Parallels abound between Gov. Sarah Palin’s quest to be a heartbeat from the U.S. presidency and Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power in Great Britain.
Like Thatcher, she is tough talking and outspoken. Palin’s actions speak louder than her words.
In 1979, Thatcher’s plain speaking on Conservative plans to cut taxes and regulations on business galvanized the party’s base and she was elected prime minister. Her vision of “a man’s right to work as he will, to spend what he earns to have the state as servant not master” inspired her country.
Three decades later, Palin has likewise energized her party and has become a rallying point. Would a Vice President Palin be a future Margaret Thatcher?
CNS Misleads Again on Obama Staff Pay Topic: CNSNews.com
A Sept. 18 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas asserts that Barack Obama "pays his own female Senate staffers, on average, only 78 percent of what he pays male staffers," suggesting that this conflicts with Obama's stance supporting equal pay for women.
As we pointed out the last time Lucas made this claim, that's a false conflation of issues. Lucas provides no evidence that women in Obama's office are being paid less than men with the same amount of experience doing the same job -- which is what the issue of pay equity is all about. (Pandagon weighs on on the issue as well.)
Michael Reagan: Bring Back Redlining! Topic: Newsmax
Michael Reagan has declared in his Sept. 18 Newsmax column that Democrats are responsible for the current financial crisis. Why? Because the Clinton administration got rid of redlining:
To find the donkey, you need to go back to the Clinton administration, which decided that everybody and his kid brother was entitled to a mortgage even when they didn’t begin to qualify for a home loan.
In saner days, banks designated certain areas as no-loan zones — depressed neighborhoods where lending money to potential home buyers was not just a risky investment, but a certain future foreclosure.
Critics of the practice called it “redlining,” and President Clinton and his chums on Capitol Hill decided that banks should no longer act like banks and lend money only to home buyers who could afford to handle the monthly payments. Now all bets would be off and people not the least bit creditworthy — and speculators — would be entitled by law to obtain mortgages even when it was obvious they couldn’t afford to handle them.
Actually, redlining as people who aren't Michael Reagan understand it -- a refusal to offer banking services and/or loans in certain areas, which in practice was racist because those areas were invariably minority-dominated -- has been illegal for decades. The Clinton administration merely stepped up enforcement of anti-redlining laws.
Does Reagan really want to bring back redlining and its attendant racism? It sure appears so.
A Sept. 19 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn makes essentially the same argument as Reagan, blaming "unsound – though politically correct – lending practices" but avoiding the term "redlining."
Does Aaron Klein Want to Disenfranchise Israeli Arabs? Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 18 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein begins:
Did fewer than 15,000 Arabs just determine who will serve as Israel's next prime minister?
That may be the case following Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's slim win here by just 431 votes in yesterday's primary for the leadership of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party. The primary elections had a high Arab turnout.
The overall tone of Klein's article is one of offense that Arabs were allowed to vote in an Israeli election inthe first place, even though Klein concedes they are "regular citizens" -- if Klein wasn't offended, why would he make such a big deal out of it?
We already know that Klein is sympathetic to right-wing Israeli views, but this indication of anti-Arab sentiment puts Klein in league with far-right Israelis such as Meir Kahane's now-outlawed Kach (and successor Kahane Chai) party, which advocated the explusion of Arabs from Israel. We've previously noted Klein's kid-glove treatment of Kahanists, downplaying their history of violence.
Klein's beliefs also appear to be in line with those of Avigdor Lieberman's right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, which wants to strip Israeli citizenship from Arabs living in the West Bank.
Klein needs to honestly and publicly admit the right-wing biases that are all too clear in his writing so his readers can determine how much to trust his reporting.
A Sept. 17 WorldNetDaily article noting "the biggest one-day gain in history" for gold prices quoted Swiss America's Craig Smith promoting the virtues of gold as an investment, but it failed to disclose that Smith is a WND columnist and that Swiss America is a WND advertiser.
WorldNetDaily has a long history of blurring the line between editorial and advertising regarding Smith and Swiss America.
Newsmax's Reporting on Study Is Incomplete Topic: Newsmax
A Sept. 18 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers reported on a Wisconsin Advertising Project study that found "'Barack Obama aired more negative ads than his Republican rival John McCain last week." But Meyers failed to note that the WAP's definition of "negative" was any mention of the opponent's name, that WAP didn't measure the veracity of the ads, nor did it determine whether something was a personal attack or a policy attack.
