A May 7 Newsmax article by Cathy Burke touts how "Sen. Ted Cruz unveiled the fourth in his series of reports on what he has called the Obama administration's abuses of power – an issue that has dominated the freshman lawmaker's 16 months in Congress," noting that it "cited 76 instances of the administration's overstepping its constitutional authority, ranging from Obamacare to Benghazi." But Burke simply repeats Cruz's allegations and made no apparent attempt to delve into the veracity of the allegations.
By contrast, the Washington Post Dana Milbank reported that several of Cruz's claims are specious if not outright false:
Consider item No. 2 in the “Other Abuses of Power” section: “Backed release of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi.” This does sound bad — and strange, given that Obama had publicly said he was “angry” about the release, which was “a bad decision.”
The footnote on Cruz’s allegation points to an article in the Australian newspaper, a curious source. I looked up the article, which stated that “the U.S. wanted Megrahi to remain imprisoned in view of the nature of the crime.”
Cruz, in a preamble to his accusations, writes piously of “the president’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat.”
The evidence? The first item in the first category (“Governing By Executive Fiat”): ”Disregarded 1996 welfare reform law in granting broad work waivers for work requirements of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.”
Such waivers were at the heart of welfare reform, which I covered. Ron Haskins, who drafted the law, told The Post that waivers made the law possible by giving states freedom to experiment.
A few lines down, Cruz alleges that Obama “extended federal marriage benefits by recognizing, under federal law, same-sex marriages . . . even if the couple is living in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.”
Cruz’s footnote for this allegation is to a February news article, which notes that the administration’s “changes were set in motion last year when the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional to refuse federal benefits to married same-sex couples.” So Obama is being “lawless” by obeying a Supreme Court ruling?
Cruz alleges that the administration “ordered Boeing to fire 1,000 employees in South Carolina and shut down a new factory because it was non-union.” In fact, Obama’s National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint — and any order would have been up to a judge, as the law requires. In the end, Boeing and the union struck a deal, and the complaint was dropped.
Cruz must have found some of his allegations too good to check — such as the charge that Obama “spent $205,075 in ‘stimulus’ funds to relocate a shrub that sells for $16.” Actually, the removal of the plant (which had been believed to be extinct in the wild) was part of a massive road project run by California, not the federal government. Like thousands of other projects, it got stimulus dollars — less than 10 percent of its total funding.
That's what a real journalist would do. What's Burke's excuse?
David Kupelian And 'The New Fascists' Topic: WorldNetDaily
David Kupelian's May 11 WorldNetDaily column is about "the new fascists -- and their victims," but the only "fascists" he cites are gays and the only "victims" he cites are Christians. Kupelian completely ignores analagous examples of right-wing fascism.
For instance, Kupelian cites "the August 2012 attempted mass-murder attack on the Family Research Council, when an angry homosexual activist named Floyd Lee Corkins entered FRC’s Washington, D.C., headquarters carrying 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches and a 9-mm handgun, shooting a security guard before being overcome by the courageous staffer. After his arrest, Corkins – who told federal investigators (see video below) he was inspired to commit the terror attack on the Christian organization by the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate map”– confessed he had planned to 'kill as many people as I could … then smear a Chicken-fil-A sandwich on their face.'" Kupelian doesn't mention a successful murder by anti-abortion extremist Scott Roeder, who shot and killed abortion doctor George Tiller in his church. While Corkins had no contact with the SPLC beyond looking at its website, Roeder had numerous contacts with anti-abortion group Operation Rescue before murdering him. Operation Rescue had previously exhorted activists to enter Tiller's church, and Roeder's car contined a Post-It note with a phone number for Operation Rescue official Cheryl Sullenger.
Kupelian also cites the case of Scott Savage, "a devout and peace-loving Quaker who wouldn’t hurt anyone or anything, who even rode a horse-drawn buggy like the Amish in that part of Ohio" who was criticized after recommending books by Kupelian and other right-wing authors in his role as a college librarian. Kupelian doesn't mention WND's fascist-like retaliation against the school, which included smearing the school's diversity training as "homosexual indoctrination." WND also insisted on describing Kupelian's book as a "bestseller" despite the fact that it never appeared on the New York Times' bestseller list, the gold standard for book sales. And as we've documented, WND apparently secretly collaborated with the right-wing Alliance Defense Fund to hype the Savage controversy and, thus, boost sales of Kupelian's book.
