WND's Breast Implant Bomb Story Implodes Topic: WorldNetDaily
Via blogger Richard Bartholomew, we've discovered a tale that plays like a weird wingnut version of the telephone game.
Back in January, there was speculation in the wake of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's attempt to blow up a plane approaching Detroit on Christmas that Al-Qaeda was working on ways to implant an explosive called PETN into the breasts or buttocks of would-be suicide bombers. After the UK's Daily Mail did an article on this at the end of January, and WorldNetDaily followed in a Feb. 1 article, credited to WND's $99-a-year G2 Bulletin newsletter.
Several weeks later, the British tabloid The Sunrehashed the story, not crediting WND yet purporting to quote WND editor Joseph Farah and describing him as a "terrorist expert." The Sun story came back across the pond and was posted on the Fox News website (both are owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.).
Unfortunately for all news organizations involved, the breast-bomb was apparently just too good to check, so it's no surprise to learn that when the claim is examined, it's more than a tad implausible. As Neal Ungerleider at True/Slant writes:
2. PETN is a poor substance for exploding breast implant bombs. Pentaerythritol tetranitrate is known for two things: its relatively thick density/appearance/feel in solid form and for its extremely high brisance. The first means that any that any suicide bomber with breast implants large enough to detonate a hole in a plane would be walking in an odd manner that would likely invite scrutiny. The second means that a dedicated detonation device would be required to blow up the breast bombs - subcutaneous explosive detonation is not an easy task. A collorary of this is that any detonator the suspected breast bomber would have in their posession would have mechanical or electronic parts. That might not be so easy to hide in the carry-on.
3. The "explosives in the buttocks of some male suicide bombers" did not work at all. This author has written about al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's love of rectal suicide bombs before. It turns out that planting explosive charges in the body effectively turns the body of the bomber into a shield protecting the intended target from harm: Instead of the target being blown up or seriously damaged, the bulk of the blast is absorbed by the suicide bomber's body. It's a perfect tribute to the laws of physics.
WND weighed in again in a March 27 article telling its version of how the story spread, denying that Farah would ever call himself a "terrorist expert," and disavowing the things The Sun quoted him as saying. However, WND left out the stuff about the breast-bomber stuff being implausible, insisting instead that "it's no joke," then complaining that The Sun didn't credit WND as the source for the story (even though the Daily Mail ran an article before WND did) and using the opportunity to shill for subscriptions to "the real enchilada" G2 Bulletin.
WND also admitted that the source of the breast-bomb item was "one of G2 Bulletin's contributors, Gordon Thomas," who is "a London-based correspondent with deep contacts in British intelligence." But as Bartholomew points out, even right-wingers like Daniel Pipes are less than impressed by Thomas, who apparently believes that Mossad is responsible for the deaths of Princess Diana and publisher Robert Maxwell, and makes even more fantastical claims about Israeli intelligence. Reviewing a book by Thomas, Pipes writes, "In brief, what is reliable in this book is old-hat, while what is new is utterly unreliable, a mishmash of blather and fantasy."
Somehow, it's completely unsurprising that such a person is writing for WorldNetDaily. Or that Fox News would treat a British tabloid that's best known for celebrity gossip and pictures of topless women as a trusted source on issues of national security.
Correlation-Equals-Causation Fallacy Error At CNS Topic: CNSNews.com
A March 29 CNSNews.com article by Joe Schoffstall asserts that "A new report published by MSNBC.com" -- described as a "liberal cable outlet" in the headline, even though no evidence is offered that the report ever appeared on the air -- "shows that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens results in fewer deaths from the use of firearms."
In fact, the MSNBC.com report makes no claim to that effect. Quite the contrary, it portrays the the issue as an open question:
From its beginnings in the 1980s, the “right-to-carry” movement has succeeded in boosting the number of licensed concealed-gun carriers from fewer than 1 million to a record 6 million today, according to estimates from gun-rights groups that are supported by msnbc.com’s research. And while hotly debated, the effect of this dramatic increase is largely unknown.