Another Sept. 18 article, by Ashley Martella, uncritically quoted Republican operative Roger Stone citing the study without noting the full story behind it.
Since there are still many Americans who are ignorant of the facts, let us be blunt: The comparisons of Obama to Christ or Palin to Pilate are obviously far, far, from analogous. Barack Hussein Obama is a nothing, not in the eyes of God, or in the sense of human worth, but in the sense of his tissue-paper resume, fair game because he and his people tout it so audaciously. He was a community organizer, a position many would reckon is less important than dogcatcher.
It could be said – albeit defiantly and with a cattiness more characteristically employed by the left – that Adolf Hitler was a "community organizer," as well. After all, between the loss of World War I and the state of the world economy in the 1930s, Germany had been dealt a terrific blow. Thugs, petty criminals, communists and anarchists freely roamed the streets. Those who did have money flaunted their means, careless of those who were trotting down the sidewalks with wheelbarrows full of worthless paper money in order to purchase the most basic of necessities.
Enter Hitler, another master orator, by the way. And guess what? He told people precisely what they needed to hear: The uplifting voice of "change."
Of course there were still, small voices within certain circles that recognized Hitler for the dangerous sociopath he was – but you'd never get the average German to see it then. Such nice boys they were in their brown shirts. Well-spoken, clean cut … and they kept those damn communists off of the streets. Community organizer.
Should a Hitler come along in America, rest assured that he will be hailed as triumphantly as Barack Obama. His shortcomings – like Obama's and Hitler's – will be purposefully overlooked, and he will sail to power with the pomp of a celebrated ocean liner coming into port.
And he will lay waste to some vital part of America, one left somehow intact prior to that point. Certainly Obama's ascendancy itself is a clear indication that some measure of what was America has already been lost.
Kessler Hides Background of Notorious Push-Poller Topic: Newsmax
A Sept. 17 Newsmax column by Ronald Kessler begins: "Most polls may be overstating Barack Obama’s support by 5 to 10 percentage points because those surveyed may not be telling the truth about voting for him, ad executive Gabe Joseph III tells Newsmax." Kessler describes Joseph only as "president of ccAdvertising, which conducts polls for a range of candidates and members of Congress."
Turns out Joseph's background is much more interesting -- and notorious -- than that. As TPM Muckraker detailed, Joseph "may be the king of the push poll, in which real-sounding questions with ludicrous premises are asked to plant negative ideas in voters' minds." His company, ccAdvertising, was founded by former Reagan administration official Donald Hodel and has solid Republican ties. TPM continues:
As might be expected of an outfit that profits off of convincing people not to vote, ccAdvertising plays rough. Mother Jones reveals that Joseph once boasted of his firm's ability to "deliver a voter suppression message" to unfriendly voters. And as much as Joseph enjoys talking about the reach of his company's technology, he's not above threatening reporters: "If someone writes something that I don't like, I can make their life—I can make them understand a few things if I choose."
How would you know if you received one of the millions of calls ccAdvertising has made on behalf of clients, all Republican, in the past few months? A robo voice might have asked you, "Do you believe that foreign terrorists should have the same legal rights as American citizens?" or told you that your local Democrat "voted to allow the sale of a broad range of violent and sexually explicit materials to minors."
As hard as ccAdvertising works to smother its targeted voters with calls, it also works to cloak its identity. So if you get a call from ccAdvertising, you won't know it's them. Although the calls tend to disclose through which organization the call was ordered, the name on a recipient's caller ID is generic-sounding, like "Election Research" or, as in the case of the recent calls to Maryland and Tennessee, "P RSRCH 2006." The company maintains a stable of business aliases like those to stay anonymous. It even went so far as to make calls in a couple states under another business' name.
Joseph is unapologetic about his product. "There's no more effective free speech tool than what we do," Joseph told Mother Jones. "That's why people complain. Because we're effective. If it wasn't effective, nobody would say anything."
Yet Kessler wants you to think Joseph is a legitimate pollster. Then again, Kessler sold out his principles in the name of Republican loyalty, so he's not exactly a legitimate reporter.
MRC Still Hates That Anyone Dares Question Palin Topic: Media Research Center
As we've noted, the Media Research Center is appalled that anyone would fact-check Sarah Palin and is, in turn, trying to discredit the fact-checkers.
