Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Media Matters Daily Summary 05-26-10

Wash Times falsely claims "Kagan's foreign law trumps" constitutional law
A Washington Times editorial relies on false claims and distortions to claim that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan believes foreign law "trumps" American law and the U.S. Constitution. Read More

Legal experts reject Fox's allegation that Sestak was "bribed"
Fox News has seized on false allegations that the White House "bribed" Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) with an administration job in exchange for staying out of a Senate race and claimed it would amount to an "illegal" and possibly "an impeachable offense." In fact, legal experts have rejected the claims that such offers are a bribe or illegal. Read More

John Stossel's continued advocacy for a right to discriminate
Fox's John Stossel has repeatedly called for the repeal of part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, saying that "private businesses ought to get to discriminate" and that free-market forces will resolve racial discrimination. Read More

Beck falsely claims Obama will not "honor our troops" on Memorial Day
Glenn Beck falsely claimed that President Obama "has decided not to honor our troops on Memorial Day." In fact, Obama will speak at a Memorial Day service at a dedicated Veterans Affairs cemetery in Illinois; Obama is not the first president to commemorate the holiday somewhere other than Arlington National Cemetery. Read More

Stossel digs deeper in attempt to defend his attack on Civil Rights Act
John Stossel continues to defend his argument that the sections of the Civil Rights Act outlawing discrimination by private businesses should be repealed, arguing that discrimination by businesses would have disappeared if not for Jim Crow laws. In fact, long after the repeal of Jim Crow, the Department of Justice continues to file discrimination cases against private businesses. Read More

Gingrich attacks the bailouts to play to the anti-government Tea Party crowd, but later justifies them to defend Bush.


Newt Gingrich recently sat down with for an interview promoting his new book To Save America in which he argues that America is being taken over by a “secular socialist machine.” Fivethirtyeight’s Tom Schaller asked about the 2008 bank bailouts, noting that some have called it a form of “corporate socialism.” In response, Gingrich attacked the Bush bailout and then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson for implementing it:

GINGRICH: I feel very strongly about that. I said at that time that I thought Henry Paulson should not have been Treasury Secretary. I thought it was totally wrong for the former chairman of Goldman Sachs to be funneling billions of dollars from the taxpayers to Goldman Sachs. And I have said over and over, you can’t have capitalism on the way up and socialism on the way down because you get socialism both ways.

Later in the interview, Schaller asked Gingrich what he thinks of President Bush, “under whom the first $3 trillion budget and first $1 trillion deficit was passed.” This time, Gingrich had some very different things to say about the bailouts. The former Speaker defended Bush’s tenure, adding that he had no choice but to push taxpayer money on the nation’s largest banks:

GINGRICH: I think that he was very sincere in his desire to protect America. I think he was very sincere in his basic conservative social values. I think he began his Administration with a real commitment on lower taxes and more economic growth, precisely in the Reagan model. And I think that late in his Administration that he was frankly worn down by the bureaucracies in Washington. [...]

And then I think when the crisis hit in the fall of 2008 everybody panicked. Candidly, there was a period there when you had the Federal Reserve chairman and the Secretary of the Treasury saying, “If we don’t do X, Y and Z, the entire world economy is going to collapse.” That’s pretty good grounds for stopping and trying to do something. It’s easy for people to say, “Well, I’d rather have risked a world depression.” But most of the people I talked to in the private sector at the time were really worried about the system freezing up totally........................................

AFA: Hitler was gay, and he recruited gay soldiers because they had ‘no limits’ on their ‘savagery.’


American Family Association’s (AFA) homophobic Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy, Bryan Fischer, is constantly pushing an extreme anti-gay agenda, even going after people he just thinks might be gay. This week on AFA Radio, he claimed that not only was Adolf Hitler gay, but all his “Brownshirts” were too:

FISCHER: So Hitler himself was an active homosexual. And some people wonder, didn’t the Germans, didn’t the Nazis, persecute homosexuals? And it is true they did; they persecuted effeminate homosexuals. But Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers, they were his enforcers, they were his thugs. And Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual solders basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Stormtroopers, the Browshirts, were male homosexuals.

As Right Wing Watch points out, Fischer has received the right-wing stamp of approval by being confirmed as a speaker to the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit. Watch it:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Korn - Haze

Korn - Alone I Break

Media Matters Daily Summary 05-25-10

Fox's "$165 billion" "union bailout" is neither
Fox News and Fox Business personalities have claimed that a bill dealing with union-administered pension funds is a "$165 billion bailout for unions." In fact, the bill is not a "bailout for unions," and its sponsor reportedly said it would cost the federal government $8 billion to $10 billion. Read More

Right-wing media cling to $165 billion pension "bailout" falsehood
The right-wing media is clinging to the falsehood that Sen. Bob Casey's Create Jobs & Save Benefits Act is a "$165 billion bailout" of union pensions. In fact, the legislation proposes the "partition" of specific types of union pensions that are deemed to be insolvent,and its sponsor reportedly said it would cost between $8 and $10 billion. Read More

Beck's war on Obama targets the president's family
Glenn Beck has made his crusade against President Obama personal, connecting the Obama daughters to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, attacking Michelle Obama's physical appearance at a state dinner, and asserting that Obama was scarred because his parents "abandoned" him "for Marxism." Read More

Meltdown: The intricate conspiracy to "destroy" Glenn Beck, his family, God, and the founders
In the past week, Glenn Beck has detailed an intricate web of conspiracies involving SEIU, AFL-CIO, Van Jones, Jim Wallis, the White House, Rep. Anthony Weiner, and Media Matters. Beck has warned that these Alinskyite plots seek to "destroy" him, his family, Fox News, Christianity and the Founding Fathers. Read More

Right-wing media attack Obama over Memorial Day plans
Conservative media have attacked President Obama, claiming that his plans to attend a Memorial Day ceremony in Chicago while allowing Vice President Joe Biden to lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery are disrespectful to the military. However, previous presidents -- including Ronald Reagan -- allowed others to lay the wreath at Arlington to honor fallen troops. Read More

Morris fabricates "impeachable offense" out of alleged Sestak job offer
Fox News' Dick Morris' baselessly claimed that an alleged job offer by the Obama administration to Rep. Joe Sestak would constitute an "impeachable offense." However, the Reagan administration reportedly made a similar offer to a candidate, and legal experts have rejected the claims that such offers are illegal. Read More