Kupleian complains that "the left – including the ever-expanding sexual anarchy movement" are "so deeply offended, so mortally threatened, by people simply disagreeing with them, no matter how civil and well-meaning." But Kupelian operates thet same way; as we've noted, he's not interested in engaging in substantial dialogue with his critics, since it's much easier to present the most extreme critics and pretend they represent all critics and, therefore, not worth responding to.He has proclaimed that "no one has actually identified a single factual error in" his books, despite the fact that his books are about assertions and conclusions, which are opinion and therefore not objectively true or not true.
To the contrary, Kupelian omits facts from his books that undermine his right-wing talking points. For instance, he blames the case of Andrea Yates killing her children on her use of antidepressants, but he doesn't mention that she was in thrall to a ultra-fundamentalist Christian preacher who taught that women were evil and must be subservient to men and convinced her and her husband to sell their possession and live in a bus.
And Kupelian certainly knows the techniques of fascism -- after all, he used to work for accused cult leader Roy Masters, and WND had extensive ties with Masters' organization in its early years, even having its original offices at Masters' Oregon ranch.
Did we mention that WND also employs extreme homophobe Molotov Mitchell, who advocates "the abolition of homosexuality." Sounds pretty fascist to us.
Perhaps Kupelian should address his own fascist tendencies before criticizing others.
FrontPageMag Imagines Hillary As A Black President Topic: Horowitz
A May 12 FrontPageMag article by Daniel Greenfield rants about "the leftist hijacking of black identity," declaring that this means "Hillary would be America’s third black president." Greenfield's article is accompanied by this image:
Bradlee Dean begins his May 9 WorldNetDaily column this way:
Did you hear about the dictator who was asked by one of his subordinates, “How do we get the people to believe our lies?” The dictator answered, “Just tell them what they want to hear.”
Well, Dean should know -- he's an unrepentant liar, and he knows what WND readers want to hear (and it's not the truth). His WND bio continues to solicit donations to fund his lawsuit against MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, even though that lawsuit was dismissed a long time ago and the dismissal was recently affirmed by an appeals court.
And Dean can't seem to stop lying. He writes:
First we have Tommy Vietor, the individual responsible for changing talking points over and over again concerning information that was given to the American people about Benghazi. Tommy changed the talking points to do none other than deceive and mislead the people.
Tommy, in a disrespectful manner said in an interview, “Dude … This was like two years ago.” He said this with a big smile on his face!
Do remember that several people were murdered in Benghazi, yet Tommy makes light of it in his continued efforts to cover up the crimes committed by this administration.
Remember friends, Benghazi was TWO YEARS AGO!
In fact, the full context of the interview clearly shows that Vietor was talking about specific edits to talking points, not about Benghazi istself.
The guy -- whose Minnesota-based ministry apparently shut down last fall after all his employees quit on him, tired of being mistreated and exploited -- just can't help himself.
Dishonest MRC Video Purports to Bust Myth of 'Gun Show Loophole' Topic: CNSNews.com
Matt Vespa declares in a May 7 CNSNews.com blog post that a Media Research Center video busts the myth of the "gun show loophole":
On April 25, MRCTV's Dan Joseph decided to go to the Nation's Gun Show at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Arguably, it was probably one of the safest places to film a segment for MRCTV, especially with all the police on-site. As liberals continue to harp about expanding background checks and closing to so-called gun show loophole, Joseph asked a few vendors about the process involved when it comes to buying their merchandise.
No, this isn't a flea market. This isn't like any store where you can just put money down and leave with your goods. You have to go through background checks, and vendors will absolutely not sell to anyone with a criminal record.
Vendors say they won't even talk business with someone they think is suspicious.
So, if you want to buy a gun at a gun show, or from federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL), here's the typical process.
But there's false extrapolation here. Neither Vespa nor Joseph offer any evidence that the standards at this particular gun show -- which is operated by a national company that holds the sale several times a year -- are applied at all gun shows in Virginia. Indeed, one reporter was able to buy firearms at a Virginia gun show from private sellers without any paperwork.
