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Ron Radosh

The American Left is at it again. This time, Mother Jones Washington, D.C., correspondent David Corn reported that last February 2, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell held a private meeting with his aides to discuss in particular how to develop attacks against possible Democratic contenders for his Senate seat, especially the actress Ashley Judd. How did the magazine know this? Corn reveals that they received a tape of the meeting from an anonymous source. The campaign aide who began the meeting started this way:

I refer to [Judd] as sort of the oppo research situation where there’s a haystack of needles, just because truly, there’s such a wealth of material.

They had many reasons to oppose Judd. As a self-proclaimed “radical,” Judd is pro-choice, for gay marriage, and, as the aide said, “anti-coal.” But what Corn sees as the real scandal is her well-known mental health issues. As the aide continued to state:

She’s clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced. I mean it’s been documented. Jesse can go in chapter and verse from her autobiography about, you know, she’s suffered some suicidal tendencies. She was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the ’90s.

This is hardly a surprise, since, as the aide notes, the information comes from Judd’s own autobiography. As Corn himself writes, “In her 2011 memoirs, All That Is Bitter & Sweet, Judd recounts her past bouts with depression, noting that she had considered suicide as a sixth-grader and that as an adult she had checked into a rehab center for depression.” One might rightfully ask, “What’s the big deal?”  Is it that Corn revealed the tape of a secret meeting, thereby getting himself and his magazine publicity? Or is it that he told the world that in any political fight, the McConnell campaign would bring to light the question of Judd’s mental stability as an issue for the electorate to consider?

If the latter, is this not a just issue to be raised? Do people voting for a senator to represent them want to elect someone prone to hospitalization for depression? Indeed, Corn even reprints Judd’s own words about how she felt returning to the United States from abroad which, he writes, McConnell would have made public to make Judd seem like a weirdo. Here’s what Judd herself said:

I call it the American anesthesia. You know, I come back to this country. I freak out in airports. The colors, the sounds, all those different ways of packaging the same snack but trying to, you know, make it look like it’s distinct and different and convince consumers that they have to have it. I mean all of that. The last time I came home from a trip, I absolutely flipped out when I saw pink fuzzy socks on a rack. I mean, I can never anticipate what is going to push me over the edge.

But in a few weeks, you know, I’m driving along smooth roads and I think nothing of it. I’m, you know, choosing between four different brands of cereal from plastic dispensers so that I don’t have to have, you know, ugly, mismatched boxes on my shelf, and I don’t think anything of it.

Well, it does make Judd seem rather weird, and she said this herself in a speech. If a Republican said this, wouldn’t any Democratic opponent jump at the chance to make this public? Is it so outrageous? Of course not.

What is outrageous, however, is that David Corn and the other MJ editors see nothing wrong in releasing a tape of a private strategy session of Republicans. How did they get this? Clearly, a trusted aide would not jeopardize his or her job to secretly tape a meeting and then give it to a major left-wing publication. And that is precisely why McConnell has accused the magazine of possibly bugging his headquarters, and has asked the FBI to investigate.

“We’ve always said the left will stop at nothing to attack Sen. McConnell, but Nixonian tactics to bug campaign headquarters is above and beyond,” campaign manager Jesse Benton said in a statement reported by the Washington Post.

Benton is on solid ground. Moreover, it is the same David Corn who, in a previous life, was in the forefront of those on the Left who condemned secret wiretapping as a violation of American’s civil liberties. Writing at The Lid, a Jewish website, Jeff Dunetz points out that Corn wrote the following regarding NSA wiretaps of suspected terrorists:

It’s not every day a former deputy attorney general testifies that the White House violated the law–and did so knowingly. But that seemed to happen this morning when former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified before the Senate judiciary committee about the once-secret NSA warrantless wiretapping program that targeted citizens and residents in the United States.

So Corn is concerned about secret wiretapping of those who might be our very real enemies, and who might use their power to harm us in a terrorist action. Their civil liberties are being violated, and Corn is upset. But obviously his concern does not extend to violating the rights of political activists preparing for a campaign, even though every side, Democrat and Republican, engages in opposition research.

