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Saturday, August 1, 2009
WND Repeats False Health Care Reform Claims
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has embraced the right-wing culture of misinformation regarding health care reform.

A July 31 WND article by Bob Unruh cites Nina May of the right-wing group Renaissance Women to claim that "Those 65 and older will be required to undergo mandatory 'end of life' counseling to determine if they are worthy to continue to not only live, but take much needed resources from those who are younger and more worthy to receive them." Unruh added:

WND reported earlier when Betsy McCaughey, the former New York state officer, told former presidential candidate Fred Thompson during an interview on his radio program the health care plan includes consultations for seniors on how to die.

"One of the most shocking things is page 425, where the Congress would make it mandatory absolutely that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session," she said. "They will tell [them] how to end their life sooner."

McCaughey's claim is false -- originally reported by Unruh in a July 22 article -- as is May's echo of it. PolitiFact called the claim a "Pants on Fire" falsehood, which Unruh didn't see fit to tell his readers about. Indeed, McCaughey has been forced to walk back the claim.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:26 AM EDT
Will The Long Form Be Enough for WND?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been screaming for months that it wants President Obama to release his "long-form" birth certificate. But if he did so, would that satisfy Joseph Farah and Co.?

Indications are the answer is no.

A July 29 WND article casts doubt on the veracity of any birth certificate issued by the state of Hawaii in 1961 -- effectively laying the groundwork that Obama's long-form certificate, should one actually exist and should he decide to release it, is as insufficient as the official Hawaii-issued his campaign released last year at confirming that he was indeed born in Hawaii.

That would seem to confirm what White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said at the July 27 press briefing -- that there's nothing Obama could do to satisfy the birthers.

And Farah himself has, for all intents and purposes, said that his goal is not to obtain proof of citizenship but to hound Obama out of office. In his July 30 column, he snarled: "Our country is being transformed rapidly by an administration that is of highly questionable legality." Does that sound like a man who would be mollified by a "long-form" birth certificate?

For Farah, being a birther is a means to an end -- trying to hound Obama out of office the way he tried to hound President Clinton out of office in the '90s.

Besides, if Obama actually did release the long-form certificate, a key part of Farah's merchandising business would dry up. So Farah has a financial incentive to stoke the story -- the more gullible folks to sell trinkets to, the better.

Farah knows that being a birther is not about the truth -- it's simply good business.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 AM EDT
Friday, July 31, 2009
WND Promotes Anonymous Video Claiming Obama Is Antichrist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 30 WorldNetDaily article by Joe Kovacs touts an anonymous YouTube video claiming that the Bible depicts Barack Obama as the Antichrist:

"When I started doing a little research, I found the Greek word for 'lightning' is 'astrape', and the Hebrew equivalent is 'Baraq,'" said YouTube contributor "ppsimmons," a self-described Christian with a theological education and many years in the ministry, who spoke to WND under condition of anonymity. "I thought that was fascinating." 

As he continued looking into the rest of the words in the phrase, he focused on "heaven," and found that it can refer not just to God's dwelling place, but also "the heights" or "high places."

He then recalled Isaiah 14:14, where Lucifer, another name for Satan, is quoted as saying, "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High."

"I wondered what the word 'heights' is," said ppsimmons, "and I looked it up in the dictionary, and it's 'Bamah.'"

Thus, on the video, the announcer notes, "If spoken by a Jewish rabbi today, influenced by the poetry of Isaiah, He (Jesus) would say these words in Hebrew ... 'I saw Satan as Baraq Ubamah.'"

"Gosh, was Jesus giving us a clue or was this just a freak coincidence?" thought the filmmaker at the time of his research.

Here's the video:


Kovacs goes on to quote the poster: "I'm not proclaiming he is the antichrist, or that I'm some kind of a Hebrew expert, but the word associations are indisputable. The Hebrew word for lightning is 'Baraq' and the word for heights or high places is 'Bamah.'"

Yeah, sure.

As might be expected, this anonymous person's claim has some problems. As Richard Bartholomew writes:

The “U” slips in as a Hebrew “vav” construction, supposedly to link “lightning” and “heaven” to together.

