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Saturday, January 17, 2009
Speaking of Not Liking Debate ...
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Jan. 16 NewsBusters post critiquing Fareed Zakaria's appearance on "The Daily Show," Tim Graham notes that "back in 2004, Zakaria was completely in [Jon] Stewart's corner as he attacked the CNN debate show Crossfire for 'hurting America' with its bickering," adding: "These men don't like debate shows. They like one-sided Bush-bashing shows with no rebuttals, just lots of loud liberal laughter, applause, and cheers."

That's an interesting observation coming from the employee of an organization whose TV appearances are largely limited to Fox News, where its representatives find their views unchallenged and even encouraged by their hosts, and where they are rarely subjected to anything remotely resembling "debate."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, January 17, 2009 1:04 AM EST
Friday, January 16, 2009
The Resident Know-Nothings At NewsBusters
Topic: NewsBusters

Why oh why does NewsBusters allow people to post items about things they know nothing about?

Warner Todd Huston writes of the bankruptcy filing of the Minneapolis Star Tribune in a Jan. 15 post: "Many in the Minneapolis area call the paper the RedStarTribune for its often overbearing leftist point of view." Not only does Huston offer no evidence of this being true, describing the paper as "overbearing leftist" ignores its current ideological slant under which the bankruptcy was declared: The Star Tribune endorsed Republican Norm Coleman over Democrat Al Franken in the Minnesota Senate race, and its news coverage has been similarly pro-Coleman (and pro-Republican) and anti-Franken (and anti-Democrat).

Huston does have a history of making ill-informed rants at NewsBusters. 

Tom Blumer then follows up with a similarly ill-iniformed post: "As the once mighty continue to fall (the latest being Minneapolis Star Tribune), what will the history books say about the relationship between the perilous condition of most of print media outlets and the seven years or so many of them spent suffering from full-blown Bush Derangement Syndrome?" Not only does Blumer buy into the right-wing myth that liberal bias is the only possible explanation for the problems newspapers are currently facing (not to mention the fact that the Strib hasn't exactly been exhibiting "full-blown Bush Derangement Syndrome"), he ignores the actual facts of the Star Tribune bankruptcy, as outlined by an actual economist with expertise on the subject and no partisan ax to grind:

Avista Capital Partners says slumping revenue in a brutal climate for newspapers everywhere forced the bankruptcy of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune -- but media economist Robert Picard isn't buying it.


It wasn't the economy, but Avista's own business decisions that brought the Strib to bankruptcy, Picard argues.

"They're blaming the changes in the industry, they're blaming the economy, they're blaming the unions -- when clearly the blame belongs in New York with the managers of Avista," Picard told E&P today.


"This is a company that's still making a profit," he said. "They can't withstand (economic conditions) now because their debts are so high. It was almost all debt in the financing of the acquisition." 

Any chance NewsBusters writers will do a little, you know, research on the media the next time they put fingers to keyboard? Naah -- it's so much easier ranting about the "liberal media," and they write for a place that thinks ranting about liberals equals "media criticism." 

Posted by Terry K. at 4:33 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 16, 2009 4:35 PM EST
Timmerman's 'Tax Experts' Are All Right-Wingers
Topic: Newsmax

A Jan. 15 Newsmax article by Kenneth Timmerman cites several "tax experts" who claim that treasury secretary-designee Tim Geithner should withdraw because of an issue over non-payment of taxes (which he has since paid) while employed by the International Monetary Fund.

Timmerman leads with a claim by "former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer" -- whom Timmerman does not describe as having any declared tax expertise -- claiming that Geithner "cheated on his taxes." Timmerman also cites so-called experts from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Maryland Taxpayers Association and the National Taxpayers Union.

While Timmerman identifies the CEI and Heritage reps as "conservative," he provides no ideological ID for the others, even though NTU and AEI are considered conservative groups, and the MTA "chairs the Maryland Center-Right Coalition."

