What Aaron Klein Didn't Report Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 13 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein played up Barack Obama's response to Klein's manufactured controversy over a Hamas spokesman offering support for Obama's campaign, negatively framing it as Obama saying that "he understands why the terrorist group supports his presidential bid."
Obama's statements came in an interview with the Atlantic magazine. Klein focused narrowly on Obama's reaction to the Hamas "endorsement" and "former President Jimmy Carter's suggestion that Israel resembles an apartheid state." Klein curiously doesn't link to the Atlantic interview, even though it's online. Why? Perhaps because it portrays Obama as a big supporter of Israel, which conflicts with Klein's misleading efforts to portray Obama as the terrorists' choice.
While Klein does reproduce a few of Obama's statements supportive of Israel, most of those are buried under a rehashing of the controversy. Here's some of what Obama said that Klein didn't report:
You know, when I think about the Zionist idea, I think about how my feelings about Israel were shaped as a young man -- as a child, in fact. I had a camp counselor when I was in sixth grade who was Jewish-American but who had spent time in Israel, and during the course of this two-week camp he shared with me the idea of returning to a homeland and what that meant for people who had suffered from the Holocaust, and he talked about the idea of preserving a culture when a people had been uprooted with the view of eventually returning home. There was something so powerful and compelling for me, maybe because I was a kid who never entirely felt like he was rooted. That was part of my upbringing, to be traveling and always having a sense of values and culture but wanting a place. So that is my first memory of thinking about Israel.
And then that mixed with a great affinity for the idea of social justice that was embodied in the early Zionist movement and the kibbutz, and the notion that not only do you find a place but you also have this opportunity to start over and to repair the breaches of the past. I found this very appealing.
I think that the idea of a secure Jewish state is a fundamentally just idea, and a necessary idea, given not only world history but the active existence of anti-Semitism, the potential vulnerability that the Jewish people could still experience. I know that that there are those who would argue that in some ways America has become a safe refuge for the Jewish people, but if you’ve gone through the Holocaust, then that does not offer the same sense of confidence and security as the idea that the Jewish people can take care of themselves no matter what happens. That makes it a fundamentally just idea.
The point is, if you look at my writings and my history, my commitment to Israel and the Jewish people is more than skin-deep and it’s more than political expediency. When it comes to the gut issue, I have such ardent defenders among my Jewish friends in Chicago. I don’t think people have noticed how fiercely they defend me, and how central they are to my success, because they’ve interacted with me long enough to know that I've got it in my gut.
When Israel invaded Lebanon two summers ago, I was in South Africa, a place where, obviously, when you get outside the United States, you can hear much more critical commentary about Israel’s actions, and I was asked about this in a press conference, and that time, and for the entire summer, I was very adamant about Israel’s right to defend itself. I said that there’s not a nation-state on Earth that would tolerate having two of its soldiers kidnapped and just let it go.
Why didn't Klein tell his readers about this? Like we said, it conflicts with Klein's own efforts to smear Obama. In other words, the truth is in the way of Klein's reporting, and we know what side Klein is on -- and it ain't the truth.
A ConWebWatch reader notes regarding Joseph Farah's May 12 screed against La Raza:
I might just be seeing something that isn't really there, but doesn't the line of Farah's "...victimize Jews and others they detest in trying to lift themselves up from the gutter" imply that 'Jews and others' regularly lift themselves up from the gutter? That, in fact, Jews and other are normally in the gutter?
I might just be picking a nit here, but I think Farah's outlook might be a bit screwy.
Or Farah might be saying that Latinos are "in the gutter," which is arguably just as offensive. Nevertheless, we concur with that final conclusion.
Newsmax Still Hates Clinton, Loves Republicans Topic: Newsmax
Remember: Despite all its recent moderation and moves toward the mainstream, Newsmax still hates the Clintons (and all Democrats) and will always give Republicans positive, preferential coverage.
Exhibit 1: a May 11 piece by Joseph F. Connor making numerous guilt-by-association attacks on both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama:
Obama, through his relationship with Weather Underground member William Ayers and the United Church of Christ, also connects to the FALN and via this intricate web of radicals to groups such as the May 19th Communist Organization (formed from splintered Weather Underground members; named for the May 19 birthdates of both Ho Chi Minh and Malcolm X).