Wash. Times tries and fails to paint Kagan as "outside the mainstream"
The Washington Times baselessly claimed that Elena Kagan's views on free speech put her " 'outside the mainstream' of the public." To make its case, the Times relied on distortions, out-of-context quotes, and recycled falsehoods. Read More

Does "Reagan conservative" Hannity think Reagan should have been impeached for reported job offer?
Sean Hannity has baselessly claimed that an alleged job offer by the Obama administration to Rep. Joe Sestak would constitute a "de facto bribe" and "an impeachable offense." However, the administration of Hannity's political hero, Ronald Reagan, reportedly made a similar offer to a candidate. Read More

Beck cites his dubious predictions to claim his "global governance" theory is credible
Highlighting several of his past predictions, Glenn Beck used false or misleading claims to purportedly demonstrate that those predictions had been accurate. Beck cited those supposedly vindicated predictions as evidence that his claim that that "we're heading for global governance" should be taken seriously. Read More

Stimulus raised GDP by up to 4.2 pct in Q1 2010 -CBO

WASHINGTON, May 25 (Reuters) - The massive U.S. stimulus package put up to 3.4 million people to work and boosted GDP by up to 4.6 percent in the first three months of 2010, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday.

CBO's latest estimate does not differ significantly from its previous assessments of the impact of the $893 billion package, passed in 2009.

But it is sure to cheer congressional Democrats as they struggle to advance a smaller package of safety-net spending, tax cuts and other measures to boost the sluggish economy and bring down the 9.9 percent unemployment rate.

Vice President Joe Biden issued a statement saying the CBO report "is important validation that the action we took to rescue the economy last year has not only pulled us back from the brink, but put us on a firm path toward economic recovery."

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, as the stimulus package is formally known, lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.8 percentage point and 1.9 percentage points in the first quarter of 2010, CBO estimated.

That translates to somewhere between 1.4 million and 3.4 million jobs, CBO said..............

That's Bullshit: We're not Greece

Sarah Palin's strange, unprofessional and paranoid grudge


Sarah Palin took to her Facebook account today to inform her readers that Joe McGinniss, an award-winning reporter and author, had rented the house next door.

I saw Ben Smith flag this earlier today but did not really appreciate how strange and, frankly, immature Palin's post was until I read it.

Palin informs her readers that McGinniss is "overlooking my children’s play area" and "overlooking Piper’s bedroom." Alternately sounding angry and mocking, she refers to "the family’s swimming hole," which at first reference sounds like she's accusing McGinniss of checking out the Palins in their bathing suits, until you realize the family's "swimming hole" is Lake Lucille. And she posts a photo of the space McGinniss is renting, captioning it, "Can I call you Joe?"

Can somebody explain to me how this isn't a despicable thing for Palin to do? She describes McGinniss as the author of "the bizarre anti-Palin administration oil development pieces that resulted in my Department of Natural Resources announcing that his work is the most twisted energy-related yellow journalism they’d ever encountered."

Another way of putting it would be that McGinniss is an investigative journalist who wrote his first best-seller at age 26 and was shopping a book about Alaska and the oil industry when Palin was named John McCain's running mate. And another way of describing those "bizarre" pieces is that no one has ever challenged the facts in them.

Palin, who has an undergraduate degree in journalism, should understand that articles don't become untrue when the subjects don't agree with them.

Has McGinniss gone to an extreme to get a story? Well, we don't have his side yet -- not that this has prevented every other media outlet from typing up Palin's Facebook post like some lost Gospel. But assuming he's rented the house near the Palins for some period of time, assuming the Palins know he's there and that he's writing a book, then what, exactly, is wrong with this?

Politicians don't have veto power over who gets to write about them, or how they research their stories, as long as they're within the bounds of the law. It's incredibly irresponsible for them to sic their fans on journalists they don't like. And that's what Palin is doing here -- she has already inspired Glenn Beck to accuse McGinniss of "stalking" Palin and issuing a threat to boycott his publisher.

This is really the ultimate example of the way Palin manipulates the press and inverts the relationship between reporters and politicians, turning the former into "stalkers," and the latter -- as long as they're Republicans or members of her family -- into saints whom no one can criticize. No one in the media should reward Palin for this irresponsible and pathetic bullying.

GOP Rep. Slams Fox News: ‘I Don’t Know What They’re Doing At Fox News, But They Should Stop Smoking It’


This morning, Fox and Friends characterized Sen. Bob Casey’s (D-PA) Create Jobs & Save Benefits Act as a “$165 billion bailout” of union pensions. “It has been decades since you’ve seen an administration so prone to the influence of unions as this one is. I’m not going to say this is owned by the unions, but their influence on this administration is simply enormous,” Fox Business Network’s Stuart Varney claimed of the legislation, which is actually designed to partition “specific types of union pensions that are deemed to be insolvent.” Later in the day, the network went after House Republicans for co-sponsoring similar legislation in the House. On America Live with Megyn Kelly, the network showed a chart of the nine Republicans supporting the measure and questioned their sanity.

This didn’t go over well with Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH), a co-sponsor of the House measure, who took to the floor this afternoon to criticize Fox for its coverage. “I think as a Republican, I’m supposed to love Fox News and hate MSNBC,” he began. “Now, I’m going to tell you, I do hate MSNBC, but something just happened on Fox News that compelled me to come to the floor”:

LATOURETTE: They’ve run this diagram and it really is a, I think, blaspheming my good friend Pat Tiberi from Ohio and indicating that there are nine Republicans supporting a bill that will bail out unions. Well, that’s nonsense and I don’t know who the pin head and weenie is at Fox News that decided to put that story together. But the true facts of this piece of legislation are as follows. This bill will save the taxpayers by saying to those corporations that have union pension plans, if you find yourselves in a bind, rather than thrusting that upon the taxpayer, it spreads out over five years the ability to bring those pension plans up to speed. That’s good government, it’s a good bill. It’s a good Tiberi bill and I don’t know what they’re doing at Fox News, but they should stop smoking it and get back to reporting the facts.

Watch it:

LaTourette may soon regret his remarks. Last month, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) criticized Fox News for pushing misinformation about health care reform, but later walked back his comments after being confronted by host Neil Cavuto.

Weiner To O'Reilly: You Should Be 'Ashamed' For Defending Goldline


Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) went head-to-head with Bill O'Reilly last night over the Democrat's attack on Goldline and conservative pundits like Glenn Beck who have ties to the gold seller.