By contrast, Politico talked to tax attorneys with no partisan ax to grind and actual understanding of the issue at hand:

“This is a very discrete issue,” said Michael Lloyd, an employment tax lawyer at Miller & Chevalier. “If you’re not a payroll tax lawyer, you’re not immersed in this, you are probably not getting it at first blush.”


Tax experts blame Geithner’s error on the IMF’s atypical tax arrangement. Because it’s an international organization, it’s exempt from withholding employees’ payroll taxes.

U.S. employees get additional salary to cover the IMF’s share of their payroll taxes. They’re responsible for paying the tax, considered a “self-employment tax,” as part of their personal tax returns.

Geithner did his own taxes in 2001 and 2002. An accountant did them in 2003 and 2004.

“Usually, all this stuff is taken out of your paycheck, so this particular arrangement is unusual,” said George Yin, a tax professor at the University of Virginia Law School and former chief of staff for the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. “It would be much more troubling if he didn’t understand some basic principle of economics.”

None of Timmerman's so-called "tax experts" exhibited similar knowledge of the issue at hand. But they were all eager to call for Geithner's withdrawal over it. Go figure.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:05 PM EST
Updated: Monday, January 19, 2009 2:15 PM EST
Cliff Kincaid's Conspiracy du Jour
Topic: Accuracy in Media

He wouldn't be Cliff Kincaid if he wasn't peddling some kind of conspiracy theory, and Kincaid has a new one on the fire: that the media is refusing to report on the tax problems of Treasury secretary designee Tim Geithner because ... we'll let Kincaid take it from here:

Reporter Kelly O’Donnell’s story failed to disclose that Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and chief executive officer of NBC parent company General Electric (GE), is on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, whose president is Timothy Geithner.

It is also interesting to note that a subsidiary of GE, GE Capital, is getting some of the federal bailout money that Geithner, if he is confirmed, will have a role in managing. Conflict of interest, anyone?


From the point of view of the major media, it’s better to remain on the good side of Geithner as well as Obama. That is why Geithner’s tax problems have to be whitewashed and senators of both parties have to be provided with an excuse to confirm him. 

And he also wouldn't be Cliff Kincaid if he wasn't trying to work the commies in somewhere:

But Geithner has to be protected because he’s one of the go-to guys on the matter of getting the Communist Chinese to buy our debt, for the purpose of financing never-ending bailouts and even the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.” Not only does Geithner speak Chinese, he spent some time living there. Plus, he’s a member of the secretive “Group of 30” that includes the governor of the powerful People’s Bank of China, the central bank of China.

It looks like Geithner would be just as much of a pawn of the Communist Chinese as Henry Paulson has been.

Nor would he be Cliff Kincaid if he wasn't demonizing George Soros:

The entire list of “contributors and supporters” of the “Group of Thirty” is quite impressive. You will find not only U.S. financial institutions getting bailout money, but central banks around the world and Arab financial interests. In addition, you also find private financial interests, including the hedge fund operated by billionaire and Obama contributor George Soros.

But I can find no stories in the major U.S. media critically examining the history and purpose of this organization. Could it be because selected reporters are invited to its meetings on a deep background basis? And that they develop financial sources at these meetings that they swear to protect and defend? 

If Kincaid is so hot and bothered by secretive groups, he should come clean on his association with the just-as-secretive Council for National Policy.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EST
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Jack Cashill's Still At It
Topic: WorldNetDaily

How far around the bend is Jack Cashill on his conpsiracy theory that William Ayers ghost-wrote Barack Obama's first book?

Cashill's Jan. 15 WorldNetDaily column provides the latest evidence. In it, Cashill asserts that an article that Obama purportedly wrote in 1983 containing grammatical errors "should put an end to the charade that Barack Obama wrote his 1995 memoir 'Dreams From My Father' unaided," adding that "Ayers had the means, the motive and the ability to jump start Obama's literary career, and Obama needed all the help he could get."