Of course, this is yet another farrago of nonsense; as with Walid Shoebat’s crackpot exegesis of the Book of Revelation, this kind of re-interpretation is not warranted by any problem in the text, and it does violence to the context – Jesus in Luke 10:17-20 is clearly celebrating Satan’s fall in response to his disciples’ reports of their successes as exorcists.

In fact, the Greek word used in the verse from Luke translated as ”Heaven” is “ouranos” (or “ouranou”, to keep the correct case ending). If one wanted to render this into Hebrew or Aramaic (which is not, by the way, “the most ancient form of Hebrew”), it would be more appropriate to use “shamayim” than “bamah”, notwithstanding Isaiah 14:14 (where the context has Satan rising to somewhere beyond the “bamah”, anyway). Another difficulty is that the verb “fall” has been dropped from ppsimmon’s final version: it’s obvious that Satan is being compared metaphorically to the physical phenomenon of lightning, as Satan supposedly falls from the sky. Or did Jesus mean to say “I saw Satan fall like Barack Obama”? What would that mean? As for the “vav” construction, those are attached to certain verbs rather than nouns, and they are not used to indicate the preposition “from”.

Kovacs, who purports to be a Bible expert to the point where he has written a book claiming to reveal "The Most Astonishing Facts You've Never Been Told" were in the Bible, makes no effort to challenge the YouTube poster's claims -- even though, as Bartholomew demonstrates, a Bible scholar like Kovacs purports to be would presumably know where the person went wrong.

This, by the way, is just the latest report in which WND has granted anonymity to a person attacking Obama. As with most previous reports, Kovacs does not disclose why he granted the video's creator anonymity.

WND editor Joseph Farah has previously dismissed anomymous sources as providing "quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better."

WND's increased use of anonymous sources to attack Obama can be seen as a sign that it's willing to throw anything and everything -- no matter how specious -- at the president.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:40 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 31, 2009 10:43 AM EDT
AIM Endorses Obama Smears
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media published a July 30 column by right-wing blogger Pamela Meister that repeatedly smears President Obama. Presented as an entry to his "diary," Meister denigrates the president by claiming that he thinks the police officer who arrested Henry Louis Gates is "whitey" and Gates' "oppressor," asserts that "Rahm and ACORN on the case" of a black police officer who defended the arresting officer "ready to give her the Joe the Plumber treatment" and that Obama deliberately caused a controversy over Gates to "take the heat out of the healthcare kitchen."

AIM claims at the end of Meister's column that "Guest columns do not necessarily reflect the views of Accuracy in Media or its staff," but that's disingenuous. AIM does not contain content that is generated automatically via a feed; every word on the AIM website is there because somebody decided to put it there. That means Meister's smears do, in fact, "reflect the views of Accuracy in Media or its staff."

Simply put: If Meister's column didn't reflect AIM's views, AIM would not have posted it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 31, 2009 9:28 AM EDT
Faux Outrage Fail
Topic: Washington Examiner

The Washington Examiner's Mark Tapscott -- apparently taking cues from his fellow conservatives at -- tried to gin up some outrage over a remark by Vice President Joe Biden that really wasn't all that outrageous.

In a Wall Street Journal interview published July 25, Biden, in a discussion of Russia, said: "I can see Putin sitting in Moscow saying, 'Jesus Christ, Iran gets the nuclear weapon, who goes first?' Moscow, not Washington."

Tapscott proclaimed himself, in a blog post that same day, to be offended at Biden's "incredible use of 'Jesus Christ' as a curse word," adding:

This is not merely a gaffe or "insensitivity." Taking in vain the name of the man billions of Christians for two millenia have accepted as the creator and Savior of the entire world is either a consciously chosen insult or the kind of unthinking idiocy that disqualifies this guy from being one heartbeat away from the presidency.

How many more stupid comments does it take before his handlers in the White House realize it's time for this dunce to retire?

Tapscott later appended an apology to Biden for calling him a dunce.

Tapscott refrained from direct insults in a July 28 column, but he still managed to escalate the rhetoric, declaring Biden's words to be "hate speech":

Hate speech is hate speech, whether it is aimed at Christians, Muslims, Gays, or African-Americans. Whether or not it should prosecuted or, as Thomas Jefferson argued, left undisturbed as a monument to tolerance and the strength of rational argument is a different issue. Here, it is sufficient to note that hate speech is speech meant to demean, ridicule, and discredit all who are associated with its target.

