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Friday, July 1, 2011
MRC Seems Fine With Calling Obama A Dick (But Can't Spell It Out)
Topic: Media Research Center

Writers for the Media Research Center has said a lot of things about Mark Halperin calling President Obama "kind of a dick" on the June 30 edition of MSNBC's "Morning Joe." None of them criticized Halperin for doing so, and all of them were unable to spell out the word "dick."

In the first NewsBusters post on the incident, Mark Finkelstein -- who spelled it "d--k" -- appeared to react to Halperin's insult the way he attributed to "Morning Joe" hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski: "shocked amusement."

In a follow-up NewsBusters post noting that Halperin had been suspended from MSNBC over the remark, Tim Graham went the euphemism route, substituting "[Short for Richard]" and "[male appendage]" for "dick."

The MRC then went the usual equivocation route, with Geoffrey Dickens complaining that nobody on MSNBC was suspended for "particularly distasteful things to say about a then sitting President George W. Bush." But Dickens joined his MRC in colleagues in censoring Halperin's word, this time as "d-ck," while did not censor any of the "particularly distasteful things" he claimed were said about Bush.

Noel Sheppard, meanwhile, completely avoided any sort of direct quote, saying only that Halperin made "an intemperate remark."Then he ranted that MSNBC is "the leading television propaganda outlet for this White House" and that "MSNBC was making it quite clear that until Election Day has passed, MSNBC personalities and contributors better be very careful what they say about the current White House resident."

 

If the MRC can't even fully enunciate what Halperin said because they think it's so distasteful, doesn't that definitively demonstrate the offensive nature of the remark and justify Halperin's suspension? Apparently not -- after all, the MRC won't criticize Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter over their long records of offensive statements.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:06 PM EDT
CNS Falsely Claims Durbin Supports 'Amnesty'
Topic: CNSNews.com

A June 29 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr carries the headline "'Thou Shalt Not Steal': Durbin Concedes 10 Commandments is Perfect Law--In Push for Amnesty." But Starr does not quote Durbin using the word "amnesty" -- in fact, that word appears nowhere in Starr's article.

What Durbin is discussing is the DREAM act, which, in Starr's words, "would allow an illegal alien to gain legal status if he came to the United States with his parents at age 15 or younger; if he has been in America for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment; and if he meets certain education or military service requirements." Because the DREAM Act imposes certain conditions on acquiring citizenship through it -- and it imposes further conditions that Starr did not identify -- it cannot by definition be "amnesty," as we've documented, and CNS is perpetuating a falsehood by doing so.

 


Posted by Terry K. at 11:54 AM EDT
Les Kinsolving's Stupid Question
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Les Kinsolving's June 28 WorldNetDaily column was devoted to recounting a pair of "senior-citizen sex scandals" -- a professor a New Jersey's Fairleigh Dickinson University (which Kinsolving misspells) who was allegedly running a prostitution ring in New Mexico, and a former president of the University of New Mexico who was arrested as part of the prostitution sting. Kinsolving concluded by stating, "This begs the question: How much in federal funding goes to Farleigh-Dickinson University and to the University of New Mexico? And will either of these institutions lose any such money because of their professor's and their former president's involvement in prostitution?"

But Kinsolving doesn't explain why either university should lose any federal funding, which he seems to be rooting for. He provides no evidence that either man used university resources in their alleged prostitution ring, or that university officials had any knowledge whatsoever of the men's alleged activitites. Given the apparent absence of both, the only logical answer to Kinsolving's question is no.

Kinsolving, of course, would have known this had he bothered to do even the most basic research into answering the question he raised.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:47 AM EDT
MRC Insists That Obama Apologized For America
Topic: Media Research Center

President Obama went on an apology tour, and nobody's going to tell Matt Philbin any differently.

