Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cop accused of pulling gun while waiting for food

AURORA A Denver police officer has been charged with felony menacing for allegedly brandishing his gun at a McDonald's restaurant after getting tired of waiting for his food. Derrick Curtis, 29, Saunders also face charges of prohibited use of a weapon, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct.

An employee at the Aurora restaurant told investigators that two Denver police officers were waiting for their food at the drive-through window May 21 when one grew impatient and pulled his gun.

No one was injured.

Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson told The Denver Post that Saunders had been suspended with pay and would be put on unpaid leave once the department is formally notified of the charges.

There was no answer Monday at a phone number listed for Derrick Saunders.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 07-24-09

Dobbs advances falsehood that $24 trillion represents "the cost of the bailouts"
Lou Dobbs advanced the falsehood that "$24 trillion" represents "the latest estimate on the cost of the bailouts." Dobbs previously claimed that "all the government bailouts, loans, and rescues could ultimately cost taxpayers a staggering $23 trillion." In fact, that number "do[es] not represent a current total" and was not intended to "provide an estimate of likely net costs to the taxpayer." Read More

Hannity relies on falsehoods and distortions in "nightmare" health special
In what was billed as a "Universal Nightmare" special edition of Hannity, Sean Hannity relied on distortions and falsehoods to raise the specter of "socialized medicine." Read More

Cramer and Scarborough out of touch with Americans' views on taxing wealthy to finance health care
Joe Scarborough and Jim Cramer both claimed that because Americans aspire to being rich themselves, they would not support proposals to finance health care reform by raising the taxes of upper-income people. But recent polls do not support their thesis. Read More

Conservative media ignore reality in invoking "rationing" bogeyman
Reading from GOP playbooks, media conservatives are invoking the specter of "rationing" in arguing against health care reform efforts. Read More

Privileging opposition to abortion
Most people waiting anxiously for real health care reform probably haven't thought much about whether insurance covers abortion. They're too busy thinking about how great it would be to have insurance in the first place, or to not have to worry about losing it if they change jobs, or if their premiums stopped skyrocketing. Read More

CNN president emails Dobbs pronouncing birther story "dead," but Lou won't let it go
After CNN President Jon Klein reportedly emailed information to the staff of Lou Dobbs Tonight that Klein said shows the "story" about President Obama's birth certificate "is dead," Lou Dobbs noted that evidence on air, but then asked Roland Martin: "When this could be dispelled so quickly, and -- and simply by producing [the birth certificate], why not do it?" Read More

Knee-jerk word association watch: Conservative media link Obama's Gates comments to ... ACORN
Repeating a pattern of invoking ACORN to attack progressives, conservative media figures have brought up the organization in their discussions of President Obama's July 22 prime-time press conference, in which he took a question regarding the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. Read More

Media figures single out Dobbs for "fanning" flames of birther theories
Numerous journalists and other media figures -- running the gamut from conservative to liberal, local to national, and television to print and Internet -- have criticized Lou Dobbs for giving "credence," "legitimacy," and a "platform" to birther theories. Read More

Who's in charge at CNN? Klein capitulates, allows Dobbs' birther coverage to continue
Apparently contradicting a statement he reportedly made the day before pronouncing the birther story seemingly "dead," CNN president Jonathan Klein has reportedly said that CNN would allow Lou Dobbs to continue airing conspiracy theories about President Obama's birth certificate. Read More

McCain Lawyers Investigated Obama Citizenship

As we asked earlier this week, if questions over President Obama's citizenship were valid, wouldn't they have come out during the presidential campaign?

David Weigel talked with Trevor Potter and other lawyers for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign who said that they did look into the Obama citizenship rumors and found them without merit.

Said Potter: "To the extent that we could, we looked into the substantive side of these allegations. We never saw any evidence that then-Senator Obama had been born outside of the United States. We saw rumors, but nothing that could be sourced to evidence. There were no statements and no documents that suggested he was born somewhere else. On the other side, there was proof that he was born in Hawaii. There was a certificate issued by the state's Department of Health, and the responsible official in the state saying that he had personally seen the original certificate. There was a birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser, which would be very difficult to invent or plant 47 years in advance."

Palin’s favorability dips as she nears exit Alaska governor loses ground among Republicans, white evangelicals

WASHINGTON - As Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin prepares for the next stage of her political career, a majority of Americans hold an unfavorable view of her, and there is broad public doubt about her leadership skills and understanding of complex issues, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Last year's Republican vice presidential nominee remains a deeply polarizing figure, and there are warning signs for her as she emerges as a possible contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. While she is still widely popular among those in her party, she has lost ground among Republicans generally and among the white evangelicals who are so critical in the early presidential primaries.

Overall, the new poll found that 53 percent of Americans view Palin negatively and 40 percent see her in positive terms, her lowest level in Post-ABC polling since she first appeared on the national stage last summer as Sen. John McCain's running mate.

The dip in Palin's favorability comes as she gets ready to leave office Sunday with about 18 months remaining in her term and plans to turn her attention to national politics. Palin, 45, has said she intends to campaign for other like-minded candidates, and speculation has been rampant that she may seek the GOP nomination to oppose President Obama.

Palin Caught In A Naughty Monkey Trap

Shannyn Moore

Everyone knows how to catch a monkey even if you've never had to. Basic concept. Put a banana in a jar and make sure the mouth of the jar monkey trap(2)is bigger than a monkey paw, yet smaller than the banana. When the monkey gets hold of that banana, he won't let go, even if it means his hand is stuck in the jar.

Sarah Palin finds herself in a similar predicament. Her Alaska Fund Trust is the perfect golden banana. It happens to be inside the legal jar created by Thomas Daniel's ethics investigation findings. You see, Mr. Daniel concluded Palin had used her official title of governor to raise money for a "slush fund" to pay her legal bills. That's a no-no, silly monkey!

With his findings, Mr. Daniel gave the Naughty Palin Monkey an out..."LET GO OF THE BANANA!" To avoid an ethics hearing, Palin could give back the money raised by the fund. Then, there would be no finding of guilt. Not only did she not let go of the money, her fund trust kept their campaign up and begging-thereby making the banana fatter and more golden.

This week, the report of a "jar" was leaked. Palin, her spokesmodels, and attorney have curious explanations:








I don't have a lot of experience with monkeys. If I were rooting for a trapped monkey, I'd tell them to let go of the banana...the "jar" is real.

Birthers' NEW Demand!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pentagon furious over call for execution of captured soldier


According to NBC’s top Pentagon correspondent, the Department of Defense is furious with Fox News analyst Ralph Peters, who said on July 19 that the Taliban should murder 23-year-old Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, captured after he strayed from his post, to save the Army “legal hassles and legal bills.”

