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Monday, March 15, 2010
WND Columnist Bashes Media Bias, Ignores WND's
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jim Fletcher writes in his March 15 WorldNetDaily column:

Yahoo News! Reported recently on the Sarah Palin stand-up appearance on whatever show Jay Leno is hosting now. One can YouTube the performance, and it appears to be a pretty funny routine by a media-savvy politician, Palin.

The reporter for Yahoo, however, no doubt is a left-leaning Democrat. Note the following statement, after some description of Palin's performance:

"Still, there are some who suspect that Jay Leno's staff 'added both applause and laughter in postproduction' to make the appearance look like more of a success."

You're ahead of me, I hope. You get it, don't you? The phrase "some who suspect" is probably as old in journalism as the first Sumerian cuneiform broadsheets. The phrase really means, "I'm making this part up to justify my criticism of this individual."

"Some who suspect" is a magic bullet, because those "anonymous" sources can't be tracked down to see in fact if anyone did this.

Palin goes from a fairly funny public figure to just another phony right-winger.

It's an effective tactic used by leftists in the media.

And it's still wrong.

Fletcher might have a point if the Yahoo! article was presented as a news story. But it wasn't -- it appears in a "week in review" post on Yahoo's Buzz Log blog. Unless Fletcher is holding blogs to the same standards as professional reporters, he has no point.

Further, the words "some who suspect" in the Yahoo! post are linked to a Seattle Weekly blog post in which an actual named person makes the allegation that the laugher for Palin was canned.

Also, Fletcher didn't have to go so far to find anonymous sources and "some say" claims: WND is infested with them. As we've detailed, WND reporter Aaron Klein -- whom Fletcher lionized just a couple weeks ago -- is a frequent user of anonymous sources, even granting anonymity to terrorists. Indeed, a March 14 article by Klein builds yet another claim around an anonymous source, that "a member of the U.S. government" met with Israeli activists who are agitating to build a Jewish temple on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, currently the site of an Muslim mosque. He writes: "The organizer talked on condition of anonymity and also on condition that WND kept confidential the name of the U.S. official who met with the Temple event planners."

And here's Joseph Farah himself invoking the "some say" hedge:

Some people say it's not important where Barack Obama was born. Some think the Constitution is just an archaic old document – or worse, that it's a "living document," one that changes meaning over time.

Why do Klein and Farah get a pass when a blogger doesn't? After all,bogus anonymity is just as effective a tactic when used by the right-wingers at WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:09 PM EDT
NewsReal Promotes Bogus Fishing Ban Claim
Topic: Horowitz

A march 15 NewsReal blog post by Rhonda Robinson approvingly quotes a NewsReal commenter, whom she calls "entertaining and informative," making the claim that "the efforts to bring an end to sport fishing are neither rumor nor something that just popped up on the internet."

Actually, they're completely bogus. We'd cite Media Matters to back this up, but since NewsReal hates them, we'll have to go with no less a sporting authority than ESPN Outdoors, in which it essentially retracting a column that had forwarded the bogus claim:

ESPNOutdoors.com inadvertently contributed to a flare-up Tuesday when we posted the latest piece in a series of stories on President Barack Obama's newly created Ocean Policy Task Force, a column written by Robert Montgomery, a conservation writer for BASS since 1985. Regrettably, we made several errors in the editing and presentation of this installment. Though our series has included numerous news stories on the topic, this was not one of those -- it was an opinion piece, and should clearly have been labeled as commentary.

And while our series overall has examined several sides of this topic, this particular column was not properly balanced and failed to represent contrary points of view. We have reached out to people on every side of the issue and reported their points of view -- if they chose to respond -- throughout the series, but failed to do so in this specific column.

Is that good enough for Robinson and her favorite commenter? Probably not -- they probably would much rather promote anti-Obama conspiracies.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:47 PM EDT
Newsmax Columnist: Health Care Reform Will Create More Slackers
Topic: Newsmax

From a March 14 Newsmax column by Richard Grenell:

If President Barack Obama gets his trillion dollar healthcare bill passed this week by the Democrats in Congress, parents will be required to pay for their unmarried kids' healthcare coverage until the age of 26.

