Despite the recession, Barack Obama’s inauguration will be the most expensive ever and could approach $160 million — nearly four times what George Bush’s inauguration cost four years ago.
Rich Noyes, Jan. 14 NewsBusters post and Jan. 15 MRC CyberAlert item:
Four years ago, the Associated Press and others in the press suggested it was in poor taste for Republicans to spend $40 million on President Bush’s inauguration. AP writer Will Lester calculated the impact that kind of money would have on armoring Humvees in Iraq, helping victims of the tsunami, or paying down the deficit. Lester thought the party should be cancelled: “The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?”
Fast forward to 2009. The nation is still at war (two wars, in fact), and now also faces the prospect of a severe recession and federal budget deficits topping $1 trillion as far as the eye can see. With Barack Obama’s inauguration estimated to cost $45 million (not counting the millions more that government will have to pay for security), is the Associated Press once again tsk-tsking the high dollar cost?
Brent Bozell, on the Jan. 16 edition of Fox & Friends:
According to the Guardian newspaper, he could spend as much as $150 million. That would be three times more than George Bush spent. ... In other words, it's a wonderful thing to spend $150 million if you're Barack Obama, but you need to be condemned if you spend $43 [million] and you're George Bush.
Bush’s second inaugural was met with far more hostility, with reporters attacking the $40 million price tag as obscene. “In a time of war and natural disaster, is it time for a lavish celebration?” ABC’s Terry Moran doubted. The AP’s Will Lester calculated that the money spent on Bush’s inaugural could vaccinate “22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami....Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?” (Obama’s inaugural committee will spend $45 million, but the total price tag could exceed $150 million.)
But there are two problems with the comparison being made, as Eric Boehlert details. Not only is the $150 million figure never authoritatively sourced to anyone, it's an apples-to-oranges comparison because the higher Obama number includes security costs while the lower Bush number does not.
Indeed, the Washington Post reported in January 2005 that the $40 million spent on Bush's second inaugural "does not include the cost of a web of security, including everything from 7,000 troops to volunteer police officers from far away, to some of the most sophisticated detection and protection equipment."
The MRC, at least, is making no efforts at correction -- in fact, it's taking credit for promoting it. A Jan. 18 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard pushes the idea that the Associated Press was inspired (or shamed) by the MRC's Noyes to publish an article "that not only questioned the rationale behind President Barack Obama spending huge sums of money on his inauguration while the economy is in the middle of the worst recession in decades, but also noted how critical some were four years ago of how much President Bush was spending on his second inauguration." At no point does Sheppard note that, according to that very same AP article, attempts have been made to hold down costs while trying to allow as many people as possible to take part in the activities:
Obama's inauguration committee says it is mindful of the times and is not worried people will see the four days of festivities as excessive.
"That is probably not the way the country is going to be looking at it," said committee spokeswoman Linda Douglass. "It is not a celebration of an election. It is a celebration of our common values."
Douglass said the campaign sought to keep costs down by having the same decorations at each of the 10 balls, eliminating floral arrangements and negotiating prices on food.
"Those at the Obama administration are trying to be reflective of the climate," McDermott's spokesman, Mike DeCeasar, said Saturday.
Still, Sheppard insists that the AP is "applauding Obama's extravagance" -- while providing no actual evidence of "extravagance."
Remember, such false stories and bogus criticism comes while Obama isn't even in office yet. If the ConWeb is this hateful now, imagine the shitstorm they will stir up when Obama actually is president.
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Sure, Bill Clinton has been out of office for eight years, but that doesn't mean that right-wingers can't still blame events of today on him.
Craige McMillan, in a Jan. 8 WorldNetDaily column, has declared that the Bernie Madoff scandal is all Clinton's fault:
The media told Americans that lying was OK.
"I did not have sex with that woman!" Enter the semen-stained dress, and the mainline media's terribly original defense of President Clinton: "Well, everybody lies about sex ..." Perhaps that's due to its popularity? Hmm ... I wonder if there might conceivably be anything more popular among aging baby boomers than sex?
Money, perhaps? No, couldn't be. Odd, though; I haven't seen the same mainline media personalities defending Mr. Madoff and his $50 billion Ponzi investment plan with the line, "Well, everybody lies about money ..." As it turns out, however, at least as many people lie about money as lie about sex. Maybe more. Maybe lots more.
So I wonder, why does the mainline media seem to think it's OK for the nation's chief law enforcement officer (that would be the president) to lie to a court of law about his sexual activities in the Oval office – but it's not OK for Bernie Madoff to lie about his financial proclivities with a few deviant electrons in a back room at the stock and bond trading desk? "I did not have financial relations with that derivative!" No, of course not, Sir, but do have a look at the ink smear on this trading statement.
If McMillan is so concerned about lies accepted by the media, he might want to have a little chat with his boss.
In her recent syndicated column, published Jan. 17 at WorldNetDaily, Star Parker, in the midst of denying that Barack Obama is anything like Abraham Lincoln, stated that Lincoln's speech in which he declared "A house divided against itself cannot stand" was made "after accepting the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1858."
There was no presidential race in 1858. Lincoln's speech was made upon his nomination as a U.S. Senate candidate.
WND's Ellis Washington: Obama's A Fascist Topic: WorldNetDaily
We know Ellis Washington loves to smear Barack Obama as a Nazi. So it's no surprise that he would smear Obama as a fascist, too.
Washington does exactly that in his Jan. 17 WorldNetDaily column, claiming that "I see Barack Obama mimicking the fascist and socialist policies of President Wilson."
Huh? Woodrow Wilson was a fascist? Washington has been reading Jonah Goldberg, it appears. We'll concede the point since the New York Times seems to agree, but it's a desperate stretch for Washington to claim that Obama is acting like Wilson.
