Blumer Ignores the Evidence, Advances Right-Wing Chrysler Conspiracy Topic: NewsBusters
As we've detailed, NewsBusters' Tom Blumer has a long history of botching simple concepts and getting basic facts wrong. So, naturally, he could be expected to weigh in on the latest right-wing non-conspiracy, that the Obama administration is targeting Republican-owned Chrysler dealers for closure.
Blumer does just that in a May 30 post, and the results are about what you'd expect. Blumer explored a tangent of the conspiracy, that minority-owned Chrysler dealers were disproportionately spared from closure. He even quotes a blogger, Sean Parnell at the Center for Competitve Politics, who had calculated that the percentage of minority-owned Chrysler dealers was almost exactly the same before and after the round of closings.
But Blumer has decided that because more minority-owned dealers are allegedly located in less-than-optimal urban locations, more minority dealerships should have closed:
Parnell and his "trusty calculator" are missing an obvious point: The "enemies list" may or may not exist, but the issue of its existence is separate from the issue of minority vs. non-minority dealer survival.
There's a much bigger problem with Parnell's argument. As noted in a May 15 Wall Street Journal article by Alex P. Kellogg, when the number of dealer closures was known but not the identities of all dealers axed, minority-owned dealers publicly feared a three or more times greater depletion in their ranks:
My trusty calculator tells me that the feared closure rate was 82% (140 divided by 170; NADAM's dealer count appears to be from early 2008), while the actual closure rate was 25% (38 divided by 154).
All other factors being equal, given NADAM's [sic: NAMAD, or the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers] expressed fears and the general comparative dealer profile it provided the Journal, the minority-owned dealer termination rate should have been higher -- probably much higher than the 25% overall average. In fact, it's clear that NADAM expected that outcome, even if you heavily discount their worry that over 80% of minority-owned Chrysler dealers would be told to go away as overblown hyperbole.
But it would appear that all other factors were far from equal, and that influences other than bottom-line business considerations were prominent.
In other words, the fact there's no evidence of a conspiracy is evidence of a conspiracy.
One thing to consider when examining coverage of the killing of abortion doctor George Tiller: According to the WorldNetDaily archive, 92 WND articles contain the phrase "Tiller the killer," including several in which the phrase appeared in the headline.
It even pops up in the May 31 WND article on Tiller's death, in the list of headlines of previous articles on Tiller.
WND also repeats Operation Rescue's claim that it's "disturbed" by the killing of Tiller, failing to note that the Operation Rescue website carries a picture of Tiller with the caption, "America's Doctor of Death."
Farah Channels Tancredo, Call La Raza Racist Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've detailed how WorldNetDaily has been a faithful supporter of Tom Tancredo, even publishing a book by him and urging him to run for president. WND editor Joseph Farah has sycophantically written about him: "He's a maverick. He marches to the beat of his own drummer. He's not afraid to criticize members of his own party – including his president. And that's what I love about him."
So it's no surprise that Farah would wholeheartedly embrace Tancredo's smear of La Raza as the "Latino KKK." Indeed, Farah expands on it in his May 30 column:
It bills itself as a "civil rights" organization. It would be more appropriate to say it disguises itself as such. It camouflages itself as such. It hides its real purpose and true intents as such – with the willing and skillful assistance of many of my media colleagues.
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."
Its members and leadership are linked directly to those who believe the Southwestern U.S. was unjustly seized from Mexico in the 19th century. It should, they believe, by any means necessary, be reconstituted either as part of that thoroughly corrupt, socialist regime fled by tens of millions of refugees or as an independent, autonomous, Spanish-speaking socialist state – like the mythical land of Aztlan.
The only real differences between La Raza and the neo-Nazis and the KKK are its wealth, power and level of sophistication.
In fact, as we've noted, contrary to the claims of Farah and WND, La Raza has explicitly rejected the idea of "reconquista."