Clinton has direct connections to FALN, the most prolific terrorist group in U.S. history; Weather Underground, the same group connected to Obama; and the Black Panthers, as well as indirect connections to others.
Exhibit 2: the cover of the new issue of Newsmax magazine:
MRC Caught Pushing Distorted Attack on Gore Topic: Media Research Center
The Wonk Room details how a May 6 item by Jeff Poor at the MRC's Business & Media Institute misleadingly asserted that Al Gore claimed on NPR's "Fresh Air" that the cyclone in Myanmar/Burma was a "consequence" of global warming:
The audio clip included with the online story includes two segments that have been spliced together, out of order, to mislead the listener as to Gore’s actual meaning. The actual transcript (see below) makes it clear Gore was saying that the “consequences” of global warming we’re seeing was the melting of the polar ice cap, which is unequivocally due to anthropogenic climate change.
In fact, Gore said in the "Fresh Air" interview that "any individual storm can’t be linked singularly to global warming – we’ve always had hurricanes." Poor notes it in his BMI article but doesn't see it as contradicting his assertion that Gore is "[u]sing tragedy to advance an agenda."
Poor's BMI article now notes a "clarification" that "The original audio for this story included two accurate audio clips but placed in the incorrect order. They are now included on this story as separate clips." Poor posted a version of his article at NewsBusters, but it doesn't mention that Gore said that "any individual storm can’t be linked singularly to global warming," it contains the original misleading out-of-order audio clip, and it contains no "clarification."
It's La Raza-Bashing Day at WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
In declaring John McCain's visit to La Raza's national convention "sickening," "repulsive," "inexcusable," "immoral and evil," Joseph Farah declares in his May 12 WorldNetDaily column that "I know what La Raza is all about." And what might that be?
In reality, La Raza is a racist hate group – a band of "Hispanic supremacists," if you will, though it is seldom characterized that way.
It is no more a civil rights group than the Ku Klux Klan is a group promoting the civil rights of white people. It is no more a civil rights group than the neo-Nazi scum who marched a generation ago at Skokie, Ill., with the legal protection of the American Civil Liberties Union, another misnamed organization. It is no more a civil rights group than the Aryan skinheads who victimize Jews and others they detest in trying to lift themselves up from the gutter.
La Raza is part of the movement in this country to destroy it from within by dividing and "reconquering."
The only real differences between La Raza and the neo-Nazis and the KKK are its wealth, power and level of sophistication.
Farah offers no evidence to support these claims.
By invoking the Nazi comparison, Farah contradicts WND's earlier professed offense that someone would be likened to a Nazi (plus following in the footsteps of the ilk of Michael Savage and Jim Gilchrist in likening La Raza to the KKK). And in a later reference to Democrats as "the plantation party," Farah contradicts the ConWeb's purported shock when Hillary Clinton used the plantation metaphor to describe Republicans.
Farah wasn't the only one to bash La Raza this day. In her May 12 WND column, Barbara Simpson wrote:
Don't you know "La Raza" means "The Race," and it's a militant, angry, anti-U.S. organization. Too many members want American whites out of land they consider theirs. The goal is to have the U.S. Southwest be Hispanic.
Like Farah, Simpson offers no evidence to back up her attack.
CNS Still Won't Let Planned Parenthood Respond to Attacks Topic: CNSNews.com
A May 12 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr keeps up her recent trend of attacking Planned Parenthood without letting anyone from the group respond to the attacks.
In this instance, an "e-mail blast" asking recipients to make a "Mother's Day gift" to the organization is attacked by two different anti-abortion activists, while another Planned Parenthood email countering right-wing attempts to cut off federal funding to the group is countered by the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, a leader of the defunding effort.
Asshehasbefore, Starr makes no apparent effort to obtain a response from Planned Parenthood to the criticism.
Klein Still Not Telling Full Truth About Hamas 'Endorsement' Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a May 12 column, WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein goes after his (unnamed) critics, namely "[m]ultiple industrious blogs, most openly Obama supporters," for asking questions about the "endorsement" of Barack Obama by Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousuf has promoted and defended its legitimacy:
This is hardly a smear. A well-known Hamas official expressed his opinion of a presidential candidate during a live radio interview.
Did anyone – including Obama – claiming a "smear" was perpetuated actually listen to the full, 10-minute interview?
Yousuf was not coaxed into endorsing Obama. He wasn't even asked which presidential candidate Hamas supports.
