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Monday, January 12, 2015
WND's Diana West Is A Birther Dead-Ender
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Diana West lost her gig as a syndicated columnist a few weeks back. Her farewell column offers clues as to why -- she praises Dutch anti-Muslim activist Geert Wilders as "the greatest political hope for the Western world" and laments "the filter of conservative media," even though that "filter" is almost exclusively dedicated to editing out views that are less conservative.

Plus, she's a birther dead-ender. In that column, she proclaimed "the near-certainty that Barack Obama’s online birth certificate and Selective Service registration card are forgeries."

That's the kind of thinking that WorldNetDaily likes, so it's keeping West on as a columnist. Her Jan. 6 column is a birther screed impressive only in its denial of reality:

For starters, there’s that unsolved mystery of why there is a piece of phony electronic artwork on the White House website purporting to be an image of a 1961 government document attesting to the details of Barack Obama’s birth. That this is evidence of what is likely the biggest case of identity fraud in history isn’t news to American media investigating more pressing matters (e.g., the presidential golf game). Nor, it seems, is other evidence of fraud or forgery from different investigations and numerous court proceedings. But it’s not just media (exception: WND.com) that turn their collective blind eye. Relevant federal, state and local authorities (exception: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio) have consistently ignored, derided or buried all such evidence rather than carry out their legal responsibilities.

Interestingly, the president himself hasn’t ignored it all. He can’t. When he must, Obama has paid untold sums to legal teams to defend himself in court against the multiple challenges to his eligibility to serve as president that crescendoed in 2012.

In a case questioning Obama’s eligibility for the 2012 presidential ballot in Georgia, evidence was introduced in an administrative law court to prove that the president is using a Connecticut Social Security number (he never lived in Connecticut), that Obama’s Social Security number was never really issued to him, and that his Social Security number does not pass the U.S. government’s own E-Verify test.

As we've documented, the  "investigations" West cites -- specifically, the Arpaio "Cold Case Posse" probe sleazed into existence by WND and which Arpaio himself has admitted was merely a scheme to raise money for his re-election campaign -- are led by anti-Obama partisans like Jerome Corsi, not actual impartial investigators, meaning they could not possibly be taken seriously.

West's dismissal of the Obama birth certificate as a "phony electronic artwork" ignores the fact that a Xerox office scanner produces the same anomalies that the certificate allegedly has. No birther investigation has discredited this information.

West's evidence that the birth certificate is "phony" is a link to a 2012 "Cold Case Posse" press conference, even though it considered a joke at the time for its conspratorial leanings and lack of actual evidence.

West's insistence that Obama's Social Security number is fraudulent is contradicted by the fact that birther Phil Berg has rejected the idea. And the idea that Obama's Social Security number "does not pass the U.S. government’s own E-Verify test" is irrelevant -- as Dr. Conspiracy notes, it's likely that Obama received a new Social Security after birthers made his old one public, thus exposing him to identity fraud, and the Social Security Administration confirms that the personal records of a president have additional security restrictions on "select national figures."

West's distress that Obama lawyers have deflected some birther lawsuits by pointing out that "having a Social Security number is not a prerequisite to serving as president" betrays her ignorance of the legal process. Obama's lawyers are simply engaging in smart, competent lawyering -- there's no need to waste resources going into the Social Security if it can't be proven that it has anything to do with Obama's "eligibility." West's ire should be better directed at birther lawyers too incompetent to make their case instead of those who repeatedly and successfully counter their arguments.

West complains about the "psychosis of denial" that purportedly keeps the media from looking into birther issues, but in fact it's West herself who suffers from it. She has chosen to ignore the ample evidence that discredits her birther conspiracy theories in favor of spitefully crusading simply because she doesn't like Obama.