Farah also marches in lockstep with his right-wing fellow travelers by taking Sonia Sotomayor's words out of context in asserting that she said that "Latina women judges are better than white men judges." Farah shows no evidence of having read the entirety of Sotomayor's 2001 speech in which she made that remark, because if he had, he would know that Sotomayor was specifically referring to the importance of diversity in adjudicating race and sex discrimination cases.
Farah similarly regurgitates right-wing talking points by takes Sotomayor's statement that the federal court of appeals "is where policy is made" out of context to claim that Sotomayor "has no respect for the rule of law and the constitutional limits on the judiciary branch of government. In short, she believes it is perfectly appropriate for judges to make policy, legislate from the bench, create new law where none has previously existed." It appears that Farah hasn't read that speech either; in fact, Sotoamyor was explaining the difference between district courts and appeals courts, and even the Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States acknowledges that federal appellate courts do in fact have a "policy making" role.
More Trouble In Orly Taitz's World (That WND Won't Tell You About) Topic: WorldNetDaily
Blogger Patrick McKinnion has been doing the thankless job of keeping track of happenings in the universe of Obama birth certificate obsessives. One of those events is the intra-birther lawsuit of Philip Berg v. Orly Taitz. Since WorldNetDaily won't tell you about the goings-on in Taitz-land these days, we are forced to rely on McKinnion.
There were some filings in the lawsuit due earlier this week. We'll let McKinnion take it from here:
Dr. Orly was due 26 May. Remember the orders were to file electronically? Instead, she FedExed her response. (Tracking number 869611986189) Sent on Saturday the 23rd, the start of a three day weekend.
And she sent it DIRECTLY to Philip Berg's offices. NOT to the court.
Let me restate this. She sent it to the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, rather than the court. She sent it hard copy via FedEx, rather than filed electronically as the court requires. And it arrived on 27 May, the day AFTER it was due.
And her "response" was simply an 18 page rehash of her claims against Lisa Liberi. BAD move in a libel case.
Result? Berg filed a request for default on the Sankey Firm and on Dr. Orly.
And, well, I'll let PACER answer for me......
05/27/2009 27 Request for Default Judgment Entry, Request for Entry of Default; Declaration of Philip J. Berg, Esquire in support thereof; Certificate of Service and Proposed Entry of Default Order GO EXCEL GLOBAL, LISA LIBERI, PHILIP J. BERG, THE LAW OFFICES OF PHILIP J. BERG, EVELYN ADAMS, LISA M. OSTELLA against ORLY TAITZ, DEFEND OUR FREEDOMS FOUNDATIONS, INC.. (BERG, PHILIP) Modified on 5/28/2009 (nd). (Entered: 05/27/2009) 05/27/2009 28 Request for Default Judgment Entry, Request for Entry of Default, Declaration of Philip J. Berg, Esquire in Support thereof; Certificate of Service; and Proposed Entry of Default Order LISA LIBERI against THE SANKEY FIRM. (BERG, PHILIP) Modified on 5/28/2009 (nd, ). (Entered: 05/27/2009)
05/27/2009 DEFAULT BY ORLY TAITZ, DEFEND OUR FREEDOMS FOUNDATIONS, INC., THE SANKEY FIRM FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR, PLEAD OR OTHERWISE DEFEND. (gn, ) (Entered: 05/28/2009)
Dr. Orly (and the Sankey Firm) now have an entry of default instead of a response. Which means that the clerk or the court can rule against them by default and that Berg wins, again though default. Dr Orly and a represenative from the Sankey Firm would have to show in court and argue why they should not have a default judgement leveled against them. Neal Sankey actually could argue that he filed for himself and one of his aka's, so he has a chance.
But Dr. Orly?? She didn't file the required response with the court, didn't file it electronically, and didn't conform to the rules of the court in her response.
