Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Corporate Liar: David Sirota

One thing that always irks me is when a writer bites the Invisible Hand that feeds him -- the writer who's only too happy to collect his check from Big Publishing, Inc., but constantly runs down the free-market miracle which puts organic free-range chicken on his table (and gas in his Mercedes).

In the June issue of Reason magazine, I accuse Rod "Crunch Cons" Dreher of succumbing to this temptation to make money by bashing capitalism -- just some gentle, friendly sarcasm, and nothing like the 3,700-word jeremiad Dreher got from his National Review colleague Jonah Goldberg. But Dreher, while evidently having flunked his final exam on "I, Pencil" at the Right-Wing Institute of Free Market Idolatry, is still not a Marxist, whatever Jonah says.

David Sirota is another matter altogether. Sirota has a new book out that's all about hanging a big "culture of corruption" sign around the GOP's neck:
Sirota expertly details how government today deliberately refuses to protect citizens from a soulless, greedy corporate oligarchy.
Good for you, David: Getting paid to denounce "a soulless, greedy corporate oligarchy" while working for Random House, part of a $20 billion multinational media conglomerate that just announced a 55% increase in its profits, on a quarterly revenue of $5.6 billion. Amazing how a guy can get rich running down capitalism, y'know?

I can understand, though. I've got six kids to feed, and the oldest is going off to college next fall. So, sure, Dave, whatever a guy's got to do to make a living: work for the House Democrats, flack for Democratic candidates, work for socialist Bernie Sanders, hang out with Al Franken, help shove even more obscene profits into the coffers of a $20 billion multinational conglomerate ....

But ... do you have to LIE, David?

This is from a press release announcing Sirota's DC rollout:
On May 8th and 9th, author, political strategist and former Capitol Hill operative David Sirota will be headlining two major events in Washington, D.C. to launch his controversial new book, “HOSTILE TAKEOVER: How Big Money & Corruption Conquered Our Government – And How We Take It Back” (Crown Publishers, pub date: 5/9/06). It is the first and only book in the aftermath of recent major scandals that aggressively tackles corruption — and both parties’ complicity in it. As former Vice President Al Gore said of “Hostile Takeover”: “Every politically engaged citizen should read this book.”
Perhaps I will find time to examine Sirota's "controversial" new book — a career Democratic Party operative's book — and see what he says about "both parties' complicity," but as far as it being "the first and only book in the aftermath of recent major scandals that aggressively tackles corruption": That's a lie, David, a big, fat, honking lie.

Chapter 12 of DONKEY CONS focuses on Tom DeLay and the Abramoff scandal, and the footnotes are as recent as Jan. 12, 2006, after DeLay announced he would not seek to regain his leadership position and Republicans began campaigning to reorganize their House leadership. Chapter 12 even mentions this Bloomberg article (Jan. 11, 2006) about how the Abramoff scandal was wrecking Ralph Reed's ambitions (hey, we all gotta do what we can).

Who wrote the first post-Abramoff scandal book "that aggressively tackles corruption" in both parties? Excuse us, David Sirota, but Chapter 2 (pp. 17-43) of DONKEY CONS features a detailed listing of every member of Congress who, in the past 30 years, has been either (a) convicted of a serious crime, or (b) disciplined for ethics violations.

After telling the stories of 5 currently serving House Democrats -- Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) -- Chapter 2 of DONKEY CONS provides (pages 24-30) brief sketches of the crimes and ethics violations of 24 more Democrats fron Wayne Hays to Robert Torricelli, before turning its attention to the 13 Republican members of Congress busted for crime/corruption/ethics since 1975.

At that point (p. 33), the corruption tally stands at 29 Dems/13 GOP. Then DONKEY CONS counts the big congressional scandals of the past 30 years: the House Bank Scandal, House Post Office Scandal, Abscam, Keating Five, Koreagate, and the House Page Scandal. After naming EVERY member of Congress convicted of serious crime or corruption, or disciplined for ethics violation since 1975, on p. 36 we give our final tally:
DEMS 46, GOP 15
If somebody else wants to do their own count, they're welcome to do so. (Bruce Bartlett got similar results.) You can start here, and then check here, and then do a lot of Nexis and Google searches. Oh, and the 15 Republicans? Our count includes BOTH Tom DeLay AND Duke Cunningham -- that's how up-to-date we made it.

Yet Sirota, who actually worked as a Capitol Hill staffer and thus should know this stuff, lies and claims to have written "the first and only book in the aftermath of recent major scandals that aggressively tackles corruption." Both Lynn and I work day jobs as editors, so maybe she'll agree that we should edit your press release to say:

"The first and only book written by a well-known Democratic Party hack in the aftermath of recent major scandals that aggressively attacks capitalism as if making a profit were synonymous with corruption."

Oh, just to make sure nobody is misled, David's not from Montana, any more than Paul "New Jersey" Begala is from Texas. And despite what Sirota tells the people in this lying press release, he is not a "Philadelphia-area native," either. He was born in New Haven, Conn., and his family later moved to the suburbs of Philadelphia.

Ann Coulter:
"Liberals simply can't grasp
the problem Lexis-Nexis poses
to their incessant lying."

As enthusiastically as David Sirota shills for Democrats, don't get him confused with the co-author of "The Enthusiastic Employee." That author's name is also Sirota, but he is much older, a management consultant who has taught at Yale and Wharton, among other places, but also worked for those soulless, greedy corporate oligarchies like IBM.

Back to the David Sirota who's got this new "corruption" book .... I must admit, I'm probably just jealous of you, David: You're only, what, 31? 32? Graduated from the prestigious Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. (Man, a private college -- $32,000 tuition a year! That is so awesome dude! I went to Jacksonville State: $4,000 a year.)

It's also great, Dave, how you started pimping for Democrats while you were still in college. I worked summers in fast-food for minimum wage. So I think it's super-cool how you can relate to the working men and women of America, Dave, while you fight! fight! fight! to stop those big greedy corporations from ripping us off. Where would the humble working folks be, without Medill University grads to fight for them? What courage, to write those "controversial" books about those "greedy, soulless" Republicans!

And now you're working for a $20 billion multinational conglomerate that paid for a 15-city publicity tour, with respectful press from the New York Times, the Philadelphia Daily News, etc., and this story from the Helena, Mont., Independent Review:
He said he did his own research for “Hostile Takeover,” spending a year on the research and writing. The style features plenty of bare-knuckled, aggressive criticism, as Sirota often refers to his targets as “shills,” “liars” or even “corporate whores.”

“I’m not worried about (the tone), because the facts speak for themselves,” he said. “I think the people that this book goes after need a good punch in the nose.”
I'm with you, Dave, I don't mind calling a career partisan operative a "shill" or a "liar." Especially when he's hanging out with a liar like Tom Matzzie.

What I'm wondering is this, David: If, in the middle of an election year, a German-based $20 million conglomerate can pay a Democratic party hack to go out on a 15-city tour telling America that Republicans constitute "a soulless, greedy corporate oligarchy," why can't they throw some of that kind of action at a soulless, greedy guy like me? Is there a little-known IRS provision that requires these corporate oligarchs to publish a certain annual quota of books by professional Democratic Party operatives ?

And you know something else, David? I hated your particular kind of lying, even when I was a Democrat.


Rave review
Another rave review
DONKEY CONS: Yet ANOTHER rave review
DONKEY CONS: About the book
On Capitol Hill