Batchelor and I simply inquired if Yousuf was surprised that Obama had criticized Jimmy Carter's recent meeting with the Hamas terrorist organization. We also asked whether Hamas was willing to speak with U.S. presidential candidates, including Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Yousuf then volunteered his endorsement of Obama, immediately stating "actually we like Mr. Obama."
Without any prompting, Yousuf went on and on, gushing about the good senator.
What sort of behind-the-scenes dealmaking went on between Yousuf, Batchelor and Klein to orchestrate this interview?
Was Yousuf's endorsement of Obama a condition of his appearance on Batchelor's show?
How much of what Yousuf said negotiated in advance with Batchelor and Klein?
What did Yousuf get in return for spouting Batchelor and Klein's party line?
Was Yousef even aware he was reinforcing the political agenda of people who oppose him,or did they dupe him?
Klein then turns his fire to his critics, without actually naming who they are (while he doesn't single out anything we've written, a Daily Kos post and commenters at TPM Election Central expand on the subject):
Meanwhile, a few blogs attempting to smear the Hamas-Obama "smear" are pointing out that I've previously conducted interviews with other terrorists who have said positive things in the past about other Democrats, including Clinton and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
One blog asked "Anyone notice a pattern here?" As if I somehow have power over what well-armed, outspoken, anti-Semitic terrorist leaders have to say.
There is indeed a pattern here, but not one these obviously liberal bloggers would dare recognize – terrorists favor having Democrats in power over Republicans.
There's also a pattern Klein certainly does not want to admit publicly: He hates Obama, has a record of smearing Obama, works for a website that has published false claims about Obama, and has clearly demonstrated an interest in manufacturing any controversy he can to raise negative perceptions about Obama. Why else would he write a dozen articles trying to tie Obama to Hamas without telling readers that Obama opposes U.S. negotiation with Hamas?
As we've previously pointed out, a Hamas official has no obvious motivation to speak to, let alone advance the agenda of, a reporter and a radio host hostile to Hamas and Obama. Thus, we have to wonder what his happening behind the scenes. After all, Klein (along with his employer) has demonstrated himself to be exactly the kind of person who would go to any lengths to smear Obama -- perhaps even collaborate with a terrorist.
Unless Klein offers some transparency about his dealings with the terrorists he writes about -- so cordial, apparently, that they contribute blurbs for his book bashing them -- there's no reason to take his word for anything because he has proven himself to be so utterly consumed by his anti-Obama agenda.
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
A prostitute is whatever you need her to be. While Hillary's price may be a bit higher, possibly the future of America, she is nothing more than a prostitute. Give her what she wants, and she will give you what you want.
Responding to a claim by Phil Donahue that his MSNBC talk show was canceled 'because of my political posture; my stance against the war" and that "Our ratings entitled us to be nurtured not canceled," Michael M. Bates retorted in a May 11 NewsBusters post: "Just needed a little nurturing, heh, Phil? How much nurturing is necessary when a show draws, as Donahue's did on at least one occasion, a puny 0.1 rating, an indicator that only 137,000 households are watching?" Bates added that the claim is "part of the truth, Donahue-style."
Bates doesn't say where he got his ratings statistic from. But the Associated Press reported that at the time his show was canceled, Donahue averaged 446,000 viewers, up 28 percent from a year eariler, which would seem to support Donahue's claim.
In other words, it's the truth, NewsBusters style.
Remember that April 25 WorldNetDaily article making the misleading claim that "annual U.S. military casualties overall during the first six years of the Bush administration are well below the average for the 26-year period beginning in 1980"? Turns out that story has been hanging around a lot longer than we thought.
A spam e-mail making the rounds in the military community serves as a reminder that facts can be flexible when they are launched anonymously into the vast void of cyberspace.
The e-mail, entitled, “Some very interesting statistics: Military losses, 1980 through 2006,” states that more U.S. service members died on active duty during the eight years of the Clinton administration, when there were no major U.S. military conflicts, than in the first six years of the George W. Bush administration, during which the military was fighting two large-scale wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The e-mail offers year-by-year U.S. military death totals from all causes — operations, illness, accidents, suicides, etc. — from 1980 through 2006.
The data supposedly were taken from a periodically updated Congressional Research Service report on the subject, which in turn is based on statistics compiled by the Pentagon’s Defense Manpower and Data Center.