It's still a bit early to judge, but Dr. Orly has taken the lead for the title of Worst Birther Lawyer Ever. And Berg may have just broken his losing streak, though against Dr. Orly that's like a cockroach winning against a weevil. Or Tweedledum winning against Tweedledumber. Yosef Taitz might want to start to make sure the family assets are made safe against his wife's stupidity and sheer insanity.
Ouch. No wonder WorldNetDaily seems to have decided that Andy Martin is a more trustworthy obsessive than Taitz.
WND Repeats Bogus Attack on La Raza Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a May 27 WorldNetDaily article breaking the supposedly shocking news that Sonia Sotomayor is a member of La Raza (it caused Tom Tancredo's head to explode, anyway), Joe Kovacs wrote the following:
As WND previously reported, La Raza was condemned in 2006 by former U.S. Rep. Charles Norwood, R-Ga., as a radical "pro-illegal immigration lobbying organization that supports racist groups calling for the secession of the western United States as a Hispanic-only homeland."
Norwood urged La Raza to renounce its support of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan – which sees "the Race" as part of an ethnic group that one day will reclaim Aztlan, the mythical birthplace of the Aztecs. In Chicano folklore, Aztlan includes California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Texas.
Unruh repeats the claim in a May 29 article -- which approvingly cites Tancredo's smear that La Raza is the "Latino KKK" -- and it's copied in a May 29 NewsBusters post by John Stephenson.
Another misconception about NCLR is the allegation that we support a “Reconquista,” or the right of Mexico to reclaim land in the southwestern United States. NCLR has not made and does not make any such claim; indeed, such a claim is so far outside of the mainstream of the Latino community that we find it incredible that our critics raise it as an issue. NCLR has never supported and does not endorse the notion of a “Reconquista” or “Aztlán.”
Another day, another lie from WorldNetDaily. That's not shocking at all. Guilt-by-association smear fail.
WND Quietly Makes False Obama Attack (Mostly) Disappear Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has published so many lies about Barack Obama that it makes no effort whatsoever to correct that it's a shock when it actually tries to disassociate itself from a false claim it forwards.
On May 24, WND published the following article:
Revealed: 'The Obama birth certificate protection act'? Bill would prohibit compelling executive branch from releasing documents
WASHINGTON – A bill approved by the House of Representatives and referred to the Senate would prohibit federal employees of the executive branch from being compelled to release any document unless a court makes a specified determination by a preponderance of evidence – legislation at least one group suspects is designed to protect Barack Obama's elusive birth certificate from release.
The legislation, HR 985, resides in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sovereignty Alliance has issued a "red alert" about the bill it calls "stealth legislation ... to protect Obama from providing his birth certificate."
"It wouldn't surprise me a bit if this were one of the intended consequences of this legislation," said Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, who last week initiated a national billboard campaign to bring attention to the issue of Obama's missing birth certificate and what it might say about his claim to be a "natural born citizen," a status necessary to serving in the White House.
"In any case, this bill puts the lie to this administration and this Congress being the most ethical and transparent in American history," Farah said. "They're very open when it comes to the secrets of previous administrations, but when it comes to their own work, it is shrouded in secrecy. Even the president's birth certificate and student records are well-guarded state secrets."
Why did it disappear? Presumably because it's totally false. Here's what HR 985 actually does:
Prohibits a federal entity (an entity or employee of the judicial or executive branch or an administrative agency of the federal government), in any matter arising under federal law, from compelling a covered person to testify or produce any document unless a court makes specified determinations by a preponderance of the evidence, including determinations: (1) relating to exhaustion of alternative sources, (2) that the testimony or document sought is critical; (3) that disclosure of the information source's identity is necessary; and (4) that the public interest in compelling disclosure of the information or document involved outweighs the public interest in gathering or disseminating news or information. Allows a court, in making the last of those determinations, to consider the extent of any harm to national security.
