Politico's front page:
UPDATE: The Politico article describes how both Democrats and Republicans are approaching potential Congressional hearings about the Christmas day attempt to bring down a plane. But Politico described only the Democrats as "plot[ting]"; no such loaded phrasing was attached to the GOP.
WorldNetDaily has not taken Glenn Beck's mocking of birthers well -- birtherism, after all, has been WND's raison d'etre for a good year and a half.
WND's first response was a "news" article that aimed to set him straight on what birthers believe (with an accompanying opt-in poll headlined "Arguing With Idiot"), insisting that birthers "reflect a far greater diversity of opinion than is assumed by Beck's characterization." This was followed by an article by Jerome Corsi insisting that, contrary to Beck's idea that birthers believe "a wild conspiracy in which Obama's parents, knowing he would someday be president, 'preemptively' collaborated with two separate newspapers to publish phony announcements stating he was born in Hawaii," the real truth is that "the birth announcements offer no proof of citizenship, because they might reflect nothing more than information a family filed with the Hawaii Department of Health to obtain a state Certification of Live Birth for a baby born outside Hawaii."
Note the word "might" in there. That's a major clue that WND's birther conspiracy hinges on what might be the truth -- that shadowy area where conspiracy theorists like Corsi do their work -- not what actually is the truth.
Corsi also repeats the claim that "even the Hawaii state government refused to accept a short-form COLB [certification of live birth] as proof of a Hawaiian birth required for eligibility in state programs," citing as an example the state's Home Lands program. But given that the Home Lands program is open only to people of "native Hawaiian" ancestry -- something Obama has never claimed to be -- the question of whether Obama's COLB is sufficient proof for it is irrelevant.
WND then brought in the heavy artillery -- Alan Keyes.
In his January 8 column (yes, he's a regular WND columnist), Keyes questioned Beck's constitutional bona fides, claiming that "he apparently fails to appreciate the real issue raised by the controversy over Barack Obama's constitutional eligibility for the presidency" and that he "simply parrots the mad-stream media's malicious caricature of the eligibility issue." Keyes also claims that Beck's words "carry overtones of the notion that the Constitution is a 'living document,' to be shaped and reshaped in light of the trendy preoccupations and priorities of the moment." (Actually, the opposite is true -- Beck has touted a book claiming that the "living Constitution" idea "is so alien to the constitutionalism of the American Founders.")
All this is targeted, by the way, at someone who just a week earlier received honorable mention in WND's "person of the year" competition.
While we're as entertained by intramural battles over conspiracy theories as much as the next person, it's important to note that Beck has previously had no problem embracing claims propagated by WND.
Chief among them is the conspiracy theory that Obama wants to create a "civilian national security force" that would serve as a personal army -- a WND favorite. There's also the false claim that Anita Dunn asserted she controlled the media while communications chief for Obama's presidential campaign, as well as the witch hunt against Van Jones (WND has touted how Beck "picked up WND's reporting" on Jones).
Just because Beck is trying to distance himself from the birthers doesn't mean he's keeping the crazies at WND at arm's length. As soon as one or the other forwards a new smear that fits their mutual goal of taking down the Obama administration, it will be dutifully echoed, and they will be BFFs once again.
Media Matters has been nominated as one of the top non-profits in the Shorty Awards honoring the best producers of short, real-time content on Twitter. Be sure to cast your vote by clicking here and let your friends know why you think Media Matters deserves to win!
From a January 8 PolitiFact.com post:
Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and a candidate for president in 2008, appeared on Good Morning America on Jan. 8, 2010, to offer his assessment of the Obama administration's counterterrorist operations. He criticized plans to try suspected Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in a Michigan criminal court and questioned Obama's decision to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Giuliani said U.S. intelligence agencies stand to lose potentially critical information on other al-Qaida operatives and operations if the man at the center of the Northwest flight terror incident is tried in U.S. court. "What he (Obama) should be doing is following the right things that Bush did -- one of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama," Giuliani said. "Number two, he should correct the things that Bush didn't do right. Sending people to Yemen was wrong, not getting this whole intelligence thing corrected was both Bush's responsibility and Obama's."
