In her column last week, we noted, WorldNetDaily columnist Ilana Mercer ran to the defense of Michael Vick over dogfighting charges and, by implication, sorta defended dogfighting. She continues her defense in her Aug. 24 column, further implying that mistreatment of animals shouldn't be a crime because, well, they're animals.
Mercer attacks animal-rights activists to anthropomorphizing animals: "The love and loyalty dog lovers see in their mutt's eyes is a projection of the owner's large, cerebral cortex." She continues:
Like PETA, I don't distinguish between the pig farmer and the dogfighter. Unlike PETA, I believe all animals are property. Man is the only top dog. Although people will go to great lengths to distinguish their preferred form of animal use from Vick's, the distinction is nebulous. One either owns a resource or one doesn't. Whether one kills animals for food or for fun, the naturally licit basis for large-scale pig farming or game hunting is the same: ownership of the resource.
Arguably, commercial pig farming is crueler than dispatching dogs, then-and-there, as Vick did.
Mercer concludes: "So far, public pressure, not the law, has brought about the termination of Vick's lucrative, promising career. Civil society is clearly quite capable of censuring Vick. The law should leave him be."
NewsBuster Shows Ignorance of Newspaper Economics Topic: NewsBusters
"Mithridate Ombud" demonstrates a basic ignorance of the current print-to-Internet media paradigm shift when he/she claims, in an Aug. 24 NewsBusters post, that the Tribune Co. is seeing reduced revenue because it won't "get rid of the bias, the America-hating columnists, the socialist editorials, and the reporters pushing a gay/lesbian/transgendered/illegal alien/pro-abortion/anti-God/anti-gun agenda."
"Ombud" fails to note that America's two most prominent conservative newspapers, the Washington Times and the New York Post, are money-losers propped up only by their deep-pocketed owners. Going that route would cause Tribune to lose even more money.
If we were giving out this kind of "advice," we'd write under a pseudonym, too.
Frank Salvato's Favorite Convicted Felon Topic: CNSNews.com
Frank Salvato jumps on the Peter Paul bandwagon in an Aug. 25 CNSNews.com column, but he spends much of his column trying to explain away the fact that Paul is a convicted felon.
Salvato repeated invokes Paul's assertion that his case -- in which Paul claims that he spent $2 million on a 2000 Hollywood gala for the Clintons -- is "the largest case of campaign fraud in US history" (a term he repeats three times). He asserted that the event "netted a sorely needed $1 million in hard money donations for Hillary Clinton's campaign, donations needed to keep the campaign from going broke."
In fact, as the New York Sun -- a conservative newspaper and no fan of the Clintons -- reported, "a Federal Election Commission analysis released at the trial found that a bookkeeper's decision to pay more expenses with hard money than the law required meant that, in the end, the understatement of Paul's in-kind donations did not benefit Mrs. Clinton's bid. Her campaign netted just $57,000 from the event, though more than $1 million went to national Democratic coffers."
Then comes Savato's whitewashing of Paul's status as a convicted felon:
Those who use the "convicted felon" argument in attempting to discredit Mr. Paul's assertions are relativistic. The federal government routinely uses the testimony of convicted felons and criminals to achieve favorable outcomes in trials.
Further, the fact that Mr. Paul is a convicted felon (an interesting story in its own right) is irrelevant due to the fact that the FEC documents and investigation proving the campaign finance fraud committed by Hillary Clinton's 2000 senatorial campaign are independent of Mr. Paul.
First: Yes, it's an interesting story -- so why doesn't Savato tell it? Perhaps because, as we've detailed when WorldNetDaily tried to whitewash Paul's criminal record, fraud and cocaine possession just doesn't look good on a resume. And Paul's most recent felony -- pleading guilty to a stock fraud scheme that cost investors and banks $25 million, during which he fled to Brazil to avoid arrest and fought extradition for two years -- doesn't look good either.
Second: Paul's current felony conviction is not "irrelevant." Paul has not been sentenced yet, and he's throwing out whatever juicy charges he can against the Clintons in order to stay out of prison (or at least get a reduced sentence).
Further, Salvato offers no evidence why a three-time convicted felon should be considered in any way trustworthy.
Salvato has been cranking out the liberal-hate columns of late. His Aug. 17 column was, to use a term he himself used, a "spittle-infused rant" against the "American Fifth Column," whch he bashed as "short-sighted, maladjusted, narcissists" and "the fringe elements of our society." He declared that "We, the silent majority, must shake off the apathy that has rendered ineffective our constitutionally mandated duty to civic responsibility and we must do it now, before it is too late."
