Archive for scandals

Gov. "Ultrasound" McDonnell probed, media mounts soap opera defense for him

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bob mcdonnell trans vag ultrasound probe

Media coverage of the Gov. Bob "Ultrasound" McDonnell corruption case could take a cue from the following excerpt from USA Today, and an even bigger one from The Rachel Maddow Show below:

RICHMOND, Va. — The key prosecution witness in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, took the stand Wednesday, saying there was no personal relationship between he and the couple.

Jonnie Williams, the wealthy businessman and former chief executive of Star Scientific, said he did not give the two initial checks to the McDonnell family because he thought he and the McDonnells were friends.

"This was a business relationship," he said about why he helped the McDonnell family. "I needed his help."

That's news. Unfortunately, however, that has not been the focus of the so-called "news" media when it comes to this story. Rachel Maddow zeroed right in on the How Do You Solve a Problem Like Media Coverage? issue in the following segment. We owe her our gratitude:

Maddow on "the salaciousness of the headlines":

The headlines are all like this... "Trial reveals governor's wife had 'crush' on CEO"...

The indictment-- the allegations from prosecutors-- those have been out there for months now. But now that we're having the trial... what has stolen the show about the defense is this designed-for-headlines assertion from the defense, that the McDonnell's marriage was broken, Maureen McDonnell had a "childlike crush" on this businessman who the McDonnells are accused of helping in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts...

But the defense strategy in the corruption trial of Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife is apparently going to be [about their marriage]... This is how they're going to try to keep the governor and his wife out of jail.

Bob McDonnell and Maureen McDonnell stand accused of accepting over $160,000 in gifts and cash from this wealthy CEO [Johnnie Williams] in exchange for providing official help from the state for the CEO's company. That's called corruption, right? "Give me something of personal value to me, and in exchange, I'll give you a little something from the government, the government in which I am an official." ...

So that strategy, the "she took everything" defense... is undercut by the fact that Bob McDonnell himself did things himself like ask this guy for a $70,000 loan for his real estate business... But that is their main defense strategy, the claim is basically that "she did it all, she's not a public official, so there's no public corruption. And, there couldn't be a... corrupt conspiracy between the two of them, because there was no "two of them."... It was just her "lovesick stupidity. He's actually kind of the victim here."... That's their legal strategy...

What does not make sense is the media helping them with it... It is being covered purely in a tabloid way... Purely through catty, sexist gossip [her shopping, her "crush"]... That framing is not only sexist and gross, it ignores the fact that Bob McDonnell himself was doing things like setting up meetings for this wealthy donor with top state health officials... They claim they have the evidence to prove it.

But if the Bob McDonnell defense is gonna be to blame it all on the "lovesick, emotionally erratic, Louis Vuitton-loving wife, they are so far doing a masterful job of injecting that storyline into the press and getting the press to mount their defense for them.

The press is bending over backwards to help the McDonnell legal defense... Attention news media! This is an overt strategy and you are helping one side of this legal case by advancing the strategic storyline for them, because you can't resist a tabloid soap opera tale.

You're being played! You're being played... by covering this as a tabloid story about a marriage, and not a crime blotter story about a corrupt governor.

bob mcdonnell probe johnnie williams

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The Book Booth: Bastille Day Edition

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Bastille Day

Image: imgion.com

THE BOOK BOOTH
The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore, as well a brick and mortar in small town Washington State. Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

Monday marks the 225th anniversary of Bastille Day in France, so if you happen to be there, join in the fun. It is also Woody Guthrie's 102nd and the lovely SeattleTammy celebrates her birthday, too, though she is not nearly that old. Happy Birthday, my dear lovely bride! In any event, before we go off storming the barricades, here's some items from the world of books to check out.

In the Department of Irony we find that Karl Marx still has readers. Even as the stock market soars. ABE Books recently sold a first edition of Das Kapital for some big bucks.

The Millions recently had a handy guide to books coming out later this year and early next year. There as some interesting titles by authors including E.L. Doctorow, Haruki Murakami, Lorrie Moore as well as some reprinrts, including Augustus by John Williams, who wrote the wonderful Stoner.  Millions Handy Guide to Books

It wasn't so long ago that the anticipation of a new book in the Harry Potter series was palatable. Believe me. Well, it turns out that J.K. Rowling has written a new story about Harry as an adult and it available online. HT to our friend, Lucian!  What's Harry Doing These Days?

