James O’Keefe is Just a Clown Now


Illustration by Mike McQuade; Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty (man)

New Orleans    I’m tired of hearing anything about James O’Keefe, the discredited video scammer, whose one infamous claim to notoriety was his heavily edited attack on ACORN in 2009 in concert with conservative pundits and Congressional representatives. Luckily, I’m now in the vast majority as one escapade after another further exposes him as nothing more than an unethical, unscrupulous jerk. Even better than being little more than a boring footnote of these dark times, we can all find some joy in the fact that increasingly he is nothing more than an embarrassment to the conservative cause and a source of ridicule as the poster boy for sheer incompetence.

None of us can forget the Keystone Kops affair at former US Senator Mary Landrieu’s field office in New Orleans, where he and his co-conspirators were caught monkeying with the phones in a ridiculous effort to try and prove her office was not answer the phone about the Affordable Care Act. Huh?!? Well, they got off without having to do time on a felony beef for breaking-and-entering, and eventually pled out and outlasted his probation, but wow….what a bunch of boneheads.

He and his flub-a-dub crew have had one blunder after another to their credit from ACORN on. They stumbled around Texas looking for some evidence of mischief in Obamacare signups and were chased out of the Local 100 office in Dallas when busted. They bought a Hillary t-shirt with cash and claimed it was dirty money. Small potatoes. Thin soup. No one’s eating any more.

The latest from the O’Keefe gang that can’t shoot straight was some kind of attempted sting they were planning on George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. Supposedly they were trying to make a point about how groups are networked or something, but god only knows.

Anyway, according to reports in The New Yorker and on the Media Matters website, they were trying to set up their operation claiming some Hungarian émigré wanted to work with them, as if that’s the way OSI operates. They had someone with a British accent who was going to pretend to be Hungarian. The whole scene already sounds unbelievably bizarre.

As they reported:

Conservative media darling James O’Keefe accidentally detailed his plans to infiltrate and smear progressive organizations on the voicemail of Dana Geraghty, an employee of liberal philanthropist George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, continuing a string of embarrassing missteps in his attempts at undercover stings. After leaving Geraghty a voicemail claiming to be “Victor Kesh,” a “Hungarian-American who represents a, uh, foundation,” O’Keefe held “a meeting about how to perpetrate an elaborate sting on Soros,” unaware that his phone was still connected to Geraghty’s voicemail. During the call, O’Keefe outlined plans to send an “undercover” operative posing as a potential donor to the foundation in a project he named “Discover the Networks.” O’Keefe’s plot involved using an English orthopedic surgeon with “a real heavy British accent” to secretly film Soros-linked progressive organizations. He later admitted that “some of us just forget to hang up the phone. The New Yorker continued:


The accidental recording reached farcical proportions when Kesh announced that he was opening Geraghty’s LinkedIn page on his computer. He planned to check her résumé and leverage the information to penetrate the Soros “octopus.” Kesh said, “She’s probably going to call me back, and if she doesn’t I can create other points of entry.” Suddenly, Kesh realized that by opening Geraghty’s LinkedIn page he had accidentally revealed his own LinkedIn identity to her. (LinkedIn can let users see who has looked at their pages.) “Whoa!” an accomplice warned. “Log out!” The men anxiously reassured one another that no one checks their LinkedIn account anyway. “It was a little chilling to hear this group of men talking about me as a ‘point of entry,’ ” Geraghty says. “But—not to sound ageist—it was clear that these people were not used to the technology.”

I mean, really, need I say more?


Glenn Beck Going Down

GwdLiarsBeckNew Orleans We have finally reached bottom. I heard the splash, so we can measure exactly how far it is from normal to wacko crazy at Fox News finally when Glenn Beck and his maddening fantasy and conspiracy tour turned out to be even too much for Fox to handle. Turns out according to the behind-the-back whispers that neither Fox News nor Beck was ever happy, and they shed big fat alligator tears all the way to bank as they both made their deposits off the hate and hurt they inflicted on the American people and their viewers.

Heck, I know I’m broken up about it all, too. I hope they sell “no sympathy” cards at the drugstore now.

Big props to Media Matters, the Color of Change, and scores of other groups though on this one! Finally, our team gets to count coup, because despite all of this touchy-feely baloney from both Beck and Fox, the real story is that when 400 advertisers tell Fox, here’s my check but don’t spend it with that dangerous clown, they even understand that in Australian dialect that Rupert Murdoch can follow no matter what spin they put on it.