Missing, of course -- as has been missing all along from Cashill -- is any actual evidence that isn't speculative or circumstantial. Nevertheless, Cashill insists that the "evidence that terrorist emeritus Bill Ayers doctored 'Dreams' overwhelms the dispassionate observer" -- which Cashill is not.

For an actual "dispassionate observer," we turn to Peter Millican, a philosophy don at Oxford who was offered $10,000 by right-wingers to prove Cashill's little conspiracy theory:

Millican took a preliminary look and found the charges “very implausible”. A deal was agreed for more detailed research but when Millican said the results had to be made public, even if no link to Ayers was proved, interest waned.

Millican said: “I thought it was extremely unlikely that we would get a positive result. It is the sort of thing where people make claims after seeing a few crude similarities and go overboard on them.”

(Needless to say, Cashill got all huffy about this dismissal, claiming that Millican's analysis was "so shabby and slapdash that it had me checking Britain’s famous libel laws before I was halfway through.")

Being frequently wrong, however, has proven to be no impediment to Cashill's conspiracy theorizing.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:37 PM EST
WND Endorses 9/11 Truther's Pravda Article Too
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Chelsea Schilling joins NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard and Newsmax's Phil Brennan in endorsing an article in "Pravda, Russia's online newspaper," claiming that the Earth is "on the brink of entering another Ice Age."

At no point in her  Jan. 14 WND article does Schilling note Pravda's history as the official house organ of the Soviet Communist Party, nor does she note that the article's author, Gregory F. Fegel, also believes that " the Bush Administration, in collusion with many other officials from the Pentagon, CIA, FBI, FEMA, NSA, NORAD, New York City officials, air-traffic contollers, airline executives, controlled demolitions experts, computer graphics technicians, media executives, and others together planned and committed the horrible attacks of 9/11/2001 against the Pentagon and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City."

Surprisingly, though, Schilling does include criticism of Fegel's article, albeit limited to the final two paragraphs of her 15-paragraph article.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 15, 2009 10:59 AM EST
New Article: 2009 Slanties
Topic: The ConWeb
Who will take home the hardware for the year's worst reporting and most outrageous quotes in the right-wing media? Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:48 AM EST
Heritage Responds -- But Raises Even More Questions
Topic: Washington Examiner

Not only did we write here about the Washington Examiner's publication of a Heritage Foundation chart that cited unusually high figures for Depression-era umemployment, we wrote to the Examiner about it. The Examiner has printed the letter -- accompanied by a response from Heritage’s William Beach. But Beach's response creates even more misperceptions.

Beach writes: "Heritage cites widely accepted census data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics." But the chart in question doesn’t use BLS numbers; its source is listed as "Bureau of the Census, Bicentennial Edition Historical Statistics of the United States Colonial Times to 1970 Part 1." The BLS website offers much different numbers for the time period in question than does the Heritage chart; for instance, BLS lists 1933 unemployment as 24.9 percent, while the Heritage chart of census-sourced numbers places it well above 35 percent. Beach offers no explanation for the discrepancy, or why it chose the much higher census numbers over BLS.

Beach then cites George Mason University economist Alex Tabarrok to back up his claim that counting people in government work programs as unemployed "remains standard practice." But a 1983 Journal of Economic History article by Gene Smiley (who has been published by the libertarian Independent Institute, where Tabarrok is research director) states that "Since World War II the BLS does not count as unemployed those employed in any type of government relief programs."

Beach also writes that the BLS "didn't treat CCC workers, prisoners or anyone else who got only 'three hots and a cot' as being a government employee": Why is Beach putting CCC workers -- who did actual work for their "three hots and a cot" and took part more or less voluntarily -- in the same category as prisoners working involuntarily for much less than minimum wage and as the result of having committed a crime? Does he really think the two are the same? Or is Beach so anti-government that he considers any form of government compensation to be illegitimate, even if one worked for it?