So where is the outrage about Biden's hate speech against Christians? We've not heard a peep of protest from the Southern Baptist Convention. Nothing from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Nothing from the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Nothing from the United Methodist Church.


Biden's uncorrected cursing is indicative of the slow strangling by the unrelenting forces of political correctness of the religious tolerance that is Christianity's greatest gift to America.

We've reached a point in which the nation's second highest official can without fear insult and degrade the name revered by millions of Americans, but woe unto him who says a word even remotely critical of the PC flavors of the day.

It's worth noting that in neither article did Tapscott provide the full context in which Biden used the exclamation so readers could judge for themselves.

Also worth noting: Tapscott's later column drew a large number of comments, many of whom dismissed his claim. Given that the Examiner is little more than a conservative hangoug these days, that can only be seen as a big thumbs-down to Tapscott's manufactured outrage.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EDT
WND Falsely Claims It Was Called Racist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For most of the day on July 30, WorldNetDaily carried on its front page the headline "WND labeled racist by AFP":

But the AFP article to which WND links does no such thing:

WASHINGTON — A small group of fringe conservatives, many fundamentally opposed to the notion of an African-American as president, are challenging President Barack Obama's eligibility for the US presidency.

On blogs and even before US courts, the so-called "Birthers" are using the Constitution, with its stipulation that presidents be US natural born citizens, to argue Obama should not be in the White House.

Despite proof that Obama was born in the US state of Hawaii, including a birth certificate affirming that fact, rumors continue to spread, fueled by a group that critics say includes right-wing militants, racists and Holocaust deniers.

"These are people who are fundamentally either racist or extreme right-wingers. That's where the whole movement is coming from," said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which studies extremist groups.

The movement is composed of "people who very much do not want Barack Obama to be president, largely because he is black, certainly because he is liberal," he added.

On sites like, where a petition questioning Obama's place of birth has attracted more than 400,000 electronic "signatories," the so-called Birthers are daily raising "new doubts about the story of Obama's birth."

While AFP correctly points out that there are those in the birther movement who are opposed to a black man in the White House, at no point does the article specifically assert that WND has a racist intent, let alone "label" WND as "racist," as the WND headline asserts.

To the contrary, WND has generally avoided any overtly racist implications in its birther crusade, to the point of refusing to acknowledge that some of its fellow compatriots are racists. But as the leader in the birther movement, WND's silence and apparent ends-justify-the-means attitude runs the risk of effectively condoning racism as a legitimate argument against Obama's presidency.

Instead of playing the victim by hurling false accusations, WND should confront the issue in a direct and honest manner by explicitly denouncing the racists in the birther ranks. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:21 AM EDT
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Newsmax Repeats False Health Reform Claim
Topic: Newsmax

In a July 28 Newsmax article, Dan Weil uncritically repeats claims attacking health care reform made by Harvard economist Martin Feldstein in a Washington Post op-ed. Among the claims by Feldstein Weil repeated was an assertion that a surcharge on the wealthy to pay for health care reform "will drive the top tax rate to 45 percent from 35 percent today."

In fact, Feldstein's suggestion that all taxpayers in the 35 percent bracket will pay the highest surcharge rate is false. The 35 percent rate currently begins at $372,950, while the highest surcharge applies only to incomes over $1 million.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:13 PM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a recent prison interview, Barack Obama Bernie Madoff told an interviewer, "I can't believe I got away with it."

-- Craige McMillan, July 30 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 3:53 PM EDT
The Horowitz Empire Flip-Flops on Racial Profiling
Topic: Horowitz

Does the left hand of the David Horowitz empire know what its right hand is doing?

We noted the other day that Horowitz himself has defended racial profiling because most drug dealers are black, a sentiment endorsed by the Horowitz-operated NewsReal blog.

Now, a July 30 FrontPageMag article by  Lloyd Billingsley asserts that there's no such thing as racial profiling, insisting that it is a "bogus construct " and it is "not ... a reality that the police target any group based on race or ethnicity."