Peters, a well-known Neoconservative and frequent Fox News guest, attempted to clarify his shocking statement on Tuesday night’s O’Reilly Factor, telling right-wing host Bill O’Reilly he believes that Bergdahl had “deserted” his unit and deserved no sympathy. He did not apologize. O’Reilly added that Bergdahl must be “crazy.”

However, Wednesday night MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow fired back, interviewing Jim Miklaszewski, NBC’s top Pentagon correspondent, who said the Department of Defense is furious with Peters and Fox News, adding there is no evidence that Bergdahl is a deserter.

Peters’ and O’Reilly’s insidious comments drew a sharp reaction from a bipartisan group of 22 veteran members of Congress, who all signed a letter demanding Fox News CEO Roger Ailes apologize to Bergdahl’s family for allowing a guest on his network to provide “aid and comfort” to America’s enemies.

“Mr. Peters’ indefensible comments call into question, without any supporting evidence whatsoever, PFC Bergdahl’s patriotism and commitment to his country, and suggest in a non-subtle way that he deserved to be captured,” they wrote. “The truth is that Mr. Peters’ words give more aid and comfort to the enemy…and put PFC Bergdahl at additional risk of harm.”

Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY), a former Navy commander who joined the 22 members of Congress in signing the letter, went a step further and called on Fox News to fire both O’Reilly and Peters.

“Their comments aid and abet our enemies during a time of war and the burden is on Fox News to prove that they reject this by taking the tangible action of issuing an apology and firing both of them,” he wrote.

Jim Miklaszewski, NBC’s Pentagon correspondent, told Maddow on Wednesday night that Bergdahl “came off patrol on June 30th, dropped off his weapon, his body armor, grabbed up a bottle of water, a compass and a knife and took off out on his own. It was sometime after that, apparently, that some local militants grabbed him and turned him over to the Taliban.”

“Should he have left the post alone?” Miklaszewski asked. “Of course not. But that doesn’t make him a deserter.”

He continued: “Military officials I talked to are quite outraged at Peters’ comments, not just the idea perhaps that he suggested that the Taliban should execute Bergdahl, but because it’s totally irresponsible. Here you have a kid, 23-years-old, in custody. He’s got to be terrified. And now, these Peters comments could actually be used by his captors to get even deeper inside Bergdahl’s mind and further erode any confidence that he may have that he will ever come out alive.”

“I suspect my fellow Americans might really bail out of the FOX viewership over this one,” opined former war reporter and photographer Tim King, who edits Oregon-based Web site Salem-News.

“If this insolent wicked little man named Peters at FOX manages to turn people against this American who volunteered to serve in the military, fully aware that almost anyone in the Army can be deployed overseas, he should be arrested and tossed in prison,” King continued. “When does FOX News cross the line? This is a new age, a new time, and there is no way in Hell that Peters or FOX can cry ‘free speech’ now.”

Media Matters Daily Summary 07-23-09

Mainstreaming the fringe: Lou Dobbs fuels birther bonfire
If James von Brunn weren't in a locked security ward at Southeast General Hospital in Washington, D.C., and awaiting trial for the murder of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the 88-year-old racist and neo-Nazi might have taken comfort from listening to Lou Dobbs' syndicated radio show or watching Dobbs on CNN in recent days. Von Brunn would have likely felt some sense of affirmation from Dobbs, as the host began belatedly championing the cause of so-called "birthers," the angry band of right-wing conspiracy theorists who claim President Obama has not released a valid birth certificate and, in some cases, flat-out assert that he was not born in America and therefore is ineligible to be president of the United States. (Here's a good birther primer; here's the official right-wing defense of birthers.) Read More

Scarborough still citing $23 trillion number, even after he "checked" into it
Despite claiming that he "went and checked" the source of the figure, Joe Scarborough again advanced the falsehood that the total cost of TARP is $23 trillion. Read More

NBC's Todd ignored Elmendorf's comments undercutting criticism of his meeting with White House
Chuck Todd reported Republican criticism of a White House meeting between President Obama and CBO director Douglas Elmendorf but did not note Elmendorf's comments undermining that criticism. Read More

In latest column, Will outsources climate change falsehoods to NRO's Steyn
George Will repeated Mark Steyn's false claim that "If you're 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life." In fact, climate experts reject the notion that global warming has slowed or stopped. Read More

CNN "conspiracy theorist" Lou Dobbs discredits his network -- one wild claim at a time
Lou Dobbs has repeatedly used his CNN show and his radio show to spread discredited theories and wild claims -- his attention to which jeopardizes CNN's credibility. Read More

Meet the Birthers: This is who Lou Dobbs is mainstreaming
In light of Lou Dobbs' recent promotion of birther theories, Media Matters presents a look at some of the leading figures within the birther community and the views they've espoused. Read More

In WSJ, serial health care misinformer McCaughey at it again
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Betsy McCaughey falsely claimed the House Democrats' health care reform bill will "pressure the elderly to end their lives prematurely." McCaughey frequently appears in the media to advance falsehoods about progressive health care reform proposals. Read More

Wealthy conservative media figures deny crisis in health care
Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity -- who each reportedly make more than $20 million per year -- have downplayed the struggles of those lacking adequate health care, asserted that "there isn't a health care crisis," or characterized the United States as having "the best health care system in the world." Read More

Liddy falsely claimed there is a "sworn statement from the stepgrandmother" saying Obama was born in Kenya

Advancing the conspiracy theory that President Obama lacks a valid birth certificate and is therefore ineligible to be president, radio host G. Gordon Liddy falsely claimed during the July 23 edition of MSNBC's Hardball that there is "a deposition, which is a sworn statement, from the stepgrandmother, who says, 'I was present and saw [Obama] born in Mombasa, Kenya.' " In fact, while the conservative news website WorldNetDaily claims to be "in possession" of affidavits from Anabaptist minister Ron McRae and Rev. Kweli Shuhubia, two individuals who purportedly took part in a telephone interview with the president's stepgrandmother, McRae's and Shuhubia's accounts have been discredited, and even WorldNetDaily does not claim to have a "sworn statement" from the stepgrandmother herself.

According to WorldNetDaily, McRae and Shuhubia each asserted in their affidavits that President Obama's stepgrandmother, Sarah Hussein Obama, told them that President Obama was born in Mombasa. However, in a December 4, 2008, article, David Weigel noted that McRae provided Pennsylvania attorney Philip J. Berg with only a "partial transcript of the call" and that the "rest of the call" showed that McRae was repeatedly told during the interview that "the president-elect was born in Hawaii":

On Oct. 16, an Anabaptist minister named Ron McRae called Sarah Hussein Obama, the president-elect's 86-year-old paternal step-grandmother, at her home in Kenya. Two translators were on the line when McRae asked if the elder Obama was "present" when the president-elect was born. One of the translators says "yes." McRae contacted Berg and gave him a partial transcript of the call with a signed affidavit. He opted not to include the rest of the call, in which he asks the question more directly -- "Was he born in Mombassa?" -- and the translators, finally understanding him, tell him repeatedly that the president-elect was born in Hawaii.

