ALERT: RedState Alters Diarists’ Posts? UPDATE: Fixed UPDATE 2: Second Offense

UPDATE (4/12/12): This morning, I emailed Erick Erickson about this. I just heard back from him. He says he doesn’t know how it happened, but it seems to be traceable back to someone with the same IP address. Most importantly, the post has been changed to its original form. Thanks to Erick for a quick response & resolution.

UPDATE 2 (4/22/12): A second post, another illicitly-added link to Erickson’s Perry-boosting. Hmmmm:

GOProud’s stated support for marriage federalism is highly misleading.

ORIGINAL POST: While working on another article, I looked up this post on drug legalization I posted on July 28, 2011, in my now-defunct RedState diary, and noticed something odd in this sentence:

The far-left ex-president is in rare agreement with National Review, which on June 27 called the bill “an excellent first step” toward ending a war that has “curtailed personal freedom.”

The “National Review” hyperlink goes to a post by Erick Erickson, where passes along Ben Domenech’s complaint that NR was biased toward Mitt Romney and had lost sight of conservative principles.

I didn’t put it there.

That post is dated December 15, 2011. I had been banned on November 27.

Apparently somebody at RedState went back and snuck the link in. Was it a petty attempt to get back at me by putting something I disagreed with in my own writing? Or have they been doing this on a wider scale, spreading their material wherever they can without the diarists’ knowledge or consent?

I have no idea, but it’s certainly disturbing to see that RedState is no longer content with misleading writing and purging critics, and seems to have crossed the ethical line into manipulating the writing of others. Has anyone else – other bloggers, Eagle Publishing, anyone – picked up on what’s been going on at RedState?

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New on RedState – An Open Letter to the Dane County Board of Supervisors Regarding the Smearing of David Prosser

My latest RedState post:

Dear Dane County Board of Supervisors,

I have several questions regarding the letter twelve of you wrote to Justice David Prosser, in which you ask him to take a leave of absence from the Wisconsin Supreme Court until investigators determine whether or not he strangled Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.

First, the Board of Supervisors is not a law enforcement body, nor does it have any role in the oversight of state government. By what principle or standard does pontificating on the incident fall under the purview of Dane County politicians?

Second, I am sure you are aware that multiple sources report that Justice Bradley was the aggressor, and that Justice Prosser merely raised his hands to defend himself. Have you written a similar letter to Justice Bradley, lecturing her on the serious of workplace violence and asking her to step aside until an investigation reveals whether or not the people of Wisconsin can trust her?

Read the rest on RedState.

Bad Move, Breitbart

The big scandal of the day is that the most provocative Anthony Weiner photo in Andrew Breitbart’s possession got leaked by shock jocks Opie and Anthony. Here’s Breitbart’s statement on the matter, insisting they did so against his knowledge and will. My question is, why wasn’t Breitbart more careful around these two? They’re slimeballs whose entire routine is scandal, shock value, and attention. Anyone should have seen their attempting something like this coming from a mile away.

Of Course: FrumForum’s Guardiano Sticks Up for Anthony Weiner; UPDATED

Remember John Guardiano, the David Frum cultist (how sad do you have to be to choose David Frum of all people to sell your soul to, anyway?) who lied about Andy McCarthy and refused to come clean when caught dead to rights? Well, the Soulless Sycophant is back, this time raking conservatives over the coals for making a big deal out of Weinergate (hat tip to Robert Stacy McCain).

First, here’s his asinine characterization of the scandal:

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York), of course, is accused of… Well, it’s not clear what, exactly, Weiner’s being accused of. His Twitter account apparently was hacked, or used by a trusted friend or employee for illicit purposes. And so, a close-up shot of a man’s crotch in underwear was sent from his account to a woman in Seattle.

By contemporary standards, the shot is pretty lame and tame. And, as soon as the Congressman realized the pic had been sent from his account, he disavowed and deleted it. The woman from Seattle, likewise, immediately repudiated the notion that she was some sort of love interest of Weiner’s […]

It’s clear, I think, that Weiner himself never sent this lewd pic to the 21-year-old college student in Seattle. However, others with access to his account or the pic perhaps did. We just don’t know — and we really shouldn’t care.