There’s just one problem: The figures listed in the email are wrong. They vary markedly from the figures published in the cited CRS source document.
But some simple math using the figures listed on page 7 of the CRS report reveals that the figures for several of the years under Clinton are inflated, while figures for some of the years under Bush are downplayed.
Snopes has also debunked the military deaths email as well.
Yes, it appears WND used this false spam email as the basis for its own article, despite touting the work as "a WND investigation."
WND's main contribution appears to be using correct fatality numbers to arrive at its conclusion. But as we detailed, comparing raw fatality numbers, as WND and the spam email did, fails to take in account the total number of military members among which the deaths occured. In fact, the rate of military fatalities was higher in 2005, the latest year for which full fatality statistics were available, than at any other time in the 26-year time frame examined.
Curiously, none of this history is mentioned by WND -- perhaps because while WND corrects the email's faulty numbers, it embraces its faulty premise.
This isn't the first time the ConWeb has based articles on spam email. In 2004, Newsmax simply reprinted the contents of a spam -- faulty numbers and all -- purporting to list the differences between counties that voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and those that went for Al Gore.
WND Again Fails to Report Obama's Opposition to Hamas Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 9 WorldNetDaily article reported that Barack Obama's campaign "severed ties with" informal adviser Robert Malley after it was revealed that he "had been in regular contact with Hamas," but nowhere is it explicitly stated that Obama opposes negotiation with Hamas. While the article quotes an adviser to Republican John McCain claiming that Obama "surrounds himself with advisers that contradict his stated policies," the actual fact of Obama's opposition to Hamas is never stated.
As we've detailed, WND has made a concerted effort to tie Obama to Hamas, frequently failing to mention that Obama opposes negotiation with Hamas.
By contrast, WND has not devoted an original article to the fact that Doug Goodyear, McCain's choice to manage this year's Republican National Convention, is a lobbyist whose firm has worked for the repressive military junta in Burma (just a external link).
Just read your bit about Matthew Sheffield's comments regarding Wikipedia and thought you might be interested in a few other areas where the left-vs.-right issue has come out. I'll mostly focus on Arbitration cases that have arisen in the last year or so that might be interesting to you.
First off, you may find this entertaining - it is an Arbitration case that banned Matt Sanchez, aka user Bluemarine, from the site for egregious conflict of interest, homophobic slurs, and general obnoxiousness. Click into the Discussion page to see more comments, and I'd recommend looking at the subpages as well - it's quite the entertaining read.
Waterboarding - is it torture or not? This is somewhat linked to the above Free Republic issue - one of the participants here is probably a sockpuppet of the central figure in that case.
Rachel Mardsen has been a regular source of irritation as well; I'm sure you heard about the recent flap over Wiki founder Jimmy Wales and she having a fling and her doing her usual thing after he broke it off, but the article has a long history, including another Arbitration case that I believe is linked from its talk page. The article was once deleted, restarted, deleted again, restarted, and has been regularly "massaged" by certain users with a conservative bent - if not Marsden herself, then close supporters.
Ronald Kessler's anti-Obama frenzy continues in a May 8 Newsmax column attacking the new pastor of Obama's church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
And just what are Rev. Otis Moss' offenses, according to Kessler? Describing certain Biblical figures as "thugs" in sermons and "prais[ing] a rapper with a criminal record as a prophet":
To applause, Moss approvingly cites Tupac Shakur, a “gangsta” rap star with a long arrest record.
Most Americans look to places of worship for inspiration and moral and spiritual guidance. Moss’ message is the opposite. Claiming Shakur’s message speaks to our “current condition,” Moss blurs the distinction between right and wrong: He says those who don’t get that a rapper like Shakur is a prophet and biblical figures are thugs are confined by “bourgeois paradigms.”
You will not be surprised to learn that nowhere does Kessler quote what Tupac lyrics Moss repeated to his parishoners.
Kessler is also taking the "prophet" quote out of context. From an April 30 AP article:
In his Easter sermon at Trinity, Moss stood in front of the choir and talked of "ghetto prophets."
He recited lyrics from Shakur's "Thugz Mansion," calling the late rapper "neither a saint nor demon, but all human."
He mocked those who dismiss rap music, saying it isn't "neatly packaged for our middle-class digestion" and rappers shouldn't be overlooked because of "coarse language and ragged subject-verb agreement" or a "proclivity for ghetto-istic conduct."