In a December 5, 2008, War Room post,'s Alex Koppelman similarly noted that the full audio of the interview indicates that McRae was told "over and over again, that Obama was born in the U.S.":

During the interview, which was conducted through a translator by a street preacher named Ron McRae, Sarah Obama does in fact say she was present. But it's clear that there was a mistranslation, because as soon as McRae very excitedly starts to try to get additional details, the people on the other end of the line realize what's happened and say, over and over again, that Obama was born in the U.S.

For some reason, the transcripts of the interview that have been posted on various right-wing Web sites all seem to cut off right after Sarah Obama says she was there when her grandson was born. So does this YouTube video with the audio of the interview. But as The Economist points out, McRae also released the full audio, in which the key parts of the conversation can be heard. Here's part of it. (The other person speaking is translator Vitalis Akech Ogombe.)

MCRAE: When I come in December. I would like to come by the place, the hospital, where he was born. Could you tell me where he was born? Was he born in Mombasa?

OGOMBE: No, Obama was not born in Mombasa. He was born in America.

MCRAE: Whereabouts was he born? I thought he was born in Kenya.

OGOMBE: No, he was born in America, not in Mombasa.

MCRAE: Do you know where he was born? I thought he was born in Kenya. I was going to go by and see where he was born.

OGOMBE: Hawaii. Hawaii. Sir, she says he was born in Hawaii. In the state of Hawaii, where his father was also learning, there. The state of Hawaii.

Additionally, the Chicago Tribune reported on December 3, 2008: "The translator said he was one of two interpreters conducting the interview in a crowded hut during a celebration, over a speaker phone that dropped the call three times."

As Media Matters has detailed, Liddy served four and a half years in prison in connection with his conviction for his role in the Watergate break-in and the break-in at the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers. Liddy has acknowledged preparing to kill someone during the Ellsberg break-in "if necessary"; plotting to kill journalist Jack Anderson; plotting with a "gangland figure" to kill Howard Hunt to stop him from cooperating with investigators; plotting to firebomb the Brookings Institution; and plotting to kidnap "leftist guerillas" at the 1972 Republican National Convention -- a plan he outlined to the Nixon administration using terminology borrowed from the Nazis. (The homicide, firebombing, and kidnapping plots were never carried out; the break-ins were.) During the 1990s, Liddy reportedly instructed his radio audience on multiple occasions on how to shoot Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents and also reportedly said he had named his shooting targets after Bill and Hillary Clinton.

From the July 23 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

CHRIS MATTHEWS (host): This is all available, Gordon. Here it is. [Certification of Live birth is shown on screen.] So we have the number. What do you think now?

LIDDY: Well, I would like to check it out. The preponderance of the evidence is as follows. You've got a deposition, which is a sworn statement, from the stepgrandmother, who says, "I was present and saw him born in Mombasa, Kenya." You've got the certificate of live birth that they have here. It's not a birth certificate. It says right on it, "certificate of live birth."


MATTHEWS: But you claim he was born in the Kenyan slums. You say that as a fact.

LIDDY: No, in a hospital in Mombasa. I didn't say the Kenyan slums.

E. STEVEN COLLINS (WRNB radio talk show host): What's the difference? Chris, Chris --

MATTHEWS: I mean, where -- which hospital in Mombasa? I mean, I've been over there so many times. Where is this -- all this happened? You have a whole history of this fellow in Kenya. Do we have any evidence it ever happened?

LIDDY: What ever happened?

MATTHEWS: That he was born in Kenya?

LIDDY: Yeah, I've got the deposition of the stepgrandmother, who said that she witnessed it.


COLLINS: Stepgrandmother.

MATTHEWS: Your witness.

Abstinence-Supporting GOP State Lawmaker Admits To Sex With 22-Year-Old Intern


Paging Keith Olbermann. You can call off the search...we've found your Worst Person in the World for tonight.

Meet Tennessee state senator Paul Stanley. He's a solid conservative Republican and married father of two, who according to his website is "a member of Christ United Methodist Church, where he serves as a Sunday school teacher and board member of their day school." (Check out the religious imagery on the site -- the sun poking through clouds, as if manifesting God's presence -- which of course shows Stanley's deeply pious nature.)

Stanley recently sponsored a bill designed to prevent gay couples from adopting children. And when a Planned Parenthood official recently sought his support for family planning services for Memphis teens, Stanley told her, according to the official, that he "didn't believe young people should have sex before marriage anyway, that his faith and church are important to him, and he wants to promote abstinence."

So far, so far Republican. But you can see where this is going...

In a sworn affidavit, a Tennessee state investigator has said that Stanley admitted to having a "sexual relationship" with a 22-year-old female intern working in his office, and to taking nude pictures of her in "provocative poses" in his apartment.

Things started to unravel for Stanley, it seems, in April, when he received a text message reading:

Good morning sir, how are you this fine day? McKensie and I have been talking and I feel that I have a video and some pictures you might be interested in seeing. This is her boyfriend, that guy you met outside Walgreens.

That was the start of an effort by the girl's boyfriend to blackmail Stanley, which ultimately led to Stanley going to the cops. The boyfriend is now charged with trying to extort $10,000 from Stanley.

Oh, bonus! Stanley works as a financial adviser for the Stanford Financial Group, whose founder, Allen Stanford, has been charged with orchestrating an $8 billion scam.

Wonder if Stanley stays at C Street when he's in DC.

Late Update: It gets worse. In 1994, Stanley's first wife, Judy Martin, filed for a restraining order against him, charging that he had physically assaulted her three times. She wrote: "He was going out the door to leave our house and he hit me with a tremendous blow and then he proceeded to turn and run away from me outside the garage to the street." Stanley and Martin divorced the following year.

According to the Nashville Post, Stanley met his current wife, Kristi Stanley, soon afterwards, while both were working for Bill Frist's U.S. Senate office in Memphis. She was working as -- an intern.

J.P. Freire: ‘I Can’t Remember Anyone Saying’ The Bear Market Was Obama’s Fault


Today, ThinkProgress Editor-in-Chief Faiz Shakir appeared on MSNBC opposite the Washington Examiner’s J.P. Freire to discuss President Obama’s handling of the economy. During the segment, Faiz brought up the fact that many conservative pundits have a habit of blaming stock market downturns on President Obama, a charge which Friere said was “made up”:

FAIZ: Remember back in October, November, December, January of this year, when Karl Rove and so many Republican pundits were going on TV and saying the market is failing because of President Obama? That the market was reacting because President Obama was now in office? What happened to that? Have their memories just completely been forgotten here?