No wonder West lost her gig as a syndicated columnist. No wonder WND is the pretty much the only outlet that will still publisher.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 PM EST
Updated: Monday, January 12, 2015 12:23 PM EST
Sunday, January 11, 2015
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

In December, the U.S. economy added 252,000 jobs and the unemployment rate declined to 5.6 percent. As usual, you won't be reading about this at CNSNews.com. Instead, you'll hear all about these cherry-picked numbers:

Record 55,807,000 Women Not In Labor Force; Participation Rate Matches 26-Year Low

Labor Force Participation Matches 36-Year Low; 92,898,000 Out of Labor Force

White Unemployment, 4.8% -- Black Unemployment, 10.4%

Only one of the articles mentioned the fact that the unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent. None mentioned that 252,000 jobs were created. And the article about black unemployment waited until the fourth paragraph to mention that the 10.4 percent rate of black unemployment in December was a significant drop from November's 11.0 percent, though writer Michael Chapman insisted the rate merely "dropped slightly."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:11 PM EST
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch, Supersize WorldNetDaily Edition
Topic: WorldNetDaily
So, how do we tie Holder and/or Obama to the actions of the Bronx Defenders and thus the deaths of Wenjian and Ramos? Well, we really don’t have to. It is clear – whether we study the IRS nonprofit targeting scandal, the domestic spying scandal, or Holder policies such as eschewing the prosecution of black defendants when alleged victims were white – that the global modus operandi in the administration has been top-down. The deep inculcation of radicalism, racism and anti-American sentiment in Barack Obama, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, Eric Holder and Cabinet members past and present dictated this sort of action in the past, and preclude any conclusion other than DOJ complicity in the video funding project.

-- Erik Rush, Dec. 31 WorldNetDaily column

Uncle Sugar’s largesse must come from somewhere. Obama Claus’ generosity with other people’s money, his Obamaphones and his socialized, ineptly run Obamacare, his virtually endless Obama-era unemployment benefits and his swollen rolls of Obama-policy-generated welfare recipients must have a source.

-- Phil Elmore, Dec. 31 WND column

My former Italian father-in-law used to say this, half in jest: “Appreciate today, because tomorrow is going to be even worse.”

Guido, Rome’s answer to “I don’t get no respect” Rodney Dangerfield, may they both rest in peace, had it right, particularly in today’s world of President Barack Hussein Obama. If 2014 is any indication, a year that saw not only a myriad of continuing deepening Obama scandals, but, for good measure, also the opening of relations with the Hitleresque dictatorship of Communist Cuba, then 2015 promises more of the same, only worse. Indeed, under the “leadership” of our “Black-Muslim in Chief” – who favors all things African and Islamic over the rest of us – it is likely that the nation and the world is about to explode at any moment.

-- Larry Klayman, Jan. 1 WND column

After six years, some people think Obama is inept. However, if you agree that he has achieved a good deal of his original intention, which, as he vowed in 2008, included the redistribution of America’s wealth, the destruction of the coal industry, changing the way that the world viewed us and the radical transformation of America – including its economy, its health care and race relations – I’d have to say he’s been pretty damn ept!

 -- Burt Prelutsky, Jan. 1 WND column

Americans very clearly voted for opposition to Obama in November. Americans will not see any if Boehner is returned to the office of House speaker. It’s that simple.

House Republicans need to grow a pair real fast.

A vote for Boehner tomorrow is a vote for Obama.

They need to hear that, see it and feel it in their soul.

-- Joseph Farah, Jan. 3 WND column

With President Obama drunk on the powers of the presidency and defiantly challenging the Republican Party to take away the executive order proof alcohol he continued to imbibe, the American people demanded the GOP institute some semblance of prohibition with the historic vote; instead, John Boehner decided to fund the very programs and actions the voters spurned when he rushed to pass the cromnibus bill.

With this passing, Obama was allowed to continue his bacchanalia all over the United States Constitution – courtesy of a House of Representatives led by John Boehner.

-- John Rocker, Jan. 5 WND column

Suppose America elects a charismatic young president who makes all kinds of brave promises and sweeps into the White House. This young man not only has little political or governmental experience, but none at all in business or administration. Curiously, his upbringing is never closely examined or evaluated; it’s just assumed that anybody elected president must love America – but this young man had been trained by parents and others to consider this country a colonial oppressor and unfit to be a world leader! In college, by his own autobiographical account, he sought out Marxist professors, in not one but three colleges.

Once elected, he uses his newfound executive authority to seal off all his early school, passport and travel records, lest his true intents be uncovered. He eventually has a fake “copy of a birth certificate” created and exhibited on the White House website, complete with glaring errors that betray its falsehood.