Literature is full of rogues and femme fatales. You know. The kind of people are parents warned us against, but to whom we may have given into temptation. HuffPo has its list of literature's most dangerous love scoundrels here. Scoundrels

Then there are books devoted to the scandalous. Flavorwire has recommended ten of these, including the infamous Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Anger, which, if not accurate at all times, is fun to read.  Scandals

In life there are dilemmas. If you love to read, there are even more complications. Buzzfeed explains what they are and offers no solutions. We have to live with these unanswerable questions.  Dilemmas

As many of you are aware, there has been an on-going dispute between Amazon.com and the Hachette Publishing Group which owns Little Brown, and other companies. Amazon has delayed the shipment of many Hachette writers, including James Patterson and J.K. Rowling. And Malcolm Gladwell.  Goliath Battles the Underdogs. It seems Gladwell wanted to get to the bottom of the whole controversy. After all, it is taking one to three weeks for customers to get Malcolm' latest book. Who better than Dick Cavett to set up a meeting between Gladwell and the new VP of Amazon fulfillment Goliath Meets with the Underdogs

Our current reading includes, for me, The Mayor of McDougal Street, the fascinating memoir by the late Dave Van Ronk about the early days of the Greenwich Village folk scene. SeattleTammy is tackling Pulitzer Prize winner Wallace Stegner's long and absorbing Angle of Repose. So tell us what books you got going. We'd like to know. Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Bastille Day!

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Bill Clinton Death Wish: To Die For Hillary

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Well, when you're an author with inside connections, you will sometimes shine a light on some amazing stories. And today was no exception over at Fox News. Among the highlights was an interview with author Ed Klein, reported on by Raw Story:

"An author who Fox News hosts insisted had “impeccable” sources told the network on Tuesday that former President Bill Clinton had considered using his own death to help Hillary Clinton win the presidency.

That's some pretty big news. Sourcing is important if you're going to make claims like that.

Host Steve Doocy reiterated that Klein’s “sources are impeccable,” and that he had even talked to the household help after one of the Obamas’ vacations at Martha’s Vineyard.

Talking to the household staff after a vacation stay does sound pretty impeccable. I'm sure the Clintons felt comfortable revealing everything to strangers who were making their beds and doing their dishes.

Let's dig a little deeper and take a look at Ed Klein's bona fides. He's a previous author on the Clintons with his 2005 book, The Truth About Hillary, which was panned by critics for being “poorly researched, poorly written, poorly sourced.”

In that explosive expose of a book, Klein suggested that Hillary Clinton was a lesbian and that she was raped by then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton (D) when they conceived their daughter Chelsea. Now you can see where the 'poorly researched, poorly written, poorly sourced' label comes from.

Letting you decide the accuracy of those claims, let's look at Klein's  latest revelations. First Bill Clinton, upon being told he has a progressive heart disease was actually quite happy on two fronts. First, he thought "progressive" meant liberal (the author's way of making a joke). But secondly he felt good about his passing because of what it could mean for Hillary.

“And he’s discussed with Hillary, according to people who were in the room with them when he did it, what would happen if he died,” Klein said. “What should Hillary do? And what is said is, ‘Hillary, you should put on widow’s weeds, dress in black, and it would be worth a couple of million votes.”

This is all too delicious just to read.You gotta see it to believe it. The most amazing thing to remember is that just yesterday the hosts had been skeptical of Klein's assertions. What turned them around? See for yourself:

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Issa Sings Flip Flop Solo In Bonus-Minor

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flip flops

Ever defiant, but also ever evolving, Rep. Darrell Issa can add flip-flopper to his resume of skills -- maybe next to arson and car theft.

The chairman of the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has never seen the wrong side of an issue where he couldn't find some Democrat or plot to blame and waste our government money investigating. When you think about it, what does he really know about costs and spending anyway? He's one of the three richest members of Congress -- and there's a lot of scratch in that group. His money is important to him. Government money isn't.

Okay, maybe he didn't get rich without being a good businessman. He must have some special business acumen -- after all, he knew exactly when it was time to strike some "Jewish Lightning" to raze his businesses, Quantum Enterprises and Steal Stopper, literally.  

Wikepedia:

Issa appeared to prepare for that fire by increasing the fire insurance policy by 462% three weeks previously, and by removing computer equipment holding accounting and customer information, preventing authorities from seizing it. But what a lucky guy to have removed all the plans and private documents a day before the fire struck from the very building that would burn down.

So if Issa's got that knack of timing, bless him. But where was that timing over the past five years? It's only this past week that he's done a complete turn around on criminals, criminal activity and corporate bonuses. Oh, and whose bonuses is he calling into question? Why none other than the IRS. How about that?

Thanks to the fine people over at Huffington Post, we have this little video to see Issa flipping around like a freshly landed tuna on the deck of a fishing boat. It's actually fun to watch. Hope you will.

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