Defines "covered person" as a person who regularly gathers, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, or publishes information concerning matters of public interest for dissemination to the public for a substantial portion of the person's livelihood or substantial financial gain, including a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such a person. Excludes from that definition foreign powers and their agents and certain terrorist organizations and individuals.
In other words, the bill does the opposite of what WND claims it does. Rather than "prohibit[ing] federal employees of the executive branch from being compelled to release any document," it prohibits federal officials from demanding documents from journalists except under certain circumstances.
Even though WND editor Farah himself is quoted in the article, at no point has WND acknowledged to its readers that it published a false article or issued a correction for it, even though numerous people were suckered into believing it.
Right-wing writer Sher Zieve, for example, posted an article based on the WND report before realizing that "my (and others') interpretation of HR 985 may not be as accurate as first thought," adding: "I don't often make this type of mistake and I plan to have a slice of humble pie."
WND manages to commit a bad-journalism twofer: not only did it publish a false story, it refused to formally retract it and tell its readers that the story is false. It's just one of the many, many reasons that WND is a journalistic failure.
Meanwhile... Topic: WorldNetDaily Richard Bartholomew notes that WorldNetDaily's mocking of Muslim conspiracy theories runs counter to WND's own heavy promotion of conspiracy theories, such as "the convergence of multinational corproations, foundations and political and social instruments to assemble a one-world government and the 'New World Order.'"
WND Embraces Anti-Semite Again Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've previouslynoted how WorldNetDaily has embraced the claims of Andy Martin's promotion of the Obama birth certificate conspiracy -- Jerome Corsi is apparently following in Martin's footsteps -- despite Martin's longhistory of anti-Semitism and questionable behavior.
WND does so again in a May 28 article, in which Bob Unruh promotes the lawsuit-happy Martin's latest legal action to order the release of Obama's long-form birth certificate from Hawaiian officials. Unruh describes Martin only as a "Chicago activist" and a "self-described Internet 'writer/columnist/investigative journalist,'" omitting anything that might cast doubt on his credilibity (just as WND has done in hiding unpleasantfacts about fellow birth certificate obsessive Orly Taitz from its readers).
Unruh also leaves out one highly relevant fact regarding any legal action by Martin: a 1985 injunction against him from, among other things, "filing new lawsuits, actions, proceedings, or matters in federal fora" without first obtaining permission from the issuing court. While Martin appears to have filed his latest action in a state-level court rather than a federal one (to which the injunction appears to be limited), the fact that he is considered to be such a source of nuisance lawsuits that an entire court system has placed restrictions on his filings is a warning sign that Martin should not be taken seriously.
Or, at least it would be for anyone who doesn't work for WorldNetDaily.
Your WND Hate Crime Lie of the Day Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 28 WorldNetDaily article once again repeats the false claim that the hate-crimes bill before Congress "would establish the first special legal protections for pedophiles and those with an array of other sexual proclivities." As we've detailed, WND has repeatedly told this lie to its readers.
Surprisingly, even though the article prominently references the mother of Matthew Shepard, it describes Shepard only as "a murdered homosexual" and refrains from repeating bogus claims from Shepard's killers the they killed him in a robbery attempt, not because he was gay.
Kessler Takes Sotomayor Out of Context Topic: Newsmax
In a May 28 Newsmax column, Ronald Kessler takes Sonia Sotomayor's statement that "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life" out of context, baselessly asserting that the statement "underscores" a "skewed view" endorsed by President Obama that "empathy should work in one direction — in favor of minorities and the poor."
In fact, Sotomayor was talking specifically about race and sex discrimination cases when she made that statement -- a fact Kessler refused to tell his readers.
CNS Spins for Liberty U. on Democrat Club Crackdown Topic: CNSNews.com
A May 28 CNSNews.com article by Adam Brickley gives ample space for Liberty University to spin its crackdown on a College Democrats club on campus, bashing the "liberal media" for reporting that the school "banned" the club when it merely "revoked offical recognition and school funding."