Giuliani, the mayor of New York City during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, claims there were no domestic attacks under the Bush administration. That's obviously a preposterous statement that would warrant a Pants on Fire rating. We can't help but remember now-Vice President Joe Biden's line during his presidential campaign, "Rudy Giuliani -- there's only three things he mentions in a sentence. A noun and a verb and 9/11."
Unfortunately, interviewer George Stephanopoulos never sought clarification on Giuliani's statement. After the interview, Stephanopoulos updated his blog to say Giuliani was wrong to say there were no domestic attacks under Bush.
Media Matters For America, a liberal group that analyzes the news media, documented other examples of U.S. terrorism:
2002 attack against El Al ticket counter at LAX. Hesham Mohamed Hadayet opened fire at an El Al Airlines ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport, killing two people and wounding four others before being shot dead. Media Matters found a 2004 Justice Department report that Hadayet's case had been "officially designated as an act of international terrorism."
Campus attack at UNC. In March 2006, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate drove an SUV onto campus, striking nine pedestrians. Reza Taheri-azar reportedly stated in a letter: "I was aiming to follow in the footsteps of one of my role models, Mohammad Atta, one of the 9/11/01 hijackers, who obtained a doctorate degree."
WorldNetDaily's latest attempt to attack Kevin Jennings is a January 8 article by Bob Unruh -- as per usual, following the lead of anti-gay group MassResistance, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a hate group -- writing that Jennings "is president of the board of the Tectonic Theater Project, which created 'The Laramie Project,' a play about the 1998 murder of University of Wyoming homosexual Matthew Shepard that condemns traditional biblical views on homosexuality as hateful and bigoted."
Unruh described Shepard as "the 21-year-old man who, according to a 2004 ABC News '20/20' report, actually was killed by drug-using thugs intent on robbery -- a fact ignored by the production." But it's not a fact -- it's right-wing revisionism. As we've detailed, one of Shepard's killers mounted a gay-panic defense at his trial, and the 20/20 report ignored the killer's in-custody interview, during which he offered what the Matthew Shepard Foundation calls "an un-rehearsed and unemotional anti-gay account of the events before, during, and after leaving Matt tied to the fence."
Unruh uncritically repeats whatever MassResistance asserts about The Laramie Project as fact without any apparent attempt to verify them or obtain any response to the attacks. Among them:
Unruh stated that, in repeating MassResistance's attack on a high school's production of The Laramie Project, "Mass Resistance also noted the graphic language of the play for high schoolers to recite." Apparently high school students had never used graphic language until The Laramie Project came along.
In contrast to the hyperbolic MassResistance attack that Unruh swallows whole, The New York Times noted of The Laramie Project upon its New York premiere that "Even the evening's less sympathetic characters, including the Kansas preacher who showed up at Mr. Shepard's funeral as an anti-gay protester, are served up with respectful caution," adding that "There is an overriding sense that the characters -- who range from ranchers to university professors, from a lesbian waitress to a Baptist minister -- are cut from the same cloth of perplexed decency, embellished with the occasional signpost of an eccentricity." The Times also stated that the play has become "a catalyst for communities to discuss something of urgent importance: in this case, hate crimes, homophobia and the treatment of difference in American society," and that "it serves as a model for a way of speaking tough truths and listening respectfully."
Listening respectfully? That's a message WorldNetDaily and MassResistance don't seem interested in hearing.
From a January 8 post to George Stephanopoulos' ABCNews.com blog:
The Mayor's spokesman says that the remark "didn't come across as it was intended" and that Giuliani was "clearly talking post-9/11 with regards to Islamic terrorist attacks on our soil."
Whatever the Mayor meant, it's not what he said. All of you who have pointed out that I should have pressed him on that misstatement in the moment are right. My mistake, my responsibility.