Virginia law requires background checks for gun sales from federally licensed dealers, but not for firearms transferred privately, which is the "gun show loophole." While all vendors at the gun show Joseph attended may be required to be federally licensed dealers, that's clearly not the case for all gun shows, or even all gun shows in Virginia.And that may not even be true for this particular gun show: in 2013, a Virginia lawmaker reported he was able to buy a revolver at this gun show without a background check.
You might remember Joseph embarrassing himself by lamely pretending to be transgender in order to mock anti-discrimination laws.
WND Brings Us An Old Friend's Obama Derangement Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jack Wheeler is a right-wing bon vivant with whom WorldNetDaily has had a long relationship -- WND ran "news" articles that were actually plugs for his newsletter and has allowed Wheeler to say all sorts of scabrous things.
After a few years of relative silence, Wheeler is back with a May 10 column in which he plucks birther strings to portray President Obama as an African at heart, just like all those horrible African dictators:
It took coming here, to the darkest pit of hellhole Africa, for it to finally dawn on me who Obama really is, to what total extent he isn’t American at all, but African.
After his dalliance with Ann Dunham at the University of Hawaii and Ruth Baker in Massachusetts, Obama Sr. returned to Kenya in 1964, where Mboya got him a job as senior economist for the Ministry of Finance. When Mboya was assassinated, Kenyatta had him fired, and according to his son’s book, “Dreams From My Father,: he became an alcoholic. A Big Man, Jomo Kenyatta, destroyed Obama Sr.’s life and his chance to be a Big Man himself as the protégé of Mboya.
When you read Obama Jr.’s account of his father in the context of decolonized Africa and its tradition of Big Men, you realize what his dream is: to be an African Big Man himself.
The current president of the United States is not an American, not in his soul. He is an African. Not an “African-American,” for that term only appropriately applies to descendants of Africans brought to America as slaves.
Obama Jr. is completely lacking in that ancestry and cultural heritage. His ancestry and heritage is half black African, which he embraces, and half white American, which he despises. He has no interest in being an American president. He wants to use the presidency to be a Big Man, to be worshiped and obeyed, to rule by executive decree, to live like a king and play more golf than conduct the business of state.
By now, you are no doubt focusing on the most worrisome feature of this, that Big Men never give up power willingly and will do whatever it takes to retain it. America has the deepest, most historically entrenched traditions of elected government in the world. How will America’s Big Man attempt to subvert them?
Whatever he tries, we have to be ready for it. Come what may, America’s African Big Man has got to be evicted from the White House at least by January 2017. Seems like an eternity away, doesn’t it? Yet now that we understand who and what he really is, it will easier to serve him his eviction notice.
Wheeler's column is all about Obama derangement and nothing about reality -- but that's exactly the kind of thing that plays well with WND's readers.
NewsBusters Frets That Bush Might Airbrush Bush Out Of Afghanistan (Which Is What CNS Has Done) Topic: NewsBusters
In a May 6 NewsBusters post, Jack Coleman grumbles that a documentary on the 1970 Kent State killings didn't mention Lyndon Johnson (even though he had been out of office for more than a year at the time of the shootings). Coleman huffed, "It was like watching a documentary on President Obama's handling of the war in Afghanistan -- without a single appearance by George W. Bush. If and when CNN makes that documentary, Bush will be the primary figure, followed by Obama heroically bringing the troops home."
But airbrushing Bush out of the war in Afghanistan is exactly what NewsBusters' sister organization, CNSNews.com, has done. CNS has touted how U.S. casualties in Afghanistan went up under Obama while not mentioning the far higher U.S. casualities in Iraq under Bush, or that Bush essentially abandoned Afghanistan to concentrate on the war in Iraq, allowing the Taliban to rebuild and necessitating a larger troop presence under Obama.
Yet we have not seen Coleman complain about CNS' Afghan coverage. Funny, that.
WND's Two Views Of Anti-Muslim Filmmaker, Both Misguided Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jack Cashill devotes his May 7 WorldNetDaily column to depicting filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula as a scapegoat for Benghazi, letting Nakoula complain that leaked information about his criminal record endangered his life:
The release of this information put a major target on Nakoula’s back and that of his family. At the time, given the White House’s widely echoed blame-the-video narrative, Nakoula believed himself responsible for the death of the four Americans in Benghazi.