And Generation Y will be enticed to continue slacking, without a job, well past college graduation. While ski bums everywhere are cheering the news that the federal government will be forcing parents to pay for their health insurance through age 26, parents are questioning why the federal government is enticing a whole generation to stay unemployed.

America has always been a place where hard work is rewarded regardless of one's age, family status or educational background. If you have an idea you are committed to and make sacrifices to further the idea, you can be wildly successful in our capitalistic system.

In America, you can launch a multi-billion dollar computer company from your garage, you can grow up homeless and make it to Harvard and you can create a worldwide social networking movement while still in college.

But you can also be a slacker if you have the means to slack. Spending a year skiing, hanging out on the beach and surfing or traveling the world are options for the few lucky ones who have parents wealthy enough to pay for such endeavors.

But should the U.S. government encourage college kids to become slackers? Does Generation Y need any more encouragement to feel entitled? And should society guarantee a 5-year hiatus from responsibility after college graduation for millions of college kids?

While it is true that many college graduates today will be self-motivated to find a career, make their own money and contribute to society, Generation Y has been the most entitled generation in history. Should the American taxpayer tempt these kids further into believing that the American dream is easy to fulfill?

Obama's healthcare bill is being celebrated on the slopes of Colorado and the surf shacks of California but is a dangerous precedent for future generations. 

Grenell would also like you to get off his lawn.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, March 15, 2010 1:01 PM EDT
Newsmax's Patten Fawns Over Palin
Topic: Newsmax

David Patten's March 13 Newsmax article is little more than a love letter to Sarah Palin, in the ostensible guise of reporting on a speech she gave to Florida Republicans.

Patten fawned over the speech, gushing that it "reflected the conservative populism and homespun American fervor that are her hallmarks" and that she "she displayed a Reagan-esque wit that offset the well-honed rhetorical jabs she perfected as Arizona Sen. John McCain’s running mate on the campaign trail during the 2008 election." Patten also noted that her scripted jokes "drew a big laugh from the crowd," as if they wouldn't in a group of Republicans. He did concede, though, that Palin sounded "like a candidate honing her stump speech," though that could very well be more gushing in trying to get Palin to run for president in 2012.

After copiously quoting from Palin's speech, Patten wrote that "She concluded with a rousing defense of American exceptionalism, the view that the United States is a proud example of freedom and prosperity for the rest of the world to follow."

Patten, mind you, is Newsmax's managing editor. This is fawning drivel that's coming straight from the top.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:47 AM EDT
WND Columnist Pushes Debunked Claim On Senate Bill, Abortion
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 13 WorldNetDaily column by Dave Welch repeats a claim from the Heritage Foundation that "the Senate-passed Obamacare bill funds abortion in several ways, even creating an appropriation for Community Health Centers that contains no restriction on abortion subsidies." Welch asserted that this means "millions of taxpayers fund the taking of innocent life, escalating the rate and frequency of abortions and further enslaving women of all ages to the physical, emotional and spiritual trauma."

But claims that the Senate bill funds abortion have been debunked, as has the specific Heritage claim about community health centers. From Politics Daily's David Gibson:

Perhaps the most eye-catching claim by anti-abortion forces is that upwards of $7 billion designated in the Senate bill ($11 billion in the president's amended version) would be funneled directly to Community Health Centers (CHCs) which, as Yoest wrote, "include Planned Parenthood clinics that provide abortions." The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) has made the same point, arguing that "There is no restriction in the current laws authorizing CHCs that prevents these centers from performing abortions."

This meme has become the unchallenged talking point for pro-life opponents of the health care reform bill. But it is mistaken on several points.

Most obviously, none of the 1,250 Federally Qualified Health Centers, or FQHCs, that would receive the billions in money through the reform bill offer abortion services. These federally regulated community health care centers were started as part of the War on Poverty in the 1960s to provide primary and preventative care to poor communities across the country. The Senate health care bill would provide money to allow them to serve an estimated 15 million more people who do not have adequate health care.

As the National Association of Community Health Centers said in a statement this week, none of the health centers receiving money under the Senate bill "provide abortions to any of their patients, and we are not aware of any that have ever done so." In addition, the statement said that "Health centers do not plan to, nor are they seeking to, become providers of abortion. On the contrary, last year health centers provided prenatal, perinatal, and post-natal/post-partum care to 1 of every 8 children born in the U.S."