Moreover, when Corn was D.C. editor of The Nation, he wrote the following:

For months, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and other administration aides have been defending–even championing–what they call the “terrorist surveillance program,” under which the National Security Agency can intercept communications that involve an American citizen or resident without a warrant if one party to the communication is overseas and suspected of being linked to anti-American terrorists). They have maintained that the president has the authority as commander in chief to authorize such surveillance. Though the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) generally forbids wiretapping without warrants, the White House has contended that Bush is not bound by the limitations of that law. This claim–arising from the Bush administration’s view of expansive (even supreme) presidential power–set up a constitutional clash. And in the first round of the legal battle, Judge Taylor has knocked out the White House argument.

In her decision, she accused the administration of dishonestly arguing that the lawsuit filed by the ACLU and others (including journalists, researchers and lawyers) against the NSA wiretapping should be dismissed because it would expose state secrets.

Accusing Bush of acting like a king or a dictator, Corn added that “democracy, though, is not easy. And a commander in chief has to abide by the rules, as various courts have now ruled. The administration’s King George approach to governance has taken another blow. But it’s royally unlikely this president is going to accept the decision and give up his claim to the throne.”

Well, we finally know how the Left sees things. Taping private events is bad when done to ferret out potential terrorists and find out about their plots — their rights are being violated. But secret taping of political opponents on the Right is fair game. We all know that the Right has no civil liberties worth protecting. Corn is of the generation that read the late Herbert Marcuse in the ’60s. The author of the theory of “repressive tolerance,” Marcuse argued that any means were necessary to defeat the aims of conservatives, even if it meant engaging in depredations against democracy and civil liberties. Fascists had no rights, and one’s opponents on the Right, of course, were all potential fascists to the Left. Remember that in the 1950s, the American Communist Party called President Harry S. Truman, the man who favored nationalized health care, a Fascist.

Call it what you will, but David Corn’s article might lead to the FBI finding that indeed McConnell’s headquarters were bugged. But then, McConnell is a potential fascist himself, and to the Left, violating his liberties is only a defensive action. And if it turns out that  Mother Jones did illegally bug his staff and meeting rooms, they will naturally condemn any action against them as a right-wing plot against freedom of the press.

(Thumbnail image on PJM homepage by Shutterstock.com.)

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Top Rated Comments   
Since we definitively know that there is a recording, we know that it was made either surreptitiously by someone at the meeting or by a bug of some sort. The first is reprehensible but legal, the second is both reprehensible and illegal. We'll know when it is learned who made the recording which it is. Nothing much will be done by Holder's DOJ since the left now wins either way. If McConnell doesn't know who did it, he really has lost the staff that was involved because it is possible that one of them is a Democrat asset. And, of course, if it was an MJ or Democrat bug, nothing will come of it at the federal level.

A lot of things lefties do don't make sense; they're not generally rational people, but they can be logical. It is possible that either MJ or some Democrat asset either turned a McConnell staffer or got a bug in his headquarters. It is possible that when they got the oppo research tape regarding Judd, they thought it was just so cool that they couldn't resist going with it now. On the other hand, if the Democrats had such an asset or had a bug in McConnell's office why would they reveal it with the election still so far away? With lefties you can never rule out the irrational and they never think that they'll either get caught or fail, but if I were investigating this, I'd start looking for some activist or left-leaning free-lance journalist who had access at some relevant time to the place where the meeting was held. There won't be any evidence because it was probably done with a small voice-activated recording device that was just left behind and retrieved after the meeting. I might also want to look at all the facility staff that would have access; it is easy to get some low-level support staff employee or somebody on the building's maintenance staff to do something, the import of which is unlikely to be apparent to them, by just waving a little money at them. I might also be real interested in who the receptionist was dating. In any event, at the federal level, they'll be happy to just keep McConnell guessing, so if there is to be a resolution, it needs to be done by Kentucky state or local authorities.