"Defending someone that gouges consumers? You ought to be ashamed of yourself," Weiner scolded O'Reilly.

Last week, Weiner (D-NY) released a report that said Goldline "uses aggressive sales tactics, conservative spokespeople and rhetoric to sell over-priced gold coins to unsuspecting consumers." He also excoriated what he called the "unholy alliance between Goldline and conservative pundits."

Beck had appeared on O'Reilly's show last Friday, chomping on a hot dog and defending Goldline against Weiner's charges, citing the company's A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau. "It's almost like Weiner is going after something else," Beck said, before adding "maybe" and pointing to himself.

Last night, Weiner pointed out that the Los Angeles Times had reported that the Better Business Bureau can be paid off to give companies a higher rating. "Glenn Beck has a responsibility to the people who watch his show to say, 'You know what? There are smart ways and dumb ways to buy gold.'"

O'Reilly responded: "That's not true. He doesn't have that responsibility."

"I defy Glenn Beck to dispute the premise of the report," Weiner said, adding "Bill, you're being a shill for this company," and "you ought to be ashamed."

Weiner ended the interview by agreeing to O'Reilly's offer to set up a debate between the congressman and Beck next week.

Sex and Politics

There are only a few political affair storylines. Usually when the paramour comes forward, unless they have a lot of skeletons, that's pretty much it. The pol has to either come clean and resign or more often admit causing the proverbial "pain" in his marriage and then go back to fundraising and dating. I use the male pronoun because that's almost always the gender dynamic. But we've got a affair story down in South Carolina (i.e., the Palmetto Sex Farm) that turns a lot of the norms on their heads.

Start with the fact that the accused pol is female gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley. And her accuser isn't some person in-state folks have never heard of before. He's a very well-known conservative and insider-politics blogger, Will Folks, who at one point was the spokesman for Appalachian trail hiking Governor Mark Sanford, though well before the affair scandal last year.

Read more »

--Josh Marshall

Monday, May 24, 2010

35,000 People Protest Christie’s Budget Cuts At Trenton Statehouse, Outnumbering Earlier Tea Party Rally 87-to-1


As the poor economy continues to take a toll on the nation’s tax coffers, states across the country are facing serious budget crises. One such state is New Jersey, which has a projected $10.7 billion budget deficit. To deal with the budget deficit, progressive state legislators passed legislation creating a new tax bracket on residents making more than $1 million. The state’s nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services estimates that the new tax would lead a household making $1.2 million annually to pay only $11,598 more a year.

Yet New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed the progressive legislators’ tax bill, despite the fact that the state has the “second-highest personal income in the country.” Instead, the governor has proposed massive cuts to public services, like an $820 million reduction in the state’s education budget and ending millions of dollars of aid to cash-strapped municipalities.

Saturday, New Jerseyans, outraged at Christie’s choice to protect the wealthiest citizens of his state rather than its schools and infrastructure, demonstrated outside the statehouse in Trenton, chanting, “We are not the problem.” Police estimated that 35,000 people took part in what quickly turned into “one of the largest protests ever in the state.”

Local news station FOX 29 filed a report from the scene. Watch it:

While the protests took place, Christie was 54 miles away at a bill signing at Monmouth Park racetrack. When asked about the protesters, the governor simply dismissed them, saying, “I’m here. They’re there. Have a nice day.” “How ’bout some jobs, Governor Christie?” one woman reportedly yelled at Christie during his appearance at the track.

The massive rally is particularly significant when compared to the right-wing tea party protests, which the media have covered obessessively. At a tea party rally in Trenton last month where demonstrators gathered to protest “unchecked” government, police estimated that, at a maximum, only 400 people attended. Which means that at the very least, the protesters marching against Christie’s budget cuts and for decent investment in public infrastructure outnumbered the anti-government tea party protesters 87-to-1.

Conservatives, Including Rand Paul, Disagree With Palin’s Claim That Maddow Asked Paul ‘Gotcha’ Questions


Invoking her own perceived victimhood at the hands of the national media, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin defended GOP Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul yesterday by claiming that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow attacked him with “prejudiced” “gotcha” questions about his position on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “One thing that we can learn in this lesson that I have learned and Rand Paul is learning now is don’t assume that you can engage in a hypothetical discussion about constitutional impacts with a reporter or a media personality who has an agenda,” said Palin.

But many conservatives don’t appear to be buying Palin’s narrative. On Meet The Press yesterday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said that discussion of Paul’s “views about the limit and scope of government” was a “fair topic.” As Huffington Post’s Sam Stein notes, even Rand Paul appears to disagree with Palin, telling WHAS11 that “it really wasn’t the interview so much that was unfair. The interview, I think, was fair.” Watch it:

On Commentary’s blog today, former Bush administration official Peter Wehner criticized Palin’s claim, writing that “the interview was serious and not as Palin portrays it“:

Still, in this particular instance, the interview was serious and not as Palin portrays it. (The interview can be seen here.) The discussion was fairly substantive. It includes excerpts from previous Paul interviews. And it was not focused on a hypothetical; it was about a landmark piece of social legislation about which Paul had expressed serious reservations. It was legitimate to ask Paul the questions Maddow did. And the “gotcha moment” was caused not by Maddow’s questions but by Paul’s answers. It was no more of a “gotcha moment” than it would be to ask a person running for vice president what specific newspapers and magazines she reads and what Supreme Court decisions she disagrees with.

Sarah Palin has undeniable talents — and on many issues, I agree with her. But too often she has become the spokesperson for cultural resentments. Understandably scarred by the 2008 campaign, she is on a quest to clear her name by pounding the media at every turn. They are always to blame — even when, as in the case of Rand Paul, they are not actually to blame. In that respect, and in others, Palin’s style is quite different from, and at times antithetical to, that of Ronald Reagan, who had a charm and winsomeness about him. He made forceful arguments in a winning way. He was blessedly free of rancor and bitterness. Ms. Palin could learn from him, as could we all.

Wehner’s post was linked without disagreement by both the FrumForum and National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru. Wehner’s Commentary colleague, Rick Richman added, “it is important for conservatives to be honest about Rand Paul and not to blame his unacceptable comments on the media that ferreted them out.”

Update - At The Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez attempts to defend Palin as demonstrating "what political loyalty looks like, in response to the lack thereof some on the McCain showed her." But Ponnuru knocks the argument down: "Loyalty is no excuse for making false claims."