The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has also said that none of the health centers are abortion providers, and none of them are operated by Planned Parenthood.

Moreover, it is unlikely that Planned Parenthood or any other provider of reproductive health services could qualify as a Community Health Center because these centers by law have to provide all-around care for both men and women, and for children -- "from an earache and runny nose to high blood pressure and diabetes," Dan Hawkins, policy director of the National Association of Community Health Centers, told me. "It is acute and chronic care." Planned Parenthood clinics and the like are simply not equipped to do that. Besides, a majority of the board of each Community Health Center must be made up of current or registered patients, a standard no abortion clinic could meet.

And contrary to claims by many pro-life groups, any money from a new health care law would be subject to the same Hyde amendment restrictions as money from the Stupak version of the House bill (which allocates $12 billion to community health centers). 

Any chance WND will tell the truth on this issue? Not likely.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 AM EDT
Sunday, March 14, 2010
NewsBusters Forwards Bogus Claim on Senate Bill, Abortion
Topic: NewsBusters

In attempting to rebut Rachel Maddow's true claim that the Senate health care reform bill doesn't fund abortions, Jack Coleman writes in a March 14 NewsBusters post:

Count me as a fan of the cite-the-page-numbers trick as well. I'm especially enamored of what's in the section of the Senate health bill immediately preceding the one cited by Maddow (follow this link for the bill; see page 2,071) The section is titled as follows, with capitalized letters in the original -- "ABORTIONS FOR WHICH PUBLIC FUNDING IS ALLOWED".

As in, public funding for abortions. Once again, a la Maddow -- public funding for abortions. A third time, in case she still misses it -- P-U-B-L-I-C  F-U-N-D-I-N-G  F-O-R  A-B-O-R-T-I-O-N-S.

Gee, where would Congressman Stupak get that impression?

But the "cite-the-page-numbers trick" fails Coleman if he doesn't read what the bill actually says and what it's referring to -- even though he includes a screenshot of the section in question. Under the heading "ABORTIONS FOR WHICH PUBLIC FUNDING IS ALLOWED," the bill states that it is "based on the law as in effect as of the date that is 6 months before the beginning of the plan year involved." The "law as in effect" is the Hyde amendment, which currently prohibits federal funding for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest or when the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother. The Hyde amendment has always permitted federal funding abortions under those conditions.

Maybe next time Coleman should go beyond quoting subsection headers and actually, you know, read the thing.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:35 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, March 14, 2010 11:41 AM EST
WND's Washington: Holder A 'Terrorist-Sympathizer'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his March 13 column, Ellis Washington delves into the case of Department of Justice lawyers who allegedly at one point provided legal services to terrorism detainees the way he delves into pretty much everything else -- hurling smears and getting stuff wrong.

Washington smears Attorney General Eric Holder has a "terrorist-sympathizer." He also tries to reframe the issue all the way over into thought-crime territory, insisting: "The central question regarding the al-Qaida 7 is not whether it is permissible or even expedient for DOJ lawyers to represent the obviously guilty, because under our system of laws, criminals are entitled to counsel, but why did they do it?"

Washington then cites Ken Starr's statement that "You do not impute the causes of the client to the lawyer who is called upon to make sure that that client's rights are being protected," then irrelevantly adds: "Really, Dean Starr? Where is that idea found in the Constitution?"

Washington also asserts that "Giving constitutional rights to avowed Muslim terrorists is merely a means to Obama's diabolical ends to purposely destabilize American society, thus setting the pretext to eventually create a one-party oligarchy." Aside from Washington's anti-constitution portrayal of the detainees as being exempt from the presumption of innocence and his insertion of yet another Obama smear, constitutional rights aren't the only rights at issue, and those lawyers have received some court victories.

As Media Matters notes, two of the lawyers represented six Bosnian-Algerian detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, and a court found that the Bush administration had violated Guantánamo detainees' constitutional right to present habeas corpus petitions to civilian courts. Another lawyer represented a detainee in a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court, which found that the Bush administration had violated the Geneva Conventions in its handling of detainees.