In a June 28 MRC Culture & Media Institute article ostensibly about how the "liberal media" is just not that into American exceptionalism, Philbin asserted that "resident Obama has shown ambivalence toward the notion that America is exceptional" and "is as comfortable apologizing for its sins as touting its virtues," then scoffed at the idea that Obama wasn't apologizing for America because he never used any form of the word "apology":

In February in his "Fact Checker" column, Sargent's Post colleague Glenn Kessler wrote, "it is an article of faith among top Republicans that President Obama has repeatedly apologized for the United States and its behavior. Even more, the argument goes, he does not believe in American strength and greatness. The assertion," Kessler wrote darkly, "feeds into a subterranean narrative that Obama, with his exotic, mixed-race background, is not really American in the first place."

What Kessler was fact-checking was "Obama's Apology Tour," when in his first overseas visits he showed undue deference to other powers and talked too much about American "arrogance." Kesler quibbled over whether Obama had actually used the word "apology" and spun most of the President's suspect remarks as "trying to draw a rhetorical distinction between his policies and that of President Bush."

That may be so, but the President and the first lady have a history of actions, statements and acquaintances that make it hard to give him the benefit of the doubt. There was his pastor of 20 years who was given to saying "God damn America" and characterized 9/11 as "America's chickens coming home to roost." There was his friend Bill Ayers, who had bombed the Pentagon and maintained in 2001 that he wished he's done more bombing.

Senator Obama ostentatiously refused to wear a flag pin on his lapel because "it became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism," he said, which he defined as opposing the invasion of Iraq. On the campaign trail, Mrs. Obama said that "for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback." She also found America "just downright mean."

If you want to run a nation, is it too much to ask that you pretend to like it?

What's this attack on the president doing in what's supposed to be a critique of the media? Isn't that a violation of the MRC's nonprofit tax status as a 501(c)3 organization? Somebody might want to check into that.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:20 AM EDT
Thursday, June 30, 2011
ConWebWatch On the Radio
Topic: WorldNetDaily
ConWebWatch's Terry Krepel be on Reality Check Radio tonight at 9 p.m. ET to talk about yesterday's WorldNetDaily press conference, among other things. Listen here.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:04 PM EDT
More Misinformation from WND Columnists
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Remember when WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah admitted his columnists publish "misinformation"? Well, here's some more.

Larry Klayman screeches in his June 25 WND column:

Last but not least, President Obama ordered last Thursday that the nation's strategic petroleum reserves be drawn down to put more oil on the market, just temporarily lowering the price of gasoline for the summer months. Americans are overwhelmingly upset with Obama at his failure to curb the increase in gasoline prices. This executive order would jeopardize our emergency reserves at a crucial time when the Middle East is in turmoil, Libyan oil has stopped flowing to world markets, and the region may explode in war – cutting off oil supplies almost totally.

First, Klayman is trying to have it both ways -- he attacks Obama for not doing anything to "curb the increase in gasoline prices," and also attacks him for doing something. Klayman also claims that the release will "jeopardize our emergency reserves"; in fact, the release is only 5 percent of the total amount of the reserve.

Meanwhile, Henry Lamb writes in his June 25 column, after first becoming the latest WND columnist to play the Nazi card in recent days by saying that Obama's invoking of the Commerce Clause to require Americans to have health insurance "is the same power exercised by the governments of Hitler, Stalin and all other despots who have denied freedom to their citizens":

What happened to freedom? It was erased, little by little, until we no longer have a choice among the types of light bulbs we buy. Government has dictated that its citizens can no longer buy a 40-cent incandescent light bulb; after Jan. 1, formerly free people living in a formerly free-market system will be forced by government to buy a $4 light bulb, probably made in China.

In fact, incandescent light bulbs have not been outlawed; they have simply been ordered to be more efficient. The new bulbs, whether they be incandescent or fluorescent, might cost more at the outset, but they pay for themselves in lower energy usage over the life of the bulb, meaning that they cost less in the long run. Apparently, saving money and energy is something Lamb is opposed to.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:20 PM EDT
The Week In CNS Gay-Baiting
Topic: CNSNews.com

Sticking close to its parent organization's anti-gay agenda, CNSNews.com has been making a notable effort in recent days to highlight what it apparently considers excessive gayness in the world.

