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Fake news is easier to digest when it’s paired with a nice fake headline.

Did the Tennessean’s Joel Ebert get punked by Marsha Blackburn?

Just minutes after the Tennessee Star announced it had polling numbers on Sen. Bob Corker’s re-elect (that would shoe he would be in big trouble if he was challenged by Rep. Marsha Blackburn), the intrepid hacks at the Tennessean were hard at work with a slapped-together “exclusive” story that was an apparent attempt to preemptively slap down any rumored challenge to Corker.  Here is the Tennessean headline and the link:

“Marsha Blackburn won’t challenge Sen. Corker, will seek re-election.”

So Marsha said she was not going to run against Bob Corker.  Stop the presses!  Just one problem, though — that’s not what she said.

Blackburn’s only quote in the story was: “I am running for re-election to the House of Representatives.  That is my focus.”

Nary a word by blackburn about Corker or a senate race.  But that did not keep Ebert extrapolating Blackburn’s brief quote and turned it into a blaring headline and blanket withdrawal from any consideration of running against Bob Corker.

As anyone who has more than ten minutes of experience advising incumbent congressmen on how to answer calls like the one Ebert had with Blackburn, the rules on how to answer such questions about future ambitions from the news media are well-defined.  Ebert probably told Blackburn that he had heard she might challenge Bob Corker. Blackburn could have answered in any of the following ways:

  1. “Why thank you for asking.  I have been secretly plotting to challenge an incumbent senator from my own party for some time now, and I had planned to announce in the fall.  But just because you asked, I am going to throw away my entire strategy and timetable, violate multiple confidences with supporters, compromise my current position as chairman of a major sub-committee, and spill my guts to you, just because you asked, Joel.”
  2. “I haven’t made up my mind.” (which of course would incite rampant speculation, generating more stories for the Tennessean).
  3. “I’m from the planet Mongo, and I have been inhabiting Marsha Blackburn’s body, which of course, makes me an ‘illegal alien.’” To which Ebert undoubtedly would have written the headline: “Blackburn is undocumented citizen.  Opposes Trump in building the wall.”

Or, Marsha might have answered exactly the way she did – preserving her options and her timetable despite the Tennessean’s desire for her to blurt out something else.

If Ebert has a recording or typed Shermanesque statement from Blackburn saying she is definitively not running or even considering running for the senate in 2018, then send it to us and we will reprint it and congratulate Ebert on his “scoop.”  Until then, Ebert and others would be well-advised to note:

Blackburn’s not running for the senate.

Until she is.

No news? Let’s make something up!

The Bearded Ones and their manufactured articles.

Clearly the staff cutbacks and merger of the Tennessean into the bowels of the Gannett corporation (USA Today Network – Anywhere) is starting to take its toll on the dynamic duo Boucher & Ebert (not to be confused with Siskel & Ebert).

First they positioned themselves as newly minted foreign policy experts, writing an article asserting the controversies (real and imagine) surrounding Trump somehow gives Sen. Bob Corker additional influence in foreign affairs.

Right.

When we stopped laughing at their hypothesis, a couple of the RTP crew sent the article to friends in DC who, you know, actually have foreign policy experience and the hilarity ensued all over again.

It is true that before Trump was elected, Corker was arguably the highest ranking elected Republican voice in foreign affairs as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  But then Trump came along, and Corker was quickly demoted to about 5th place on the foreign affairs pecking order – below the president, the vice-president, the Secretary of State, the head of the National Security Council, the NSA, the CIA, etc.  All of these people get to weigh in before anyone even thinks about calling Bob and asking him to bring them pizza.

So when Booger & Ebert write a story with such an absurd premise, then round up a couple of obscure pundits to confirm their inane premise, somehow that’s news?  Yeah, fake news.

But not satisfied with their foray into reporting on subject matter for which they are singularly unqualified, Doucher & Ebert returned to something for which they are renowned:  manufacturing local political controversy where there is none.

Apparently no longer content to searching through Jeremy Durham’s trash to recover DNA specimens from his discarded boxer shorts, the Bearded Ones ran with a story that alleges Brian Kelsey was laundering state campaign contributions into his failed congressional race.  We say “alleged’ because they wrote their story with more “qualifiers” than a regional NCAA track meet.  Here are just some of the weasel-word accusations delivered by the Tennessean reporters:

May have broken the law”

possible issues”

hint at”

If….then”

“don’t necessarily imply wrongdoing”

seemingly coordinate”

“Investigators may be interested”

Whew!  It “appears likely” these “reporters” “may have seemingly” pulled this story right out of their “possible” asses.  For good measure they trotted out a liberal “expert” who use to work for the far-left Center for Media and Democracy – an outfit whose default agenda is to find vast right-wing conspiracies under every rock.

All they left out of the story was that the Russians were somehow involved.