Update - Rush Limbaugh's fill-in host Mark Davis mocked Palin today for claiming that Maddow tried "to trap" Paul "with an unfair question." "There are no unfair questions," said Davis.

Media Matters Daily Summary 05-24-10

Serwer falsely declares Blumenthal "lied" about being "captain of the swim team"
Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer falsely claimed that Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal "lied about Harvard" by claiming "he was captain of the swim team." In fact, there is no evidence that Blumenthal said he had been captain, and a former Harvard team captain has statedthat Blumenthal was on the team. Read More

Fox hosts Klein to push his conspiracy-laden, anti-Obama attack book
Fox News' Fox & Friends hosted WorldNetDaily writer Aaron Klein to push his latest book filled with baseless accusations and absurd conspiracy theories about the Obama administration. Klein's appearance is the latest example of his repeated attempts to level baseless attacks on the president and his administration. Read More

Media misleadingly claim Obama is the "single largest recipient of BP's cash"
Media outlets have misleadingly claimed that President Obama is "the single largest recipient of BP's cash" to back up Sarah Palin's baseless suggestion that contributions from oil companies have affected Obama's response to the Gulf oil spill. In fact, the money comes almost entirely from individuals employed by BP, not the corporation itself, and represents a minuscule fraction of Obama's total campaign contributions. Read More

Palin clings to false claim that Obama received the most BP PAC money
On Facebook, Sarah Palin falsely claimed it is an "undisputed fact that Barack Obama was BP's top recipient of both PAC and individual money for the last 20 years." In fact, President Obama received no PAC money from BP during his presidential campaign, and only $1,000 during his 2004 Senate campaign. Read More

Ditto-ography: Zev Chafets' Limbaugh bio full of falsehoods and distortions
In his Rush Limbaugh biography An Army of One, which Media Matters obtained in advance of its release, Zev Chafets describes himself as a longtime Limbaugh admirer and listener who asked Limbaugh "hundreds" of questions over the past few years. Limbaugh appears to have rubbed off on Chafets, as his sympathetic biography is riddled with falsehoods, distortions, and misleading claims. Read More

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cornyn Disagrees With Palin That Asking A Candidate About His Positions Is A ‘Gotcha’ Tactic


Today on Fox News Sunday, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin joined other conservatives in saying that Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul should never have gone on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show because it was a “gotcha” question to ask him about his views on civil rights (which were already the hot topic of the day, before the interview). Palin criticized Maddow, saying she “perhaps had an agenda” and that he should be allowed to freely engage in “a hypothetical discussion” about the Civil Rights Act:

WALLACE: Do you see some similarities to what politicians and the press did to you in the fall of 2008?

PALIN: Yeah, absolutely. So you know, one thing that we can learn in this lesson that I have learned and Rand Paul is learning now is don’t assume that you can engage in a hypothetical discussion about constitutional impacts with a reporter or a media personality who has an agenda, who may be prejudiced before they even get into the interview in regards to what your answer may be — and then the opportunity that they seize to get you.

You know, they’re looking for that gotcha moment. And that’s what it evidently appears to be that they did with Rand Paul, but I’m thankful that he was able to clarify his answer about his support for the Civil Rights Act.

Maddow, despite Palin’s rhetoric, provided Paul a fair forum, giving him approximately 15 minutes to explain his views. Last week, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) also said that Maddow did a “gotcha” interview, claiming, “If I’m walking down the street minding my own business and somebody sticks a microphone under my nose about a law that was passed 40 years ago, without more detail — I think it probably caught him a little bit by surprise.” Of course, Maddow didn’t “stick” a microphone under Paul’s nose; he freely appeared on her show and the issue of the Civil Rights Act was brought up earlier, during an interview Louisville Courier-Journal in Kentucky. At that time, Paul had a very clear opinion on the issue.

Today on NBC’s Meet the Press, however, Cornyn admitted that asking Paul about his positions is fair game:

GREGORY: Don’t you think this is fair game? Questions about his views about the limit and scope of government?

CORNYN: Well, I do think that’s a fair topic, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing extensively from him and all the other candidates over the next six months.

Watch Palin and Cornyn:

Sarah Palin Speaking in Tongues Again ....

On Rand Paul and the Civil Rights Act.

"I think Rand Paul is right in his clarifications. But what he means and his interpretation of the impacts of the impacts of the Civil Rights Act , he’s right on when he says he’s a supporter of Civil Rights, he’s a supporter of the Civil Rights Act and equal rights. He would have marched with Martin Luther King, he said, and he will oppose any acts to diminish or erode away any aspect of the Civil Rights Act."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rand Paul ducks question about minimum wage

By Greg Sargent

Rand Paul's remarkable interview this morning with George Stephanopoulos is getting lots of attention because of his criticism of President Obama for being too tough on British Petroleum.

But there's another, perhaps more telling, nugget that came at the very end: Paul was unwilling to say unequivocally that the Federal government has a proper role in setting the minimum wage. The exchange comes at the 7:45 mark of the interview:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Should the Federal government be able to set a minimum wage?

PAUL: It's not a question of whether they can or canot. I think that's decided. I think the question you have to ask is whether or not when you set the minimum wage it may cause unemployment.

Paul went on to argue that a high minimum wage risks pushing up unemployment among unskilled workers.

Paul was asked a straight Yes or No question: Does the Federal government have a valid role setting minimum wage? He declined to answer.

Later on Stephanopoulos asked Paul if he would repeal the minimum wage. He seemed to say No but basically brushed off the question. And even if he is opposed to repeal, the question of where he stands on repeal -- which is an impossibility -- is separate from whether he embraces the core principles underlying the law.

The pattern is becoming clearer and clearer: Paul simply does not want to answer direct questions about the proper role of the Federal government in regulating the private sector. He visibly bristles when asked to clarify his views on these matters.

Perhaps he knows that his views are too far out there and just doesn't want to lie about them. Or perhaps he thinks it's an unfair imposition for him to endure direct questioning from pointy-headed elite liberal journalists who are obviously doing nothing more than echoing DNC talking points. Whatever the explanation, it offers a telling glimpse into his actual views and character.

Jack Conway Strikes Back At Paul's 'Un-American' Comment


Kentucky Attorney General and Democratic nominee for Senate Jack Conway released a statement today criticizing Rand Paul for saying that President Obama's comments about BP's role in the Gulf Coast oil spill were "really un-American."