Washington also rants against the 1963 Gideon case, in which the Supreme Court found that the government is required to pay for lawyers for defendants who cannot afford one:

For too long society has given self-aggrandizing lawyers and the American Bar Association the moral high ground to represent irredeemable characters of the vilest ilk in the name of the Constitution, but these new traditions, like the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of an attorney, did not include the right for "We the People" to provide an attorney for these unrepentant terrorists at taxpayers expense until 1963.

Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) is a landmark case in United States Supreme Court history. In this case, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state courts are required under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants who are unable to afford their own attorneys. Allowing a defendant an attorney and paying for a defendant to have an attorney are two very different philosophies of jurisprudence.

Sounds like Washington really does want to eliminate the presumption of innocence.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 AM EST
Saturday, March 13, 2010
CNS Still Promoting False Abortion Claim
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com is continuing to promote the counterfactual claim that the Senate health care bill will include federal funding for abortions. A March 11 article by Penny Starr is the latest to promote it, uncritically repeating a claim by Senate Republicans that the bill doesn't prohibit "federal (taxpayer) funds from being used to pay for abortions," going on to baselessly assert that the Senate bill "specifically allows for taxpayer-funding of certain health plans that cover abortion."

We've debunked this claim before when CNS has made it. The latest to debunk it is David Gibson of Politics Daily:

So the final verdict is that the Senate health care reform bill does not pay for or promote abortion, and it will arguably reduce abortions as well as providing good, affordable health care to millions of women and children who now go without -- and suffer for it.

"The bottom line is that health care reform is pro-life," [health care expert Timothy Stoltzfus] Jost said. "We're going to save an awful lot of lives with this bill ... I identify as a Christian, strongly, and I identify as someone who believes in the sacredness of life. I just think this is a pro-life bill. I'm really discouraged that people not only don't want it but also are spreading erroneous information about it. Because I don't think that's something that Christians should do."

Whether Jost's view, and the true story of the Senate bill's approach to abortion and health coverage, can shift the debate before the looming deadline for congressional action is one aspect of this argument that can't be decided by consulting a text. Those who have laid down a marker against the Senate bill have a lot invested in seeing it fail, or having it changed, if only to save face given all they have invested in portraying the bill as "pro-abortion."

Will CNS correct the record and tell its readers the Senate bill doesn't fund abortion? Don't count on it -- it has an agenda to push, and the truth does not supercede that.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:52 PM EST
Alan Keyes Trumped in Gay-Hate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's hard to out-crazy Alan Keyes, but that happened on the subject of gays.

Keyes' March 12 WorldNetDaily column offers a relatively predictable right-wing take on it, complaining that "The normalization of homosexuality constitutes the cutting edge of this anti-Christian revisioning of right and wrong."

Meh. For the real crazy, skip down to David A. Noebel's take on gays in the military, starting by asserting that "It turns out that nearly all the major security risks (those who betrayed the United States to the Soviet Union, Communist China, etc.) also had homosexual connections. It seems that spies and homosexuality went together like Mary and her little lamb."

Noebel goes on to decry " the homosexual practice of colonization, in which "homosexuals would settle into a position and then use their position to hire fellow homosexuals into the same department or even move them into a higher position until the department was completely colonized." He also applies the term "flaming homosexual" to both Kevin Jennings and John Maynard Keynes.

Then Noebel really cranks up the crazy:

Now it's 2010, and President Obama, a man steeped in radical left-wing politics and a kind of Students-for-a-Democratic-Society-Commander-in-Chief, wants to allow "open" homosexuals in the United States military. Open homosexuality would have to include the GLBTQ gamut – gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer. Lambda Legal and the ACLU will insist on it. And Sen. Lieberman already proposed on March 8 a bill "legalizing bisexual behavior in the U.S. Military."

Allowing "gays in the military," therefore, is misleading. Once gays are openly recruited and accepted in the military, their "cousins" will follow suit (lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersexual, queer, etc.). Such a scenario would even make Julius Caesar, who was bisexual, blush. Among soldiers, he was known as "every woman's husband and every man's wife" (Taylor Caldwell, "A Pillar of Iron," p. 697).

The United Sates is currently involved in two wars. Is the president out to destroy our military? Can any thinking American wish to see an "open" cross-dressing homosexual Army general trying to gain the trust of his troops (or for that matter, the nation)? Have we as a nation fallen so far that we need to apologize to Sodom?