They start their story with $106,000 that Kelsey donated to a PAC.  Of course, when you do the math, they could only account for $66,000 that they said “might” have been routed through other PACs to benefit Kelsey’s congressional bid.  What happened to the other $40,000, geniuses?  Or did that not fit your narrative?  Apparently, if Kelsey gave money to a PAC, which gave it to another PAC, who gave to an independent expenditure committee who then took out mailings and ads to benefit a candidate, that that is somehow wrong.

Funny, we didn’t see these paragons of public virtue get their panties all bunched up and condemn Bill Haslam for DOING THE SAME DAMN THING with the Advance TN PAC a couple of years ago.  But then doing so would have been real reporting – as opposed to contrived reporting meant to promote or protect their liberal agenda.

This calls for another investigation!  Somebody call James Comey.  We hear he’s looking for work these days.  And the Bearded Ones could write – or “more likely” — concoct another another manufactured story.

More problems with the Vandy “poll”

Garbage in — Garbage out.

 The Tennessee Star did an outstanding analysis of a recent Vanderbilt poll last week, listing all the reasons it was flawed, biased and political useless.

 But they missed one.  An RTP tipster with way too much free time brought to our attention the following question:

 Q27. How much do you support or oppose a temporary ban on all Muslims traveling to the United States?

 Did you see what they did there?   First they called the Trump executive order a “ban on all Muslims.”  That is a provable and rather obvious lie meant to elicit the response the pointy-headed professors desired.  How can you “ban all Muslims” when nearly 90% of the world’s Muslims are totally unaffected by the temporary travel ban?

And, of course, the profs failed to mention that 6 of the 7 terrorist countries in the ban were identified as such, not by Trump but by Obama.

It costs over $50,000 a year to attend Vanderbilt.  With the intelligentsia producing bogus research like this, a degree from there seems way over-priced.

Hmmm.

Someone is polling Corker.

Our loyal RTP band of tipsters have informed us that someone is currently in the field, polling about the 2018 U.S. Senate race.

Is it Corker doing a poll to assess how bad he screwed up by turning against Trump?  Is it Blackburn, considering a race with or without Corker on the ballot in 2018?  Is it Diane Black, trying to see if running for Senate is a better bet than running for governor?  Is it to determine if 4 out of 5 dentists recommend brushing after each election?

Judging from the questions asked, we have a pretty good indication who it is.  But we will hold our theory (we know, a first for Rocky Top) until we get some confirmation.

Until then, feel free to speculate among yourselves.  In the interim, here is a suggested sample poll question to whet your appetite:

Would you be more or less likely to vote for Bob Corker if you knew he was (ROTATE):

a.  a weasel?

b.  a crook?

c.  taller?

d.  Secretary of Anything?

e.  Don’t know/refused.

 

 

Does Marsha see an opening?

Just hours after Corker takes a cheap shot at Trump, Blackburn enthusiastically defends the President.

The RTP tipline is a-hummin’ over the actions of Sen. Bob Corker.  Seems that when he marched out and pompously declared the White House was in a “downward spiral” and out of control, it launched an immediate backlash that surprised even us (and we are not surprised that easily).

Many tipsters and Republican voters were angry at what they saw as Corker disloyalty and his rush to judgement.  That was an understandable reaction.  But perhaps more interesting was those reactions have been frequently accompanied by calls for Cong. Marsha Blackburn to run against Corker in the primary next year.

The cries for “Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!” could have been the direct result of her immediate and spirited defense of Trump in the face of Corker’s perfidy.  But no one should doubt Blackburn’s political instincts or her personal popularity — not to mention her $4 million federal campaign war chest.

It was a noteworthy and very well-timed defense of the President by the Congressman.

Blackburn for Senate, anyone?

Meet the new “Never Trumper.”

When President Trump didn’t give Bob Corker what he wanted, Bob Corker showed his true colors.

As long as Sen Bob Corker thought President Trump could help advance his personal ambitions, he was The Donald’s best friend.  First there was talk of Corker as a running mate for Trump.  That was a non-starter.  Then is was said Corker thought he would make a fine Treasury Secretary.  Trump thought not.  But Corker believed the biggest cabinet prize — Secretary of State — was just made for him.  But in the end it was clear he was never under serious consideration.

And then something else happened.

Corker has long fought to keep Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in receivership and was happy to have their profits stolen from the taxpayers and used to prop up Obama’s lousy health care operation.  By doing so, Corker and his Democrat colleague, Sen. Mark Warner, could promote so-called “GSE reform” that would allow big banks such as Wells Fargo to take over the nation’s mortgage markets and reap billions in profits.