And his Aug. 3 column was headlined, "I Don't Dislike Democrats, I Oppose the Progressive Left," which even includes the phrase, "I have many friends who are Democrats." The feeling one gets from it is that it's adapted from some long-lost previous work in which he substituted "black people" for "Democrats" and a certain N-word for "Progressive Left."
Kessler Not Interested In Freedom's Watch Funding Topic: Newsmax
An Aug. 23 NewsMax article by Ronald Kessler praises the creation of the conservative group Freedom's Watch, which is "running $15 million in TV, radio, and Internet ads aimed at bolstering support in Congress for President Bush’s surge strategy in Iraq." But while Kessler is quick to (erroneously) denounce George Soros for his support of liberal causes, he is strangely incurious about the sources of Freedom's Watch's money.
Conservatives have long wondered why no one has stepped forward to provide as much funding to push their issues as the left-of-center MoveOn.org operations started by George Soros. The new non-profit organization is designed to fill that void: Its funding will exceed that of entities that have been underwritten by Soros.
But Soros didn't start MoveOn; it was founded in 1998 by Joan Blades and Wes Boyd. Soros gave money to the group starting in 2003.
Kessler repeatedly references Soros' funding of liberal causes, but when it comes to the funding behind Freedom's Watch, he has no apparent interest in pressing group president Brad Blakeman -- who he points out is "regularly quoted in NewsMax’s Washington Insider," aka Kessler's column -- about where the group's money comes from. It appears that Kessler is way too close to Blakeman to report on Freedom's Watch objectively.
Kessler states that "the total assets of the organization and the largest sources of funds are not being disclosed," but doesn't explain why. Later, he states that "Blakeman declined to compare the group with Soros’ funding," even though that's what Kessler spends his article doing.
We have two great mysteries here: Where does Freedom's Watch money come from? And why is Kessler so unenthusiastic about finding out?
The Perils of Trusting Marc Morano Topic: Media Research Center
An Aug. 22 NewsBusters post (and MRC CyberAlert item) by Brent Baker praised Fox News Channel's Brit Hume for reporting that "skeptics are increasingly certain that the scare is vastly overblown," citing among other things "new research by University of Washington mathematicians" that "shows a correlation between high solar activity and periods of global warming." Baker added: "Hume was apparently relaying highlights from an August 20 posting, 'New Peer-Reviewed Scientific Studies Chill Global Warming Fears,' by Marc Morano of the minority staff of the Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works. Morano's rundown summarized more than a dozen studies and reports.
In fact, that study doesn't support the contention that global warming is "vastly overblown." As Media Matters details, a New Scientist article on the study notes that "[c]limate-change skeptics may seize on the findings as evidence that the sun's variability can explain global warming -- but [the report's co-author] mathematician Ka-Kit Tung says quite the contrary is true," adding: "Tung says his findings provide important real-world evidence that climate model predictions of global warming are correct."
Gee, Baker and Hume didn't mention that. Why? Because Morano didn't. Given Morano's track record of making bogus claims about global warming, shouldn't they have verified his assertions before regurgitating them?
Klein Finally Acknowledges Goldstein Massacre Topic: WorldNetDaily
Good news: At long last, WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein finally mentions right-wing extremist Jew Baruch Goldstein's massacre of 29 Arabs inside Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs. Bad news: He does it in an article where that history isn't relevant to the story.
In fact, in an Aug. 23 WND article regurgitating the pro-Israeli, anti-Arab group CAMERA's attack on the CNN miniseries "God's Warriors" -- a look at religious extremism of all stripes that CAMERA has declared "one of the most grossly distorted programs" ever aired on mainstream American television -- Klein complained that it was even brought up at all, and then explains it away as an isolated incident:
Tuesday's segment started off comparing "Jewish terrorists" to that of Muslims, specifically focusing on the few instances of violence or attempted violence by religiously motivated Jews against Muslims. It told the story of Baruch Goldstein, an American-born Israeli physician who killed 29 Arabs in the West Bank city of Hebron in 1994. Goldstein's actions were widely condemned by Israelis and worldwide Jewry. The organization he was a part of was outlawed in Israel.
What Klein doesn't note is that the organization Goldstein was a part of -- the Kach/Kahane Chai movement -- is something Klein has previously tried to whitewash and counts as its former members some of Klein's favorite interview subjects.
As we've detailed, Klein has positivelywritten about former Kach/Kahane Chai members who have been active in the Jewish settlement movement in the West Bank and Gaza -- specifically, those who oppose abandoning settlements in those areas. In an August 2004 article, for instance, Klein goes out of his way to depict former Kahane members -- who at that point were reportedly planning to blow up the Temple Mount and assassinate then-prime minister Ariel Sharon in retaliation for the his plan to close Jewish settlements in Gaza -- as nonviolent and having a "leisurely chat" with Israeli officials, further citing the Goldstein massacre as an anomaly, that Jewish terrorism "is considered extremely rare," and quoting an anonymous settler as responding, "But just because of this, settlers don't deserve these labels."