It’s not clear what Weiner’s accused of? I know FrumForum doesn’t put a premium on reading comprehension or basic logic, but come on. He’s accused of sending a photo of his crotch to a young female supporter. And while some have wondered about an odd reference to Seattle on one of his tweets and the student’s own description of Weiner as “my boyfriend,” nobody I’ve heard is claiming that they were having an affair. The gist of what is suspected to have happened – Weiner sending a lewd pic to a young female groupie for kicks – is pretty obvious.
And no, it’s not “clear” that “Weiner himself never sent” the photo. Guardiano talks at length about how easy it is to get hacked by mischievous pranksters on the Internet, but he doesn’t spend a single word on Weiner’s behavior after this came to light – not his refusal to ask law enforcement to investigate, not the glaring inconsistency between what he says happened to him and what he wants done about it, and not his preposterous inability to say “with certitude” that he’s not the guy in the picture. None of this strikes you as just the tiniest bit suspicious, John? Really?
Second, here’s the way he characterizes the “manufactured and phony hype”:
Case closed, right? I mean, things happen; accounts get hacked (or sometimes misused by trusted friends and employees); we all realize that; and so we move on.
Well, no, because to impassioned partisan bloggers, both Left and Right, any such incident is a chance to score political points. It’s a chance to beat up the other side, bloody them politically, and pile on the points for your team. And so this non-story quickly — nay, immediately – became the latest “SCANDAL!”
Now, I understand how Guardiano might not see the significance of a story pertaining to a politician’s ethics and morals, since rejecting both is a prerequisite for working at FrumForum. But maybe I can explain this in terms even they can understand. There are three possible scenarios here:
  1. Weiner sent the photo and had some sort of relationship with the girl. In this case, he’s a married man and a public servant having an affair with someone young enough to be his daughter.
  2. Weiner sent the photo unsolicited. In this case, he’s a married man and a public servant exploiting one of his supporters’ fondness for him and sexually harassing harassing her.
  3. Someone else sent the photo. In this case, somebody committed sexual harassment against this girl, framing a United States Congressman in the process, but for some reason that congressman doesn’t want the perpetrator brought to justice.
Obviously, none of these scenarios describe a “certifiable non-issue.” Or at least, it should be obvious. But then, sound judgment on sexual impropriety stories has never been FrumForum’s strong suit… 
So, to recap: “conservative” blogger John Guardiano takes a story about a horrendous far-left Democrat engaging in sleazy behavior and badly lying about it, completely ignores the key facts of the case, and spins it into a story about conservatives being irresponsible. At least he’s following his master’s example to the letter.

UPDATE: Now that Weiner’s fessed up to the whole thing, Guardiano has another post. Does he admit that his asinine claim that it was “clear” Weiner didn’t send the photos was totally wrong? Of course not. Instead, he rips on conservatives who are openly enjoying Weiner’s disgrace and insisting that the scandal is all about Weiner’s private life, which should be off-limits:

Anthony Weiner was caught doing a wrong and stupid thing: By his own admission, he “exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years.” Some of this communication took place after Weiner was married, and he lied about at least one explicit tweet.

That’s sad, shameful and embarrassing. But it also is of no real public import. It’s between him, his wife, his rabbi and his God.

In fact, it remains true even now that nobody has shown Weiner’s actions had any legal or public implications whatsoever.

The should-we-care-about-politicians’-infidelities debate is an old one, and it’s no surprise an unprincipled hack like John Guardiano takes the side of indifference. In my opinion, of course a politician’s affairs are politically relevant – they reveal whether he likely to keep promises, whether he takes trust seriously, whether he has self-control or is a narcissist, etc. And in Weiner’s case, it definitely sounds like not all of Weiner’s pen pals were interested in show & tell. Again, does the phrase “sexual harassment” mean anything to John? How pathetic is the state of American politics that we can’t even agree that swapping causal sex talk and photos with complete strangers is conduct unbecoming a congressman, and that it reveals that someone lacks the judgment we should expect out of the people making decisions that affect our lives and liberties?

Guardiano goes on to make himself look like even more of a moron:

Some have argued that, by sending explicit photos to a women he barely knew, or had just met online, Weiner made himself susceptible to blackmail. I suppose that’s technically true, but it’s also rather farfetched and unrealistic.

Weiner’s politics are well known; his congressional votes are well publicized; and so it’s hard to see how, in our open and democratic society, he could be blackmailed into changing his political stripes.

Saying Weiner made himself susceptible to blackmail is no more convincing than saying that corporate campaign contributions “buy” a congressman’s vote. In truth, campaign contributions follow a congressman’s vote; they do not direct it.