But after a private dinner with the President a couple of weeks ago, Corker emerged surly and peevish.  The day after his one-on-one with the President, Corker went out and made a snide remark about the North Korea briefing Trump held for the Senate.  Many in DC believe Corker was in a snit because at that dinner, Trump likely  told Corker he was going to stop the Obama administration’s ripping off Fannie May and Freddie Mac profits to illegally pay for things like Obamacare.  That would be a big problem for Corker’s GSE legislation and Wells Fargo’s dream of a huge payout.

It got worse:  Corker was demonstrably pissed off over his public run-in with FHFA director Mel Watt last week in which the director confirmed the administration’s  plans to end the GSE rip-off.  Corker asked Watt a couple of snotty questions, then stormed out of the hearing when his attempted baiting of Watt failed.

On Monday, the Washington Post ran a story claiming Trump was spilling state secrets to the Russian ambassador — a story that now appears to be completely “fake news.”  Without even checking out the story, Corker rushed to unleash his anti-Trump inner-self :

“Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee … was unusually sharp in his scolding of the Trump White House.

“Obviously they’re in a downward spiral right now and they’ve got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that’s happened,” he told reporters Monday night. “The chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment that I think makes a worrisome environment.”

Conservative commentator, Laura Ingraham took Corker to task for his cheap shot:

“Conservative pundit Laura Ingraham was not amused, wondering out loud on Fox News Monday night why the senator would be so quick to criticize before hearing an explanation from the White House.”

So did Lou Dobbs:

“Senate GOP in spiral of disloyalty and cowardice.  Corker says White House in ‘downward spiral.'”

Yep, whenever there was a possibility he could be secretary of state or some other high ranking position, Corker acted like he was Trump’s best buddy (although RTP sources inside the White House say there has and continues to be a significant level of distrust when it comes to the ethically challenged Corker).

But with his personal ambitions seemingly blocked at every turn, Corker has returned to form and sought to assuage his own failures with cheap, cowardly attacks against Trump.  Breeding always bears out, and all that.

It is highly unlikely Trump will reward Corker’s disloyalty with anything other than the contempt it deserves.

Enjoy it, Bonaparte Bob.  You’ve earned it.

 

 

Who’s yer Daddy?

Striking a blow for Political Gender Fluidity, Ryan Williams declares himself “Mommie.”

One of the most bizarre incidents of last week’s revolt against the House leadership by conservative Republicans and the Democrats was when House GOP caucus chairman, Rep. Ryan Williams, stood up before the GOP caucus and informed the members that they had elected Rep, Glen Casada to “be the daddy” of the caucus and that they had also elected him (Williams) “to be the Mommie.”

Yes, he actually said that.

Ah, where to start.

The first icky question: if Casada is the “daddy” and Williams is the “mommie,” just when did the two of them consummate their relationship?  And is Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss the love-child of that union?

Rep. Barry Doss shortly after birth.

“Boss” Doss today.

To this, we say: “Blecch.”

If these two are the “parents” of the caucus, then someone needs to call Family Services — because their actions could definitely be considered child abuse.  “Mommie Dearest” leadership at its finest…

 

Rep. Williams’ message to the GOP Caucus:

Bonaparte Bob

Rumor out of DC is that Sen. Bob Corker’s recent private dinner with President Trump was not a social occasion.  It is believed Trump politely, but firmly, informed Corker (R-Wells Fargo) that his legislation to “reform” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was neither necessary nor welcome.

If true, this would be a major blow to Corker, who has been relentless in his efforts to deliver the home mortgage business to the big banks (of whom Wells Fargo is the largest player).

Tomorrow might bring another blow to Corker’s standing and self-perceived clout in Washington.  Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) director Mel Watt is slated to testify before the Senate Banking committee (of which Corker is a member) and rumor has it that he will address the practice of the federal government keeping all of the profits from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. A federal judge recently declared the Obama administration illegally looted the two institutions to pay for Obamacare.  If Watt announces the government is going to stop the Obama-era policy of taking all of those institutions’ profits, look for Corker’s reputation and standing to take a serious blow.

Maybe Bonaparte Bob needs a vacation.  We hear St. Helena is a nice place to ponder his future…

Paybacks are HELL.

Pandemonium!  Mayhem!  Crying Speakers!

Conservatives finally have enough of tax increases and abusive Leadership. 

Pissed-off Democrats finally discover their “special purpose” and join Conservatives to wreak havoc on the House floor.

For a moment there, we thought Charles Sargent was finally going to experience that long-expected coronary.  Huffing and puffing from the podium, Sargent practically screamed “There was no deal!  There was no deal!”

He was lying.

So what “deal” was Chas referring to?  Turns out the Dems had indeed cut a deal to pass the Haslam/Pilot Oil Gas Tax Increase after 1/2 of the House GOP caucus had come out in opposition to it.  Without the Dems, Haslam and House leadership still didn’t have enough votes to jam it through. That’s when Haslam opened up the taxpayers’ checkbook and offered a deal on education spending to the Democrats in order to get the votes to win.  Fitzhugh and the Dems kept their word and delivered on their part of the bargain by delivering  23 votes for the Gas Tax.