Gun enthusiasts claim a link between more private citizens carrying concealed weapons and the nation’s dramatic decrease in violent crime. Gun-control activists argue that concealed-carry permits are being handed out to people who should never get them, sometimes resulting in tragic, needless shootings.
But even with the push to expand concealed-carry rights now in its third decade, no scientific studies have reached any widely accepted conclusions about the movement’s effect on crime or personal safety.
Statistics from the national Centers for Disease Control do indicate that the murder and mayhem predicted by many opponents of concealed-carry laws have not come to pass. But even that point, while celebrated by gun-rights activists and conceded by some concealed-carry opponents, is disputed by others.
Schoffstall is pretending that correlation equals causation, even though the report he cites goes out of its way not to claim that.
The Week in AIM Conspiracy-Mongering Topic: Accuracy in Media
Most of Accuracy in Media's big articles over the past week or so have been dedicated to promulgating one conspiracy or another.
Cliff Kincaid's March 22 column bashed Catholic bishops for allegedly playing both sides of the fence on health care reform, claiming that this "has proven that the Catholic Church is exercising far too much influence over the national affairs of the United States." As we've detailed, Kincaid has frequently bashed Catholics (despite claiming to be a Catholic himself) while getting a free pass from normally Catholic-sensitive ConWeb outlets.
Kincaid's March 24 column indulges in another recent obsession of his -- that the FBI somehow framed Bruce Ivins as the perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks and that the real perpetrators were Al-Qaeda. A March 26 column by Kenneth J. Dillon trods much the same ground.
Kincaid's March 29 column finds him back in Reefer Madness mode, this time complaining: "The conservative Townhall.com website, owned by the Salem Communications company, a Christian firm, is distributing a column by Steve Chapman claiming that the legalization of marijuana will somehow undermine the power of the Mexican drug trafficking organizations and usher in a new era of peace and tranquility north of the border. The silly column more appropriately belongs on a website associated with George Soros, the moneybags behind the drug legalization movement."
Hey, at least this keeps Kincaid from lying about the Uganda anti-gay law.
NewsBusters Concedes '24' Has Nothing to Do With Real Life Topic: NewsBusters
After years of conservatives using the show "24" to argue for enhanced interrogation and to serve as a blueprint for how the war on terror should be run, NewsBusters' Lachlan Markay suddenly chimes in by bashing liberal criticism of the show and adding that "the Jack Bauer interrogation methods bear exactly zero resemblance to any actual interrogation techniques used by American military, law enforcement, or intelligence agents."
Newsmax's James Hirsen appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" on March 26 and ranted about how Nickelodeon is promoting "political indoctrination," including "global warming science, or maybe not science," and "homosexual parenting." Hirsen is particularly offended by Linda Ellerbee's news segments, which both he and guest host Laura Ingraham call a "disaster."
While we're on the subject of O'Reilly, Bill O'Reilly himself sat down for a Newsmax interview, in which he snipes at MSNBC and complains that Nancy Pelosi won't appear on his show. Karl Frisch has more.
Is Newsmax Ashamed to Run Geller's Column? Topic: Newsmax
We've previously noted how Newsmax briefly dropped the wildly inflammatory Pamela Geller as a columnist, only to reinstate her but refuse to promote her columns on the Newsmax front page. As a result, we've overlooked her work from the past week.
Geller's March 22 column is a paranoid rant about how Obama is coming for your children:
If you’re a child in public school in Obama’s America, watch out.
Obama said he was going to build a civilian army — and he is using our children. He is recruiting in public school classrooms: I exclusively broke the story about how his group Organizing for America is recruiting in the classroom. But AmeriCorps is the primary machinery for his youth army.
Geller goes on to lie about the circumstances under which conservative cause celebre Gerald Walpin was fired "in response" to Walpin having "accused a prominent Obama supporter of misusing AmeriCorps grant money." In fact, Walpin was fired because the AmeriCorps board reported concerns over Walpin's conduct, the "lack of candor" during his tenure, a meeting in which "Walpin was confused, disoriented, [and] unable to answer questions," and a complaint filed by acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California Lawrence G. Brown regarding Walpin's actions during his investigation into the misuse of AmeriCorps grants given to a nonprofit organization in Sacramento, California.