Washington is even less convincing when he references "the fascist and socialist legacy of Wilson, FDR, LBJ, [and] Carter." More Goldberg influence apparently. At this point, though, the Times diverges from agreeing with Goldberg:
Is something missing here? Goldberg races from Wilson to Roosevelt to Kennedy and on to Bill Clinton with barely a glance at what happened in between. The reason is simple: for Goldberg, fascism is strictly a Democratic disease. This allows him to dispose of the politics of the 1920s in a single sentence. “After the Great War,” he writes, “the country slowly regained its sanity.” What Goldberg may not know — or is afraid to tell us — is that the 1920s were anything but sane. This was the decade, after all, that contained the largest state-sponsored social experiment in the nation’s history — Prohibition — and it lasted through three Republican administrations before Franklin Roosevelt ended it in 1933. The 1920s also saw the explosive spread of the Ku Klux Klan in the Republican Midwest, a virtual halt to legal immigration under the repressive National Origins Act and an angry grass-roots backlash against the teaching of evolution in public schools.
Goldberg briefly enters the Eisenhower 1950s to tease liberals for whining about the supposedly trivial impact of McCarthyism. “A few Hollywood writers who’d supported Stalin and then lied about it lost their jobs,” he says. What’s the big deal? For the Reagan 1980s there is near-silence — hardly a word. I had entertained the slim hope that Goldberg might consider the “fascist” cult of personality surrounding Reagan’s 1984 “Morning in America” hokum (“Prouder, Stronger, Better”). But, alas, such scrutiny is reserved only for the Clinton presidential campaign of 1992, with its “Riefenstahlesque film of a teenage Bill Clinton shaking hands with President Kennedy.” Indeed, even George W. Bush’s spectacularly staged landing on an aircraft carrier in full battle regalia to declare “mission accomplished” in Iraq escapes notice here. It doesn’t take a village for Goldberg to play the fascist card; a single Democrat will do.
Funny that Washington doesn't mention that, isn't it? Indeed, Washington dismisses George W. Bush as merely having "utopian tendencies." Nope, he's not a fascist at all.
But Goldberg gives Washington cover to smear Obama as a fascist -- never mind that Goldberg's book has been soundlydismantled -- and that's good enough for him.
In October 2006, WorldNetDaily published an article on a bipartisan plan to repeal the 22nd Amendment, which limits presidents to two terms. Its headline: "Should presidents be allowed to serve more than 2 terms?"
This despite the fact that Zahn notes that the congressman who introduced the current resolution, Jose Serrano, introduced a similar resolution in 2003, and is named as being a supporter of the idea in the 2006 WND article.
Thus, the headline is a lie since it claims a view that is never advanced in the article -- that the bill was introduced solely to keep Obama in office. But then, lying about Obama comeseasy to WND.
Zahn makes his own factual error in the lead paragraph:
As Inauguration Day approaches and Barack Obama prepares to assume his first term as president, some in Congress are hoping to make it possible for the Democrat to not only seek a second term in office, but a third and fourth as well.
In fact, Obama can seek a second term regardless of whether the 22nd Amendment is repealed.
MRC's Double Standard on Presidential Farewells Topic: NewsBusters
In a Jan. 15 NewsBusters post (and Jan. 16 MRC CyberAlert item), Brent Baker takes issue with Chris Matthews' critique of President Bush's farewell address, calling it a "crass and petty rant" containing "cheap shots" in which Matthews "raged."
If Baker was really bothered "crass and petty rants" containing "cheap shots," he would use his powers as NewsBusters editor-at-large to tone down those traits in MRC's own writers.
A Jan. 15 post by P.J. Gladnick on MSNBC's plans to broadcast Obama's inauguration in theaters is one example. Gladnick writes that "MSNBC is also making sure you can see the source of Chris Matthews' leg tingle for free at the theaters," mocked " inauguration of The One," people "with the need to worship Barack Obama non-stop" and concludes:"Will MSNBC also be playing Handel's Messiah as background music at the movie theaters?"
A Jan. 16 post by Ken Shepherd is another. It references "latte liberal[s]," "The Obama leg-thrill network," and adds that "sitting next to Chris Matthews in a dark room watching Obama sounds a little sketchy to me."
As far as Baker's claim that "Democrats and Republicans have the class to allow a President to deliver his farewell address without having it immediately countered by a crass and petty rant from a political opponent trying to settle old scores while issuing cheap insults," he forgets how his boss, Brent Bozell, said goodbye to President Clinton in 2001.
As we detailed, Bozell hosted a $125-a-plate dinner for the purpose of gathering his conservative buddies to hurl abuse at the Clintons before they left office, claiming, "It's our way of celebrating the fumigation of Washington," and adding, "We have two days before we have to become compassionate." Bozell offered a mock invocation, a takeoff on the Lord's Prayer; one line was, "Her socialist agenda got runneth over." A CNSNews.com account of the dinner noted: "A bagpiper played Amazing Grace as Bozell, flanked by standing candelabras and arrangements of funeral flowers, began to eulogize the Clinton era. Beside him was an enlarged photo of the president surrounded by a mourning wreath."
Bozell also celebrated the election of Hillary Clinton as senator from New York, if only in anticipation of using her as a useful bogeyman: "We need fund-raising fodder. ... They left her behind for us."
If Bozell can't lead by example -- and his writers can't be bothered to check their elitist contempt of Obama -- they have forfeited any right to criticize behavior that they themselves have engaged in.
UPDATE: The petty rants continue: In a Jan. 18 post, Gladnick calls the inauguration "Barack Obama worship services" and refers to "the Obamessiah."
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."
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).
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."
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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).