“I felt I had blood on my hands,” Nakoula told me in a phone interview Monday. “I felt like I deserved my punishment.”
The only “danger” Nakoula posed was as a target of Islamic wrath or that of his cohorts in the check-kiting scheme.
Among the very real death threats Nakoula faced was one from a Pakistani cabinet minister who put a $100,000 bounty on Nakoula’s head.
The Justice Department responded to those foreign threats against an American national by recommending a two-year prison term for the American.
It could have been worse. Egyptian courts sentenced Nakoula to death for his role in the video.
When, some months after his arrest, I tracked Nakoula down to the Federal Correctional Institution–La Tuna at the westernmost tip of West Texas, I was the first person in the media to contact him.
When I called him on Monday, he was still confined to a halfway house in Orange County, Calif., nearly six months after he was supposed to have been freed.
“Why did you punish me again?” he asks angrily of the Justice Department. “Why? It was not in original judgment.”
Needless to say, Cashill ignores some inconvenient facts about Nakoula and his film. First, as we've noted, Nakoula deceived the actors in what became "The Innocence of Muslims" about the nature of the film. One actress told the Hollywood Reporter that the original script the actors followed was much different from the finished product, in which the actors' voices were redubbed to make it an anti-Muslim film. That, in turn, put the actors' live in danger, fearing reprisals for their parts in a film they were deceived about.
Second, Nakoulas film did, in fact, spark riots in the Mideast and elsewhere (just not Benghazi). The Week reported that protests occurred in more than 20 countries, killing at least 10 people.
Does Nakoula feel like he has blood on his hands for the people who did die in rioting over his sleazy, deceptive film? Cashill seems not to have asked him about that, nor did he ask about the lies he told his actors about the film's intent.
That's not the only narrative WND promoted about Nakoula. Erik Rush gets it wrong from a completely different viewpoint in his May 7 column, claiming Nakoula made the film as a government agent:
Finally, there is the shadowy background of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, producer of “The Innocence of Muslims” (the film that was purported to have touched off the widespread Muslim unrest of Sept. 11, 2012). The Shoebat Foundation and other media have alleged that Nakoula was actually an informant for the U.S. government dating back to the Clinton years. Did he produce “Innocence” at the behest of his government handlers for the express purpose of reinforcing White House propaganda? At this juncture, it’s certainly a reasonable question.
The rest of Rush's column is his typical increasingly unhinged Obama derangement, demanding that the president be brought up on treason charges.
MRC's Philbin Sneers At Gay Football Player Topic: Media Research Center
Matt Philbin's May 7 Media Research Center column on gay football player Michael Sam is filled with sneering derision:
If an NFL team ends up taking Michael Sam in a late draft round – or not at all – don’t blame the media. The Missouri defensive end came out of the closet to near universal media adulation (coincidentally timed with the NFL Combine in February). Now, with the draft looming on May 8, ESPN and ABC are doing their parts to make sure Sam is picked.
ESPN announced May 7 that it’s bestowing Sam with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. The ceremony doesn’t take place until July, but it’s never too early to remind NFL coaching staffs that Sam had the courage to join society’s most trendy and celebrated grievance group.
But the sports and news media alike have a habit of obnoxiously intruding on sports with their political preoccupations. (Here’s looking at you, “Pinky” Costas.)
The Ashe Award was ostensibly the excuse for having Sam on “Good Morning America” May 7. But, covering mostly the same ground as the February media love fest, it was really about confirming that Michael Sam is still a homosexual.
Yes, the MRC has an anti-gay agenda, but apparently it's so anti-gay that hurling insultsis considered right-wing media criticism.
WND's Farah Tries to Defuse Bundy Standoff He Lit The Fuse On Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've documented how WorldNetDaily was an early cheerleader of the standoff between Cliven Bundy and the federal government, even touting how armed militias had "made the confrontation over Bundy’s use of federal land for grazing a rally cry." WND editor Joseph Farah ranted against the "Gestapo tactics of the federal government in dealing with honest, hard-working Americans who live off the land – our land."