Geller's March 25 column is an attack on Michael Moore for canceling an interview with her regarding the video release of his film "Capitalism: A Love Story." "I wasn’t surprised. It’s unlikely that he would have been able to hold up to hard questions about this patently dishonest film," Geller wrote.
If Newsmax is so intent on burying Geller's column, why bother running it at all? If she has a contract with Newsmax to write it, hasn't she put enough hateful things in her column for Newsmax to warrant breaking the contract?
WND Orly Taitz Whitewash Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
A March 25 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh keeps up WND's whitewash job on birther lawyer Orly Taitz, once again uncritically repeating Taitz's rantings about Barack Obama's eligibility to be president without mentioning that Taitz has been fined $20,000 for her courtroom behavior -- a fine that's been upheld by an appeals court -- and that her shoddy lawyering is being investigated by the California bar. Nor does Unruh mention that even fellow birther lawyers like Gary Kreep have disparaged Taitz's lawyering.
But there's a bright side to the looming horror of Obamacare and the blithering idiots who actually think it's a good idea. Americans are waking up. They're turning off "Sex in the City" and paying attention to their loss of liberties. They're reading the Constitution and Bill of Rights (something they were never required to study in school, of course). They're rallying and protesting and signing petitions and sending pink slips. Forty-nine percent of Americans support the idea of their state filing lawsuits against Obamacare. The 10th Amendment has never been so popular.
But despite the awakening of the sleeping giant, many worry that through a series of nefarious tricks, Obama will steal the 2012 election and remain in power.
When Obama signed that socialist health-care bill March 23, the U.S. effectively became a socialist country and provided hundreds of millions of Americans the ability to steal money from a shrinking number of wealthier Americas to fulfill their medical needs. But John Adams once said: "The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence."
Indeed, we are living in tyrannical times, and that's why I blame Bush 43 for faking like he was a Ronald Reagan conservative in 2001, all but ignoring conservatives for his first nine months in office, until 9/11, bankrupting America during his two terms as president, two ill-advised wars, demoralizing the voters with a $7 trillion prescription-drug bill, a Kennedy education bill ("No Child Left Behind"), TARP and bailing out corrupt Wall Street investment banks.
These socialist policies allowed the Marxist Barack Obama to ascend to power; a man who utterly hates America to the core and is hell-bent on seeing this country pay for all her sins by systematically deconstructing America from a republic and transforming her into a servile, socialist state.
I call universal health care "Stalincare" because every country that has socialized medicine ultimately devolves into reduced medical services, long lines, rationing, and European-level taxation and death panels. America, we always get bad policy like this when we elect incompetent leadership that despises America, liberty and the Constitution.
-- Ellis Washington, March 27 WorldNetDaily column
Despite the ridicule and denials that spew forth from the Democrats, the enactment of Obamacare is a victory for Marxism in the United States, recognized and publicly acknowledged by Al Sharpton. What Democrats have done is absolutely consistent with Marxism; the way it was done provides a course in this Marxist principle: The end justifies the means.
Marxists, Socialists, Communists and Democrats have been trying for most of the century to advance a Marxist agenda. Woodrow Wilson implemented two major Marxist principles: the central bank and the income tax.
Germany, in particular, and Europe in general, were much more successful in advancing a Marxist agenda, including universal health care. The influence of Marx and Engels, and other collectivists, was much greater in Europe than in the United States early in the 20th century.
Franklin Roosevelt pushed the Marxist agenda quite hard and was partially successful. Social Security, enacted in 1935, was a major step.
Passage of Obamacare is the most dramatic step forward for the Marxist agenda in more than a generation. It must be undone. The U.S. Constitution does not authorize the federal government to force people to purchase insurance – unless the people allow it. The people must not allow it. This Marxist agenda must be stopped, and the only way to stop it is to remove the Marxist advocates from Congress and the White House.
For those of us who believe, as the old "deist" Benjamin Franklin did, that "God governs in the affairs of men," we face a real conundrum as we see the raw reality of tyranny coming from our own government. For example, what rational person could think that adding 16,000 reinforcements to the most feared entity in our nation – the IRS – and unleashing them as Enema Enforcers has a basis in anything this nation has ever believed or is based upon?