Unfortunately, Glenn Beck as the Charlie Sheen of the “news” room, isn’t out of business by any stretch of the imagination, and instead will just be moving his wild parade and carnival show down the road to another channel. Beck is still a big timer, just not a Fox friend. With 1.5 million viewers he had a base, his radio show is still a hit, and his weirdo books sell like hotcakes. The hate train is still rolling across the country and the whistle is blowing loudly at every stop.

My bet is that Beck, if anything will only get worse, now that he’s driven (or jumped?) even more underground where there is no governor on his conspiracy accelerator or muzzle on his mouth. The blackboards were killing him on TV. School is boring! Whoever convinced Beck that play school would be more attractive than the horror we all remember.

Let’s celebrate this victory and remember, as the coaches always say, we still have to keep winning the games scheduled today and tomorrow. Glenn Beck is a player. We have be ready to go with our “A” game every day with this dangerous dude!


More Wildness: Media Matters and the Daily Show

media-matters_small-logoNew Orleans Being on the road is a little like having a “delay switch” on information and the mess and mayhem of life and business. I used to joke years ago about one way to hide information from me was to send it through an attachment! And, so it is with my buddy, Glenn Beck, and his efforts to organize my fan club.

Thanks to Media Matters, which is really an excellent organization doing the hard and thankless job of trying to dial down some of the wildness out there and throw some facts at the fire, I was able to actually read what Beck was slinging out there. Below I’ll share for your own head nodding and reading pleasure:

Beck Strains To Tie ACORN To Egyptian Unrest. During the February 1 edition of his show, Beck stated:

BECK: It’s interesting to note a few other leftists who seem somewhat involved in what is happening in Egypt. Believe it or not, Wade Rathke – Wade Rathke, the ACORN guy, and Drummond Pike of the Tides Foundation are both on the board of the Organizers Forum.

This is a forum that was planned to host their fall 2011 international dialogue in Egypt, where they will meet with labor and community organizers and other activists in Cairo.

I’m sure that they’re just there for social justice. That’s it. What a coincidence. Wade Rathke even put on his Web site — or this is actually not Wade’s Web site. This is the coalition’s — the forum’s Web site.

It says: “Exciting changes and developments are currently taking place in Egypt with elections coming soon to determine leadership transitions in what has been an autocratic regime now challenged by the Muslim Brotherhood and succession and democracy issues.”

Coincidence just doesn’t seem to stop. Why would Rathke and Pike plan a big get together in Egypt? Maybe the flights to Cairo are cheaper than the flights to Vegas. I don’t know.

Maybe they’ve always wanted to see the pyramids. Or maybe they’re sowing the seeds of unrest, because global revolution is what they’re looking for. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/1/11]

What can I say, but wow! And, my heart goes out to the Media Matters staff who actually watch all of this garbage and then mildly comment that it is a “strain.”

Jon Stewart and The Daily Show seem to have been on the job here just like Media Matters. At the end of his show the other day, he seems to have repeated the piece for the obvious humor involved in the “moment of zen” feature, where Wade Rathke , “the ACORN guy” gets to be a revolutionary moving the Islamic beat from the streets and across the globe.

Check this out:


It’s an honor to be mentioned on The Daily Show, but what a way to get a laugh!


Party, Party, Party: Libs, Labor, and No Label

New Orleans During the World Series we Kevin Skeekeyfinally learned something interesting about Barbara Bush that wasn’t horrific.  It turns out she knows how to keep the box score on a game.  While the Georges were rubbernecking and Laura was talking over her shoulder, the Iron Fist of Texas was dutifully minding the box score.  If you don’t know, then learn, because we are all being asked to keep a score card for the efforts offering to save us from something now in these moments of our anger and alienation.

For the most part the dominant prescription for the dealing with the grassroots movement of the Tea-People and others is not a grassroots movement but it seems money and moderation.  It turns out that when the right is storming the halls of Congress and the White House, it’s an organic apple a day, if you please.   The basic teams in the field still seem to be the Tea-people versus the Me-People, but let’s mark the scorecard.

Yesterday’s news of more players joining as free agents included the Liberals spearheaded by Rob MacKay, who was labeled as a Taco Bell guy, but is better known to many of us over the years as a supporter of serious reform in California on many fronts and more recently as a big whoop with the Democracy Alliance, a Democratic political club of a 100+ rich contributors, and David Brock of Media Matters and its allied organizations.  Brock’s main quotes seem to focus on the fact that he was really good a raising money and that he was confident that he could raise money for whatever the Liberals wanted to do.  Program will follow.