If the military becomes colonized as the State and Defense Departments were once colonized, homosexuals will indeed end up being generals and admirals. Just imagine a quota system in place that required 10 percent of officers be homosexual (similar to the demand that 10 percent of teachers and counselors in schools be gay to reflect the gay population – although the truth is that less than 2 percent of the population is gay).

Noebel closes by quoting Eurpides. Who does he think he is, Ellis Washington? Nah -- he's still not crazy enough.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 AM EST
Friday, March 12, 2010
WND's Porter Prays to Take Over the Media
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Right Wing Watch reports on WorldNetDaily columnist Janet Porter's appearamce at the Generals International's "Convergence 2010: A Cry to Awaken A Nation" conference, where she prayed to God to take power and influence in the media of this country and of this globe from the unrighteous and give it to righteous people" like, presumably, herself:

 

 

Then, on Alan Colmes' radio show, Porter defended her prayer (though not before threatening to sue Right Wing Watch for posting it), as well as the rest of her extremist views, such as that  America is cursed for having elected Barack Obama and anyone who voted for Obama is going to hell.

We've documented other examples of Porter's extremism.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:19 PM EST
Updated: Friday, March 12, 2010 10:23 PM EST
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch, WorldNetDaily Edition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

I've expressed my belief in the possibility that, given President Obama's political background and the number of power-mad freaks in Washington in general, his intention is to coordinate a societal breakdown (probably precipitated by an economic implosion) so horrendous that unprecedented government intervention on a civil level will be "unavoidable."

It occurs to me that this would have to happen relatively quickly, since there is no guarantee the president will be re-elected; indeed, this appears more unlikely with each passing day. Anything, it appears, that Obama might do to hasten complete economic desolation, he is doing, spinning his policies into some sort of novel genius via the sycophantic press. While the sort of domestic unrest I describe will remain tinfoil-hat stuff to most Americans until it actually happens, it is becoming an increasing theoretical probability to those who are paying attention – especially anyone looking at Europe.

What might have to transpire for a national emergency, or even martial law to be declared? It is, of course, difficult to tell. Hyperinflation might do it, if the inflation rate rose high enough to provoke widespread rioting by enraged masses unable to buy food with worthless dollars. With a sufficient level of disorder and fear, the 2012 general election might even have to be suspended, so "dangerous and destabilizing" might a transfer of power be at that juncture.

Last year, WND reported on soldiers recruited to be "Internment/Resettlement" specialists by the National Guard. Although the Guard maintained that the personnel and facilities in question were designated for overseas operations, some people – and some seasoned observers – are not so sure. While National Guardsmen might not be persuaded to round up or draw down on civilians, it occurs to me that our president has amongst his staunchest supporters many thousands of quasi-militant, thoroughly propagandized inner-city thugs who might have nothing better to do than join an "elite civil defense force."

Perhaps Obama has visions of Caesarhood; he has already usurped power from the legislative branch as Julius Caesar did with the Roman Senate in 49 B.C. (via his many czars), during a period of crisis that some historians might argue was orchestrated. It is also worth noting that circumstances in Rome at the time were in such dramatic upheaval that Romans actually were relieved when Caesar demonstrated he was willing to take the reins of government in his own hands.

In fact, they declared him dictator perpetuus – dictator for life.

-- Erik Rush, March 11 WorldNetDaily column

When I attended college, in a different America, our American government class used a well-known textbook titled "The Consent of the Governed." The latest Rasmussen Reports shows that only 21 percent of Americans say that the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress have the consent of the governed. Put plainly, we have an illegitimate government.

That fact hasn't stopped America's Stalin from using Chicago mob tactics to enact his communist revolutionary agenda. Indeed, the illegitimate tag seems to have intensified commissars Pelosi and Reid in their support for Obama's push toward a communist nation, where the government controls not only your thoughts (hate crimes), but your body (Obamacare) as well.

-- Craige McMillan, March 11 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 3:24 PM EST
AIM Posts Misleading Obama Video
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A March 10 Accuracy in Media blog post by Don Irvine touts a video of President Obama speaking in 2005 about "why the filibuster was important and that all voices need to be heard," adding, "Now that the Democrats are in the majority and Obama is in the White House he is singing a different tune by pushing for reconciliation on the health care bill as a way to get around the filibuster." The video, made by the right-wing website VerumSerum, claims that Obama was speaking about "the so-called 'nuclear option.'"