-- Pat Boone, Jan. 9 WND column

While various political parties in Europe, as well as a growing civilian populace, are beginning to recognize the dangers of allowing a Muslim population to grow out of control within their borders, we in the United States still plod along naively. Of course, this is furthered by our “Muslim in Chief,” Barack Hussein Obama, who just recently granted, emperor-style, amnesty to nearly 5 million illegal aliens, many of whom are not just criminal, but also Muslim. Of course, Obama has no problem with allowing these people to remain within our borders, as he has a kinship with them. Simply put, he is both a criminal, as documented by the myriad scandals during his administration, and at least one-half Muslim. In his heart, his actions have shown that he is fully Muslim in word and deed. Obama’s pro-Islamic wings need to be clipped, and that is why in part I filed a lawsuit on behalf of Sheriff Joe Arpaio to declare unconstitutional and enjoin his executive actions granting what is in effect “amnesty” for all illegal aliens.

-- Larry Klayman, Jan. 9 WND column

The U.S. president said nothing and, in fact, did not attend the massive Sunday rally, even though heads of state of 37 countries found time in their schedules to attend. Eric Holder was scheduled to be there.

How embarrassing. I sure hope Obama’s not playing golf.

-- Barbara Simpson, Jan. 11 WND column

Who will protect freedom?

Not Barack Obama. He once again went to extraordinary lengths to make sure not to associate Islam with the Charlie Hebdo attack. Obama’s post-Paris policy is to teach the American people the “the tenets of Islam.” We already know them, Hussein, in spades.

This is, of course, consistent with his Shariah-adherent policies. Obama has a long history of whitewashing and scrubbing jihad – from Fort Hood, the Islamic State, the Oklahoma beheading, Benghazi and on and on. Why? Why did he warn us that “The future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”?

Where is his allegiance? Either Obama is not so secretly a jihad sympathizer, or he’s a believer. It’s one and the same. No one in his right mind can justify the unjustifiable. But Obama does just that.

In any case, he is a perfidious president, putting all Americans in grave danger. He is sanctioning evil. Evil is made possible by the sanction you give it. Obama’s sanction and support for the brutal speech restrictions under Islamic law (blasphemy under the Shariah) has emboldened and empowered these savages.

-- Pamela Geller, Jan. 11 WND column


Posted by Terry K. at 6:19 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, January 11, 2015 6:24 PM EST
CNS' Starr Gives Keystone Falsehoods A Pass In Shilling for Oil Industry
Topic: CNSNews.com

Penny Starr writes in a Jan. 6 CNSNews.com article:

Jack Gerard, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, says President Barack Obama is “factually incorrect” to say that the Keystone XL Pipeline will not benefit Americans.

At the press conference in Washington Tuesday, CNSNews.com asked Gerard about Obama’s remarks in November about the pipeline, which, if approved, would transport crude oil from Canada and from two U.S. states to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Obama said at the time that the pipeline would only benefit Canada and would not have any impact on domestic gasoline prices.

CNSNews.com asked Gerard: “In November, President Obama said at a press conference – he was asked about the Keystone Pipeline and he said, quote, 'Understand what this project is. It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land down to the Gulf where it will be sold everywhere else.' Quote: 'It doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices.'"

“Let me say first and foremost, what the president said is factually incorrect,” Gerard responded, citing the U.S. State Department’s report on the pipeline, which states that, among other benefits, the project would generate more than 42,000 jobs in the U.S. during the estimated two-year construction time frame.

Actually, Gerard is the one who's being "factually incorrect" -- and Starr is too busy shilling for the oil industry to call him out on it.

As we've documented the last time Starr peddled oil industry propaganda, the Keystone pipeline will not "generate" 42,000 jobs -- the vast majority of those jobs are temporary and would last only as long as the pipeline is being constructed, and a number of them already exist. The operation and maintenance of the pipeline after construction will create only about 50 jobs.

Starr also let Gerard misleadingly suggest that Canadian oil shipped through the pipeline will stay in the U.S. -- and, thus, lower U.S. oil prices -- because "all crude oil in the U.S. – including that from Canada – is banned from export." But neither Gerard nor Starr mention that there are no limits on the export of refined oil products.

Starr is also silent on the fact that Gerard's insistence that "crude oil exports will actually lower the cost of domestic price of gasoline" flies in the face of experience with natural gas exports, which have not lowered the price of natural gas in the U.S.

We know that CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, receives funding from the fossil fuel industry, but would it kill Starr to do a little actual reporting instead of serving as a stenographer, even if that what she's being paid to do?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, January 11, 2015 10:15 PM EST
Saturday, January 10, 2015
WND Gives An Award To A WND Author
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Jan. 8 WorldNetDaily article by David Kupelian tells of WND's giving a "Lifetime Achievement Award," complete with gushy interview, to Ion Mihai Pacepa, a former Romanian intelligence official who defected to the U.S. during the Cold War.