Sounds like Moss is referring to Kessler. Here's a sample lyric from "Thugz Mansion":Is that not a sentiment Kessler can endorse?
I need a place to rest my head with the little bit of homeboys that remains, cause all the rest dead Is there a spot for us to roll, if you find it I'll be right behind ya, show me and I'll go How can I be peaceful? I'm comin from the bottom Watch my daddy scream peace while the other man shot him I need a house that's full of love when I need to escape the deadly places slingin drugs, in thug's mansion
Is that not a sentiment Kessler can endorse? Apparently not, since he takes the opportunity to slam Obama yet again: "What kind of moral leadership can be exercised by a man who sends his kids to listen to sermons denouncing America and whites and now calling Moses a thug and praising a convicted rapper as a prophet?"
We can similarly question the trustworthiness of a reporter who has spent much of the past year creepily drooling over Mitt Romney and, in particular, his wife.
WND Misleads on 'Ex-Gay' Tiff, Then Scrubs Reference to Discredited Researcher Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a May 9 WorldNetDaily article, Bob Unruh misleads on information surrounding a tiff between "homosexual activist" Wayne Besen and gay conversion therapy proponent Warren Throckmorton.
Unruh claimed that Besen "attribut[ed] the crime of rape to the 'sickness' of the ex-'gay' movement" by "equat[ing] the reports of the crime of 'corrective rape' in which 'heterosexual male pupils rape lesbian pupils, believing that this will make them heterosexual,' with the work of ministries to homosexuals who desire to leave that lifestyle." -- even though he later quotes Besen as saying (well, quoting Throckmorton quoting Besen) that "these extreme cases do not represent the so-called 'ex-gay' movement in general." Unruh quotes Throckmorton calling Besen's statements "confusing" and "outrageous."
Of course, Unruh knows from outrageous comparisons, having regularly likened anyone he perceives as critical of homeschooling to Nazis.
Unruh also repeated a claim that Besen "earlier denied the truth of an attack on members of an ex-'gay' ministry even though police confirmed it happened":
As WND reported earlier, Wayne Besen, of an organization called Truth Wins Out, had accused members of Parents and Friends of ExGays of fabricating a story about a homosexual attacking the group's booth at the Arlington County Fair in Virginia in 2007.
Police, however, confirmed to WND that the incident did take place, and the attacker was escorted by officers off the fairgrounds.
In fact, according to the September 2007 WND article to which Unruh links:
"One officer told me today he was on patrol at the Fair when a woman approached him and told him a man had knocked over pamphlets at the PFOX booth and assaulted another man there. The officer then spoke to the alleged victim. He did not want to press charges and therefore no written report was filed," said a statement issued by John Lisle, media relations officer for the Arlington County police department.
"Based on the description the officer was given, he located the suspect at the Fair. Another officer escorted that gentleman off the Fair grounds," his statement continued.
Police did not "confirm the incident happened"; the officer confirmed only that the incident had been reported. No evidence is offered that the person who was "escorted ... off the Fair grounds" did, in fact, have any involvement in the alleged incident, only that he fit the description of a person described as a suspect in the incident.
Unruh then went on to quote an unnamed poster to the article on Besen's website in which he makes his allegations that said of Besen, "Wayne, I am sad to say that you have become the ... Fred Phelps of the left." While Unruh refuse to name him, that poster does in fact have a name: Alan Chambers, president of Exodus Internation, an evangelical group that helps people "overc[o]me unwanted same-sex attraction."
But what's that ellipsis doing there in Chambers' comment? Chambers didn't put it there, WND did -- and in fact did so after Unruh's article was first posted.
A check of the Google cache reveals that Unruh had included Chamber's full comment: "I am sad to say that you have become the Paul Cameron and Fred Phelps of the left."
A quote of Throckmorton from his blog -- "When Paul Cameron links gays and teacher-student sex, he is rightly denounced and dismissed. In my opinion, this post from Besen is the same kind of tactic" -- also appeared in the original and was later replaced by ellipses. Unruh's statement that "Paul Cameron has issued some controversial statements regarding the lifestyle" was also disappeared. There is currently no mention whatsoever of Cameron in the version of Unruh's article currently posted on WND.
Who is Cameron, exactly? He's the guy responsible for the oft-cited claim that gays have a shorter life span than heterosexuals -- a claim that has long since been discredited.
