At a time when Barack Obama is getting heat for stonewalling information about an alleged administration bribery scandal, a new poll shows more Americans than ever suspect the president is hiding information about his own background and want him to come clean.
Questions about Obama's eligibility to be president, exacerbated by his refusal to answer questions, release ordinary background documentation and his extraordinary legal maneuvers to keep his background hidden, have been on the radar of a number of top-level investigative reporters and news organizations since before his election.
But if you look at the questions Wenzel asked -- listed at the end of the article -- it's clear that most of the questions weredesigned to promote a certain response. See if you can detect a certain pattern in the questioning (we'll put it in bold just to be helpful):
Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans are concerned about Barack Obama's refusal to release his long-form birth certificate, school records, college records, Harvard Law School papers, medical records, travel records, passport records and other personal documents. What do you think he should do?
Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: He is unquestionably a natural born citizen, born in the U.S. of two U.S. citizen parents.
Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: He is unquestionably a natural born citizen, born in the U.S. of at least one U.S. citizen parent.
Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: He is unquestionably a natural born citizen, but I don't know where he was born or the citizenship status of his parents.
Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: I don't know, but he is hiding something by refusing to reveal his long-form birth certificate and other documents.
Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: I think he is eligible, but I am confused about the constitutional definition.
Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: No one can be sure without public scrutiny of his long-form birth certificate and other documentation.
Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: He is not eligible because his father was a Kenyan national and Obama was born a subject of the British Crown.
Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: I suspect he was not born in the U.S.
Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: We don't know enough about Obama's birthplace, parentage and his residency in Indonesia to say for sure.
That's right -- almost every question was prefaced by the unsupported statement that "Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen."
Most people might call that push-polling. But apparently it's just another day at work for Fritz Wenzel and WND.
Name That Party, NewsBusters Edition Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters has an entire category called "Name That Party," which allows the boys to tsk-tsk every time the media fails to identify a misbehaving Democratic politician as a Democrat (or fails to do so sufficiently prominently). So it's fun to put the shoe on the other foot.
A Michigan lawmaker wants journalists to be licensed.
"Senator Bruce Patterson is introducing legislation that will regulate reporters much like the state does with hairdressers, auto mechanics and plumbers," reported FoxNews.com Friday.
"Patterson, who also practices constitutional law, says that the general public is being overwhelmed by an increasing number of media outlets--traditional, online and citizen generated--and an even greater amount misinformation."
Sheppard seems to disapprove of this law, as indicated by the "Big Brother" artwork he appended to his post. But what didn't he tell his readers?
Farah Moves the Birther Goalposts Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've previously detailed how WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah has been trying to change the focus of the birther movement from questioning Barack Obama's citizenship to questioning his eligibility to be president by mining the "natural born citizen" argument. Farah moved the birther goalposts even more in his May 26 WND column:
Let's see the birth certificate – as a starting point.
Let's hear from Obama on how, as the son of a foreigner from Kenya, his birth anywhere – in the United States or elsewhere – he could possibly qualify for the presidency as a "natural born citizen," as the term has always been defined.
Not only did Farah fulfill our prediction that he would not be satisfied if Obama released the original birth certificate Farah has been screaming for for months, Farah is also messing with the facts because "natural born citizen" has never had an authoratative legal definition in the U.S. and, thus, cannot be interpreted as a term that has "always been defined."
As Farah's own employee, Drew Zahn, reported in August 2009:
Indeed, a consensus on the correct definition of "natural born citizen" has eluded lawyers and scholars for more than 200 years. The Constitution's failure to offer any definition of the phrase whatsoever, the absence of definitive Supreme Court rulings and a wide array of opinions through the centuries have only further confused the question of what "natural born" actually means.
Farah cannot demand an interpretation of "natural born citizen" as it "has always been defined" because such a thing does not exist, which he would know if he had read his own website.
Also, nowhere in his column does he tell us how "natural born citizen" has "always been defined" -- which tells us that Farah is either very stupid or very dishonest. Or perhaps both.
Grover Norquist writes in a May 27 Newsmax column:
The House “extenders package” has a pair of tax increases on investment partnerships (Sec. 411 and 412). Investment partnerships consist of a “general partner” who makes investment decisions for the partnership.
It also consists of “limited partners” who contribute money to the partnership. Limited partners are usually large investors like defined-benefit pension plans, university endowments, and charities.