It's not until the 21st paragraph, however, that Brickley gets around to reporting the point of view of an actual member of the College Democrats:
[Jan Michael] Dervish said the lack of university certification creates a problem for the club.
“If we did continue as an unrecognized club on campus, we would not be able to post flyers, have information tables, or make announcements on the internal Web site,” Dervish said. “This would be a rather huge handicap, if we wanted to hold an event to try and recruit members, we would not be able to advertise it on campus.”
Brickley does not explain why the university's forbidding the club to recruit new members or even to publicize events is not the functional equivalent of a ban. After all, it does little good to have the ability to, in the words of Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr., "still meet on campus" if you're not allowed to tell anyone that there's a meeting.
Indeed, it seems that Liberty is treating its College Democrats much like communist China treats churches that lack official government sanction.
NewsBusters Hops Aboard the Conspiracy Bandwagon Topic: NewsBusters
The group of ConWebbers embracing the unproven GOP Chrysler dealer conspiracy continues to grow.
The Media Research Center endorses it with a May 28 NewsBusters post by Mike Sargent, who rants about how the media won't address right-wing blogosphere claims that "many of the Chrysler dealers that have been chosen for closing have made a habit of donating money to Republicans. The blogosphere, asserts Sargent, "has, once again, proven itself a worthy investigator."
Sargent comes close to stumbling over the truth at one point, noting that "One might assume that, since they are small-business owners, they are overwhelmingly supportive of the GOP." But he quickly adds: "But assumption is not the job of a vigilant press." Of course, Sargent is assuming all of this is true and avoiding an investigation of his own, which would reveal that, yes, car dealers are indeed overwhelmingly supportive of the GOP, thus it is not surprising that a large number of Chrysler dealers would be as well.
But hey, why report facts when you're getting paid to smear Obama and the "liberal media"?
Most hilariously, though, Sargent concludes by likening this partisan witch hunt to Watergate: "The Times is already accused of letting the Watergate scoop slide to the Washington Post. One would hope that they will not repeat their mistake."
Examiner's Tapscott Joins the Conspiracy Topic: Washington Examiner
With Mark Tapscott's May 28 column, the Washington Examiner is the latest ConWeb outlet to promote the right-wing conspiracy that the Obama administration is deliberately targeting Republican-owned Chrysler dealers for closure.
While Tapscott claimed that the assertions that bubbled up from the right-wing blogosphere "were all couched with important qualifiers," he quickly dismisses them: "That said, when multiple dealers who have been closed are found to have contributed millions to Republicans and mere hundreds to Obama, the serious number-crunching cannot be completed too soon."
But as we've detailed, auto dealers are disproportionately owned by Republicans, so it's utterly unsurprising that many closing Chrysler dealers are also owned by Republicans.
Tapscott did add an update to the online version of his column citing someone claiming that "more Chrysler dealers in general are likely to be Republican contributors, which would mean more of the closed dealers would be seen to be GOP supporters than Democrat supporters." But he still wants to cling to the conspiracy even as it's discredited before his eyes:
But two points should be noted here. First, even if we accept the proposition that most car dealers are more likely to be Republican than Democratic donors, there would still be a "disparate impact" from closings on one class of dealers, compared to the other. When the federal courts see a disparate impact on racial groups, the policy or action in question is typically held to be inappropriate.
Race and car dealer closings, of course, aren't analogous. But the lesson remains that when government makes economic decisions that ought to be left to the private market, it is impossible to avoid disparate impacts. And there is always the question of would the Obama White House be so quick to close hundreds of dealerships if the owners of those dealerships were predominantly Democratic donors?
Second, since neither Chrysler, nor the White House have made public the criteria used to select dealers for elimination - and because a significant number of those being closed were profitable - the only way to resolve the inevitable controversy about political considerations in political decisions is to make the criteria public and allow independent outside observers to assess how those criteria were applied.