In the statement, Conway says, "we need a senator who will hold companies accountable."

Here's the full statement:

Rand Paul apparently has a deeply held conviction that corporations should be allowed to do what they see fit without oversight or accountability. He even goes so far as to say that that criticizing corporations when they hurt taxpayers and working families - as in the case of the massive BP oil disaster - is 'un-American.'

As Attorney General, I've seen how corporations can take advantage of consumers - whether it's oil companies that gouge Kentucky customers after a series of storms or pharmaceutical companies that commit Medicaid fraud. I have a deeply held conviction that we need a senator who will hold companies accountable. We have enough senators in Washington who are looking out for what's best for corporations. My sole focus will be looking out for Kentucky's taxpayers and families.

The TPM poll average puts Paul ahead of Conway 48.4%-37.3%. Paul has received a lot of attention recently for his criticisms of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Conway himself has said that Paul, who is a favorite of the tea party movement, is "destructive" and too far outside the mainstream.

Rand Paul: Obama's criticism of BP 'un-American'

WASHINGTONTaking another unconventional stand, Kentucky's Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul criticized President Barack Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill Friday as anti-business and sounding "really un-American."

Paul's defense of the oil company came during an interview as he tried to explain his controversial take on civil rights law, an issue that has overtaken his campaign since his victory in Tuesday's GOP primary.

"What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,'" Paul said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America." "I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business."

The Obama administration has used the "boot heel" phrase to describe its commitment to holding BP accountable for the spill and its cleanup.

Other Republicans have criticized the administration's handling of the oil spill, but few have been so vocal in defending BP, the company responsible for the deep well and offshore rig that exploded last month, killing 11 workers...............

Rand Paul has Nazi tourettes syndrome


Rand Paul warned last year that a worsening economy could lead to "a Hitler" coming to power in the U.S.

During an August 2009 speech at a "machine gun shoot" in Knob Creek, Kentucky, the GOP Senate candidate -- last seen walking back his opposition to a key piece of the Civil Rights Act -- declared that "we are on the precipice of an economic calamity", and asked: "What happens if the entire dollars collapses because we have so much debt?"

A little later in the speech, he offered an answer:

If we get economic calamity even worse than we have now, you will lose your rights. And we have to be vigilant and watch.

What happened in Germany, when the Weimar Republic printed up so much money and you carry it around in wheelbarrows? There was a collapse, and they actually voted in a Hitler. You could get something like that in our country if we're not careful and vigilant.

Watch (the key excerpt is around the 5:25 mark):

It's perhaps not the key point, but Paul mangles German history here. In fact, the hyper-inflation of the years after the First World War had largely stabilized by November 1923, when Hitler, lacking popular support, tried unsuccessfully to seize power in the Munich Beer Hall Putsch. It wasn't until the Depression of the early 1930s, triggered by the 1929 Wall St. crash, that the Nazis began to receive significant popular support, leading to Hitler becoming chancellor in 1933.

Leaving that aside, Paul's belief that an economic collapse could lead to Americans voting in "a Hitler" seems worthy of attention.

Gingrich catches Nazi tourettes syndrome

Gingrich: I’m not ‘unhinged,’ even though I once said that about people who made Bush-Nazi comparisons.

Recently, healthcare and oil industry lobbyist Newt Gingrich published a book, To Save America, which argues repeatedly that the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress are a “secular-socialist machine” that “represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.” But in 2005, during an appearance on Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, host Sean Hannity asked Gingrich what he thought about and Democrats supposedly “comparing George Bush to Adolf Hitler.” Gingrich replied, “maybe they’re becoming the unhinged party.” Today during a press conference in the Capitol Hill visitor center, ThinkProgress asked if Gingrich’s standard for being “unhinged” applied to his own frequent comparisons of Obama to Nazi Germany:

TP: In your new book, you argue that Obama and liberals quote “represent as great of a threat to America as Nazi Germany”–

GINGRICH: Not here, but I’m happy to talk about that–

TP: Just really quickly though, but during the Bush years, you said people who make Bush-Nazi comparisons were quote “unhinged.” By your own definition, are you unhinged?

GINGRICH: No. Nice try.

Watch it:

While Gingrich sees nothing absurd or hypocritical about his comparison between the Obama administration and Nazi Germany, he is facing increasing criticism for his assertion. This morning, conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough ripped Gingrich’s Nazi-Obama comparison as “sick” and “pure wingnuttery.” Yesterday, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) called on the GOP to condemn Gingrich’s new book for his “dangerous anaology” between Obama and Nazi Germany. “Gingrich’s linkage not only diminishes the horror of the Holocaust, it also licenses the use of extremist language in contemporary America,” remarked David Harris, executive director of the AJC.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bush lied about his military service, and so did Reagan


Richard Blumenthal's apparent misstatements about his military service -- as reported so tendentiously in the New York Times -- have delighted Republicans who once considered the Connecticut attorney general unbeatable in his state's U.S. Senate race. Now that we know the videotape cited by the Times also includes Blumenthal accurately describing his service in the Marine Corps Reserve, their jubilation may be premature. Whatever the ultimate verdict on the Blumenthal story, however, it's worth noting that he was hardly alone in misstating -- or falsely recollecting -- the facts about his stint in uniform. Leaving aside Lindsey Graham, who has puffed his "wartime" service for years, such mythmaking is indeed characteristic of the politicians most revered by the GOP.

Take George W. Bush, whose controversial service as a Texas Air National Guard pilot was shrouded in mystery, evidently because he wanted to conceal the basic facts of his privileged admission to the TANG and his strange departure from its ranks. In his 2000 campaign autobiography, ghosted by Karen Hughes, Bush claimed that after completing his training in the F-102 fighter plane, "I continued flying with my unit for the next several years." That simple sentence was entirely untrue, according to records eventually released by the Bush campaign, which showed that he had never flown in uniform again after his suspension from active duty in August 1972 for failing to show up for a mandatory physical examination.

In the same book Bush also suggests that he tried to volunteer for service in Vietnam "to relieve active duty pilots" fighting the war. But, of course, the entire purpose of his privileged (and questionable) enlistment in the TANG was to avoid the Vietnam draft, as he hinted in a 1998 newspaper interview when he said: "I don't want to play like I was somebody out there marching [to war] when I wasn't. It was either Canada or the service and I was headed into the service." Two years later, under the tutelage of Hughes, that momentary candor evaporated.