What Kupelian doesn't mention in his gushiness: Pacepa's book "Disinformation" was published by WND.So there isn't much of an actual honor here -- it's more of a self-promotion than anything. Indeed, WND's 2012 honoree, Phyllis Schlafly, later had a book published by WND.

Lest anyone miss that message, there are numerous links to purchase "Disinformation" and its "companion film" from the WND online store. And Kupelian's article concludes by noting anothermoney-making opportunity: "Finally, WND is proud to announce that, having optioned the movie rights for Pacepa and Rychlak’s 2013 'Disinformation' blockbuster, RiverRock Films is moving ahead with planning and production of a major theatrical movie based on the book."

It seems that one might call the idea of WND's award having any sort of prestige ... disinformation. 


Posted by Terry K. at 8:27 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, January 10, 2015 8:30 PM EST
Friday, January 9, 2015
MRC Touts Bill Donohue's Censorship Push, Omits His Link to Bozell
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Jan. 9 CNSNews.com article, Susan Jones promotes Catholic League chief Bill Donohue's call for censorship of religious criticism, in which he blames the victim by suggesting that the staffers of Charlie Hebdo massacred by Islamist extremist had it coming because they were "pornographers disguised as satirists" suffering from "narcissism." Donohue also asserted there is no "moral right" to make fun of religion and the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists have no right to "do whatever they want."

Jones fails to report, however, that her boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, is on the board of advisers for the Catholic League. The MRC frequently fails to disclose Bozell's links to right-wing Catholic activists it promotes.

All of this raises an interesting question: Does Bozell endorse Donohue's call for censorship? After all, the MRC loves to call out any instance of religious criticism in the media no matter how deserved, as demonstrated by Dave Pierre's desperate attempts to dismiss concerns over the Catholic Church's history of sexual abuse.

We'd ask Bozell ourselves, but he's blocked us from following him on Twitter, apparently too thin-skinned to handle criticism.

UPDATE: Conservatives Hugh Hewitt and Noah Rothman have denounced Donohue's call for censorship and victim-blaming. By contrast, Jones offered no counterpoint to Donohue's view.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:52 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 9, 2015 7:23 PM EST
Thursday, January 8, 2015
WND's Farah Tries To Spin Anti-Boehner Failure Into A Success
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah devoted his Jan. 6 WorldNetDaily column to glossing over the failure of himself and other right-wing activists to oust John Boehner as House majority leader:

In the end, John Boehner even needed help from Democrats to beat off a challenge by House Republicans to his speakership.

Had it not been for some 27 members, mostly Democrats, not showing up for a floor vote, he might have been denied re-election.

That’s fitting, since Boehner has been a facilitator of Democrat policies since he first got the job in 2011.

Farah went on to declare that his anti-Boehner campaign will continue, because ... well, just because:

I like to think I had something to do with starting this historic and nearly successful rebellion. When no one else was even talking about a “dump Boehner movement,” I started one, with the help of grass-roots support from across the nation.

Don’t Be Yellow: Dump Boehner Now!” managed to generate 560,000 letters to House Republicans in about three weeks – during the holidays! Well, I am happy to announce today that the campaign continues. We can’t give up.

I’m afraid it’s going to take millions of letters to awaken the House Republicans who put committee assignments and prime office space above the best interests of their country. But we can do it. We came very close Tuesday – closer than I could have imagined three weeks ago.

What would an avalanche of mail delivered to the offices of House Republicans in the coming weeks mean?

Would they begin to have second thoughts?

Would they begin to realize their decision to support Boehner was not really in their best interests after all?

Would they think it might be time to get on the right side of history?

Farah doesn't mention the presumably real reason his campaign continues: it's a money maker for WND. As we've documented, those 560,000 letters -- generated by just 2,267 people, hardly a significant groundswell in a country of more than 300 million -- generated a healthy $67,000 in gross revenue for WND, and it certainly didn't cost WND anywhere near that much to send those letters in bulk to House members.

Perhaps driven by this profit motive, Farah keeps shilling for his campaign:

We need to return to representative government – and we don’t have that with John Boehner in leadership. He needs to go. He detests you and what you believe in. He’s comfortable with the direction of the country right now. He’s profiting from it.

