The Washington Independent

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  • Hannah Giles needs your money for her defense -- and more pink pens?

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    The Washington Independent's David Weigel has obtained a letter soliciting cash for Hannah Giles' legal defense fund and one thing is abundantly clear... James O'Keefe's undercover ACORN video partner loves to annotate her pleas for help with plenty of pink pen -- stars, underlines, double underlines, circles, double parenthesis, arrows... you name it! Other than that, the missive is exactly what you'd expect - chock-a-block full of attacks on ACORN and President Obama.

    Weigel writes:

    Here's a fundraising letter sent by the Liberty Legal Institute's Hannah Giles Legal Defense Fund to offset legal costs incurred by Giles - the star of last year's ACORN sting - as a result of a lawsuit filed against her by ACORN and some of its former employees. The mailing was produced by Base Connect, a firm that does work for Republican campaigns.

    Here's the first page. Be sure to check out the entire letter.

  • Hannah Giles: "We never claimed that [O'Keefe] went in with a pimp costume"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From a February 19 Washington Independent article by David Weigel, who reports that he spoke to Hannah Giles at CPAC 2010:

    I asked Giles about a criticism that's often been leveled against them -- that they hyped up the video by wearing outrageous clothes in promotional materials and the videos' introductions that they didn't wear in the actual stings.

    "We never claimed that he went in with a pimp costume," said Giles. "That was b-roll. It was purely b-roll. He was a pimp, I was a prostitute, and we were walking in front of government buildings to show how the government was whoring out the American people."

    In fact, in a Sept. 21, 2009 Washington Times column, Andrew Breitbart wrote [emphasis added]:

    When filmmaker and provocateur James O'Keefe came to my office to show me the video of him and his friend, Hannah Giles, going to the Baltimore offices of ACORN - the nation's foremost "community organizers" - dressed as a pimp and a prostitute and asking for - and getting - help for various illegal activities, he sought my advice.

  • The right-wing media hates Alinsky, except when he's shaping their movement

    Blog ››› ››› BROOKE OBIE

    "Warn your kids[!] Better yet, home school [them]," because Obama is "Brainwashing America's Youth," again -- if the latest bit of right-wing fear-mongering is to be believed, that is. Several conservative bloggers have run with the "story" that Organizing for America is accepting applications for its semester-long internship program/"civilian youth brigade," in which the "shocking list" of suggested reading includes community organizer Saul Alinsky's 1971 book Rules for Radicals (the purpose of which is: "indoctrinating [your children] into Saul Alinsky's radical tactics and ideology").

    If so, you'd better keep your kids away from those Tea Parties.

    Tea Party leader and "the co-founder of Top Conservatives on Twitter" Michael Patrick Leahy has written an entire book based off of Alinsky's "shocking" work, deftly entitled: Rules for Conservative Radicals: Lessons from Saul Alinsky[!] the Tea Party Movement and the Apostle Paul in the Age of Collaborative Technologies. In his book, "Leahy argues that today's conservative radical should follow the tactics of Saul Alinsky, but apply the morals and ethics of Martin Luther King."

    And Leahy is not the only conservative poisoned by what right-wing blogger Pamela Geller calls "the mother's milk of the left."

    Conservative "hero" and Fox News' favorite investigative journalist James O'Keefe is also a fan. The Los Angeles Times reported that O'Keefe found an "unlikely source of inspiration" in Alinsky and O'Keefe "took to heart" Alinsky's principle to: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules."

    Also, on Fox News' Glenn Beck, David Horowitz advocated for conservatives to follow "what Saul Alinsky argues"

    i.e., "shout[ing] things whether they are true or not," and "stag[ing] a die-in" -- in order to "catch the other side off-guard" and win the health care debate.

    Alinsky's "evil" has even reached all the way out to the Heartland, with The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder reporting: "in Kansas City, Missouri, a group of conservative organizers will conduct a most unusual training session. They will teach the "Rules for Radicals' laid down by the god of community organizing, Saul Alinsky. The idea: learn to recognize the footprints of the enemy." Similarly, The Washington Independent's David Weigel has reported that "Alinsky has found a thriving and surprising fan club in the modern conservative movement," with "many 'Tea Party' activists say[ing] they're cribbing from Alinsky."

    Yes, if Geller and the other bloggers on the right are to be believed, Obama is coming for your children through the vessel of Saul Alinsky. And in Geller's own words: "Can you imagine if the Republicans attempted such a stunt?" The mind boggles.

  • Here's a health care polling article The Hill should have run

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Last week, The Hill ran an article claiming "The healthcare battle appears to be helping Republicans running for the Senate," based on "the first major Senate polls since the House passed its healthcare bill on Saturday."

    But the polls -- one in Ohio and one in Connecticut -- were largely conducted before the vote had even occurred, and none of the candidates polled actually voted on the House health care bill, as none of them are members of the House of Representatives.

    It was, in other words, rather dubious for The Hill to suggest those polls reflected public reaction to the House health care vote that had not yet occurred.

    Today, the Washington Independent's David Weigel reports that a new Delaware poll -- conducted entirely after the House health care vote -- shows Democrat Beau Biden surging ahead of Republican Congressman Mike Castle. And Castle voted against the House health care bill (and for the Stupak amendment.)

    Here's Weigel:

    The Susquehanna Polling & Research survey has Biden beating Castle by five points. When they polled this race in April, Castle led by 21 points.


    According to the pollster, the shift "may be a result of negative publicity [Castle] received in the state after casting a 'no' vote for President Obama's health care reform bill in the U.S. Congress."

    Remember: The Hill used two polls conducted largely before the House health care vote happened, and not involving anyone who serves in the House, to suggest that House passage of a health care bill is helping Republicans.

    Now that there's a poll conducted after the vote that shows declining support for a Republican who voted against health care reform in the House, I wonder if we'll see an article in The Hill suggesting that opposition to the House bill is hurting Republican candidates?

  • Look who Politico calls "Centrist"

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    The Washington Independent's David Weigel catches Politico's Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen calling Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray "a centrist Republican." Weigel explains:

    Bilbray was a member of the class of 1994 who lost his old House seat in 2000, then stayed in Washington as a lobbyist for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates "a temporary moratorium on all immigration except spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and a limited number of refugees." Bilbray returned to Congress in a 2006 special election, which he won in part by accusing his Democratic opponent of soliciting votes from illegal aliens. Since then, Bilbray has maintained a 92% rating from the American Conservative Union, which makes him an "ACU Conservative" in their ranking system. He voted against increasing the minimum wage, voted to repeal the Washington, D.C. gun ban, voted against a ban on anti-gay job discrimination, and voted against expanding SCHIP.

    Voting against a minimum wage increase, expanding health insurance for kids, and against banning workplace discrimination puts Bilbray far out of the mainstream of the American people. And in the last Congress, Bilbray's voting record put him far to the right of most of his colleagues, too -- he was the 79th most conservative member of the House of Representatives, out of a total of 435. That means Bilbray's voting record was more conservative than more than 80 percent of all members of Congress.

    To Politico, that makes him a "centrist." Just like MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell thinks Diane Feinstein is one of the "most liberal" Senators. And Time's Jay Newton-Small thinks Lindsey Graham is a "moderate."

    It's almost as though the media has no idea where the "center" really is.