This is pretty sloppy tradecraft on McConnell's part. If you're a Republican elected or appointed official, you simply have to assume you are always under surveillance and that anything you write or have written for or to you will be leaked. Even safely Red states aren't safe in this regard anymore, at least not in capital cities. We in the union states learned this long ago. i've gone so far as to have my government offices swept for bugs and not by my unionized State Troopers but by a private contractor. I would never have an important strategy meeting in a government office if I could help it. If I were forced to write up briefing or decision memos for a meeting they were written on a computer not on the network or on the off-network drive of a computer on the network and I made the copies myself. The copies were always canary copies, each one with some distinct difference from the others so you could tell who leaked it, and I've written elaborate fake briefing memos for the sole purpose of having them leak and thus both deceive the object and discredit the leaker. I hated long lead times for meetings or decisions. For actual planning meetings, I preferred noisy, crowded non-union bars or strip joints.

I was once involved in a particularly contentious arbitration with the State Trooper union. On leaving the hearing the first day, I noticed I was being tailed and ultimately recognized the guy as a narc that we'd once used in an investigation into drug trafficking in one of our prisons. So, on noticing I was being tailed, I made a bee line for the nearest strip joint and took a seat at a dark table. He came in a few minutes later and sat so he could see me but not be obvious. I called a couple of girls over gave each of them the money for a table dance for him and got up and walked out. I had whole conversations that I've had in bars and restaurants written up, usually with considerable enhancement, and sent to my boss, to my wife, and to reporters. I would never dare have even one drink in a downtown bar and drive home. The Juneau police were in the same union as the State Troopers and they'd have liked nothing better than nailing me for a DWI, and if you're a Republican elected or appointed official, your getting arrested for anything is lead story and front page above the fold. That just the way it is and all too many Republicans, especially those from seemingly safe Red states really don't understand that this is the world they now live in.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So, the American left does yet another dirty deed, and we get so enraged, we swear that THIS time...we just might think about...hitting them with our pillow.

McConnell has asked for help. He went to the most likely source to get right on it. Eric Holder. I'm holding my breath to see how that one turns out.

I'm sure the "conscience" of the mass media will jump right on the fact that Obama had someone's divorce records opened to win a race. Very soon we will watch the LA Times release the tape they have held hostage with Rashid Khalidi at the bash...and I mean bash...against Israel.

The left is now ruthless. And we...well...we once again look like Weak Sister Ruth. Maybe one day we will get angry enough to hit them with our purse.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Translation: We've been busted so deflect, distract and demonize!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (32)
All Comments   (32)
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Once again the Democrats do show just what real crookedness is.Why can't they be truthful with us the American people??????????????Telling a lie is unhealthy.Liz
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It was Progress Kentucky. Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison. Reilly has caved and has fingered Morrison in a "it wasn't me!" kind of stunt.

http://wfpl.org/post/source-progress-kentucky-behind-mitch-mcconnell-campaign-recording
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How about going the completely opposite direction? Everyone gets to bug each others offices and are required to post the full and unedited audio..... Let's hear what all of them have to say when they don't think anyone is listening.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Didn't Corn used to write here?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
IF, big IF, the KT Democrat's story outing Progress Kentucky is true, McConnell and his campaign are simply abysmally naive. When you're the Minority Leader of the US Senate and a known target, having a strategy meeting in a place that the public has access to is beyond dumb. The Democrat story is these guys were out in the hall and heard McConnell and his staff talking so they turned a recorder on. Now, that's illegal, but they may be telling this story to hide something worse. If it's true, McConnell's campaign needs some lessons on the nature of the opposition.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What's truly damning is the unwillingness of the rest of the liberal establishment to condemn the act.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Breaking: Left PAC outed for having recorded and leaked McConnell. Megyn Kendal reporting it now.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What is the big issue here? In all likelihood, this kind of snooping, recording
probably goes on all the time.....on both sides of the aisle. It is de riguer
with politicians of both stripes.....only this time David Corn and Mother Jones
got caught red handed. Big deal.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No, unfortunately both sides of the aisle don't do it. Most Republicans are either too nice or too dumb about "their friends across the aisle" to understand the need and in the rare case where Republicans try to play the same way the communists, excuse me, Democrats, play, if the media finds out, the Republicans get excoriated and if the Democrats are in power prosecuted. It is a big deal, a damned big deal.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Break the law, big deal. You are such a phony. The left-wing is made up entirely of phonies.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
bet if the same thing happened to liberals the response would be different,

heck it was different when taped interviews were revealed and the comments were that the White House was a hostile work environment.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
disgusting abuse of the law, by libs/dems/ that think that laws only apply to others
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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