So please take a few minutes right now to join the “Dump Boehner Now!” campaign. It is the most cost-effective way to amplify your voice on Capitol Hill.

And one more thing: Spread the word! Let everyone you know who shares your desperate concerns for the future of this country to take action – before it is too late.

And Farah is profiting from hating Boehner. Don't expect him to admit that, though.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 PM EST
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Context
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters has long fretted over conservatives purportedly being taken out of context while having no problem taking statements by liberals out of context.

That double standard shines through again in a Jan. 6 NewsBusters post by Jack Coleman:

Context is all, especially in media, unless you're a liberal intent on smearing the most prominent voice in radio who also happens to be conservative. At that point, context becomes an inconvenience quickly to be jettisoned.

Two days before Christmas, Rush Limbaugh was talking about the leaked Sony emails when he said something that proceeded to make news during the traditionally slow news drought of the holidays.

After referring to a specific email from Sony co-chair Amy Pascal suggesting that black British actor Idris Elba portray James Bond after actor Daniel Craig's contract playing the super-spy ends, Limbaugh dismissed the suggestion by pointing out that Bond was "white and Scottish, period." (audio)

Given the faux outrage to follow, you'd think Limbaugh lit up a huge cross at the entrance to Sony studios.

On his radio show yesterday, Limbaugh played audio clips of media reaction of his remarks and pointed out what critics neglected to mention that he also said[.]

Actually, it's Coleman who's selectively editing here. The reason why Limbaugh was criticized as racist for his remarks was because Limbaugh himself said it was.

In the original clip, Limbaugh admitted that "it's probably racist to even point this out" about Elba and James Bond. That's context worth mentioning; why didn't Coleman think it was?

Instead, Coleman tried to find a way to bolster one of Limbaugh's weaker arguments:

Undoubtedly not it's safe to say. But isn't Limbaugh muddying the waters by suggesting that outrage would ensue if white actors were cast to portray historical figures who were black, such as Obama and Mandela, whereas Bond is a fictional character, so what difference does it make?

Apparently it meant a great deal in 1990, Limbaugh pointed out, when the Actors' Equity union initially refused to allow white actor Jonathan Pryce to portray a fictional Eurasian pimp in "Miss Saigon" on Broadway, as Pryce already had in London. (audio). The union quickly backed down and reversed its decision.

Does anyone actually believe that Americans have become less politically correct since then?

But ethnicity is arguably a more significant factor in the "Miss Saigon" role than it is in James Bond. And as playwright David Henry Hwang points out, there is a legitimate issue of diversity since 80 percent of the roles on Broadway stages are taken by white actors. Further, the protest had an effect: the producer of "Miss Saigon" on Broadway ensured that all actors who took that role after Pryce left it were of Asian descent.

Coleman didn't mention any of that, of course -- but then, his sense of context is highly selective.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:56 PM EST
WND Columnist Whitesplains Black Protests
Topic: WorldNetDaily

If the cops are as racist as the idiots in the streets keep claiming, why is it we never see Asians or black immigrants from the Caribbean rioting and complaining about police brutality? With all the people of color residing in America, why is it always and only native-born blacks who take to the streets complaining of mistreatment? Could it possibly have anything to do with the violent crime rate and the lack of parental discipline found in their community that leads to so many unpleasant interactions between the police and young black thugs?

Furthermore, if things are as oppressive as they claim, why do we never see a mass migration to Canada or Mexico? The only blacks we ever see leaving the U.S. are those like convicted cop killer Joanne Chesimard, who leave seeking asylum in Cuba.

Every other group that has ever faced hardship and persecution has crossed oceans, if necessary, to seek a better and safer life. Mainly they’ve come to America, long a magnet for the world’s outcasts. Only blacks see this country as a loathsome place – a place like czarist Russia, Nazi Germany, Iran, Cuba and China – a snake pit to run from, and yet they never run. I find that very odd when you realize they could easily find refuge just across the border.

Could it be that even they know that their claims are bulls–t, and that they simply enjoy getting to live off the labor of others, while still having the gall to gripe about it?

-- Burt Prelutsky, Jan. 1 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 10:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 7, 2015 10:08 AM EST
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Newsmax-Bernard Kerik Rehabilitation Watch
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax has always been dedicated to fixing the reputation of former New York City police chief Bernard Kerik in the wake of corruption allegations for which he served prison time. They're still at it, letting him appear on Newsmax TV to opine about Al Sharpton:

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that controversial civil rights activist Al Sharpton "shakes down" companies for money in exchange for not attacking them as racists, according to former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik.

