he and his first wife, Elaine, invited unsuspecting friends and political associates to their home for high-pressure Amway pitch sessions.

In his current role as a White House staffer, Davis, as usual, is confounding conventional wisdom. To some of his new colleagues, the fact that the irrepressible, unpredictable Davis would suddenly have one of the Clinton White House's most sensitive responsibilities is startling.

As startling as the idea of a blue-chip Washington lawyer selling Amway products.

"I took this job because I believe in the Clintons, and I believe in my ability to help articulate all these issues as both a lawyer and somebody experienced in politics and the media," Davis said this week in his Spartan office, whose mustard walls were still naked (save a few protruding nails) since the departure weeks ago of the previous special counsel, Mark Fabiani.

Prominently displayed on Davis's pockmarked desk was a note from an old friend from Yale days. "I'm praying for you," wrote Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), an Orthodox Jew.

"I genuinely believe that the facts are on our side in all these issues," Davis continued, "and that my experience will allow me to close the gap between perception and reality."

It was one of the very few of his remarks about himself that Davis permitted to be quoted. He was under White House orders to keep his on-the-record comments to a minimum, lest he be charged with self-promotion. It's a sin he's been accused of many times in the past.

"As a spokesperson, Lanny has done a good job on himself," said Mark Plotkin, a Davis admirer and political analyst for WAMU-FM, to which Davis contributed on-air commentaries until going to the White House. Plotkin added that among Davis's detractors, "the drift is that Lanny will do anything, even sacrifice his professional reputation and integrity, because Lanny is so desperate for the public attention." Plotkin said he disagrees with these assessments.

"I've met few people who are as interested in politics as he is -- I think he's consumed by it," said Maryland Court of Special Appeals Judge Andrew Sonner, a longtime denizen of Montgomery County politics. "He antagonizes some people, and you have to believe that it really bothers him. He wants to be liked."

After less than two weeks on the job -- which required him to resign from Patton Boggs and take a 75 percent pay cut -- Davis has begun to step into the limelight. This week, he was front and center speaking for the White House about Charles Yah Lin Trie, the Arkansas-based businessman who allegedly steered phony contributions to the president's legal defense fund. On Wednesday Davis, for the first time, appeared on television live from the White House -- "I just lost my virginity," he joked privately -- trying to put a positive spin on the Trie affair: It demonstrates the president's commitment to full disclosure, he argued in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

Still, a well-placed administration official has nicknamed him "Loose Cannon Lanny."

"Lanny has the reputation for being a publicity hound, and this ain't the job for that," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "He has the reputation as a fellow who shoots from the lip, and it's also not the job for that. . . . When you consider what's at stake, and the scrutiny the White House is under, the care with which you have to deal with these issues is really very great." The official adds with a mirthless laugh, "I guess he'll last."

But a recent New York Times account of Davis's disastrous five-year venture into the newspaper business raised eyebrows and hackles in the West Wing. Davis jointly owned the Record Co. of Silver Spring until its failure in 1993, resulting in a lawsuit (since settled) and the loss of millions of dollars for Davis and his partners. Some at the White House were especially surprised that the Times quoted Davis comparing the Clintons' business dealings unfavorably with his own.

"My business partners were never accused or convicted of any crimes," Davis reminded readers of the Times. "No taxpayer money was ever lost by the loans." This from the man who is supposed to be convincing reporters of the relative unimportance of the Whitewater scandal.

"Lanny is an ambitious fellow, and he has been trying to get into the administration ever since it moved here from Little Rock," said a Clinton staffer. "Until now he's been unsuccessful."

Davis and the Clintons go back 25 years. At Yale Law School, Davis was friendly with Hillary Rodham, who was two years behind him, and he met Bill Clinton in the Connecticut campaigns of U.S. Senate candidate Joseph Duffy (unsuccessful) and state Senate candidate Lieberman (successful).

Both Clinton and Davis were losing congressional candidates in 1974, a shared experience on which they later compared notes. In December 1980, after Clinton was turned out of office as governor of Arkansas, he sought national committeeman Davis's support for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee -- a post he ultimately decided not to run for.