In short, Beach didn't answer our questions and raised even more questions about Heritage's motivation in promoting questionable statistics.

UPDATE: Heritage's blog responds further on the general notion of the New Deal not "solving" unemployment. My colleagues at County Fair fire back:

Got that?  Heritage sniffs that the New Deal "never solved unemployment" because it did not bring unemployment from 25 percent all the way down to 5.5 percent.

If the worst the far-right Heritage Foundation can say about the New Deal is that it failed to cut the unemployment rate by 80 percent, that sounds like a pretty solid, if accidental, endorsement to me.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:23 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 15, 2009 7:12 PM EST
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Jan. 13 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh reads like a primer for students of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, making an effort to touch on as many alleged Clinton scandals as possible while failing to tell the truth about any of them.

Unruh devotes the bulk of his article to uncritically repeating the anti-Clinton bile of Larry Klayman, "a top Washington watchdog who years ago founded the Judicial Watch organization to monitor government activities and pursue prosecution of illegal government behavior." Of course, as we've noted, WND and other conservatives tended to lose interest in Klayman when his attention turned to Republican misbehavior.

Unruh features Klayman's assertion that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that is holding hearings on Hillary clinton's nomination as secretary of state "apparently is making a determined effort to prevent any discussion of her 'Chinagate' or 'Filegate' scandals." But neither Unruh or Klayman note that those supposed scandals have already been investigated with no official finding of wrongdoing by Clinton.

Under the so-called "Chinagate" scandal, according to Unruh, "technology companies allegedly made donations of millions of dollars to various Democratic Party entities, including President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign, in return for permission to sell high-tech secrets to China," with a focus on Bernard Schwartz and his Loral Space & Communication Ltd. But according to an investigation, a team of federal prosecutors headed by Charles LaBella turned up "not a scintilla of evidence–or information–that the president was corruptly influenced by Bernard Schwartz."

Under Filegate, Unruh writes, Bill and Hillary Clinton "were accused of violating the privacy rights of their perceived political enemies by wrongly accessing and misusing the FBI files of Reagan and first Bush administration staffers, among others." In fact, independent counsel Kenneth Starr exonerated both of them of complicity in the matter, saying "while there are outstanding issues that we are attempting to resolve with respect to one individual [we] found no evidence that anyone higher [than White House security officials Craig Livingstone or Anthony Marceca] was in any way involved in ordering the files from the FBI. Second, we have found no evidence that information contained in the files of former officials was used for an improper purpose."

Unruh also repeated a previous false claim made by WND:

The chief Republican counsel for the House Judiciary Committee during the preparation of impeachment articles against President Richard Nixon has verified allegations by Jerry Zeifman, the general counsel for the committee, about Hillary Clinton.

Franklin Polk backed up claims by Zeifman that Clinton was fired from the committee staff for unethical behavior.

In fact, as we've detailed, Polk did not back up any of Zeifman's "major claims" against Hillary Clinton -- that Clinton's brief was "fraudulent," that "Clinton deliberately ignored the then-recent case of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, who was allowed to have a lawyer during the impeachment attempt against him in 1970," that "Clinton bolstered her fraudulent brief by removing all of the Douglas files from public access and storing them at her office, enabling her to argue as if the case never existed," and that "Clinton was collaborating with allies of the Kennedys to block revelation of Kennedy-administration activities that made Watergate 'look like a day at the beach.'" Indeed, WND itself reported only that "Polk confirmed the Clinton memo ignored the Douglas case, but he could not confirm or dispel the claim that Hillary removed the files," adding that Polk considered Clinton's alleged exclusion of the Douglas precedent "more stupid than sinister."

Again, WND ignores the fact that Zeifman has materially changed his story regarding Clinton. Zeifman now claims he fired Clinton, but 11 years ago he told the Scripps Howard News Service, "If I had the power to fire her, I would have fired her."