A June 24 article by Katie Bell highlights how grocery chain Food Lion "is celebrating June as "LGBT Pride Month" by inserting a message championing the 'Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgendered (LGBT) community' in flyers advertising a weekly list of product deals." More importantly, Bell highlights a right-wing organization's efforts to "e-mail Food Lion’s president, Cathy Green, to let her know that they object to the food chain endorsing homosexuality."

A June 27 article by Penny Starr stated that "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday that the State Department played an instrumental role in 'sealing the deal' for pop-rock star Lady Gaga to perform at a gay pride rally in Rome, Italy." Starr goes on to quote lyrics from Lady Gaga's song "Judas," which she said "sparked controversy."

Starr followed that up with an article the next day quoting Clinton as saying that "officials meeting with 'sex workers' in the cause of protecting LGBT rights is an example of 'people-to-people diplomacy at its best.'"

Meanwhile, a June 30 article by Fred Lucas begins:  "At the urging of homosexuals gathered at the White House on Wednesday, President Barack Obama praised gay 'spouses' in his speech marking lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender 'Pride Month.'"

These articles were written not because CNS isinterested in celebrating gay rights; rather, it opposes gay rights, and is simply attempting to rile up homophobia in its readers. That's all too clear in the comment threads on the articles. One comment on the Food Lion story reads: "Will they support 'shoplifter pride' next? Kleptomania, as well as LGBT-lifestyles, should be remedied, not celebrated."

Is fomenting hatred something a responsible news organization should do? We don't think so.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:53 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 30, 2011 8:56 AM EDT
The WND Birther Lawsuit Dog and Pony Show (And The Question Joseph Farah Won't Answer)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

From left: Larry Klayman, Joseph Farah, Mara Zebest and Jerome Corsi.

 

We've noticed the increasing irrelevance of WorldNetDaily, due to the overall vengeful yet factually dubious nature of its reporting. We saw firsthand another example in the press conference WND held June 29 to formally announce its defamation lawsuit against Esquire magazine over a piece of satire WND didn't find funny.

To put a patina of credibility on the proceedings, WND rented a small conference room (this one) at the National Press Club in Washington. Pretty much anyone can rent a room there -- remember, the utterly discredited Larry Sinclair discredited himself even more there. WND paid a few hundred bucks for a room with a flat-screen TV in order to make its little dog and pony show look professional.

Indeed, WND tries to ride the supposed credibility of location in its own article on the press conference, with the headline "Eligibility takes center stage at National Press Club." In fact, there were much larger events going on at the NPC at the same time, one of which was using the actual "center stage" of the NPC ballroom.

Inside the Bloomberg Room, members of the press were far outnumbered by people affiliated with WND. In fact, there were only two members of the press there: a writer for AdWeek and myself. (AdWeek's article on the press conference is here.) Another person appearing to be a reporter asked questions, but she was apparently affiliated with WND as well.

Before anyone could ask any questions about the lawsuit, though, WND felt it had to push its birther agenda in order to provide what WND editor Joseph Farah called "very important background" to the lawsuit. First up was Jerome Corsi, who took credit for forcing President Obama's release of his long-form birth certificate, going on to declare that "a person we've had in the Deartment of Health in Hawaii who has been a mole to us, giving us information, said that the birth certificate had been forged and was now the logbook." Corsi asserted that "with the release of that document, the entire future of the Obama presidency depends on the authenticity of that document."

Corsi went on to declare that the patient records of Obama's mother or the doctor that delivered him because they "remain under seal as part of a continuing cover-up" -- apparently unaware that all  American's health records "remain under seal" because of federal privacy laws for health records.