Yet Bush's self-serving revisions cannot compare with the fantastic recollections of the late Ronald Reagan, whose veneration by Republicans was never diminished by his bizarre utterances. In November 1983, he told Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir during a White House visit that while serving in the U. S. Army film corps, his unit had shot footage of the Nazi concentration camps as they were liberated. He repeated the same tale to Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal and other witnesses. Reagan had indeed served in the Army and worked on morale-boosting movies for the War Department. But he had done so without ever leaving Hollywood for the entire duration of the war.

Bush's phony account of his Guard service seems to have been a calculated prevarication by someone who just didn't expect to be caught. Reagan's false memory could be regarded in a more generous light, perhaps as a signal of his later dementia. (At FAIR, Jim Naureckas notes that the New York Times dismissed the Nazi camp fantasy as a "flight of imagination.")

But since the rise of Rand Paul is focusing attention on libertarians (and their vexed relationship with the GOP), it is irresistible to quote Murray Rothbard, the founder of modern libertarianism -- and a very close friend and associate of the Paul family -- on the subject of Reagan's delusional storytelling. In a 1989 column titled "Ronald Reagan: An Autopsy," which can still be found on the website of Lew Rockwell, another very close associate of Ron Paul, he snarked:

The degree to which Reagan is out of touch with reality was best demonstrated in his concentration camp story. This was not simply a slip of the tongue, a Bushian confusion of December with September. When the Premier of Israel visited Reagan at the White House, the President went on and on for three quarters of an hour explaining why he was pro-Jewish: it was because, being in the Signal Corps in World War II, he visited Buchenwald shortly after the Nazi defeat and helped to take films of that camp. Reagan repeated this story the following day to an Israeli ambassador. But the truth was 180-degrees different; Reagan was not in Europe; he never saw a concentration camp; he spent the entire war in the safety of Hollywood, making films for the armed forces…

There are only two ways to interpret the concentration camp story. Perhaps Reagan engaged in a bald-faced lie. But why? What would he have to gain? Especially after the lie was found out, as it soon would be. The only other way to explain this incident, and a far more plausible one, is that Ronnie lacks the capacity to distinguish fantasy from reality. He would, at least in retrospect, have liked to be filming at Buchenwald. Certainly, it made a better story than the facts. But what are we to call a man who cannot distinguish fantasy from reality?

It is surely frightening to think that the most powerful position in the world has been held for eight years by a man who cannot tell fact from fancy. Even more frightening is the defection of the media, who early lost heart and played the role of a submissive receptacle for photo opportunities and press-release handouts. One reason for this defection was the discovery of Reagan's Teflon nature. Another likely reason was that journalists who were too feisty and independent would be deprived of their precious access to the Presidential plane or to inside scoops or leaks from the White House. And a third reason was probably the desire not to dwell on the vital and hair-raising fact that the President of the United States, "the leader of the free world" and all that jazz, is nothing more than a demented half-wit.

Media Matters Daily Summary 05-20-10

WND's Hentoff drums up bogus controversy over Kagan's First Amendment views
In a WorldNetDaily column, Nat Hentoff advanced numerous falsehoods in order to suggest Elena Kagan is anti-free speech, including the false claims that Kagan has argued that the government could ban pamphlets such as Thomas Paine's Common Sense and could "redistribute" or "unskew" speech on talk radio. Read More

Wash. Times reports debunked "Climategate" myth as fact

A Washington Times article falsely claimed that the reportedly hacked emails from the University of East Anglia "seemed to suggest scientists manipulated data" and that they called "into question" "the science underpinning claims of global warming." In fact, official inquiries into the scientists' conduct found that they did not manipulate data, and despite months of false accusations from right-wing media, the content of the emails did not undermine global warming science. Read More

Beck falsely claims Kagan supports holding suspected terrorists "without due process"
Glenn Beck falsely claimed that Elena Kagan supports detaining suspected terrorists indefinitely without due process. In fact, Kagan testified that, when detaining terrorist suspects indefinitely as enemy combatants during a time of war, a transparent legal procedure that included "substantial due process" has to be used. Read More

Fox launches spurious attack that Obama smeared police by criticizing AZ law
Fox & Friends responded to President Obama's statement that the Arizona immigration law "has the potential of being applied in a discriminatory fashion" by accusing Obama of maligning police officers. However, numerous law enforcement officers and legal experts have also expressed concerns that the law places officers in "an untenable position" where it's "very difficult not to profile."
Read More

Media conservatives enraged that Brennan used the Arabic word for Jerusalem
Right-wing media figures have freaked out over a video of White House adviser John Brennan mentioning his love for "Al Quds -- Jerusalem," with some asserting that Brennan had used the "Islamist name" to refer to Jerusalem. In fact, "Al Quds" is simply the Arabic word for Jerusalem, which other prominent political leaders have also used. Read More

Rand Paul opposes government spending — except for when it benefits him.


Tea party darling Dr. Rand Paul won an upset victory in Kentucky’s Republican Senate primary by running on a “resolute pledge to balance the federal budget and slash the size of government.” In an interview following his win, Paul explained that his campaign was “all about federal spending” and the “tea party message.” Republicans “need to regain our believability as fiscal conservatives,” he added. But as former Bush speech writer David Frum noted, “Paul’s libertarianism stops where his pocketbook starts.” Frum highlighted a Wall Street Journal story from last week in which Paul said he doesn’t want to cut Medicare payments to doctors like himself, because “[p]hysicians should be allowed to make a comfortable living“:

But on Thursday evening, the ophthalmologist from Bowling Green said there was one thing he would not cut: Medicare physician payments.

In fact, Paul — who says 50% of his patients are on Medicare — wants to end cuts to physician payments under a program now in place called the sustained growth rate, or SGR. “Physicians should be allowed to make a comfortable living.

In an interview on’s Freedom Watch, Paul vowed he would never give up his “tea party values,” which apparently include pushing for self-serving legislation. As the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky noted, Paul likely already makes a “comfortable living,” as the average salary for an ophthalmologist is $256,320.

Rand Paul hedges on support for 1964 Civil Rights Act


Update: Paul says it was 'poor decision' to do Maddow show, slams 'loony left' for making civil rights fuss

2nd update on bottom: 'I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964...we are sure to hear more wild, dishonest smears during this campaign,' Paul campaign statement says

Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul, fresh off his primary victory in Kentucky, defended his criticism of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Wednesday night.