Why did WND scrub all mention of Cameron from Unruh's article? Perhaps because certain members of WND's upper management still think he's a trusted source. WND columnist Jane Chastain has twicecited Cameron's research, as have several other WND news articles and columnists (here, here, here, here and here); WND even printed a 2004 commentary by Cameron. No WND article references any criticism whatsoever of Cameron's research.
What WND has done is deleted facts from an article not because they weren't true (after all, WND has no problem with publishinglies) but because somebody decided that nothing negative about Cameron should appear in the article. So who is it that doesn't want WND readers to know the truth about Paul Cameron? Is it Joseph Farah? David Kupelian? Did Unruh himself have second thoughts?
Inquiring minds want to know...
UPDATE: Here's a PDF of the original version of Unruh's article.
The headline on Warner Todd Huston's May 9 NewsBusters post howls: 'Outrageous: McClatchy Praises Terrorist's 'Charity Work'." Huston writes:
McClatchy had their hearts go aflutter over Sadr's "humanitarian aid" imagining it to be the "other" softer side of the terror chieftain giving Sadr a nice little bit of free positive publicity quite despite the truth of his murderous actions.
Don't you love how they give legitimacy to "Sadr City's main humanitarian organization"? This is Muqtada al Sadr we are talking about here. He is 100% backed by one of our biggest enemies in the world, Iran. Yet, here is McClatchy acting as if the Sadrists are a legitimate "humanitarian aid" group.
This is shameless pandering to a murderer and terrorist.
Sadr is no humanitarian. He couldn't care less about people other than how he can use them to continue his terrorist activities. Let's put it this way: if a child predator gives a child some candy, should we praise the molester for selflessly feeding the children? Obviously, the molester's motives are to rape the child, so the food is a lure not an altruistic gift! This is the same with Sadr and his henchmen. They are holding a bit of candy out so that they may further rape the people of Iraq.
But, to McClatchy, Sadr is a really good guy because of this supposed "charity work."
Of course, the McClatchy article in question doesn't "praise" al-Sadr or call him "a really good guy"; rather, it points out that he is what passes for a functioning government in that area and that public support for his charity work is undermining the U.S. military in Iraq. Huston included excerpts from the article in his post -- all taken out of context. Here's what Huston didn't excerpt:
Sadr, the fiery anti-American Shiite cleric, has again emerged as the U.S. military's No. 1 problem in Iraq, as his followers wage an increasingly bloody struggle with American soldiers for control of impoverished, militia-infested Sadr City.
Analysts point out that Hezbollah's military wing is much more disciplined than Sadr's younger and more fractured movement. But Sadr's charity work helps to maintain popular support for his movement even as its confrontations with U.S. and Iraqi forces plunge places such as Sadr City deeper into chaos.
"It's a reflection of the existing vacuum and the extremely poor capacity of the state to step in and provide these services," said Peter Harling, an Iraq expert with the International Crisis Group, a conflict-resolution think tank.
International aid workers and ordinary Iraqis say that the U.S.-backed Iraqi government is sitting on billions of dollars meant for humanitarian projects. Shiite and Sunni militias have stepped in to fill the gap, assuming control of basic services in neighborhoods they control.
"We would be glad if the government could really provide services," said Ibrahim al Jabri, who oversees the Sadr organization's humanitarian projects in eastern Baghdad, including Sadr City.
"But until now there is nothing provided by the government. It's not possible just to leave people waiting."
Iraqi government efforts to help war victims, by contrast, are a bureaucratic morass. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has established a committee to help Iraq's war widows, who are eligible to receive monthly assistance payments of $40 to $80. But advocates say that cases take months or years to wind through the system, and very few applicants end up receiving help.
Lt. Col. Frank Curtis of the 432 Civil Affairs Battalion in Sadr City is trying to jumpstart reconstruction efforts and help Iraqi officials spend the allocated money for the area. Now they get about 70 people a day at the center.
He acknowledged that the Mahdi Army may pay money to families but said that people are tired of its intimidation campaigns.
"Maybe they pay that money, but what the populace tells us and the sheiks tell us is that basically what they do is they steal their money and restrict where they're allowed to go," he said. "Everybody out there has to pay for the right to live in their home."
Warner, honey: Reporting something does not equal approval of what is being reported. But falselyconflatingthetwo is something MRC writers seem to enjoy doing.