Tapscott isn't content with echoing one baseless right-wing smear in his column, however -- he also adheres to the dictates of the noise machine in claiming that Obama is acting like a mobster:
In other words, companies that want to prosper in the anti-capitalist world Obama is creating in America will first have to make their peace with Big Labor before heading to Washington hat-and-checkbooks-in-hand to seek favor from the strong men in the White House and their enforcers in the Treasury Department and elsewhere in the executive branch.
Obama calls it “change we can believe in.” Vito Corleone called it “making them an offer they can’t refuse.”
UPDATE: Nate Silver details just how disproportionately car dealers are Repubican. Will Tapscott get around to telling his readers about that anytime soon?
UPDATE 2: In a later update, Tapscott acknowledges Silver's analysis, but he's not willing to loosen his grip on the conspiracy:
That's true, of course, but I'm not sure that it ends the discussion. In fact, it may even make the discussion of possible partisan considerations behind the closings even more relevant. Think of it this way: If 88 percent of all car dealers were Democratic contributors, rather than GOPers, how likely is it that the Obama folks would be delivering such an egregious economic blow to the group, a blow that put thousands of people out of work and deprives hundreds of Democratic donors of their means of making contributions?
Multiple indictments are a problem for most people. Not for Newsmax -- at least as far as Bernard Kerik is concerned.
As part of Newsmax continuingrehabiltation of Kerik, a May 26 article by Dave Eberhart aims to spin the most recent indictment of Kerik, for making false statements to White House officials, by painting Kerik as the innocent victim of overzealous prosecutors who "appear to be indictment shopping." In his spinning, Eberhart engages in numerous misleading claims.
He asserts that the most recent indictments, filed in Washington, D.C., were filed "after similar indictments had failed to stick in New York," asserting that the dismissal "apparently angered the federal prosecutors who decided to open up a new indictment against Kerik in Washington, including charging him with crimes already dismissed by Judge Robinson." But as we've noted, the charges dropped in New York by Robinson were done so specifically so they could be filed in Washington -- as other news outlets have reported. Eberhart describes this as "apparent federal forum shopping," even though the judge essentially told prosecutors to do exactly what they did -- as Newsmax itself reported on May 16.
Eberhart also asserts that "the judge overseeing the case has dismissed key charges and questioned the handling of the case by the Justice Department’s Southern District of New York office." But he makes things look better than they actually are by obfuscating the actual numbers involved. As we've noted, Kerik was originally indicted on 15 counts, of which one count and part of another have been dismissed by the judge. Plus, charges dropped earlier in May in New York were refiled in Washington, so that's not a net reduction of indictments.
Eberhart then claims that "the unusual handling of Kerik’s case by federal prosecutors has drawn parallels to the recent acquittal of Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. Stevens had been charged for not properly reporting renovations to his home residence." But contrary to the Stevens case, which was dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct (not because he wasn't guilty), Eberhart has offered no evidence of prosecutorial misconduct in the Kerik case beyond comments from Kerik's attorney, and he's not exactly objective on the issue.
Waters Misleads on Alito, Princeton Topic: Media Research Center
In a May 27 TimesWatch post, Clay Waters noted a New York Times article stated that Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito graduated from Princeton "just a few months before" Sonia Sotomayor arrived there, and that Alito "belonged to one of the groups that protested" the "increasing ranks" of women at the university. Waters then parenthetically adds: "Hmm. Did Alito protest against more women at Princeton? He was a nominal member of a conservative student group, Concerned Alumni of Princeton, which protested affirmative action, but that's not quite the same thing, except perhaps among ultraliberals."
In fact, as Media Matters has detailed, there's plenty of evidence that Concerned Alumni of Princeton did oppose coeducation. And Alito thought enough of his association with the group that he included it in his 1985 application for the position of deputy assistant attorney general with the Reagan administration -- which would seem to belie Waters' claim that his membership was "nominal."