But then Haslam and leadership made a fateful mistake.

They screwed the Democrats.  They bent them over the barrel.  Nailed them to the wall.  Stabbed them in the back.

Just a day before the budget vote, but after he had delivered the required votes to pass the Gas Tax, Dem Leader Craig Fitzhugh was told “Oops, sorry.  You have no deal.”  Casada, McCormick, Harwell, Haslam, Sargent, Ryan Williams, et al pretended to deny the very deal that everyone within driving distance of the LP knew had been made.

Combine the Dems anger with the building, boiling frustrations of House conservatives — who make up a near or actual majority of the House GOP caucus — and you get ignition.  The seething resentment toward leadership’s treatment of conservative members of their own party has been building for years.  And today it boiled over.

Over Majority Leader Glen Casada’s protests, the two factions teamed up on the House floor and began offering and passing every amendment they could come up with, effectively shutting down the process.  And the amendments were creative.  If someone had an amendment to fund a million-dollar wildlife habitat recovery center for former Hooters waitresses, they probably would have passed it.

That’s when Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams started whining that some of his GOP colleagues were making a mockery of “the process” that leadership had cooked up to jam through the tax increase.

RTP wonders, Ryan, just which “process” were you referring to?  Were you talking about “the process” that kills perfectly good bills in House Finance Sub before they are given a vote on the floor of the House?  Are you talking about “the process” that invents magical last-second phoney fiscal votes meant to kill legislation the leadership doesn’t like, but would likely have overwhelming support of the voters?  Or maybe you are talking about “the process” that allowed Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss to flagrantly violate multiple House rules to bully the Gas Tax through his committees.

F**k your “process,” Ryan.

The long-term damage has been done, and Haslam and the House Leadership have only themselves to blame.

“Speaker” Casada?  After today that seems very unlikely.  “Governor” Harwell?  Even less so.

At the end of the day, today’s show may not matter in terms of the Governor getting his budget.  He still has the ability to buy off enough legislators with taxpayers’ money to scrape together enough votes.  Late word is that Harwell led a group over to the Senate after the House chaos, hoping they could somehow bail her out.  The Senators essentially told Harwell to “pound sand” and “your broke it, you bought it.”  The Senators indicated they didn’t believe the Democrat/Conservative Republican coalition would hold when the House reconvenes tomorrow morning.

But after Haslam and the leadership’s lying to and screwing of the Democrats and after years of abuse of conservatives, the crew here at RTP is hoping and praying that right after the opening invocation tomorrow morning the two groups collectively stand up and say:

“Hey, y’all — watch this!  Hold my beer.”

 

 

 

 

See, we told you so.

White House correspondent says Corker up to his ears in financial corruption.

“Say, Bob. Is that a federal prosecutor hiding in that sand trap?”

Yeah, for RTP there is nothing like the sweet smell of vindication.

The crew here at Rocky Top has been reporting for months about what appeared to be numerous shady deals involving Sen. Bob Corker.  You can see those posts here:

Now comes best-selling author Jerome Corsi (remember John Kerry and the “Swift Boat” scandal?) who writes for InfoWars.com and who – thanks to President Trump – is now a credentialed White House press correspondent.  Apparently using similar sources RTP relied on in its reporting, Corsi takes aim at Corker — and how.

RTP loves that in the very first paragraph of his first article on the issue, Corsi refers to Corker as the “Senator from Wells Fargo.”  Gee, we wonder where he got that idea?

— photo compliments of Rocky Top Politics.

What does all this mean?  It means Corker may be in a world of hurt.  Everywhere you turn, you see Corker making deals with either shady characters or just making questionable deals to make money.  He has had to amend his financial disclosure statements 83 times to try and cover his tracks.  As others start to dig into this, here are just some of the pressing questions Corker is going to need to answer:

  • What is the current status of the federal probe into, among other issues, Corker’s involvement with CBL?
  • Does the White House know of these problems (we are betting they do, since Trump passed on naming Corker the Veep or the Secretary of State)?
  • How was Corker, who came into office in what now appears to have been a precarious personal financial situation, able to amass a huge fortune while supposedly working full-time as a U.S. Senator?
  • Why do numerous Corker business transactions and interactions seem to always involve Wells Fargo as a key player?
  • And why is Corker so hell-bent on legislation (the abolition of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) that would result in a massive windfall for Wells Fargo?

You know why, don’t you?

We admit we were surprised a few days ago when Corker told the Gannet/USA Today Tennessean he had made no final decisions about running for re-election.  Could it be he knows something he isn’t sharing with the rest of us?