FREIRE: I think that’s a brilliant strawman you made up. I can’t remember anyone saying that.

FAIZ: Are you kidding me?

The set reacted with uproarious laughter to Friere’s convenient memory loss. “I can’t believe JP doesn’t remember that,” said MSBNC’s Tamron Hall. “People were tracking the stock market and how many days Obama had been in office and comparing the two.” Co-host David Shuster chided Freire’s “selective amnesia.” Watch it:

For J.P.’s benefit, here’s a reminder of some right-wing rhetoric regarding Obama and the stock market:

KARL ROVE: “How much of it is the market saying, ‘You know what? The economy is not in a good place and we’re looking at the future, and how much confidence should we have in the team that’s coming to make the economy better?’” [Fox News, 11/20/08]

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: “Yesterday the Dow fell another 4.24% to 6763, for an overall decline of 25% in two months and to its lowest level since 1997. The dismaying message here is that President Obama’s policies have become part of the economy’s problem.” [3/9/09]

LOU DOBBS: “[T]he stock market has lost 20 percent since this president was sworn in. He has his own bear market. That’s the definition of a bear market, a 20 percent decline. This is now the Obama bear market.” [CNN, 3/9/09]

SEAN HANNITY: “Obama, since he’s elected, has tanked the markets.” [Fox News, 3/10/09]

A slew of Fox News pundits, in fact, had blamed stock market downturns on Obama. Today, the Dow closed above 9,000 for the first time since early January. We’re eagerly awaiting conservative proclamations of the Obama bull market. The GOP’s more recent efforts to blame job losses on Obama ring as hollow as the “Obama bear market” attacks did.

Conservative Activist Forwards Racist Pic Showing Obama As Witch Doctor


The election of our first black president has brought with it a strange proliferation of online racism among conservatives.

And we've got the latest example.

On Sunday night, Dr. David McKalip forwarded to fellow members of a Google listserv affiliated with the Tea Party movement the image below. Above it, he wrote: "Funny stuff."

Now, Tea Party activists trafficking in racist imagery are pretty much dog bites man. But McKalip isn't just some random winger. He's a Florida neurosurgeon, who serves as a member of the American Medical Association's House of Delegates.

He's also an energetic conservative opponent of health-care reform. McKalip founded the anti-reform group Doctors For Patient Freedom, as well as what seems to be a now defunct group called Cut Taxes Now. Last month he joined GOP congressmen Tom Price and Phil Gingrey, among others, for a virtual town hall to warn about the coming "government takeover of medicine." And in a recent anti-reform op-ed published in the St. Petersburg Times, McKalip wrote that "Congress wants to create larger, government-funded programs for health care and more bureaucracy that ration care and impose cookbook medicine."

Asked about the email in a brief phone interview with TPMmuckraker, McKalip said he believes that by depicting the president as an African witch doctor, the "artist" who created the image "was expressing concerns that the health-care proposals [made by President Obama] would make the quality of medical care worse in our country." McKalip said he didn't know who created it.

But pressed on what was funny about an image that plays on racist stereotypes about Africans, McKalip declined to say, instead offering to talk about why he opposes Obama's health-care proposals.

"I have a busy day," he said eventually, before ending the call.

Birther Promotes Revolution

One of the craziest Nirthers, Andrea Shea King (a writer for World Net Daily), is now openly promoting violent revolution, publishing a letter from a deranged listener to her Internet radio show: The Radio Patriot: LISTENER FEEDBACK.

The reason we have had zero success and will continue to probably have zero success in any peaceful means of restoring our government as our constitution envisions it to be governed is that all avenues have been blocked. It does not matter what party may or may not be in control of a given office, they are a part of the master plan. As we discussed last night, it seems growingly clear we will be unable to resolve this constitutional crisis in a peaceful matter. Like your one guest stated there will be blood on the streets. It was already predestined.

Part of the Solinski (sic) play book is to create a crisis so great it would start revolt. It is at this time Obama will step forward with martial law and complete his assigned agenda. At that point, congress and the courts as we know it will no longer exist.

Obama’s reforms are no more than baby steps to accomplish the objective. They have nothing to do with their stated purpose. What is not certain is how long Obama will reign or who will step in to take his place. My guess is that there will be an inward conflict as Obama personally has no intention of ever giving up the White House. I don’t know his whole plan except deep in one of the subcommittees is a proposed bill to eliminate term limits for the Office of the President.

I believe that Obama is counting on his position as commander-in-chief to force the military, active, reserve and guards, to quell the violence and restore peace. Before that happens he will ensure a significant amount of casualties to turn people on each other and cement hate, distrust and discord between neighbors and kin. A house divided cannot stand. As Glenn Beck puts it he will have created the perfect storm. What is our recourse?

Unfortunately we are rapidly running out of time. We need to strike soon. Your one guest also talked about the New Jersey gun ban sales. If you recall, I asked about black marketing of guns. I don’t think he fully grasped what I was asking.

Scientologist's Legal Advice Burns Sarah Palin


An ethics investigator's report leaked to the press says that Sarah Palin has been "securing unwarranted benefits and receiving improper gifts" through the legal defense fund set up for her by John Coale, the Scientologist husband of Greta Van Susteren.

Reports the Anchorage Daily News:

An investigator for the state Personnel Board says in his July 14 report that there is probable cause to believe Palin used or attempted to use her official position for personal gain because she authorized the creation of the trust as the "official" legal defense fund.

In his report, (Thomas) Daniel said his interpretation of the ethics act is consistent with common sense.

An ordinary citizen facing legal charges is not likely to be able to generate donations to a legal defense fund, he wrote. "In contrast, Governor Palin is able to generate donations because of the fact that she is a public official and a public figure. Were it not for the fact that she is governor and a national political figure, it is unlikely that many citizens would donate money to her legal defense fund."

Palin's crackpot mouthpiece Meg Stapleton issued the following statement in regards to the matter, claiming that the whole thing still isn't resolved:

There is no final report. The Investigator is still confidentially reviewing this matter. It appears suspect that in the final days of the Governor's term, someone would again violate the law and announce a supposed conclusion before it is reached.

And, naturally, Palin took to her Twitter page to say basically the same thing..............



NEW YORK, NY – After weeks of speculation as to why she quit/stepped-down/quit her duties as Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin has resurfaced… in the sporting world. Today in New York, a press conference is scheduled to announce that the former ‘almost’ 2nd most powerful person on the planet has taken the lateral move to become commissioner of the WNBA.

