Here’s your over-the-weekend reading list:
Sharpton the Sleazeball:
A slow news weekend so let’s begin by having some fun. Former FBI informant, full-time hustler and… oh yes… former presidential candidate, the Reverend Al Sharpton gets richly corn-holed once again by his long-time nemesis, Village Voice investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. Turns out that Sharpton conspired with a black Republican jillionaire in 2001 to take down the Other Reverend, Jesse Jackson, so that Reverend Al could replace him as America’s leading ‘civil rights leader’ [sic]. Says Barrett:
Harold Doley Jr., David Brand, Yuri Tadesse, and Reverend Wyatt Tee Walker, all top associates of Al Sharpton, participated in a news barrage against Jesse Jackson in early 2001 that elevated Sharpton to a new national status. With the illegitimate-baby story spawning an array of other, mostly financial scandals, Sharpton, The New York Times Magazine reported, "offered himself up as Jackson's first defender" while "sources close to him were disparaging Jackson."
The prime instigator was Doley, a black Republican millionaire who supported Sharpton financially, giving to the National Action Network and even subsidizing the family while Sharpton served out his 90-day jail term that spring. The first black with a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and a linchpin in Jackson's creation of the Wall Street Project, Doley told the Voice: "I said to Sharpton, 'I'm going to bring Jesse down and make you the man.' Al said, 'I'm ready.'
Natch, you guessed it. Turns out that Big Al has his own little Love Nest problem as Barrett details it in his companion piece. Make sure you read this account in full and learn how Al prefers $4000 a night hotel suites and what class of gifts show up in the hands of his
girlfriend top female staffer. Meanwhile, the Washington Times reports that Al received more than $87,000 in payments for his “work” on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards campaign. You might ask, why bother with Al? Simple answer: you can’t believe the number of liberal friends I have who were willing to consider him as some sort of opposition voice within the Democratic Party. Opposition to ethics, maybe.
Chavez the Censor:
Venezuelan con man, Bolivarian Revolutionary, Great-Thinker and sitting President Hugo Chavez has just returned home from a tour of showcase democratic countries including Cuba, Iran and Libya. Chavez dropped in on Colonel Ghadafy, by the way, to pick up his prize as this year’s winner of the Ghadafy Human Rights Award. No, I’m not making this up. Seems that Chavez had to rush home to enact a new press censorship law. This one’s no laughing matter—drawing a rebuke from Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch among others. Randy Paul, as usual, has all the dope. No question that the Bushies don’t like Chavez. Hardly reason, though, for the rest of us to like this clown or, worse, apologize for his continuing thuggish deportment. Nice going, Randy.
Rudy the Red-Cheeked Brown-Noser
Looks like much of the collateral damage from the Bernie Kerik blow-up is settling around his mentor, protector, business-partner, former limo passenger, and top promoter, Rudy Giuliani. The Teflon has finally has cracked. Giuliani Time, indeed.
I think Ralph Nader's presidential campaign made no sense this year (though, reviewing Kerry's performance with hindsight maybe Ralph wasn't completely off-base.) I did, however, defend his right -- and anyone else's-- to run. Michael Moore, on the other hand, was among those who publicly pleaded with Nader not to put himself on any ballot. Now Nader is extracting some delightful revenge. Check out this searing open letter that Nader has published calling Moore "the Court Jester of the Democratic Party." Yum-Yum!