"I don't think anyone that's followed Sharpton for any period of time would be surprised by the article," Kerik said during an appearance Monday on "America’s Forum" on Newsmax TV, during which he discussed a Sunday New York Post story that reported Sharpton takes corporate payoffs to keep quiet.

"It's what he does and I've said this before, he's an opportunist in many of these circumstances."

Unmentioned during the interview: Kerik served more than three years in prison for essentially doing what Sharpton is accused of doing: exploiting a tragedy to make money.

It's ironic that Newsmax lets a convicted felon to make such accusations, then hides his criminal record.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:37 PM EST
WND Won't Guarantee Anti-Boehner Letters Will Arrive Before Vote
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily keeps tooting its own horn about its paid anti-Boehner propaganda effort in a Jan. 5 article:

The campaign that allows voters to tell their representatives in the U.S. House they should find another speaker for the coming session of Congress, and “Dump Boehner,” already has generated 560,000 letters – or a stack that will be nearly 19 stories tall on delivery.

The vote for a new House speaker is expected as early as Tuesday, and while not all of the messages will arrive by that time, the feeling across America will be more than clear, according to the organizer of the campaign.

“Republican House members should know that, as of today, 560,000 letters have been generated in the ‘Don’t Be Yellow: Dump Boehner Now!’ campaign,” said Joseph Farah.

“Unfortunately, they won’t all arrive before Tuesday’s vote. However, if Boehner wins the speakership, the campaign will continue, since the House can hold a no-confidence vote on the speaker at any time while in session. So Boehner won’t be out of the woods if he survives Tuesday’s challenge.”

As we've detailed, the numbers WND is forwarding obscure the important -- and less impressive -- numbers actually involved. All that has happened is that WND has convinced 2,267 of its readers (560,000 divided by the 247 GOP House members who will get spammed with WND's letters) to part with $29.95 of their hard-earned money. That's not only an insignificant fraction of Americans, it's a tiny fraction of the readership WND claims.

More importantly, WND has grossed more than $67,000 from this venture, only a small fraction of which will be spent delivering those letters to the House members. The letters account for less than five reams of paper; given that the letters will be delivered in bulk, not separately, it's a much less impressive impact. All that has actually happened is a bump in WND's revenue.

On top of that, WND can't guarantee they all will arrive before the speaker vote? You'd think WND readers would be getting better service for the $29.95 they're spending.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:38 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 6, 2015 9:46 AM EST
Monday, January 5, 2015
CNS Columnist Omits Details on Catholic IVF Lawsuit
Topic: CNSNews.com

The Heritage Foundation's Andrew Kloster takes the Catholic Church's side in a Dec. 30 CNSNews.com column detailing a lawsuit by a Catholic school teacher fired after undergoing in vitro fertilization treatments. But Kloster omits inconvenient facts to make his case. He writes:

Last Friday, a federal jury awarded a former teacher in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend almost $2 million for what she claims was sex discrimination, the bulk of which was not for medical bills or lost wages, but for $1.75 million in “emotional and physical damages” she allegedly suffered.

And while the case looks narrow—was this female teacher fired when immoral male teachers were allowed to retain their jobs?—it involves a much bigger question: when can federal courts scrutinize the religious decisions of churches?

In 2008, Emily Herx, a junior high school language arts teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School in Fort Wayne, began IVF treatment. She notified her school principal about additional IVF treatment in 2010, and in April 2011 the church pastor met with Herx to inform her that IVF was morally wrong.

IVF is a multi-step procedure that usually involves stimulating a woman’s ovaries to cause multiple ovulation, collecting the eggs and fertilizing them with donor sperm in a petri dish (in vitro meaning “in glass”), developing embryos, selecting a few and implanting them back in the woman. Leftover embryos are usually frozen or destroyed. According to Catholic moral teaching, this process is objectionable in many different ways.