By the same token, Weiner was pursuing these women for his own personal purposes; they were not political types pursuing him for partisan or financial gain.

This is so ridiculously obtuse I barely know where to begin. First, I doubt Weiner would change his political stripes, either, but it’s incredibly ignorant and simplistic to suggest that’s the only conceivable kind of blackmail. Not all votes are a question of ideology, and there are plenty of other ways a congressman can be useful, such as pulling strings with various federal, state, and local agencies. Second, it’s even more absurd to limit the pool of blackmailers to Weiner’s known partners/victims – the point is, Weiner was so indiscriminate that he didn’t care what kind of people were getting this material, and that there’s no telling whose hands it could ultimately fall into (again with the judgment thing). Third, it doesn’t matter how unlikely blackmail is in any particular case of impropriety. Public servants are supposed to avoid even the appearance of being compromised, to maintain the public’s faith in the process.

As a political junkie, I often find myself asking one question: is Person X simply dishonest, or is he really this stupid? With John Guardiano, I honestly don’t know. Does the American Spectator, an otherwise-serious conservative publication, know how badly their association with this guy reflects on them?

A Short Post on Anthony Weiner – UPDATED

The Case of Anthony’s Weiner seems to be pretty open and shut. Liberal apologists are trying to muddy the water with talk of fabricated evidence and web hacking, but it’s all crap for one simple reason: Anthony Weiner will not deny that he’s the one in the picture. In fact, word is that he privately admits he’s taken such pictures in the past. Just watch the spectacular trainwreck of an interview the Congressman had with Wolf Blitzer and tell me he’s not lying.

What makes this story relevant, though, is the glaring inconsistency between Weiner’s version of events (someone framed me) and his reaction (it’s no big deal, let’s let bygones be bygones). Contrary to Weiner’s spin, a lewd photo sent unsolicited to a college girl isn’t an innocent prank – it’s sexual harassment. Let’s state it bluntly: Anthony Weiner, a prominent United States Congressman, sexually harassed one of his young female supporters. And even if you buy Weiner’s story, then he’s essentially saying that someone who sexually harassed one of his young female supporters – and framed Weiner in the process – shouldn’t be punished.

Either way, it’s the conduct of a scumbag. How Weiner’s House colleagues, the voters of New York, and liberals across the country react will tell us all we need to know about them.

UPDATE: John Boehner refuses to comment on the issue, or whether the House Ethics Committee should weigh in. Not surprising that the Republican Speaker of the House doesn’t have the courage or the integrity to speak simple truths, but it is disgraceful. It’s stories like this that make me think the GOP has a political death wish.

New on NewsReal – Astro-Turfed Talk Radio? Hannity, Limbaugh & Beck Accused of Faking Callers

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Not content to belittle conservative talk show hosts as merely greedy or hateful, leftists have seized upon a recent report in Tablet Magazine to cast them as liars who are scamming their own audiences, as well. The piece reveals a service offered by radio syndicate Premiere Radio, which offers to supply hosts with fake callers, the insinuation being that the next time you hear an enthusiastic fan sing Glenn Beck’s praises, or an idiotic liberal effortlessly dispatched by Sean Hannity, the whole thing might be artificial:

“Premiere On Call is our new custom caller service,” read the service’s website, which disappeared as this story was being reported (for a cached version of the site click here). “We supply voice talent to take/make your on-air calls, improvise your scenes or deliver your scripts. Using our simple online booking tool, specify the kind of voice you need, and we’ll get your the right person fast. Unless you request it, you won’t hear that same voice again for at least two months, ensuring the authenticity of your programming for avid listeners.”

Gustav Wynn at the left-wing OpEdNews.com reports that the Big Three—Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck—have all unequivocally denied that they’ve ever had actors call their shows, but he’s pretty sure that something fishy is afoot anyway:

Limbaugh sharply rebuked the suggestion, decrying media coverage of the article and denying he had ever used actors on his show as he tried to dissociate himself from the service and any possibility that he staged calls. One could even witness his brain switch gears as he begins to ask his own call screener if he was in on it. This demonstrates how quickly Rush would attempt to insulate himself should it be uncovered someone else was assigning actors to call his show, perhaps in “common purpose”.


So merely by defending himself, Limbaugh implies he’s got something to hide. Why? He just does. After all, he’s Rush Limbaugh.