Paul said that while he supported the overall goals of the Civil Rights Act -- a monumental measure that outlawed discrimination against African Americans in various forms after a decades-long struggle for equality -- he opposed a provision that banned private businesses from discriminating based on race.

"Do you think that a private business has a right to say that 'We don't serve black people?'" Maddow asked.

"I'm not in favor of any discrimination of any form," Paul replied. "I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race. We still do have private clubs in America that can discriminate based on race.

"I think what's important in this debate is not getting into any specific "gotcha" on this, but asking the question 'What about freedom of speech?'" Paul countered. "Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent? Should we limit racists from speaking? I don't want to be associated with those people, but I also don't want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior because that's one of the things that freedom requires is that we allow people to be boorish and uncivilized, but that doesn't mean we approve of it."

"How about desegregating lunch counters?" Maddow later asked.

"Well what it gets into then is if you decide that restaurants are publicly owned and not privately owned, then do you say that you should have the right to bring your gun into a restaurant even though the owner of the restaurant says 'well no, we don't want to have guns in here' the bar says 'we don't want to have guns in here because people might drink and start fighting and shoot each-other?'" Paul replied. "Does the owner of the restaurant own his restaurant? Or does the government own his restaurant? These are important philosophical debates but not a very practical discussion."

"Well, it was pretty practical to the people who had the life nearly beaten out of them trying to desegregate Walgreen's lunch counters despite these esoteric debates about what it means about ownership," Maddow responded. "This is not a hypothetical, Dr. Paul."

Rand Paul says it was 'poor decision' to do Maddow show, slams 'loony left' for making civil rights fuss

At Huffington Post, Sam Stein reports, "The morning after he declined to endorse the totality of the Civil Rights Act in his much-discussed appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show, Dr. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) copped to feeling regret -- not over his comments, but rather his decision to be interviewed by Maddow in the first place."

"Why the heck would you go on the Rachel Maddow Show?" Ingraham asked Paul. "What do you think you're going to get when you go on Rachel Maddow's show?"

"It was a poor political decision and probably won't be happening anytime in the near future," the Tea Party endorsed Senate candidate said on the Laura Ingraham show on Thursday morning. "Because, yeah, they can play things and want to say, 'Oh you believed in beating up people that were trying to sit in restaurants in the 1960s.' And that is such a ridiculous notion and something that no rational person is in favor of. [But] she went on and on about that."

Blaming the messenger is a tactic often used by politicians when the message itself is to blame. And Paul's appearance on the Maddow show on Wednesday night was anything but bland. For 15 minutes, he and the host went back and forth in debating where there should be limits to government efforts to desegregate private institutions (Paul was skeptical that the government should play any role at all). But the notion that the MSNBC host was somehow unloading liberal hostilities on him doesn't jibe with the fact that Paul got the same type of treatment during an NPR interview earlier that morning -- or, for that matter, that a conservative voice on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough, seemed aghast at his answers. "He needs to come up with an answer today, or Kentucky will be Arizona: a battleground for ugly, racial politics," Scarborough said. "He has 24 hours."

Stein adds, "Paul, in fact, chose Maddow's show to initially launch his Senate candidacy a year prior to last night's appearance."

"I’ve never really favored any change in the Civil Rights Act," Paul told Ingraham. "They seem to have unleashed some of the loony left on me."

At Politico, Ben Smith adds, "Paul called the Civil Rights Act 'settled' but suggested he does view federal regulation of private business on matters of racial discrimination as fundamentally unconstitutional."

"The problem with Rachel and most people from the left is they want to make this an issue about you supporting abhorrent practices which I don't support," he said, again pronouncing himself a foe of "institutional racism."

"There was a need for federal intervention to say we can't have segregation," Paul told Ingraham, referring to the elements of segregation that were linked to government services and federal funding.

This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast May 19, 2010.

Rand Paul's campaign released the following statement on Thursday afternoon, as noted by Real Clear Politics.

“I believe we should work to end all racism in American society and staunchly defend the inherent rights of every person. I have clearly stated in prior interviews that I abhor racial discrimination and would have worked to end segregation. Even though this matter was settled when I was 2, and no serious people are seeking to revisit it except to score cheap political points, I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

“Let me be clear: I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws.”

“As I have said in previous statements, sections of the Civil Rights Act were debated on Constitutional grounds when the legislation was passed. Those issues have been settled by federal courts in the intervening years.”

“My opponent's statement on MSNBC Wednesday that I favor repeal of the Civil Rights Act was irresponsible and knowingly false. I hope he will correct the record and retract his claims.”

“The issue of civil rights is one with a tortured history in this country. We have made great strides, but there is still work to be done to ensure the great promise of Liberty is granted to all Americans.”

“This much is clear: The federal government has far overreached in its power grabs. Just look at the recent national healthcare schemes, which my opponent supports. The federal government, for the first time ever, is mandating that individuals purchase a product. The federal government is out of control, and those who love liberty and value individual and state's rights must stand up to it.”

“These attacks prove one thing for certain: the liberal establishment is desperate to keep leaders like me out of office, and we are sure to hear more wild, dishonest smears during this campaign."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Media Matters Daily Summary 05-19-10

Wash. Times op-ed falsely claims Kagan wouldn't let "willing Harvard law students" meet with military recruiters
A Washington Times op-ed baselessly claimed that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan promoted an "anti-military campaign" while dean of Harvard Law, citing the false claim that Kagan "den[ied] JAG officers and willing Harvard law students the opportunity to meet and talk about opportunities to serve in the military." In fact, students had access to military recruiters throughout Kagan's tenure as dean, and Kagan's respect for the military is well established. Read More

Wash. Times falsely suggests past warm periods disprove human-caused global warming
A Washington Times editorial falsely suggested global warming science is undermined by studies indicating that the planet, at least in some regions, saw exceptional warmth thousands of years ago. But climate experts don't dispute that certain regions have experienced natural warm and cool periods throughout history; they say climate change of the past half century is "different" because it can't be explained by "natural changes alone." Read More

Beck mixes up his talking points, runs with distortions of previous climate bill
Glenn Beck falsely claimed that "this new cap-and-trade bill" extends unemployment insurance by three years and encourages workers to move overseas. In fact, the energy bill most recently considered in Congress, sponsored by Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, has no such provisions, and Beck's claims distort provisions from the Waxman-Markey bill that the House passed last year. Read More

Beck distorts FEMA facts to claim Obama is "destroying charity and our faith"
Glenn Beck claimed that a FEMA videographer asking volunteers to remove their Salvation Army T-shirts at a disaster cleanup site indicates that the Obama administration is "destroying charity and our faith." But the day before, FEMA's administrator said the videographer was "absolutely wrong" and apologized to the Salvation Army. Read More

At Same '08 Speech, Blumenthal More Correctly Describes Military Record


Earlier this week, the New York Times ran a story about the ambiguous way Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal describes his military service. In the Times' strongest example of Blumenthal's misrepresentations, he says, "when I served in Vietnam."