So, which is it, guys? Is racial profiling imaginary, or is it entirely justified?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 PM EDT
Your WND Birther Lies of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily continues its flip-flopping on whether the birth certificate released by Barack Obama's campaign is authentic, with a July 29 article by Bob Unruh uncritically repeating a claim by an anti-Obama blogger that the certificate is a "forgery." Unruh failed to note WND's own reporting calling it authentic, which subsequent WND reporting has never directly contradicted.

Unruh fails to explain why anyone should accept the views of the blogger, whom Unruh describes only as "a 70-year-old retiree" who denigrates Obama as a "son of a b-tch ... communist," can be considered credible, especially given the extrordinarily high standards WND editor Joseph Farah has established before one is permitted to criticize him or WND.

Another July 29 article by Unruh cites "a report by an investigator commissioned by a retired CIA officer," published by the Western Journalism Center, to claim that there were "several ways to generate a 'Certificate of Birth'" in Hawaii in 1961. But the WJC curiously does not name the "retired CIA officer" or the "investigator" involved in the purported "investigation."

This raises doubts about the motivation and veracity of the report -- not to mention contradicting the transparency WND and the WJC are demanding from Obama. Why should this "invesigation" be trusted when the investigator and his financier won't put their names on their work? Unruh is curiously incurious about that.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:18 AM EDT
Activist Group Repeats Hate-Crime Bill Falsehoods
Topic: Newsmax

A July 24 email sent out on Newsmax's mailing list by Pray in Jesus Name -- headed by former military chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former WorldNetDaily cause celebre whom we've documented praying for the imminent deaths of his critics -- repeats discredited falsehoods regarding efforts to add gays to hate-crime laws.

The email calls the bill "the pro-homosexual 'Pedophile Protection Act'" and asserts that the bill does not define the phrase "sexual orientation" and "protects up to 547 types of sexually deviant behaviors." As we've detailed, the bill does not protect pedophilia or any other "sexually deviant behavior," and "sexual orientation" is already defined under federal law, so doing so inthis bill would be redundant.

Klingenschmitt also writes:

In 2004 my friend Michael Marcavage was arrested along with ten other Christians (including two elderly grandmothers), and charged with violating Pennsylvania’s "hate crimes" laws, because they carried signs conveying God’s love at a Gay Pride rally. One member of "The Philadelphia Eleven," Arlene Elshinnawy, 75 year-old grandmother of three, was holding a sign: "Truth is hate to those who hate the truth," before she was hauled off to jail by police officers.  They were literally threatened with 50 years in jail for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ on a public sidewalk, because it offended gays.

In fact, as we've detailed, Maracavage was not merely "carrying signs conveying God’s love"; he wielded a bullhorn and tried to interrupt a stage performance during the gay festival, and they were arrested only after they refused a police order to go to an area on the edge of the event. Further, the protesters were never in any danger of serving "50 years in jail"; even the lawyer for the gay event the protesters disrupted speculated that they would not receive anything more severe than probation (indeed, the charges were later dropped).

Klingenschmitt also portrayed himself in the email as "a former Navy Chaplain who was punished (in writing, three times) for quoting the Bible in chapel during optionally-attended worship." In fact, as we've noted, Klingenschmitt was never punished for praying in Jesus' name; he was punished for disobeying the lawful order of a senior officer by appearing in uniform at a partisan event.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:22 AM EDT
Molotov Lies About GM Dealer Closings
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Molotov Mitchell begins his July 29 WorldNetDaily video with a blatant falsehood:

American businesses are dropping like flies. Across the country, our citizens are being manhandled by this new gangster government. As the new owners of General Motors, the feds recently passed out 3,400 pink slips to dealerships, regardless of their productivity. Thirty-four-hundred dealerships got shut down by Democrats.

In fact, GM is not "shutting down" more than half of its 6,000 dealers -- it is withdrawing the franchise from these dealers to sell some of all of its vehicles, and plans to withdraw them from 1,300 dealers -- not 3,400. An additional 500 dealers will be affected by the shutdown of the Pontiac line and the sale of Saturn and Hummer. The Saturn and Hummer dealers, however, will not close; they will merely will no longer be associated with GM.