Next, about 2:06 into the clip he says “over the years” people have “come to him with ideas” to “get in the act” but he “shot it down”. Okay, is this shades of Governor Walker? Who in Rush’s circle of prospective collaborators came to him with these ideas? We don’t know. He didn’t say, protecting their identities from the very listeners he was trying to assuage.

Cheap shot at the Scott Walker-Koch brothers non-story aside, let me remind Mr. Wynn that we don’t subpoena people every time we get a whiff that somebody may have approached them with a bad idea in private.  If we did, we’d never have time to go after real impropriety.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

No, the Koch Brothers Aren’t Pulling Walker’s Strings

Give liberals a rich guy or two to hate, and like clockwork they’ll conjure up the most insipid fantasies about how they’re controlling everything. Such has been the pathetic spectacle of Charles and David Koch, businessmen alleged to be the puppet masters behind Scott Walker’s proposed union reforms.

Unfortunately for the Left, there’s no there there. As Matthew Shafer notes, “a would-be exposé from the New York Times couldn’t establish a single financial interest the Koch brothers would have in busting public-sector unions in Wisconsin.” And at Power Line, John Hindraker took a look at the numbers, and found that the truth is pretty underwhelming:

Lipton leaves that claim hanging, and never tells his readers how much the Koch PAC contributed to Walker’s campaign. In fact, the total was $43,000. That was out of more than $11 million that Walker raised, and $37.4 million that was spent, altogether, on the 2010 race for Governor of Wisconsin. Which means that people associated with Koch Industries contributed a whopping one-tenth of one percent of what was spent on last year’s election. So why is the Times running scare headlines about the “Billionaire Brothers’ Money?”

He also found that big corporate moolah isn’t exactly exclusive GOP territory (click to enlarge):

So, is Koch Industries one of the largest sources of political cash, in Wisconsin or elsewhere? Not even close. In fact, nearly all of the top moneybags in politics are on the Democratic side of the aisle […] You have to get down to number 19 before you find a big-time donor that gives significantly more to Republicans than Democrats. And at $2 million an election cycle, the Kochs have a long way to go before they can be considered big-time contributors.

What’s more, of the top 20 donors, 12–more than half–are unions. Isn’t there an untold story here? Aren’t the Koch brothers lonely rebels who are trying to offset the monolithic power and unparalleled financial muscle of the unions, especially the public employee unions? Isn’t that what the Wisconsin story is really about?

Making boogeymen out of donations from businessmen stems from the Progressive practice of labeling any policy goal or interest that doesn’t line up with the Progressive agenda as a “special interest” automatically opposed to the public good. The truth is, all organizations that try to sway policy in either direction on anything – tax cuts, defense spending, health care, Israel, guns, abortion, gay marriage, environmental regulations, education, you name it – have an “interest” of some sort, and can just as easily be defined as a “special interest group.”

Liberals are also alternating between glee and outrage over the audio of a call some foul-mouthed soldier hater named Ian Murphy made to Walker, impersonating David Koch. The talking points on this are that Walker’s a moron for falling for it, and it proves he’s in cahoots with Koch. But as Ann Althouse points out, it reveals nothing of the sort:

You could say that it’s bad that the prankster got through, but that shows that he’s willing to talk to a lot of people and also that David Koch isn’t a frequent caller who gets special treatment and is recognized by his caller ID and his voice and manner of speaking.

Doesn’t this prank call prove that Scott Walker is not close to Koch? He doesn’t recognize his voice! He doesn’t drift into a more personal style of speech. He treats him like a generic political supporter.

Greg Sargent summarizes the “controversial” bits:

Walker doesn’t bat an eye when Koch describes the opposition as “Democrat bastards.”

I wouldn’t bat an eye, either. These are Democrats we’re talking about.

Walker reveals that he and other Republicans are looking at whether they can charge an “ethics code violation if not an outright felony” if unions are paying for food or lodging for any of the Dem state senators.

Sounds to me like that would be worth looking into. I’m not aware that any of that is going on, and accordingly, Walker hasn’t publicly made any such accusation. What’s the problem?

Walker says he’s sending out notices next week to some five or six thousand state workers letting them know that they are “at risk” of layoffs.

“Beautiful, beautiful,” the Koch impersonator replies. “You gotta crush that union.”

Walker’s been saying that in public, too. As for “Koch’s” reaction, I agree with Althouse: “Walker just ignores that stuff and goes on with his standard points, which is probably the standard strategy that most politicians use when people interact with them.”