Last January, he became enraged at pundit William Safire for branding the first lady "a congenital liar." Davis concluded that somebody -- that is, himself -- should start making television appearances on behalf of the Clintons. He got in touch with Fabiani, who gladly provided him with a boxful of briefing materials. Soon Lynn Cutler, a Democratic political consultant, was booking him on TV shows as the White House's designated defender.

This year he's made dozens of appearances on radio and television, including six on CNN's "Crossfire," debating the likes of John Sununu and Robert Novak. Davis has told friends that the president sometimes stays up screening videotapes of his appearances. It was his defense of the Clintons last January on Geraldo Rivera's CNBC show that captured the president's imagination, Davis has said, adding that both Clintons have phoned him to thank him and cheer him on.

By most accounts, it was the president himself who insisted that Davis be named special counsel after Fabiani left last month. To some few White House staffers, it looked like an impulse buy. They have only begun to weigh the political and personal baggage that Davis acquired after a quarter-century among the Montgomery County Democrats, whose vicious battles and eternal resentments remind some of Bosnia.

The new special counsel represents a stylistic change as well. Where Fabiani was low-key, Davis is high-wattage. Where Fabiani was implacable, Davis is emotional. What's more, Davis has arrived at a time when the White House scandal management team, assembled by departing Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes, has ceased to exist. Aside from Ickes and Fabiani, lawyer Jane Sherburne -- the resident expert on Whitewater and other problems -- and White House counsel Jack Quinn are also leaving.

"The institutional memory in this place is really going to be shockingly depleted," predicted a White House staffer. Davis's institutional memory is based on 11 months of television and radio debates.

But writer John Rothchild, Davis's former Yale classmate and colleague on the Yale Daily News -- where Davis beat Rothchild in the election for newspaper chairman -- said his old friend's maneuvering skills should not be underestimated.

"I'm quite sure," Rothchild quipped, "that Lanny has figured out where he stands in the line of presidential succession."

Davis grew up in Jersey City, N.J., the bright, striving son of ardent Democrats, a middle-class dentist and his wife. He attended an academically rigorous private school and went on to Yale College, where he immersed himself in campus journalism and graduated cum laude in 1967. He finished Yale Law School three years later and moved with his new wife to Maryland, throwing himself into the local political scene and earning his share of friends and enemies.

When he ran for Congress for the first time in 1974, he was derided by fellow Democrats as a carpetbagger who hadn't paid his dues. He lost the primary, but almost immediately launched his campaign for 1976.

"Back in the '70s, Lanny was a young, exceptionally bright, exceptionally attractive man who got to the top of the Montgomery County political mountain in a hurry," said former congressman Mike Barnes (D-Md.), who has known Davis since they worked together in the 1972 presidential campaign of Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie. "I think there are still a lot of jealousies out there as a result."

He won the 1976 Democratic primary and was neck and neck with Republican Newton Steers until a controversy erupted over the portrayal of Davis's academic record in a campaign brochure. Davis claimed he had graduated from Yale Law School cum laude -- a designation the school didn't award in 1970, the year he finished.

"The law school said I had the grades but they just stopped designating cum laude that year and the year after," Davis explained to the Washington Star. "Who knew?"

"It was devastating," Barnes recalled. "The world doesn't need another story about Lanny's resume. Whatever the explanation for it, it was a very long time ago. We're talking about a different man today."

Davis, who was a lawyer at Arnold and Porter before moving to Patton Boggs in 1978, lived to fight another day.

"Lanny's not Teflon," said his longtime adversary Marge Stanley, a party activist whom Davis beat in 1980 for a seat on the Democratic National Committee. "I think maybe he's asbestos."

He told friends he became involved in Amway as a way of supporting his then-wife, Elaine, in her wish for challenging, interesting work. They hosted several meetings at their house. Following the Amway method, they didn't tell their guests the real purpose of the sessions until after they'd arrived.

Davis has said that he finally told his wife he could no longer deceive his friends and associates to lure them to Amway sessions. The marriage fell apart in 1982. Shortly thereafter he met and fell in love with Carolyn Atwell, a dancer in her early twenties whom he married two years later.

Davis won custody of his two children, Margo, now 28, and Seth, 26, raising them -- he has told friends -- as a real-life "Mr. Mom." His children, with whom he is close, like to tell stories of exploding turkeys and other culinary adventures as Davis learned his way around the kitchen.