Further, not all of the 1,300 dealers will "shut down" as a result of losing a franchise. For instance, one dealer is losing the Cadillac franchise but keeping the Buick, Chevrolet and GMC franchises. And contrary to Michell's assertion, dealers were not shut down "regardless of their productivity." As the Detroit News reported:

GM did not reveal the names or community locations of the dealerships it plans to close, but it did disclose the criteria that it used in reviewing which dealers would be sacrificed:

• 50 percent of the rating was based sales performance.
• 30 percent was customer satisfaction.
• Profitability and capitalization each accounted for 10 percent.

Dealers whose score was less than 70 got termination notices.

Another 400 GM dealerships that sold 50 or fewer vehicles a year also got closing notices. Some dealers who were selling non-GM brands lost their dealerships even if they had higher scores, as did dealers with brands that are being phased out, such as Pontiac.

Presumably, dealerships selling non-GM brands will stay in business after losing the GM franchise.

Oh, and most of those dealership cuts were announced in May, before GM filed for bankruptcy and "the feds" became "the new owners of General Motors."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 30, 2009 1:25 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
WND Birther Hypocrisy Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

You gotta love the sheer audaciousness of WorldNetDaily's hypocrisy.

After demanding that Hawaii hospitals violate federal privacy laws by opening up so that WND can rifle through them to find out if Barack Obama was born there, WND's Jerome Corsi accuses Hawaii state health director Chiyome Fukino of speaking "in apparent contravention of Hawaiian law" by making a statement about Obama's birth certificate because "Hawaii law prohibited her from commenting on the birth records of any specific person."

So, which is it, WND? Do you want people to violate privacy laws or not? Or is it only acceptable when the violation forwards Joseph Farah's anti-Obama agenda (which Fukino's statement did not)?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:01 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 12:02 PM EDT
Joseph Farah's Birther Lie of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah writes in his July 29 WorldNetDaily column regarding Barack Obama's birth: "Who are the two U.S. citizen parents to whom he was born – an absolute requirement to be a 'natural born citizen' circa 1961?"

In fact, it's not. As the Farah-founded Western Journalism Center detailed:

Orly Taitz asserts that “to be president there have to be two parents who are citizens.”  This is false.  Here is Blackstone’s classic exposition in 1765 of the legal meaning of the term from the Commentaries on the Laws of England.
William Blackstone, Commentaries 1: 354 361–62

Natural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England, that is, within the ligeance, or as it is generally called, the allegiance of the king; and aliens, such as are born out of it…all children, born out of the king’s ligeance [i.e on foreign soil], whose fatherswere natural-born subjects, are now natural-born subjects themselves, to all intents and purposes, without any exception; unless their said fathers were attainted, or banished beyond sea, for high treason; or were then in the service of a prince at enmity with Great Britain.”  [The italics are Blackstone's]

Blackstone explicitly grounds natural-born status on location (jus soli), not parentage, except when the child is born abroad. The notion that both parents have to be citizens is false. All children born on American soil are natural-born subjects or citizens.

Given that Farah has provided no credible evidence that Obama was not born in the U.S., this is not an issue.

Consider this to be just another birther lie from Farah and Co.

Farah adds: "But clearly, this is not a left-right issue. This is not a conservative-liberal issue. This is not a Democrat-Republican issue. This is not an ideological issue. This is a matter of what's true and what's not." We know how Farah and WND rate on that last statement.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:16 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 11:45 AM EDT
Brent Baker's Obama Beer Smear
Topic: NewsBusters

Brent Baker, in a July 28 NewsBusters post, complains about NBC's "cutesy take" on the upcoming mutual beer-drinking session with President Obama, Henry Louis Gates and the policeman who arrested Gates -- but gets too cute himself in baselessly portraying Obama as an effete.

AFter noting the beer preferences of Gates and the policeman, Baker adds: "Or maybe the President prefers wine over beer and is just agreeing to beer in a political effort to re-connect with blue-collar voters he offended."

In fact, Obama is on record as drinking Budweiser. But mentioning that didn't fit in with Baker's need to smear Obama.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:37 AM EDT

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