The two tax hikes in question each involve the general partner. A general partner is usually compensated under a system known as “2-and-20,” or a similar arrangement.
Are you asleep yet? That's what Norquist wants. He drones on about this for pretty much the entire column, never once uttering the common term the "general partner" of such "investment partnerships" are much better known as: hedge fund managers.
Norquist also misleadingly frames the tax change itself, portraying it as a "157 percent tax hike on general partners of investment firms." What it actually does is change the hedge fund manager's portion of income (also known as "carried interest") that had been designated as capital gains -- and taxed at the capital gains rate of 15 percent -- to being taxed as income, at the higher marginal rate of up to 35 percent. Norquist doesn't make clear that the rate is marginal, or that only the highest-income earners would be subject to it.
Needless to say, people who aren't trying to hide the fact that it's hedge fund and private equity managers who will be the ones paying more in taxes have a different take. Derek Thompson of the Atlantic points out that current law "amounts to quite the tax break for private equity managers. Their primary source of income is taxed at half rate as long-term capital gains, even if the managers' own capital contributed little or nothing to the gains."
Chuck Marr of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities adds: "there’s no logical reason why a leveraged buyout (LBO) specialist at a private equity firm should be taxed differently than a mergers and acquisitions expert at an investment bank (who pays as much as 35 percent in taxes), since both people are doing basically the same kind of work."
Even Warren Buffett has said on the issue, "If you believe in taxing people who earn income on their occupation, I think you should tax people on carried interest."
Let's see, Grover Norquist or Warren Buffett? We'll go with the latter.
Report: Newsmax's Ruddy Looks At Buying Newsweek Topic: Newsmax
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has shown interest in buying Newsweek magazine.
Ruddy already publishes Newsmax magazine, which somehow manages not to be as doctrinare right-wing as the Newsmax website, and which has steadily grown in circulation, so his interest in Newsweek is not as outlandish as it might seem.
Of course, Ruddy would be only the front man for such a purchase. The money would in all likelihood come from longtime funder Richard Mellon Scaife, who helped fund Newsmax's startup; he and Ruddy are now the sole owners of Newsmax Media.
For WND's Klein, Obama-Hate Doesn't Take A Holiday Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein is so filled with hatred for Barack Obama that he not only penned a book filled with specious guilt-by-association attacks, he took time out of his holiday weekend to spew a even-more-desperate-than-usual Obama smear. A May 31 WND article by Klein begins:
The group behind the Gaza flotilla that engaged in deadly clashes with Israeli commandos today counts among its top supporters the friends and associates of President Barack Obama, namely the founders of the Weather Underground terrorist organization, William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, as well as Jodie Evans, the leader of the radical activist organization Code Pink.
Ayers and Dohrn were close associates for years with President Obama, while Evans was a fundraiser and financial bundler for Obama's presidential campaign.
Klein is simply lying to your face. Ayers and Dohrn are not, and never were, "close associates" of Obama, no matter how many times Klein says it.
Klein's attempt to directly link Obama to Evans is even more specious -- he claims she was"a fundraiser and financial bundler for Obama's presidential campaign," but in fact, as Media Matters details, all Evans apparently did is pay $30,400 for tickets to a VIP dinner where she talked to him for a few minutes.
WND's Washington Rants Against 'Liberal-Fascist Axis' Topic: WorldNetDaily
EllisWashington has been reading too much Jonah Goldberg and watching too much Glenn Beck.
Washington's May 29 WorldNetDaily column is a screed about "the Liberal-Fascist Axis," echoing Jonah Goldberg's faultytome "Liberal Fascism." Like Goldberg and Beck, Washington focuses on George Bernard Shaw's apparent embrace of fascism, as if this was relevant to today. Indeed, nothing in Washington's column is terribly relevant, and his final paragraph is merely a tacked-on attempt to make it so:
America, for over 100 years we have been in the midst of a radical progressive revolution. The progressive movement is the apotheosis of the Liberal-Fascist Axis. President Obama and his legions of socialists are openly fascist in their politics, policies and worldview. They will never stop in their efforts to weaken or destroy Christianity and capitalism and to bring America to her knees before the international community – until they either succeed, or until We the People say "enough!" rise up in righteous indignation and vote this Manchurian president out of office in 2012.
Washington offers no evidence that Obama is "openly fascist" or is out to "weaken or destroy Christianity and capitalism." It's just a lazy attack -- just as lazy as Washington's failure to recognize, much less condemn, the fascist leanings of his idol, Michael Savage.