Unruh also adds: "Then there was Travelgate, when the staff of the White House travel office was fired to make way for Clinton cronies." As we've noted, independent counsel Robert Ray has cleared the Clintons of wrongdoing there too, stating that "The Travel Office employees served at the pleasure of President Bill Clinton, and they were subject to discharge without cause," further adding, "Even were cause a prerequisite for the employees' discharge, there was, at the time the firings occurred, evidence of financial mismanagement in the Travel Office."

Finally, while Unruh notes that the Clinton Foundation "reportedly has taken in at least $46 million from Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments, such as Kuwait, Brunei, Oman and Italy," he fails to note that Judicial Watch, when it was headed by Klayman, accepted millions of dollars from foundations controlled by right-wing moneybags Richard Mellon Scaife. Nor does Unruh state where the funding for Klayman's new organization, Freedom Watch, is coming from (though there's no reason not to assume that Klayman remains on the Scaife teat).

Posted by Terry K. at 3:36 PM EST
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Criticism of Bloggers
Topic: NewsBusters

The boys at NewsBusters like to ridicule criticism of bloggers in the mainstream media. Among recent examples:

  • Mark Finkelstein claimed that MSNBC's Mike Barnicle "is back to looking down his nose at bloggers" after stating that "95%, 99% of blogging isn't journalism. It's therapy for the blogger."
  • Tim Graham asserted that NBC's Andrea Mitchell "decried the idea that new media would trouble the President’s first days," citing Mitchell's statment encouraging the "dialing down of all of the sharp criticism that we have on cable talk, on talk radio, from the, you know....the blogosphere."
  • Warner Todd Huston ridiculed one journalist for saying that "bloggers won't take the time and haven't the ability to, 'sit through town-council meetings and explain to you why your taxes will be going up,'" asserting that the journalist "feels that the masses are idiots that cannot even pronounce pundit much less spell it well enough to become citizen journalists on the Internet." (Though Huston does concede that the journalist is correct "to a degree" in that "the largest majority of folks will not take the time to create a blog, investigate stories, go to public meetings held by local government, write about them, and do all of this consistently and on their own without being paid -- he didn't even want to do it when he was paid.")

Yet we've no criticism, let alone mention, of this statement by a prominent media figure:

Bored, anonymous, pathetic bloggers who lie annoy me.

Perhaps that's because of who said it: Sarah Palin, and she was in the middle of ranting about coverage of rumors that her daughter, not her, is the mother of Trig Palin.

Finkelstein even alluded to the Esquire interview in which Palin made the statement in his criticism of Barnicle, highlighting that Palin "said that—long after the issue had been put to rest—the Anchorage Daily News called her—based on allegations in blogs—to ask whether she was indeed the mother of Trig, her youngest child." But he did not cite Palin's statement about "Bored, anonymous, pathetic bloggers."

Nor did Finkelstein -- like Huston before him -- tell the full story of the Anchorage Daily News' pursuit of thed Trig story: The paper was trying to shoot down the rumors once and for all, and Palin refused to answer questions about it, thus keeping the rumor mill alive.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:55 PM EST
Sheppard, Brennan Embrace Pravda Article by 9/11 Truther
Topic: NewsBusters

It's not often you see right-wingers treat a discredited Soviet propaganda outfit as credible. But that's exactly what NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard and Newsmax's Phil Brennan do in their attempt to attack global warming.

At issue is a Jan. 11 article on the Pravda website by Gregory F. Fegel asserting that "The earth is now on the brink of entering another Ice Age, according to a large and compelling body of evidence from within the field of climate science." Apparenly oblivious to Pravda's history as the official voice of the Soviet Communist Party (though the current version of the paper, according to Wikipedia, "often takes a nationalist and sensationalist approach"), Sheppard and Brennan were eager to promote this.