(pause for silent applause and reflection).

Said current NBA czar of the universe, David Stern, ‘We couldn’t be more excited to have Sarah join our family. She’s smart, hot, finishes most jobs, and has the kind of experience we’re looking for because she played point guard in high school. Plus you know we are always talking about expansion in the WNBA, well she can see Europe from her new office in New York, and that has to count for something’.

The Governor-quitter was unavailable for comment yesterday, but her free-loading soulmate of a husband did offer some insight as to why Sarah would take the position. ‘First and foremost, it’s a really cool title’, said Todd Palin. ‘Sarah didn’t like the word ‘vice’ anyway, and commissioner solves that problem. Plus, can you think of anyone with a more qualified resume than her?’ Actually, this reporter can. But all of them have jobs.

How this effects the former Republican VP’s long-term political future is uncertain. Will this new 7-year appointment become her new 2-year passion? Or will the experience of running an unpopular league, dealing with dwindling fan bases and an uninteresting product, be the opportune springboard to a much higher office in 2012? I bet Newt Gingrich won’t be able to match this resume builder. Let’s see Mitt Romney come off his high horse of health care reform to talk about the new drama in the Mystic front office.

Way to go Sarah. You have once again proved that if they set their mind to it, women can do anything. Now if only the LPGA could lure Hillary Clinton to take a career step up, we’d start to have some gender equality.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 07-22-09

Hannity falsely claimed Mayo Clinic "slam[med]" Obama's health proposal
Sean Hannity falsely claimed that the Mayo Clinic "slam[med]" President Obama's health care plan. In fact, the Mayo Clinic did not criticize Obama's health care proposal, and indeed applauded the administration's suggested revisions to the House bill to address Medicare payment rates. Read More

Fox News hosts advanced falsehood that Obama said he has not read health bill
Fox News hosts advanced the false claim that President Obama stated during a conference call that he has not read or is not familiar with provisions in the House health care reform bill. Read More

REPORT: On health care reform, networks highlight perceived setbacks far more than progress
In two studies, Media Matters documents that TV news networks have repeatedly given considerably more attention to perceived setbacks to progressive health care reform efforts than to events that signal progress for those efforts. Read More

Dobbs joins right-wing media promoting birth certificate conspiracy theories
Lou Dobbs has joined the ranks of right-wing media figures who have repeatedly advanced discredited conspiracy theories about President Obama's birth certificate. Read More

NBC's Almaguer offered no examples of wealthy "sharing" in the "pain" of CA budget deal
NBC's Miguel Almaguer stated that the proposed California budget deal is "a compromise, what some characterize as shared pain and sacrifice." But Almaguer did not provide examples of what the wealthy may have given up, nor note that the deal does not raise taxes. Read More

Scarborough forwards falsehood that TARP has "price tag of around $23 trillion"
Joe Scarborough advanced the falsehood that the total cost of TARP is "now coming in at a price tag of around $23 trillion." Read More

As Dobbs digs in, CNN rebuts, ridicules, distances itself from birth certificate claims
In the wake of Lou Dobbs' repeated claims that President Obama needs to "produce a birth certificate" and that Obama's birth certificate posted online has "some issues," several of Dobbs' CNN colleagues as well as other media figures have debunked Obama birth certificate theories. Read More

Unlike Dobbs, some conservative media think birthers are "nutburgers"
In contrast to Lou Dobbs, who recently promoted conspiracy theories about President Obama's birth certificate, numerous conservative media figures have dismissed and ridiculed the so-called "birther" claims. Read More

Matthews falsely claimed Obama called Gates arrest "an example of profiling, basically"
Chris Matthews falsely claimed that President Obama said the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. "was an example of profiling, basically." In fact, Obama said of the arrest: "I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that." Read More

Peters Continues Attack On Captured U.S. Soldier: He’s A Liar And ‘A Deserter’ Who ‘Shamed His Unit’


Late last week, media outlets reported that Taliban forces had captured U.S. Army soldier Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan. While the circumstances of his capture are not entirely known, Bergdahl said in a video released by his captors that he lagged behind a patrol, while other reports say he walked off a base with Afghan soldiers. In an appearance on Fox News earlier this week, retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters suggested that the Taliban should kill Bergdahl because he is an “apparent deserter.”

Last night on Fox, Peters walked back slightly from that comment (“I do hope for his family’s sake this guy comes back safely,” he said) but he continued to attack the missing U.S. soldier. “I asked a very senior military leader for a yes or no answer. Is PFC Bergdahl a deserter? The answer was yes,” Peters said, calling Bergdahl a liar. He and O’Reilly then repeatedly attacked Bergdahl’s mental capacity:

O’REILLY: He leaves his weapon and he goes out someplace. Number one that tells me that he is crazy, Colonel, that he is a nut. Nobody does that.

PETERS: He may be mentally disturbed. [...]

O’REILLY: It’s got to be I’m totally out of my mind. And that’s what I think this guy is. I think he is crazy.

Peters’ main contention, however, seems to be that Bergdahl has received media attention, while fallen soldiers do not. “I was angry when this broke because I felt the media were glorifying a guy who abandoned his buddies in combat,” he said, adding that “he shamed his unit” and “he lied for the enemy’s benefit.” Watch it:

Appalled at Peters’ original comment, CNN’s Rick Sanchez reported yesterday that Bergdahl is not a deserter. “Is the military saying that he’s a deserter in any way? We have checked. No, not at all,” Sanchez said.

NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski also reported yesterday that “senior Pentagon and military officials have ruled that out entirely, they say there is no evidence that he is a deserter.” Miklaszewski added that “they also point out that remarks like that are not the least bit helpful and in fact could endanger Pfc Bergdahl.”

TARP Inspector General Debunks His Own False $23 Trillion Bailout Estimate


Yesterday, TARP Inspector General Neil Barosky released a report which crudely tallied up the cost of every economic rescue program proposed during the current crisis — including those that have been discontinued or never even began — to state that the total scope of all financial rescue programs comes to about $23.7 trillion. Cable news hosts ran wild with the report, using it to claim that taxpayers will “ultimately” wind up paying $23 trillion in “bailouts.”

The number continued to be cited on cable last night and this morning, with Fox News even claiming that $23 trillion will be the final cost of TARP alone. But Barofsky himself appeared on CNN to explain that the actual outstanding amount for the financial rescues is closer to $3 trillion, including loans that have yet to be repaid. Watch a compilation:

Barofsky’s report clearly states that “these numbers may have some overlap, and have not been evaluated to provide an estimate of likely net costs to the taxpayer”:

[S]ome of the programs have been discontinued or even, in some cases, not utilized. As such, these total potential support figures do not represent a current total, but the sum total of all support programs announced since the onset of the financial crisis in 2007.