(Speaking of which: How come Washington is no longer calling himself "authorized biographer for the conservative intellectual Dr. Michael Savage"?)
WND's Unruh Again Misleads About Pelosi Flights Topic: WorldNetDaily
A MAy 27 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Urnuh uncritically repeats misleading claims by the right-wing Judicial Watch about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's airplane flights:
For example, a receipt for "in-flight services" for the House speaker included a list that looked like a dream order for a wild frat party: Maker's Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey's Irish Crème, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey and Corona beer.
It was only part of the more than $101,000 taxpayers paid for "in-flight services" for Pelosi's trips on Air Force jets over a two-year period, the Judicial Watch report said.
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Judicial Watch, which investigates and prosecutes government corruption, show Pelosi incurred expenses of some $2.1 million for her use of Air Force jets for travel over a recent two-year period.
"Speaker Pelosi has a history of wasting taxpayer funds with her boorish demands for military travel," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said at the time his organization's report came out. "And these documents suggest the speaker's congressional delegations are more about partying than anything else."
Pelosi recently joined President Obama on a Judicial Watch list of Top 10 corrupt politicians because of her "sense of entitlement," the group said.
In fact, the Judicial Watch report obscures the fact that many of those Pelosi-related flights were not solely for flights involving herself or her family but, in fact, congressional delegations organized by Pelosi's office. Unruh joined in the obscuring; it's not until the end of the article that he makes it clear that these are CODELs and not personal trips by Pelosi.
Unruh similarly obscured the facts when Judicial Watch first released its attack on Pelosi in January.
Meanwhile ... Topic: Newsmax
Have you ever wondered what Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy's daily media diet is? The Atlantic Wire has the answer. Shocker: He reads a lot of conservative newspapers and websites!
In a May 29 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard claimed it was "an absolutely astounding thing" that Chris Matthews would endorse a clip of Rush Limbaugh "lampooning former President Bill Clinton." Sheppard adds: "But what got into the Hardballer not only offering praise to a man that he routinely expresses contempt for, but also doing so when the object of his disaffection is mocking Bill Clinton? Shocking to say the least."
As with many things Sheppard has expressed shock over, this is not shocking at all. As we've detailed, Matthews regularly bashed Clinton when he was president -- and Sheppard's MRC bosses loved every minute of it. But when Matthews applied that same sort of scrutiny to President Bush, the MRC no longer wanted anything to do with him (even though Matthews also favorably likened Bush to Atticus Finch and Winston Churchill and also claimed that he sometimes "glimmers" with a "kind of sunny nobility."
The CMI's Gay-Counters Topic: Media Research Center
Richard Nixon had his Jew-counters. The MRC's Culture & Media Institute has its gay-counters.
We've previously noted CMI's obsession with quantifying the Washington Post's coverage of gay-related issues; for instance, it used a very narrow definition to declare that the Post "[q]uoted supporters 10 times more often than opponents" on the subject of gay marriage. That obsession continues in a May 27 article by Alana Goodman:
In an effort to remain politically correct, The Washington Post has bungled the coverage of two major murder cases in Washington, D.C. – all because of a squeamish editorial policy regarding when it’s appropriate to mention an individual’s homosexuality in a news story.
Just weeks after coming under fire for hiding slain principal Brian Betts’ sexual orientation from readers, the Post has been caught similarly downplaying or ignoring the fact that the three defendants in the Robert Wone murder cover-up trial are gay.
Since Wone’s murder in August, 2006, more than half of the Washington Post’s articles and columns on the case – 61 percent (22 out of 36) – have neglected to mention the sexuality of the accused parties.
Many of the Post articles on the case refer to defendants Joseph Price, Dylan Ward, and Victor Zaborsky as simply “housemates.” In fact, the three were engaged in a romantic polyamorous relationship when their friend Robert Wone was stabbed to death one night at their Dupont Circle home.
While it may be irrelevant to many news stories, it is impossible to fully understand the Wone case without information on the sexual orientation of the three defendants. It establishes the prosecution’s main argument: that Price, Ward and Jaborsky were intimate, romantically linked lovers who would protect each other at any cost – even if that meant covering up their friend’s murder.
Goodman also references CMI's previous gay-counting efforts, huffing that "the Post extensively covered the legalization of gay marriage in D.C., with some critics referring to the paper’s coverage as celebratory."