But as the Associated Press points out today, in a longer version of the speech -- which has been posted on the YouTube page of one of Blumenthal's Republican opponents since the Times story broke -- the attorney general also describes his military service more accurately, saying he "served in the military during the Vietnam era, in the Marine Corps."

The more accurate description comes a couple minutes before the incorrect "I served in Vietnam." Although Blumenthal served in the Marine Corps Reserves for six years during the Vietnam War, he was never deployed overseas.

A spokesman for the Times did not immediately return a request for comment.

Watch the long version:

In the original story, the Times pointed out that Blumenthal had often described veterans returning from Vietnam using the pronoun "we." Several news outlets have described him as a Vietnam vet in profiles. But his one line from the video, taken in March 2008, was by far the most damning.

Blumenthal defended himself in a press conference, saying he had used the wrong words "unintentionally."

A spokesman for Republican candidate Linda McMahon said the longer video doesn't exonerate Blumenthal. It was not the case, he said, that Blumenthal made a "true statement" before making an "untrue statement" in the speech.

"There was a demonstrably untrue statement made in the video, and another statement at the beginning of the video that was, at best, ambiguous," said the spokesman, Ed Patru.

A new poll released today showed that Blumenthal's numbers have plummeted since the story broke. But he's still leading each Republican contender in hypothetical general election matchups.

Late update: A spokesman for the Times says the video doesn't change anything.

"The New York Times in its reporting uncovered Mr. Blumenthal's long and well established pattern of misleading his constituents about his Vietnam War service, which he acknowledged in an interview with The Times," said Diane McNulty. "The video doesn't change our story. Saying that he served 'during Vietnam' doesn't indicate one way or the other whether he went to Vietnam."

She also urged Blumenthal to "come clean:"

"Mr. Blumenthal needs to be candid with his constituents about whether he went to Vietnam or not, since his official military records clearly indicate he did not," she said.

Sue Lowden: What Chicken Barter System?


It's tricky, trying to delicately distance yourself from a comment you made without saying, "I didn't mean it!" Or worse, "I never said that!"

Just ask Sue Lowden, a Republican who's vying to challenge to Sen. Harry Reid. Lowden's been a TPM favorite ever since she first proposed bartering chickens for health care.

In a debate last night, she tried to claim she never said that she was sticking to her chicken barter "system." Unfortunately for her, there's video.

After she first said Americans should "barter" for health care at a town hall in Mesquite, she doubled down. Appearing on TV a week later, she said she wasn't "backing down from that system," pointing out that in the golden days, patients would "bring a chicken to the doctor."

She was roundly ridiculed. She tried to fight back, saying in an ad that the remarks were taken out of context by Reid and others. It didn't really work, and during a debate last night, she was asked about it again.

As Greg Sargent points out, Lowden got a little testy.


Video produced by Rachel Slajda

Dale Peterson Wants Your Vote

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What Birthers Believe

Media Matters Daily Summary 05-18-10

Wash. Times pushes fallacy that Kagan doesn't care about the military
A Washington Times editorial and op-ed baselessly suggested that Elena Kagan is hostile to the military, citing as evidence the false claim that she "banned" military recruiters from Harvard Law School. In fact, Kagan's respect for the military is well established; students had access to military recruiters throughout Kagan's tenure as dean; and Harvard's data show that her actions did not hurt military recruitment from the school. Read More

Right-wing media converge on baseless claim that Obama admin. "apologized" to China for AZ law
Conservative media are baselessly accusing the Obama administration of "apologizing" to China for Arizona's immigration law during a discussion on human rights. In fact, the State Department official who commented on the talks in no way said they "apologized"; he said the exchange was part of an "open discussion" about "how each of our societies are dealing" with discrimination issues. Read More

Fox News, CNN mainstream anti-immigrant extremists
Fox News and CNN recently hosted Phil Kent of Americans for Immigration Control (AIC) and the American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF), a group that has ties to white nationalists and "sells ... publications authored by racists and anti-immigrant figures who routinely demonize immigrants," according to the Anti-Defamation League. Moreover, Kent himself has a history of inflammatory rhetoric, including asserting that Barack Obama is a "dangerous, anti-white multiculturalist." Read More

Limbaugh distorts Sunstein's and Kagan's views on control of the Internet
Referring to remarks Cass Sunstein made in a 2001 interview, Rush Limbaugh stated that Sunstein "want[s] to control the Internet" and that "[Elena] Kagan agrees" with Sunstein. In fact, Sunstein has called the policy he described in the 2001 interview a "bad idea," and Limbaugh offered no evidence to support his claim that Kagan agrees with such a policy. Read More

Nothing Wash. Times says about Kagan's views on the First Amendment is true
A Washington Times editorial advanced numerous falsehoods in order to paint Elena Kagan as anti-free speech, including the false claim that Kagan has argued that the government could ban pamphlets such as Thomas Paine's Common Sense.
Read More

‘Sexiest video ever’ spreads virus on Facebook


SINGAPORE — A computer security company on Tuesday warned Facebook users against clicking on a link claiming to be the "sexiest video ever" which is actually a trap designed to infect computers.

The firm, Sophos, said that thousands of users have been hit by the malicious post, which appears to come from a friend's Facebook account.

The posting reads: "This is without doubt the sexiest video ever!" and is accompanied by what seems to be a movie thumbnail of a woman wearing a short skirt on an exercise bike.

Sophos warned Facebook clients against clicking on the thumbnail, which does not play the video but takes users to a page telling them they do not have the correct software installed.

It then tricks users into installing adware, a software package that automatically plays, displays or downloads advertisements to their computer......................................