The answer is simple but terrible – they are not rational. The evil perpetrators of Obamacare – and please don't overlook the key word "evil" – are themselves suffering from a malady far beyond our health-care system's best abilities. It is called a reprobate mind.
They are not just liberals, not even "just" Marxists; they have minds darkened by depravity that have rendered them incapable of even recognizing their own condition. How many times have you asked yourself, "How can anyone think that way?"
Newsmax Repeats Falsehood About Doctor Survey Topic: Newsmax
A March 21 Newsmax "Insider Report" item repeats the falsehood that a study claiming that "Nearly one-third of physicians in the U.S. could leave the medical profession after Obama’s healthcare reform plan becomes law" was "published in The New England Journal of Medicine."
As we pointed out when CNSNews.com did this -- Newsmax cribbed from CNS' account -- the survey was not "published in The New England Journal of Medicine"; it appeared in "Recruiting Physicians Today," an employment newsletter produced by Massachusetts Medical Society, "the publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine," as well as on the NEJM's "CareerCenter" website. The NEJM has also told Media Matters that the survey had "nothing to do with the New England Journal of Medicine's original research."
CNS Creates "Taxes" to Smear Obama With Topic: CNSNews.com
A March 25 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas asserts that "As many as a dozen taxes in the new health care law violate President Barack Obama’s campaign pledge not to raise taxes on families earning less than $250,000 and on individuals earning less than $200,000." But Lucas has an extremely broad definition of constitutes a "tax" -- taking his cue from Republican talking points:
At least seven of these taxes directly affect health consumers regardless of income, such as the individual mandate to buy insurance, the employer mandate, the tanning tax, and limits and penalties on health savings accounts. In addition, Republicans argue that the tax impact of the law should include indirect taxes, such as the annual taxes on the health care sector that will be passed on to consumers.
Yes, he's listing the tanning salon tax under this. Never mind that you only pay that tax if use a tanning salon. Tanning outside under the actual sun, meanwhile, is still free.
Even Lucas had to (eventually) admit his attack was specious. Near the end of the article he writes:
But Americans for Tax Reform, a libertarian taxpayer-advocacy group, does not believe it is necessary to consider indirect taxes.
“Frankly, you can say any tax is going to affect consumers. We didn’t need to really stretch to include too many other things,” ATR tax policy analyst Ryan Ellis told CNSNews.com. “We have seven that were pretty clear violations of President Obama’s pledge not to raise taxes on these people. The one you always hear people bring up is the Cadillac excise tax. That’s not a tax on people, that's a tax on the insurance company. We’ve never asserted that that is a tax [on consumers] because frankly it isn’t. We don’t need to make that argument because there are seven that clearly are.”
Of course, you have to read virtually the whole article before Lucas gets around to undermining it.
Plus, it's not until the final two paragraphs that " the law provides tax credits for four million small businesses," which offsets some of those insurance mandates.
Newsmax Calls Obama's Recess Appointments -- But Not Bush's -- 'Sneaky' Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax continues its tradition of putting biased headlines on non-biased wire articles with a March 27 Associated Press article about President Obama's recess appointments, which carries the Newsmax headline: "Sneaky: Obama Makes 15 Appointments without Senate Approval."
Newsmax continued the bias in its front-page promotion of the AP article:
By contrast, Newsmax did not use adjectives such as "sneaky" to describe the Bush administration's use of recess appointment. To the contrary, it was portrayed as necessary to go around obstructionist Democrats:
Paul Weyrich wrote in a August 2006 article of the recess appointment of John Bolton as U.N. ambassador, "The president gave him a recess appointment a year ago when the Democrats intended to filibuster."
Newsmax published a February 2006 CNSNews.com article stating that "Democrats and a few Republicans refused to confirm Bolton to the U.N. post, forcing President Bush to resort to a recess appointment.
A July 2006 column by David Limbaugh stated, "Bolton is serving under a recess appointment because Democrats twice filibustered a vote on his confirmation last year, preventing a full Senate vote."