Sheppard, in a Jan. 11 post, touts how Fegel's article was "reported by Russia's Pravda" and that it "not only goes quite counter to the junk science being espoused by folks like Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his accomplices James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt, but it has also been regularly proffered by many of the real scientists and climatologists around the world that global warming loving media not only refuse to cite and/or interview, but also disgracefully ridicule as deniers and flat earthers." Similarly, Brennan writes in his Jan. 13 column:

Now comes Gregory F. Fegel writing in Pravda Ru that we are on the brink of a new ice age, a revelation that has shocked many Americans but one that I explained 12 years ago in my series The Icemen Cometh.

According to Fegal, "The earth is now on the brink of entering another Ice Age, according to a large and compelling body of evidence from within the field of climate science. Many sources of data which provide our knowledge base of long-term climate change indicate that the warm, twelve thousand year-long Holocene period will rather soon be coming to an end, and then the earth will return to Ice Age conditions for the next 100,000 years."

Sheppard and Brennan perhaps should have done a little investigating of their new friend before embracing him so wholeheartedly. It seems that Fegel is a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, as revealed in a Aug. 22 Pravda column:

A preponderance of evidence shows that the highest officials of the Bush Administration, in collusion with many other officials from the Pentagon, CIA, FBI, FEMA, NSA, NORAD, New York City officials, air-traffic contollers, airline executives, controlled demolitions experts, computer graphics technicians, media executives, and others together planned and committed the horrible attacks of 9/11/2001 against the Pentagon and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The 9/11 attacks were immediately blamed on some bogus 'Arab highjackers', a half dozen of whom were later confirmed to be still alive, and therefore innocent, after the 9/11 attacks.


The USA's long descent into fascism cannot be halted or stopped merely by electing a member of the Democrat Party to the Presidency, or by electing a Democrat majority to Congress. The infiltration and control of the US government by right-wing extremists is far too advanced and complete -- they manipulate our elected officials like puppets on a string, and a great many of our elected officials are themselves part of the fascist establishment. The right-wing takeover of the US government has been a gradual and very successful fascist coup that will not be reversed without a very serious and deadly struggle. Given the history of extreme and indiscriminate violence shown by the ruling junta of the USA, it appears quite obvious to me that restoring democracy to the USA would inevitably require a violent armed Revolution in which the American people are opposed against the forces of the US government and the US military.


We need a Nuremberg-style trial for Treason and Mass Murder for all of the members of the US government, the US military, the US intelligence agencies, and their civilian accomplices in the airline industry and the news media who participated in the murderous crimes of 9/11.

So, Phil and Noel: Do you still want to tout this guy and the publication where he appears?

For Sheppard, the answer is yes. In an update to his post, Sheppard notes that Fegel "has some interesting views about 9/11 that would make Rosie O'Donnell proud," then adds: "How delicious that an America-hating Truther who contributes to Pravda has a firmer grasp of climatology than Nobel Laureate Al Gore, James Hansen, Gavin Schmidt, and most of the folks at the IPCC. Now THAT'S entertainment!!!"

UPDATE: Sadly, No! weighs in as well.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 15, 2009 2:04 AM EST
Porter Hearts Shoebat, Peddles False Claims
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Janet Folger Porter's Jan. 13 WorldNetDaily column touts how "Former PLO terrorist Walid Shoebat – now a pro-Israel Christian – was a guest on my Faith2Action radio program last week."

This is the first reference to Shoebat on WND since last April; the WND store has added the recently released book by Shoebat and co-author Joel Richardson, who also co-wrote the WND-published, Shoebat-promoting "Why We Left Islam."

Since she makes no mention of it here, we can assume that Porter made no on-the-air reference to the controversy surrounding Shoebat's claim to be a "former PLO terrorist" or his fundraising appeals. Then again, WND never has, either.

Porter also writes: "Now, not surprisingly, President-elect Obama is reaching out to meet with the Hamas terrorists. What did you expect? They endorsed him, after all." That's an apparent reference to a unverifed claim that Obama is seeking talks with Hamas -- a claim the Obama has strongly denied.