Where Klein should have mentioned the Goldstein massacre, of course, is in his articles on removal of right-wing Jewish extremists who attempted to move into a marketplace in Hebron (and were then forcibly removed by Israeli troops). As we've detailed, the main reason the marketplace was closed was because of the Goldstein massacre; further, the father of one of the squatters was a landowner who played a role in bombing Arab officials in the West Bank in the 1980s. Apparently, Klein doesn't think that's "terrorism."
Cashill, Part 4: The Leak of the Crime Is Worse Than the Crime Itself Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's Part 4 of Jack Cashill's Clinton Derangement Syndrome special at WorldNetDaily, and somehow Cashill has managed to avoid making obviously egregious or misleading statements. Perhaps that's because he's too busy trying to sweep Curt Weldon's apparent ethical problems under the rug.
Indeed, Cashill is more concerned with trying to portray the leak of the FBI investigation against Weldon as more serious than anything Weldon did:
As with the Plame investigation, also prompted by a leak, if the DOJ does not find something to pin on Weldon or his daughter Karen, the larger Democratic collaboration that inspired this case will come under fire.
If investigators look hard enough they are likely to find something on Weldon, his daughter or his associates. It is likely they could find something on any member of Congress.
And, of course, Cashill paints Weldon as a yet another victim of the Clinton Conspiracy:
The question the media should be asking is "Why Weldon?" What about the man inspired Sandy Berger, the Clintons, the Democratic Alliance, CREW and just about every key player in the Clinton national security apparatus to want Weldon gone?
The answer, and here I speculate: Weldon knew – or was about to learn – what Sandy Berger pilfered from the National Archives. Whatever Berger removed, it was a powerful enough secret to justifying risking his own career and destroying Curt Weldon's.
Remember, Cashill is the same guy who took seven WND articles to portray James Kopp as innocent of shooting and killing a doctor who performed abortions -- a few months before Kopp pleaded guilty to the murder -- so his judgment of guilt and innocence is a tad skewed.
BREAKING: Gay Porn Star Joins WND! Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 23 WorldNetDaily article began with the following editor's note:
With Democrat [sic] leaders openly proclaiming the U.S. has lost the Iraq war and calling for immediate troop withdrawal, and with Gen. David Petraeus' eagerly awaited report coming next month, it's a pivotal time for America in Iraq. At the same time, there's a growing perception the news media are not reporting the reality of the war – always focusing on the latest car-bomb or IED story, but almost never on the big picture of what is actually taking place in post-Saddam Iraq, and what it means for the Mideast and the U.S.
Beginning today, reporter Matt Shachez [sic], currently embedded with the U.S. military in Iraq, will provide WND readers with a glimpse into the Iraq war most Americans have never heard from a press increasingly hostile to the war effort.
The name is correct in the byline: Matt Sanchez. At the end of the Sanchez's article -- in which he claims that, according to the headline, "Iraqis actually like the U.S. military" -- Sanchez is described as "a New York City-based writer currently embedded with the U.S. military in Iraq. His work has appeared in the New York Post, National Review and the Weekly Standard. A corporal in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and a student at Columbia University where he's working on degree in American Studies, Sanchez says his mission in Iraq is 'to report on the stories that matter the most, first-person accounts by the men and women on the ground.'"
One previous job Sanchez held, however, is missing from his bio: gay porn star.
As Max Blumenthal hasreported, prior to joining the military, Sanchez acted in several adult movies under names such as Pierre LaBranche and Rod Majors, and he has not denied that he has worked as a male escort.
Given that WND regularly prints anti-pornography articles and columns by the likes of JudithReisman, is that really the kind of person WND wants writing for it?
Further, Sanchez is reportedly under investigation by the military for fraud. According to an April 1 Marine Corps Times article, Sanchez was informed in a March 22 email from Reserve Col. Charles Jones, a staff judge advocate, that he was under investigation for lying "'to various people, including but not limited to, representatives of the New York City United War Veterans Council [UWVC] and U-Haul Corporation' about deploying to Iraq at the commandant's request." According to the article, the email added: "'Specifically, you wrongfully solicited funds to support your purported deployment to Iraq' by coordinating a $300 payment from the UWVC and $12,000 from U-Haul." Sanchez has denied the charges.