The first time it was uttered, it seemed so comical, so dumb. Bush White House Press Secretary Dana Perino told Sean Hannity on November 24, 2009: "We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term."
The second time was a little more nuanced, a little more slick. On December 27, Republican strategist Mary Matalin falsely claimed Bush "inherited the most tragic attack on our own soil in our nation's history." Nevermind that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred 8 months into Bush's presidency and more than a month after he received a Presidential Daily Briefing titled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."
But the third time was so definitive, so wrong, there could be no doubt it's a conservative talking point. On Good Morning America today, Rudy Giuliani falsely claimed: "We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama." Surely Rudy Giuliani himself couldn't forget 9-11, could he? Of course not. Rather, there is something far more sinister going on.
At least up until recently, the Bush defenders portrayed his record as "no attacks on the U.S. under Bush's watch after 9-11." But now, with the passage of more time, the defenders are growing bolder in their attempts to rewrite history. Now they want to completely erase the Bush administration's responsibility for the failures leading up to 9-11, to say nothing of the other terrorist attacks carried out or attempted during that time, including the anthrax attacks and the 2002 attack at the El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport.
Forgetting 9-11 is bad enough. Rewriting its history for political gain is utterly shameful.
CNN just aired a long segment on the trial of alleged bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Their go-to "Terrorism Analyst" for the discussion? Larry Johnson.
Johnson, of course, is infamous for repeatedly offering the racially-charged claim beginning in May 2008 that according to his "sources," a video tape exists of "Michelle Obama railing against 'whitey' at Jeremiah Wright's church." No tape was ever produced. In attempting to explain earlier this year why the tape was "never revealed and used," Johnson claimed: "One theory is that the hardline conservatives in possession of the tape did not want John McCain to win, a plausible theory given the hard right's reluctance in general to aid McCain's campaign."
Is this really the most credible person CNN could dig up to discuss the Abdulmutallab trial?
On the other hand, unlike Fox News go-to terrorism analyst Michael Scheuer, I don't think Johnson has cited a major al Qaeda attack on America as "the only chance we have as a county right now." So he's got that going for him.
What's missing from The Hill's write-up of Rudy Giuliani's appearance on ABC's Good Morning America today?
The part where Giuliani falsely claimed there were no terrorist attacks in the U.S. Under President Bush. You know, the part of the interview that just about everybody else found most noteworthy.
As the Daily World (Opelousas, LA) reported, the effort to recall Landrieu "is 'useless'" and "invalid because there's no legal way to recall a congressman or U.S. senator, [Secretary of State Jay] Dardenne said." From the article:
Ruben T. Leblanc, of 505 Wiltz St. Lot No. 4 in New Iberia, properly filed a recall petition with the secretary of state's office, but it was rejected as being invalid because there's no legal way to recall a congressman or U.S. senator, Dardenne said.
The recall process stops there because Dardenne said he could not mail copies of an invalid petition to registrars of voters across the state to certify signatures. He discussed his decision with Leblanc this week and sent a letter citing his reasons and a copy of an attorney general's ruling on recalling federal officials.
Dardenne based his decision on a 2008 opinion issued by Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell when a Jefferson Parish man wanted to recall U.S. Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao.
Caldwell said research found that only the respective bodies of Congress can decide on the suitability of its members and remove them. The state constitution provision on recalls applies only to state and local officials.
By the way, Secretary of State Dardenne - the man who rejected the petition effort - is a Republican.
In 2003, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service wrote that "the United States Constitution does not provide for nor authorize the recall of United States officers such as Senators, Representatives, or the President or Vice President, and thus no Member of Congress has ever been recalled in the history of the United States."
Fox Nation could have easily learned that the effort is "useless" if they had just used something called Google (apparently not a preferred tool of Fox News employees). As of 1:30pm today, the 2nd link for "Landrieu petition" is the Daily World article (the first is now Fox Nation).