But this doesn’t go far enough in explaining how unlikely we are to ever come close to spending so much money. As Floyd Norris explained in the New York Times, Barofsky’s estimate “assumes that every home mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac goes into default, and all the homes turn out to be worthless. It assumes that every bank in America fails, with not a single asset worth even a penny. And it assumes that all of the assets held by money market mutual funds, including Treasury bills, turn out to be worthless.” If this doomsday economic scenario were ever to occur, the American currency would be rendered worthless.

Media Matters pointed out that both USA Today and the CBS Evening News used the same misleading number. And as Norris put it, publishing such a meaningless number makes Barofsky seem like nothing more than “an irresponsible headline hunter.”

Kit Bond says DeMint’s attack on Obama was ‘way off base.’


Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has been aggressively attacking President Obama recently, saying his efforts to reform health care will be his “Waterloo” and that it will ultimately “break him.” He’s also said the health care debate is “a real showdown between socialism and freedom.” When asked about DeMint’s charges during a conference call with local reporters, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) called them “way off base.” The Hill reports:

I didn’t like particularly the way that Sen. DeMint said it,” Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) said in a conference call with Missouri reporters when asked if he agreed with DeMint’s sentiments on stopping the president’s spending.

I think he was way off-base in his attack on the president,” added Bond, who is retiring from the Senate at the end of this term.

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) also distanced himself from DeMint’s “Waterloo” comment yesterday saying, “I don’t think that’s a good way to look at it.”

Whoa Hey, the FreeRepublic Website Is Overthrowing the U.S. Government


This would be terrifying if it wasn’t about some lamer old wingnuts and their message board: The person who runs is cold gonna overthrow the U.S. government — that means you, blackenstein — and ho ho, no more taxes on the millionaires! Hooray! Anyway, folks, things are getting Seriously Weird with the wingnuts, birthers, paultards and other middle-aged white suckers who bought into that whole Reagan thing 30 years ago and, whoops, are still poor and doomed.

And then, in 2008, Americans mysteriously voted in droves for a common African Soviet from, er, Hawaii, who has been president now for what, six months? And this NON-PRESIDENT is, uhm, trying to get some health coverage for these poor dumb AM-radio listeners, so …. OVERTHROW THE GUBMINT.

What will happen? How many will shoot up Holocaust museums, or start car-bombing the hip hop? And how thankful should we all be that these people are so goddamned obese that simply getting up from the ‘puter table is pretty much out of the realm of possibility? [FreeRepublic]

Congressman Eric Massa Condemns Fox News

MPNnow.comCongressman Eric Massa today demanded Fox News immediately fire Bill O'Reilly and Lt. Col Ralph Peters for what Massa said were “deeply offensive and unpatriotic statements” made about prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl.

In a Monday interview on Fox News, Peters said Bergdahl appeared to be a deserter and refused to apologize for his remarks in a Tuesday interview on Fox's O'Reily Factor hosted by Bill O'Reilly.

Massa, along with 22 other Congressional veterans, sent a letter to Fox News Chief Executive Roger Ailes on Tuesday demanding he issue an apology to the family of Bergdahl.

“Words cannot express how furious I am at Fox News, Lt. Col Ralph Peters and Bill O'Reilly for suggesting that we should leave a prisoner of war behind and allow him to be executed by the Taliban to save us the trouble of trying to intervene,” Massa said.

Research Firm Cited by GOP Is Owned by Health Insurer

Washington Post

The political battle over health-care reform is waged largely with numbers, and few number-crunchers have shaped the debate as much as the Lewin Group, a consulting firm whose research has been widely cited by opponents of a public insurance option.

To Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican whip, it is "the nonpartisan Lewin Group."

To Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, it is an "independent research firm."

To Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the second-ranking Republican on the pivotal Finance Committee, it is "well known as one of the most nonpartisan groups in the country."

Generally left unsaid amid all the citations is that the Lewin Group is wholly owned by UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation's largest insurers.

More specifically, the Lewin Group is part of Ingenix, a UnitedHealth subsidiary that was accused by the New York attorney general and the American Medical Association, a physician's group, of helping insurers shift medical expenses to consumers by distributing skewed data. Ingenix supplied its parent company and other insurers with data that allegedly understated the "usual and customary" doctor fees that insurers use to determine how much they will reimburse consumers for out-of-network care.

In January, UnitedHealth agreed to a $50 million settlement with the New York attorney general and a $350 million settlement with the AMA, covering conduct going back as far as 1994.

Ingenix chief executive Andrew Slavitt said the Ingenix data was never biased, but Ingenix nonetheless agreed to exit that particular line of business. "The data didn't have the appearance of independence that's necessary for it to be useful," Slavitt said.

Lewin Group Vice President John Sheils said his firm had nothing to do with the allegedly flawed Ingenix reimbursement data. Lewin has gone through "a terribly difficult adjustment" since it was bought by UnitedHealth in 2007, because the corporate ownership "does create the appearance of a conflict of interest."

"It hasn't affected . . . the work we do, and I think people who know me know that I am not a good liar," Sheils said.

Lewin's clients include the government and private groups with a variety of perspectives, including the Commonwealth Fund and the Heritage Foundation. A February report contained information that could be used to argue for a single-payer system, the approach most threatening to private insurers, Sheils noted.

But not all of the firm's reports see the light of day. For example, a study for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association was never released, Sheils said.

"Let's just say, sometimes studies come out that don't show exactly what the client wants to see. And in those instances, they have [the] option to bury the study -- to not release it, rather," Sheils said.

Asked to comment, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association spokesman Brett Lieberman said, "We're still working with Lewin on a study, and, you know, we don't talk about our studies until they're done....."....

Holocaust Shooter Von Brunn was a "Birther" - Rachel Maddow

Liz Cheney has verbal diarrhea

Dept. of Inevitability: Limbaugh Joins Birthers

Nashville Scene

A thousand bells in a thousand loony church towers are ringing:
Top-rated radio host Rush Limbaugh, upset that he's forced to report his every movement to tax authorities, blasted President Obama for failing to prove he is natural-born citizen of the United States..."Barack Obama has yet to have to prove that he's a citizen. All he has to do is show a birth certificate. He has yet to have to prove he's a citizen. I have to show them 14 different ways where the h--- I am every day of the year for three years."

This may seem like the perfect moment for some sort of Told ya they're all crazy! liberal back-slapping. Awesome, the pill-popping, thrice-divorced, presumptive leader of the Republican party is one of them! But mostly this just makes me sad.