An August 2005 article by Stewart Stogel defended Bolton 's recess appointment: "Contrary to complaints of senior Democrats, John Bolton will not only be welcomed by the U.N. and its members, he has a long track record of positive relations with the world body."
A November 2007 Newsmax article incorrectly stated that "Bolton served as UN ambassador under a temporary Congressional recess appointment that was to expire on January 1, 2007." Of course, the point of a recess appointment is to go around Congress
At no point did Newsmax call Bolton's appointment "sneaky." Thus, it has no basis to label Obama's recess appointments as such.
WND Baselessly Scaremongers About 'Emergency Health Army' Topic: WorldNetDaily
A March 25 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schiling does its best to scaremonger aboutwhat it calls "a beefing up of a U.S. Public Health Service reserve force and expectations that it respond on short notice to 'routine public health and emergency response missions,' even involuntarily." The bill adds millions of dollars for recruitment," she writes.
The article carries the headline "Obamacare prescription: 'Emergency health army,'" even though that quoted term appears nowhere in the article -- indeed, the only appearance of the word "army" is in the headline. Schilling also drops references to Obama's call for a "civilian national security force," not mentioning that Obama's intent for such an entity is a restructuring of the foreign service, or that WND has repeatedly lied about that intent.
Schilling concludes by stating that "The blogosphere is buzzing with speculation about the amendment, complete with quotes purportedly taken from other websites, though Schilling does not disclose where these quotes come from -- heck, she may be making them up for all we know. This follows WND's policy of using anonymous quotes when this suits its political agenda.
But as the conservative Hot Air points out, the corps, even under health care reform, is hardly the menace Schilling suggests it is:
Even if this was a “private health-care army,” though, it would be a woefully underfunded one with a $12.5 million annual budget. The state of Minnesota alone will spend $1.8 billion on public safety in its biennial budget, with a good portion of that on law enforcement.
This bill has a multitude of problems, but a ‘private health-care army’ isn’t one of them.
What does it say about WND when even its fellow right-wingers are shooting down its scaremongering.
Morris: Health Care Reform Vote-Switchers Are 'Traitors' Topic: Newsmax
Dick Morris writes in his March 26 Newsmax column:
Scott Murphy of New York, Suzanne Kosmas and Alan Boyd of Florida, Betsy Markey of Colorado, and Dennis Kucinich and John Boccieri of Ohio — a partial list of the traitors who switched their votes in the House from no to yes on Obamacare.
Another, Bart Gordon of Tennessee voted no when running for re-election and then switched to yes when he retired rather than face defeat, so he is beyond our reach.
We need to make a point of defeating these traitors in 2010! That is what democracy is for.
We know who they are. We know where their districts are located. And we will all come looking for them in November.
These deceitful men and women voted no when their votes didn’t count in November of 2009, seeking to fool us into believing that they had our interests at heart. But, when push came to shove and their votes counted, they switched and ran their true colors up the flagpole and voted yes.
Morris also offers a link to the Newsmax page for donations to the League of American Voters (which he coyly describes only as "a fund to bring the voters in their districts the full story"), but fails to disclose that he is the group's chief strategist.
WND Ignores Gingrich's Flip-Flop on Individual Mandate Topic: WorldNetDaily
A March 25 unbylined WorldNetDaily article touts Newt Gingrich's claims that Republicans can put a stranglehold on "President Obama's nationalization of health care" simply by cutting off funding to it. The article goes on to claim, "Polls show a high level of opposition to Obama's plan among American people. One recent poll showed 49 percent believe it to be unconstitutional to require under penalty of law that consumers buy health insurance policies approved by the government." It also quoted Gingrich as saying, "Based on a 1992 Supreme Court decision which said that the federal government cannot punish you for failure to do something, I think that there's an outside chance the suit will hold up. And that … will stop the individual mandate at the federal level."
WND fails to mention that Gingrich was for an individual mandate before he was against it. As Media Matters details, Gingrich endorsed an individual mandate as recently as 2008, asserting in his 2008 book "Real Change" that "we should insist that everyone above a certain level buy coverage" or "post a bond."