But the feds have backed off, the militias are still hanging out and threatening people -- which, curiously, WND has not reported. And suddenly, Farah is singing a different tune.
Farah -- who helped to escalate the Bundy Ranch situation by cheering on the militia thugs -- is now calling for calm:
No Americans should be pointing guns at other Americans over grazing fees that are allegedly owed by Bundy. There’s no need for that. This is the kind of conflict that should be resolved peaceably in courts of law as well as in the court of public opinion. It’s not life-and-death battle. It’s time for both sides to recognize this is not a matter calling for bloodshed and violence. Period. End of story.
Emotions are running high over the dispute – and that’s not good. It’s in everyone’s best interest to take a calm, cool look at the facts and stand down.
We don’t need another Ruby Ridge or Waco over a bunch of cows. No one should be welcoming or preparing for a shoot-out. It’s insanity. No one wins from such a scenario.
To date, no one has been seriously hurt or killed. That is a positive thing. It’s not a time for escalating the crisis or erecting barricades. It’s a time for defusing the crisis. Both sides need to calm down and get rational. This matter only rises to a life-threatening one if Americans – on either side – react without thinking.
No one benefits from a shooting war.
But wasn't WND hoping to benefit from a shoot-out it could exploit as another example of President Obama's supposed lawlessness? It exploited Ruby Ridge and Waco, after all -- there are hundreds of articles on both in WND's archive.
Farah goes on to complain that "the FBI is investigating supporters of Bundy who allegedly pointed guns at armed federal agents." Allegedly? Who does he think this militia member is "allegedly" pointing his weapon at?
For all the evidence that the militia thugs are continuing their thuggery, he won't call them out the way he calls out the government. He merely laments, "There’s irrationality on both sides. Both sides have been responsible for incendiary rhetoric. There have been misguided and baseless charges of racism. And there has been too much cowboy swagger, too."
And he's still misleading to defend Bundy:
Cliven Bundy is not a wealthy man. Clearly, he does not have $1 million to pay the government for the grazing fees it claims.
You might expect reasonable people in government to look at the situation, slap a lien on the property and take its cut when Bundy dies or sells his land. That would be logical. But it seems unlikely for whatever reason.
You might also expect the government to do what if often does in other much more serious disputes like the Middle East – negotiate endlessly to find a compromise solution. That would be logical, too. But it seems unlikely for whatever reason.
Farah seems to have missed the fact that the federal government has been working for 20 years to reach a settlement with Bundy. It seems the government has been more than reasonable in waiting that long to move against Bundy's lawlessness.
How nice of Farah to suddenly want to de-escalate the Bundy situation. He should have thought about that before he decided to escalate it.
In a May 9 WorldNetDaily article, Steve Peacock takes a victory lap over "An Obama administration plan to have U.S. military personnel oversee the construction of restrooms for a Kenyan girls’ school" being canceled. But it was not all sweetness and light, for Peacock huffily noted some criticism of his reporting:
The report simultaneously came under attack from leftist groups such as People For the American Way.
The group’s Right Wing Watch – a project “dedicated to monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement” – simplistically accused WND of opposing aid to children who lack access to basic needs like sanitation.
Strangely, Peacock doesn't actually respond to the criticsim, nor does he provide a link to his critic. That suggests he's a little sensitive about the criticism.
In fact, the tone of Peacock's original March 29 article is one of opposing U.S. spending on basic needs like sanitation because it's somehow a nefarous scheme by Obama to help his so-called home countrty. Right Wing Watch, meanwhile, was mocking Peacock's obsession with aid to Kenya under the Obama administration.
Peacock's obsession is amply demonstrated at the end of his article (not to mention a lack of creativity in headline-writing), which lists all the articles Peacock has written on the subject:
Obama moves to protect taxpayers … in Kenya! Obama studying spending more … in Kenya Obama finally fixing health care … in Kenya Obama funds Kenya project during shutdown Obama can’t stop spending — in Kenya! Obama drops hundreds of millions on (Kenyan) farmers Obama repackages Kenyan aid scheme Obama pushes $50 million more for Kenya Obama expands reading program – in Kenya! Obama pushing Kenyan ‘peace’ projects New Obama projects to boost Kenya power companies COVER-UP! Contracting system sanitized of Kenya documents White House rolls out Kenya propaganda plan Obama’s spending grows ‘exponentially’ – in Kenya!