Next up was Mara Zebest, who had produced an analysis of the PDF file of the birth certificate released by the White House that WND had promoted earlier that day. After a bit of fumbling around on the laptop computer for the proper files, Zebest served up examples of why she thinks the certificate was "manufactured digitally." (The Obama Conspiracy blog has a quick overview of why she's wrong.) Zebest was introduced as an expert on Adobe software, but like WND's previous Adobe "expert" Gary Poyssick, the three books listed under her name at Amazon.com (where's she's also listed as Mara Zebest Nathanson) are about Photoshop, not Adobe Acrobat or the PDF format. (Zebest claimed later in the press conference, in answer to a question from me, that she has expertise in Acrobat and PDFs.)

Corsi and Zebest try to solve an computer issue with Zebest's presentation on why the long-form birth certificate Obama released is a fraud.

 

Later, in an attempt to portray Zebest as something other than politically motivated, Farah said that Zebest "is a lifelong Democrat. In 2008 she was a Hillary supporter." Farah didn't mention that birther lawyer Philip Berg was a Hillary supporter too, which undercuts his argument.

Finally, 21 minutes into the press conference, it was time for the main event. Larry Klayman, WND's lawyer, took the podium to pontificate about the lawsuit. Klayman asserted about the Esquire article: "It was amateur. It was rank. It hurt." Klayman then dramatically read through the entire Esquire post, than asserted that the satire piece "was obviously calculated with malice to destroy not just the book and its sales but to destroy the reputations of Mr. Corsi and Mr. Farah. The stupidity of this is beyond belief. The legal actionability of this is believable." Klayman claimed that the book "hasn't nearly sold as well as it would have soldif the damage had not been done by Esquire and [blog post author Mark] Warren."

Klayman then explained the charges under which he's seeking damages: defamation, invasion of privacy, false light, tortious interference with business, and violation of the Lanham Act for "false advertising." WND is seeking a total of at least $225 million from Esquire for actual and punitive damages on the five counts. (We didn't get a chance to ask how that figure related to the still-secret amount of money WND had to pay Clark Jones in an out-of-court settlement to settle a libel lawsuit, in which WND also admitted it published numerous false claims about Jones.)

Klayman also claimed that "neither Mr. Farah or Mr. Corsi or WorldNetDaily Books or WorldNetDaily wished to engage Esquire, Mark Warren, or the Hearst Corporation on any of these issues. They were forced into this." But later in the press conference that he made no effort to contact Esquire or Hearst regarding the issue before filing the lawsuit, stating that Farah's threats to sue Esquire "was an invitation for Mr. Warren, Esquire and Hearst to contact us and say, hey, you know, we did something wrong here."

Finally, it was question time. In addition to claiming that she has experience in Acrobat and PDFs, Zebest claimed in another question from me that she examined the PDF file in the program it was originally created in. But has Obama Conspiracy noted, Zebest stated in her analysis that "she believed that the document was created in Adobe Photoshop, ignoring that the document properties say it was made by Mac OS X Quartz PDFContext, an inexcusable omission and mark of a sloppy analysis."

Farah said that 65,000 copies of Corsi's book were printed and distributed. He claimed that one retail shop returned its copies of the book in response to the Esquire article.

Klayman asserted that the fact the Esquire blog post was tagged as satire was not a mitigating factor in his lawsuit. Farah said the post's reference to "Capricorn One" -- a movie about a faked moon landing -- was not a sufficient clue to the satirical nature of the post because so much of the article was untrue. This led to a mini-rant by Klayman about the falsehoods in his Wikipedia profile "which we have not been able to correct." (Note to Klayman: That's not how Wikipedia works.)

I asked Klayman why he thinks he will do better in this lawsuit than he did in the lawsuit he filed on WND's behalf last year against the White House Correspondents Association over its refusal to sell WND as many tickets as it demanded for the annual correspondents' dinner, a lawsuit that was swiftly tossed out of court. Klayman brusquely replied: "Well, first of all, we decided not to pursue that. But the issue here is this case, not that case, so if you want to relive that case, we'll do that some other time."