Too bad Porter couldn't see fit to tell the full truth. But then, Porter also isn't telling the full truth behind her anti-Obama activism.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:14 AM EST
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Feulner Misleads on Japan's Economy

Heritage Foundation president Ed Feulner writes in a Jan. 13 column:

Facing a deep recession, the Japanese implemented 10 separate spending stimulus packages between 1992 and 2000. Spending on public infra­structure was a major part of each one. Yet the Japanese economy refused to cooperate. After eight years of “stimulus” Japan’s economic growth was anemic. The Japanese econ­omy grew at an annual rate of only 0.6 percent between 1992 and 2007. During that time, eight countries surpassed Japan’s per capita income. So much for infrastructure stimulus.

In fact, according to The Economist (via Media Matters):

Japan's monetary and fiscal stimulus did help to lift the economy. After a recession in 1993-94, GDP was growing at an annual rate of around 2.5% by 1995. But deflation also emerged that year, pushing up real interest rates and increasing the real burden of debt. It was from here on that Japan made its biggest policy mistakes. In 1997 the government raised its consumption tax to try to slim its budget deficit. And with interest rates close to zero, the BoJ [Bank of Japan] insisted that there was nothing more it could do. Only much later did it start to print lots of money.

Feulner cited Japan as a way to prove that "Government stimulus spending can’t manufacture prosperity." But by cherry-picking numbers and ignoring events that don't fit with his storyline, Feulner hides the fact that the truth appears to be otherwise.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:59 PM EST
Farah's Still Not Telling the Full Truth
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah uses his Jan. 13 WorldNetDaily column to rebut the claim Keith Olbermann cited to name him the "Worst Person in the World" on Jan. 5 -- a claim we first documented -- but Farah is still obfuscating about Barack Obama's birth certificate.

Farah writes: 

I explained several weeks ago that Olberman, George Soros' front group Media Matters, Democratic members of the Congress and a host of other extremists in the media were suddenly touting a WND report that appeared to suggest an image of Barack Obama's birth certificate on his website was found conclusively to be genuine.

Again, here's the problem with that – especially for those slow to comprehend basic facts.

At that time of that report, the best information WND had suggested the image of Obama's birth certificate was genuine.

Stop right there. The August 2008 WND article in question -- to which Farah again fails to link so his readers can judge for themselves -- did not merely "suggest" that the birth certificate was genuine; it unambiguously stated that it was:

A separate WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic. The investigation also revealed methods used by some of the bloggers to determine the document was fake involved forgeries, in that a few bloggers added text and images to the certificate scan that weren't originally there.

Farah's claim this time around is somewhat less of a lie than Farah's Dec. 20 statement, cited by us and Olbermann, that none of WND's experts "could report conclusively that the electronic image was authentic or that it was a forgery," which utterly contradicts what WND originally reported.

Farah then tries to change the subject: "However, the veracity of that image was never the major issue of contention. Rather, the major issue is where is the rest of the birth certificate – the part that explains where the baby was born, who the delivery doctor was, etc."

Yet WND has spent considerable time covering something that is not a "major issue," while hiding its own previous coverage. For instance, a Dec. 1 WND article by Bob Unruh is devoted to so-called "imaging guru" Ron Polarik's claims that the certificate is "criminally fraudulent." At no point did Unruh mention WND's own reporting that the certificate is authentic. And as recently as Jan. 8, WND promoted an "Obama commercial they don't want you to see," which asserts that the certificate is "an obvious forgery."

In fact, as we've noted, WND has essentially disavowed the existence of that earlier article since its publication, refusing to acknowledge its claims in subsequent reports on the birth certificate issue.

While Farah seems to be suggesting that he no longer stands by the August 2008 article, at no point has he or WND ever explained why. There is no article in the WND database telling readers that its "authentic" claim has been superceded by more recent events.