Of course, under the same argument or relevance, it would be equally essential for Goodman and CMI to fully and factually states their hatred for gays in every gay-related story they publish -- but then, it is pretty self-evident.
Kincaid Spews More Anti-Gay Hate Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid expands on his most recent anti-gay tirade focusing on repeal of the military's don't ask, don't tell policy with a May 27 column -- with the inflammatory headline "Saving Soldiers from Gay Death" -- insisting that there is "substantial evidence that admission of open and active homosexuals would put our troops in further danger through exposure to tainted blood."
The Pentagon understands that 19,000 soldiers already have HIV/AIDS and that some — if not most — came down with the deadly disease through prohibited gay sexual conduct. It is common sense that opening the ranks to open and active homosexuals would only increase this problem.
Here’s another critical fact that a comprehensive review would disclose –there is no blood test that can be guaranteed to screen HIV and other deadly diseases out of the blood supply once the gay males, who are currently prohibited from donating blood, are welcomed into the services.
Kinacid seems to be assuming that all gay men who acknowledge that they're gay are all automatically graced with HIV.
Kincaid also engages in personal attacks on anyone he perceives as supporting DADT repeal. Wriing that "The Washington Post has editorialized in favor of a quick congressional vote" on DADT, Kincaid claims that "One of the Post’s leading editorial writers, Jonathan Capehart, is a homosexual activist who used to cover gay sex clubs."
As we've detailed, Kincaid's hatred of gays is more than a little pathological, to the point of endorsing a proposed Kenyan law that would provide for the death penalty for merely being gay.
Also, here's the picture accompanying the promotion of Kincaid's column on AIM's front page:
One has to wonder about the kind of secret homoerotic fantasies Kincaid engages in that would make him choose that photo.
CNS Falsely Claims Kagan Stopped Harvard From 'Requiring' Constitutional Law Topic: CNSNews.com
A May 28 CNSNews.com article by Pete Winn claims that as head of Harvard Law School, Elena Kagan "moved the nation’s premier law school away from requiring the study of U.S. constitutional law towards the study of the laws of foreign nations and international law." Winn uncritically quoted Robert Alt, senior legal fellow and deputy director of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation, saying, "My understanding is that she instituted three new courses to the required curriculum and, in so doing, got rid of a requirement to take constitutional law."
In fact, as Media Matters reports, constitutional law was never a requirement in the first place, and the new curriculum did not come at the expense of constitutional law:
In fact, the curriculum changes Kagan instituted as dean, which were unanimously approved by the Harvard Law School faculty, added "new first-year courses in international and comparative law, legislation and regulation, and complex problem solving" and condensed the "traditional first-year curriculum (contracts, torts, civil procedure, criminal law, and property)."
Kagan didn't "drop" or "replace" con-law, it wasn't required in the first place. Prior to her deanship - in 2001 and 2002, for example - a constitutional law class was not required. Harvard Law JD degree requirements included "required [first-year] courses in Criminal Law, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Torts, and Property," "Legal Reasoning and Argument (LRA)," "a first-year elective course; a course in professional responsibility; fifty-two credits in second- and third-year elective courses; and a satisfactory piece of written work." As is the case now, courses in both the second and third year were all elective.
Furthermore, Kagan's addition of a 1L "Legislation and Regulation" requirement, was designed, in part, to "naturally lead into, and enable students to get more out of, advanced courses in the 2L and 3L years, on legislation, administrative law, a wide range of regulatory subjects (e.g., environmental law, securities law, telecommunications law), and constitutional law."
The original headline of Winn's article got it wrong as well, claiming, "As Dean, Elena Kagan Moved Harvard Away From Requiring Law Students to Study Constitutional Law." The headline now reads, "As Harvard Law Dean, Kagan Did Not Require Study of U.S. Constitutional Law But Did Require Study of International and Foreign Law" -- no longer outright false but still misleading, since there was never such a constitutional law requirement.
WorldNetDaily vs. WorldNetDaily Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his book "The Manchurian President," WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein writes that there is "no convincing evidence that [Barack] Obama was born in Kenya." Yet WND has repeatedly suggested that Obama was born in Kenya and even promoted a fraudulent "Kenyan birth certificate" for Obama.
But despite that deviation, Klein closely adheres to WND birther doctrine on other "eligibility" issues.