Kloster omits Herx's side of the story, in which she claims she endeavored to keep her IVF treatments from running afoul of church teaching, and that she had at least implicit approval from church officials before beginning the treatments. According to Slate:

According to her suit, Herx was told by Bishop Kevin Rhodes that IVF was “an intrinsic evil, which means no circumstances can justify it,” because it frequently involves the destruction of embryos. This is typically true—but not in Herx’s case. Herx has stated that she and her husband used every embryo they created and that she informed church officials of this from the beginning. Here the church’s tendency toward a black-or-white position runs afoul of complex reality. From what Herx has said, the clerical response to her fertility treatments seems to have been blanket condemnation. Herx’s claim states that the priest she consulted “relied on uninformed assumptions about fertility treatment in general” and that he “did not understand the medical treatments actually administered.” The clergy involved in Herx’s firing seemed to have been responding more to the very idea of infertility treatment than they were to the medical processes involved.

They also seem to have been responding to a concern for their own reputations. According to Herx’s complaint, her employers had no objection to her fertility treatments before they began to be more widely known. The priest who called Herx a “grave, immoral sinner” evidently also suggested, according to Herx, that she should have kept quiet so as to avoid bringing scandal on the school and the church, saying that some things are “better left between the individual and God.” And that was before she filed the lawsuit or went to the press.

The lawsuit also notes that Herx's teaching contract was renewed after she informed school officials about the IVF ttreatments, which raises questions about the fidelity of school officials to Caytholic teaching.

Kloster then echoes the church's stand that it didn't object to Herx's IVF treatments no objection to her fertility treatments "before they began to be more widely known," asking, "Why did Emily Herx seek to make her IVF treatments public? Each of these cases involves someone putting themselves in a bad situation, and then using the law as a club—each of these cases could have been avoided by exercising common sense." Kloster huffed, "Why should someone seek employment at a place where they know they cannot live up to their contract or where they oppose their employer’s moral vision?"

Kloster also echoed the Catholic diocese's claim that the court "erred in applying Title VII to the Diocese at all. It might be that the First Amendment protects the Diocese in its hiring and firing decisions for Catholic school teachers." Kloster doesn't mention that the church attempted to get the lawsuit dismissed because it claimed it was exempt under Title VII. A U.S. appeals court rejected that argument, stating that "The Diocese cites no authority for the proposition that the exemptions provide an immunity from the burdens of trial rather than an ordinary defense to liability. To our knowledge, there is none."

Kloster sneered at the idea that Herx's “emotional and physical damages” were worth $1.75 million, calling it "an absurd result." But apparently her case was compelling enough that a jury agreed with it, so Kloster seems to be a little off base.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:30 PM EST
WND's Klein Speculates About Obama's Use Of A Random Word
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein loves playing the game of plucking a random word or phrase from something President Obama or his wife said and playing armchair psychologist to extrapolate it into a secret reference to a radical agenda. For instance, he insists that Obama is referencing Saul Alinsky by referencing the common construct of "the world as it is" and "the world as it should be."

Klein plays this game again in a Dec. 30 WND article:

President Obama seems to be taking his cues from the academic left in claiming there is a “nativist trend” among some in the Republican Party who oppose any kind of amnesty for illegal aliens.

In an interview with NPR, Obama stated, “If your view is that immigrants are either fundamentally bad to the country or that we actually have the option of deporting 11 million immigrants, regardless of the disruptions, regardless of the cost, and that that is who we are as Americans, I reject that.”

Obama discussed the potential to work with the Republicans on the issue while warning about “nativists” who seek to block “immigration reform.”

[...]

Nativism typically is defined as the political position of vehemently opposing immigration of all kinds and demanding a favored status for the established inhabitants of a country.

The U.S. academic left, particularly professors at California state universities, have been leading the charge in applying the “nativist” term to opponents of illegal immigration, essentially branding them as racist and bigoted.

At no point does Klein claim that "nativist" is in any way inaccurate -- after all, there are numerous anti-immigration activists who are "vehemently opposing immigration of all kinds and demanding a favored status for the established inhabitants of a country." And Klein supports such leanings through his expressed sympathies for the teachings of right-wing terrorist Meir Kahane, whose Kach/Kahane Chai movement supports the arguably "nativist" view of expelling all Arabs from Israel.

Klein's presenting of politically biased speculation as "news" is yet another reason nobody believes WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:10 AM EST
Sunday, January 4, 2015
CNS' Hollingsworth Pushes Questionable Talking Points on Financial Crisis
Topic: CNSNews.com

It's time for more uncritical stenography courtesy of CNSNews.com's Barbara Hollingsworth, as demonstrated in a Dec. 30 CNS article:

Another housing bubble is “very likely if we don’t change our policies,” warns Peter Wallison, a former member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), which investigated the "avoidable" 2008 financial meltdown.