Even more ironic than the fact that a gay porn star is now writing for WND is that WND editor Joseph Farah has a column today alleging that Google is placing ads on WND that are too hot for Farah:
A reader sent this to me because she was appalled at the kind of licentious ads WND was now accepting. Of course, the top two ads on this screen shot are not WND ads at all. The WND ads have been replaced by Google's own. In other words, Google is making money by dumping WND's ads for its own. It is also misleading the public into believing its disgusting ads are WND's.
Wait 'til that reader learns the background of WND's newest writer, Matt Sanchez.
New Article -- Lies, Conservatives and Statistics: Marc Morano's Fantasy Topic: The ConWeb
The former CNS reporter, now flacking for a conservative senator, peddles transparently bogus numbers about funding of global warming -- and the ConWeb eats 'em up. Read more.
An Aug. 22 NewsBusters post by Geoffrey Dickens, as well as the Aug. 23 "Gaggle" cartoon takeoff on the post, declares something as fact for which they have no evidence: that Michelle Obama's remark that "If you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House," was, as Dickens wrote, a "slam of Hillary Clinton."
But if one listens to the whole quote, the word "Hillary" is never mentioned (nor is the name of any other candidate), and Obama frames the remark by talking about her own family.
While NewsBusters and "Gaggle" artist Greg Sheffield seem to have arbitrarily chosen Hillary as the purported target of Obama's words, they certainly weren'talone. How do they know she wasn't referring to Rudy Giuliani, who can't even get his own kids to campaign for him?
UPDATE: The MRC CyberAlert version of Dickens' post softens it a tad, calling Obama's remarks a "presumed slam of Hillary Clinton." On what evidence is that presumption being made?
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 22 WorldNetDaily article begins by asserting that cellular provider Alltel "is raising eyebrows with a TV spot featuring a woman wearing large earrings in the shape of a Pentagram, the symbol of Satanism and other occult beliefs and practices." The article doesn't mention the pentagram earrings again; instead, it launches into an anti-Clinton rant that began:
Alltel, an Arkansas-based company, has long ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Little Rock Rose Law Firm and has been shrouded in mystery and intrigue since its inception.
Because, obviously, a company tied to the Clintons would use pentagrams in their ads.
The article then descends into an orgy of factually questionable Clinton conspiracy-mongering.
It asserts that Alltel "was called Systematics"; in fact, Alltel was founded as Allied Telephone in 1943, changed its name to Alltel in 1983, and purchased Systematics in 1990. The article further claims that "Systematics would go on to develop the secret computer 'Clipper' chip capable of bugging every phone, fax and e-mail transmission in America." That's highly unlikely, since Systematics, as described in a 1990 Alltel press release announcing the company's acquisition, was "the leading provider of data processing management, services and advanced applications software exclusively for banks, savings institutions, mortgage companies and credit unions." Given that the company's expertise is in financial services, it's doubtful that it would be terribly involved in "develop[ing]" black-ops spy chips; its role, if there was one at all, was likely minor at best, probably limited to information-gathering (the bulk of Systematics' business was performing back-room processing for banks). Systematics was renamed Alltel Information Services in 1995; Alltel sold the company in 2003.
This is a little factually dubious conspiracy WND has been peddling for years; Joseph Farah was spouting the same stuff in a February 2000 column. A November 1999 WND column by Charles Smith spoke in similarly conspiratorial terms about Systematics.
From there, things decend even further into Clinton Conspiracy name-dropping, even throwing in a guest appearance by Vince Foster and another member of the Clinton Death List, Charles Wilbourn Miller (which WND misspells as "Wilbourne"). WND sinisterly notes: "Even though two weapons were found at the scene and two rounds from the Ruger had been fired, Miller's death was ruled a suicide." Apparently nobody actually commits suicide in Arkansas since, as WND wants you to think, Bill Clinton kills 'em all. That's recycled stuff too; Farah was peddling it back in 1999.
This makes an interesting -- if paranoid -- companion piece to Jack Cashill's ongoing Clinton Conspiracy-mongering series on Curt Weldon.
Cashill, Part 3: More Misleading Claims Topic: WorldNetDaily
Hey, kids, it's time for Part 3 of Jack Cashill's Clinton Derangement Syndrome epic at WorldNetDaily (we've gone through Part 1 and Part 2 already), portraying Curt Weldon has a victim of the Clinton Conspiracy. What did Cashill get wrong this time?
He starts off by dropping another reference to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) as a "George Soros-funded watchdog group," again failing to mention that Richard Mellon Scaife has funded Judicial Watch to a much greater extent than Soros has funded CREW.