A Sept. 18 MRC CyberAlert item by Brent Baker keeps it up, complaining that of five presumed misstatements by Palin" cited by NRC, "two were remarks made by Palin 'aides,' not Palin herself," and "one, the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' was already dissected eight days ago on the same newscast."
Of course, the "Bridge to Nowhere" claim needs to be continually debunked because Palin keeps saying it.
Baker also wrote:
Up first, how Palin asserted "my job has been to oversee nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of oil and gas." [NBC's Savannah] Guthrie pounced: "She's wrong. Alaska accounts for only 3.5 percent of America's total energy production, 7.5 percent of oil and gas." Unmentioned by NBC: How the Alaska Resource Development Council's Web site has stated: "Alaska's oil and gas industry" accounts "for an average of 20 percent of the entire nation's domestic production."
Baker then goes into a long explanation of where Palin took her 20 percent number from, and how the Alaska Resource Development Council's website now states that Alaska's oil and gas industry accounted "for an average of 20 percent of the entire nation's domestic production (1980 - 2000). Currently, Alaska accounts for nearly 15% of U.S. production."
Baker downplayed the fact that Palin also said that Alaska "produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy," which Guthrie notes Palin has "refined a bit this week" to refer to "oil and gas." (It's in the transcript that Baker attached to the item, though.)
While Baker cited a Factcheck.org article on the issue to support his claim, he failed to note that Factcheck.org also stated: "Alaska's share of domestic energy production was 3.5 percent, according to the official figures kept by the U.S. Energy Information Administration."
So Baker cut Palin slack for citing numbers from a state website that even he admits "promotes development of Alaska's natural resources" -- and therefore, has an interest in promoting optimistic numbers -- and promotes a slightly more accurate number by that same group to make Palin look like less of an exaggerator. This is the MRC's idea of how a "fact-check" should be?
Richard Bartholomew points out that a Sept. 16 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein with the alarmist headline "What? Israel to help Muslims carve Quranic verses on Temple Mount" was actually about a plan to "repair and enhance" verses that already exist on and around the the Al Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock.
And Media Matters notes that Jerome Corsi is still peddling the idea that the released version of Barack Obama's birth certificate is forged -- even though his own employer has thoroughly debunked the claim.
CNS Headline Baselessly Attacks AP Topic: CNSNews.com
The headline CNSNews.com stuck on a Sept. 18 Associated Press article about hackers breaking into a Yahoo! email account that Sarah Palin used for official Alaska state business reads: "Palin's Emails Hacked: A.P. Won't Help Secret Service." That apparently is derived from the following paragraph in the article:
The Secret Service contacted The Associated Press on Wednesday and asked for copies of the leaked e-mails, which circulated widely on the Internet. The AP did not comply.
Given that the leaked emails were "circulated widely on the Internet" -- and given that the AP had no apparent role in the hacking beyond reprinting what the emails said -- why does the AP need to give copies of them to the Secret Service? CNS offers no evidence that the AP had access to any information beyond what was "circulated widely," so it has no real basis to accuse the AP of failing to "help" the Secret Service.
Corsi Ignores McCain's Ties to Fannie, Freddie Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 17 WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi makes a big deal out of Barack Obama taking money from people connected with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and having former Fannie/Freddie execs as advisers. "In contrast," Corsi writes, "McCain warned of the coming mortgage crisis as he pressed in 2005 for regulatory reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."
Nowhere does Corsi bother to mention that John McCain has similar connections to Fannie and Freddie:
McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, was president of the Homeownership Alliance, a Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-led advocacy group which has tried to fend off regulation sought by large private banks and mortgage lenders -- the kind of regulation Davis' boss supports now.
Aquiles Suarez, an economic adviser to McCain, was formerly the director of government and industry relations for Fannie Mae. Top McCain aides Charlie Black, Wayne Berman, John Green and Arther B. Culvahouse Jr. have all lobbied for Fannie and/or Freddie.
While OpenSecrets.org numbers cited by Corsi showed that McCain received $21,500 in donations from those connected with Fannie and Freddie (compared with $126,000 received by Obama), a separate New York Times count found that McCain has received $169,000 from Fannie/Freddie folks.
Of course, if WND actually followed through on boss Joseph Farah's "none of the above" advice, Corsi would have actually noted all this.
Corsi even slips in a long-debunked attack on Jamie Gorelick, a former Fannie Mae vice chairman:
Gorelick was embroiled in another controversy over an alleged conflict of interest when a 1995 memo she authored as deputy attorney general surfaced while she was a member of the 9/11 commission.