I pointed out to Corsi that, his and Farah's assertions to the contrary, there are people who will defend the authenticity of the PDF birth certificate or at least rebut its attackers, such as Dr. Conspiracy's detailed rebuttal of the Ken Vogt analysis that Corsi devoted three WND articles to. Corsi's response was a curious one: After calling Dr. Conspiracy "one of my favorites," Corsi said, 'I'll be writing about Dr. Conspiracy in the next few days. I'll be exposing his background, his entire credentials, his involvement with his company. I've got a detailed -- I just haven't had time to write it up."

When I asked Corsi why he's personally attacking his critics by digging into their backgrounds, Corsi suddenly softened his tone: "I'm sorry, I said I would evaluate his credentials. It's not a personal attack, but we're going to evaluate his credentials in his point-by-point."

Finally, I tried to ask Farah if he could confirm Tim Adams' assertion that the affidavit he signed claiming that he had been told that no copy of Obama's birth certificate existed in state files was created by WND-affiliated lawyers. Here's how that exchange went:

FARAH: I really don't -- Terry, If you want to obsess about stuff like that, I invite you to do so. I would really like to focus on why the president of the United States and the White House are issuing bogus birth certificates rather than why somebody at WorldNetDaily, which lawyer they consulted to --

ME: But if you're creating news to forward the story -- 

FARAH: Terry, we all know your work.

ME: You're creating news and not reporting it.

FARAH: We appreciate all of the attention that you devote to WND.com. Thanks very much.

And with that the press conference came to an abrupt end.

Given Farah's abject refusal to answer such a simple question, we suspect Farah really doesn't appreciate the kind of attention from us that forces him and his website to be held accountable for their actions.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Newsmax Columnist Rants: "Every Single Thing' Immigrants Do 'Hurts American Citizens'
Topic: Newsmax

Usually James Walsh is the immigrant-bashing ranter at Newsmax, but Chris Freind has decided to give a try in his June 27 Newsmax column:

In an act that simply defies comprehension, State Rep. Tony Payton of Philadelphia just unveiled a bill that “would allow undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state tuition” at any Pennsylvania state school, community college, or state-related university (similar to the proposed federal law known as the DREAM Act).

Why the handout to those who least deserve it? Because “undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid, (so) college is often extremely expensive and simply out of reach for many of these students," he explained.

Oh, the tragedy.

Of course, there’s a reason why federal financial aid — political code speak for American taxpayer dollars — is not available to these folks. They’re ILLEGAL. As in, they have broken the law to get here, and are breaking the law being here.

Every single thing they do hurts American citizens and throws our nation deeper into the red.

Aiming for Walsh's job there, Chris?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 PM EDT
WND Flip-Flops On Author's Non-Disclosure Agreement With CAIR
Topic: WorldNetDaily

When WorldNetDaily published the anti-CAIR book "Muslim Mafia," one key bone of contention in CAIR's legal actions against WND, book co-author David Gaubatz and his son, Chris -- who went undercover at CAIR and pilfered numerous documents that formed the basis of the book -- was whether Gaubatz's son signed a confidentiality agreement when he became employed at CAIR. As we've documented, the Gaubatz-WND legal team had historically avoided directly answering that question, which suggests that Gaubatz's son did, in fact, sign such an agreement (CAIR says it cannot find a copy of it).

But Gaubatz appears to have changed its tune. A June 12 WND article by Art Moore decides to answer that question:

CAIR alleges Chris Gaubatz signed a confidentiality agreement when he worked as an intern for six months, but Gaubatz denies it, and CAIR reportedly says it has no copy of any agreement.

If Chris Gaubatz never signed the agreement, why has Chris Gaubatz and his legal team spent the past year and a halfrefusing to give a definitive answer to whether he did? And why is it being so definitive now? Is it taking refuge in CAIR's apparent inability to unearth a copy to claim it never existed?