There was also news that Steve Rosenthal, another long time comrade and friend, was convening people in DC to look at moving something forward to save the day.  Given Steve’s long history with CWA, DOL, and then as political director for the AFL-CIO, and then as labor’s point man in a number of efforts around battlegrounds and voter mobilization, it’s fair to believe that Steve would be the point man for Labor.

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Palin, Assange, Project Vote, Toronto, and Foreclosures

0914-beck-palin-911_full_600New Orleans I’m on the predawn patrol to Phoenix to check again on foreclosure ground zero and how it can be possible with tens of thousands of people losing their homes that this is not a central issue in the Governor’s election?   When even the New York Times realizes from their lofty perch that the mortgage paperwork isn’t worth fish wrapper and there needs to be a moratorium, I understand why Wall Street can’t hear that, but how is it possible that the White House continues to miss the call?

Speaking of calls, flipping the channels before passing out last night, I saw the Media Matters guy talking head with an interviewer.  He first caught my ears with a phrase about the “innocent staffers at the Tides Foundation” being “targeted for assassination,” and knowing so many of them, I could easily visualize them reaching for their cell phones to call Mom back home and explain why this was really a good job! He was threatening to call Sarah Palin, if she didn’t respond to their request for her to denounce Glenn Beck and all of the right wing hate speech.  Yeah, right!  Grizzly mom sets the scene for slaughter in speech after speech.  This call won’t be answered, unfortunately.

Julian Assange of Wikileaks likes to speak for his program but he’s not getting much Media 101 advice from his volunteer team, and this may be why his German spokesperson got in a huff and resigned.  He seems to have somehow believed that he could walk off the set on news interviews when he doesn’t like the questions and did so on the other day on CNN.  Even with Mr. Softball Larry King and Daniel Ellsberg they had a minute where they thought he had buzzed off.  He seems to be offended that folks are going to ask him about the rape and molestation accusations in Sweden.  Well, hello, Julian?  Until it’s resolved, of course they’re going to ask, and you just answer, and then move on, don’t be an ass about it and think somehow that this is something diva antics can handle.  Come on, this is bush league.  Man up!

On the rabid right because an election is nigh upon us, there’s a spate of ACORN’s BACK articles on the whack-and-blog front proving once again that the right is now so atavistic that it has become necromantic.   Please friends and neighbors, keep away from cemeteries until after November 2nd.  ACORN is dead as a doornail and no amount of blowhard air is going to resuscitate it.  I got a couple of emails yesterday and forwarded links where someone was trying to conflate poor Project Vote’s meager efforts this round and argue Project Vote and ACORN were one and the same so let’s go to town.  I wouldn’t want to confuse anyone with the facts, but Project Vote is simply not the same as ACORN.  The facts are simple.  If ACORN were still alive and well, there would be a different calculus right now on the eve of the mid-term elections.  The outcome might not be that much different, but the contest would be closer and fairer if lower income and working people were registered and going out to vote in the numbers we have seen in the past.

Which also makes me think about Toronto, one of the shining progressive city lights of North America and has me head scratching to figure out the Mayor’s election this week?  How is it possible that a hard right conservative could win by over a 100,000 votes?   There’s no job in Mudville today.

So off to Phoenix!


Public Editor Facts

Stephanie Strom

New Orleans Clark Hoyt, the Public Editor of the august New York Times weighed in on the conservative blogosphere obsession with ACORN in Sunday’s paper after what he called several weeks of investigation.  He was trying to figure out whether or not the editors of the Times killed a Stephanie Strom attack piece as the wackos have alleged because it would be a “game changer” in last November’s election.  He concluded that the charge was “nonsense.”

Will that change anything out there among the wing nuts?  No way!  Conspiracy theories are mother’s milk to these endless tirades, so doubtlessly the beat will hammer endlessly on until some new mystical magic tour leads them along another direction.

Hoyt tries, as is the style on the public editor beat, tried to dismantle all of this house of cards, joker by joker.  I’m sure he didn’t like some of the pieces he was working with here since Stephanie Strom was the Times reporter at the heart of this tale, and she’s a slippery piece of work in what I would have thought was one of the most boring beats at the paper:  non-profits.  In any cutback this has be one of the first jobs to disappear, I would think.

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