I had coffee with Bill Phillips, Bill Purcell's former deputy mayor, and he went out of his way to explain to me (a 26-year-old whom he, probably correctly, assumed had a warped view of conservatives) that he was one of those "good Republicans," not the crazies who seem to be running the show these days.

Phillips, it goes without saying, is a smart guy. And eminently reasonable. But because of people like Rep. Marsha Blackburn and the C Street Gang and Limbaugh, Phillips now feels it necessary to qualify his political affiliation. Beliefs that, I'm assuming here, have been shaped and formed by decades of experience in politics and civic life now require a preface because a bunch of assholes think the majority of this country unknowingly voted a Kenyan into the White House.

Maybe that's good for a certain number of Democrats in the short-term. But I don't think it's a stretch to say that this birther movement, now seemingly strengthened by the support of "Paris Hilton without the sex videos," is bad for everyone in the long haul.

Is President Obama's race behind the 'birther' conspiracy movement?

If you don't know what a 'birther' is, you're not alone. 'Birther' is a relatively new term that is used to describe a fringe segment of the population that ostensibly believes there is a vast cover-up by the government, Republicans and Democrats alike, to hide information about President Obama's birth. Birthers say that they believe that President Obama is not eligible to be the president of the United States because he isn't a natural born citizen of the U.S.

The origin of the birther conspiracy appears to have begun during the Obama presidential campaign when Obama campaign workers heard a rumor that then Senator Obama's birth certificate had his name as Barack Mohammed Obama instead of Barack Hussein Obama. The rumor was untrue and to allay any confusion, President Obama decided to post his birth certificate on the internet.

Instead of allaying any rumors regarding his given name, the posting of his birth certificate on the internet only served to amplify rumors among a small group of passionate Obama haters to spread the false information that Obama was not born in the United States at all but was born in Kenya and therefore wasn't eligible to become president.

The birthers, faced with the factual evidence as submitted by the state of Hawaii, witnesses, hospital workers, family and friends and faced with the actual birth certificate itself, still claim to believe that President Obama isn't really a U.S. citizen. Faced with overwhelming evidence that proves that Obama was born in the United States, the birthers still aren't satisfied.

There have always been people unhappy with the outcome of presidential elections. But since the election of the first African American president, President Obama, there has been a small but increasingly vitriolic segment of the population that appears to genuinely feel hatred towards our new president.

Historically, presidents have borne a great deal of criticism by the opposition party and to some degree at least, we expect this sort of thing. But the criticism aimed at President Obama has crossed the line of expected criticism by the opposition and has spawned the birther movement.

In a town meeting in Delaware earlier this summer, Congressman Castle, (R), Delaware, began taking questions from the audience. A woman stood up with a plastic bag and an American flag clutched in her hand and accused Republican Congressman Castle of being part of the conspiracy that is covering up the president's birth status. The woman all but wept with anger. She talked about how her father had fought in WWII to protect our country and ended her emotional speech by shouting that she wanted her country back. Several people in the audience clapped and shouted in support of the woman. When Congressman Castle stated that Obama is a citizen of the United States, he was booed.

You can see the video here.

There is no doubt that the woman was genuinely distressed about the election of President Obama. She held her own birth certificate in her hand. She talked about her father's military service to the country during World War II. She was clearly angry.

The evidence of President Obama's birth in Hawaii is overwhelming and undisputed by all but the small number of persistent people who choose to ignore facts and evidence like the woman in the video you just watched.

When the people known as birthers, people such as the woman in Delaware, refuse to accept factual evidence, and continue to disrupt and provoke the public discourse with accusations that have been soundly debunked, one must then contemplate what it is that birthers are really upset about.

What is so different about President Obama that this difference has generated an entire movement based on a conspiracy that has been debunked numerous times? What is so different about President Obama from previous presidents that makes a woman stand up during a town meeting and accuse the former governor of the state, a Republican congressman, of being part of a massive coverup?

What is so different about President Obama from previous presidents is his ancestry. He is an American citizen but his father is Kenyan, his mother Kansan. President Obama is an African American. It seems abundantly clear that it is President Obama's ancestry that is at the heart of the warrantless birther movement. There is simply no other explanation that makes any sense.

Occam's razor is a principle attributed to a 14th century Franciscan friar that in its simplest form states that "when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better."

Occam's razor is applied to logic in philosophy and science. The simplest explanation for something is almost always the correct explanation.

Conspiracy theories can be exciting and generate passion but they are unrealistic. For a conspiracy to be successful, a large number of people have to agree to withhold information, withhold the truth for an unlimited amount of time, in other words, a lot of people must agree to keep a big secret. For example, there is a small segment of the population who genuinely believe the lunar landing was nothing more than a hoax.

To fake the moon landing in 1969, all of the people who worked at Mission Control in Houston would have had to have agreed to participate in the hoax and never reveal the truth. All of the astronauts and all of their families would have also had to have agreed to go along with the invented story. So the first and most obvious problem with conspiracy 'theories' is that a large number of people would have to be involved in keeping a great big secret.

There are other problems with conspiracy theories. What would be the purpose of thousands of people participating in a massive hoax such as mankind landing on the moon?

The idea that there are hundreds of people, perhaps thousands of people who have agreed to keep the secret that the president of the United States is not really an American citizen, is not merely illogical, it's absurd. And so there must be some other reason for the passionate hatred by people like the woman in Delaware.

If we apply the principle of Occam's razor to the birther movement, the logical conclusion is that President Obama's race is the reason for such passionate hatred. it is the one thing that makes him very different from every other president that has come before him.

A majority of Americans voted for an African American man for president but that doesn't mean that racism no longer exists in the United States.

The issue of race has all but disappeared from the public discourse but racism may be what has spawned the birther movement. The embittered remarks by people like the woman in Delaware conveniently obfuscate what is really bothering the birthers.

it is unfortunate that the mainstream media network CNN has allowed one of its 'anchors' to lend credibility to the racist birthers by perpetuating the myth that the issue of President Obama's proof of birth in Hawaii hasn't been resolved. Lou Dobbs is encouraging the racist birthers to continue the charade that there is some sort of conspiracy regarding President Obama's legitimacy as an American citizen. In fact, he used the provocative term "undocumented" on his radio show to describe the question of President Obama's birth certificate intimating that President Obama is like an illegal alien.

Here is more about Lou Dobbs and the birthers.

It is much easier to say you hate someone because they are not a citizen of the United States than it is to admit that you hate someone because you are a racist. The easily disprovable notion that President Obama isn't really a natural born citizen of the united States is most likely founded in

Factory worker commits suicide over missing iPhone prototype

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- A Chinese factory that makes iPhones said Wednesday that it has suspended several staffers after an employee committed suicide, apparently under duress when a prototype went missing.