The memo, which became known as the "Gorelick Wall," appeared to establish barriers that barred federal anti-terrorist criminal investigators from accessing various federal records and databases that may have assisted them in their criminal investigations.
In fact, as we've repeatedlynoted, that "wall" was first created in 1978, Gorelick's memo actually permitted freer guidelines regarding the exchange of information than what was eventually approved, and John Ashcroft's Justice Department formally reaffirmed those guidelines in August 2001.
Further conflicting with Joseph Farah's "none of the above" credo, WorldNetDaily is endeavoring to explain away various scandals surrounding Sarah Palin.
A Sept. 16 article by Chelsea Schilling suggested that Palin -- who "has a pro-life voting record and has not indicated support for the morning-after pill" -- was correct to make rape victims pay for police evidence-collection kits because they include "emergency contraception." Schilling then repeats a claim by Feminists for Life, of which Palin is a member, that emergency contraception medications Preven and Plan B "actually act as an abortifacient in many cases by preventing the implantation of an already-fertilized human embryo."
In fact, according to Amanda Marcotte at RH Reality Check, emergency contraception "works the same way as the birth control pill by suppressing ovulation" and, thus, is not an abortifacient since a fertilized egg is not involved.
Another Sept. 16 article by Bob Unruh uncritically repeated claims by the conservative Liberty Legal Institute -- which Unruh describes only as a "Texas law firm" -- that an Alaska investigation into Palin's firing of Alaska public safety commissioner Walt Monegan, allegedly for not firing a state trooper involved in a contentious divorce with Palin's sister, has "lost the appearance of impartiality required under the Alaska Constitution."
Unruh wrote that Palin "has said Monegan declined to cooperate with her budgetary plan for the state and was insubordinate," but didn't note that this is, as TPM Muckraker details, "the third substantive explanation given by Palin for that departure. And, to one degree or another, all those explanations contradict each other." Unruh also writes that "She has said Monegan himself has confirmed that she never asked him to fire the trooper," but not that, according to the Anchorage Daily News, an audio recording shows an aide to Palin "pressuring the Public Safety Department to fire a state trooper embroiled in a custody battle with her sister."
Unruh also plays the idiot messenger here, never bothering to explain why a "Texas law firm" that claims a mission to "protect religious freedoms and First Amendment rights for individuals, groups and churches" would get involved in a state-level dispute in Alaska that does not involve religious freedom. Nor does Unruh ask who is funding the legal work of the Liberty Legal Institute in this case. But incomplete, one-sided reporting is how Unruh rolls.
MRC Misstated Gore Then, Defends McCain Now Topic: Media Research Center
A Sept. 17 NewsBusters post by Jeff Poor complained that an NBC report noting McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin's claim that the BlackBerry was "the miracle that John McCain helped create" didn't also "explore McCain's work on the Commerce committee and any influence he may have had over technological innovations."
By contrast, the MRC quickly distorted Al Gore's 1999 claim that he "took the initiative in creating the Internet" as a congressman into the false assertion that Gore said he "invented the Internet" (as it did in a June 1999 CyberAlert) while ignoring "any influence he may have had over technological innovations." The MRC did its best to perpetuate the falsehood:
A February 2000 "Media Reality Check" by Tim Graham complained that Tom Brokaw "did not report Gore's claim to have invented the Internet." Why would he? That's not what he said.
An April 2000 "MagazineWatch" by Paul Smith stated: "If Gergen seriously believes people will miss Clinton’s science speeches, he must also believe that Al Gore did invent the Internet."
Brent Bozell asserted in a June 2000 column: "Gore portrays himself as the technical genius who invented the Internet."
And Bozell tried to change the subject in an October 2000 column complaining about anyone who tried to correct the record:
He didn't really say he "invented the Internet," they complain, he "took the initiative in creating it." The real point here isn't the complete lack of distinction between "inventing" and "creating" the Internet. It's that Gore said this on March 9, 1999, to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, and Blitzer didn't even blink. He didn't follow up. His eyebrows didn't even move. He just asked another question. The statement went completely unreported on television for ten days.
A June 2000 CyberAlert referenced "Gore's Internet invention claim."
The MRC clearly wants to keep Holtz-Eakins' claim from turning into a "McCain invented the BlackBerry" meme. Too bad it couldn't be bothered to hold themselves to a similiar standard of accuracy in discussing Gore's claim.