At Patton Boggs, Davis has worked as a corporate litigator for such clients as Mars Inc., the Virginia-based candy behemoth, while his lobbying clients have included the government of Pakistan (he was hired to help resolve a dispute with the Pentagon over a $600 million sale of F-16 fighter jets); Ogden Projects Inc., an incinerator construction company; and Infinity Broadcasting.

Watergate felon Gordon Liddy, whose radio talk show is distributed by Infinity, recommended Davis to his bosses, who were embroiled in a fight with the Federal Communications Commission over another Infinity personality, Howard Stern.

"I think he was the right lawyer for the right problem at the right time," Liddy said, adding that Davis was his frequent on-air sparring partner in his role as Clinton champion. "He also happens to be a personal friend. My wife and I have been guests in his home."

While a few in the White House may not be convinced, Liddy said the Clintons are lucky to have Davis carrying their water.

"I think he's very well suited to the White House role. He was vigorously and articulately defending the Clintons on my program," Liddy said. "Lanny has the ability to defend the indefensible."

Is Opposition to Sun Myung Moon Religious Bigotry?

An e-mailer accused me of religious bigotry for my recent harsh posts about Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church.  This isn't the first time I've been accused of religious bigotry. 
When I confronted Sean Hannity about Jerry Falwell's venality and smear tactics as well as Pat Robertson's nuttiness, Slanthead accused me of "hatred toward Christian conservatives." 

Here is my position on Moon and the Unification Church:

The upshot is that predatory political operatives in religious clothing can't have it both ways.  They can't go into the political arena and play smashmouth politics and then not expect people to hit back.  If being a member of the clergy gives automatic protection from criticism, then anyone who starts his own religion would be granted immunity from scrutiny. If I were to establish the Church of Partyology, should I be deserving of  immunity from criticism?

UPDATE: Here is a post that has links to other posts on Sun Myung Moon and the Unification movement.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Posting later today

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Basis for the RTNDF to Rescind Roger Ailes' First Amendment Award: The RTNDF's Own Code of Ethics

Next month, The Radio and Television News Directors Foundation (RTNDF) plans to give Fox News CEO and Chairman Roger Ailes a First Amendment Leadership Award for his supposed "work on behalf of press freedom." I called Barbara Cochran, the president of the RTNDF, to determine what specific criteria was use to decide to give the award to Ailes. She did not return my call (Anyone out there who wants to follow up on this can call her at (202)467-5205 and e-mail me her response).

However, when I look at the The Radio-Television News Directors Association own code of ethics and professional conduct, it is difficult to find a broadcast media outlet that violates the spirit of the code more than Ailes' Fox News. I don't have the time to go through all the violations of journalistic ethics by Fox News employees (but if you are interested, Media Matters for America is a good place to start).

I can think of no person who violates the spirit of the code more than Ailes. Let's look at one particularly egregious example of journalistic misconduct by Ailes: A peer-reviewed study by the University of Maryland's prestigious Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) found that Fox News viewers were less informed about the Iraq War than those who received their news from other sources. The study amazingly found that on the question of whether weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, the study found that those who watched Fox News very closely had a higher rate of misconception than more casual Fox News viewers! The upshot is that as people watch more Fox News programming, they become more ignorant--hardly the goal of any journalistic outlet.

Rather than engaging in soul-searching regarding the sobering findings of the study, Ailes went on the attack (not surprising considering that fellow GOP operative Lee Atwater once approvingly said that Ailes had "two speeds: attack and destroy"). In a Wall Street Journal column, Ailes referred to the study as "an old push poll." This was a lie and Ailes knew it when he wrote it. Ailes knows that the PIPA survey was not a push poll. Having been a colleague of Republican operative Lee Atwater (who is largely credited with developing the push poll as a political dirty trick), Ailes could not have used the term out of naivete. The PIPA study was conducted by highly-regarded researchers whose research does not even faintly resemble a push poll; had the researchers engaged in push-polling, it would have been a serious breach of professional ethics. Accordingly, Ailes' accusation knowingly false, defamatory, and a serious breach of the RTNDA's code of ethics and professional conduct.

The RTNDF is scheduled to give the award to Ailes on March 8 in Washington. What are the national Democrats going to do about it? My guess: jack shit. Why is this my guess? Because the national Democrats are clueless and don't know the score.