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No kidding.

I got an email this evening from John Seiler of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. Johnny wrote the following:

My name is John Seiler and I'm a reporter with the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity.

I noticed that you called for Mitt Romney to release his tax returns:

For an article I am doing on this, will you please publicly release your own tax returns and send me a copy?

My response, and a bit about who these guys are, below the squiggle. Wisconsinites already know who they are...

Here's what I wrote in return. (Both his and my emails are verbatim, except for salutations and email headers.)

Sure thing, John, as soon as I declare my candidacy for the presidency.

And for the record, knowing what I know about Ben Franklin and the rabid partisanship of the Franklin Center, if Ben were with us today, he'd slap you guys silly.

Don't bother me again.

I didn't call him a right-wing jackass, though I certainly could have. (I mean, he did say "please.") And since he was so willing to reach out and touch me through the wonders of the Intertoobz, I'll provide his email address in case you'd like to do the same:
Unfortunately, SourceWatch is down as I write this, and they don't seem to let the Wayback Machine archive their pages, so I can't share with you the downlow on these guys. Wikipedia tells us that they're a "nonprofit" (rrright, Johnny) organization founded by the loony-right Sam Adams Alliance (another revolutionary who would slap the skin off of these Tories using their names). Their mission statement tells us their job is
to promote social welfare and civil betterment by undertaking programs that promote journalism and the education of the public about corruption, incompetence, fraud, or taxpayer abuse by elected officials at all levels of government. The Franklin Center will accomplish these goals by networking and training independent investigative reporters, as well as journalists from state based news organizations, public-policy institutions & watchdog groups.
From visiting their site and reading about them on that selfsame Intertoobz thing, it seems their real mission is to get Republicans elected and ratfuck the media to keep the balance tilted towards the right.

Case in point.

In February 2011, a mysterious poll showed Scott Walker's budget proposal receiving far more love from Wisconsin citizens than previously suspected. Great jumping horny toads, were we all shocked to find out that the poll didn't come from someone who knew what the fuck they were doing with polls, but from the "investigative reporters" at the Franklin Center, who grossly misrepresented the data (i.e. lied, for the other wingnut "investigators" who are lost in the weeds of this diary) to come up with a headline that didn't tally at all with the poll results. Not surprising, since Franklin's king-hell muckety-muck, Jason Stverak, bills himself as an "expert in nonprofit journalism" when what he really is is an expert in Republican ratfucking. TPM:

Stverak’s bio doesn’t list any previous work in journalism before he founded the center in 2009. It does, however, mention his work with the conservative Sam Adams Alliance, a stint as North Dakota executive director for the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee and six years as the executive director of the North Dakota Republican Party. In fact, the Franklin Center is a spinoff of the Sam Adams Alliance which, Slate’s Dave Weigel reports, is a major funder of American Majority, the group behind last Saturday’s pro-Walker counter-rallies in Madison.
And just to add the cherry on top of this shit sundae, WaPo reported in May 2012 that the Franklin Center was tag-teaming with the Heritage Foundation to produce ... wait for it ... the Breitbart Awards, in honor of that Daring, Dashing Paragon of Investigative Journalism, Right-Wing Derring-Do, and Drunken Slobbering Debauchery.

So Andrew "Answer My Question After I Finish Puking in this Potted Plant" Breitbart, who died from an overdose of dumbass, is their paragon of investigative journalism. Rrrrriiight.

I wonder if I will hear from Herr Seiler again. I recently got into an interesting exchange with a fellow from the Birch Society who tried oh-so-politely to convince me that the Birchers weren't racist, they'd never been racist, and the only racists were all of us affirmative action junkies on the left, but that petered out fairly quickly. Not sure Seiler will bother to respond, I think he wanted some howling retort full of F-bombs (which I will toss when the mood takes me) that he could print and say, "Ewww, look at this evil socialist commie fascist liberal, throwing profanity and taking Our Lord's name in vain all because of an innocent request I made, they're all like that, you know, now let's all drink a tall boy in honor of Saint Andrew."

But, seriously, if I ever do run for president and seem to have a good chance of winning the nomination for whatever party is confused enough to have me represent them, I will release my tax returns. However, if Seiler asks me a Jeff Gannonesque question during my moment of glory during the Fox News debates, I will just point at him and laugh.



Max, you should respond by

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