Sun Danyong, 25, jumped off the 12th floor of the Foxconn Science and Technology Group in the southern city of Shenzhen last week.

The recent engineering school graduate sent 16 model phones to phone manufacturer, Apple, but only 15 were received, said the state-run newspaper New Beijing Post.

Because of the missing phone, Sun was questioned by company officials and -- according to posts on online forums by his friends -- detained, searched and beaten........

Rick Sanchez Puts End To Obama Birth Certificate Issue

Lou Dobbs and the canard over President Obama's birth


Lou Dobbs had David from Freeport, N.Y., on the line, the caller musing darkly about President Obama "rushing all these programs through by whatever means," knowing he will soon be exposed as a fake, a fraud, a . . . Kenyan.

At that point, a scrupulous radio host had three options: (A) hit the kill button (B) laugh and hit the kill button or (C) offer some push-back against the fantastical notion that Barack Obama was born on foreign soil and thus serves -- illegally -- as the Oval Office's first resident alien.

Instead, Dobbs chose the maximum complicity-minimum integrity route, or (D): "Certainly your view can't be discounted," the host said.

So it went over the last week, with the bloviating interviewer offering the (nominal) credibility of his syndicated radio show, which airs on dozens of stations, and the CNN television brand as a platform for assorted wing nuts, whose conspiracy fulminations about Obamahad previously been most virulent in the more disreputable reaches of the Internet.

The subject fits neatly with Dobbs' nativist, immigrant obsession. And the cable demagogue, already well behind Fox News, has got to find some way to keep from sagging behind even traditional cable television laggard MSNBC.

Cooler heads at CNN put some distance between themselves and their once star host, with fill-in Kitty Pilgrim using a segment of "Lou Dobbs Tonight" on Friday to provide a substantially more skeptical look at the Obama-made-in-Africa claims.

Pilgrim introduced the topic of Obama's alleged foreign birth as she sat in for Dobbs that night, calling it "the discredited rumor that won't go away."

"CNN has fully investigated the issue," the substitute said, and "found no basis for the questions about the president's birthplace."

When the issue first surfaced in the presidential campaign last summer, numerous credible news organizations and even the Hawaii Department of Health presented clear evidence that Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu.

But those reports have done little to snuff out elaborate and ever-mutating conspiracy theories.

I often hear from disgruntled readers that they don't pay attention to the dread "Mainstream Media" because they can find "the truth" on the Internet. Translation: Some blogger will please them by propping up just about any cockeyed theory that they hold.

The Internet agitators, in turn, get support and sustenance from mainstream provocateurs like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, who last month chortled, "God does not have a birth certificate, and neither does Obama -- not that we've seen."

Dobbs and the others found a nominal "news" peg for the story last week when the U.S. Army allowed a reserve major, Stefan F. Cook, to reverse his voluntary deployment to Afghanistan. Cook proclaimed his orders invalid because, he insisted, his commander in chief wasn't born in the U.S.

Never mind that the good major appears in this instance to be more agent provocateur than man of arms or that he is represented by Orly Taitz, an Orange County attorney (and dentist) who has made it her life's work to prove Obama isn't one of us.

Dobbs welcomed Taitz and another of her clients, Alan Keyes (who was crushed by Obama in their Illinois U.S. Senate race), to his radio program like seers instead of extreme partisans. Dobbs suggested he had reached no conclusions, before barreling ahead with questions about why Obama hasn't produced "his birth certificate, the long form, the real deal."

But Obama has presented his birth certificate, as first noted by the nonpartisan in June of last year.

Rather than settling the matter, though, the Internet display of the "Certification of Live Birth" provoked the first in what has become an endless cycle of challenges and innuendo.

Just last month, the Hawaii Department of Health confirmed to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that the document is the only official record of the president's birth and proves he was born in that state.

But conspiracy theorists argue that the lack of an underlying paper document (the so-called long-form birth certificate) proves a cover-up.

That ignores multiple truths including this one: Hawaii's records, like those in many states, have gone electronic, and the certification document is accepted by both the state and national government as full proof of citizenship. To insist otherwise is to embrace the notion that thousands upon thousands of Hawaiians have obtained their U.S. passports, using similar documents, fraudulently.

One Internet "proof" of Obama's alien roots truncates a taped interview with his grandmother to make it sound as if she is confirming his birth in Kenya, when the full tape shows she does nothing of the sort.

Another canard asserts that Obama must have been traveling on an Indonesian passport when he went to Pakistan at age 20, because the U.S. had banned travel there. Problem: There was no such travel ban.

To believe the wild theories, one must also accept that Obama's mother -- rather than apply for citizenship for her son as one would expect if he had been born overseas -- launched an elaborate hoax. It would have begun in 1961 with her placing false birth notices in Honolulu's two daily newspapers. Diabolical.

Brooks Jackson, director of Annenberg Political Fact Check (FactCheck.Org) and a reporter with 34 years in the business, has seen one howler after another knocked down, only for another to sprout in its place.

"CNN should be ashamed of itself for putting some of that stuff on the air," said Jackson, who worked at the cable outlet for more than 20 years.

Besides Pilgrim's skin-back report last week, one CNN employee reminded me several times that Dobbs' most pointed assertions were made on his radio program, which is unconnected to CNN.

Jackson has studied the kind of "disordered thinking" exhibited by the foreign-birth gadflies, known collectively as "birthers." His book "unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation" -- co-authored with another journalism authority, Kathleen Hall Jamieson -- explored instances in which the public let itself be overtaken by emotion.

Jackson said he saw a bit of this emotional attachment to a conspiracy theory from Democrats who insisted that Sen. John F. Kerry lost the 2004 election only because of voter fraud in Ohio. They kept finding new examples.

Certainly, a good chunk of the American public hasn't armed itself with enough plain information to sniff out the flimflam. Well after this year's presidential inauguration, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 11% of Americans believed Obama was a Muslim. And 35% weren't sure of his religion.

Republican Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware saw a town hall meeting this month interrupted as a woman, rooted on by a boisterous crowd, angrily demanded to know why nothing was being done to oust the "citizen of Kenya" pretending to be president.

On the even more extreme fringes, such sentiments border on dangerous. James von Brunn, the elderly neo-Nazi who shot and killed a guard last month at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., had posted anti-Obama "birther" theories on the Internet.

Dobbs did not return my call Tuesday. But he did go on the radio and rant about the L.A. Times and the other liberal media that are "subservient and servile to this presidency."

He insisted he believed Obama is a citizen, while continuing to tell listeners "there is no actual birth certificate." He did it because he is a Man of the People. And, as he explained, "the American people want an answer."