At no point in any of these articles has Peacock proven that Obama has personally demanded each of these projects be carried out, or that such aid to Kenya is a change from past presidencies.
In other words, Peacock's just cherry-picking things to create some kind of Obama conspiracy theory. This is WND, after all, and conspiracy theories are part of its editorial policy.
MRC Still Doesn't Want To Talk About Lara Logan Topic: Media Research Center
We've previously documented how the Media Research Center promoted Lara Logan's "60 Minutes" story on Benghazi, only to go silent when it was discovered that Logan's main source was a liar. Despite "60 Minutes" being a big, fat mainstream media target, the MRC still doesn't want to talk about it.
Last week, a New York magazine article told the story behind Logan's Benghazi debacle and examines whether she will return to the show, from which she has been suspended since her story imploded.
The reaction at the MRC? Total silence. Again, even though "60 Minutes" is one of the MRC's prime targets.
Logan did get a mention at the MRC this week -- the first in five months. A May 8 NewsBusters post by Tom Johnson grumbling about a Salon piece highlighting Logan's conservative views. Johnson conceded only that Logan's Benghazi story "proved seriously flawed."
WND Tries To Move Some Old Clinton Impeachment Books Topic: WorldNetDaily
There has been a pile of books moldering away in WorldNetDaily's warehouse focused on the events surrounding President Clinton's impeachment, which it published some years back. Thanks to Monica Lewinsky, WND had the opportunity to move a few of them this week.
A May 7 article by Bob Unruh is framed around the impeachment memories of former congressman James Rogan, whose impeachment book WND published. In keeping with his reputation as a lazy reporter, Unruh simply copies-and-pastes excerpts from the book's promotional blurb into his article.
Another May 7 article by Joseph Farah is basically a promotional vehicle for Kathleen Willey's WND-published book. Needless to say, Farah avoids mentioning the fact that what Willey writes in her book tends to be at odds with established facts and reality in general, because facts get in the way of Farah's '90s fantasy.
AIM, MRC Fundraise Off Benghazi Topic: Media Research Center
So newly appointed Benghazi select committee chairman Trey Gowdy has been decrying the idea of Republicans fundraising off Benghazi (ironically, at the exact moment Republicans were fundraising off Benghazi). The ConWeb has not gotten the message.
Media Matters catches Accuracy in Media seeking to raise money to fund its "Citizens' Commission on Benghazi" kangaroo court. But AIM isn't the only one.
The Media Research Center is running ads on its website stating, "Demand the media tell the truth about Behghazi." It takes you to a page that regurgitates right-wing talking points:
We have a smoking gun in the Benghazi cover up scandal: emails tying the White House to Susan Rice's false talking points about the terrorist attack. Finally, there’s proof that this administration lied about the terrorist attack in order to protect the President during his reelection campaign.
This is earth-shattering news. But guess what? The media are for the most part covering up the smoking gun! That the so-called “news” media refuse to report a smoking gun in one of the biggest scandals in modern history is a major scandal in its own right!
Signing the website's petition to "demand that the media stop censoring the news about Benghazi" takes you toanother page that solicits donations that "will enable us to build a grass roots army that we can unleash on the liberal media to demand that they tell the truth."
But the MRC's campaign -- and the right-wing media's Benghazi obsession in general -- seems to demonstrate that this is much less about telling the truth than it is about raising money and motivating the base.
Clinton Derangement Syndrome, WND Edition Topic: WorldNetDaily
There is a deep chasm of comprehension between the power-mad and the power-indifferent. Neither one of us can understand the other. Hillary Clinton, for example, could never live the life I do. She would hate every quiet, simple, peaceful moment of it. Similarly, I could never live like her. I would hate every stressful, screaming, profanity-filled moment of it.
The difference is, as a powerful person she can boss me around through legislation. She can sic men with guns on me. She can take my money. She can take my farm. She can even take my life (what difference does it make?) without a qualm of conscience. That’s what government can do.