Cashill then asserted that during his 2006 interview with Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace, Bill Clinton's mention of Weldon was "announced out of nowhere" when he stated: "A three-star admiral who was on my National Security Council staff, who also fought terror, by the way, is running for the seat of Curt Weldon in Pennsylvania." In fact, Clinton's mention of Weldon and his opponent was not "out of nowhere"; it was in the context of describing the military backgrounds of Democratic candidates running in the election. From the Wallace-Clinton interview:
WALLACE: And the White House, the Republicans want to make the American people afraid?
CLINTON: Of course they do. Of course they do. They want us to be -- they want another homeland security deal. And they want to make it about -- not about Iraq but about some other security issue, where, if we disagree with them, we are, by definition, imperiling the security of the country.
And it's a big load of hooey. We've got nine Iraq war veterans running for the House seats. We've got President Reagan's secretary of the Navy as the Democratic candidate for the Senate in Virginia. A three-star admiral, who was on my National Security Council staff, who also fought terror, by the way, is running for the seat of Curt Weldon in Pennsylvania.
We've got a huge military presence here in this campaign. And we just can't let them have some rhetorical device that puts us in a box we don't belong in.
That's their job. Their job is to beat us. I like that about Rove. But our job is not to let them get away with it. And if they don't, then we'll do fine.
Finally, Cashill called the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11" "an honest, if unflattering, account of events." Wrong; as we've detailed, conservatives loved the heck out of it because it contained fabricated scenes that made the Clinton administration look bad. Cashill must have a different definition of "honest" than the rest of us.
Cashill's got one more part left. Can he keep up the level of false and misleading claims? Stay tuned...
An Aug. 16 NewsMax column by Ronald Kessler claimed that "Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's greatest vulnerability in the general presidential election" is "their vote against revising the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)":
In voting this month against the measure, both senators opposed a continuation of the government's longstanding ability to monitor, without a warrant, calls between terrorists situated in foreign countries.
What if these two Democratic presidential candidates prevailed? If Osama bin Laden placed a call to an al-Qaida member in London to arrange a nuclear hit on Manhattan, a warrant would first have to be obtained. By the time that happened, the call would have been over.
But Kessler offers no evidence that either Clinton or Obama ever specifically opposed the government's "ability to monitor, without a warrant, calls between terrorists situated in foreign countries." In fact, as Media Matters notes, Clinton voted in favor of a version of the bill -- introduced by Democrats -- that would have reversed a reported ruling limiting the administration's ability to intercept certain foreign-to-foreign communications without a warrant. The bill Clinton voted against was a much broader bill to amend FISA to give the administration authority to intercept certain domestic-to-foreign communications without a warrant.
Further, as the New York Times reported, the bill that was passed "could allow the Bush administration to conduct spy operations that go well beyond wiretapping to include — without court approval — certain types of physical searches on American soil and the collection of Americans’ business records."
Even using FISA's emergency provision, it takes at least two days to prepare the paperwork and obtain all the necessary approvals. Because a call was not intercepted in time, millions of Americans could have been killed.
"You can't go back and ask for a FISA for a conversation that's already occurring," says a counterterrorism operative. "That's the fundamental issue. When they pick up on a U.S. conversation, they can't tell these two guys who are talking: ‘Hey, hold on a minute while we go get a FISA.' A conversation is a conversation; it happens, and then it's lost."
In fact, FISA has long allowed the government to obtain warrants for wiretapped conservations up to 72 hours after the conversation has taken place.
Gladnick Doesn't Think Rove Leaked Plame's Identity, Even Though He Did Topic: NewsBusters
Call it Rove Denial Syndrome.
An Aug. 19 NewsBusters post by P.J. Gladnick, in declaring that San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford is suffering from "Rove Derangement Syndrome" for his rant against Karl Rove, in which he says, among other things, that Rove "intentionally commit[ted] treason by leaking the name of a CIA agent to reporters in an insidious attempt to silence critics of your boss' horribly failed war." Gladnick responds:
Committed treason for leaking the name of Valery [sic] Plame? Oh yeah, that must have been why Karl Rove was indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald on May 12 of last year. Or was that Richard Armitage who really did leak that name but which the left has conveniently tossed down the memory hole?
But Rove did leak Plame's identity to reporters -- in fact, he served as confirmation of hte information for columnist Robert Novak, who first went public with the name. Rove also leaked to then-Time reporter Matthew Cooper.
This follows a longpattern of NewsBusters writers trying to shove all blame for the leak of Plame's identity onto Armitage, peddling the absurd notion that because Armitage leaked Plame's name to Robert Novak, and Novak was the first to report it ahead of the reporters to whom Rove (and Scooter Libby) leaked, Rove's and Libby's leaks somehow magically didn't happen.