The abrupt switch from refusing to answer the question to definitively answering it is suspicious. Since WND is also a defendant, don't expect Moore to explain it.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:20 AM EDT
MRC's Weiner 'Reality Check' Ignores Breitbart's Lack of Credibility
Topic: Media Research Center

A June 22 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check" by Tim Graham purported to compare coverage of the Anthony Weiner scandal with that of the 2006 scandal involving Republican congressman Mark Foley. Graham declared that "the networks did not attack" the Weiner scandal, while they exhibited "a real feeding frenzy" in the Foley case; Graham asserted that such disparate treatment "underline[s] how politicians know the media is liberal."

As befits the shoddy legacy of the MRC's so-called media analysis, Graham makes no mention of one key factor in the initial lack of coverage of Weiner: the lack of credibility in the outlet breaking the story, Andrew Breitbart's network of websites.

Breitbart's embrace of James O'Keefe's deceptively edited ACORN videos and another deceptively edited video in the Shirley Sherrod case made it clear that Breitbart put partisan hackery ahead of the truth. Given that Breitbart has declared war on the "Democrat-media complex," and Weiner was a forceful advocate for liberal views who appeared frequently on TV, there was no reason not to assume that Breitbart's attacks on Weiner was anything other than politically motivated and, therefore, suspect. Breitbart's later declaration that he "loved every second of" Weiner's downfall negates any credibility he might have gained from getting a story correct for once.

The Foley scandal, by contrast, was broken by a nonideological (to all but the hardcore right-wingers at the MRC) reporter, Brian Ross, at a nonideological (to all but the hardcore right-wingers at the MRC) news outlet, ABC News. 

In short: Ross is a trustworthy reporter, Breitbart is not. That Graham refused to acknowledge this confirms that the MRC's media analysis is no more trustworthy than Breitbart's reporting.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
WND Anti-Gay Freakout Watch, New York Gay Marriage Edition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Obama said he looks forward to the day "when every single American, gay or straight or lesbian or bisexual or transgender, is free to live and love as they see fit [sic]."

The president stopped short of giving a thumbs up to same-sex marriage, although everyone knew he would be fine with that, and I'm sure he's congratulating New Yorkers right now. Besides, with the above comment, he has given us so much more.

This historic sound bite provides another glimpse into the working ideology of the free-world leader and his liberal fellow travelers. Long before he was fixing the finest health-care system on the planet, spending us into financial ruin and calling it progress, he taught us about "spreading the wealth." He's happy with people spreading other things, apparently, wherever they want.

This "freedom" will include much more than a perpetual pansexual pagan party. It will, and already does, include libel, slander, intimidation, corruption of youth, revolt in congregations, suppression of parental rights, revision of language, disease, loss of employment and loss of life.

Oh, and did I mention public sex, the porn explosion and public nudity?

Welcome to entitlement sex.

-- Linda Harvey June 27 WorldNetDaily column

On June 25, 2011, MSNBC and the other undereducated, misinformed and politicized news media proclaimed, "N.Y. becomes sixth and largest state to legalize gay marriage." Of course, this is the same group of fellow travelers and useful idiots who misapply the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to the respective states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," to deny Christians and soon Jews the freedom of worship, when the clause plainly recognizes the inalienable freedom of worship.

Either of these distortions of real truth is more of the same Marxist double speak. The New York state government has no authority to legalize homosexual marriage, whether the government was conscious of the Marxist thrust of its illegal actions or just being a useful idiot in the advance of Marx's goal to destroy the family.

Pages could be, have been and should be written about the progressive Marxist destruction of the American constitutional republic. And pages could be, have been and should be written about the destructive nature of the homosexualization of the culture.