They're both misleading. Obama was speaking out about the actual "nuclear option" -- a Republican proposal to change Senate rules to forbid filibusters on judicial nominees (called the "nuclear option" by Republicans, by the way). By contrast, reconciliation is an existing Senate procedure that Republicans have used regularly over the years.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:42 AM EST
Von Campe: Obama 'Lies Like Hitler'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

When it comes to raging Obama-hate, it's hard to beat Hilmar von Campe -- after all, he's merely applying the lessons he learned as a former Hitler Youth. Von Campe lets the hate fly again in his March 11 WorldNetDaily column (the bolding is his):

As one American among millions, I observe the present administration trying to destroy the sovereignty and power of this nation. Most of what comes out of the White House is unconstitutional, and the reasoning is dishonest. Most likely Barack Hussein Obama is not even eligible for the presidency of the United States.

It is one thing to let the American people know how financially absurd his trillion-dollar projects are; it is another thing to make that aspect in reporting the main angle. It is like discussing with a thief whether he could do better in his burglaries without mentioning the criminal character of that activity. After all, Obama is not interested in the well-being of the American people but in getting a permanent power base and a weak America. He is the head of the American Socialist/Communist Thieves Incorporated. He wants the government to dispose of other people's money and redistribute wealth, and so destroy the spirit and the truth of our Constitution.

[...]

We need to apply our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. There it is stated: "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among them are, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these Rights Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them seems most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. ..."

We don't want to have a president who lies like Hitler and who has the killing of human beings in the womb of their mothers on his political platform – and who, together with his accomplices Reid and Pelosi, is working to make us, our children and our grandchildren slaves of the godless global socialist/communist establishment. What else could be the reason for his not listening to the people, spending trillions of dollars on nonsense and refusing to present his birth certificate?

Looks like Von Campe is venturing into John Perry territory.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 AM EST
Thursday, March 11, 2010
WND: Amnesty Is (Not) Back
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The headline on Jerome Corsi's March 10 WorldNetDaily article blared: "Don't look now! Amnesty is back."

Well, we looked. The word "amnesty" appears nowhere in Corsi's article.

So, it appears "amnesty" isn't back after all.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:19 PM EST
Farber: Obama Is A Secret Indonesian
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We already knew Barry Farber was a birther -- he embraced that back when he was still at Newsmax. We didn't know Farber was, er, whatever you call someone who believes Obama is hiding his Inodesian-ness.

From Farber's March 10 WorldNetDaily column:

We're told Obama spent several years in school in Indonesia. The Indonesian language is among the most interesting in the world. When they want to make a noun plural they just say it twice. "Man" in Indonesian is "Orang." "Men" is "orang-orang," and when they write it they just write one "orang" and put a "2" after it, so an Indonesian newspaper looks like an unending algebraic equation. Indonesian is poetic. Their word for "sun" is "mata hari" (same as the seductive World War I female spy, who was considered the "sun" of Asia). Literally, "mata hari" means "the eye of the day." Isn't that nice? Can you imagine Axelrod and the gang not making sure we knew that this president, instead of uttering non-English grotesqueries like "mis-underestimate," actually speaks a major Asian language? Wouldn't you expect at least once to turn on TV and watch the president schmoozing with the Indonesian ambassador in Indonesian? I would; provided, of course, that the president actually speaks Indonesian.

Here's a whole new player with a spotless jersey.

"Mr. Gibbs, does President Obama speak Indonesian?"

I've asked many friends of Obama, including Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois. Nobody so far has a clue. Not producing a legitimate birth certificate is one thing. Refusing to utter a few words in Indonesian is another. By my reckoning, Mr. Obama should speak fluent Indonesian, considering the years he spent in school there.

What magnificent coup would be achieved if we learn of Mr. Obama's ability or inability to speak Indonesian? None. This has none of the potential combustibility of the birth-certificate issue. It's just that I'm the world's foremost authority on what interests me. And I'm excruciatingly curious to know if the president speaks the language of the nation with the largest Muslim population in the world. If he does, why have his image-burnishers failed to harvest some points for that? And if not, what gives?

Um, yeah, whatever, Barry...


Posted by Terry K. at 7:57 PM EST

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