Further, Farah suddenly pretending that the birth certificate on Obama's website is not a "major issue" because he got caught in a lie about it ignores the crux of the issue. 

If that certificate is indeed "authentic" -- that is, found to have been issued by the state of Hawaii, derived from the "full" certificate Farah is panting over, with all of the information needed to meet requirements of residency for purposes such as obtaining a passport, which presumably also meets the requirements for establishing that Obama is a "natural born citizen" -- then demanding release of the "full" birth certificate is moot. (Indeed, points out that the certificate "has all the elements the State Department requires for proving citizenship to obtain a U.S. passport.")

If this is true -- and Farah has provided no evidence that it's not -- then all of Farah's blather about how "WND has done its part to find out the truth" and how "so many Americans are losing confidence in their government to conduct free and fair elections according to the simple rules laid out in the Constitution" is just that. Does anyone really believe a man who has attacked Obama as "evil" and "an enemy of the Constitution," who has repeatedly lied about Obama, and whose website is a fetid cesspool of Obama hatred is concerned only about constitutional niceties and "the truth"?

Obama has been demonstrated to be a U.S. citizen by all reasonable standards. Farah needs to get over it. 

Posted by Terry K. at 5:06 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 6:20 PM EST
Zeifman Misleads on Social Security
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Jerome Zeifman has taken a break from channeling Eleanor Roosevelt to pen a Jan. 12 Accuracy in Media column that makes misleading claims about Social Security.

Zeifman writes:

In fact, the voluntary optional private accounts advocated by Clinton, Moynihan, Kerry, and Bush were originally recommended by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the founder of Social Security. In 1935, in a written statement to Congress, FDR recommended that the system should eventually include "voluntary contributory annuities, by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age."

Actually, according to Media Matters:

Roosevelt was not advocating that the present system of guaranteed Social Security benefits "ought to ultimately be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans." Rather, he was proposing that both mandatory contributions and voluntary annuities would eventually eliminate the need for a different fund which was established to provide pension benefits to Americans who were already too old in 1935 to contribute payroll taxes to the Social Security system.

Roosevelt outlined the three major tenets he envisioned for Social Security in the January 17, 1935, speech that Hume quoted. As the Social Security Administration (SSA) has noted, these tenets are: 1) "non-contributory old-age pensions for those who are now too old to build up their own insurance"; 2) "compulsory contributory annuities which in time will establish a self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations"; and 3) "voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age."

During 1935 congressional hearings on Roosevelt's Social Security bill, Edwin Witte, executive director of the Committee on Economic Security (CES), clearly stated that the voluntary accounts were intended as a "separate undertaking" meant to "supplement" the compulsory system, not replace it: "The voluntary system of old-age annuities we suggest as a supplement to the compulsory plan." Further, voluntary annuities would be "similar to those issued by commercial insurance companies" -- as Witte explained -- but they would differ from private accounts in that their funds would be deposited into and paid out of the Social Security trust fund, and they would provide a government-guaranteed benefit like mandatory contributions. Prominent contemporary Democrats support Roosevelt's idea of supplemental government-sponsored investment accounts that are paid for by non-Social Security funds, although unlike Roosevelt's plan, these accounts would not be linked to the trust fund.

Zeifman also falsely claimed that President Bush's Social Security privatization plan "called for the investment of no more than 4 percent of revenues." In fact, the plan allowed workers to divert up to 4 percent of their wages into a private account. Since 12.4 percent of a worker's wages are paid into Social Security, that mean as much as one-third of Social Security revenue -- not 4 percent -- would be affected by private accounts.

Zeifman again loudly proclaims, as is his wont, that he's a Democrat, this time stating that he's "a life-long left of center liberal Democrat who once successfully represented 38 AFL-CIO unions in litigation against the Carter administrations unlawful outsourcing of defense production to a number of foreign countries." But he's one of those Newsmax Democrats who claim Democratic membership as a very thin cover to attack them on right-wing websites.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:15 AM EST

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