-- Ted Baehr, June 27 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 8:23 PM EDT
Sheppard Buries Context Of Michelle Obama's Media Remark
Topic: NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard put out a June 25 NewsBusters post with the headline "Michelle Obama Tells CNN 'Fortunately We Have Help From The Media'." Sheppard's first paragraph reads: "In today's "Truer Words Might Never Have Been Spoken" segment, Michelle Obama told CNN's Robyn Curnow Friday, 'Fortunately we have help from the media.'"

It's not until the ninth paragraph, after a transcript of the interview, that Sheppard admits the uncontroversial truth, which he still tries to portray as controversial:

Now, in fairness, she was talking about how the media handle her children.

Even so, could you imagine a Republican president's wife saying, "Fortunately we have help from the media?"

On the other hand, you have to respect her for not only recognizing it, but actually saying it during an interview with CNN.

Makes you wonder how this didn't end up on the cutting room floor.

You don't, however, have to wonder why Sheppard chose to bury the full context of Obama's statement and begin his post by making readers think it meant something different -- it gives him another reason to bash the media, no matter how specious.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:42 PM EDT
CNS' Jeffrey Discusses Presidential War Powers, Ignores Bush
Topic: CNSNews.com

A June 24 CNSNews.com article by Terry Jeffrey highlights an interview Jeffrey did with constitutional scholar Louis Fisher, in which he claimed that there is "a concentration of power in the president which is not constitutional." Focusing on President Obama's launching of military action in Libya without obtaining congressional approval first, Fisher said: "I’m not going to recommend that the House Judiciary Committee hold impeachment hearings. But I would like members of Congress and the public to say that nothing would be more impeachable than a president who takes the country to war without coming to Congress, who does it unilaterally."

Curiously omitted from Jeffrey's article on the Fisher interview was any mention of President Bush. Why is that curious? Because Fisher has written an entire book focused on expansion of presidenial power under Bush.

From the description of Fisher's book "The Constitution and 9/11: Recurring Threats to America’s Freedoms" by its publisher the University of Kansas Press:

Distilling more than two centuries of history into a panoramic and compelling narrative, Fisher chronicles the longstanding tension between protecting our constitutional rights and safeguarding national security, from the Whiskey Rebellion to the McCarthy hearings to George W. Bush’s “War on Terror.” Along the way, he raises crucial questions regarding our democracy’s ongoing tug-of-war between secrecy and transparency, between expediency and morality, and between legal double-talk and the true rule of law.

Fisher focuses especially on how the Bush administration’s responses to 9/11 have damaged our constitutional culture and values, threatened individual liberties, and challenged the essential nature of our government’s system of checks and balances. His close analysis of five topics—the resurrection of military tribunals, the Guantánamo detainees, the state secrets privilege, NSA surveillance, and extraordinary rendition—places into sharp relief the gradual but relentless erosion of fundamental rights along with an enormous expansion and concentration of presidential power in the post-9/11 era.

Further, the Fisher book discussed during the interview, "Presidential War Power," also addresses the subject of Bush. From a review of Fisher's book at the Law & Politics Book Review:

In the case of the recent Iraq War, Fisher argues that George W. Bush effectively manipulated Congress by pushing through a resolution just before a mid-term election and before developments in Iraq had ripened.  Fisher suggests that Congress should have waited until after the election and until the UN Security Council had considered the matter.  He points to the contrasting circumstances of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when Congress did not act until after the UN and after opening its new session in January. This example is hardly reassuring, however, since the 1991 vote came too late in the day, just before the January 15th deadline for Iraqi capitulation set by George Bush, Sr. By that time it appeared to observers such as myself that America’s commitment to military action was a foregone conclusion.  (George H. W. Bush, like his son, denied that he needed congressional approval.)  In order to be effective, Congress needs to act with deliberation but before presidential initiatives have all but decided the issue.  The historical record does not offer much support for this possibility. 