In a key detail, Walker reveals that he is, in effect, laying a trap for Wisconsin Dems. He says he is mulling inviting the Senate and Assembly Dem and GOP leaders to sit down and talk, but only if all the missing Senate Dems return to work.

Then, tellingly, he reveals that the real game plan here is that if they do return, Republicans might be able to use a procedural move to move forward with their proposal.

“If they’re actually in session for that day and they take a recess, this 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action and they’d have a quorum because they started out that way,” he says. “If you heard that I was going to talk to them that would be the only reason why.”

Again, what’s the problem? Wisconsin Democrats aren’t acting in good faith. They’re not doing the people’s business. Walker is discussing ways to get them to do their jobs. Democrats opened this can of worms by fleeing the state instead of voting. (Besides, it’s not as if the Dems don’t know the quorum rules themselves.)

Then the fake Koch says this: “Bring a baseball bat. That’s what I’d do.”

Walker doesn’t bat an eye, and responds: “I have one in my office, you’d be happy with that. I’ve got a slugger with my name on it.”

Genuine calls to violence are over the line (except when Democrats do it, apparently), but come on. It’s a private conversation. People make jokes like this (“knocking some sense into” political foes) all the time. What, do liberals think these guys were conspiring to beat up Democrats? Or to just intimidate them? (Nope, that can’t be it – liberals don’t have a problem with political intimidation using melee weapons.)

Murphy: “What we were thinking about the crowds was, planting some troublemakers.”

Walker: “[Pause]…we thought about that. My only gut reaction to that would be, right now, the lawmakers I talk to have just completely had it with them. The public is not really fond of this.The teachers union did some polling and focus groups […] My only fear would be if there was a ruckus caused, is that, that would scare the public into thinking, maybe the governor’s gotta settle to avoid all these problems. Whereas I’m saying, hey, y’know, people can can handle this, people can protest, this is Madison, y’know, full of the 60s liberals, let ’em protest. It’s not gonna affect us. And as long as we go back to our homes and the majority of the people tell us we’re doing the right thing, let ’em protest all they want. Um, so that’s my gut reaction is that I think it’s actually good if they’re constant, if they’re noisy, but they’re quiet, nothing happens, because sooner or later the media stops finding them interesting.

This is the only snippet of any real potential significance. And yeah, it sounds bad. If somebody in Walker’s team really suggested that, I’d like a fuller explanation. However, Walker did not act on any such suggestion. Besides, the thuggery of left-wing and union protesters is so well known that it simply isn’t plausible that any reasonably-competent Republican would consider it worthwhile to fake any of it.

And for what it’s worth, two of Althouse’s commenters have more charitable, entirely-plausible explanations. Madawaskan says, “Walker does a big pregnant pause when ‘Koch’ mentions the plants. You can almost tell that Walker is thinking-‘crazy’ to himself.” And liberal Dose of Sanity says, “As far as calling the liberals bastards, 60s liberals, baseball bat, plant protesters, etc etc it seems obvious he’s doing that to appease the ‘Koch’ caller’s request – none of those were brought up unsolicited.” It seems like Walker was being diplomatic with someone he thought was a supporter, and – quite reasonably – didn’t think he needed to waste time with niceties in what he thought was a private conversation.

Walker appears to agree when “Koch” calls David Axelrod a “son of a bitch.” Walker tells an anecdote in which he was having dinner with Jim Sensebrenner, and at a nearby table he saw Mika Brzezinski and Greta VanSusteren having dinner with David Axelrod. Then this exchange occured:

WALKER: I introduced myself.

FAKE KOCH: That son of a bitch.

WALKER: Yeah, no kidding, right?

How dare he? David Axelrod is positively the salt of the earth!

FAKE KOCH: Well, I’ll tell ya what, Scott. Once you crush these bastards, I’ll fly ya out to Cali and really show you a good time.

WALKER: Alright. That would be outstanding. Thanks for all the support and helping us move the cause forward.

Good Lord, Scott Walker responded politely to an invitation! Better start the impeachment proceedings right away!

If all of the above hasn’t sated your Koch thirst, Allahpundit’s got his own roundup of Koch coverage, including a response from Koch Foundation execs and a look at some of the foundation’s not-so-conservative political causes. Bottom line: the Koch brothers are a couple of run-of-the-mill right-leaning political donors who leftists have decided to drag out of the mud to tarnish Scott Walker and his efforts without engaging the merits of the issue.