“It’s going to happen again because we’ll have the same kind of housing market again,” explained Wallison, who is currently co-director of financial policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Just six years after the overheated housing market bubble burst, triggering the Great Recession, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are still under government conservatorship, have been told to accept 3 percent down mortgages and to turn over a percentage of every loan they process to a government trust fund for affordable housing.

Hollingsworth is so lazy that she's literally transcribing her interview, as this sentence structure demonstrates:

Didn't you write that Fannie and Freddie’s lowering of underwriting standards to help people buy houses they couldn’t afford was “the root cause” of the financial crisis? CNSNews.com asked Wallison.

[...]

How can Fannie and Freddie, which were established to stabilize the nation’s housing market, justify doing the same things that triggered a market collapse just six years ago? CNSNews.com asked him.

Since Hollingsworth is a stenographer instead of a reporter, she can't be bothered to seek out any view that contradicts that of Wallison. For instance, the fact that Wallison's assertion that Fannie and Freddie was the "root cause" of the financial crisis has been utterly discredited by actual experts. McClatchy reported:

Between 2004 and 2006, when subprime lending was exploding, Fannie and Freddie went from holding a high of 48 percent of the subprime loans that were sold into the secondary market to holding about 24 percent, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance, a specialty publication. One reason is that Fannie and Freddie were subject to tougher standards than many of the unregulated players in the private sector who weakened lending standards, most of whom have gone bankrupt or are now in deep trouble.

During those same explosive three years, private investment banks — not Fannie and Freddie — dominated the mortgage loans that were packaged and sold into the secondary mortgage market. In 2005 and 2006, the private sector securitized almost two thirds of all U.S. mortgages, supplanting Fannie and Freddie, according to a number of specialty publications that track this data.

In 1999, the year many critics charge that the Clinton administration pressured Fannie and Freddie, the private sector sold into the secondary market just 18 percent of all mortgages.

Hollingsworth didn't mention the conclusion of the FCIC report that Wallison took part in found that delinquency rates for mortgages guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie "were substantially lower than loans securitized by other financial firms."

Further, Walliston and Hollingsworth's idea that Fannie and Freddie permitting 3 percent mortgages will somehow cause a new financial crisis (or played any significant role in the old one) are incredibly overblown. If Hollingsworth would have actually read the Bloomberg article she linked in her own article, she would have noticed this:

Laurie Goodman, director of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington, said Watt’s move is an important first step in expanding credit. A study of Fannie Mae data by Goodman and other researchers found that credit scores had more bearing than the size of the down payment on whether borrowers defaulted.

The study concluded that allowing loans with down payments between 3 percent and 5 percent is likely to have a “negligible” effect on mortgage risk. These loans made up only about 1 percent of Fannie Mae originations when they were previously allowed.

[...]

Most lenders will welcome the loans as well, said Dave Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington.

“These loans will be underwritten more conservatively and will likely come with higher mortgage insurance costs,” Stevens said. “History has shown that these loans, when properly underwritten, perform well.”

But that's what you get when you let a stenographer do reporting: politically biased stenography.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:11 PM EST
Saturday, January 3, 2015
WND Is Still Censoring Birther Debunkings
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As usual, WorldNetDaily's year-end list of "underreported stories" reflects WND's own far-right obsessions instead of reality. Thus, you won't find anywhere on that list a certain story WND destroyed its credibility covering: birthers.

Specifically, how the birthers have been repeatedly discredited. As we've pointed out, the news that birther conspiracy theories have been debunked has been studiously ignored by WND, even though it promoted many of those discredited claims.

In the past year, former Cold Case Posse member Brian Reilly has dished on the dysfunction of the panel run by Mike Zullo and WND's own Jerome Corsi, and how Zullo has dismissed Hawaii's verification of Obama's birth to further the birther conspiracy.

You'd think that WND would be eager to report on this, but apparently, if it doesn't come from Corsi (whom Reilly revealed has had a falling-out with Zullo), it didn't happen. Reilly's report was met with utter silence from WND -- not even a defense of the posse by Corsi.

It seems that if WND has decided to underreport a story, it won't appear on WND's list of underreported stories. Funny, that.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:13 PM EST

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