In the 33-minute video of Jeffrey's interview with Fisher, the majority is spent discussing the historical background of presidential war powers. Jeffrey then said, making a 200-year leap over Bush: "Let me kind of make a jump from John Adams and the Congress of the late 1790s to today. If Congress in -- if the president of the United States and Congress in the late 1790s, a decade after the Constitution was written and ratified, believed that the Congress must authorize the president even to allow action against a French ship on the high seas, is that analogous to the president needing an authorization of Congress now to take action against Moammar Gadhafi in Libya?"

Even Fisher himself seems to consciously skip over Bush, at one point stating that "after World War II we had moved to a situation of Truman going to war on his own, never coming to Congress, Clinton repeatedly using military force, and we are to me acting unconstitutionally."

It's not until nearly 30 minutes into the 33-minute video that Jeffrey asked Fisher about Bush. Jeffrey said that Bush went to Congress for authorization for war in both Afghanistan and Iraq, then added, "Do you believe that the genie was being put back in the bottle at that point, that whether or not George W. Bush wanted to go to Congress, the fact that he did and he got the authorization was starting to recontstruct an original understanding of the Constitution?" Fisher responding that while Bush "did a lot of things unilaterally," he did indeed go to Congress regarding Iraq and Afghanistan. And then they moved on to whether Obama's actions were impeachable.

Even that little snippet of discussion didn't make Jeffrey's article.

It's absurd for Jeffrey and Fisher to discuss alleged abuses of presidential war powers by Obama without having anything beyond a perfunctory conversation about the actions of Obama's immediate predecessor.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:05 AM EDT
WND's Mercer, Condescending Apartheid Apologist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It seems Ilana Mercer is still pining for the good old days of apartheid in her native South Africa.

Mercer's June 24 WorldNetDaily column attacks Michelle Obama and her daughters for visiting the Apartheid Museum during their visit to South Africa. Mercer writes that "Apartheid was a contemptible caste system," but then she shifts into full condescending apologist mode (italics hers):

What else will the proprietors of the thoroughly Americanized Apartheid Museum fail to divulge? As is chronicled in Chapter 5 of [Mercer's book] "Into the Cannibal's Pot":

"Had the sainted Mandela ascended to power in the 1960s instead of languishing on Robben Island and in Pollsmoor Prison [Mrs. Obama's destinations in Cape Town], he would have nationalized the South African economy and banned private enterprise. That's what the ANC's Charter called for in 1955. That's what South Africa's black-ruled neighbors to the north did."

Except for Rhodesia before Robert Mugabe, minority-ruled South Africa, with all its problems, offered Africans more than any other country on the Dark Continent.

Mercer never criticizes apartheid as racist, which it most certainly was. Indeed, she makes it clear that she thinks blacks in Africa are too stupid and/or corrupt to govern themselves:

In the "first 23 years of apartheid, between 1948 and 1981, the South African economy grew at a rate of 4.5 percent." Of course, in the famous words attributed to both Disraeli and Mark Twain, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. Duly, Marxists put the high-growth rate down to exploitation.

However, when "exploitation" was replaced with "liberation" – and Africans broke free of the colonial yoke to gain political independence – they promptly established planned economies, in whose shadow nothing could grow, plunging their respective countries into despair and destitution.

To the liberal West, Kenneth Kaunda and Julius Nyerere were the faces of black liberation, but both leaders cut a swathe of destruction through the rural economies of their respective countries, Zambia and Tanzania.

While South Africa is not quite a one-party state, it is a dominant-party state. Demographics dictate that Mandela's African National Congress will likely never lose an election to one of the country's tiny, tokenistic opposition parties. One shudders to think what the ANC – now slowly Sovietizing South Africa – would have wrought on the sophisticated, industrialized economy of the country had it been given the opportunity circa 1960.

Mercer concludes by noting something she claims is "air brushed out of a slanted historical presentation": "By staving off crime and communism, the apartheid regime, a vast repressive apparatus though it was, saved black South Africans from an even worse moral and material fate."

For Mercer, it seems, the end justified the means. And it appears she doesn't want to concede that apartheid was racist because she harbors the same racism that fed the regime.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EDT

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